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.
|Editor||Don Matthews, 33 Pomona Street, Pennant Hills. WJ3514|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales & Subs.||Eileen Taylor|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|At Our December Meeting||A. Colley||3|
|The Christmas Party||By our “Social Reporter”||4|
|Annual Swimming Carnival - 1962||6|
|From Boulder - Robert A. Duncan Reports from the U.S.A.||7|
|Just a Tree||“Taro”||8|
|How Rugged Can You Get?||10|
|Federation Report for November||Brian Harvey||11|
|What Happened at Christmas?||12|
|Kowmung Cavalcade - Part 1V - Thrills, Spills & Chills in the Kowmung||Paddy Pallin||14|
|Hatswell's Taxi & Tourist Service||11|
…. “They, (Mallory and Irvine) did not forfeit their lives in vain. But men will live in vain, however secure and comfortable their way of existence, if they allow the spirit of adventure to die in their souls. For such there can be no more progress in penetrating the strongholds of Nature and of the Spirit; they will live like fat cattle and die no better.
'Half the charm of climbing mountains is born in visions preceding this experience - visions of what is mysterious, remote, inaccessible', declared Mallory. And on all the other planes of our life, it is this urge to explore, to realise the vision, to adventure far and go always a little further, that alone justifies man's hope of all fullness of living: the unfolding and fulfilment of all the powers of his soul. This adventurous spirit must not be permitted to die if man's true way and end is not to be betrayed in a general softening of will and deprivation of purpose”….
- W.H. Murray - The Story of Everest 1921 - 52.
January 17th: Paul Driver - “Overseas” (illustrated).
January 24th: John Freeland - “Ants, Bull and otherwise”.
January 31st: Mr. Casperson - C.J. Dennis
Coming - February 28th: - Colin Putt “New Guinea” - the 1961 N.Z.A.C. Expedition.
Heinrich Harrer (author of Seven Years in Tibet, and The White Spider) was in Sydney during December, staying with Colin Putt to get information on Mt. Carstenz in New Guinea.
On Committee Meeting night December 6th, about fifty S.B.W's were entertained by an unscheduled talk given by Mr. Harrer, who told of adventures in Tibet and other places with rare wit and modesty. To say that the audience was spellbound is an understatement.
On the weekend 9-10th December Colin led a small party - including his visitor, on a favourite S.B.W. trip - Carlon's, Breakfast Creek, Cox's River, Galong Creek (not to the 'Snowy Mountains' as reported in the popular press).
Australia Day. January 27-28-29.
Swimming, fishing, spinebashing, coastal scenery.
Leader: Jack Gentle. XM6121 (H), LA6041 (B).
8.30 a.m. train to waterfall. Easy walk to campsite.
For further details, see Leader and the Port Hacking Tourist Map in the Cupboard.
Thrilling gorge scenery, swimming in crystal pools and blackberries galore.
Steep drop from Carrington Falls on to Upper Kangaroo River. Mostly medium walking to comfortable Base Camp at Yeola.
Leader: Frank Leyden. UA0791, Ext 771.
Train: 5.45 p.m. to Kiama.
Map: Kiama Military.
- Alex Colley.
There were no new members present at the start of our meeting, but one old member, Ron Knightley, had returned from faraway places and was welcomed back by the President. Several other old members, still faraway, sent us Christmas cards. They included Ken Lewis, Dorothy Lawry, Margaret Ryan and Sheila Binns.
The Treasurer's Report revealed that, even near the close of the financial year, subs still rolled in. They totalled £13 for the month, contributing to our bank balance of £l81.17. 5d. Our Social Secretary reported mixed financial results on the social front. The auction sale had been a success, netting £15 for the Club. But the same amount had been lost on the dance because, although we catered for 80 and provided our own supper, only 60 turned up. Pam was rather puzzled by this - would the Club prefer a small party in the Club room? However the response to Jack Gentle's vote of thanks to Pam for organising the dance, and also the very enjoyable supper, left no doubt that those who attended thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Ron Knightley attributed the low attendance to the purely unpredictable nature of bushwalkers. The President said that complaints had been registered that many of the items brought to the auction sale could be regarded as rubbish. It had been suggested that the auctioneer might be empowered in the future to decide what was worth auctioning.
Our Walks Secretary reported that Snow Brown's Danae Brook trip had been made after heavy rain. However, after five rather long abseils the 8 starters found the rest mainly rock hopping. Some magnificent cedars were found along the creek. On the Sunday the party returned via Crafts Walls. Brian Harvey and Frank Ashdown's boat trip from Bobbin Head had been altered to 1 day and had been attended by 9 starters. Ern French's Glenbrook Gorge trip had been attended by one member. Ern reported that the fire trail now extended from the end of Glenbrook Road to the causeway. It was therefore now continuous through to WoOdford. Wilf's trip from the Tolwong Road had attracted three starters. The Water Board had recently re-surveyed Bullee trig. Colin Putt's rock-climbing instructional to Perry's Lookdown and Lockley's Pylon attracted 9 starters, but Bob Godfrey's swimming, boating and walking trip to Glenbrook and Erskine Creeks ran foul of the rain and the four starters holed up in a cave under the flying fox at Glenbrook Creek, from which they watched the water rise. Jim Brown's trip to Stanwell Tops on the 18th also had rain trouble. Because of a landslide, causing train cancellation, the trip didn't get under way till 11.15 a.m. By the 17th the walkers had had the rain, and there were no starters on Ben Esgate's trip, nor on Lynette White's camping and swimming trip to Camden, which would have provided plenty of swimming, but no camping. However by the 26th the waters were receding, and Irene Pridham's walk to Burning Palms was well attended.
Next the President welcomed a newly arrived new member - Pat Dalton.
Federation report revealed that considerably better sales of the Federation magazine would be required if its cost were to be covered. Federation delegates then told us that it had been decided to ask each club to take on a specific responsibility at the Federation Reunion. It was proposed that the S.B.W. undertake the cleaning up of the campsite. This initiated a long debate which was only resolved in the affirmative by the Chairman's casting vote. Jack Wren said that our responsibility should only be to organise the cleaning up, since it was not known in advance how maw S.B.W. members would turn up and there could be a repetition of last year, when one or two S.B.W. members had to build a camp fire at Burning Palms. Frank Ashdown pointed out that many who voted on the issue would not be there anyway. Snow Brown said that some jobs had to be allotted beforehand, or they wouldn't be organised, and it was understood that the Club responsible didn't have to do the job itself; but merely see that it was carried out with the help available. Another school of thought was there should be no mess to clean up after a bushwalker's camp, particularly a Federation Reunion. It was decided that the S.B.W. would undertake the job, but another motion, moved by Kath Brown, requested Federation delegate to point out that, although we were undertaking the job of cleaning up, this did not excuse Clubs leaving dirty camp sites.
Next our own Reunion Committee was appointed. It included Bill Rodgers, Jack Gentle, Bob Godfrey and Pam Baker.
Discussing the provision of camping gear for prospectives, Frank Ashdown said that it was only practical to provide rucksacks and groundsheets and these only for the first couple of trips done by a prospective. Most of the other equipment was easily obtained - there was no need, for instance, to provide billies. Sleeping bags required laundering, or inner bags, which had to be washed and dried.
The subject of “rushing for the door” after social functions, without waiting for announcements, was then brought up. It was pointed out that this usually occurred only when the functions went on after 10 p.m., but a motion by Kath Brown that social functions end before 10 p.m. was defeated.
It was decided that we would not concede to a request to write a letter of thanks to the builders of a memorial in Queensland to Ludwig Leichhardt. Jim Brown was of the opinion that we should aim at a standard of pathfinding somewhat higher than that attributed to the explorer.
On Frank Ashdown's motion it was decided to delete the question as to the occupation of prospectives from the membership form.
After the election of room stewards, the meeting closed at 9.35 p.m.
By “Our Social Reporter”.
Well, the grand Christmas Party for 1961 has come and gone again. The North Sydney Council Chambers was the rendezvous and the date was Friday December 8th.
This year, the Social Secretary decided to do the catering herself and by 7.45 p.m. Pam, assisted by Jack Gentle, David Ingram, Bob O'Hara, Ron Knightley and Mrs. Stuart Brooks, was hard at work directing operations such as the opening of tins, filling up plates, laying tables and putting out glasses. The supper was a triumph of ingenuity in that anything which wasn't eaten or used, except the drinking glasses, could be consigned to the garbage can.
A feature of the “do” was the number of members from away back who turned up. Dorothy and Len Webb and son Alan, Flo (Allsworth) and David McKinnon, Lola and Jack Manson [John Manson] and Peter and Mrs Price came along and Tom and Jean Moppett were accompanied by daughters Nancy and Katherine. Ron Knightley fresh from Worcester Park, Surrey, was in excellent “Mahratta Avenue form” - and had Stuart Brooks to keep him company.
The theme of the evening was “By The Sea”, or as Pam expressed it, an invitation to wear cool, comfortable clothing and, as the night was warm, we were glad of opportunity to do just that. Peggy Woolhouse, well camouflaged as “the wreck”, Pat Dalton and Bill Rowlands were the only new members to turn up after the recent influx of “newies”.
At about. 9.30 p.m., a curiously garbed creature crept into the room under a large umbrella. Dancing was temporarily suspended until we explored further. Whisk away the umbrella and Edna Stretton stands revealed in a pink and white striped neck-to-knee, complete with bathing cap and bow, black stockings and slippers. A real 1910 edition. What an entrance, Ed! You really stopped the show. After much deliberation, the expensive (?) prizes were awarded to Molly and Bill Rodgers as the Prawn and the Fisherman.
The evening was an undoubted success - how could it be otherwise when everybody present knew most of the other dancers! On the more serious side, financially, it was another flop. The number of admissions paid was 66, but the Social Secretary had estimated her costs on the conservative figure of 80.
Let's face it! Nothing pays for the losses except the Membership Subscriptions and, unless a lot more interest is taken in the functions where payment of a reasonable admission charge is involved, these “flings” must be discontinued. I say “must” because the loss on this function will absorb any profit from the recent highly successful auction. In addition, we still haven't been able to purchase a new duplicator. How urgent this is becoming is demonstrated by the fact that the production team recently spent 2 nights struggling with the present monster in an effort to produce a new song book, whereas it should have all been completed in one night together with a re-run of “Hints to Prospective Members”.
The Social Secretary has asked specially that her thanks be conveyed to all helpers who did their bit to make the function a success.
Woods Creek - Springwood Creek - Woods Creek.
Leader Alex Colley.
This will go by private transport which will leave Turramrra Station at 11.40 a.m. on Saturday 3rd February. The 10.55 a.m. electric from Wynyard will get starters to Turramurra by 11.32 a.m. in time to get on the Land Rover. Accommodation is at present limited to 7. In the unlikely event of a rush of starters the first 7 will be selected. Others can come if they have their own transport. About 4 of the 6 miles are pretty rough.
At Lake Eckersley, a wide sandy bend of the Woronora River, on 10th-11th February.
How to get there.
The official train for Saturday is the 8.30 a.m. to Heathcote. The leader for this party will be announced later.
For the Sunday trip Brian Harvey will meet the party from the 8.20 a.m. train at Heathcote Station at 9.14 a.m.
If you can't catch the official trains, see any seasoned Club member for directions or ring official leader after 4th February - 48-1462. Easy 2½ mile walk from Heathcote Stations mostly along the unused Water Board Road.
There are two Annual Trophies to be won -
Events will be :-
The point score will be decided on the open races, breastroke and long plunge.
Prospective members and visitors are welcome, but cannot be awarded places in races.
See Notice Board for further details.
High Altitude Observatory,
6th October, 1961.
“I am writing from new quarters; a bloke from work who has gone to New Zealand for 6 months has bequeathed me his house, a large modern 3-bedroom job on a mesa overlooking Boulder, with the Mountains as a backdrop. It is very luxurious and much more than I can properly use. Coming here will put up my cost of living, as, with winter coming, heating a house of this size will cost a packet; also it will involve me in sweeping the floor and changing the sheets once a month whether they need it or not, and sundry other chores such as shovelling the snow from the garden path; but for good or ill, I have moved in. Fortunately, there is no canary to feed.
Autumn has arrived in Colorado and the tree colours are fantabulous. The locals, moistly Easterners in origin, deprecate them saying that New England is much better but still it's colossal as far as I am concerned and I am taking lots of photos.
The mountains are under heavy snow now, and last Saturday I had my first experience of an avalanche. I got onto a patch where there was about a foot of powder snow on top of a hard glaze, and the whole lot just took off with me down the hill. I finished up bouncing across glazed rock at the bottom of the slope, but didn't suffer any injuries apart from bruises. However I can see that avalanches are a danger. This snow looked just like the rest of the snow I had been tramping through all day……”
“I'm working over Christmas. There's a mighty trip costing only 60 dollars going through Indian country in Mexico and with a climb of Pop-the-cat-in-the-Kettle en route, but I've decided that I waste so much time as it is in skiing, climbing and choir singing that I have to draw the line somewhere, and that I'd better not go…..
Tell Stitt that my 400 dollar car is still going well - I use it to go skiing each weekend and have a permanent arrangement with a women's dormitory at the University to fill any vacant seats. The car has only one trouble; the heater doesn't work properly, and at 55 below this causes the passengers to grumble, especially the one next to me, as she has a permanent job rubbing frost off the windscreen….”
From the Launceston Walking Club's Bulletin :-
“Narcissus Hut. This has been burnt down. No further details are known at the moment”. The Secretary anticipates further information shortly.
A new collection of Club songs, supplementary to the books already issued, is now available from Audrey Kenway at 1/- per copy. ThepJages are not bound into book form and are intended to be added to your red covered Song Book.
Available now from Paddy -
Magazine of the Hobart Walking Club contains :-
“Two articles on the Port Davey area complete the coverage of this wonderful region, our first long article being in the last issue No.14. The geology and the flora of the area are described.
When the distinguished mountaineers Sir Edmund Hillary and George Lowe visited Tasmania, walkers from many States camped with them in the mountains. The pleasures they found in the Tasmanian scene are recorded.
Binoculars may become standard equipment after reading “Birds and Bushwalking”.
Will we change our diet after reading “Food for Thought”?
Two authoritative articles complete with maps, describe walks in the South Coast and Mount Anne areas.
The heat wave last summer is graphically described in an account of “An Alpine Day”.
Read “Take Care of Your Axe” to learn that it's your friend, not an enemy.
Take your copy home to discover and enjoy the remaining eleven shorter articles.”
The price is 3/-, postage 5d. extra.
Just a Tree - and millions there be.
Evolution's greatest experiment
They would cover the Earth, given liberty
But for man, Nature's only delinquent.
Who looks at a Tree - looks at leaves,
And a beautiful sight it is to see,
Where every twig its way it weaves
Sure knowing and finding its place to be.
Only walkers of the bush, to pause o'night
Know all its secret elusive beauty.
As the campfire fountains it's dancing light,
Behold! … trunk and limb! … sculptured anatomy!
Only walkers of the bush - so self contained,
Accepting all gifts from storm to dew,
Find Nature's riches - for so 'tis ordained,
From whispering creek to boundless view.
And in the mad surge of progress and gain,
To counter the folly of man's domain,
Hold fast to the peace and balm the bush brings,
Sling on your pack…. all Nature sings!
Lilyvale - Burning Palms - Era. 6 miles.
An ideal summer excursion to our favourite surfing beaches. If you didn't have very good surfing conditions over Christmas why not try again on January 14th? Ron doesn't say how he'll get back, but, at a guess, it will be bus from Garie Beach to Waterfall.
Train: 8.38 a.m. Wollongong train from Central Steam Station. Tickets:- Lilyvale Return at 7/3d.
Map: Port Hacking Tourist.
Leader: Ron Knightley.
Engadine - Woronora River - Sutherland. 9 miles.
This walk should arrive at the Woronora River where the fresh water cascades into the tidal reaches (Sabagul crossing) near 2 or 3 good swimming pools. After the wet Summer we've had, some Mosquito repellant might make conditions more comfortable.
Train: 8.50 a.m. Cronulla Train from Central Electric Station. Change at Sutherland for rail motor to Engadine. Tickets: Engadine Return at 4/9d.
Map: Port Hacking Tourist.
Leader: Bill Rowlands.
Heathcote - Heathcote Creek - Lake Eckersley. 5 miles.
To join the Swimming Carnival. If you can't come for the weekend, come down for the day! Good swimming, competitive and otherwise, and plenty of fun.
Train: 8.20 a.m. Cronulla train from Central Electric Station - change at Sutherland for rail motor to Heathcote. (Not 8.30 a.m. train as shown in the Programme). Tickets: Heathcote Return at 5/3d.
Map: Port Hacking Tourist or Camden Military.
Leader: Brian Harvey.
Extracted from The Railway Guide of New South Wales. (For the use of Tourists, Excursionists and others), Third Edition, 1886.
For long after the opening of the Main Western Road, Mount Hay was supposed to be inaccessible, until that indefatigable explorer, Count Strzelecki successfully crossed the ravines and ascended the summit. 'Some idea', says Sir Thomas Mitchell in his work on Australia, 'may be formed of the intricate character of the mountain ravines in the neighbourhood, from the difficulties experienced by the surveyors in endeavouring to obtain access to Mount Hay. Mr. Dixon, in an unsuccessful attempt, penetrated to the Valley of the Grose, until then unvisited by man; and when he at length emerged from the ravines in which he had been bewildered for 4 days he thanked God (to use his own words in an official letter) that he had found his way out of them…'
Even Count Strzelecki tells us that in the course of his researches he was engulfed in the endless labyrinth of the almost subteraneous gullies of Mt. Hay, and was unable to extricate himself and his men until after days of incessant fatigue, danger and starvation.
But, he adds, the ascent of Mt. Hay, when these difficulties are once surmounted, repays richly the exertions and fatigues which it entails.
“From “Perry's Lookdown”, the track is continued past 'Docker's Ladder', down to a place called the 'Gap' and so on to 'Junction Camp' in the “Gorge of the Grose” properly so called, 2,150 feet below the Blackheath platform; but no ordinary visitor should on any account attempt to visit these last named spots without a thoroughly competent guide…”
From the foot of the cliffs sloped away for hundreds of feet further, a huge talus - for one must use the geological term as no other is available - all overgrown with forest, and this ran down into the depths of the valley, the broad floor of which was all covered with small ranges of hills like the blue storm tossed billows of a mighty sea. But in the midst of the valley right before us rises a massive hill, level with the ground we stand on … this is the Solitary, but it's savagely isolated, inaccessible look, and its general confotmation … reminded us of views we had seen of the great unscaleable mountains of Roraima, on the borders of British Guiana.
For all your transport from Blackheath contact Hatswell's Taxi & Transport Service. Ring, write, wire or call any hour - day or night.
'Phone: Blackheath W459 of W151.
Booking office: 4 doors from the Gardners Inn Hotel (look for the neon sign).
Speedy 5 or 8 passenger cars available. Large or small parties catered for.
We will be pleased to quote trips or special parties on application.
- Brian Harvey.
It was resolved to write to the Mines Department requesting that any damage to the bushlands in the search for coal be reduced to a minimum and that if possible the Blue Gum Forest Area be left intact from shaft-sinking, etc. and access roads.
The Publications Committee expressed deep concern at the slow sales. The S.B.W. undertook to distribute order forms through its monthly magazine as a means of stimulating sales to those who do not frequent the Club room to make cash purchases, or alternatively, as a means of a Christmas gift to an interested friend. Federation is at present very much out of pocket and all walkers are requested to purchase at least one copy.
Mr. Paul Barnes reported a meeting with the Water Board in an endeavour to make arrangements for the Search and Rescue Section to be in the position to obtain a key to the locked road gates when searches are in progress in this area, for the admission of vehicles useful for S & R purposes. Good hopes are held for success.
The Section reported unprecedented interest in the last demonstration weekend. It was estimated nearly 300 walkers and friends were present on the Sunday. Mr. Melville is to be congratulated on his organisation of the demonstrations.
The news was received with regret that Mr. Myles Dunphy has retired from the Trust as he has reached the maximum age permitted by the Trustees Act.
Mr. Geoffrey Wagg was nominated by the Federation to fill a vacancy on the Trust.
Mr. Hampstead was elected to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Mr. David “Snow” Brown.
The S & R Section reported that a recent party changed the route of their trip without advising parents and their Club, and when overdue much inconvenience was caused. The section made an appeal to all walkers to acquaint parents with change of plans.
The Publicity Section is investigating the possibility of the Federation entering a float next year.
Club delegates are asked to submit to the January Meeting suggestions for a venue for the 1962 Re-Union.
Alex Colley, Bill Cosgrove and Kevin Dean followed Ettrema Creek downstream from end to end (5 days). Weather mostly fine - delightful cliffy gorge scenery in the upper part with grassy flats further down.
Frank Leyden and party of five spent 10 days on and around the Kowmung. Water very high and running strongly. More details of this later, we hope.
Jack Wren's party, also in the Kowmung area.
The Esgate, Brown, Joyce party of seven spent 6 days in the Coolamen Caves - Goodradigbee area. Caveing, walking, swimming and soaking up the sun. Weather mainly good - Trout biting well.
Frank Young's party, also in the Coolamen area.
Twenty or so S.B.W's and camped the New Year Weekend at the pool above Carrington Falls and from all accounts had a wow of a time. Weather mostly drizzly.
More S.B.W's visited Peter and Rae Page for a New Year Re-Union. Weather mostly wet.
Others at Era - no details.
It is a foldable, transparent, soft, flexible, plastic sheet which can be bent and creased and which will not break or show scratches. Furthermore, “microfolie” is immune against climatic conditions and time. It is resistant to acids, alkali, oil, perspiration and sea water. It gives the widest protection against tearing, corroding and dirt. Any map or document this miracle material is attached to is equally immune and will last almost indefinitely despite limitless handling under the roughest conditions. Sample pieces are available at Paddy's to see before you invest in the most terrific map protection ever. Make your precious maps last all your walking days.
It can be drawn on with soft coloured pencils and can easily be wiped clean without leaving any trace.
We have some VERY interesting new contour maps available of Burragorang, Yerranderie and Ulladulla areas in the very handy scale of 1 in 25,000. Ask to see them. They're fascinating.
Our best wishes to all for the New Year.
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney. BM2685.
We continue the story of the Kowmung with Paddy's account of his Easter 1939 'Swimming through the gorges' trip.
- Paddy Pallin. (First printed in the S.B.W. February, 1940).
Tales of “Tigers” swimming down the Kowmung fired my imagination and I gazed longingly at the map. If only it could be done over Easter! Outward transport to the Kanangra Road was easy and news that the Debert-Smiths were doing a Yerranderie trip made return transport from Yerranderie to Camden possible. Jack Watson (Rover Ramblers) heard me thinking and joined in. Lex Smith and I have a standing engagement for Easter trips. The idea was broached to Paul Howard. He wavered (I think there was a girl in it) but fell.
So it was that Jack, Lex, Paul and I found ourselves on the way to Jenolan Caves on the Thursday before Easter. Hearing that many others were bound Kanangra-wards, we had schemed to be out at Cunynghame's before the mob. We got a flying start from Blackheath, had a dreamlike drive through the misty moonlit gorges of Jenolan and then alas! the car broke down on Oberon Hill and we had the galling experience of seeing one car after another, all packed with walkers, pass on. We spent hours sucking the vacuum feed and milking petrol out of the tank. Then some bright laddie came along, tightened a nut on the battery, and off we went.
About a mile from the turn-off we struck mud and the driver refused to go further, so we were ejected into the stilly night to proceed under our own power. We walked five miles along the broad highway which seemed so out of place on the lonely Kanangra Main. We reached Cunynghame's and camped at 3.30 a.m.
At 7 a.m. we rose reluctantly. Camped around us were about 100 walkers. Was there ever such a crowd there before? Packs up and away at 8.30 a.m.
Left the track at Roley Whalen's hut and had lunch where Pfeffer's Trail crosses the Boyd. We found the going good down the left bank for a couple of miles. Crossed over, after a false alarm, found the Tuglow Lookout and then descended into the Kowmung Valley.
Having seen numerous photographs of Morong Falls I had a mental picture of a thin ribbon of water falling down a cliff. Knowing that the Board was running high I expected to see a good fall, but I was hardly prepared for what met our gaze as we rounded the shoulder of the hill during the descent. Words cannot describe that thundering avalanche of water. I can hear it still. Paul went to the foot of the first terrific fall and he was dwarfed to insignificance besides its immensity. The rest of us took photographs. I went mad and took about a dozen shots.
To get across was the next job. We descended to what appeared to be the usual crossing but it looked impossible. Decided to descend to the Kowmung and cross it.
After one hour of laborious rock climbing and lowering packs on ropes, we landed on top of a sheer 30 foot cliff with deep water below. Ruefully we scrambled back and tackled the falls again. Found a pool with the water cascading in one side and out of the other. It was dusk; the cold water swirled darkly. We tied up our packs with foreboding and waterproofing. We stripped slowly, entered reluctantly and emerged shivering but triumphant. Half a mile downstream we found what sufficed for a campsite on the steep mountainside and four weary walkers fed and slept.
Next day(Saturday) we sidled for a while looking for an opportunity to descend to the water. At last we got down and eagerly tied up our packs in the 3' x 3' proofed bags we had fetched. We also donned the “mammae” as we soon christened them. We had realised that the water would be cold and knew the River would be high. Therefore to minimise risk we had devised floats consisting of an ordinary penny balloon placed in 7“ x 9” tucker bag. Two of these were attached to the back by means of tapes tied round the chest. They were very successful and their buoyancy was sufficient to support head and shoulders out of the water without effort. (When not in use between swims two sets were quite easily carried in a Japara bucket slung behind the rucksack.)
We negotiated our first rapid and swam a pool. It was easy. The next job was a rapid which swung round a bend. I led the way. Imagine my horror when I found I had entered a pool surrounded by steep rocks and not ten yards away a twinkling winking line of water, the top (as we found afterwards) of a 30 foot waterfall.
I yelled but the noise of the water drowned my voice and round the corner came Paul. He managed to reach a little bay on the other side of the pool and there he was trapped by the swift current. By dint of hanging on to slippery rocks I managed to get on to a ledge and get back whence I had come, and told the others what had happened. We crossed the river, rescued Paul and found it impossible to descend the waterfall. After battling our way upstream again, we managed to find a way up the steep cliffs which rose on each side of the river.
Morong Deep! How little words can convey. I had heard walkers talk of Morong Deep in hushed tones. I even knew that four miles was good going for a day's walk, but Morong Deep has to be seen to be believed. It's rough. It's tough. But it's great stuff. You feel that here is a man's job to battle through. Cliffs to scale, ledges to negotiate, steep mountain sides, thickets to break through.
We sidled for the rest of the morning and had lunch at Peatfield Creek junction.
After lunch we sidled down the left bank for over a mile of fairly easy going. Then steep cliffs barred the way. It took us half an hour to cross the river, after which we got our packs into the water and swam one or two easy pools. Then we had another thrill. After lowering our packs over a ledge alongside a waterfall I got ahead of the party and launched my pack in what appeared to be a long, swift flowing pool. The rocks on each side were granite worn smooth by ages of flowing waters. I had a great feeling of power as the slightest effort seemed to send me forward at great speed. Suddenly I was made to realise that I was but flotsam as I tumbled swiftly over a cascade. There was little danger as the water flowed smoothly in a wide channel of clean rocks. I had no sooner recovered from the first than I was hurled into a second and a third cascade. I enjoyed the spills and emerged chuckling.
Pulling into the shore, I quickly opened up my pack, emptied out some of the water, got out my camera and malted for the others. I as rewarded with two good shots. One was of Lex, felt hat pulled firmly down over his eyes, taking the rapid feet first. The laugh was on me for it was then I realised I had lost my glasses in the excitement.
The next bit was a ticklish one requiring the negotiating of slippery rook ledges 20 ft. above the swift water. Then another problem. We came to the top of a fall. Thirty feet below us was a lovely pool four or five hundred yards long. There was an easy ramp down to it on the other side of the river. Here the whole river flowed through two narrow channels; we crossed the first and stood debating ways and means of crossing the second - a swift flowing, deep channel with a waterfall a few yards downstream. Then the hero in Paul spoke and said, “Well, I suppose my life's not worth much. Gimme that rope”. In he plunged, taking a rope with him; a few powerful strokes, a tense moment, a mighty heave, and Paul was over. The rest was easy. We floated the packs over and then crossed and descended the ramp. It was getting dusk as we swam the pool and it was eerie swimming in the now silent waters between steep rock walls. We were all shivering violently with cold when we emerged. Rapids ahead and so we sidled on the steep right bank. By great good fortune we stumbled on the only flat spot for miles around and camped. There was only room for one tent, and so the four of us squeezed into it after drying out things which had got wet.
Next morning (Sunday) we found that we were camped near a high waterfall a little upstream from Hanrahan's Creek junction. We had the choice of crossing the river and testing the possibility of descending to the gorge below or sidling. As the chance of descent seemed small and the river crossing was not easy, we decided to sidle. Three hours later, four tired trampers had lunch half a mile downstream. Here we had our first conference on the possibility of making Yerranderie in time. We decided that it was just possible.
After lunch the going was good (in comparison); we crossed Werong Creek and had once again to climb out of the valley. The magnificent red granite bluff of Rudder's Rift now came into view and we descended into the rift and worked our way along the river's edge to Wedgetail Bluffs. Here we camped and after dinner; anxiously scanned maps again to find our chances of getting to Yerranderie on the morrow. We decided to make a dawn start. Porridge was put on and eggs placed in water beside the huge fire we had lit.
Monday saw us up by daylight. The fire we had left must have died down rapidly for, alas, the porridge and eggs were raw. We ate them nevertheless and got away at 7 a.m.
The map seemed to indicate that most of the rough stuff was over, but after walking a few hundred yards we were confronted with the choice of swimming or climbing. The morning was cold and bleak and we decided to climb. How our poor thighs protested and lungs laboured as we bent our backs to clamber up the rocky mountainside. Yerranderie began to seem a distant mirage.
Down to the water again and half the party swam round an outjutting rock. The others climbed over. This was the only swimming we did this day. Past the obstacle it was easy going for a while and spirits began to rise. Soon, however, we were confronted with towering cliffs. Our hearts sank. On Myles Dunphy's map we saw the inscription “Hatchers High Sidling”. Uncomfortable words! We toiled up again. The going was not as bad as it looked, however, and at 11 a.m. we reached the river again.
The water had by now dropped considerably. Nevertheless crossings were still slow and arduous. Suddenly, however, the character of the valley changed and we found ourselves walking in what we had hitherto considered typical Kowmung country. The Kowmung of casuarina and pleasant grassy flats. We quickened our pace and rejoiced at the level turf beneath our feet. At 1 p.m. we arrived at Lannigan's Creek junction.
After a hasty lunch we set off again at 1.40. Despite the nettles which warmly caressed our knees, the ferny loveliness of this valley, tranquil in the afternoon sun, was balm to our spirits after the austere grandeur of the rugged gorges we had traversed till now. We had arranged that the lorry should not wait for us after 5.30 p.m. Maybe he would wait till 6 p.m. and we might just do it. We made good pace up Lannigan's Creek and arrived at Colong Caves at 3 p.m.
Then came the grind up Green Gully to the ridge. What fools we were to think we could reach Yerranderie in time. The effects of three days hard going began to tell and weary limbs rebelled. We plodded slowly on towards a top which seemed ever to recede. Suddenly we reached the top. The afternoon was cool; the track easy, and soon we were striding along as though we did not know what weariness meant. We felt like giants refreshed. Colong Saddle - a little hesitation in Colong Swamp - picked up the track again through Tonalli Gap. The pace got better and better. Soon Jack and Paul, who had been rearing at the bit, could restrain themselves no longer and decided to trot into Yerranderie. Lex and I walked.
The two trotters arrived in Yerranderie at 6.5 p m. to find that the lorry had left five minutes earlier. Lex and I arrived ten minutes later. I will not distress you with the harassing tale of the next three hours of garbled messages and frantic phone calls. Suffice it to say that we chartered a car and overtook the lorry at Wollondilly Bridge at 9 p.m.
The party had been there since 5 p.m. and the lorry since 6.30. The delay meant that many of them would arrive back in town too late to catch their usual connections for home, but one and all were sportsmen and never a word of reproach did we hear.
Thus a memorable trip was brought to a successful conclusion by the friendly co-operation and kindly forbearance of fellow walkers.
About fifteen starters manned 3 rowing boats and one canoe in what proved the most 'colourful' Rudolph Cup ever.
Some competitors are still trying to remove the colour.
We think that Snow Brown's boat actually won, but seeing Snow was the judge, the final resting place of the Cup is somewhat in doubt.
Kanangra Road - Dungalla Heights - Chardon Canyon - Morong Falls - Boyd Range - Kanangra Road. 20 miles - Very rough.
A chance to see the wonderful Gorge country of the Upper Kowmung. (See also 'Kowmung Cavalcade' in recent issues of the S.B.W. for a description of the area). Packs should be light and waterproof. Starters must be able to swim with pack.
Leader: Wilf Hilder XB3144 (H). Private Transport.
Maps: Blue Mountains and Burragorang Tourist and Myles Dunphy's Kanangra Tops.
Shoalhaven River - Exploration of Block Up area - Tolwong Mine.
Another swimming-with-packs trip. River gorge scenery - sheer walls of the Blockup which is impassible except by water.
Leader: Wilf Hilder XB3144 (H). Private Transport.
Map: Sketch Map of Bungonia and The Block Up and Yalwal Military Map.
Mountain Lagoon - Colo River - Tootie Creek - Mountain Lagoon.
A little trodden area with rugged ridge and gorge scenery.
Leader: Stuart Brooks JU4343 (H). Private Transport.
Map: St. Alban's.