Table of Contents
THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, The N.S.W. Nurses Association Rooms, “Northcote Building” Reiby Place, Sydney. Box No.4476 G.P.O., Sydney. Phone JW1462.
301 JANUARY, 1960 Price 1/-
|Don Matthews, 33 Pomona Street, Pennant Hills. WJ3514
|Sales & Subs.
|At our December Meeting
|Mount Wilson to Newnes Junction - Alex Colley
|Trailing the Body - Dorothy Lawry
|Hatswell's Taxi & Tourist Service (Advertisement)
|Sanitarium Health Food Advertisement
|A Flying Holiday - Jack Giblett
|Letter to the Editor
|Survival - Clarice Morris
|Tripping the Light Fantastic Mulga
|News from New Zealand
To Our Many Friends
Although the Club does not send Christmas Cards we received greetings from numerous local and interstate Clubs, which the Committee would like to acknowledge.
Seasonal Greetings were also received from members at present away from Sydney including Dorothy Lawry, Sheila Binns, Lyn Baber, Margaret Ryan, Keith Renwick (now home), Don Newis and Bob O'Hara.
Please Note That :
Anniversary Weekend is on January 30, 31 and February 1, not January 23, 24, 25 as shown in the Walks Programme. Check the Walking Guide on page 15 for details of trips.
DON'T MISS IT
JANUARY 27TH The Castle - Mt. Renwick - Pigeon House area with Brian Harvey and Bill Rodgers. FEBRUARY 17TH. Colour film of Crossing Antarctic - B.P. Aust. Ltd. FEBRUARY 24TH. Bob Savage. Illustrated talk on India and Kashmir.
Swimming Carnival 1960
This year's Club Annual Swimming Carnival will be held on the weekend of 13-14th February at Lake Eckersley, a wide sandy bend of the Woronara River, approached from Heathcote Station by an easy 2i miles walk, mostly along the unused Water Board Road. The Official Trains are the 12.50 p m. on Saturday and 8.50 a m. on Sunday. Tickets to Heathcote. Those folk who can't come for the weekend will be very welcome on the Sunday - we'll hold up the start of the events until they arrive - but don't dawdle on the way, please: Cuppa tea waiting!
There are two Annual Trophies to be won - the Hehley Memorial Cup for the highest point-score and the Mandelberg Cup Mixed Relay Handicap. Last year's winners will not be competing - so come and try your luck !
The events will be :-
Men's Open Championship Women's Open Championship Men's Breaststroke Women's Breaststroke Mixed Relay Race Teams Race Long Plunge - Gents Long Plunge - Ladies Peanut Scramble.
The point score will be decided on the open races, breaststroke races and the long plunge. For the uninitiated, the “long plunge” consists of running down a bank, landing on the water like a torpedo and floating out as for as possible without arm or leg movement, with the face submerged. So easy. Prospective members and visitors will be welcome, but, of course cannot be awarded places or points.
Leader: Brian Harvey. Phones - JW1462, BU1611 (Business)
Note: In the event of unsuitable weather, the event my be abandoned, so check with leader if uncertain.
At Our December Meeting
Our meeting commenced with a welcome to three new members - Nola Liver, Neville Colton and Julius (Wilf) Hilder.
In correspondence was a letter from the Wild Life Preservation Society thanking members who had acted as stewards at the conservation exhibition, which was attended by some 2,500 people. It was hoped to send the exhibition to other States if permission of exhibitors was forthcoming.
The Adult Education Board of Tasmania invited the Club to send six members to a climbing camp to be held at Easter. Climbs will be led by Sir Edmund Hillary. The offer remained open till December 15th.
Paddy Pallin sent us a copy of his book “Bushwalking Round Sydney” and a map of the Barrington area, for which appreciation was expressed. The map was prepared by the National Parks Association.
Room stewards for the next month were Ron Knightley, Brian Harvey and Carl Doherty.
The Secretary requested notification of any changes of address or phone number for inclusion in the next Annual Report.
The Walks Secretary told us that November walks had been attended by 21 members and 18 prospectives. Jim Brown reported that on his walk through Kedumba, which was attended by one member and one prospective, the flooded Burragorang Valley looked most attractive.
Participants in a thrilling boat race on the Hawkesbury had had their ups and downs, Snow Brown and his crew being at one stage scuttled. Several walks didn't go for lack of starters.
The meeting ended early without further ado.
See The Planets
Have you seen the planets? Well, here is your chance. By one of those rare, lucky coincidences nature has lined them up together.
When to see them? End January - February 1960, and the time between 0330 hours and dawn.
Where to see them? In the constellation of Sagittarius, Which will be located low to the horizon and to the left of the Southern Cross When the Cross is upright and in its highest position above the horizon.
Also in 1960 Mars will pass Saturn, January 31st; Jupiter will be just above them. Venus will pass just north of Jupiter, January 21st, and then just north of Saturn and Mars, February 7th and 17th. During November, Venus will again pass Jupiter and Saturn in Sagittarius, but by this time you will be able to see it after dusk.
Mount Wilson to Newnes Junction
When Frank Leyden, Bill Cosgrove and I arrived at Blackheath on the evening of Friday November 13th, we planned to go to Mount Irvine that night. But Mr Hatswell persuaded us otherwise because of the state of the road, so we spent the night down by the swimming pool, next the quacking ducks, and set off in the morning. Before 8 am we had paid off our driver beneath the elms of Mount Wilson, and commenced to negotiate our first hazard. We were on the right ridge, yes, but so were a lot of other people who owned bits of it. We were, in fact, entirely surrounded by fenced properties. Trying to avoid one mansion labelled “Trespassers will be prosecuted” we negotiated several barbed wire fences and gates and came up against either the millionaire who owned it or his manager at the back (its hard to tell them apart in their overalls). However he was merely curious to know where we were going, and didn't even tell us it couldn't be done, or that we would get lost.
Our plan was to head across to Newnes Junction. We knew that, despite the tangled and run-together contours it could be done, because I had done it. But this was so long ago that I had entirely forgotten how I did it. I remembered, however, that in places the Wollangambe, about 1,000 feet below us and which we had to cross, ran in a canyon a few feet wide and a hundred or more feet deep, and that I had only got across its tributary, Bell Creek, by the skin of my teeth.
We found it almost impossible, even with our military map, to sort out the tangle of ridges and gullies below us, and not for an hour or so were we sure where we were going. By this time we had located an old track leading down to the River. By about 10 am we were standing on a low saddle, about 50 feet above the stream bed, from which we could see the river flowing towards us on the south side and away from us on the north side. Obviously what the river should, and undoubtedly once did do, was to flow through the gap where we stood. But instead it almost reversed direction a hundred or so yards above us, flowed into the mountain side in a narrow, 200 feet deep canyon, and then curved round and out again. In all my travels in the sandstone country it is the most extraordinary feature I have seen.
We found our way up the other side (above the canyon) without much difficulty and then commenced a ridge walk in pouring rain. We could, however, see some fascinating formations around us. Many of the tributary streamlets here flow in an almost straight line north and south, while the main streams, flowing, as it were, across the grain of the country, flow west-east. They are deeply entrenched, indicating rapid uplift in fairly recent geological times.
Secure in the knowledge that no motorist can get near the place, I can reveal that there are literally thousands, if not millions of waratahs in the area. In places there were wild flower gardens in Which waratahs and pink boronia dominated, with a fair sprinkling of flannel flowers and dilwynnia. There were also several rather unusual species which I couldn't identify.
By Saturday evening we had negotiated the doubtful country and camped in the driest spot we could, in a saddle in the ridge. We had time next morning to go back to look for the “Crater”, which, by the map, is a natural amphitheatre on the upper reaches of the Wollangambe, but although the country is not mountainous we found it too difficult to negotiate in the time. It is very broken with beehives, and turrets of rock outcropping, and small canyons and cliff faces in awkward spots.
Much of it is open and appears like a grassy sward in the distance though in fact it is mostly low bushes and reedy growth. The weather, which was clear and warm with a cool breeze, made our day an easy one. The waratahs continued with us all the way to the roads around Newnes Junctions where, of course, they were no longer seen.
We arrived at that forgotten railway station, Newnes Junction in good time for our train, and felt like pioneers as we walked along the undisturbed gravel of the weedy platform. Why any train should ever stop there, within a mile of another station, to serve the ten or fifteen locals, is one of the mysteries of the NSWGR, but the timetable said the train mould stop there and it did. It was one of the new aluminium trains which bore us swiftly homewards to our native smog.
Trailing the Body
Our Editor recently pointed out that unless he receives articles, etc. he cannot produce a magazine. As an ex-editor I sympathise with him. From my bushwalking memories I recall an incident that resulted from a series of slight errors in judgment by two experienced members of the Club. There is a story here and I believe the two members would be willing it should be told, as knowledge of those errors and their results could be of great value to new members. I am asking the Editor to refer the story to these two members before publication so, if you read of our adventures, you will know that it is with their consent.
Soon after, 7 a m. on a Monday in the middle of February, 1944, the telephone rang. It was the Leader of the Club's weekend walk reporting to me as President that he had committed a terrible crime. He had left a member of his party out in The Labyrinth!
Who was it? What had happened?
It was the only Woman Member on the trip, which was a test walk. As it happened he had never before been on a trip with her, but he knew, she had been a member of the S.B.W for some years, and of another club for years before joining us. She had told him she had not been out for some months but he, knowing she was an experienced walker, had thought it would be all right far her to come although he knew there were four or five active young prospectives going for the test. Saturday was hot and she dragged so much all day that he could not include any side trips to add to the difficulty for the lads but had to stick to the track to make their Camp at St. Helena.
The Leader was now in a difficult position. The prospectives were all on war work and could not get out very often. They were all anxious to join the Club and so far, this walk was certainly no test. Well, he solved his problem in what he thought was a safe and sensible way. In the morning the Leader drew a rough map from his military one showing how the St. Helena Creek ran into Western Creek and Western Creek into Glenbrook Creek a short distance upstream opposite the foot of the tourist track tip to Martin's Lookout. Map in hand he went across to the Woman Member by her tent and breakfast fire and arranged with her to split the party for the day. She would take her time packing and making her way downstream to Glenbrook Creek and across to the foot of the Martin's Lookout track. He would take the rest of the party up into the ridges to the west and give the prospectives a thorough testing, returning down a side creek into Western Creek and so down to Glenbrook Creek, where they mould meet her at 4 p m. He left her the sketch map and set off with his five or six men.
As he told it, early in the afternoon they realised the ridge they were on would not take them to the creek that would lead them into Western Creek; it looked like running right out to Glenbrook Creek. The map showed where they had gone wrong, but the saddle they should have taken was a deep one and the gully between the two ridges even deeper. They decided to continue along the ridge to Glenbrook Greek, which they reached so far upstream that it was just after 5 p m. when they arrived at the foot of the Martin's Lookout Track. There was no sign of the Woman Member. As they were over an hour late at the rendezvous, they thought she had probably started up the track, but took the precaution of a couple of members going downstream to check up that she had not overshot the track. Fortunately, they remembered she was one of the Hobnail Brigade so her tracks would show up. There was no sign of any such tracks on either bank so they felt sure she was ahead of them on her way to Springwood Station.
Walking fast, the party reached the station with only a few minutes to spare before piling into the last train. During those few minutes they had, of course, enquired if their Woman Member had been noticed catching one of the earlier trains. NO, she had not, but there were a lot of travellers and she could have been among them.
When be arrived home the Leader telephoned her boarding house but found the Woman Member had not arrived! He phoned again next manning and learned that she was still missing! Immediately he telephoned to me, reporting what had happened and that he was going out in search of her.
“Who is going with you?” I asked.
“I'm going along - on the Caves Express”, he said. It will take time to organise a search party; and it will take me all the time I've got to organise my absence from work and home and to get things ready in time to catch the Express“.
“You can't go. alone” I said. “I'll try to get one or two experienced members to get away on the Caves Express with you. If they can't go, I'll arrange to join you myself, and we'll let Paddy know and get him to arrange a search party. I would not hurry things like this but I know she suffers from migraine headaches and that she was ill a few months ago; that was why she had not been on any trips”.
“We'll have to travel light - we'll probably have to carry her things as well as our own when we find her - but we'll need to take plenty of food because we may be out for some days, and she will be out of food too.”
No one else could make it at such short notice so only the Leader and I caught the Express, after calling at Paddy's shop on the way.
It was about mid-day when we reached Springwood and dutifully reported the matter to the local policeman. Although we told him we and the Club behind us, were handling the search ourselves and did not want any help from him, the policeman was most annoyed at the news that there was “another missing hiker” in his district. He was due to go off on leave that afternoon and now he would have to organise search parties. He would not listen to our denials of this, told us,
“Remember, you must not move the body.”
We certainly would not attempt to move the body and, when we found our friend, if we found she was ill or injured I would stay with her and the Leader would hurry back for help. “What size is this woman?” was the next question and his frown got even blacker When I replied: “She is bigger than I am”.
Turning to the Leader, the Policeman ordered him to be back by 4 o'clock so the team of experienced searchers could be gathered before they left work at 5 p m. These men, we were told, “know every inch: of the country from here to Camden”. Of that more anon.
Having wasted enough time with the policeman, we set off (having bought an ice- cream cone each) and were lucky enough to pick up a taxi which drove us to the end of the road near Martin's Lookout. Then we made as much speed as possible, always keeping a good lookout for any slightest sign of our Woman Member, now known as “The Body”.
About 2 p m. we stopped for a breather, some food and a drink of Western Creek water. Still not a footprint or any other sign, and the Leader confessed he had not been on Western Creek before and it was rougher than he had expected. Had he realised what it was like he would not have suggested that she go down it alone. Not that it was really rough, of course, but one could sprain an ankle or have some such slight accident. On again quickly in case she is injured and suffering.
A little while later - joy - we came to a pool with sand all round it which was covered in footprints and showed that The Body had had a bathe and clean-up here. But where is she now? She was all right when she got here, and she did not go downstream from this point…. Then. we looked across the pool up a steep little gully which mould be a creek in wet weather…. Yes, the signs were there; she had gone up that gully.
We each half-filled our waterbags and set off up that gully to trail The Body in the Blue Labyrinth. This task might now take us days and days. It was now too late for the Leader to have go back to Springwood by 4 o'clock even if he had ever had any intention of doing so.
It must have been after 5 p m. when our tracking brought us to the trail one takes to get to St. Helena from either Blaxland or Woodford. The Leader told me to make a fire and boil the billy while he scouted round to see if he could see which way she had gone. I was just making the tea when he came back, wreathed in smiles, and reported that “Her footprints are quite clear on the track, heading for Blaxland, thanks be”.
Happily we relaxed as we drank our tea and ate a snack. Then with renewed energy we started along the track towards Blaxland. After about a quarter of a mile, though, I asked The Leader - “Did you come as far as this? Are these your hobnailed tracks, or hers, heading back?” They were hers. Carefully we traced them back for a few hundred yards, then they turned into the bush, off the ridge, probably looking for water, but on the opposite side of the ridge from St. Helena. We consoled ourselves that at least we would not have to follow The Body to Woodford.
Still coo-ee-ing, on we went down the valley through the open bushland. We turned and coo-ee-ed up a valley coming in from the right; no tracks in sight, and no reply so on again. The next valley was on the left and as we looked up it eyes and ears were both bearers of good tidings. There was a little tent pitched, with The Body standing beside it and answering our calls with delight and surprise. She had not expected any search to start until Tuesday and this was only Monday at about 7.15 p m!
The explanation was that a blinding migraine headache had started about mid-day on the Saturday. Had she told the Leader then he could have got her out to civilisation and still carried out the test walk, but in her pain she did not think of this and only felt she must struggle on so as not to spoil the walk for the party. Neither had she told the Leader on the Sunday morning that she was so ill with the headache that she could hardly see the map he gave her and only got a confused idea that she was to go downstream a good way and then turn right. During Sunday and Monday The Body had had some brief lucid periods but had mainly been roaming or resting in a semi-conscious state. In one of these periods early on Monday afternoon she had found a good little pool of water in this valley so had pitched her tent and prepared to wait there until found. Good bushmanship, this. Then she went to sleep and that was why she had not answered our coo-ees earlier although her camp was quite close to the Blaxland track. We packed her tent and gear - she was able to carry a little of it - refilled our water bags, and set out up the rise and along the track far Blaxland. Of course we all had torches, but about 9 p m we had to stop because we had almost reached the end of the ridge and we knew we could not make that descent to Glenbrook Creek safely in the dark. So we camped by the track, but, without, bothering to put up the tents as it was such a hot night.
On the Tuesday morning we were up with the dawn, had some food and a cuppa and then made our way down to Glenbrook Creek. Here the Leader had a quick wash, then left us to have a good bath while he dashed on up the other hill and along to the station to let everyone know as quickly as possible that we had our missing Woman Member all safe and sound. He tried to stop any search parties from starting out, but the experts from Springwood had already set out. Paddy and his party of Club members were caught at Glenbrook Station just as they were about to leave for the Labyrinth and St. Helena from there, and the Leader managed to catch the 10 a m. train to town, picking some of them up at Glenbrook.
The Body and I climbed more slowly up to Blaxland and missed the train but were given a good morning tea by a local resident. At Blaxland Station I was told there would not be another train to town until 5 p m. and some of our friends were walking on up the Highway from Glenbrook to join us so we were to wait for them. When they arrived Paddy and John decided to go down to Glenbrook Creek for a swim but the girls of the party stayed with us in the shade of the trees in a little park. Here we rested and talked through the heat of that day until it was time to catch the train back to Sydney.
When the two men came up far the train they were much amused and told us that as Paddy had expected, a party of the policeman's “expert bushmen who knew every inch of the country from the railway line to Camden” had come searching down the Creek. They were glad to hear “the missing hiker” had been brought in safely, but groaned that now they would have a long, rough trip backup Glenbrook Creek to Springwood. Paddy asked why they did not take the track up to the Highway at Blaxland and hitch a lift home? That was the first they had ever heard of any such track.
A Flying Holiday
Jack Giblett. (Extracts from letters sent home).
7th November. Arrived in Darwin around 2 a m, after a smooth trip, except for an electrical storm which subsequently delayed our takeoff for nearly half a day. This however was a stroke of luck because the QANTAS depot was surrounded by a beautiful garden of frangipanni and wheel trees which provided me with some first class pictures. The long flight to Manila was interesting because we crossed over West New Guinea, the Kai Islands and Philippines, arriving late on Saturday evening. Because of a religious festival, the streets were crowded with people and cars, which ranged from the latest American models to highly decorated jeeps left over from World War II. A notice in my hotel room warned me to avoid many parts of the city after dark but I walked around without incident, fascinated by the noisy scene.
8th November. Today's taxi trip of about 100 miles included an escorted tour of the Presidential Palace, explored native villages and had some wild pork for lunch overlooking volcanoes and Corrigidor in Manila Bay. The contrast between dire poverty and extreme luxury!
15th November. Only a few hours ago came in to Hong Kong - a fabulous city - streets crowded with Shoppers though it's Sunday - prices compare so favourably I'm thinking of coming over here to live.
19th November. Visited Macau yesterday - the ship sailed at night and on my return decided to take a cable tram to the Peak (1300 ft.) - a mild night so in true Bushwalker style curled up in my sleeping bag. It was quite an experience listening to unfamiliar sounds of birds and animals. While in Macau I played “High and Lae and won 2 dollars, Fantan and Pakapu are also popular. By contrast our Portugese Guide Showed us a number of old churches and a Buddhist temple. To journey from Kowloon to the frontier station is not possible without a police permit, so I had to be content to buy a ticket for the station before, where an armed guard came through the train just to make sure.
23rd November. Installed at the Plaza (Bangkok) after a bit of fun with Customs Officer who asked to see the contents of my overnight bag mostly filled with sleeping bag, which he thought might be some secret weapon camouflaged. Have found several temples with good colouring and hope to make a train trip tomorrow, though my knowledge of Thai is so scant it wasn't possible to travel on a sampan.
27th November. In Rangoon Customs officials have been trained to be tough.
10th December. Moved on to Calcutta, have been here a few days - did a trip of 430 miles to Darjeeling, including a boat trip across the Ganges and a toy train for the last 50 miles rising 8,000 ft. into the Himalayan foothills over a series of loops and zigzags which are remarkable - it runs in two divisions and at times one train is almost directly above the other. Next morning I was able to see the glistening ice-covered slopes of Kanjenjunga, (the world's third highest at 28,146 ft.) although about 40 miles off, it seemed close enough to explore. On the following day I made an unsuccessful attempt from Tiger Hill to see sunrise over Mt. Everest. After leaving the car and walking for half an hour, the sun rose and so did the clouds and swirling mists. Next morning starting again at 4.30 I realised one of my life's ambitions and got my picture.
Tomorrow I hope to fly to Banaras, then to Agra and the Taj Mahal - then on to Delhi where I may share the air with President Eisenhower.
To The Editor
Those select and determined readers who got to the end of my article “Mount Wilson to Newnes Junction” might have noted that I described three interesting geological features of the country, viz. (1) A river that flowed into a mountain side and out again (2) A number of straight north-south tributaries flowing into the main west-east flowing streams (3) Deeply entrenched main streams, indicating rapid uplift. Though it is my wont to have a rough guess at some of the geological features of the country I pass through, on this occasion I was able to notice them and describe them with what I believe is some accuracy. This was entirely due to having read Professor Griffith Taylor's Sydneyside Scenery. I found this book a fascinating description of the origin of nearly all our favourite walking country within about a hundred miles of Sydney. It also has a chapter on Kosciusko which was a field of special study for the Professor.
Very few people except bushwalkers have a detailed knowledge of most of the country he describes. But even if the reader had only a cursory knowledge of the country the clear, logical presentation of the material, the building up of the story from the evidence of past ages, and the clever use of the available clues claim one's interest, or mine at any rate, better than a good detective yarn. I read it slowly, about an hour per evening, and soon found myself looking forward to the next instalment.
I suspect Professor Griffith Taylor is partial to bushwalkers and it mightn't be too much to hope that, if we asked him, he would come to the Club one Wednesday and give us a talk on the geology of some of our walking country, or even, perhaps, on his experiences in the Antarctic with Scott in those heroic days when Antarctic explorers explored on foot.
Yours sincerely, Alex. Colley.
WELCOME HOME to - Keith Renick, Whose articles on Northern Europe have aroused interest in recent months. Bob O'Hara, back from Melbourne, and Mick Elphick, back from Tasmania.
I have always been interested in the survival eating habits of our earliest explorers - those who blazed trails, often under a broiling sun, without benefit of a military map.
Take Sturt for instance, on his journey towards Central Australia in 1845-6. When I was at Depot Glen Station up in the far N.W. of N.S.W. about 18 months ago I saw a cairn dedicated to Sturt's second-in-command, who died from scurvy. In those days, they made a sharp distinction between officers and men, something like the English used to do in regard to cricket, when some were professionals, and others were gentlemen.
I looked into the catering habits of Sturt on this northern trek into unexplored country. He left the Darling in Southern Australia with 200 sheep, most of which walked the distance remarkably well. He was forced to camp at Depot Glen for six months because of drought. During that time, accompanied by one of his officers, sometimes alone, he explored the closer countryside. In addition to the sheep, salted bacon had been taken on the food list. On these walkabouts from the main camp, the officers always ate the salted meat, the men back at the camp lived on slaughtered sheep which must have found green feed. It was the officers that showed most signs of scurvy, one died from it, but the men apparently obtained enough vitamin C from the flesh of the sheep which had eaten green feed. Their health was surprisingly good.
Burke and Wills on their epic journey to the Gulf of Carpentaria and during their return, had food problems which contributed to their death. When they set out in 1860 they had one of the best-equipped expeditions that ever set out for the interior. On the return journey one of the men died, the other three leaders pushed on but they lost their way when trying to rejoin the main party. They managed to survive for some time on a small water plant they found in the swamps until Burke and Wills eventually perished. King, the third of the leaders, found refuge with a native tribe, and survived.
The natives give the name “nardoo” to the little water fern Which helped these lost explorers to live - if only for a little while - when lost without food in drought-stricken country. This little plant is one of the clover ferns, the proper name of which is Moncilia. Unlike most ferns, it does not reproduce by means of brown spores found at certain times of the year on the back of the fern fronds, but they do have spores born in special little sacs.
The native tribes around Lake Eyre spend a lot of effort grinding up these Nardoo spores sacs which are found near the base of the frond stalk. Though they produce a form of starch, in their efforts they gain very little nourishment. No wonder Burke and Wills eventually died of thirst tortured by hunger. Nardoo was the only food they could find, In time of drought when the water holes dry up, the clover fern dies too, but the spore sac persists. When the rains come again, the spares germinate and the plant springs into new life.
If you were lost in coastal bracken country, you might find something to appease your hunger in the starch of the underground stems of this fern, but you mould spend an awful lot of time chewing! In northern countries the young fronds sometimes find their way into a salad. If lost in N.Z. you might imitate the habit of the Maori before the coming of the white man. He made “tara” from a species of local bracken. Still, there's much to be said for chocolate.
Tripping The Light Fantastic
“Mulga” or anyone else who happened to be in,the way at the Christmas Party.
Put 80 S.B.Ws together on a dance floor and what else would you expect:
We commend the Organisers for their choice of North Sydney Council Chambers - well appointed, handy to transport, plenty of parking space, views over the Harbour - and may we book it again far the 1960 party.
There was the usual sprinkling of gentlemen clad in shorts, neat and cool looking and envied by most of the males who wished they'd done likewise, knobbly knees or not. Across the room was a striking tall redhead with short hair, orange coloured sarong and a Tahitian shirt. Look again: That's no lady, that Mike Peryman, and they tell me it won't matter if that skirt thing does fall off, he got shorts on underneath. There's courage for you, wearing a thing like that!
During the evening, the Dalai changed first from longs to shorts (having first established that he wasn't the only one) and ended up with a white tablecloth (borrowed from Evelyn) wrapped around his lissom form in the Lamour style.
As the party warmed up, three well dressed young ladies disappeared and returned as South Sea maidens in sarongs and with red flowers in their hair. You'd have thought this precarious garb rather restricting, but it didn't seem to cramp their style. After all, if you can't waltz gracefully you can hop around the corners.
Snow Brown and Neil Monteith wore kilts but for left their bagpipes, if any, at home. After winning a prize far something or other, Snow had to do a highland fling. He protested that he'd never done one before. Whether he has yet, we are not sure, but it was an enthusiastic try, anyway.
Things went with a swing to the music of an excellent 3-piece band (who adjusted themselves admirably to this rather odd turn out) and reached a climax with an exhausting “Strip the Willow” during which the performers were heard to yell “faster, faster” to the band.
In September we published a skittish article by Jim Brown on the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. This prompted Grace Noble to send us the Noble's Australian version.
A kookaburra in a gum tree 2 bandicoots 3 wombats 4 Koala bears 5 Ring-Tailed Possums 6 Platypus laying 7 Black swans swimming 8 Lyre birds mocking 9 Brolgas dancing 10 Kangaroos leaping 11 magpies piping 12 cicadas drumming.
Grace explains that “when I originally sent it in to the A.B.C. Children's Session they changed the position of 5 Ring-tailed possums for 5 kangaroos - probably easier to sing but I think the first is easier to remember”.
NOTE:- The Anniversary Holiday weekend will be on FEBRUARY 1960 NOT on the week before, as shown on the Walks Programme. Jean Harvey's Burning Palms long weekend trip will be combined with the Instructional. Also note alteration to Frank Rigby's trip February 5th-6th-7th.
JANUARY 24-25 Leumeah - Freer is Crossing - Bush-walker's Basin - Minto. Easy walking, swimming. Map: “Campbelltown Military”. Leader: Jack Perry.
JANUARY 30-31- FEBRUARY 1 Anniversary Weekend - Instructional. Camp at Burning Palms, above Ranger's Hut. Swimming, fishing, spine-bashing. Check details with Edna Stretton or Jean Harvey.
FEBRUARY 5-6-7 Katoomba - Minihaha Falls - Arethusa Canyon - Syncarpia - Grand Canyon - Blackheath. Climbing, abseiling, swimming. A trip for the Intrepid. Previous rope work essential. Tickets to Blackheath. Train 6.25 p m. ex-Central. Leader: Frank Rigby.
FEBRUARY 7 Waterfall - bus to Era - Figure 8 pool - ridge to Governor Game Lookout - Bus to Waterfall. Easy walking, coastal views, swimming. Map “Port Hacking Tourist” Leader: Jack Perry
FEBRUARY 13-14 Swimming Carnival - Lake Eckersley. See details on page 2.
FEBRUARY 20-21 Search and Rescue Demonstration on Colo River. Watch Notice Board for details or contact Jim Hooper Heather Joyce.
FEBRUARY 21 Heathcote Heathcote Creek:- Waterfall. Easy creek and track walking, swimming. Map: “Port Hacking Tourist' Leader: Audrey Kenney
The RUDOLPH CUP was eventually held (after some dithering about location) on the Nepean near Wallacia. 25 entrants manned 5 (collapsible punt type) boats of various sizes and condition. The team of Miriam Steenbohm, Bill Ketas and Hermann Kanters showed great oarsmanship under extremely difficult conditions to win the Cup, which will be presented at the Annual Reunion:
MIGHT HAVE BEANS
“What's in the stew?” asked Alex, no doubt thinking that if I talked about it the pride of achievement would at least make it taste better than it looked.
“Well, I said “there's corned beef, brown rice, split peas, dried green peas, dried carrot - oh, and soya beans”.
He took it well - just a kindly chuckle in reply: “I used to eat soya beans but they never softened, no matter how long I cooked them.”
I could afford to smile a little loftily. “If you soak them they're O.K. I've had these soaking with the split peas all day. Half an hour's simmering with the rest of the vegetables and they're ready.” I took a spoonful of stew - Yuuuuuummm. Crunch, crunch, crunch:
With the thought that soya beans are good for you anyway, I persisted with them for the rest of the trip. (I like crunchy things.) Then the other day, looking through some of the household pamphlets, came across one on “Money saving main dishes”, (fortunately kept for academic interest only) with a section on dried beans and peas. Quote: “To cook dried beans. Soak overnight or for 4-6 hours in four times their volume of water. Drain. Cook in boiling salted water till tender. This takes 3 hours for soybeans and 1.5 to 2 hours for haricot, lima, butter or kidney beans.”
This seems a bit over the odds: Can soya beans really be softened by cooking? If so, would the fuel consumed pay for a piece of rump steak?
Snow Brown's party of 7 spent eight days on their Kowmung trip. Started on Hollander's Creek, and pulled out below the Bulga Denis Canyon - via Brumby Mountain to Kanangra.
The Leyden-Colley party (also 7) were nine days out on their Cox River - Kanangra River - Kowmung River walk, which included a trip up Davies Canyon. They saw quite a lot of wild life (by which we mean indigenous fauna).
Both parties enjoyed mainly fine hot weather.
Era South Gully was popular over the holidays with about 30 campers enjoying the swimming, surfing and fishing. NO mossies, some leeches, flies tolerable.
Other parties (motorised) were on the Wollondilly, at Carrington Falls, and at Jamberoo. 17.
Tongariro National Park, Mangatopopo Hut
Nine days since we left Sydney and were seen off at the wharf by a wildly-waving Helen and Elizabeth and Hooper and various relatives of the party. You would like to know what has happened since then?
Everyone was seasick the first day, except Rona and Col Ferguson. Duncan wasn't actually sick - his was just a controlled ejection of surplus foodstuff! We all recovered pretty rapidly except that Dot threw herself so violently backwards on the deck in an uncontrolled spasm that she knocked herself unconscious and hasn't yet got rid of the bump she acquired. The Dali assured her it was an impacted fracture of the skull and she had better go into hospital immediately on landing, but the ship's Doctor said prosaically that it was nothing - just rub a bit of dirt into it and forget it.
We didn't patronise our bunks at all - we spent the nights in our fleabags on the hatch-cover of the aft hold. A poor chained-up dog down in the nethermost depths of hell howled dismally day and night in hopeless despair thinking his captivity would never come to an end, but we got that way eventually that we could ignore him.
Down at the table for meals the waiter said to John Loganberry at every meal “A double-helping I presume? Don't be shy!” Yarmak would eat up big for one meal, going right through the menu, and would pay for it by having to skip the next meal.
We had pictures every night and a dance on the last night. Duncan says that Dorothy mould have been all right as a dancer only she forgot to put her lead belt on - it was hard to keep in touch with reality with the partner floating up towards the ceiling with each roll of the boat. After the dance we hied us up to the top deck with Yarmak's skipping rope and made the night hideous with our jumps and thumps and guffaws until an officer came along and suggested we desist as the engineering crew were asleep below us.
At Auckland we landed early in the morning and were greeted by a photographer and a couple of newspaper reporters who took down our details for their respective papers. We looked a pretty C-3 crowd when we appeared in the the next day, and were somewhat misquoted in the : they reported that Dot said there were no mountains worth climbing in the Southern Hemisphere outside of N.Z.!, and she with her ears laid back to climb in South America and the Antarctic!
We were through the Customs right smartly after having declared our piece-goods, mashing machines, refrigerators, cigars, gin, whisky, etc., and were met just through the gates by a spry old gentleman who turned out to be Taro's brother, George. He took us on a shopping excursion through the town and we all finished up in the Alpine Sports store buying ice axes, parkas, boots, etc. Yarmak sat on the floor and tried on every pair of boots in the shop till he got the ideal pair. Then we got the bus out to George's place at Milford - a surfing beach - and spent the afternoon swimming. Back to George's house to meet his wife Darcy. They are ex-Vaudeville artists and put on a show for us - a great couple. Then we were picked up in a car by his nephew Lewis and driven out in two loads to spend the night at his weekender (or “batch!' as it is called in this country). We cooked us up a huge meal, and were just finishing the washing up when Lewis came back with another brother and another car and their respective wives and took us on a conducted tour of Auckland. We went to the top of Mt. Eden and saw a cyclorama of the whole city and all its lights spread out below. The summit is the rim of an extinct volcano and we had much fun running down its steep grassy crater. Another spectacular sight was an illuminated fountain in a park which varied its colours and the height of the water in all sorts of combinations and permutations - quite enchanting:
Spent next morning swimming in the Bay of Islands and caught the bus to Waitomo at midday, arriving about 5 p m. Put up tents in the camping ground. Over here they call milk-bars “dairies” hence actual dairies become cow-shops. Duncan went off with billy cans to the cow-shop to get us milk far tea. The cows were advertised as being untouched by human hands. As far as one could tell they just put a bucket under a cow and played appropriate music. After they were milked they weren't allowed to lie down but were kept standing till the last one was milked and then they played “God Save the Weed' and the cows were dismissed.
We had a caves inspection at 7.30. Keith Renwick is over here. We met him boarding the bus at Auckland. He had an appointment with a spelio he knew and so got into the cave for nix. We others had to pay the exorbitant sum of 7/6d, but the glow-worms were certainly most spectacular. We were lucky to be able to get the schoolmaster to take us on to Rotorua in a Volkswagen mini-bus for L10 the party, thereby saving 4 in fares and being able to drop off and inspect Fairy Springs trout hatchery. We were all given a few chunks of bread to feed to the tame trout. The trout looked like small sharks and they were leaping up out of the water and as we crossed the bridge we had to be careful we didn't have our bare beetle-crushers hanging over the edge or goodbye to a couple of toes.
We were dropped off at a beaut abandoned camping-ground about half a mile from the Maori village of Whaka, where all the thermal activities are. THERMAL ACTIVITIES ARE HOT GOINGS-ON. We had lunch and then went down to the town and spent much time in the beaut hot baths. Terrific! They are conducive to better swimming, says Yarmak, who had to be forcibly dragged out. Then we went and pottered around the sulphur flats and here Dot won herself a beaut cookbook, from a rubbish tip.
Dot had seen the sulphur holes before, so amused herself by reading out the recipes of all the classy fodder till Yarmak was positively drooling at the mouth - fricasseed yak's feet in vinegar sauce! Mmmm: Bank to the camp ground for tea. We pulled a derelict building to bits to get a piece of iron to cook our 14 chops on. But good old Jack discovered a bicycle wheel, so we started them on it - one chop to every spoke and a hole in the hub for the smoke to come up through.
Slept in tents under the pine trees. Down to Whaka for an early inspection of the mud pools and a gawk at the geysers and steam vents and Maori village. Had to catch the bus for Tongariro National Park at 12.30. Worked out a food list for 4 days while we looked at Whaka. We had a hasty purchasing spree and packed all into packs and sacks and boarded the bus with not much time to spare.
A 4 or 5 hour journey brought us to Tongariro National Park and we got off at the Mangatopopo Hut turn off and set out on the 4imile walk to the hut. The hut is at the base of a 7,000 foot smoking volcano which dominates the skyline for a distance of 50 leagues in every directions. One would hardly imagine that any creature deserving of the title of homo sapiens mould have any difficulty in finding the hut, especially as a motor road leads right to the front door. However, that did not prevent us from aiming for a low hill in the mistaken belief that this was the volcano aforesaid (Ngauruhoe). This involved us in a long grinding climb up one side and down the other and all quite unnecessary, but good exercise. We reached the hut eventually, having to restrain Yarmak who insisted on cutting steps up every small incline on the muddy road “just for practice”. Had tea and turned in early for a good night's sleep.
At 2 a m. were wakened by a head being poked in the door - Whaka Newmarch had just arrived down from Auckland (360 miles by car) and we were told to be up by 5 am. as he had a mighty trip mapped out for us. So Whaka had a couple of hours sleep, then got us all up for breakfast by 5 and away by 6.
We skirted round the base of Tongariro in an obliterating mist, heading for Keteheahi hot springs. By getting up-wind of the party, thereby giving his olfact apparatus a free go, Duncan was able to scent the springs through the mist while yet afar off. Unerringly he led us to a great gash in the mountain side in which great white steaming vents of concentrated hydrogen sulphide spurted and hissed. We had to hop rapidly from rock to rock surrounded on all sides by boiling mud pools, yellow sulphurous fumeroles panting and giving forth noxious fumes. This certainly much more intense and exciting than Rotorua. Following a line of rods, poles or perches we climbed right up through the centre of all this activity, up over the rim and into the main crater of Tongariro We looked at a high-hanging blue lake and two low-slung emerald green lakes on the shores of which we ate lunch. Then up to the most spectacular Red Crater - an enormous vent all red and black like an enlarged version of the cauldron from which they pour the molten iron at Port Kembla. Then we climbed to the highest part of the rim of Mt. Tongariro, viewed the view and descended via a long ridge to the hut. It has been estimated by geologists that Tongariro was once three times its present height but the top blew off, and is scattered around the countryside.
Today, being a day of rest, we were allowed by Whaka to sleep in till 6 o'clock. Then up slaves and off to climb Mt. Puke-Kai-Kiore, 5,000 feet. Good views of Mountains Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu, but a bit overcast for colour films.
Descended by a new route down a beaut scree-filled couloir, leaping in a manner appropriate to kangaroos. All the side of the mountain is scoured out by a couple of great lava flows, black and ominous, like huge chunks of coke as sharp as razor-blades at the edges.
Back at the hut now we have just celebrated the Sabbath Day by a ceremonial boiling of the boys' underpants in the porridge billy. (We're a rough crew!)
Do you always treat your underpants like that?” queried Jack Perry. “Yes”, says Duncan, “I wash them once a year whether they need it or not”.
We took a two mile walk down the road with Whaka to his parked car and saw him off on his 360 mile trip back to Whangarei. A great scout is Whaka: We have had a beaut and hilarious weekend with him. He is the only man in New Zealand who can tie a bowline-on-the–bite by inserting the end of the rope in his navel and suitably contorting his abdominal muscles. However it must not be thought that all his skills are mere parlour games; he is a man of considerable talent and among other things he can stand balanced on 4 beer bottles and proceed backwards forwards; balance up to 56 matches on the top of a bottle and remove the top joint of his thumb for inspection. He's gone hone now and we are left to our own resources for entertainment.
Duncan has increased his standing long-jump distance to ten standard BBC's (bare beetle crushers). (STOP PRESS: This has now been increased to 10i). Duncan has also discovered why old man wear long woollen. underparts. It is hard to describe - it's a bit too technical, - but roughly it is this :- It removes all sensation from the upper legs, and makes one conscious of the cuffs of the trousers tickling the ankles - an unbelievable and indescribably thrilling sensation. Long woollen underpants Should be more generally worn; it would make walking a pleasure, probably even eliminating tea-breaks and would increase the average daily mileage by a factor of 150%. (Duncan goes for another walk to see if its better going up hill or down hill, or along the flat!)
See your later Dot, Rona, Duncan, etc. etc. etc.
Magazine Annual Subscriptions
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Copies held in reserve in the Club will continue to be 10/- per annum, whilst individual copies to non-subscribers remain at 1/- each. A saving of 2/- will be effected by taking out an annual subscription. Members and others becoming Subscribers during the year will be charged on a pro rata basis. If present Subscribers do not wish to continue, please advise the Business Manager or Subscription Officer immediately.
The Railways Department has asked us to point out to readers that in connection with their advertisement inside the back cover of this Magazine, that the extension of the electrification to Gosford will come into effect on 23rd January.
For Armchair Explorers
You've read the adventures of the Butler-Putt party's first week in N.Z. and we hope to publish in February the next episode concerning the serious business of climbing in the South Island. Those who would like to know more about N.Z. should read Tararua (Annual Journal of the Tararua Tramping Club, Wellington), particularly the description of Tongariro National Park. Copy available from the Librarian.