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.
324 December 1961. Price 1/-
|Editor||Don Matthews, 33 Pomona Street, Pennant Hills. WJ3514|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales & Subs.||Eileen Taylor|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|Walker's Christmas||Geof Wagg||1|
|At Our November Meeting||Alex Colley||3|
|An Omission||Kath McKay||3|
|Come to Kuring-gai Chase||“The Gent in the Tent”||4|
|On the Sense of the Meeting||“Thornigbah”||6|
|Kowmung Cavalcade Part III. “Floating Down the Kowmung||Bill Hall (Reprint)||8|
|Tales of the North Shore||“Taro”||16|
|Faux Pas||John Bookluck||18|
|Coming Social Events||18|
|Hatswell's Taxi & Tourist Service||11|
(With acknowledgement to Geof Wagg, who wrote it in 1958. We printed this last Christmas and will probably do the same next year because it reminds us (and you too, we hope) of all those rugged Christmas trips we've done with fellow S.B.W's.)
Cold tinned pudding,
Hot tinned beer.
Ham and chicken (sausage) too,
Or perhaps a D.V. stew.
Bad luck that the sweets you brought were
Made unfit to eat by water.
So a nut we try to crack,
Place upon a rock are whack -
First blow, nothing: cursing louder -
Second blow, it's crushed to powder.
Still the dinner's not a failure -
Tastes like the Hotel Australia.
We wish our readers and friends a Merry Christmas and good camping.
While you're relaxing at 'Era, or swimming through the Kowmung, or exploring in the Alps, remember that the Editor needs 'matters of interest' for next year's S.B.W. magazines. In fact right now he needs about 18 pages for the January issue. How about it?
|December 20th||Free night. Come in and make last minute arrangements for that Christmas trip, or just to natter.|
|December 27th||Club closed.|
|January 3rd||Committee meeting, but don't let this keep you away. A good chance to earbash your friends about your latest epic walk.|
|January 10th||General Meeting.|
Watch the club Notice Board for further details.
On November 22nd Keith Renwick led an absorbed audience through the wonderland of Central Australia.
This was the record of an unusual bus trip which several S.B.W's enjoyed recently. Fine photography and colour.
At Our November Meeting.
- A. Colley.
Five new members - Sandra Montague, Sheila Tadman, Peggy Woolhouse, Bill Rowlands and Ramon U'Brien - were welcomed at the start of the meeting.
In correspondence was a copy of a letter sent by the Secretary of Federation to the Fire Prevention Officer at Katoomba, saying that there was no evidence that bushwalkers were responsible for the cutting of fence wires at Medlow Gap. The officer was invited to the S. and R. weekend at the Colo where he could witness for himself the “impeccability of our behaviour”. A letter was received also from the Secretary of the Bouddi Trust, saying that the Trust agreed with the construction of a fire trail to Mount Bouddi. The Trust also recognised the necessity of proving to the Lards Department that many people used and enjoyed the park. By making the park accessible to the motorist other important areas might be gained for the park and it might be less vulnerable to dangers from other sources. The Trust was always glad to receive any suggestions and thoughts that conservationists had to offer.
Heather Joyce than told us that the S.B.W. were among Federation's most consistent correspondents. Why couldn't the delegates pass on our views? There appeared no good reason for writing letters, beyond habit, and it was decided to avoid letter writing where possible. Heather told us of Colin Putt's good work at the S. and R. weekend. Jack Gentle also offered thanks to those who helped at the Blue Gum working bee.
Wilf Hilder reported that despite a rather hot weekend all objectives, except the finding of Barron's Pass, had been achieved on his 6-hour weekend walk. The Timbolina Trig had been burnt down, but on the disc some pencilled names were partly legible. They were the names of an S.B,W. party that had visited the trig in 1944 - Tom Herbert, Charlie Pryde, Dorothy Lawry, Wal Roots and Phil White. There were two starters on Roy Cragg's Nattai walk, and 15 on Bob Godfrey's map reading venture down Angarowa Creek. The party had reached the Colo successfully, but didn't attempt the 8 mile or more trip down to Hungry Way Creek. Jack Gentle had led a party of 10 along the Cox and up the White Dog track. John White and two prospectives had a good weekend around the Narrow Neck Peninsula and reported that the climbing tree was still in position. There were 15 starters on David Ingram's day walk in the Heathcote reserve. The S. & R. weekend on the Colo had been remarkably well organised. It started with introductory talks by Nin Melville and Heather Joyce and covered first aid, wet crossings, safety in canoes, survival in the bush, bush rescue, ground to air communication, caveing and safety in caves, and aqualung under water operations. Colin Putt gave a talk on safety and equipment in the snow and another on cliff rescue work, and Paddy Pallin talked on snow equipment.
Room stewards were then elected and the meeting closed just after 9 o'clock.
I did not mention in my account of Mouldy's lecture on travels in Russia that a microphone was used for the first time in the Club's history. It was a great success and every syllable was clearly heard.
My apologies are therefore due to the instigator of the scheme, Taro, and to the owner of the microphone, Hek Carruthers.
(Sgd.) Kath McKay.
For an outing with a nautical flavour
The Rudolph Cup
Sunday, 17th December 1961 at Hacking River and/or Kangaroo Creek at or near Audley. (Royal National Park)
Wet trip guaranteed. Swimming costumes necessary. Members of Rowing Clubs will be handicapped.
Here's your chance to win possession of the Rudolph Cup for 1962.
The Rudolph Cup, for those who don't know, is a Trophy full of Tradition, and utilitarian as well.
Watch the Notice Board and see the new Walks Programme for details.
Come To Kuring-Gai Chase.
“The Gent in the Tent”.
Following on the proclamation of about 35,000 acres of the South Coast and Hacking River Valley as a National Park in 1888, pressure was exerted on the Government of the day by far sighted residents of the growing North Sydney that a similar area be set aside for the use and recreation of the residents of the Northern Suburbs. In 1893, Kuring-gai Chase, of much the same area as National Park, came into being in a wonderful region of scrubby sandstone ridges, rising to a height of 750 ft. above sea level, intersected by heavily indented bays and creeks running from the Hawkesbury River and Pittwater in a Southerly direction, and situated between 20 and 25 miles North of the G.P.O. in Sydney.
How far sighted the early advocates for a Northern National Park were, has been amply demonstrated in the years after the War when suburbia has pushed out, in many cases right to the Chase boundary. Up to the present, the Trust appointed to administer the Chase has managed to keep large areas in a natural state where, in season, the glory of our unique wildflowers riots across the ridges in profusion and native animals of several varieties inhabit the secluded spots. For residents and visitors, the area represents a splendid breathing space, with good motor roads and picnic facilities for those who desire them, fire trails and tracks for equestrians and occasionally walkers, who may be glad to use them to traverse a particularly thick patch of scrub.
In the early days of its existence, the Trust soon got busy constructing access roads and tracks. The access tracks were made chiefly by manual labour and were designed to permit walking to various beauty spots by ladies wearing ankle length and longer skirts, and gentlemen in their Sunday suits. The result was that they were from 2 to 3 ft. wide, well graded and complete with steps where necessary. I do not propose to list the various access tracks throughout the Chase, but to confine my remarks to those in the Lovett Bay, Pittwater, sector of the Chase.
In those days, I'm told, the principal methods of approach to Pittwater were from Manly Wharf by horse bus or coach to Mona Vale or Newport, or by train to Hawkesbury River Station and steam launch to Barrenjoey (Palm Beach) and Newport. This method of travel was slow, so that after undertaking the journey, visitors usually stayed a few days and had time to explore the surroundings. The Trust constructed stone wharves in various bays off Pittwater, and from these, tracks were made to local beauty spots.
From the Trust's wharf at Lovett Bay (served by regular ferry from Church Point) a track runs along the foreshore to a shelter shed, where it divides, one continuing up the Bay to Pockley's Glen then up and over the West Head Road and down to Coal and Candle Creek; the other climbs up to the Flagstaff Lookout, 400 ft. above sea level, whence a cairned route leads North-Westerly to the West Head Road. With the increasing use of motor cars and water craft for weekend recreation, the decrease in the number of walkers, plus the rather steep bus and ferry fares to and from Church Point, the use of these tracks has declined. The Trust is aware of this fact and also knows that most of it is revenue comes from parking fees paid by motorists who use the roads constructed by it. Consequently, the tracks have not been maintained and have been allowed to become choked by grass, ferns and young trees. The local residents say that the Trust is re-constructing the West Head Road to a standard suitable for motor traffic, with the result that these tracks up from Towler's Bay and Mackerel Beach will shortly become our only means of reaching the West Head Peninsula free from motor traffic.
You will have read in the October issue about the working bee to be organised by John White on llth-12th November 1961 with a view to re-opening the Lovett Bay tracks. The party assembled at Church Point on the Saturday morning and had quite an executive ring in the Personnel, the Secretary, the AssiStant Secretary, the Assistant Treasurer and our tireless member, who has done to much good work in this area, Mrs. Stoddart. The Trust's Ranger for Pittwater provided the tools, so there was no delay in starting, except for a cup of tea. One type of implement was of particular value, the head was shaped like a hoe on one tide and a rake on the other. Designed for use by bushfire fighters, it proved ideal for the work we were to do. Permanent residents keep the track clear from the Lovett Bay ferry wharf to the washed out creek to the West, but from that point to the shelter shed, it was mostly clearing undergrowth and a few small trees. It was a thrill to see the well made track emerging from the overgrowing grass and bracken. As a larger team than we had will be required to make much impression on the Pockley's Glen tracks, we concentrated on the Flagstaff track, as this is the one used by most bushwalkers to reach the Lookout and the tops. By tea time, John's new, sharp axe had done some good work on fallen trees where necessary, and, we had a couple of hundred yards of the track cleared, including the first set of stone steps.
During and after tea, the local fireflies put on one of the best displays I've ever seen. Their resemblance to small lighted planes flying around the shelter shed had a definite fairy-like touch. The following morning, Bill Rowlands came over in the first ferry to lend a hand, but the Secretary had to leave soon after. By midday, the track was open to the cliff line, where a flight of stone steps leads up into a side creek and the going is easy from there to the tops. Considering the small number present, the work performed was amazing. No wonder we were a bit stiff and tired after it, but we had the satisfaction of seeing a start made in re-opening a track which will be of considerable use to bushwalkers generally.
There is still much to be done to restore the upper part of the Flagstaff track to it'S former glory and to re-open the Pockley Glen track with it's famous flight of 30 or more steps made from natural stone. From December to March, the weather it not really suitable for “labour of love” track clearing, so John White has programmed another working bee for 24th-25th March, 1962, and David Ingram has put on a day walk on 25th March, starting from Lovett Bay, in the hope that some of the day walkers can give a hand before lunch and then inspect the tracks and the sterling work done, as well as the tops beyond during the afternoon, returning on the 6 p.m. ferry. More details in subsequent issues. Don't be scared that the work will be hard. The picnic atmosphere adds to the enjoyment and the surroundings are extremely pleasant. Come and see what is being done to help ourselves to keep open a pleasant means of access to one of our favourite walking areas.
On The Sense Of The Meeting.
Any small society, such as ours, can with a little contemplation be seen as a small democracy. There is a remarkable body of history known as the Clarke Papers which describes the genesis of our present day larger democracy from the small democracies existing in the loosely described Puritan churches at the time of the Cromwell revolution. The papers deal with the deliberations of a small group of men met to find some way of governing England justly after the successful conclusion of Cromwell's revolt. All present, Cromwell, Ireton his most successful general, and the elected representatives of several regiments were experienced in the small independent church governments of the time and had found them satisfying in the broadest sense, though they found almost immediately that severe, almost impossible difficulties arose when they attempted to apply their experiences to a larger government. There arose two schools of thought separated by what the experience of the small units of governments had meant to them, what it had to offer and what was essential in that experience.
One school of thought were impressed with what it felt like to be governed so as to make everyone feel equal and active, and when it is felt to be working proper]y the decisions and actions are felt to be the decisions and actions of each member. What made their form of government so precious is that it is their government and must therefore be preserved at all costs. While they can retain the feeling that it is their government they can give their consent and be content. It was quickly pointed out that this would mean consent to each particular action which would be impossible and would on lead to anarchy.
Cromwell on the other hand was more concerned with the conditions under which such a happy result could be achieved. For this man of greater practical experience and ability, consent was a result and not a condition. The church units were very small, they all very much moved by the same spirit, being voluntary organisations and even when they grew somewhat larger when all could not contribute to the debate they could produce the sense of the meeting. But the limits of this are soon reached and the size of the organisation soon prohibits the type of organisation and government which was the original inspiration. Before this limit is reached most members have ceased to take part in the discussion and have ceased to contribute anything to the sense of the meeting. The real government is in the hands of the committee and even the pretence of direct government is given up. There is then an undue emphasis on the element of consent over the element of discussion and something has to be done about it. A democracy, even the smaller type we enjoy, must be based on the assumption that we can agree on common action which yet leaves each of us within the movement to lead his own life; if we really respect one another's personality we can find a common framework or system of rights and consents in which the free normal life of the individual is possible.
How that can best be obtained can be discovered by discussion in which the one-sidedness of particular views can be eliminated and a principle of common action be discovered which each can feel does justice to his personality, by toleration and recognition of differences based on the belief that we may all contribute to the government combined with insistence that individual views be submitted to the criticism of open discussion. The narrowness and one-sidedness of each person's views are corrected, and yet, given good faith, something may emerge which each can recognise as holding the truth he stood for and is seen to serve the purpose of the society better than anyone conceived for himself. This is of course an ideal and such agreement is rare. Such a consenting democracy, as ours is, assumes that each member has something to contribute if it can be got out of him. It does not for one moment assume that what each member contributes is of equal value or is even relevant.
All this of course is rather allegorical. In our small society we have the levellers, or the temperament they represent. They are the people who would have a world inside and outside our range of persuasion which would be the ideal world for bushwalking. I don't know what to call them. Impossibilists is too severe a word for them for they hold their views sincerely. There are the Primitives, those who can and do find satisfaction in the wildflowers, the virgin bush, whether it is a scribbly gum growing at the end of their street or a rock lily on a quartzite slab deep in Ettrema Gorge. There is something of the primitive in each of us yet I don't feel it is a happy choice of words. There are the Wilderness boys for whom an area is violated beyond all possible future affection if a fire trail is pushed along a ridge. All of us have memories of “a scarce seen trail…”. There mast be something of the wilderness in each of us or we wouldn't go near the mountain holly on the Colo or the eternal slipperyness of Galong.
We have people who believe in the perfectibility of man and of society (I have heard them). We have epicures and those who know good beer and where it is to be had. Some believe in a corporate image of ourselves which must show us as approaching perfectibility, others of a time when a fireside could embrace all the members and a true spontaneous democracy was as warm as the glowing fire.
Perhaps we have grown too big, we meet in elegant surroundings, we live in an era of public relations and massive search and rescue operations. Perhaps it is not the age for the small and the friendly. It may be the age for the dicta, for conformity and consenting compromise.
Wisely I think we have left the running of the club to the committee. No work was ever accomplished at a large meeting, no examining of prospectives, none of the every day matters which bog down large meetings can be done at general meetings. But let us insist that matters of policy, of differences in expected behaviour and the vital things that affect the sense of the meeting are not subject to the delegated consent. The replacement of discussion by announcement, even by presidential announcement, is a denial of the satisfaction when all feel they are equal and equally active in the government of the club. For all our proud size and influence, our present affluence and apparent calm, we must not abandon the true spirit and principle on which our small democracy is based. The true spirit implies faith in each other, but a reasoned faith.
Kowmung Cavalcade. Part III.
In October, we introduced The History of the Kowmung, and started with the first S.B.W. trip “Through the Granite Gorges” (1933) by Harry Savage. This was concluded in the November issue.
The first all-swimming Kowmung trip recorded in the S.B.W. was led by Gordon Smith at Christmas 1938-1939.
To quote Grace Noble -
…“As to this being a “first down the Upper Kowmung” trip, I feel it is always dangerous to make such a claim - but at least I am pretty sure we were the first S.B.W. party to travel the length of the Kowmung from the Hollander-Tuglow junction actually on or in the river - as distinct from other parties who had followed its course from a route well up on the ridges…
Besides Gordon, the original starters from Ginkin were Jack Debert, Bill Hall, Roley Cotter, Reg Alder, Alex Colley, Edgar Phillips, and two friends of Alex. The Tigresses were represented by Hilma Galliott, Dot English and Mary Stoddart. At the tailend, of coarse, came the Rabbits - Clare Kinsella and myself.
We spent the first few days in a deceptively easy ramble from Ginkin to Morong Falls, where we said goodbye to Dot and Alex and his friends, who had only the Christmas part of the holiday. This left the experimental part of the trip - down the Morong Deep and so on to Yerranderie - to be done before New Year, when we had to pick up some more members of the trip and get rid of myself. This may not sound much, but when you consider that we did not yet know whether one could make a pack float in a reasonably water-tight condition for any considerable distance, or even how far we were likely to have to float them, it was enough to cause a few misgivings (to the rabbits, at any rate)…”
And now to:
Floating Down the Kowmung. Christmas 1938.
- Bill Hall. (From The S.B.W., March 1939).
At a reasonable hour on Friday night, 23rd December, 1938, fifteen of us tumbled from the train and wove our may through the curious crowds that seem always to throng the subway at Katoomba Station. Some went to the cafes to satisfy the hunger so peculiarly and continuously a part of those who walk; the rest shouldered their packs and made off along the Great Western Road to the water reservoirs - there to sleep through the night.
On Saturday at the appointed hour of 5 a.m. the two cars drew up and our packs were soon stowed aboard, and we were off for Ginkin, which was as far as the cars could take us. We then took the bridle track down to the Tuglow River, there stopping for a late breakfast, which we shared with hordes of flies.
We followed the river to where its water drops over the falls and merges with that of the Hollanders' to form the Kowmung River, and when Box Creek was reached we stopped again, because the grassy flat at the junction was to be our base camp for two days. From here the beauties of Chardon's Canyon and Dungalla Falls were explored, and the Christmas provisions with which we had so liberally provided ourselves were consumed.
The weather had been all that could be desired, and on Monday when camp was broken and an early start made at 6.45 a.m. it still held. The way was through comparatively easy county, the river meandering by glorious wooded flats and twisting in huge hairpin bends, over which we climbed, cutting off a considerable distance. From the tops of these ridges we obtained wonderful views of the ranges rolling in terraces from either side down upon us. There was always life along the river, an occasional wombat, duck, or shag. In the water, too, though more so further downstream, were fish and eels. Forcing ourselves through the blackthorn and briar we were discovering the going becoming much harder. The blackthorn in particular was very trying, the spikes digging into the flesh and, if not extracted immediately, they rotted and festered. The wretchedness, however, was often broken by the beauty of frequent patches of white daisies which grew along the banks.
When Tuglow Hole Creek was reached a halt was called far lurch. After eating and swimming, we picked our may over water-worn granite boulders through scrub to a canyon. Here the way seemed barred. There appeared nothing else to do but to go up and over the cliffs at either side, or - as we had heard of the exploits of a previous party - to float our packs through. We had come prepared for this latter prospect and rubber floats had been brought in anticipation of carrying our gear over the water. A raft was made by lashing together light pieces of timber, the rubber surfo-planes were placed on it, and on top of these the packs. It was successful, but took too long to construct, and, as events turned out, at the gorges we had to swim through later, there was a scarcity of suitable timber, so the idea of rafts was abandoned and the wrapping of groundsheets over our packs was resorted to. Two other pools were swum in this manner this same day, even though one or two of the packs received a slight wetting, it was pronounced most successful. From the last pool, which was about 75 yards long, the party reached Morong Falls, and split up, some camping on the Kowmung and the others on the creek above the Falls, thus making their walk to Jenolan Caves shorter for the next day. The night proved very warm and all at the river camp slept badly, partly owing to the heat and partly to the poor camping ground. Bracken and scrub had to be cleared and soil levelled to make possible the abdulling of a tent.
At 6.30 a.m. on Tuesday morning we were off, and - jumping from rock to rock - came to the first casuarinas, and then to a pool bounded at the top by gigantic granite boulders and at the sides by walls round which it was impossible to scramble. The packs were lowered down and, this pool once swam, we were faced with another, and immediately a third, down to which air gear was handed in relays, and then, coming to the ledge where our packs were deposited, we had the thrill of sliding down a short, greasy, granite slope into the huge pothole of water, seemingly bottomless, in which our whole bodies were immersed, and clambering out of this one, went instantly into another. The packs reached, they were floated across and a rest was called for on a little sandy beach. A couple went ahead to reconnoitre, and reported a waterfall preventing further progress. It was impossible to climb down, and nothing was left but to sidle our way over the mountainside. This proved most exhausting and very dangerous, so we refrained from going too high. Our flesh was torn by the spikes from the blackthorn and briar; we had to pick our way over fallen timber; a tremendous amount of energy was needed, for foothold was difficult on the steep sides, covered as they were with loose, slippery, granite gravel. It was quickly discovered that the safe way to descend was to sit and slide, risking the tearing of our clothing. Worn out at the bottom of the slope we swam and lunched.
Continuing the perpetual rockhopping, at which we had become experts, for the tops of the weatherworn granite boulders gave safe footholds, we came in the late afternoon to another pool. Some swam their packs through, but one went round the side and, reporting an easily negotiable animal track swam the 80 yards back and, with two others, carried packs over, but the track evaded us and the going was so dangerous that we resolved never to sidle the ridges again, but to float every gorge - a resolve which was adhered to.
Assembling again and working downstream amid xerotes, casuarinas and blackthorn, a surprisingly good campsite was found above a waterfall, at 6.30 p.m. but the party owing to the humid night again slept badly, and was aroused early to pitch the tents because a thunderstorm had developed. Not much rain was received though in spite of all the lightning, and the thunder which was barely audible above the roar of the falls.
Leaving at 8 a.m. on Wednesday and crossing above the waterfall over a natural causeway, and edging our way round a ledge, we reached a tree that grew out from the bottom. Down this we slid, our packs first being lowered. We were faced now with another pool of about 120 yards-long and, quickly covering our packs, swam them through, noticing a great number of rocklilies growing on the sheer walls. Here a scare resulted from one of the male members of the party beginning to choke and splutter and, leaving his pack, grasping hold of a nitch in one of the walls. Thinking he had cramp, a couple of others swam to his assistance, only to discover that, in laughing at some humourous remark, he swallowed so much water that he had to rest. However, he quickly recovered and resumed the swim.
Then, helping one another over an awkward ledge, we came upon two other walkers who, through the fatiguing work entailed in climbing over each gorge, had taken two days to do what we had accomplished one. They accompanied us for a few miles, during which another pool was floated, and we very quickly showed them how to edge their way round the granite to get to this pool, and then to swim their gear through. Grey quartzite was taking the place of the granite when we lunched between Landrigan's and Matheson's Creeks. It was hot, and soon the party was strung out to Werong Creek. Here the two walkers left us; they were to camp overnight and climb Misery Ridge early next morning. It is worth mentioning that it was possible here to resume the wearing of heavy boots, and we were most pleased. The banks now were followed along intermittent cowpads, through scrub and thorns, to make camp in Rudder's Rift.
Leaving at 7.15 a.m. Thursday morning, an immediate floating of packs was made - our eleventh for the trip. Walking had become easier and a considerable distance had been covered when all progress seemed barred for another waterfall dropped down from in front of us. Remembering our resolve of but two days earlier not to climb again, we consulted, and decided to lower our packs down the 12 feet on ropes, then to jump over after them and float them through. This was exciting. Scanning the water anxiously for rocks, we leapt. It seemed an interminable time before we came to the surface, but on rising we turned, and facing the rock down which our pack was already being lowered, raised a hand to let it gently on to the water, then, unfastening the rope and watching it whisked up to lower another pack, turned and swam and pushed our pack down stream. How far we knew not for a bend in the river blocked the view. This floating proved a fitting finale, for it was to be our last and was 250 yards long, divided as it was into three parts. A narrow natural causeway, across which the packs had to be lifted, separated the first and second pools, and a shallow of greasy granite stones (over which we dragged our stomachs, propelling the packs before us) was between the second and third. Some gear received a wetting so, during lunch, we dried both it and our tents, which were wet from the rain of the previous night. By the way, this day it had been more or less continuously raining, not heavily, but that light, misty stuff so common to our mountain regions, making the freedom from flies somewhat pleasant. The flies had been most annoying, and we had been unable to wear our flyveils because the thickness of their weave restricted vision, and made them too dangerous to wear when jumping from rock to rock.
We were now entertained by a lyrebird, and were delighted with its excellent mimicking. The birds were very plentiful, the bellbirds in particular being common.
Walking along the cowpads, Waterfall and Lannigan's Creeks were soon passed. Now by numerous prospect holes, past where the Boyd Range gently slopes to the Kowmung, and within a couple of miles of Church Creek we camped. We had observed a difference in the rock formation since lunch and conglomerate rock had become very prevalent.
The next day, Friday, was an easy one. From Church Creek we we to Yerranderie and procured more provisions. These made 2501bs. food for the whole trip. A couple of youthful hunters gave us some rabbits, too, and after stewing them all the afternoon and night they were found edible for breakfast next morning.
Some of the party -went home from Yerranderie, and on Saturday we were joined by another four people, (The arrivals included Dot English (Butler). The return party brought ice cream back from Yerranderie, and later a photograph entitled “Dot eating ice cream on the Kowmung” which appeared in The Bushwalker was “greeted with jeers of derision as an obvious fake”…Ed.) and after they had breakfasted we were again on our way down the now peaceful and tranquil Kowmung - still passing the dilapidated huts of prospectors, in ruins alongside the fallen-in prospect holes, test holes, which, now long deserted, must have at one time been the fossickers' hope of an eldorado.
The pace of the party was quickening and the walking on the cowpads was excellent. It had rained early in the morning but, rapidly clearing, the sun burst through, and it brought with it the irritating plague of flies. Christie's Creek was reached, and we thought of the explorer, Barallier, whose attempt to cross the mountains was repulsed by the precipitous walls of this creek a short distance from the Kowmung.
The open river banks were gradually giving way to cliffs; hundreds of feet high, as we were now entering the Bulga-Denis Canyon. If ever impressive and inspiring river scenery is to be witness on any of our mountain streams, it is here. The sheer, rugged grandeur of the mountain walls rising from the water's edge was wonderful. The track, running along narrow banks, continually crossed and recrossed the stream. The grey stone wails edged on either side by dark green vegetation, rose first on one side and then on the other. Through groves of watergum and wattle, across a large flat of eucalyptus saplings, we came to the end of the Canyon, where the sides were broken and wading somewhat reminiscent of Jenolan River was resorted to. Again the peaceful river with the grazing cattle reflected in the placid waters - but the appeal of Bulga-Denis was strong. We swam and, loitering, we lunched early on a grassy bank, are conversed of rabbits and their questionable value as a sustaining breakfast food.
Hughes' Hut came quickly was left in the rear, and not long after that Gingra Creek and New Year's Eve were reached together. Camp was made and after tea our New Year's celebratiOns were held, and the evening of song and poetry and ready witticisms near the dying embers of fires was immensely enjoyed.
We seemed always to be up early. Dawn would break about 4 a.m. and the very earliest birds would begin their song, quickly followed by the others. By five o'clock the light and the life of the bush, together with the never-ending annoyance of the flies, made it desirable to be up and doing. On Sunday we were on the track by 7.30 a.m. and, after frequent swims and the killing of the only snake for the trip, although we saw half-a-dozen of them in all, we reached the Cox's River. At the foot of the Cedar Road, soon after leaving camp, on the very banks of the Kowmung River, we had seen motor cars, and the sight had depressed us for we had considered this river ours; and as we passed their deserted camping spot(they had departed very early) we noticed their litter and wondered how far cars would ultimately encroach on the Kowmung, and how much they would disfigure this area with their rubbish and vandalism.
Camp was made this night at the junction of Cedar Creek and Cox's River, and at 6.45 a.m. on Monday morning we commenced the last stage of our walk. We followed Cedar Creek and climbed to the Ruined Castle, skirting the landslide to the coal mine, and thence to Katoomba - and home again to bricks, mortar and steel, but still we visualize the Kowmung, a waterway not yet ruined by man in his struggle for existence, and his avarice for wealth.
Kowmung Cavalcade continues next month with another historical gem: “Thrills, Spills and Chills in the Kowmung”, by Paddy Pallin.
Let us hope that old Jupiter Pluvius has had his turn and that old Sol Shinius is polished up and ready to give of his best for the Christmas and New Year break.
Paddy's shelves are loaded up with all camping necessities, and many gadgets which may not be so necessary but are mighty convenient.
There are lots of plastic items which never get into the Price Lists, and many camp stoves, from a humble canned heat tin and stand (2/-) to Twin Burner Porta-Gas stoves and cylinders at £15.18.6d.
If you have thought of swimming with pack in some deep canyon or scrub swimming in the damp South West of Tasmania we have outsize polythene bags 24” x 48“ at 2/6d. They're expendable, but mighty useful.
Christmas Cards. Paddy has none but suggests some of your friends would appreciate a copy of “The Bushwalker” at 3/-.
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd. Lighweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St. Sydney. BM2685
- Alex Colley.
“For years the typical country pub was exactly what most people expected it to be, a public drinking place which bred a sturdy race of bushwalkers and interstate hitch-hikers equipped with a billy, a sleeping bag, soap, towel and toothbrush and used to “roughing it”.
From a recently published newspaper article on Motels.
Now, all you members and prospectives who have drowsed around the campfire while I told you how to be crafty in the bush, forget all that stuff about camping on the ground in a little tent. The bushwalker of 1961, cradled right behind the bar, doesn't need to clutter his mind with any of that nonsense. If he had to cross the bush en route to the next pub he couldn't stand the screeching of the birds, the howling of the wind in the trees and the sight of all those leaves. Worse still he might have to drink water. But now, happily, he need never set foot in the bush at all, since there are roads connecting every pub with every other pub.
Better still, he needn't even walk. On every road there are cars, moving both ways, and so long as he can beat the interstate hitch-hikers to it, sooner or later one going his way will pick him up. Still, a few hints mightn't go amiss.
Select your camp sites carefully. Sample the beer first. Inspect the ceiling of your room for water stains and loose plaster. Then make sure there's a fireplace and enough furniture to boil that billy. Examine the water in the jug. If there's dust on it, ring for the manager.
What kind of pack? You don't need one for that gear. Take a big billy and stuff the sleeping bag, soap, towel and toothbrush inside it.
A groundsheet, did you say? Quite unnecessary. Put your sleeping bag on the bed and you'll be perfectly insulated from ground moisture. So long as you thumb your lifts from the pub verandah no raindrop need ever touch you.
Footwear? Hobnails don't grip on wet bar-room floors and rubbers squeak on the linoleum. Since you'll never have to walk anyway, be as comfortable at possible. Wear carpet slippers.
Food for pub walking? They've got to provide meals at the pub, so just stick to the list and don't take any. You'd have nowhere to put it anyway.
First aid are snakebite outfit? Not necessary. If in trouble call an ambulance. If you do see any snakes they will be pink ones with purple spots, and they won't bite.
Map and compass? Don't waste your money. Go to the nearest service station and they will give you an adequate map for free. Then just read the road signs and you'll never get lost.
But I won't bore you with further details, because our sturdy race won't have to rough it much longer. Read the next sentence: “But as the nation became more affluent, more and more cars appeared on the road and those who drove them were willing and able to pay for comfortable overnight stops. The idea of motels at first caught on slowly, but throughout 1957, l958 and 1959 it spread rapidly”. So, unless you are totally lacking in affluence, throw the billy and the sleeping bag on the rubbish heap with the rest of your walking gear. Then get into your car, step on the accelerator, and make for a motel. Better take your toothbrush, though, they mightn't provide one.
Tales Of The North Shore.
It should be readily conceded that few people are much concerned with the early history of their particular locality. The North side is rich in stories, but on asking of the many S.B. doubluse living there yields no information.
So - after research extending over many minutes, here is the fruit of it. Any doubting the authenticity can go along to the Mitchell Library, and they will discover corroboration of these corroborees completely absent.
It is the place names that tell the real story, of why they were given. Take Killara -
In that particular district, an old abo. chief had an incurable habit of collecting the young lubras - the young bucks became restive - somehow things did not seem quite right.
So they held secret meetings and decided that big chief Ara must be put in his place. The unanimous decision was to kill Ara and lo - they did - and the immediate result was a steep rise in the marriage rate, and thus the name was born.
Now consider - Turramurra -
The situation was exactly the same as at Killara, but the bucks feared to make the move. Some wanted to wait till the next 8-hour day. Some said wait a week. The King was due to return the following day, he was away on a honeymoon with his latest takeover. But a bunch of impatient bucks began to chant and carried the day. Tu morra, tu murra turra murra, they sang - and danced till far into the night.
When the octo. King returned, flushed with victory - something happened - for he was never seen again, and the immediate result was, the marriage rate soared, and the chant became the place name.
And Warrawee - (that slightly alcoholic name).
The situation there was exactly as Killara - same monopolistic capers, same discontented bucks. Same protest meeting, but much more impetuous. Warrawee waiting far, rose to a deafening chorus. So they fell on the chief and by sheer weight of numbers - delivered him to his ancestors. And the immediate result was - a steep rise in the marriage rate, and nobody has so far dared to change the name of Warrawee.
Now here is a tale indeed - quite the reverse of the others.
This is all about the most harmonious tribe in Australia.
The Big Chief here had a most interesting pedigree. One of his ancestors - with a colonial contingent fought alongside Henry V at Agincourt - rations ran out and, to save his life, he chewed raw - the leg of a frenchie - which of course gave him a due percentage of Norman blood.
On his return to his abo. throne he staggered the tribe by leaving the lubras to the bucks (probably some strain of gascon chivalry).
His choice lay with the Elderlies - weather beaten. But alas - before long this proved fatal, and great was the lamentation - they declared a week's holiday and gave him a magnificent funeral and - greatest compliment of all - a hearse! Yes, Norman was hearsed, and to this day the moaning of the crones can be heard in the land.
I hope these tales may inspire research in other members of the Club - much oil is waiting to be struck.
- John Bookluck.
Below the keel the ocean foamed. I was homeward bound. A Scottish lass viewing slides of her homeland of which I boasted I'd seen most of held back a slide. It was marked “Road to the Isles” track.
“Did you go along the Road to the Isles”?
“Yes, and I've been along all three lochs as in the song”, I added assuredly.
“You've been along Loch Arbor” she enquired with a quizzical look.
“Congratulations”, she replied giving me her hand while her large brown eyes and oval face smiled. As I took her warm hand my eyes failed to meet hers and my smile waned to firmer lines. There was no Loch Arbor. No wonder I couldn't find it on the map. However, I still tell the English I've been along Loch Arbor.
N.P.A. Christmas cards for 1961.
This year's card shows, in colour, coastal scenery in The Royal National Park (from the original by Helen Barrett). Price 1/3d. each. 10/- for 8. 15/- for 12.
Also available are some of last year's card of Mt. Currockbilly.
Please your friends and help publicise the work of the National Parks Association.
Coming Social Events.
|January 17th||Paul Driver will give an illustrated talk on his overseas trip.|
|January 24th||John Freeman will talk on Ants.|
|January 31st||Mr. Charles Casperson will speak on C.J. Dennis.|
The 1961 “Bushwalker” annual Magazine. For the convenience of those readers who don't come into the Clubroom so frequently; we are forwarding an Order Form which can be used to have the Annual posted home, or perhaps to an interested friend as a Christmas Gift. Just fill in name and address and enclose Postal Note for 3/- it's post free!