Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker.
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalker, The N.S.W. Nurses' Association Rooms, “Northcote Building”, Reiby Place, Sydney. Box No. 4476 G.P.O. Sydney. 'Phone JW1462.
333. September 1962. Price 1/-.
|Editor||Stuart Brooks, 5 Ingalara Rd, Wahroonga. 484343.|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales & Subs.||Lola Wedlock|
|Typed by||Shirley Dean|
|At Our August Meeting||A. Colley||2|
|The First Gangerang Walk||Max Gentle||5|
|Try This Recipe||7|
|How the Sun Was Made||9|
|Mountain Farming in Now Zealand||R. Kennealey||12|
|On The Spirit of the Folk Songs||Thornigah||16|
|Hilda Stoddart - Obituary||20|
|Hatswell's Taxi (ad)||15|
|Plumbing Trouble (ad)||15|
On Sunday August 5, a young climber, Paul Griffiths, fell to his death in the Wolgan Valley. The report in the daily newspaper was incomplete, and to a reader with any knowledge of climbing, would present an unflattering picture of the Club concerned, the Sydney Rock Climbing Club, and this, most unfairly.
According to the paper version, Paul Griffiths and Fred Kitchener were climbing together, when Kitchener decided to rest, and Griffiths went on alone. Kitchener saw Griffiths above him, saw him slip and fall, and (still according to the paper) could orly watch, powerless, as Griffiths plummetted past him.
The truth of the matter is that Griffiths and Kitchener were climbing, roped together. Other pairs climbers, similarly employed were in the vicinity. Both were climbers of some experience, Kitchener particularly so. On the pitch in question, Griffiths lead, being adequately belayed by Kitchener. When he was fifteen feet above Kitchener, Griffiths slipped and fell. Normally Kitchener would have held him, but to his horror, as the rope grew taut, Griffiths broke free.
Subsequent investigation showed that the knot in Griffiths' waist loop had come undone when the full shock of the fall was thrown on it, apparently due to having been faultily tied.
Such is tragedy. A moment's inattentiveness to small detail, and a life is lost.
The fact that Paul Griffiths was rock climbing has little bearing on this important truth.
And so that Paul Griffiths should not have died in vain, we all should take this lesson deeply to heart.
At Our August Meeting.
Our meeting commenced with a short silence in memory of one of the very early Club members - Max Gentle, and two other members of long standing - Ron Baker and Hilda Stoddart.
The president extended a welcome to new members - Jean and Alex Burton and Stan McDonald.
In correspondence there was a post-card from Edna Stretton and Sheila Binns, who had scaled, or by other means arrived, at the top of Snowdon and posted it from there.
The Treasurer reported receipt of further subscriptions to the value of £3l.5.-. Fund were increased by a donation of 2/- and a sale of tumblers.
The Walks Secretary reported an active month. The first walk of the month - Waterfall to Audley, led by Dick Childs, attracted 13 members 8 prospectives and 2 visitors. Sheila Tadman's walk to the Oaks on the next weekend was attended by 10 members and 2 prospectives. On the Friday night the party camped in a large cave near the Glenbrook Creek causeway, and the next day the prospectives were appointed acting leaders for the sake of experience. David Ingram's Sunday walk to Scouter's mountain was done by 15 members, 8 prospectives and 1 visitor. One of the party contracted cramp, and David had to take back along the road while Jack Gentle led the main party along the scheduled route. The wildflowers were profuse. Snow Brown had 7 starters on his Jerricknorra Creek walk and there were 9 members and 3 prospectives on Jim Brown's 15 mile Sunday walk in the Labyrinth, which was completed between 10 a.m. and 5.40 p.m. The Federation S & R week-end was well organised - the S.B.W. being well represented. There were over 40 searchers in 5 groups. Each leader directed and organised his own search. Special maps were issued and the searchers learnt a lot. At a large camp fire held at Burralow Creek, Bob Binks gave a lecture on S & R medical kit. The next day Colin Putt gave a rescue demonstration. On Molly Rodger's walk to Bluegum difficulty was found in negotiating the washed out portion of the track below Victoria Falls, which has been out of repair for some time. There were 21 starters on Jack Gentle's Sunday walk to Euroka. Mapping and Leadership instruction was given to all prospectives. Jack reported that Euroka is still in good shape, despite the bulldozing thereabout, except that three small trees have been cut down. On Dick Child's Waterfall Sunday walk, on the last week-end of the month, there were 9 members and 3 prospectives.
Brian Harvey sent a message to say that he was unable to continue as a member of the panel of lecturers. Colin Putt offered to fill the gap and was appointed to the panel. A Parks and Playground delegate will be elected at the half-yearly meeting.
On behalf of the Club Bill Rodgers extended congratulations to Lynette White and Roy Craggs on their recent engagement.
Wilf Hilder then told us of a new edition of the 4 miles to the inch Sydney Geological map, a new Wollongong sheet and a new edition of Myles Dunphy's Kanangra Tops map. Corang and Ulladulla maps would probably be available before the end of the year. Yalwal, Touga and provisional maps for areas to the West would be completed within 18 months, while the Bindook sheet should be out this week. Wilf also told us that Mr. Lang of Bindook and Mr. Gardiner had been successful in prosecuting trespassers through the gate to their properties, but Mr. Lang didn't mind letting walkers have the key to the gate when requested (Frank Leyden's party visited the homestead at Queen's birthday week-end and had a friendly chat with Mrs. Lang and Mr. Scott of the Forestry Department).
After electing Don Matthews, Jack Gentle, Lynette White and Eileen Taylor as room stewards, the meeting drew to a close at 9.6 p.m.
On every train or plane or bus
There is a child who makes a fuss -
A restless kid who writhes and stands
And eats and gropes with sticky hands.
In and out, out and in
And always going where he's been.
If I'm disturbed, and somewhat vexed, too
The reason is, it's he I'm next to.
And yet I really cannot whine
Because my luck is bad. He's mine.
Cowan - Cole Trig. - Porto Bay - Railway Dam - Brooklyn. 12 miles.
It is some time since this country has been visited. The area is mainly unspoiled and contains some lovely wild flower specimens, which should be in full bloom. Gaiters recommended.
Train: 8.15 a.m. Gosford train from Central Steam Station to Cowan. Tickets: Hawkesbury River @ 11/11 return.
Map: Broken Bay Military or Hawkesbury River Tourist. Leader: Jim Brown.
Waterfall - Mt. Westmacott - Heathcote Creek - Heathcote. 9 miles.
In recent years there has been a splendid showing of Native Rose on Mt. Westmacott. Although a little late in the flowering season, there could be some nice specimens about. Suitable for new members.
Train: 8.50 a.m. Cronulla train from Central Electric Station. Change at Sutherland for rail motor to Waterfall. Tickets: Waterfall return @ 5/9.
Map: Port Hacking Tourist. Leader: Ramon U'Brien.
Hornsby - Koala Bear Park - Bobbin Head - The Sphinx - Turramurra. 9 miles.
This trip includes a visit to the Koala Bear Sanctuary in Kuringai Chase and then traverses a picturesque portion of the Chase.
Train: 9.10 a.m. Hornsby via Bridge from Central Electric Station. Tickets: Hornsby via Bridge @ 5/6 return plus about 5/- for bus fares and inspection fee at the Sanctuary.
Map: Broken Bay Military. Leader: Gladys Roberts.
Your editor still has a slightly pink face after last month's fanfare of trumpets for the new series of articles on recipes, and its subsequent omission.
We trust you didn't spend too long looking for it. This omission was due to a last minute alteration in the form of the magazine and part of its staff. With luck you'll find it in this issue.
These articles are to deal with food and its preparation, and can only come from you. Comments on diet and food lists, how you carry your food and quantities are of equal interest to its preparation, though these things go hand-in-hand.
Anyway, don't be backward. Let's hear from you.
The First Gangerang Walk
After visiting Kanangra Walls, via Gingra, in August, 1928, my next ambition was to walk over the Gangrang Range. On joining the Sydney Bush Walkers in 1929, I learnt that this range was unknown to club members, and the data given on available maps was very limited.
While fellow member, Myles Dunphy, tempted me with descriptions of the Upper Kowmung Gorge, somehow the rugged heights of Gangerang proved the greater attraction.
A Burragorang Cattleman, Michael Maxwell; had been on part of Gangerang, and information given by him indicated the best places to climb the range, and its low cliffs, also where water might be found.
While I was on a Friday evening train journey on Eight Hour weekend, 1929, a chance meeting with Gordon Smith, at Valley Heights, resulted in having company on my Gangerang walk, instead of going alone.
I knew that Gordon would see the distance because he was 50 miles champion road walker of Australia. Needless to say we made good progress on the walk out from Wentworth Fails that night to our camp site at the Sunset Rock. No tent, blankets or sleeping bags were carried and we slept on a bed of leaves by a log fire. Fortunately the weather was fine and clear, and we made good time with our light packs, walking down Kedumba Pass next morning.
We reached our breakfast site on Cox's River at 8.30 a.m., and the Kowmung junction at 12 noon.
At 2.30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon we commenced to climb the Gangerang Range, from a point one mile further up the Cox. The ridge was at first a lightly timbered grassy slope, and rose very steeply for about 1,400 feet, then becoming boulder strewn, with thicker undergrowth. A low cliff with a cave was skirted here, being similar to the rocks on the adjacent Mt. Kookem. A fine view opened out up the Cox gorge, as far as the “Konangaroo Creek” the area mentioned by Surveyor Govett's writings, and its western tributary, rising near the “highest land”, called by the Blacks of his time (if the word can be written as they pronounced it) “Kuo-uogang”.
About four miles from our viewpoint could be seen the low cliffs of Gangerang plateau, and so we continued to ascend the ridge we were on, which was seen swinging more to the southwest, in that direction.
Our route lay through a thick forest of Turpentine and Eucalyptus saplings, but we sometimes enjoyed a glimpse of the mountain country northward to Mt. Mouin and Clear Hill. One of the best views was looking down Little Ti-Willa Creek and across the Komung [Kowmung] River, to Byrnes Gap and Tonalli Range.
Nightfall found us camped on a bed of leaves by a log fire, and we each had a two quart billy of water, which we had carried up from the river.
At daybreak next morning we continued walking along the thickly timbered flat topped ridge, which soon commenced to rise steeply, and eventually reached the foot of the low cliffs of sandstone and conglomerate.
A way up was found through a break in these cliffs (Gentle's Pass) on the Ti-willa Creek side, and then, after walking a mile on a lightly timbered, stony ridge on the plateau, a stop was made for breakfast by a running stream, in a swampy upland gully.
Later we walked southward over a slight rise, and then across the main marsh of the plateau, in the direction of a high hill, which we then thought to be the Gangerang peak. On reaching its crest we could see higher land ahead, and further progress was temporarily halted by a precipitous canyon, which a creek from the marsh had cut right through the ridge we were on (a geographical rarity).
This creek was later to be named “Dex Creek”, and the high hill “Mt. Bolwarra”. The view west extended across the Kanangra gorge, while eastward could be seen the grassy flats of the Lower Cox Valley.
After crossing Dex Creek, a well defined quartzite ridge led us along to the highest point of the range (Mt. Cloudmaker) at 12 noon, where marvellous views opened out over Kanangra gorge, and the famous walls, glowing in the sunlight.
The ridge then became very spectacular, and ran westward, resembling a great heap of boulders, coming to a point on top. It dipped and rose again about three times, and then swung southward. After a series of dips and knobs, the rock hopping over the very hard type of quartzite became easier, and the now grassy ridge descended steeply to Gabes Gap, the lowest saddle on the range in this section. From this gap it was possible to look west down a dry creek bed to Kanangra Creek, while a gully with tree ferns dropped down on the east side to Gingra Creek.
A very steep climb followed and presently we came to the foot of Craft's Wall, which we avoided, by keeping on its east side. After passing a number of caves, formed by the overhanging walls, we found ourselves on the main ridge again, which, after less than a mile, ended under the walls of Kanangra Tops. A break in the walls, 100 yards to the south, provided a way up. This was later to be named “Smith's Pass”. From there it was easy going west past Mt. Maxwell and over a narrow neck to the iron ladder.
Our campsite for the night, in the cave with the dance platform, was reached at 4 p.m. a little over a day's walk from the Cox-Kowmung junction.
On Monday morning Gordon was more at ease, walking along the old cart track to Jenolan Caves. We passed through the Grand Arch there at 1.30 p.m., and continued walking along the road for another 11 miles before being given a ride in a service car to Mt. Victoria, in time to catch the 7.15 p.m. train to Sydney.
Thus ended a good three days walk, but the next few months saw the first ascent of Mt. Paralyser and Thurat, the first visit to Mt. Guouogang, and the first walk along Yellow Dog.
I remember standing on Mt. Moorilla, after a spell of torrential rain, in June 1930, when the view from there was really a picture, as it included five big waterfalls on the side of Thurat, which are not usually running. Next day, the first descent of Ti-willa Buttress was made.
It was good to walk along the well defined ridges of this predominantly quartzite country. The experience gained in bushwalking there was essential to us in 1931, when we ventured into a relatively dry Capertee-Colo area, which is only partly surveyed, but otherwise of rugged sandstone country, deeply intersected by ravines.
Try This Recipe.
(Suitable more for reunions or field weekends than rugged walks).
Steak a l'Eucalypt.
Marinate a good thick slab of steak. Marinate? I look up the dictionary.
“Marinate (ade) v.t. to pickle in vinegar or brine (see also Pick1e.)”
So I look up pickle.
“Pickle - v.t. preserve in vinegar or brine see also marinate (ade):- ed preserved etc. coloq. drunk.”
I call in the cooking expert round the house.
“Marilyn” I say (I always call her Marilyn when I want something. We both know I'm kidding, but it seems to work) “What does 'marinate' mean?” “Well”, she says, “it simply means to soaks” “Well,” I say, “Why on earth don't they say soak.” “Because”, she says “it doesn't quite mean to soak”. I give up.
Marinate a good thick slab of steak in claret with chopped garlic for an hour. Then rub both sides well with butter and season with spices to your own taste.
Have a hot plate ready over a charcoal fire. Place gum leaves above and below the steak and cook fast.
Serve with a glass of cool claret.
This we guarantee.
Anyone who thinks television has killed conversation, doesn't pay the phone bill.
Photo facts for photo fiends.
[ Cartoon of photographer taking a photos of a person of wide girth. ]
Caption: Some subjects require a wide angle lens.
Australia has the dubious honour of possessing one of the worlds few poisonous ticks, the so-called grass tick.
As usual, it is the female of the species that causes all the trouble. Before she can lay her eggs, she needs a feed of blood: and to this end, she attaches herself to a passing host, by inserting into the host's flesh a barbed proboscis. The barbs are similar to those on a fish hook, and it is virtually impossible for the host to scratch the tick off.
For the first two days, the tick grows very little in size, but during this period, it forms a completely new outer skin. For the next three days it grows rapidly to the size of a pea. At this stage, it injects a digestive juice into the host, which dissolves the flesh around the barbs and allows the tick to fall off. She then lays her batch of eggs on the ground.
These eventually hatch into larvae, which climb up the blades of grass and wait for a host to come along. They attach themselves to the host, just like Mum, have a suck, and drop off. They then turn into nymphs; a sexless, intermediate stage in the life of the tick. The nymph also goes through the blood sucking routine before it finally changes into the adult, male or female, tick. Like leeches, ticks have few attractive features, but like most things in nature, they do have their fascinating side.
How The Sun Was Made.
[ Aboriginal artwork ]
(a description of the drawing is at the end of the article)
For a long time there was no suns only a moon and stars. That was before there were men on the earth, only birds and beasts, all of which were many sizes larger than they are now.
One day Dinevan the emu and Brolga the native companion were on a large plain near the Murrumbidgee. There they were, quarrelling and fighting. Brolga, in her rage, rushed to the nest of Dinewan and seized from it one of the huge eggs, which she threw with all her force up to the sky. There it broke on a heap of firewood, which burst into flame as the yellow yolk split all over it, which flame lit up the world below, to the astonishment of every creature on it. They had only been used to the semi-darkness, and were dazzled by such brightness.
A good spirit who lived in the sky saw how bright and beautiful the earth looked when lit up by this blaze. He thought it would be a good thing to make a fire every day; which from that time he has done. All night he and his attendant spirits collect wood and heap it up. When the heap is nearly big enough they send out the morning star to warn those on earth that the fire will soon be lit.
The spirits, however, found this warning was not sufficient, for those who slept saw it not. Then the spirits thought they must have some noise made at dawn of day to herald the coming of the sun and waken the sleepers. But for a long time they could not decide to whom should be given this office.
At last one evening they heard the laughter of Goo-goor-gaga the laughing jackass ringing through the air.
“That is the noise we want,” they said.
Then they told Goo-goor-gaga that, as the morning star faded and the day dawned, he was every morning to laugh his loudest, that his laughter might awaken all sleepers before sunrise. If he would not agree to do this, then no more would they light the sun-fire, but let the earth be ever in twilight again.
But Goo-goor-gaga saved the light for the world.
He agreed to laugh his loudest at every damn of day; which he has done ever since, making the air ring with his loud cackling, “Goor-goor gaga, goo goor gaga, goo goor gaga.”
When the spirits first light the fire it does not throw out much heat. But by the middle of the day when the whole heap of firewood is in a blaze, the heat is fierce. After that it begins to die gradually away until only red embers are left at sunset; and they quickly die out, except a few the spirits cover up with clouds, and save to light the heap of wood they get ready for the next day.
Children are not allowed to imitate the laughter of Goo-goor-gaga, lest he should hear them and cease his morning cry.
If children do laugh as he does, an extra tooth grows above their eye-tooth, so that they carry a mark of their mockery in punishment for it, because well the good spirits know that if ever a time comes wherein the Goo-goor-gagas cease laughing to herald the sun, then the time will have come when no more Daens are seen in the land; and darkness will reign once more.
Here is the good spirit who decided to keep the fire going to light the world each day. Around him is the Emu, the Native Companion and the Kookaburra. Up beside the spirit's head is the egg just after the Native Companion had thrown it. The part about the yolk igniting the firewood in the sky is left out. The dots in the “look-nice” part represent all the talk that went on at the beginning of the story and later the chuckling of the Kookaburra.
The coldest day in Sydney's recorded history! The fourth warmest August day on record! All within a week.
With the thermometer going up and down like a yo-yo it is difficult for anyone to keep comfortably warm or cool as the case may be. Out of doors men the world over have found the string singlet solves problems of this nature most satisfactorily, giving the happy owner air conditioned comfort under extremes of hot and col weather conditions.
The old firm has a supply of these in from Norway now, 21/- & 30/- athletic and T shirt styles.
For anyone requiring a really tough jumper for colder trips we have some famous Iceland and Pedek Norwegian jumpers for sale at real bargain prices: £3.18.6, £4.2.6 & £6.6.0.
The skiing crowd is thinning out so don't be scared of looking in.
Paddy Pallin Pty Ltd. Lightweight Comp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St, Sydney. BM2685.
Mountain Farming In New Zealand.
High country musterers never walk with a light step, even at two-thirty a.m. The row their tri-cuni studded boots made on the bare pine floor of Macorora's dining room brought a waking thought that the horses had come inside through the night. A shouted rejoinder from Kevin to someone in the kitchen brought forth a more orthodox explanation for the racket. Today we were starting the spring tailing muster and in such style would we be breakfasting for the next four days, provided the weather held. The brief greetings and casual remarks of people bound by an easy bond of past associations passed between the homestead people and the four hired musterers as they stamped into the breakfast table. Evan, Kevin and the two Peters had staged an unexpected and riotous arrival during dinner some several hours earlier. That they would make such a rigorous reappearance after a brief absence was hardly what I had anticipated, but then my knowledge of New Zealand high country and its star performers wasn't far above tourist level. The light mist which hung around the house evoked a loud discussion about the chances of it clearing, for if it stayed on the high slopes, there would be no mustering that day. The musterers talked and argued loudly and assertively; a style well suited to free spirits who rarely felt the need for a compromising statement, especially when the talk hinged as it largely did on dogs, sheep, mountains and men. They occasionally lapsed into narrow dogmatic statements but far more frequently were they given to humour - bawdy, ironic and ludicrous. Few people that I have known could match these hardy shepherds for early morning gusto.
Out in the yard it was still dark and the process of assembling the day's contingent of dogs produced more confusion than system. Threats, cajoling and physical persuasion per manuka hill stick finally got all thirty two dogs inside the crate on the Rover. Limited seating consigned two men to the dog box. The Rover like all old station vehicles was occasionally as headstrong as a young horse and on a road which provided a magnificent view of Lake Wanaka (in the daylight), but no great sense of security, these performances were a bit alarming! Far more alarming, however, were the sudden outbreaks of violence among the third class passengers. New Zealand sheep dogs fight with less provocation than Irish race-goers and during the donnybrooks one had to be ready for swift evasive moves, for the combatants were not selective. The free-for-alls were quelled by vigorous use of a hill-stick.
After eight or ten miles the Rover stopped, the crate door was dropped and the dogs became a brief tumbling stream. The mist showed signs of clearing and Evan decided to go up. I was the end man in the line that moved off up the winding track through the fern and manuka scrub. The fast pace Evan set against the steep grade was at first enjoyable as it dispelled the chill of the morning drive, but when gooseflesh had been entirely replaced by perspiration there was no lessening of the tempo of the march. I thought they were trying me out in the way veterans are ever prone to test novices, but to have kept up with them entailed a possibility of my becoming a temporary immobile heap, so I fagged behind.
Later I was to realize that their rate of travel was a natural one born of years on the hills and far removed from exhibitionism. They waited for me to catch up at an elevation from the road side of about fifteen hundred feet where Evan had stopped to point out to each of the men his “beat” or section of the mountain side for the day. Shawn stayed behind while the rest of us started running again. The long even slopes which lifted steeply from the lake gave way to more rugged country as we climbed higher. When Peter reached his stopping point I stayed with him. I need the rest and I enjoyed the light hearted stream of talk he directed at his dogs, the sheep and anything else in earshot. The dogs, who with one exception, never moved far from him appeared to enjoy his company also. The exception was a fine looking Beardy bitch who attached herself to me. Peter expressed his indignation at this transfer of loyalties by referring to the Beardy as Miss Swanson (a Wanaka female he detested) in terms unflattering to both parties. Miss Swanson (Beardy variety) parried the insults by scratching her ear in very leisurely fashion.
When Evan eventually appeared as a very small figure on the skyline it was time to start the real business of the day. Between the 1ot of us, working at widely dispersed points, we would clear the long flank of the mountain of ewes and lambs and bring them down to the yards near the roadside some four miles away. In its early stages the muster was largely a series of contests between dog (generally one, occasionally two) and little groups of ewes and lambs. The encounters were always interesting to watch and the result never certain. The mountain matrons had far more independence of mind, and more courage than sheep of the plains and a wrong move by the shepherding dog operating to a whistle code, could precipitate a headlong rush in the wrong direction. On the steep and rough terrain this could mean the sheep being lost to the muster. However, the tally of such losses was small for a high country musterer does not long cultivate the company of a dog given to errors of judgement.
We move in a jig-jog pattern along the slope ever looking out for the odd sheep that sheltered behind piles of boulders or grazed at the foot of the frequent cliffs. The heavy tussock grass that covered much of the mountainside was physically exacting for the dogs during their fast out-flanking movements. I appreciated the need for the dawn start and the large number of dogs - in the heat of the day the winter conditioned animals were disinclined to travel quickly and the exertion of the long uphill runs would have soon exhausted a lone dog. After a couple of hours the numerous little groups had merged to become a series of winding lines of slowly moving sheep. Occasionally we caught sight or heard the shouts of one of the other musterers and more rarely caught a glimpse of Evan against the snow clad top of the mountain.
At the point where the descent to the yards began the numerous stately processions lost their dignity and merged to form a noisy milling mass. With reunion of men and dogs complete I anticipated a fairly easy conclusion to what had been a fairly strenuous morning but in doing so I hopelessly underrated the opposition. Without warning a couple of lambs cut off from the side of the mob and went helter-skelter back up the mountain. Immediately there were thirty or forty more lambs racing wildly behind them, and the dogs, incapable of restraint in their excitement making frenzied but useless chase after them.
When the dogs gave up the lambs stopped high above us. The process of apprehending the fugitives was a lengthy and strenuous affair for the dogs were limited in handling lambs separated from the ewes. The lambs lacking the older sheep's fear would not wheel away from the barking dogs but would run alongside or dodge behind them in a neat side stepping move. By a series of strategisms we out-generalled them, but the effort it involved made the earlier part of the day a picnic affair.
By half past three the first day was virtually over but my tally of new experiences was not complete. My conviction of two months duration that New Zealand beer was an error in chemistry inflicted on an unfortunate population was lost that afternoon. The cameradie of the mountain nomads, the magnificent scenery and a state of dehydration were together responsible. I sat by the road side sharing in the gay tumultuous conversation of the musterers and delighting, on a now familiar basis, at the loveliness of the long blue lake with its framework of ungentle snow topped mountains and all the while finding unexpected pleasure in the taste of south Island beer. It had been an interesting day from any aspect.
The next morning I awoke early but no steel clad boot broke the silence of the old house. Instead there was the more acceptable sound of light rain singing a soft song against the roof. There would be no mustering that day. I went cheerfully back to sleep on the thought of a late leisurely breakfast in a warm room.
Last Month's Social Activities.
Malcolm McGregor's showing of his beautiful collection of wild flower slides on 15th August was especially timed for the beginning of the wild flower season. The slides plus Malcolm's entertaining and informative commentary will help make our wild flower walks more interesting and enjoyable.
On 16th a party of 37 members and friends saw “The Sentimental Bloke” at the Theatre Royal. Although the evening was a social success the same could not be said financially.
On 22nd Mrs. McComish told us a little of the events in her life as a field naturalist which eventually brought her by cargo boat to Thursday Island and the time she went out with the pearling fleet. Mrs. McComish spiced her talk (her 653rd) with many amusing anecdotes and showed us, among other things, some beautiful shells and one of 14 books filled with her paintings of the native flowers of various islands.
Hatswell's Taxi & Tourist Service.
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.
- Kanangra Walls: 30/- per head (minimum 5 passengers)
- Perry's Lookdown: 4/- per head (minimum 5 passengers)
- Jenolan State Forest: 20/- per head (minimum 5 passengers)
- Carlon's Farm: 12/6 per head (minimum 5 passengers)
We will be pleased to quote trips or special parties on application.
Do you need new roof, guttering and downpipes??
Or does the roof and guttering need re-painting??
Or perhaps a new water service or hot-water installation??
No job is too small - for any plumbing installations or alterations
You need Roy's friendly plumbing service.
Contact Roy Craggs in the S.B.W. Clubrooms or contact Joe Crags, Carpenter and Painter, 41 Rosamond Street, Hornsby, Telephone JU2203.
Remember - you need Roy's friendly service!!!
On The Spirft Of The Folk Songs.
It is a trite observation that folk songs are a reflection of the condition of the people. In the English speaking world there are several bodies of folk music; the parent Anglo-Saxon and Irish songs and the derived American and Australian songs using very often the same tunes. Each body gives insights into the differences between the people and in the case of the derived songs the differences in the modes of colonisation and the philosophies of the early people in either continent.
Interest in folk songs and the elevation of “collecting” into a recognised branch of art dates from the late 19 and early 20th centuries, The primary interest was a musical one. The rather gentle school teachers and parsons who were the early collectors regarded the words of lesser value than the tunes; partly because the words were unprintable and seldom did the words fit the melody after the first stanza. In collected and published versions the words have been worried and altered to be presentable lyrics to the melody. Since the published songs were to be sung by school children (?) considerable emendation was necessary. Lyrics that were printed if they escaped becoming “art” or childrens songs all too often lost their folk meaning and their feeling of unconscious amorality. Emphasis on the tune rather than on the unravelling of the linguistic and symbolic spirit of the song has led to the divorce of much traditional literature from its original musical association. The Anglo-Saxon body of songs (which we sing at reunions) has only a nodding acquaintance with its begetter and pagan origin having been through the rack of editor and schoolroom. The emphasis of Anglo-Saxon song is on the pursuit of the opposite sex with or without the benefit of clergy and the symbols in the poetry are fertility symbols. There is little or no supernatural element - the Irish traditional body of song takes that for its own preserve.
How did the traditional song fare when it crossed the oceans to the new colonies?
In America it was preserved almost unaltered. Cecil Sharp collecting in the early years found recognisable songs three hundred years old. At least he could recognise the tunes but found the words coarser and more unprintable. This is reasonable. The American colonies were settled predominantly by family groups, each group in a community of similar groups, English Catholics in Maryland, Puritans in New England, and the Irish and Scots of Kentucky and Virginia. Expansion of the frontier was slow, there was always time for consolidation, time for family life, for the growth of nostalgia and sentiment. There was always “the territory ahead” for the young man to light out for, taking his family. It meant crossing the watershed and possibly fighting Indians; Abe Lincoln left his law office in Illinois to look for some Blackfeet who had scalped some settlers twelve miles away. But always there was continuity of family life and the constitutional right of the pursuit of happiness and to heighten the culture there was the clash with other cultures, French Canadian, the Spanish to introduce the now ubiquitous guitar and the pervading strict-form blues of the negro. The climate accorded with the old fertility chants and the essential religious nature of the dissent deepened into fundamentalism.
In the Australian body of song there is no spectrum comparable to the range of -
“On the wedding night,
When he came to bed with me
He bit me on the shoulder
He nearly broke my knee.”
“Hush little baby don't you cry
You know your mamma was born to die
All my trials Lord
Soon be over.”
The contrast with Australian folk songs is noticeable. Australian songs are songs of revolt - it is no accident that The Wild Colonial Boy is sung to the tune of The Wearing of the Green. They were hanging men at Castle Hill on the evidence of the song having been sung. The early music is Irish music; in the decade before the gold rush the population was fifty percent Irish born and it is reasonable to assume the condition of such a part of the population impressed itself on the literature of folk songs.
What was its condition?
Transported and brutalised by what was to them a foreign power the complexities and strangeness of the country gave to the habit of revolt the habit of irony and the songs are distinguished by a habit of irony and the complete absence of the fertility symbols. They are songs of men alone, rootless, with little or no ties, familiar or otherwise even in Ireland the reckoning of relationship was son - father and possibly grandfather with no cross ties of allegiance. There are no love songs of significance, the nearest approach is The Old Bullock Dray, a song which has been bowdlerised with supreme irony.
“I mean to get a wife, boys,
When I get up to town.”
The original intent was to look over the talent available at the Female Factory at Parramatta but the bullock driver realises that such being the demand and so irregular the supply he has no hope and must go back to the aboriginal woman who is mothering his children.
With no women available the men travelled the country, working, learning a variety of outback occupations which enabled them to retain their mobility, scornful of those new arrivals, bond or free tied to sheep-herding or any form of husbandry except travelling with stock. That the owners of the land where their erstwhile gaolers made freedom a shade sweeter and their independence of their former masters more pointed. A man alone was no longer defenceless or suspect as in a family oriented community. Independence was the needed quality to survive and the most independent were the bushrangers; the Kellys and Gardiners and Jack Doolans were naturals.
There are distinct stages in the repertoire. “Moreton Bay” is a true lament; “Botany Bay” the first spontaneous borrowing of a tune and giving it new ironical words; the pastoral songs showing the increasing awareness of the singers independence and the “joys” of travelling the country. The tunes are still Irish, the habit irony. The gold rush altered the population balance, submerging the dominant Irish factor and the subsequent land booms and improvement of pastoral working conditions modulated the spirit of revolt. With the collapse of the economy in the Nineties, the spirit that emerged was one of bitterness rather than of irony, faithfully recorded in the songs of the time. Lawson, in the literate stream of poetry looked back at a golden age and perceived, invented, the legend of mateship, while Paterson elevated the viability of the bush worker into mystic lore as in Kipling. With an earlier poet who wrote
“They sing in September the sweet songs of May.”
they have obscured and clouded over the origins not only of our own folk tradition, but have set a habit and way of inquiry. Lawson's brush with the bush was short and bitter; Paterson, the cavalry officer, and city journalist, could never be completely sympathetic with the transported Irish rebel in the Old Bark Hut.
Ironic poetry is deeply concerned with the complexities and paradoxes of experience. The habit of irony is not dead. When we sing of making Bob Menzies load the pig iron for Japan we are, perhaps, making traditional verse in the main stream of Australian folk music.
Dates To Remember In September.
19th - The Shell Film “Back of Beyond” - yes, it will really be on this time!
26th - Although marked a free night on the programme we've invited Malcolm McGregor and Jim Brown to give us another of their entertaining “song night.”
Federation Report - July 1962.
Attendance of S.B.W. Delegates.
This was the Annual Meeting of Federation, but two of our delegates did not notify their inability to attend or offer any apology to the meeting, with the result that no arrangements were made for substitute delegates to attend and bring our representation up to full strength.
Search and Rescue.
The services of S & R were not called upon during the past month. The newly formed Rock Rescue Team is now functioning under the leadership of Colin Putt. It is hoped to purchase an L.M.l6 field transmitter (25 watt) for use by the section. A Guessing Competition has been organised for the purpose of buying S & R gear. Tickets are available in the Club Room each Wednesday evening at 2/- each and the prize will be a £25.0.0 order on Paddy Pallin for the purchase of walking or skiing gear. The Winner will be announced at the Annual Ball on 14th September, 1962. It was reported that ticket sales appear to be satisfactory.
"The Bushwalker Annual 1961".
A total of 2912 copies were received from the printer. Up to 30th June 1962, 2001 copies have been sold, of which Paddy Pallin purchased 1,000 for subsequent sale in his shop. C.M.W. and the Bush Club sold over 100 copies each and the remaining clubs accounted for 430 copies, or an average of about 20 copies each Club. I am happy to report that the sales by this Club were somewhat above average. Copies are still available at 3/- each. At the moment, the loss on the publication stands at £55.0.0.
"The Bushwalker'Annual 1962"
In spite of the discouraging response to their last effort, the publications Committee is going ahead with the preparation of another Annual. The Treasurer warned the meeting that the fullest support of all Clubs is essential to ensure the success of the forthcoming magazine, otherwise Federation will find itself in financial difficulties.
Heathcote Primitive Area.
Locked gates are to be installed to bar entrance to motor vehicles to certain electricity supply access roads. Poison sprays are still being used, but with care, by the Electricity Commission to destroy vegetation under the power lines crossing the reserve. Access by the Water Board's gate is to be restricted. It is planned to employ a ranger.
Blue Mountains National Park.
It was announced that Paul Barnes has been elected to the Trust. A full time ranger has been appointed and a second appointment is contemplated. One ranger will be stationed at Mt. Victoria and the other at Woodford. A motor road has been constructed to Mt. Banks (Mt. King George) and picnic facilities provided.
Kanangra-Boyd National Park.
Is now under the control of a Trust.
The Kameruka Club and the Hobnails Club are jointly producing a Song Book. It is proposed to donate the proceeds to Federation (S & R Funds) when production costs have been met. Full support for the publication is requested from all affiliated Clubs.
Hilma Stoddart - Obituary.
The Club lost an esteemed member with the sudden death of Hilda Stoddart on 5th August, 1962 at the age of 76.
“Stoddie”, as She was affectionately known became a member in 1935 and, with her daughter Mary (later Mrs. Bob Eastoe) did many interesting trips, particularly in the Talbingo and Brindabella areas prior to the Snowy Mountains Authority commencing activities there.
She was interested in all conservation activities and was a tireless worker in that cause. As practical evidence Hilda was our representative at the meetings of the Parks and Playgrounds Movement. She was also a keen member of the National Park Association and the Stoney Range Flora Reserve at Dee Why.
As a resident of the Manly District for many years Stoddie loved the Pittwater section of Kuringai Chase. At wild flower time every year she took Club walks, Church groups and other interested parties over to Lovett and Fowler's Bays to walk along the access tracks to the tops and there admire the blooms and extensive views over Pittwater. A cairned route from The Flagstaff at Lovett Bay to the West Head Road near Willunga Trig was her idea and was carried out with the aid of interested helpers.
In recent years the well made tracks have become overgrown, mainly through lack of use. Stoddie wrote to the Trust and to this Club suggesting a working bee to clear them up. John White organised the party and a lot of good work was done at Lovett Bay. It is to be hoped that the work will be continued and completed as a tribute to Stoddie's untiring work in this part of Kuringai Chase.
By Popular Request...
The Magazine will reprint, in 2 parts, “First Perambulator to Kanangra Tops - January-February 1931” bu Miles Dunphy.
Commencing in the October Issue.