Table of Contents
THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush The N.S.W. Nurses' Association Rooms, “Northcote”, Reiby Place, Sydney. Box No. 4476 G.P.O., Sydney. Phone JW462
306 JUNE 1960 Price 1/ -
|Editor||Don Matthews, 33 Pomona Street, Pennant Hills. WJ3514|
|Sales & Subs.||Eileen Taylor|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Why Carry a Tent? - N.M.||1|
|Social Notes for June - Pam Baker||2|
|At our May Meeting - Alex Colley||3|
|News of Eric Pegram||4|
|No Women in Danjera Creek - “The Vegetable Sheep”||5|
|Sanitarium Health Food Advertisement||7|
|Playing Possum - Clarice Morris||7|
|Cavernous Capers at Coolamine - J. Wagg||8|
|Hatswell's Taxi & Tourist Service (Advertisement)||9|
|The Detestable Leech Clem Hallstrom||12|
|A Flying Holiday - Jack Giblett||14|
|Bush Hospitality - “Ichabod”||17|
Why Carry a Tent ?
In fact, why sleep out at all? Most of us, surely, rejoice in good beds at home. However, bushwalkers being what they are cursed with the instincts but not blessed with the physique of nomads, some sort of covering must be devised to protect them during the night hours. The problem arises,how to combine the greatest possible shelter with the least possible weight.
Tents, it would seem, have always been a thorn in the side of wandering humanity. Glancing through the pages of history, we find Kind David declaring bitterly - doubtless after a night in a leaky camp - that he would rather eke out a miserable existence in a church-porch than dwell in a tent.
Shakespeare likewise seems to have had a rough spin under canvas and refers to the tent that searches to the bottom of the worst - meaning either that it drove him to the depths of despair or that the whole tottering structure sank in the mud.
Then we all know the nineteenth century gentleman who had such trouble with his moving (i e. collapsing) tent that he had to pitch it afresh each night.
All this of course was in the bad old days before a Real Tent Maker - breathe his initials pp - brought comfort to mankind. The most successful of his predecessors appears to have been a Mr. 0. Jacob. Many years B.C. one Balaam, best known in connection with an ass, exclaimed ecstatically: “How goodly are thy tents, O. Jacob:” thereby establishing that tentmaker's reputation forever. Omar, of course, made tents; and see how subtly that profession warped his mental outlook. A sceptic: a cynic. Aren't we all, where tents are concerned?
To make the best of a bad job, why not dispense with the tent and use a waterproof sleeping-bag instead? The hardy trampers in New Zealand, that moist out lovely land, sleep thus, unscathed. The bag, complete with hood and furnished with eyelets for lashing the opening together, accommodates self and pack. Its advantages are many. Its weight, 1.5 lbs. surely compares favourably with that of any tent. One is assured of the utmost privacy, retiring a snail into the shell. It is essentially a one-man affair: sharing is impossible. One can wear it by the campfire and keep the draught off the spine, and during the night it can be turned lightly and easily to catch, or avoid, the prevailing wind. Again, sack-racers find it invaluable. “But what” the carping critic asks, 'about disrobing for the night?“ With the well-trained camper this difficulty does not arise. He sleeps in everything he has with him.
Finally, the bag, unlike the tent, is simple to fold. One often hears it said “they fold their tents like the arabs” - but how do the arabs fold their tents? The accepted method is to take one corner in the left teeth (all Bush Walkers should see that they have a few left) and rotate rapidly in a clockwise direction, shouting in a loud voice and at stated intervals: Abracadabra: The result will be either strangulation or success.
(Reprinted from The Sydney Bushwalker - June 1937)
Social Notes for June
JUNE 15TH Mr. J.G. Polison will give a talk on Snakes, illustrated with LIVE SPECIMENS.
JUNE 24TH Club Dance at North Sydney Council Chambers (corner Miller and McClaren Streets). 8 P.M. - 1 A.M. SUPPER PROVIDED TICKETS 17/6. Easily reached by bus or car. Plenty of parking space at rear of Council Chambers. Views over the Harbour. Clean and pleasant surroundings.
JUNE 29TH Professor Griffith Taylor will speak on “The Geology of some of our walking country”. Many members have read and enjoyed Professor Taylor's book “Sydneyside Scenery” with its wealth of information, maps and diagrams. (Those who haven't, should .Ed.) Would Club members who wish to ask questions please write them down and hand to Social Secretary on the night.
SPECIAL NOTE : Following the Talks on 18th and 29th SUPPER WILL BE SERVED IN THE CLUBROOM. Charge for tea and biscuits a mere shilling.
At Our May Meeting
The meeting commenced with a welcome to two new members - Helen McMoore and Beverley Clark.
Correspondence was soon disposed of and we came to the Walks Secretary's monthly summary of ambulations.
In no less than 92 members had been on programme walks together with 28 prospectives and 22 visitors. Good weather had been enjoyed during Easter by all except those who chose to walk in the highest and coldest spot in the State. On the President's photographic week end a good time was had, but no photographs had been taken. Incidental information included the fact that Bruce Hatswell plays golf on Saturday afternoon, so cannot be contacted then for taxi services, also that the tap at Long Point has been removed - so don't rely on it on a Friday night.
We learned from the Federation delegates that Ken Stewart had been nominated by Federation for the vacancy on the Garrawarra Trust.
The Social Secretary reminded us of the midwinter dance on June 24th and Professor Griffith Taylor's lecture on June 29th.
From Brian Harvey we learned that the Club's name appeared twice in the new ELSA phone book under both the “B's” and the “S's” (misspelt in both places for the benefit of non-members).
Ray Kirkby described his harrowing experience when he sought to separate the cards of the financial members from those of the unfinancial. He reserved 1 foot of space to the paid and 2 inches to the unpaid, but, alas the unpaid took 10' and the paid 1”. He reminded the backsliders (who are so often sensitive in this matter) that the time for the sending of the one and only notice was at hand.
In General Business Jack Wren moved that two more sets of keys be cut. The purpose of this was to enable people other than the two Committee members entrusted with the key to open the Club rooms, thus avoiding the necessity, which had arisen more than once lately, of the members waiting outside for un to an hour to be let in. Discussion centred round whether more keys or more conscientious club-opener-uppers were required, and there the matter was let rest.
An invitation to visit the Abernathy's at their new home at Taralea, Tasmania, was extended by Bob to Club members.
Near the end of the meeting Frank Rigby and Joan Walker came in quietly but were spotted by the President, and congratulated on their engagement.
Extracts from Eric Pegram's Latest
“Little old London, I had been away from London for a month or so and dived into Aussie House to collect my mail and joined a queue. I listened to some chap asking directions and then blow me if he didn't ask for Eric P. I just bowled up and said “Struth, you must be Mac's mate” (John Wright, prospective S.B.W.) and he nearly fell over backwards. I dived into the Bank after that and bumped into Don Read and then at the Y.H.A. I met a girl from Cammeray, about one-quarter of a mile from where I live. This all happened in the space of one hour only two hours after my return to London and it made me feel as though London is full of Aussies.
Cure for bush sickness:- I have a collection of gum leaves, collected before I left, and whenever my feet itch I burn a few and breathe the smoke - terrific:
Eric is at the moment touring the Continent with four, repeat four, Aussie girls and due in Montreal June 23rd. We wonder Who is protecting who…..
Can you imagine Eric jumping off a bus as it turned the corner of a steep hill covered with frozen snow. In his own words he “did a wild colonial boy” act by sliding about 50 yards cooeeing and arm waving till he made a one point landing in the gutter and nearly laughed his head off. His mates at work said it was a “smashing show of colonial self expression!
No Women In Danjera Creek
“The Vegetable Sheep”
We set forth on the 1st seven good men and true, without any female in the party, to explore the country between Danjera and Bunbunda Creeks, which lies south of Yalwal, east of Ettrema, and north of the Nerriga road.
Superb navigation by six members found the top of Bulli Pass in the fog after trying only three false routes, and at midnight we went to bed at Yalwal, without tents, in a violent cloudburst. Already we were glad we were an all male party, not so much because of the hardships as the language.
On Saturday morning we started up Danjera Creek, and within fifty minutes had reached the end of the old cart-track where the route to Ettrema leaves the valley. Just above here the stream forks, and we took the true left, or West branch. We had come prepared to battle with deep narrow gorges, thick scrub, high waterfalls, and every other form of tiger country. Instead we found a wonderfully pleasant surprise. For mile after mile, West Danjera Creek is a miniature Cox River valley, unspoiled by either erosion or the water board. Quartzite cliffs, capped with sandstone, enclose the wide flat valley floor where the stream flows through a series of giant swimming holes in its granite bed, between wide grassy flats studded with large trees. Perfect “reunion sites” average three to the mile, and all within 1 to 4 hours very easy walking of the car. We left the valley after lunch, but it seemed prepared to go on in this way indefinitely, and possibly the East branch is similar. As the going is so easy, restful, and abundantly supplied with good swimming, I can only suggest that its complete exploration should be left till the hot weather.
This spine-basher's creek was so unsuited to our tough bucks party that we climbed out on the west bank after 7 or 8 miles, where a steep but straightforward pass through the quartzite and sandstone bluffs looked as though it should lead to the head of Little Bunbunda Creek. For half a mile the sandstone tops drained back into the Danjera, and were covered in sally scrub; then we topped the watershed and looked into the catchment of Little Bunbunda. The rain had stopped,visibility had increased to over a mile, but we still couldn't see the full extent of the plateau. Growing only low grass, rushes, and heath, with patches of small trees in the broad shallow valleys, it was cup up in places by ravines and walled creeks, and looked as if it would extend for many miles in all directions.
Directly before us were radiating ravines, draining a flat catchment into the head of Little Bunbunda; we walked toward these and found the easy looking ground full of crevasses and potholes of unknown depth. Not good country for night walking! What could be seen of the head of the creek was distinctly uninviting, so we retreated to the watershed and followed this for a mile before again heading for the valley. We lowered ourselves steeply through the tangled undergrowth, and the narrow little gorge rang for the first time to the groans and oaths of bushwalkers.
The creek, on a quartzite bottom, was full of big rocks, small waterfalls, pools, and log jams, but was nowhere extremely difficult. It went on for miles, and the interest never flagged; at last the valley began to widen, as if at a creek junction. We stepped eagerly forward on to the lip of a beautiful waterfall! The stream poured in a single clear jet from the quartzite ledge straight to the deep granite pool 100 feet down, without touching the sheer walls of the dark little amphitheatre. The banks of the pool were thickly planted with Gympie trees; it was a daunting sight far a tired party, with no rope, at 5 p m. By climbing Up and along to the left, we got on to a very steep slope made negotiable by a remarkably fine growth of nettles, and finally got down. This fall, of course, is not shown on any map.
For the next two miles the creek ran over granite boulders between small river flats, and just at nightfall we burst out into Big Bunbunda Creek, back on the normal route to Ettrema. Here we swam in the pool, by kind permission of Sir Bullock Naked, the local squire, ate till we couldn't scratch ourselves, and went to bed in the rain, half of the party still not using tents.
As we had completed our planned explorations on Saturday, we decided that Sunday should see the first day-trio to Point Possibility, on Ettrema Gorge. We left at 1.20 in rain and mist, even the compass glass got fogged, but we made no navigational errors which were not rectified, and arrived at Point Possibility just as the visibility improved enough to give a really extensive view of the mist. After lunch and a dry out in the cave at Dogleg Pass, we sploshed back by the normal Danjera Gap route (badly overgrown in the last six months) to the car at Yalwal. The trip ended pleasantly with the car parked right beside a long-dead wombat near the top of Bulli Pass, at midnight, while we rewired the headlamp and charging circuits in the rain. Thank goodness it was an all-male party.
How many times have you had food stolen from outside your tent? Its an important item when food is calculated down to the last flake of rolled oats and the last raspberry seed to find important rations cut to half, or less, by a midnight marauder.
The thief may prove to be the brushtail possum if you're camped in open forest country but if the weekend walk takes you through coastal or highland localities, you may be pretty sure the invader is the ring-tailed possum. When bushwalkers do not leave party-food out for their delight, the ringtails eat a wide variety of leaves and feed on many scrub trees. Though we may regard them as a nuisance if they eat our last slice of bread, their real value is in keeping the mistletoe in check. The mistletoe is spread from tree to tree, mainly eucalypts, by birds who wipe their sticky seeds on the tree bark when cleaning their beaks. But for the ring-tail many thousands of forest trees would be destroyed by the plant parasite. In the forests and jungles of tropical countries where monkeys abound, the chatter of a couple of them plus their aerial acrobatics can make the trees seem like a kindergarten at playtime. The ring-tail is similar to the monkey in the agility with which he swings from branch to branch by means of his tail. In the dark and wet of a stormy night, this little fellow will swing through the air up to 100 feet above the ground relying entirely on his tail. This may be as long, or longer, than his body.
Unlike the tail of the horse, used principally for removing irritating insects, the ringtail's tail, is something to be reckoned with. It is slim, tapered, muscular and flattened on the underside. The end third is very strong and prehensile, having the ability to curl round and hang on like a muscular corkscrew. But this agile little fellow does not travel by tail alone, he has four very busy hands or paws, which enable him to clasp supports, if his tail is letting him down.
The possum would be a very slim bundle of nerves, if he did nothing but swing through the trees for 24 hours per day. His “day time” is nocturnal, for during our day he is asleep. At night he hunts for food, or if he is in a house building mood he scavenges for the softest dried grass he can find to line his nest whether it he a limb, spout or in the fork of a tree. It is in this process of taking home the grass bundle that the tail again comes in handy for minding round the luggage.
This lively tree dweller is a marsupial who rears twins in a pouch until the offspring are big enough to leave it, about April. Then, like the Koala, they travel about on mother's back, with the extra security of an encircling tail. This must give the babies plenty of support but be rather hard on the mother ring- tail's breathing apparatus.
If you have trouble in going to sleep after a hard day's creek bashing you might care to listen to a family argument between the ringtails over a choice sprig of mistletoe blossom or a handful of peppermint leaves. When all is friendly the possums make clear bird-like calls, but not commonly. Still you might be lucky enough to hear a young limb of a ring-tail that has lost its mother (out stealing your breakfast) utter a plaintive chirr, chirrup.
Cavernous Capers at Coolamine
We left the vicinity of Circular Quay in six cars worth of dribs and drabs, with Eileen, Frank and I being the drabbest. 11.00 was the dead line at Goulburn, we were not really surprised When there was no one there when we arrived at 11.45.
Canberra loomed on the horizon just after. After a slight argument on how one got from one side of Canberra to the other,we had no trouble finding the right road. I did hear, though, of one party whose car seemed to possess a one track mind and thrice bore its passengers back to Parliament House.
Most of the party slept beneath the Cotter Bridge, where they didn't have to pay, but we slept further up stream on a nice flat piece of grass. We only had to find one tent pole as some kind person had left a fat red one just in the right place. Morning dawned, and we moke to the sound of squelching boots and a voice saying “That will be five bob, thanks mate”, and Frank paid up. After breakfast we packed up and dropped our rubbish into the large tin which was screwed on the other side of our tent pole.
Digby was chief scout that morning, and he appeared on the scene just as we were wondering where the others could be, and we adjourned to their camp. The road to Brindabella, though tortuous and rutted, was well worth the effort, if only for the beautiful view of the valley which we glimpsed through the trees. The new road through Brindabella was fairly well graded but crossed and recrossed by many gates, which we all found rather tiresome and the unlucky person on the side nearest the door even more so. On and up we went, over one low spur after another, then only up, flipping back and forth across the face of Tin Pot with gay abandon, then looking way down to the soil eroded valley floor. We topped the ridge and with a rush the long flat plain road reared up to meet us, and we skimmed along pursued by a plume of dust.
Although it was skilfully hidden, we did find the turn off and waited for Hermann and his crew who were following us, and as George was hot on Hermann's trail there were three cars which set off across the ridge strewn plain. The track finally led to Bung Harris's “Coolamine” property, where we received a warm welcome from his numerous dogs, and from Bung himself. He told us of the pitfalls ahead, and after a pleasant half hour's natter we pushed on to the Blue Waterhole. Last time I was there it was, but this time it wasn't, and no one would believe that it ever had been. All very annoying.
The rest of Saturday was spent in various ways. Snow and party went looking for caves, the Swiss boys went photo looking, others slept and I trotted off on a looking and remembering ramble. After seeing which cave Snow had disappeared into I continued on up the rock filled creek. Finding a likely looking outcrop I climbed up and from my perch regarded the complete peace and beauty of the high green rolling plain, frequently gashed by long valleys of lime-stone outcrops, which were fast filling with evening shadow, and topped with dense tree covered ridges. Everlasting daisies shone white, yellow and blue from their crazy perches on the limestone and the low spiked bushes looked minute on the valley floor.
Sunday morning we all got busy filling carbide lamps, finding gear, and working up our enthusiasm. Hermann descended from the cliffs opposite with the news that he had found some caves which he thought should be looked at. So we all went to look. Eileen and I (the laggards of the party) eventually found the outcrop and plunged into the dark, cool cavern. Not being sure that the mob had really come that way we were glad when we saw Stitt's large hoof print in a mud flat and soon after echoes of calling voices. Two shapes suddenly rounded a corner and we met Hermann and Lindy, with Bones close behind, all going in the opposite direction. Bones told us of a couple of squeezes which were further on so, anxious to see if we were as slim as we claimed, we went on, collecting Carl on the way. The first squeeze was in a small rock fall and as I had somehow gotten in front was elected to lead. Being cautious I tried “feet first” and promptly got stuck in the narrow end of a V of rock, with one arm on the other side. After a lot of wriggling I was free and advised the others to come head first. Carl came through safely so I trotted off along the crack to look for the next hole. It was small, but having heard that Stitt had been through, I was not deterred. A squeeze, a wriggle and with a fresh breeze in my face I was in a high narrow tunnel with sunshine ahead. Behind me I could hear Carl encouraging Eileen “Come on Tub. Where's that Wagg girl. Every time I turn my back she disappears. A couple of yells, more grunts and we were all high on the bank of the Goodradigbee.
The two Swiss boys with Hans and Hermann appeared from somewhere and after a drink of cold water we all plunged back: underground. Almost at once we came face to feet with Dot and Pete. I do mean face to feet, as we were about ten feet above them. There was some controversy going on as to whether Snow had really gone back to camp for his camera, when he joined us on our Perch and decided the matter. I dropped to the Stitt's level in their hole and Eileen followed much to the amusement of all. With flailing legs and arms she eventually collapsed in a heap on the muddy floor amid well meant instructions. Another wrangle started when we tried to find the way out, and being sure that we were right we retreated leaving Stitt hurling ribald comments at the rest of the party.
Outside again we climbed up over the outcrop only to see Stitt standing at the opening of another cave higher up. As we arrived, hot and sticky in our trog suits, Stitt disappeared down into the earth again, so leaving Frank, Dot and Digby to hand down rope and ladders, we trotted off to another cave at river level. Cave it certainly was, but after seeing Hermann wriggle along on his side in the narrow cleft, to hear his muffled comments and his final struggle to get out again, we were quite content to let it stay unexplored.
Monday morning arrived cold and bleak. The cool change which brought a welcome change to Sydney's heat, passed us daring the night and left the rain squalls which plagued us during the morning. Digby nearly convinced us of his magical powers when he poured some water on his already soaked fire and produced warm yellow flames. Wonderful stuff carbide.
The cars were nursed down the hair-raising track to the rock-littered creek below, where many hands waited to heave them up the slippery mud bank to the flat beyond.
Carl had trouble. Unfortunately a V8 Ford just isn't built for leaping over rocks and shinning up slippery green slopes; but with Carl at the wheel it tried. There were more slippery hillocks and muddied creeks, lots more pushing and walking of passengers to catch up with charging cars, but we finally made it on to the graded road.
Az the new Tantangera Dam was near we called there, but what a pity they have to flood such lovely country as is behind it. On then to the Monaro Highway and Adaminaby for petrol thirsty cars. We lunched at Cooma, “at the Restaurant around the corner”, then flew on to Canberra and more petrol, before the final charge to Goulburn and Home.
The victims were: Snow, Heather, Eileen, Frank, Lindy, Gwen, Hans, Pete, Dot, Helen, George, Carl, Hermann, Digby, Bones, 2 N.Z's, 2 Swiss boys, and myself.
Eric Adcock had 9 starters on his Red Ledge Mitchell's Creek trip. The Wind as you might expect, was wicked on Yarrow Neck. The party established what must be a togetherness record for the small cave east of the Corral Swamp saddle, until two sardines moved out to a nearby annexe.
The tree at Mitchell's Creek waterfall is still climbable.
The President's Photographic Excursion suffered from wind and lack of the right sort of light for a Photographic Excursion.
On 27th April Mr. E.F. Penzig, an authority on Bushrangers and Old Guns and Things, gave a most absorbing talk on Australiana. He runs a private museum which members are invited to visit on any Sunday.
Keith Renwick's talk on Europe (May 18th) was notable for its smooth presentation and the high quality of the colour slides.
Colin Putt maintained his aversion for slides in opening, the in N.Z. evening (May 25th) with a talk illustrated with Mountain Peaks cut from White cardboard. A neatly furled umbrella served as a pointer (must have been borrowed - can't imagine Putt wearing an umbrella. - Ed.)
We were particularly tickled by the bus trip story of the cutting and spreading of bread, butter and sausage with a new and therefore sharp snow spade, and the described reactions of American tourists who witnessed the turn. Other members of the party then took over and provided a first-class illustrated commentary on the recent expedition.
Those who missed these last two talks can find some consolation in reading the original descriptions in recent issues of “The Sydney Bushwalker”.
The Detestable Leech
There is no feeling more exasperating than to suddenly become aware that an attack has been made by an army of leeches, whilst at rest in the cool on the bans of a babbling stream.
Blood is their food, blood is their only interest, and in hunting for this important substance, no discrimination is made regarding the choice of person attacked.
The blood of a vegetarian may lack the requirements so essential in body building, but when starvation is the call of the day blood of any kind will suffice.
Many an experience could be narrated to show just how far these bloodthirsty creatures have gone in causing untold inconvenience, forcing the camper to retreat where no further annoyance can exist.
A leech is a silent worker at all times, whereas an ant is too heavy footed and too vicious in its bite to work unobserved. An ant seals his own fate by giving himself away by the savageness of attack. The lowly leech, so smooth in movement, so quiet in its feeding habits, becomes unnoticed if one is not aware of its presence.
The novice, on realising there are leeches about, becomes so greatly unnerved that he soon becomes the star turn in his efforts to pluck them away as fast as another takes up position on his anatomy. It is not a case of how serious these creatures can become in drawing away life's blood, but of the antics in getting rid of them, and there was no exception on the Sunday walk, down the Bola, during a swimming section on the lower reaches.
Aurevoir to the Abernethy's who are to live in Tasmania. Bob has given his copies of the S.B.Ws to the Club and members wanting copies since 1953 may help themselves.
Georgina Langley, at present in England, writes : “Am doing some fell walking in the Lakes district, the first since leaving home. While touring the lakes I'm using the youth hostels and am finding them very friendly and comfortable. The countryside is so beautiful, especially now the bluebells and primroses are out in bloom. I think this is the moat beautiful part of England I have yet seen, but I'm looking forward to a tour of Scotland in 10 days time. Best wishes to my walking pals.”
A Flying Holiday
27th December - In Banares, the Holy City of the Hindus, I saw the performance of some amazing religious rites, including cremations on open fires. After this, Agra is much more sophisticated - at almost full moon I first saw the Taj Mahal, which is so exquisitely beautiful, it lives up to its reputation - even under the glare of the sun, the inlaid work is as beautiful as jewellery. Agra was built of red sandstone about 200 years ago, but after only a few years was deserted, owing to failure of the water supply. Next I arranged to visit Khajureho, which is off the beaten track and has no hotel accommodation - here are a great number of temples about 1,000 years old and covered in amazing friezes in a good state of preservation. I met a man who was attached to the Irrigation Department and he invited me to accompany him on his inspection of the dams. Then I was introduced to the officer in charge of Forestry and spent a wonderful week with him and his family - eating Hindu food, sometimes with our fingers. Their servants came with us on our bushwalking outings, carrying our packs and a rifle - this in case we encountered a tiger or a panther, though we saw only some jackals and a peacock - the smell of the burning eucalyptus leaves on our fire brought me close to home.
3rd January - Whilst in Delhi I visited the World Agricultural Fair, the best I've ever seen. There were exhibits from a score of countries but Australia was not represented.
6th January - Spent a glorious day in Teheran, a modern city with wide clean streets, expensive cars, beautiful fountains and modern archeological museums. The people didn't look much different from an average Sydney crowd. By a lucky chance I visited the Shah's Palace (he was away on his honeymoon) and in the company of an American official I was shown the Throne Room and the Banqueting and Reception Rooms. The most magnificently furnished I've ever seen, with a wealth of collector's pieces (gifts from former Shahs and former kings of Europe as well as Eastern Countries). There were huge carpets covering the floors, one of the ceilings is of hundreds of tiny mirrors and large chandeliers in the Throne Room where on one wall is a carpet patterned in diamonds, emeralds and other precious stones. Next morning a flight to Baghdad over ice and snow covered hills to see on T.V. the home of my guide, the proceedings at the Peoples' Court following a recent attempt on the lives of some leading men. This was a fascinating and dramatic experience, for it was reality not make-believe.
13th January - Cairo. Went out one morning to the Pyramids, and was about one third of the way up the face of the main one when I heard shouting from below, telling me to come down, so I descended as I could see a policeman amongst the crowd. I was told that a) if I climbed without a guide I must sign a declaration admitting that I realised the danger and absolving the authorities if I were hurt, or b) I had to climb along the edge of the Pyramid. I signed and climbed again - it's easier than Ayers Rock.
25th January - Arrived in Athens a few days ago and have walked for miles over the excavations of the Agora, wandered over the Acropolis and visited the wonderful museums, with the temperature at 8 Centigrade. It's a good way to keep warm and thank goodness my hotel is air conditioned.
7th February - Now in Rome and hope to see as much of Italy as a 15-day train journey permits - though the weather is overcast. Had a wonderful holiday in Greece, including 4 days on a tiny island in the Cyclades - went twice from there to Delos (now uninhabited) in a small fishing trawler laden with donkeys, sheep and Greeks. Here is a giant stone stairway leading to its summit. Do you know the secret of making squid delicious? Bash it against the rocks for about an hour before cooking!
Having my first taste of inclement weather after 90 days. It snowed all day in Athens on my second last day and rained heavily the day after I arrived in Rome - a good time to see the Galleries.
5th March - Briefly describing my stay in Italy (from London). I arrived at Naples in pouring rain, but luck was with me, for at the station tourist office I heard an American seeking the same information, so we decided to go off together and join his two “Nato” friends. The next morning we set off to climb Vesuvius, the car took us to within 1,000 feet of the summit) and with about 12” of snow on the ground and soft lava it was a tough walk and took us well over an hour. Descending was much easier as we just slithered down, then went to Pompeii where we walked around the ruined city in light rain. Following day we divided into pairs, one to return to Germany and Nato business and Al and I to Capri end warm sunny weather. Then we parted company at the Frontier and I returned to Genoa and Venice - here it was not photographic weather, so I enjoyed instead the wonderful Galleries.
Returned to Milan to find the roads cleared of snow, which was piled on the footpaths. Went to La Scala Opera House to book for an opera, but ballet was being performed as the evening became intensely cold I decided to take a train to Sicily - by this I'd covered about 1,000 miles. At Taormina I heard a radio playing Waltzing Matilda and saw lots of wattle in Southern Italy - even in the flower markets. Flew on to Paris, after an about turn to Zurich with engine trouble, am on to The Louvre. What a magnificent Gallery! London's weather has been mostly very cold, but I've managed to see “My Fair Lady”, a wonderful show, with revolving stage which makes the continuity practically as unbroken as in a film. Also visited Mme. Tussauds and the London Planetarium - the Hurst Park Races and a Hunt Club meeting, where the Chief Steward is the Duke of Norfolk - but late in the afternoon when a mist settled over the course the races could hardly be seen. I've just seen something of Kew Gardens - with their plants from all over the world, how carefully they tend some of the specimens that grow wild at home. The and of the month I hope to go to Spain.
SPECIAL WALK FOR PROSPECTIVES
This Friday night walk, via Nellie's Glen, commenced on Saturday morning via the Devil's Hole, where the party was temporarily mislaid, the leader being at his accustomed place at the tail. Despite advance glowing propaganda, only one Prospective member dared the hazards. However, his presence justified the existence of the trip. Good fortune fell across the track when Bert Carlon appeared in his utility during the road bash up to the top of Black Jerry's Ridge, when that gentlemen (soon to be married) drove the packs down to his farm, the act topped off with a cuppa when the mob arrived. The “mob”, by the way, comprised four members, the said Lone Prospective, and the visitor - Marion Ellis' daughter who had come along to bear her company. A blonde, men, but married!
Despite snow on the Main Divide about six miles away, the camp at Glenalan was comfortable, the bracken left behind by the Splendour Rock party ex-Anzac weekend being very helpful. Mighty cold gale greeted the party on ascending Clear Hill on Sunday morning, one severe gust blowing Bev Clark off her feet near Second Neck. Loitering was not the order of the day, and no trouble was encountered to have a cup of coffee and catch the 4.26 p m. stainless-steel horse back to the Big Smoke.
Note: Maps quoted are available for Reference from the Map Cupboard.
17th,-18-19 JUNE Carlon's Farm - Goolara Peak - Jenolan River - Diable Creek - Little River - Black Jerry's - Carlon's. Fairly strenuous trip. Car to and from Carlon's (see Leader re transport). From Carlon's farm to Tinpot Mountain and Goolara Peak - view of the Grand Bluffs of Cox's River. Steep drop to the River. Through Lower Jenolan Canyon, easy going to Diable Creek, then a scramble on to the Black Range. Easy walking down Little River and Cox's River. Steep but straightforward climb out via Black Jerry's Ridge. Maps: Myles Dunphy's Map of The Gangerangs, Jenolan Military Blue Mountains and Burragorang Tourist. Leader: Ben sgate.
18-19 JUNE Katoomba - Narrow Neck - Red Ledge - Nelly's Glen - Katoomba. Camp in Corral Swamp. Views from here of aarraEamba backwaters Nt. Solitary, YeEalong and Blue Mountains. Then descend the Creek to Red Ledge Pass which leads through the cliff line to the site of one of the old coal mines beneath Narrow Neck. Steep descent to Megalong Creek at the Pub site. Easy prade out via Nelly's Glen. Naps: Katoomba Military Leader: Molly Rodgers.
19 JUNE Cronulla - Bundeena - Marley - Saddle Trig - South West Arm Creek - Audley. Boat to Bundeena, then along easy track to Marley - scrub walking to Audley. Leader: Hilda Vines.
24 JUNE Mid Year Party (see Page 2 for all details.)
25-26 JUNE Hartley Vale - Upper Grose River - Blue Gum Forest - Grand Canyon - Blackheath. Gorge and cliff views from Hartley Vale. Scrambling and rock-hopping (could be rough) to the Victoria Falls junction. Some remnants of track towards Blue Gum - beautiful stand of timber. Steady climb out via Grand Canyon. Map Katoomba Military Leader: Ern Munns
1-2-3 JULY Moss Vale - Car to Fitzroy Falls - Mount Carioloo - Meryla Pass - Bundanoon. Mixture of medium and rough going. View from Fitzroy Falls, where Yarrunga Creek drops precipitously in two falls (400' and 200') across to the flat top mesa Carioloo. From the latter panorama along Yarrunga Creek and Kangaroo River down to the cliffs on the edge of the Shoalhaven Gorge. This trip passes through the Morton Primitive Reserve. Tops are bloodwood and scribbly Gum open forest - heathlands, gorges have hardwood forests on their slopes and heavy rain forest on the floors. Map: Moss Vale Military. Leader: George Gray.
2-3 JULY Blackheath - Perry's Lookdown - Blue Gum - Lockley's Pylon - Leura. Very steep track descent to Blue Gum. Good camping in forest of stately gums. Steep climb out via Lockley's Pylon. Views across and down the Grose and of Mts Hay, Banks, Tomah, Caley, etc. Track and road walking from to into Leura. Map: Katoomba Military Leader: Ron Knightley.
3 JULY Cowan - Edwards Cliff Trig - Gunyah Bay - Cowan Scratchy ridge walking (long trousers recommended) and scramble down to a delightful lunch spot at Gunyah Bay. Views of Cowan Creek and Broken Bay. Don't be put off by a few prickly bushes. Map: Broken Bay Military Leader: Brian Harvey 8-9-10 JULY Blackheath - Car to Kanangra Gingra Ridge and Kowmung - Katoomba. Extensive panorama from Kanangra Tops. Medium going down the long Gingra ridge to the Kowmung. About 8 miles of river bank walking with some crossings necessary. Final scramble through the Lower Kowmung Gorge to Cox's River. Steep climb up White Dog, medium walking to Katoomba via Narrow Neck, Map: Myles Dunphy's Map of Gangerangs, Jenolan Military Blue Mountains and Burragorang Tourist Leader: Bob Duncan
10 JULY Boat to Manly - bus to Church Point - Lovett Bay - Willunga Trig -The Duck Hole - Mona Vale. 8.30 a m. ferry to Manly. Leader will join bus at Mona Vale. Visit to part of Kuringai Chase which isn't much walked these days. There are a couple of good panoramas on the way. Map: Broken Bay Military Leader: David Ingram.
9-10 JULY Glenbrook St.Helena - Western Creek - Sassafras Gully - Springwood. Medium ridge and creek walking. Good area for map reading practice (on the fringe of the Blue Labyrinth). Camp in the sheltered grassy valley of St Helena. Creek scramble lower Western Creek to Glenbrook Gorge and out via Sassafras Gully Map: Liverpool Military Leader: John White.
One of the most memorable features of bushwalking holidays has been the interesting people met and the hospitality offered and enjoyed by us: unfortunately, with the passing of the old-time “bush” family and the extension of modern transport, this pleasure is becoming more rare and one that many will have no opportunity to enjoy.
I have very vivid memories of delightful people met on trips. First of all, Mr. and Mrs. Carlon, in Green Gully. One was always sure of a welcome and made to feel at home, very often with a cup of tea and hot scone. News of bushwalkers was eagerly sought and you knew genuine interest was taken in everyone.
Amongst the older bushwalkers, who does not remember Mrs Devitt? She also liked to meet and talk with bushwalkers Who visited the Broghers Creek area, and very often spread her table with luscious food. “A plague of locusts” has more than once been the thought in my mind after a walking party has been at her board for fifteen minutes or so.
Bushwalkers were always save of a welcome at Barretts at Meryla Pass; and Mr. Barrett's reputation for foretelling the future by reading hands was a good draw for the more credulous.
Meeting the Rankin family on the Deua River has always been a highlight in my memories. When our party of three arrived there mid-morning on a Wednesday in March (having walked over the ranges from Moruya) we were heartily welcomed by Mrs. Rankin and her two daughters and invited to share their midday meal. Their only access was by bridle track from Moruya or from Krawarree, the road up the river from Araluen having fallen into disuse during the past fifty or so years. That evening, when 84-year old Mr. Rankin, accompanied by Mr. Jim George, returned on horseback from a cattle sale in Krawarree, we heard many interesting stories of their earlier days when more than one family had lived on the river. We were warmly invited to spend the rest of our holiday with them, and to have all our meals in the house, but we stayed only two days and nights.
Before arriving at the Rankin's we had camped portions of two days and a night at Bendethera. Mr Randolph George had ridden in to look at some cattle and whilst sitting before the fire in the kitchen (the only portion of the old homestead standing) he told us stories of his boyhood, some seventy years earlier, with particular reference to the Clarke/O'Connell bush ranging gang; also tales of the parties who visited the Caves.
In Braidwood where we planned to catch the mail car to Tarago on our homeward trip, we thought we were to be the unwilling recipients of Police hospitality. As shorts were not then such general attire, we girls decided to slip on our shirts over our shorts and, whilst waiting to collect our home going clothes from the mail car depot - standing in a shadowed shop doorway - the local constable passed us and, just as we were donning our “respectable” clothes he together with the sergeant, arrived on the scene and “Dressing in public, eh?” said the sergeant; and then he questioned us who we were, where we had come from, where we were camping and then asked me how old I was. Apparently he decided we were not escaped juvenile delinquents because, as my two friends feared for a few moments that he would, he did not invite us to sample their hospitality.
When we left the car near Medbury Colliery at the commencement of our trip down the Wingecarribee, we arranged for the driver to meet us a week later at Goodman's Ford. He was so convinced that two ladies would get lost and this would necessitate a search, that he packed camping gear and enough food for a week for four: he was most disappointed to find we had been waiting a day and a half at the ford.
There have been many other occasions of warm hospitality, not least the large bag of fruit brought by the taxi-man mho had been engaged to meet us at Glen Alice after a week's trip. Hospitality between Bushwalker and bushwalker is, of course, another story.