A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- The N.S.W. Nurses' Association, “Northcote Building”, Reiby Place, Sydney. Box No. 4476, G.P.O. Sydney. 'Phone JW.1462.
|Editor||Don Matthews, 33 Pomona Street, Pennant Hills. WJ3514.|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey.|
|Sales and Subs||Audrey Kenway.|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey.|
|Our New Club Room||Brian Harvey||2|
|Social Events||Edna Garrad||4|
|At Our Annual General Meeting||Alex Colley||4|
|List of Officers||6|
|News from Lyn Baber||7|
|Walking Guide for April||John Logan||12|
|At Our Annual Reunion||“Mulga”||13|
|Slow Trip Down the Kowmung||Alex Colley||14|
|Scanning Scandinavia||Keith Renwick||20|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop||9|
|Hattswell's Taxi & Tourist Service||15|
The author of “Parkinson's Law” claims that although the importance of an individual is general1y assessed by the size and appointments of his office, the reverse applies to institutions. In fact, high class surroundings are a symptom of decay - i.e. during an era of discovery and progress there is little time to plan or think about perfect headquarters.
Have we, in moving to a new and more expensive clubroom, reached a state of collapse? Are we becoming a pack of social walkers?
Not likely! This is the best thing that has happened to the Club in many a year, and anyone who doesn't think it's worth the extra 4 1/2 d. per week is an ingrate.
Now, at meetings, we can slump into our padded chairs, enjoy a gentle catnap as the Rhubarb Brigade holds the floor, or as our eyes tire from a surfeit of technicolour, and awake refreshed to face the rest of the week and a rugged Friday night trip.
Throw away your Air Wick! Come and relax at Reiby Place!
- Brian Harvey.
It is with much pleasure, and with great satisfaction, that we announce having acquired a new Club-room, which, it is felt, will completely overcome the many shortcomings of “Ingersoll Hall”, not only as regards that latter's ever-increasing dinginess, “cattiness”, but also its unsuitable location in a rather unsavoury neighbourhood on the fringe of the city area.
Following a very pointed hint from the “Ingersoll Hall” landlords, a Sub-Committee was appointed, and in a short time it was able to recommend a hall to the Annual General Meeting, which adopted the recommendation at the same time raising the Annual Subscriptions to meet the increased rental. The room, which has seating accommodation for 125, is that of the N.S.W. Nurses' Association, “Northcote Building”, Reiby Place (Circular Quay), Sydney, where we became resident on 1st April. A location plan appears on the opposite page.
On the first floor of the building, the hall has a parquetry floor, tasteful pastel-shaded walls, red and yellow Vynex covered arm-chair-type seats, fluorescent lighting, small vestibule lounge, cloak-room and modern kitchen, and, above all, spotless and odourless!
As regards car-parking, one-way traffic circulates clockwise round the triangular building, with parking space on the left-hand side. Ample both sides parking exists in nearby Pitt and Arbitration Streets. Train and ferry passengers can alight a stone's throw away at Circular Quay. Many bus routes commence almost at the door. In all, transport is very convenient.
We extend an invitation to all members, particularly those who did not frequent “Ingersoll Hall” on account of its incongruity, to visit our new room and to which one would have no hesitation to invite one's friends to our social nights.
Congratulations to Jenny and Stan Madden - another boy, and to Dorothy and Ron Knightley - also a boy.
[ Map showing location of Club Room ]
- Edna Garrad.
|April 25th:||The new Club Room “Warming”. We are looking forward to a very big roll up. With Bushwalker “cussedness” some will criticise, but most will be applauding this long awaited move.|
|April 22nd:||Brian Harvey's slides of Lord Howe Island. You have seen some of Brian's previous efforts and know how good they are.|
|April 29th:||The Bush Music Club. Come along and be entertained by this novel group who will sing bush ballads accompanied by the primitive musical instruments used by our pioneers.|
|May 20th:||It is not too ear1y to think about which slides you are going to hand in for Members slide night. We are also looking forward to seeing your Easter slides. John Logan will collect the slides on the night. Hand them in early please!|
Note:- With our pleasant new environment we expect good attendances in the Club Room. If you have any bright and novel ideas - pass them on to the Social Committee.
- Alex Colley.
Our meeting, which opened promptly at 8, started off quietly enough, with the traditional presentation of prizes for the swimming carnival. The stirring events which followed may not have rocked the Ingersoll Hall on its foundations (which could be the only sound part of the building), but they imperilled the few remaining window panes, gave the cat insomnia, and left members reaching for their tranquillisers. The critics, apparently numbed by the speed of decisions, were almost silent. In a bare three hours of close debate it was decided to move to new club rooms and to double the annual subscriptions, while four club officers were removed from the Committee, and the by-laws torpedoed and sunk.
Because of its bearing on the annual subscription, the move to new rooms was discussed at the same time. The Committee appointed to look for new rooms reported that, of the 8 halls it had investigated, only one offered the facilities the Club needed. This was the hall of the N.S.W. Nurses' Association, in Reiby Place. It was clean, tastefully decorated, well lighted and with adequate ventilation and window space. A committee room was available once a month and space would be provided for a steel cabinet and our map cabinet. The rental was £5. 5. 0 a week. The Committee pointed out that all surplus furniture, including the library would have to go. The seats were arranged in rows and “greater effort than has hitherto been forthcoming would be required from members if we were to have a clubroom rather than a hall”, as the chairs would need to be rearranged every evening. It also pointed out that the necessary sorting and disposal of club equipment meant a lot of work for club officers.
Brian Harvey moved that, in order to enable us to make the move, subscriptions for juniors be raised from 15/- to £1, for single members over 21 from £1 to £2, for married couples from 30/- to £2.10.0, and for non-actives from 5/- to 7/6d. Jim Brown didn't think we could afford it because, after our last increase in subs, we had lost over 70 members (against an intake of 33). Jack Wren agreed that we might lose members at first, but we had the funds to carry us over and we might well gain members after the first year. Tom Moppett agreed with this view, and Malcolm McGregor favoured using our Club Room acquisition reserve, if necessary. Ken Meadows thought we might close the Club Room on committee nights, thus saving one quarter of the rent, and Kevin Ardill suggested we might have a levy or raffle to make up the deficit. John White, who thought the new rooms were “beaut” said that young people were not coming into the club as they should be, and we would stagnate if we stayed in the Ingersoll Hall. Colin Putt favoured a somewhat smaller increase in order to cushion the “shock to the Club's system” and a draft on our reserves, which were suffering capital erosion. Edna Stretton said ours was the cheapest club in Sydney. We had one night a week's free entertainment and our weekends planned for us. It was not just a Club, it was a way of life. Don Frost thought we would have to find another £200 a year and we couldn't. Bob Abernethy referred to the “measly” attitude of some people. The proposed subs would amount to 9d. a week, as compared with 2/- a night, equal to 104/- a year paid by the Youth Hostels Association members. Ray Kirkby, who found the Ingersoll Hall in the dire days after we lost our old clubroom, said that we had been trying to find better rooms ever since. This was the first and only suitable hall we had found. Roy Bruggy wanted better rooms, but counselled caution and was of the opinion that if members couldn't take our present rooms they might never endure the rigors of walking. In his summing up, Brian Harvey pointed out that the increase represented the price of two cigarettes a week. There would be a saving in fares for many members, whilst there were other advantages such as adequate parking space. The motion was then put and carried with little opposition.
Next the meeting considered the abolition of the by-laws. Jim Brown, who had undertaken, when Secretary, the difficult task of preparing the original list, said that he had found many ridiculous and overlapping motions, and many that members would not now countenance. Our resolutions needed listing. Ron Knightley said that only twice in 13 years had there been trouble over the interpretation of the club's intentions. All by-laws should be submitted for the approval of general meetings. Though this had not been done for several years nobody had called the Committee to account. Allan Wilson said they caused a lot of delay and hindrance and Brian Anderson pointed out that various Secretaries had not understood what was required - each succeeding one would do worse. Ron Knightley then asked had anyone a complete copy of the by-laws? This initiated a long discussion on familiar lines between Club officers, which ended with a closure motion and a vote in favour of the motion.
In quick time motions were passed excluding the Editor, the Conservation Secretary and the Federation Delegates from the Committee. Then Brian Harvey's motion for leaving it to General Meetings rather than the Committee to declare the seats of absentee Committee members vacant was discussed and turned down.
In intervals between these momentous decisions, the meeting elected a new Committee. By 11 p.m. all business was dealt with and the President closed the meeting with the traditional “Let us re-une!” So ended our last meeting in the Ingersoll Hall.
Au Revoir to Bob O'Hara who is off to live in Melbourne.
|Vice Presidents||Brian Harvey & Alex Colley|
|Hon. Secretary||Gladys Fall|
|Hon. Asst. Secretary||Jess Martin|
|Hon. Treasurer||Ron Knightley|
|Hon. Walks Secretary||Bill Rodgers|
|Hon. Social Secretary||Edna Garrad|
|Hon. Membership Secretary||Irene Pridham|
|Hon. Conservation Secretary||Alex Colley|
|Literary Editor||Don Matthews|
|Committee Members||Heather Joyce, Edna Stretton, Len Fall, John White|
|Federation Delegates||Grace Wagg, Geoff Wagg|
|Federation Delegates (from 1/7/59)||David Ingram, David Brown|
|Substitute federation Delegates||Brian Harvey & Len Fall|
|Trustees||Wal Root, Joe Turner, Maurice Berry|
|Magazine Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Parks & Playgrounds Delegate||Mrs. H. Stoddart|
|Hon. Auditor||Nan Bourke|
|Hon. Solicitor||Colin Broad|
|N.P.A. Delegate||Len Fall|
|Hon. Asst. Treasurer||John White|
|Hon. Asst. Walks Secretary||John Logan|
|Hon. Asst. Membership Secretaries||David Ingram, Edna Stretton|
|Hon. Asst. Social Secretary||Jean Harvey|
|Hon. Librarian||Lyndsey Gray|
|Keeper Maps & Timetables||Jim Brown|
|Projectionists||Malcolm McGregor, George Gray, Frank Ashdown|
|Duplicator Operators||Dawn & Brian Anderson|
|Magazine Sales & Subscriptions||Audrey Kenmay|
|Search & Rescue Contact||Jim Hooper XM6001; BK5438 (bus.) & Mrs. Elsie Bruggy, UL4914.|
Easter proved to be a good opening for the walking season with 18 members on the Brindabella trip, 14 on the Gangerang, 6 at Bungonia and 16 on Alex Colley's Mt. Renwick - The Castle trip.
Have you heard of the Aquatics on Mt. Renwick on Easter Eve? Frank Barlow became so attached to his puddles that he rolled them up with his sleeping bag and carried them fondly to the Yadboro.
Extracts taken from letters written home by Lyn during her 17,000 mile journey to England by Landrover with five companions, including John Bookluck from S.B.W. (See also Bookie's letter in the March magazine.)
“The countries through which we have travelled, or intend to travel are Australia via Broken Hill, Port August, Fremantle, Broome, thence by the “Charon” to Singapore, then Malaya, Thailand, Burma, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Persia, Iran, Irak, Turkey, Greece, Yugoslavia, Italy, Switzerland, France to England.
We lost our trailer ten miles out of Pt. Augusta and came limping in with it. A bolt in the coupling came off even though it had been tightened that morning and we had not been over very rough roads. I was in the back at the time and it was quite spectacular to see the coupling end just rise slowly into the air, skid on the corner for awhile, career across the road, bounce and then turn right over and keep on bouncing amidst frantic screams and yells. We were very lucky really that there was not more damage. A couple of the petrol tins were bent but still useable and nothing else in the trailer was damaged. The trailer itself had the axle and the springs bent and a couple of dents. We dragged it into Port Augusta to a garage, where the boys dismantled it - (the two tyres were ruined but they were only old ones, we had spares). They had the axles and springs reforged (I think that is the word) and have now put it together again and we are ready for the Nullabor. (This is the beginning of quite a lot of trouble they have had with the trailer.) While they were working we found a caravan park with good washing facilities, put the tent up, and got tea ready. When they came back Bruce casually said “Bring out your dirty clothes and I'll wash them” expecting a few things. He was completely inundated, so while we were fixing tea the three boys did all the washing - rows of it - one washing, one rinsing and one hanging out. Our first wash of the trip.
On our way to Broome we travelled through red dust, white dust, and within 10 miles of Broome were inundated with black dust. We had black faces, in fact everything was black. It was so hot and we were so sticky all the dust turned to mud - what a sight. While camping at Broome two Holden's turned up containing Melbourne people going round Australia. They had met F. Rigby & Co. from S.B.W. We had to stay in Broome for a few days waiting for the boat to arrive. We loved Broome, met lots of people and had a wonderful time. Our pace slowed down to Broome's pace. The boys got jobs at the Meatworks and they really had to work hard. Did two 17 hour shifts, both through the night, and they were exhausted. They had to wrap themselves up in woollen jumpers, sox, jackets, hats and leather gloves, while we were still in our swimsuits. They had to work in the freezing chambers, 10 degrees below freezing point, loading the meat on to the train to go to the ships. They only got £15.10.0 each for the whole time. John had never done any work like that in his life before, but they were all dead beat when they finished so it did not matter. They had meals provided for them at a Cafe and would come home (or rather to the camp) during their breaks and empty sausages out of their pockets for our breakfast. Also they asked the boss for some steaks. We had enough for two meals and it was delicious. John thought it was lovely steak until he found out that it came from the Meatworks and then would not eat any more. The loading and sailing of the ships depends completely on the tide. It looks so funny to see a great big ship left sitting high and dry on the mud with the sea about half a mile further out. Our ship arrived at 9 p.m. Sunday evening. The boys were working so we had to try to pack, had had no official loading time, even though we knew that the ship would sail at 9.30 p.m. Monday on the high tide. At 8 o'clock Monday morning the Dalgety agent came racing round to tell us that the Landrover had to be aboard immediately or else it would cost an extra £28. What panic, as you can imagine. Angela and I started pulling tents down while Louise goes off helter skelter to the Meatworks to collect the boys. After a few hectic minutes, with things being loaded in record time, we three girls were left stranded, sitting under a tree in the camping ground surrounded by a few scattered belongings, cups, a billy and a dirty frying pan. It was 12 o'clock before we eventually collected ourselves, so we asked our next door neighbours to drive us to the ship. They took us right to the gangplank along the jetty and then had to back off. We really must have looked a scream coming on board because we did not bother to tidy up at all, just went aboard in old shorts and jeans, no lipstick, and carrying odd bundles and string bags, etc. Louise even had the dirty frying pan wrapped in newspaper. There are 2,000 sheep aboard and so far 36 have died. It has been very hot indeed and the Captain is more worried about them than about us. Eric has just brought out the malaria tablets, which we will start taking today. This morning the wharf has been a hive of industry. The Landrover and trailer are ashore. A lot of coolie women came aboard, all dressed alike in black pants and tops with big pieces of brown paper or black cloth tied flat across the top of their heads. They had the filthiest work of all, that of cleaning out the sheep pens and unloading all the straw and muck into trucks. Meanwhile the men, in clean white shirts, were unloading all the clean cargo - what a contrast.
We made friends with a young Chinese boy in Singapore one night when we were trying to make out selves understood in a cafe. He recognised us from our photos in the Strait's Times, rescued us, and entertained us until we left Singapore. On our first night out a young Indian boy in the back of a bus recognised us from the same photo, made signs to Eric, who was driving at the time, inviting us to sleep at his place. We did of course. The town was called Batu Pahat. The next day we had several ferry crossings, drove through Malacca, Mucer and on to Kuala Lumpur. We stopped there for a few minutes and very soon had the offer of a Church School Hall to sleep in. We were surrounded by questioning young boys until 12, and one of the school teachers even wanted to come with us. The next day we motored on to a town called Taiping and called at a N.Z. Military base where Bruce knew the dentist - went to school with him. He was not there when we arrived but we were entertained royally in the Officer's Mess. We had a beautiful dinner with them, slept the night on the Sport's pavilion verandah, and the next morning set off for Penang. We were just driving along the street there when we were tooted by some women in a car. We stopped and spoke to them - just as well too - they were Army Officer's wives and one of them from Sydney invited us girls to stay at her place for the night. Penang is really beautiful, lovely beaches, wonderful trees and magnificent homes. The place where the boys stayed was the complete upstairs of a huge old house with fully equipped kitchen, three huge bedrooms, dining room, living room and four bathrooms. The lady we stayed with had a beautiful modern two storey semi-detached house just by the sea. The next day we were entertained at the most exclusive club in town. Consequently we left Penang with very pleasant memories. It is only 48 miles in circumference but there are 2 1/2 million people on it. They range from the rich in palatial homes in tree lined avenues, to the Malays and Chinese living crowded together in dirty hovels. That day we drove on to the Thai border, where we spent the night at the Custom's Post of Changloon - more staring faces. Throughout Malaya the roads are very good, all tar sealed, but everybody drives like crazy. All the road signs are in English as well as Malayan and a lot of people speak English.
Everybody is friendly. Here in Thailand it is a bit more awkward because no signs at all are in English - all in squiggly Siamese characters - so we have quite a bit of difficulty matching up these funny signs to find out where we are going. Lots of rubber trees and paddy fields and buffaloes in the mud in Malaya, and so far a lot of the same in Thailand. Also funny buses, packed full, and people hanging out the sides, tearing flat out along the road, tooting their horns. In Malaya there were police check-points (you are not supposed to take food into black areas because of terrorists) but we had our flags flying and were waved through.
At lunch time on our first day in Thailand we arrived at Haadyia, where we had the name of an Agent. We called on him and he took us all to lunch, Siamese style. Beautiful fried rice, lots of things to have with it, prawn soup, Satibaba (pork cooked on little sticks) and coconut sauce, all very similar to Chinese, but better. Last of all Lotus Nuts in syrup and ice - WOW. That night we spent in a small village. We entertained the villagers and they entertained us. Even gave us a mosquito-proof room to sleep in - mossies, etc. are pretty bad. Everybody is scratching right now, despite the repellant. I have lost quite a bit of weight but feel well.
From Pagaside Village (200 miles into Thailand). 14th November.
We are staying the night in a small Siamese village, which is not marked on the map. One of the young boys writes English so we have been sending notes. We have been asked to write songs, have learnt how to say “house” “goodbye” “fresh water” and have just learnt the village name, amidst much laughter, mostly at our pronunciation. There is a Temple here and lots of Buddhist Monks, only very young, in vivid yellow robes. We have a house almost to ourselves but at the moment there are all these boys here and I bet they don't go until very late. The Thai people are very friendly and always laughing. Last night we stayed at a similar village in a house with a family. We did not get to bed until after 12 because just about the whole village had to come and have a look at us. Much laughter as we tried to converse with sign language. The roads in Thailand are very bad. It has been raining most of the time so that whenever we go into a pot hole we are covered in mud.
Continued on 16th November.
We arrived at this town, Takuapa, nearly 400 miles into Thailand on the Kia Isthmus, last night at about 7 with some welding to be done. After much gesturing etc. we found a repair shop and a welder, who started work immediately and worked flat out for over 4 hours without a break - really flat out - and Saturday night too. This morning the boss would not take any money, he said we were his friends, he spoke English. This sort of thing happens all the time. He even sent a boy into the town for bread for us, and we slept on his living room floor. Today we set out on a very bad stretch, which is supposed to be a road under construction, but apparently it is little more than a jungle track. It is 110 miles and we reckon on it taking us 2 days. Have just bought tea at 12/6d. sterling a pound, and sugar at 2/6d. a pound. Bread is unprocurable. Saw 12 oz. tinned Australian butter for the equivalent of 16/8d. Aust. a tin. We have to make rapid calculations from the local money into sterling and then back to Australian. The local currency is tikel or barth and pies. In Malaya it was dollars and cents.
Continued 7.30 p m. in some unknown village.
We are now well established in one room of a prefab. aluminium hut, the only one I have seen. Everything else has been thatched. We have the usual audience of people peering in the windows, but nobody has ventured inside yet. We have had rice and cigarettes provided amidst lots of laughter. We did not start driving until about 11 a.m. and did 40 miles of the bad stretch. It is the only road to Bangkok from Malaya and certainly would be impossible without a 4-wheel drive vehicle. We spent the whole time hopping in and out of the Landrover and guiding it and the trailer across dozens of small bridges with no middles, and only just making a lot of them too. Some we had to back to negotiate and others we had to bounce the trailer to stop it from falling through. On one the front wheel broke through a plank and we had to back off very smartly.
Continued 24th November.
We are now on our 9th day of the attempt to do 110 miles. We have at least 30 more miles to do before we reach Renong then we have nearly 700 miles to Bangkok and if we don't hurry our Burmese visas will expire. At the moment we are waiting for a mountain river to go down. We arrived here in this small village yesterday afternoon and the water was waist deep and we were informed that it would be lower this morning, but this morning it is higher still so we are still waiting. About midday we hope it will be right. All our trouble has been caused by rain, which has been almost continuous. It is supposed to be the dry season but something is haywire. The sun is out now so we all feel a bit more hopeful. Our spirits really have been down. We have all earned a practical degree in bridge building, road building, and getting out of bogs - mostly just plain hard work.”
(To be continued)
All bushwalkers should become acquainted with out shop!!
Prepare your Food Lists from our wide range of -
Dried fruits - apricots, apples, pears, prunes.
Biscuits - Ryvita, Wheatflake, Ryking, Kavli.
Confections - Newport rolls, Honey Kisses, Fruit rolls.
Breakfast Foods - Terry's meal, Granola, Nu-grist.
13 Hunter St., Sydney. BW1725.
- John Logan.
Note that No's. 30 & 33 have been interchanged.
|30||Blackheath, car to Megalong Creek, Cox River, Galong Creek, Carlon's, Nellie's Glen, Katoomba. Medium. Rock hopping and scrambling in Galong Creek (Granite). Cost 32/9d.|
|31||Federation Reunion - Burning Palms. Further information at General Meeting.|
|32||Pymble - bus to Warrimoo Road, Cowan Ck., Bobbin Head, Berowra. Excellent Sunday walk with medium creek walking. Cost approx. 10/6d.|
|33||Blackheath, car to Carlon's, Breakfast Ck., Cox R., 6 ft. track, Devil's Hole, Katoomba. Rock hopping on Breakfast Ck., otherwise mostly medium track walking. Covers a delightful stretch of Cox's River. Medium test walk. Cost 34/9d.|
|34||Glenbrook, The Oaks, Woodford Ridge, Woodford. Views to the coast from Twin Rocks. Scratchy on Woodford Ridge. Recommended area for map reading practice. Medium test walk. Cost 18/-d.|
|35||Glenbrook, The Oaks, Breakfast Creek, Euroka, Glenbrook. Mostly on tracks. Scratchy on Breakfast Ck. Medium Test Walk. Cost 12/3d.|
|36||Ettrema Gorge - Rugged and spectacular. See Colin Putt for details.|
|37||Instructional Weekend at Euroka. Easy track walk. Good camping. 12.54 Saturday train to Glenbrook. Bring Liverpool Military Map. Cost 12/3d.|
|38||Jamberoo Pass, Budderoo, Brogher's Ck., Jamberoo. Medium with 2,500 ft. climb. Rock hopping on Brogher's Ck. Cost 24/5d.|
|39||Fishing trip to Gymea, Li1li Pilli boat shed, Port Hacking. Ideal lazy trip. Leader requires 10 days notice.|
|40||Waterfall, Uloola Audley, boat to Cronulla. Easy walk with swimming for icebergs. Cost 8/4.d.|
News of a short T.T. film on Bushwalking made with an S.B.W. cast at Glenbrook on 22nd March and shown in ABN's Weekend Magazine on Easter Sunday. Jack Gentle and Malcolm McGregor assisted in preparing the Commentary. A copy of the film will be available to the Club. More of this later.
It is our considered opinion that more bush walkers than ever were on the move in the bush this Easter. The wet weather caused more than its usual crop of late arrivals and the alarm bells were ringing in Paddy's Shop. Distracted parents were fearing the worst had happened because John or Bill or Betty had not returned as per schedule. Oil was poured on troubled waters by assurances that John and Bill and Betty would arrive by the afternoon train. By the usual complex set of miracles it happened just so and everyone was happy except a reporter from an evening paper who wanted to know (with some heat in his voice) didn't we think it was time foolish people were prevented from going into the bush and so saving the heavy expense to the community of police search parties and whatnot. This was an easy one to answer and was done (with some heat in the voice) so peace reigned once more.
Paddy has acquired some more space and the shop has been extended a little and working space a lot. Come and see it sometime.
Note to skiers. Booking for skis and stocks and boots opened 1st April and heavy bookings have already been made. If you require ski gear for the coming season book now!
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney.
After the shock of the new clubroom I felt that anything could happen on Reunion weekend, and as Saturday moved on it was evident that the mood set by the Great Event was to continue.
The Grose Wold road had just been patched up (you Doubting Thomases should have seen it the week before!) The Grose was a swimmable depth and looking lush all around, and the ringing of bell birds pierced the air. (That may sound familiar, but what can you expect?)
Suddenly came the inimitable sound of lawnmowers trundling down the track, and then a crunching sort of rumble as Putt appeared wheeling a barrow loaded with gear. “Harvey was right”, puffed Putt, “No doubt about a wheelbarrow!” Downhill, anyway. A quick trip to Richmond to pick up the train travellers, then log handling, tents popping up everywhere, Edna Stretton collecting items of entertainment, performers with tea in one hand and a just-acquired script in the other, and then -
as Maurice Berry and Lyndsey Gray lit the pile of logs with two flaming Olympic type torches brought by Brian Harvey.
Edna organised well, and maintained a steady flow of song and sketch with room for anyone who could be persuaded to perform. Highlights of the night were a true fairy tale “The Frog Prince”, and a “Trial of the Past Editor”. We did notice a slight accent on Dormie's 5% and must mention the superb performance of Snow Brown as a famous three-dimensional Artiste.
The initiation ceremony was a chariot relay race between three teams of four each - two lawnmowers and a barrow - and somehow I think the horses fared better than the drivers over the rugged course. The winners were awarded with a feed of fried witchety grubs, but this was a sell, for I have it on good authority that they were made of dough. Pity!
Jack Gentle was sworn in for a further term and spoke gratefully of the assistance he'd been given during the year.
Sunday dawned bright, but too early, and before long the beach was crowded with all shapes and sizes. Mud-slinging was restricted to some self-inflicted torture by the stalwarts, who slid to their heart's content down a bank of Wood's Creek and seemed to enjoy it thoroughly. Meanwhile Dennis Gittoe's canoe plied a steady trade up and down the river.
Return seats were found for everyone, and all in all it was a mighty Reunion. Thanks to Colin Putt and his committee and helpers for the hard yakka which made it (and the supper) such a success, and to the members and families whose presence made it worthwhile.
Adults 120 (includes 86 active members). Children 63.
- Alex Colley.
As we breakfasted on the green grass beneath a pine tree in a Blackheath Park on Saturday December 20th, we felt that our trip had at last started. Many weeks of preparation had gone beforehand. We had had several meetings to compose our 200 lb. food list and to plan camping equipment, waterproofing of packs and contents etc., also much shopping and packing and a special week-end trip to Lannigan's Creek to leave a food depot, which we would reach on the ninth day. On the previous evening we had left our travelling clothes and other oddments at Les and Marie Harper's place. Now, as we ate the first meal out of our packs, we knew the die was cast. We could take nothing more, and must depend for the next 13 days on our long preparations. To have all the organising behind and the trip ahead was an exciting prospect, enhanced by a cloudless day, a cool morning breeze, warm sunlight, and an extensive view of the blue mountains beyond which we would start our walk.
Mr. Hattswell picked us up at 8 a.m., and by 11 we were at Ginkin, our starting point. There were eight in the party - Jack Wren (our leader, though he resigned once or twice), Jean and Alan Wilson, Allan Abbott, Pam Baker, Yvonne Renwick, Frank Leyden and I. A non-bushwalker observer, seeing us setting out, all clean and pale, over the luscious green pastures, might have been puzzled to decide whether we were going to a back to childhood party or eluding our warders. The favoured female fashion was a kind of smock, called a Kowmung shirt, which reached from neck to knees and might or might not be held in the middle by a belt. The boys also sported a variety of shirts. One little fellow, about 6 ft. high and 3 1/2 ft. round, had grown out of his shirt, and his mother had tacked a foot or so of check tablecloth to its hem so as to bring it down to his knees. Another wore a spotlessly white dress shirt. When motionless he looked, but for the colour of his skin, like the Pelaco advertisement, but he cut a dashing figure as his beard grew and he leapt from rock to rock with the tails flying behind. Broad straw hats and gym boots completed the ensemble of both sexes.
As we made our way towards the Tuglow the message “bushwalkers” passed from fly to fly, and soon each of us moved within our own swarm. When we produced steak for lunch an extra loud buzz arose, probably the fly equivalent of a cheer. All our defences, including insecticides and mosquito net, were useless, but we comforted ourselves with the thought that they were probably worse here, where animals grazed, than further on, and this proved to be so.
In the afternoon we made our way over the limestone outcrops, past notices which warned of dog traps. The dingoes must have been bad here - a well worn enclosure fenced with 6 ft. netting was evidence that the sheep were rounded up nightly and placed in it for protection. We trod warily, but soon learned to recognise trap emplacements near the fences that the dogs would skirt. It was hot in the sun with our nine day packs, which weighed over 30 lbs. for the girls and over 40 for the boys, and we were glad to flop down on our camp site within view of Tuglow Falls about 1.30 p.m. Despite the dead thornbush around, it was a well grassed and comfortable spot. Next morning, after a couple of hours spent photographing Tuglow Falls and Chardon's Canyon, we set off down the Kowmung. I had been on this part of the river before, with the first S.B.W. trip down the river bed, when we placed our packs on the top of our surf floats and they rolled straight over. Though I recognised little of the river now, my companions on that trip never seemed far away.
For the first few miles the valley is just rough. Stretches of fairly open walking are interspersed with rock hopping, scrambling, and scrub pushing. We arrived at Tuglow Hole, a deep rock pool with sheer walls on one side, about 4 p.m. and camped again rather than start our pack floating that afternoon. The river here is some 3,000 ft. above sea level. Trout broke the surface as evening drew in, but unfortunately we had no fishing license, so we couldn't catch any. We regretted too that we hadn't brought our bulldozer. There was a little patch of ground near the water just big enough for our dining room. The Wilson Construction Co. got to work and flattened a space for one tent, while another, best unnamed, removed some sizeable vegetation to make enough room for three to lie in the dining room. Frank erected his tent over various rocks and tussocks round which he and Allan Abbott somehow insinuated themselves.
This was typical of our camp sites for the next few days. Pitching one tent was not so difficult - there were occasional flat spaces just big enough for one tent. To put another near it called for considerable site improvement while the third tent sometimes had to be (or perhaps I should say, “was”,) pitched up to 50 yards away.
Soon after setting out next morning we came to the first of the rock enclosed pools which necessitated swimming. Groundsheets were carefully wrapped around our packs and into the water we went, towing them by a cord held in the teeth. We knew it would work, but nevertheless were glad to report “all dry” after our first swim.
From now on the river started to plunge down the rocky gorge, descending some 2000 feet in a few miles. I have no clear memory of the sequence of rock faces, climbs, swims, pools etc. over the next few days. Sometimes we would be able to walk a mile or so over rocks and boulders along the banks. It was cool weather - we hardly saw the sun after the first two days - and we didn't swim our packs unless we had to. Once or twice we went perhaps a hundred feet above the river to avoid a swim, but only if we could see a negotiable route beyond, which would enable us to get back to the river. Many parties have had the experience of going up and up, perhaps 2000 feet, looking for a way down to the river again, and some parties have become separated this way. We came to several falls of about 30 feet. Often we would look down the gorge, where the water tumbled between cottage sized rocks, smooth slides and cliff faces and wonder how on earth we could get through. But Jack always had the answer. In the critical places we would produce the sash cord, place a loop round the nervous members of his flock, and, keeping a firm grip on the cord, direct their footsteps. We climbed over, round, and under the huge boulders, across steep slabs above the water where our rubber soles would barely grip, over the top of waterfalls and once down a tree, our legs protected by pyjama pants. When we were not climbing or scrambling we were wading or swimming. Only for short stretches did we walk. All day long, and all night too, the water roared in our ears.
Our plan was to leave plenty of time for this part of the trip so that we could enjoy the swimming. The dull, cool weather damped our enthusiasm for the water, but we were not a strong party, and a few hours walking a day was all we wanted to do. The trip can be done in half the time we took, but we were all agreed that it is more like work than pleasure to rush it in midsummer. One afternoon we came across a beautiful grassy flat only 300 yards below our lunch spot, and there we camped.
Before we set off in the morning there was an all round spraying of faces with “bask” - a pressure packed fly repellant with an agreeable odour which kept nearly all the busy little insects off our skin. Grubby we might be, and with our halo of flies, but, like Georgeous George the wrestler entering the ring, we exuded a delicate perfume as we took to the undergrowth.
By the evening of the 24th we had reached the top of a steep drop which started with a 30 foot fall and a long pool between sheer, or steeply sloped,rock. In a thick growth of small trees - myrtles I think - just above the fall, Jack had discovered enough space to camp. It was overcast, the mountains rose steeply above us and the dense canopy of the small trees shut out the sky. Camping was again difficult, and the quiet which came over some was understandable. But the dinner was, as usual, first rate and, the work done, our camp site quite comfortable. Round the fire we produced excerpts from the song book while those who could sing did, and those that couldn't tried. Meanwhile Alan Wilson was busy in his tent. An hour or so later he emerged with a small branch from a casuarina, poked it in the ground behind us, connected a wire and lo! a Christmas tree, complete with coloured lights and presents for all! A very nice bit of fun which warmed the cockles of our hearts and inspired us to sing carols.
Next day we negotiated the last big drop and came to the more level stretches below. There was still some swimming - the last and most impressive of the canyons is only about three miles above Lannigan's Creek - but the walking was easier, the chief nuisance being a thick growth of weeds, including white daisies, evidently carried down from the farms above.
A couple of evenings later a thunderstorm broke. The bush fires had left the ground very bare and the hillsides badly eroded. Within half an hour we were crossing a small stream of almost pure mud coming in from the left bank. Thereafter the water never cleared. This made crossings difficult as we couldn't see the bottom.
We were now approaching the biggest gorge on the Kowmung - our food depot at Lannigan's Creek. It included our Christmas dinner, cum Alan Wilson's birthday party; in fact as many goodies in tins, bottles, jars etc. as we could carry down there (84 lbs. including food for the rest of the trip). It was well concealed in a small cave, the tins inscribed in Jean's lipstick in case the labels came off, and the packages placed in dried vegetable containers supplied by courtesy of Paddy Pallin. Nevertheless reports circulated of a wallaby with ruby-red lips, a sleek possum leering at us from the tree tops, and a rabbit with a tin opener. It was not until we were at Bull's Creek, some 200 yards from our depot, that we recognised our location. Jack immediately withdrew his resignation and sprinted for the depot, jostled by other members of the party who claimed the right to be first. The next furlong was the fastest of the trip.
In quick time the food was uncovered. Except that something had tried to uncork the sherry and some of the salami and bread was mouldy, all was well. A fine campsite, unnoticed on our last trip, was found about 20 yards away, tents erected, the billy boiled, and, in no time, 2 1/2 lbs of Alan's rich, luscious birthday fruit cake had disappeared down our gullets. Eating continued with intervals for sleep and washing of clothes for the rest of that afternoon and most of the next morning. The fact that it rained heavily most or the time was hardly noticed. We went on after an early lunch next day, leaving a disused wombat hole full of tins behind us.
We walked now mostly on grassy banks by long still pools fringed by casuarinas. The noise of the river, once a roar, later a rush, was now a gentle swish. Though swimming was no longer necessary, we had to cross from time to time and rather resented a couple of hours return to rock hopping and wading in the muddy water, when we reached the Bulga Denis Canyon. But the scenery was compensation, particularly the vivid reds, browns and yellows of Sunrise and Sunset bluff, Orange Bluff and other formations. Below the Bulga Denis it was mostly open easy walking again. After more than a week out most of us were pretty fit. The tensions built up in a year of city life were gone. Walking was less effort - there were no more strains, sprains or bruises as in the first few days. We had soon evolved an easy camping routine. As soon as we camped each of us went to our task, so that, before long, there was time to relax and talk. We had gone through a lot of experiences together and had evolved that easy companionship that only a long walk with “compatibles” can bring. The city seemed far behind, there was no rushing to get back after a couple of days, and the bush was our home. We felt sorry for Frank Leyden when he had to set out on his own to get back to work from Lannigan's Creek.
The weather continued dull, so that there was no temptation to swim, but perhaps we were lucky to avoid heat and sunburn. On the eleventh day we reached the Cox Junction, to find the Cox muddier than the Kowmung. Why there is such a clamor about fires and erosion on the Snowy catchment, and none about the Warragamba catchment, where the damage is considerably worse, I cannot understand. I suspect it is because scientists, like nearly everybody else, never get more than a few yards from their cars, so never see the river of gravel moving down the Cox or the mud in the once clean Kowmung. But, as on the Snowy mountains, someday they will discover, after laboured observations, what the bushwalkers have known for many years.
However, apart from the colour of the water, the Cox was as lovely as ever. Our last camp, not far from Breakfast Creek, was made in pouring rain, but a big fire, good organisation, and the determination of our cooks, provided a first rate meal. That is something on the 12th night out.
Breakfast Creek, like Kanangra River, Christies Creek, and other side creeks where fire damage was evidently not so severe, was flowing strong and clear. As we started up Carlon's Creek we realised there was something missing. For the first time since we set out there was no sound of running water, and the silence was uncanny. Emerging for the first time on the tops after some 80 miles in the valley was quite a sensation too. We looked towards the “Dogs” and Mount Jenolan, partly covered by cloud, and, in no time, were discussing an Easter trip from Kanangra. At the top of the Hill beyond Carlon's we met Frank again; leading a small party of S.B.W's out for the New Year Break. They were the first people we had met since the first day of our trip.
Back at Blackheath we did our best to slip unobserved through the Harpers' front gate, but not before some wide-eyed small boys had gathered to see the sight. We hope it won't take the Harpers long to live down our visit. It was luxury to change and wash there. Then Marie turned on a super afternoon tea. Plate after plate of dainties disappeared with embarrassing rapidity. Poor Marie must have been cooking for days and I can only hope that our obvious relish of the feast was some compensation for her trouble.
Our trip ended as it started with a meal in the park. Then we boarded a beautiful green-upholstered aluminium train feeling as if we owned it. At Central we parted under the clock, and so each to our own suburb, maybe feeling a little lonely after 13 days constant companionship, and, except, perhaps for our retiring member, hoping for another trip together soon.
(Sketches by Pam Baker.)
For all your transport problems contact Hattswell's Taxi and Tourist Service. Ring, write, wire or call any hour, day or night.
'Phone: Blackheath W459 or W151. Booking Office - 4 doors from Gardner's Inn Hote1 (look for the neon sign.)
Speedy 5 or 8 passenger cars available. Large or small parties catered for.
We will be pleased to quote other trips or special parties on application.
S.B.W. motorists were impressed by the steepness of Fitz's Hill on the way to Gudgenby. (Easter trip to A.C.T.) Little did they know that as late as 1951 (possibly later) a log was left at the top of the hill to be tied on behind to assist braking during the descent! We assume that the road has been regraded since.
- Keith Renwick.
The Arrival of some news from home and some S.B.W. magazines have stirred my rattling bones to put pen to paper. At the moment I'm working hard (no comment) in Worcester, England, looking forward to my trip home. The weather the past few months has been continuous fog, cloud, and drizzle, except for two fine Sundays, both of which I fortunately spent out walking with the Worcester Ramblers. The whole summer was the same, I gather, so I'm glad I wasn't there. I took a small refillable plastic tube of sunshine from Australia and this served me very well indeed on the Continent. All this beaut fine weather was disastrous on the finances and Kodak's shares jumped considerably.
We'll leave the south for the moment and start at Copenhagen. I headed north around August 9th. Three weeks of the next four were bright and sunny with Kodachromatic clouds and all. Most of the travel was by train and bus, which here can be remarkably cheap over long distances, because of a descending scale of charges. You can break your journey often and almost anywhere you want to without extra cost. Soon after leaving Copenhagen the train passes through some natural forest land with herds of deer grazing quite close to the railway lines. The passage of the train hardly caused a pause in their eating. The rest of the journey from Copenhagen to Oslo was along the beaches of the Kattegat Sea. Yes, beaches with a sort of yellow sand and very scattered holiday resorts and even more scattered holiday makers. For Sweden is a rich but very expensive country.
Oslo is a very interesting city, with the Kon-Tiki raft, the Polar Ship “Fram” and many other things to see. A few of us from the Youth Hostel went for a Sunday trip to the hills at the back of Oslo to taste the bush of Norway. For the most part it was pine forest with a tangle of moss covered logs and stones underfoot, very much like Tassie. Apart from this there is not a great deal of scrub, as the hills are covered with snow for a good many months of the year. This was only about 3/4 hour electric tram/train ride out of the city. The route from Oslo to Stockholm followed a river most of the way - a large wild, blue and white foaming river. Many pine forests lined the route and much logging activity took place along the river. The native pine forests are much prettier than the regimented pine forests at home.
The Youth Hostel at Stockholm is on an old sailing ship. It was impossible to get in for that night, so I headed for the camping ground. The camping grounds in Europe are very good indeed, being either in the city or easily accessible; consequently, because of this and the good weather, and the crowded hostels, I used them almost exclusively for three months. The one in Stockholm is one of the best, set in a large tract of natural forest near to the coast. Little had been done to alter the setting in any way. To get there you have to use their brand-spanking-new electric underground suburban train service. Much use has been made of sweeping concrete structures and even the seats were concrete! This I thought bad design. A tired Swedish housewife with piles of shopping sat down on one end of a seat, and I sat down on the other. Both of us were tired out and longing to get home. We sat a few moments each deep in our own thoughts and then it dawned on us. We both looked round, faced each other, beaming smiles from ear to ear. The seats were heated! and we both said so, even though neither could understand each other's language.
I then had a most enjoyable further five minutes appreciating the warm seat and watching more harassed workers and housewives sit down, tired and solemn, with gloom and dejection written all over their faces. A slight pause of a few minutes and then they'd see the light. The change in their facial expression was hilariously funny, particularly those who were embarrassed at what they had discovered…
The boat journey across the Baltic Sea from Stockholm to Helsinki occupies an afternoon and a night. About the same size as the boat across to Tassie, it has three classes, the lowest being sit-up railway type seats. However, a sleeping bag on some life rafts was far more comfortable! Whereas the Swedes were rude and most unhelpful (they are supposed to have the highest standard of living in Europe and all seem afraid that anyone else who comes along wants something from them), the Finns were very much the opposite and were very friendly and helpful. They also were the most geographically-minded people I struck. Not only did they know quite a bit about Australia, but one chap even quoted the populations of the Australian capitals! I retired somewhat staggered. A lot of this interest was a result of the Olympic Games - everyone knew about the Melbourne Olympics.
A night in the camping ground, beautifully set in forest beside an inlet of the sea; then off by train the next morning far Kuopio, about one quarter of the way up Finland. The train was a many stations job and the number and type of people in the carriage changed a lot throughout the course of the day. When I first started on this trip I thought that travelling alone would be very boring, but it proved to be far from it. With two or three people together you tend to become wrapped up in your own small little world, and the people around you just passers-by. But by yourself, and and particularly in countries like Finland and Yugoslavia, the friends you make are ordinary people of the country. And this is just as important a part of the country as the scenery is.
As a result, I was soon in conversation with the people around me. This may sound odd when none of us could understand or speak a word of each other's language, but it remarkable how much one can do with signs and a pencil and paper to draw with. A friend of mine who came last year, had suggested that I take some used Australian stamps. These worked wonders. In the first place, you take enough to be able to give them away. This sets you off on a friendly basis from the start. They identify you and of course the pictures help to provide subjects to “talk” about, e.g. the Queen and her Mama (mama being an almost universal word, apparently).
The scenery is magnificent. It's not spectacular, being mostly flat country, but the forests and lakes are really wonderful. The pine forests I have already mentioned, but another type is the birch forest. These are white-barked or trees roughly similar to our ti-trees and which feature so much in colour pictures of American scenery. There are lakes everywhere, big ones, little ones, round ones, odd-shaped ones. The roads are all gravel because tar seal breaks up under the influence of the winter freeze. The houses didn't differ very greatly to those in other places in Europe, being crowded in the centres of towns, with individual houses on separate blocks of land further out. Wood of course is used a lot as a building material.
In the back yards of many houses were wooden structures like miniature barns, with steep V-roofs and about 4 ft. high. In the course of “conversation” I found out that these were covered-in wells and that nearly every house has one for their water supply. (Towns have pipes, I think.) They are covered in to keep out the snow in winter and presumably it may help to stop them freezing up a bit. About 3 or 4 feet of snow covers Finland in winter. It does, however, get exceptionally cold. The Finns were all surprised to find out how much snow Australia had in winter.
Kuopio is most notable because it has a hill. This hill is no more than 200 ft. above the surrounding country, but to make it even better, and to get above the surrounding forest, they have built a big lookout like a concrete water tower. This affords a splendid lookout point over the surrounding forests and lakes. I returned to the town directly through the forest, mostly pines, and found large quantities of mild raspberries and strawberries. These grow wild in Scandinavia much as blackberries do at home and afford very good eating. They are smaller than the cultivated varieties and much sweeter.
Upon leaving the forest I found myself in the local church yard and cemetery. The church itself was ultra modern in design and of glass and stained timber. A great deal of Northern Finland is very modern in construction, largely because so much was destroyed when the Russians invaded Finland after the last World War. The cemetery also was exceptionally well-kept and permanent gardeners were employed. Altogether it resembled more a botanical garden than a cemetery.
The next days journey via a zig zag route and several changes of trains brought me to Kemi, right at the head of the Gulf of Bothnia. Kemi was not unlike an outback town in N.S.W., though of course not so hot and dusty. The streets are wide and gravel-surfaced, and the buildings mostly painted wood - trees scattered here and there along the streets and among the houses. I went to the local Youth Hostel, which like many in Finland is in the school. Consequently the Youth Hostels are largely open only in the school holidays. Having left my pack, I wandered around for a look at the town. Kemi is an important port for the North and also a big fishing centre. In a park by the sea was an open-air theatre, at this time used for the children, but unfortunately I arrived when it had all finished.
It was then that I made an amazing discovery about the gravel-surfaced roads. The gravels were dust covered gemstones! Whacko! I'd struck it rich at last. However, don't pack your bags and hurry off that way at high speed, it's not as good as all that, they would hardly even come into the semi-precious class. However it was a most amazing collection of different coloured quartze and cherts, agates and chalcedonies. I spent about half an hour down on my hands and knees carefully going through the road gravels, much to the amazement of the passers-by, who fortunately didn't try to find out what I was doing. The fact that a police waggon went by a few minutes later, only proves that the police station was near-by - I think!
At Wood's Creek, probably near the car park: One bright yellow rubber dinghy stowed in a cloth cover.
The finder will earn the eternal gratitude of Frank Young.