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.
340. April 1963. Price 1/-.
|Business Manager||Alex. Colley|
|From Your Editor||2|
|At Our General Meeting||Alex Colley||4|
|Letters to the Editor||7|
|Countegany to Araluen||A Colley||8|
|1963 Reunion Report||Capon||14|
|Travels with a Vinegar Bottle||Final Recall||20|
I arrived 1ate for the Annual General Meeting and thus missed the early excitement (if any). However, it proved a well-conceived move as my distant and anxious appearance on arrival apparently won some sympathy votes and thus you are still stuck with me as Editor.
When I was first married, this distrait and anxious appearance of mine served me in good stead on occasions when I was late home without explanation or had carried around a letter for a week without posting it. It was about three years, in fact, before this device was seen through and the font of sympathy dried up. It will be interesting to see how long it works with S.B.W.
Fifteen years ago, when Alex Colley was Editor, he felt prompted to remark that he would not pressurise people into writing articles. If sufficient material were not forthcoming, he would simply expand his editorial to fill the empty spaces, until, if necessary, it filled the whole magazine. This admonition proved effective and only once, as I recall, did the editorial run over two pages. While I might not be as impulsive as Alex in issuing such dire threats, the astute reader must be aware of the imminent possibility of this occurring. Alex's article in this issue speaks volumes for his desire not to have to wade through an eighteen page editorial.
Well, Ancient Committeeman's plea in our March issue has had some effect, and we now have four new committee members whose combined age probably would not add up to that of Ancient Committeeman (specially if you're poor at arithmetic). It is to be hoped that the newly-elected younger members will not be over-awed or unduly influenced by their more mature fellow committeemen and that the exuberance and enthusiasm of youth is apparent in the workings of the Committee.
Certainly, there are some problems that cry out for a vigorous and enthusiastic approach. The long-lamented Era Funds should receive early attention. Legally, the easiest solution is to purchase another tract of land possibly say a permanent reunion site. But this is a difficult thing to achieve on the present market and would require a lot of energy and research to discover a suitable area at the right price. But it must be done, and soon.
I would also like to see the question of our meeting place given some thought. Reiby Place is not entirely suitable and we should be looking for a more appropriate and permanent abode, possibly in conjunction with other walking bodies.
Likewise, we should look to our responsibility as a walking club. Are we doing all we should in attracting the youth of this country to walking not only as a pastime but as a way of life, and holding their interest once they join? I don't think we are, and I feel that our younger committee members, not being completely inbued as yet with the traditions and conventions of this club, may well have some novel and refreshing ideas on this subject.
The small increase in fees agreed to at the Annual General Meeting is only a stop-gap. Ron Knightley's motion to increase the active married rate by 10/- p.a. and the entrance fee by 5/- p.a. (thus bringing in an extra £25 p.a.) was put forward so as to shelve the matter for a further six or even twelve months or possibly to close the issue so that the meeting would finish before midnight. Either that, or I, for one, was the victim of plot, cunningly conceived by the firm of Redmond, Gentle and Knightley, to firstly scare the pants off us with a proposal for all-round increases and then, when everyone had screamed themselves hoarse, to present us with an innocent-looking sugar-coated pill at the death-knock.
Time alone will tell.
List Of Office-Bearers For 1963.
|Vice Presidents||Bill Rodgers. Jack Gentle.|
|Committee||Elayne Metcalfe. Lola Wedlock. Tony Queitzsch. John Luxton.|
|Social Secretary||Edna Stretton.|
|Membership Secretary||Sandra Bardwell.|
|Walks Secretary||Wilf. Hilder.|
|Federation Delegates||Heather Joyce. M. Elfick. B. Childs.|
|Substitute Fed. Del.||Alan Round. Geoff Wagg.|
|Business Manager||Alex. Colley.|
|Parks & Playground Rep.||H. Gray.|
|Hon. Auditor||N. Bourke.|
|Hon. Solicitor||C. Broad.|
|National Parks Ass. Delegate||G. Wagg.|
|Conservation Secretary||G. Wagg.|
|Trustees||M. Berry. W. Rootes. J.Turner.|
At Our Annual General Meeting.
The Club's founders, who are reputed to have spent several meetings discussing one word of the constitution, would have been proud of the bush lawyermanship of members both old and new who attended the thirty-fourth anniversary of their first annual general meeting. Points of order were more numerous than the needles of a hakea, but considerably sharper. The acknowledged winner, on points, was our new President. If he shows the same form in the chair as he did on the floor of the House (Northcote House) he will be impervious to even the finest of points.
At the start of the meeting apologies were received from Rene Browne, Joe Turner, Edna Garrad, Mollie Rodgers and Elsie Bruggie. Then two members were welcomed by the President, one an old member who has rejoined - Alan Rigby - and the other a new member, Pat Gaby. In case anybody doesn't know, it was Alan who designed our magazine cover over 20 years ago.
After the presentation of the swimming carnival prizes the meeting got down to the serious business of adopting the annual report. Speaking against the adoption, Ron Knightley said that a report should be factual rather than opinionative. Specifically, he objected to the statement that “financially, we have been going into reverse over the past three years,” and that the response to an invitation to members to consider and bring forward proposals designed to improve the position had been “apathetic and negative.” Ron pointed out that depreciation provision for the year gees £72.2.4. This included £22.5.2 written off the old duplicator - a non-recurring item. Depreciation for 1962/3 was £54 above that for 1961/2 and £30 above that estimated for next year. Despite this greatly increased provision for depreciation the deficit on normal club activity was only £9.10.4. Secretary David Ingram had no comment on Ron's views except to say that he was delighted the Annual Report had brought forth at least this much discussion. Kath Brown then drew attention to the practice of publishing the swimming carnival results in full in the annual report. There was no purpose in this as the results published were a year out of date anyway. Ron Knightley said he always understood that bushwalking was not competitive, so why have prizes? At this stage new doubt was cast on proceedings by Paddy Pallin's plea that he hadn't received his annual report. But Dick Childs remembered folding reports for Paddy, (and for some others who said they hadn't received one) and Denise Hull remembered posting them. Jack Gentle said it was the P.M.G.'s fault if they weren't delivered. Fortunately spare copies were available and given to those who didn't have them. The discussion on depreciation was left over until they had time to study the report.
Meanwhile correspondence was read. It included a letter from Joe Turner in which he expressed thanks to the Committee for keeping “the old club going” and the hope that Bill Rodger's words to active young members would not fall on deaf ears. There was also a letter from the National Parks Board of Tasmania saying that, though it welcomed maintenance and development of existing tracks it did not want new tracks blazed as they might be in the wrong places and lead to confusion. Some areas were planned as wilderness, without tracks (bulldozer-happy N.S.W. authorities please note).
The depreciation bone was then returned to the meeting. Frank Barlow moved that, in future, the depreciation charge be 20% flat. He pointed out that, after 5 years, we would be very lucky to get £25 for our duplicator. Gordon Redmond supported the motion because our loss this year was due to inadequate depreciation in previous years. The motion was put and carried.
Wilf Hilder then gave us his walks report. The first walk on the programme (a swimming trip to the Shoalhaven) was “reprogrammed” into the Megalong Valley to include the great granite section of the Cox. The walk was led by himself, and attended by four members and one prospective. On the Saturday the Cox was 4 feet in flood, making cascading “fast and furious”. After a storm on Saturday night it rose to 12 feet, becoming far too fast and dangerous for swimming. The party then turned to Mitchell's Creek - a “mighty side trip with plenty of suffering and even a little bit of trout tickling”. Keith Renwick led another walk, attended by five members, on the same week-end - to Neates Glen and Grand Canyon. The party camped in Neates Glen on Friday night among a lot of glow-worms and luminous fungi. Next day they descended to the foot of the Evans Lookout track and attempted to follow the Canyon upstream, but the heavy rain made the creek too strong to swim against and they had to give it up. After camping in a cave, they walked up to Evans Head Lookout and followed the cliff tops around to Govett's Leap. On Sunday of the same week-end Stuart Brooks led 4 members and 3 prospectives from Salvation Creek to “an unknown trig” and thence to Cottage Rock, near which they spent three hours on the beach.
On the 8th, 9th and 10th Bob Duncan, amply equipped with abseiling gear, led 5 members down Middle Christy's Creek. Nevertheless they found the falls far deeper than the length of the abseiling rope, so the party had to sidle patiently around some very steep and tricky slopes. Some practice abseils were done. The leader was lucky to find a shingly campsite beside the Creek, which had been completely scoured-out by the November 1960 floods. On Sunday a spur of Dark Angel ridge was climbed for the first known time. (It may have been the spur descended by Gordon Smith and party in 1939). The other trip on the same week-end was a prospecting trip led by Bob Godfrey. In view of the absence of information on this trip it is believed that pay dirt was struck. The next week-end was taken up by the Swimming Carnival. On Feb. 22-3-4 Tony Queitzsch led 3 members from Tallong to Long Nose Point, Shoalhaven River and Billy Blue's Crown. After some long swims in the river, which had a good volume of water the party camped at Tallowal Creek Junction and next morning set out to climb Billy Blue's Crown. Several good passes were found, and after some difficult rock scrambling a successful first ascent was completed. On the Sunday walk Dick Childs led 11 members, 4 prospectives and 3 visitors from Waterfall to Uloola Falls, Karloo Pool and back to Heathcote. Tracks were found to be overgrown around Uloola Falls. The other walk for the weekend was led by Bill Burke who took a party of 6 from Goodman's Ford to Bindook and back via Murruin Creek.
Wilf reported that the 50,000 series maps of Ulladulla and Wingham were now available. There was also a new edition of Myles Dunphy's Kanangra Tops map available. A two chain road, allegedly for fire protection, but carrying a double lane road was being cleared from Yerranderie to Butcher's Creek Hut. An aerodrome was proposed at old Kowmung House, and the old Cedar Road was to be rebuilt. The road from Goodman's Ford to Barallier was no too bad for an ordinary vehicle. At the conclusion of Wilf's report, David Balmer commended Wilf on his prose.
In general business Jack Wren pointed out that two months after the Annual General Meeting unfinancial members could, at the discretion of the Committee, cease to be members. Why not save work, money and postage by merely crossing them off after two months? One reminder, giving them seven days notice, would be enough. Colin Putt thought that we were barking before the dog (the committee) we had elected to do our barking for us. Jim Brown said that, as the notices went out with the Walks programme and the September notice of meeting there was not much extra work and, if they were crossed off most would have to be readmitted again. It was decided to leave it to the dog.
The last business of the evening was to decide the amount of the annual subscription and entrance fee. Jack Gentle moved that a new scale of fees - Active single members £2.5.-, active married couples £3.10.-, juniors £1.10.- and inactive 12/- be adopted. He estimated that the new scale would increase revenue by £60 to £70 a year. His argument for more income was illustrated by a graph of club revenue and expenditure. For most of the time until recently the two lines kept their distance (income above) but, in 1963/4 they diverged in an alarming manner, expenditure almost vertical, income horribly horizontal. Ron Knightley thought that higher charges might in the end mean less total income. What we should do was to reduce the subscription to £1.19.11, thereby cheapening the cost of membership, increasing the number of members and avoiding stamp duty, this increasing total revenue. He also pointed out that we already had assets of over £1300. Gordon Redmond, however said that this was not £1,300 of realisable assets - £580 was in the Era Fund. Colin Putt criticised Jack Gentle's graph on the grounds that the lines between the dots shouldn't be straight. In fact they shouldn't be there at all. If we built up a reserve for no forecast purpose we would be inviting a takeover move. Stuart Brooks drew attention to the need for a new typewriter - cost £150. Takeover risks notwithstanding, Gordon Redmond fought for our reserves - we could easily dissipate the good work of the past, and even if we spent only £100 on a typewriter we would be “right down to the boards.” However the most he could wring from the meeting was a rise of 10/- for married couples and 5/- in entrance fee - sufficient to bring in some £25 a year extra.
The meeting closed at 10.40 p.m., beating the cleaner by a narrow margin.
Letters To The Editor.
Mr. Colley's many business activities apparently do not include a working interest in any of the motor vehicle companies. This is obviously an oversight as, even though Mr. Colley may not realise it, the automobile is here to stay and must play an ever-increasing part in our daily activities. Investment in this field should be sound enough for the most cautious operator. (This advice is offered for what it is worth and Mr. Colley need not feel under any obligation if he makes unrestrained use of it).
Since the dawn of time, man has had to pit his wits against his environment. The fact that cars have replaced sabre-toothed tigers and that walkers (as distinct from people) seek simplicity and solitude in a concrete jungle does not alter the basic problem of adaptation for survival. Mr. Colley's cave-dwelling ancestors would have received few sympathetic grunts had they sat down and wept every time they saw a sabre-toothed tiger, and turning on convulsions at the sight of a fire-trail or self-propelled vehicle is not likely to achieve any worthwhile result in 1963.
The situation is not as black as all that. It is now possible, for example, to reach the Kowmung from Kanangra Road by means of a 20 minute car drive and a 90 minute walk as against a 4 or 5 hour scrub-bash in the good old days. There should be some solace for Mr. Colley in this.
The danger lies (and here I am in full accord with Mr. Colley) in allowing ourselves to become, like a sun visor, just another accessory attached to the automobile. What with motels, drive-in theatres and bottle departments and power-driven golf buggies this is easier than it may sound. And with the advent of automatic drive it is a distinct possibility that left legs will, before long, completely atrophy and we will become a race of one-legged sitters.
Dissembling Hot Rod.
Anxious Eastwood Mother need not feel so anxious. I knew two walkers, who carried away by a zeal for lightweight walking, shared the one pack, the one toothbrush, and the one pipe. They still remain reasonably active and even appear occasionally on club walks. The fact that Eff See Wun can still summon the energy to write about his experiences and thus, presumably, enjoys reasonable health, bears mute but telling testimony to the danger in becoming over excited over the interchange of a few germs.
And don't forget, the end result of A.E.M.'s line of thought would be the elimination of osculation.
Countegany To Araluen.
The Story of an Old-fashioned Walk.
It was on Christmas Eve that three old-fashioned walkers boarded the 8.45 p.m. for Cooma. Oblivious to Progress and Development, we were determined to get as far away from our own car's and everybody else's as we could. Without beer on ice, guns, fishing rods, transistors, folding chairs and tables, or any of the rest of the equipment popularly considered necessary to make the bush bearable, we set out, determined to walk from Countegany to the Araluen River with the help of a 4 mile to the inch ordinance map and a compass. Equipped for the heat and flies of summer, we had nothing but our packs and clothes we wore. Bill Cosgrove and I, apprehensive of an 8 day pack in the heat, had cut our food below the 2 lb. a day mark. John Scott's method of reducing weight was to determine what Bill and I were carrying and simply double it. Thus his pack, though perhaps lighter than it might otherwise have been, remained no mean cornucopia.
The boarding of a train at the start of a long bushwalking trip is, to me, always an exciting event. Behind lies work, the city and the business uniform (block suit, white shirt, tie). Ahead is the bush, perhaps the challenge of country you don't know. After days, or weeks of weight-paring preparations, plans are complete. There is, at the back of one's mind the fear that something must have been, forgotten - a knife? a groundsheet? a torch? or something else irreplaceable which you won't forgive yourself for forgetting? But there is no purpose in worrying. You can't do anything about it now. Let the New South Wales Government Railways carry you effortlessly to your destination. Relax and enjoy the company of your party.
John and I were delighted to climb into our bunks between clean sheets and fleecy blankets in our well polished cedar-lined sleeper (none of your steel and plastic for the likes of us). Bill, made of sterner stuff, was determined to sit up all night, if necessary, in second class and save £3. The main concession to progress was a diesel electric locomotive. I missed the chuffing of the engine, but it did improve the ride. The bangs and thumps which used to distinguish the Cooma Mail (268 miles in 10 hours 24 minutes - av. 25.77 mph) had been eliminated.
Dawn, as we approached Cooma, revealed a dull wintry looking day. We were the only walkers on the train and the only passengers to breakfast at the R.R.R. There was just one taxi available, which we secured for our ride to Countegany. We were in new country as soon as we left the Station, so map-reading commenced, as we had to pick from the car the divide between Tuross and the Badja for the start of the trip. By about 9 a.m. we had paid off the taxi, put on our ground sheets, and headed though the mist into the wet scrub in a generally easterly direction. Within five minutes our feet were wet. They stayed that way till we caught our next taxi 8 days later.
[ Map ]
(Note: In deference to the old-fashioned author, the map shows roads as a single broken line and the author's route as a series of dots. Ed)
Our map showed the Badja River to the north west and the Tuross River to the South east, the distance between the rivers being about 6 miles. Both streams sported only one mapped tributary in their upper reaches. There were 8 contour lines between us and the Tuross and three between us and the Badja, from which we inferred it was going on for 2,000 feet down to Tuross Falls - too much of a climb to be worthwhile, a decision we were glad of later. The divide we were to follow ran in a general north-eastly direction, but beyond that we knew nothing. Nor could we see anything. The bush was thick, the mist was thick, and the divide almost featureless except for occasional granite outcrops covered in thick wet undergrowth. This was meant to be an easy day with our full packs (in the anticipated heat), but it was too cold to sit around. After a couple of hours we stopped, lit a fire to warm ourselves and had a cup of tea. Not long after we found a dry spot under a granite rock where we were glad to get out of the drizzle, light another fire, and have lunch (Christmas dinner). The afternoon was much the same, except that it became flatter and swampy. Near one swamp we were glad to find a well drained grassy rise inhabited by inquisitive Herefords. Here we lit another fire and camped - for the first time we really got warm and dry. We still hadn't seen anything, nor did we till the next evening. Then we saw too much.
Next day we groped our way further along the divide in the mist, crossing little swamps and streams and occasionally finding timber tracks. We hoped at some stage to see an eminence called Big Badja, but visibility was almost nil. From this point we intended to turn due east along a ridge leading to the Deua River. Judging by the time we had taken we calculated we must be somewhere near this eastward running divide. Since we couldn't see around we could well be on, or near, Big Badja, an impression that was strengthened by the fact that the ground was falling away to the north, where lay the Shoalhaven. There was only one way to find out - turn east and see. For a couple of hours the theory seemed to work out. There were ups and downs and much crawling through ferns and under and over logs, but no big drop. Sometimes we started down, but came to a saddle and rose again. It seemed all right. Then we went down two or three hundred feet, and it was getting late. Was that water we could hear down below? A bit further, 800 feet down. Yes, it was water. Better to go down to it and camp than to get up to a dry ridge top just before dark. Down and down, steeper and steeper. Then the mist rolled away for a few minutes, and for the first time we Saw. About four miles to the north and some 2,000 feet above us there rose a mighty crag - Big Badja, of course. By the look of the country it was a tough day's walk away.
Down we went through ferns and over rocks on a slope so steep we could barely cling on to it, till at last we found our stream, noisy not because it was large, but because it was rushing steeply down a narrow gully without a skerrick of a bank. Camping was hopeless - the only way to progress was along the stream itself. Perhaps beyond that waterfall things would improve. But after ten minutes scramble over roots, water and rocks, things were no better, so there was nothing for it but to crawl up the ridge on the other side. Up and up we went - getting dark now. One or two places at last where we might make a camp spot. Then a little rocky shelf about three quarter way up the ridge. We all got to work. Heaved the boulders away, pulled out the scrub, and there was room for the tent - rough, but flat enough to sleep. We made a fire, but cooking wasn't worth the effort in that cramped spot. Nor did we have water (though we collected some off the tent later). We were thankful just to lie down - it was too cold and wet to feel thirsty.
By morning we were quite attached to our little plot on the ridge, and were reluctant to resume our climb over the boulders through the cold, dripping undergrowth. But soon the scrub thinned the slope flattened and we sensed an improvement in our fortunes. They were, in fact, to improve all day. It was the first of many days of most enjoyable walking. In about half an hour we reached a track, then a timber-getter's clearing with a hole full of clear water. The drizzle had stopped and a ray of sunshine shone through the clouds to warm us. Soon we had a good fire going and were eating a hearty breakfast.
After breakfast we crossed more swamps. Keeping east (away from those gullies) we soon espied a clearing on our left, which we rightly surmised was the head of the Badja River. In the middle of the clearing, not far off our course, was a house. In these days when every car may carry a load of shooters, fire starters, fence destroyers, or potential lost hikers, one is never sure of one's welcome in what were once the back blocks. But we decided it would be nice to know for sure that we were on the Badja, so we started towards the house. “Let's go straight across that green paddock”, said Bill. But somehow John and I sensed that the green paddock wasn't quite what it looked, so we went along a track to the entrance road. As we neared the house we crossed a stream over 6' deep and about 12' wide flowing through the rushes which made our paddock so green. Had we tried to cross it, only our hats would have remained above water. At the homestead we soon found we had come to exactly the right place. The owner, Mr. Bert Broadhead evidently had mostly the right kind of visitors. Most of them were trout fishermen, some of whom had clubbed together to build a hut on his property. One of them, by his description, was Bill Johnston, ex S.B.W, member. When we were invited in for a cup of tea we felt that Christmas had really arrived. Our eyes glistened as Mrs. Broadhead cut large slices from a beautiful Christmas cake. Mr. Broadhead, whose father had taken up the property nearly 60 years ago, operated a modern saw mill and he knew the district inside and outside. After tea we had an interesting tour of inspection, and then Mr. Broadhead produced his large binoculars through which we could see the grass on Big Badja itself. There it was, reaching into the mist some 4 miles away. We took a sight on it and listened, not quite as carefully as we should have, to Mr, Broadhead's description of the track to it. After that we lost a few minutes in one false move, but from then on found the track nearly all the way. We knew when we camped that night that we were quite near the mountain, though we still couldn't see it.
Next morning we at last ascended the misty crag. For a few minutes the mist lifted sufficiently to see Mr. Broadhead's property, and mountains, probably the Snowy Mountains, far beyond. The view to the South was blotted out. By the look of the contours, and what we had seen two days before, it was probably quite spectacular. We could, however, see the watershed to the east which Mr. Broadhead believed we could follow to the Deua. We could see nothing to stop us walking that ridge, but nothing to make us want to either, though it was our original plan to do so. We could see a couple of miles of rolling, boulder studded, ridge top, covered with burnt trees, fallen logs, and thick dripping undergrowth. We had had enough of that already, so we turned north west as Mr. Broadhead had suggested and, about a mile along, came on to the jeep road to Snowball. By lunch time we were on the open country at the head of the Shoalhaven, and by evening were in familiar country on the route we had followed the previous Easter, when we had done another old-fashioned walk from Moruya to Krawarree. It was delightful walking, over undulating grass and open forest country, cooled by the clouds which hid the sun and rested on the mountain tops.
We camped on the edge of a clear stretch, over which we looked to dark hills covered in low scrub, between the two upper branches of the Shoalhaven, and beyond to the edge of the Deua escarpment.
Next day we made our way across the valley and up an easy ridge to the top of the old track leading down to Con Creek in the Deua Valley. It is difficult to find the track from above because there is no defined ridge at the start. We made our way to a blue bush ridge which indicated limestone, like the ridge we had come up at Easter, and it took us some time to find out that there were two blue bush ridges. Had we kept on to the wrong ridge we would have faced some hours of battling. Once on the right ridge we soon ran into burned country, which continued for some ten miles down the river. Wherever there are cattle there are regular bush fires.
We camped that night on another beautiful camp site next to the Deua. Apparently the scrub burners don't operate much above this point, because the banks are intact and the river is perfectly clear and almost free of the stones, sand and gravel which is washed from a catchment constantly bared to erosion by burning. A river like this is rare now.
The old Bendethera homestead is an interesting relic of the days of Dad and Dave, built with the axe and adze and the crosscut saw, out of slabs and round bush timber. Scattered around was the discarded equipment of the era of horses - single furrow plough, diamond harrow, horse collars, an old grindstone with hand forged handle, hooks, bits of chain, camp oven etc. We found later that the equipment had all come over the track from Moruya by pack horse. We rightly surmised that, since life without a car is insufferable the farms marked on Myles Dunphy's map on the river above the road would be abandoned. There too we found the impedimenta of the days when horses, bullocks and human muscles were the only sources of farm power.
Our first move after putting up the tent was to go for a swim in a lovely rock pool some 20' deep and 100' long. Here a tantalising sight was seen. At our end of the pool, a couple of feet under water and a couple of yards away, nosed a trout well over a foot long. We had a small length of line and hooks, but had inadvertently omitted to buy any fishing license. Anyway the canny fish wouldn't eat worms.
Next day, for almost the first time, some flies arrived. It was our rest day, so we were glad to take shelter in Bill's mosquito net tent, emerging only to make cups of tea, cook dampers and wash our clothes. It seemed ages since we had left the car at Countegany. So varied had our experiences been since then that we found difficulty in recalling where we had camped on the previous nights.
We spent that afternoon and the next two days making our way down the River to its junction with the Araluen. It is a beautiful valley, comparable in its upper reaches to the lower Kowmung and in its lower reaches to the Cox, although it is a much higher and more open valley, consequently it is probably much cooler in summer. On the last day we came into cleared country. From here we could have followed the road into Araluen, but we preferred to follow the River all the way. It was easy walking, though erosion had taken its toll further down. What must have once been long clear deep pools, were now shallow gravelly reaches. On the Araluen the gold fossiker had added his destruction to that of the scrub burner. The result was a large expanse of bare sand, the Araluen itself flowing in a sandy bed some 10 or 20 yards wide and a few inches deep.
Mr. Wildey, the taxi proprietor whom we had engaged three weeks before to take us back to Tarago, arrived dead on time. He was a very interesting guide. Araluen itself, he told us, once had a population of 70,000. It was now reduced to two little groups of old houses together with a few shops and a hotel or two, each group separated by about half a mile. Dotted over the flat valley landscape are the remains of some miner's huts, stone fire places, and some exotic trees, planted by the miners. There are large mounds of gravel. No doubt almost the whole valley floor was sifted for the yellow metal. Above the valley we passed an old blockhouse with slits in the walls for the guns of the riflemen within, defending their gold against bushrangers. We went through Braidwood, a town out of last century, then past the large estates of the wealthy early settlers and the wealthy city tycoons of today.
And so back to another train. This time a modern stainless steel one which whisked us quickly, though by no means smoothly, back to Central in four hours. How nice to observe the rat race on the road from a train window!
We had covered some 70-80 miles, done about 50 river crossings, and arrived back tired but happy. I always think it is a good walk if you feel a bit lost when the party breaks up at Central, and this was no exception. I keep recalling views and incidents on the walk, and I will go on doing so. One may forget nearly all the days in one's life, but a day's walk is never quite forgotten.
Back in town I was pleased to find that for a few more easy payments, a new lawn mower, on which one can sit while the works whirr beneath, is now available to tired business men and others. A car to the office, a seat at the desk, a car home, a seat on the lawnmower for fresh air and exercise, and a run on the bitumen on Sunday. No walking at all! Isn't Progress wonderful!
1963 Reunion Report.
And thus Bill Rodgers relinquished the symbols of office to Ron Knightley. (Disparity in likeness, if any, may be put down to the fact that the artist was shivering madly at the time due to Elayne Metcalfe and Lola Wedlock having stolen his shirt).
Saturday's miserable weather in Sydney deterred quite a few, conspicuously Eff See Wun, but especially the family groups, so members were not as large as usual. However, we suffered only one sharp shower (Saturday evening) so all was well. With such relatively dry conditions, it is difficult to imagine how the new President could have gotten so ruddy muddy.
Quite a number of family groups arrived on Sunday morning to make the most of the swimming, fine weather and excellent company available at Woods Creek. They were not disappointed on any score. Certainly, the Grose River near Woods Creek is as nice a spot to spend a quiet, relaxed day as you could ever hope for.
The camp fire was as enjoyable as you would wish. It was marked by a casual air of spontaneity which belied the large amount of organisation and work put into it by the various people concerned, particularly Jim Brown who did a mighty job as organiser, M.C. and whipper-in. The entertainment rolled along effortlessly until midnight, when supper was served, with biscuits, coffee and/or cocoa being supplied by Snow Brown and John Holly and bread by Bob Duncan.
Everyone was in a singing mood and Paddy P. had no trouble in getting plenty of volume and harmony between items. We had two sketches. The Noble children with the Misses Moppett and Roots (assisted by mum as the 'Opera House') managed to blow up the Opera House and Jim Brown, Mal McGregor, Don Matthews and Geoff Wagg gave us a stylish performance of “The Root of All Evil”.
It was a pity Gordon Redmond wasn't there but, mostly for his benefit, here are a few extracts.
Up curtain Treasarer, middle stage.
Cash, cash, beautiful cash
I've got quite a lot, but I'1l never be rash
My usual prescription is boost the subscription
And then I'll have oodles of wonderful cash“
Enter well respected Vice-President.
Now Jack, I want you. You've such
a nice open face. They all trust you.
They don't trust me. Would you do
something for me Jackie Boy.
(Follows much persuasion, singing and crying on shoulders).
Well respected: Why of course I'll help - (sings):
I'll help persuade the members of our need
I'll argue, threaten and perhaps I'll plead.
I'll even take a couple to the pub
And convince them we must raise the sub.
“Well, I think you should draw a diagram
to show how bad things are - a graph say,
showing us sinking in a sea of red ink.”
(more talk, singing then exit W.R.V.P.)
Enter Pres. Elect and Sec. Elect. Duet:
“Money is the root of all evil
Money is the root of all evil
Won't contaminate myself with it
Take it away, take it away, take it away.
Pres. Elect.: “How's the Treasury?”
Treasurer.: “Low. Very Low. I may say gentlemen I think we
have no alternative to putting up the subscription.”
Pres. Elect.: “What about all our assets. Say this?”
Treasurer.: “No! No! Mustn't touch! Era Trust Fund.
Pres. Elect.: “But we have £1300 in realisable assets.”
Treasurer.: “Pooh! Nothing like that, Hardly anything at all.
Pres. Elect. sings:
“We got money, lots and lots of money
We got money, we've really got enough
We've no need to earn, we've money to burn
And money is filthy, filthy stuff.
Treasurer.: (rushes off shouting) Sacrilege!”
Sec. Elect.: “I suppose we will have enough money?
Pres. Elect.: “Well, um, yes, no, er…. Look. I have it. We'll
let the Treasurer talk about putting up the sub.
Then, when his scheme is tossed out, we put up another,
increasing subs. on new members and married couples only.”
Sec. Elect.: “Why pick on them?”
Pres. Elect.: “Well new members have no say till they're in and
married blokes are used to paying out anyway. Don't
worry. She'll be right. There'll be enough money.”
Both exit singing.
“Cash, cash, beautiful cash -
We'll get in some more even tho' its is trash.
Although we despise it, we do realise it
Is handy for some things, is wonderful cash.”
At the conclusion of this, someone persisted in shouting out “Author! Author! - it was eventually discovered to be the author himself.
Taro was there, of course, and gave us his usual musical masterpiece. Jim Brown put on a soliloquy “Death of a Mouse”, during which Christine (Brown) and Sally (Harvey), as two mice (complete with ears), mimed the the story with a lot of realistic squeaks and actions.
As individual items we had songs from Jean Balfour, Hal Nolan, Kevin Dean, Bob Duncan, Mal. McGregor and Brian Harvey. Even Colin Putt was induced to lead “The Volga Boatman” from the bleachers, and Geoff Wagg gave us a taste of rock-n-roll (or was it twist?) with “I've been Everywhere, Man” (specially adapted lyrics by Heather Joyce and the two Waggs).
Here are a few samples of Geoff's song, but you really need Geoff to sing them.
“I was humping my bluey
On a Blue Mountains Fire Road
When up came a walker
With a high canvass-covered load.
I dropped the swag a moment
While I gazed upon the scene
And as he came up beside me
I said 'Where have you been?'
He said:- (prestissimo)
“I been Blue Dog, Brown Dog, White Dog, Black Dog,
Ghost Dog, Red Dog, Howling Dog, Spotted Dog,
Brindle Dog, Shaggy Dog, Snarling Dog, Grizzle Dog,
Grey Pup, Bad Pup, Knight Pup and Dirty Dog,
I've been everywhere, man!
I've been everywhere, man!
I've crossed the desert bare, man
I've breathed the mountain air, man
of trouble I've had my share man
I've been everywhere!
Black Billy, Wollondilli, Currockbilly, Yerrangobilly
Bibbenluke, Bindook; Mt. Cook, Danae Brook,
Mt. Berri, Tinderri, Black Jerry; Wangaderri,
Heartbreaker, Cloudmaker, Gabes Gap, Pass the map -
I've been everywhere etc. etc.
Myrang, Corang, Guouogang, Gangerang,
TaIlaterang, Billnigang, Callimbang, Burragorang,
Couridjah, Ettrema, Gingra, Mumbedah,
Big Rick, Bonnum Pic, Kedumba Crick, Make y'sick,
I've been everywhere etc. etc.
Very good for the tonsils and lungs, you'll find.
We initiated the new members in traditional fashion. Putto had procured from an undisclosed source a “S.B.W.” branding iron which was, naturally enough, heated to red heat, and held ready for application to suitable anatomical areas.
Amongst the quivering group we had Alan Rigby (recently re-admitted with very few objections) and Dot Butler (never been initiated, so help me!)
The group was given 40 seconds to pitch an ordinary Paddy-made tent and get inside (if such piece of equipment can be classed as ordinary). Anyone outside the tent after zero hour would receive a bolt with the branding iron where it would do most good. A large bag of crushed ice was kept handy to quell fires and riots and generally cool down overheated initiatees.
Paddy was surprised to find that his 7 x 5 A tent, always classed “two-man”, held 15 more or less comfortably, so you can expect an early price rise.
With the bevy of singing talent having set the mood, a large group stayed around the fire singing their way through the various song books, while smaller breakaway groups gradually formed. At Killara, spear-headed by Mal. McGregor and Kev. Dean, the die-hards yodelled their way through the songs in Malcolm's private collection (and a few that weren't).
Sunday was a family picnic day but Miriam found time to perform her impartial rites over the burnt offerings. Even I could have eliminated a few entries but Miriam had a tough job with the remainder. Eventually she selected Eddie Stretton's. From what I could gather, it was mixed by Jack Gentle, and cooked by Eddie under Ernie French's supervision - but Eddie got the prize.
Among the 'not seen so often' classification we had Enid Rigby, Frank Cramp (of the Fox Paws), Mouldy Harrison, Winifred (“Dunc”) Duncan, Mr & Mrs. Ray Bean and Roy Bennet (our Honorary Member from Cattai). The Trustees, Wal Roots, Maurie Berry and Joe Turner were there also. Well, that was 1963 reunion, so, folks, let's get back to bed.
There is a distinct possibility that S. & R. will attend the 1964 reunion in force to save themselves the trouble of getting organised on Sunday night.
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 6 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.
Democracy in Action.
We mere thinking whilst watching the proceedings at the Annual General Meeting that a well run club is a splendid example of democracy in action. Probably a better example than Parliament for there “Talkers” who are not “doers” can get elected. In the club a “Talker” is quick given a job where he must become a “doer” or shut up. Which brings us round to the thought that one who is not much of a talker but an excellent “doer” (may we be permitted to spell it dour?) to wit our old friend Brian Harvey has been business manager of this magazine for many many years, one of his self appointed tasks was to deliver a supply of magazines to the shop and collect moneys therefore and the cost of the Advertisement.
Brian has now resigned from this job and we wish to put on record our appreciation of his constant and faithful service over the years.
Good luck Brian we feel you will still be serving the club in some way or other for many years to come.
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd. Lightweight Camp Gear 201 Castlereagh St Sydney. BM2685.
Travels With A Vinegar Bottle.
- Final Recall.
Some of the most acrimonious dialogue I have ever heard occurred during the preliminary planning for trips. Once the party had boarded the train, or in modern times, the car, the die has been cast; argument ceases with the tacit understanding that there are sufficient perils without dissension. If once commences as the junior member of the party this sound and fury can be most disturbing but in truth it signifies nothing. I listened in trepidation to these dialogues wondering how such persons could have been accepted as compatible, fearful of the mess that must result with four days or a week of being thrown together with all the pinpricks of wet camps, dry lunches and lost bearings to compound incipient mutiny. I watched one fellow all one Easter fearing that he might choose some unlovely cliff face to proclaim a republic and push the (loyalist) leader off a ledge. On other trips I was watchful for the first signs of revolt ready to throw in my lot. Such revolutions never occurred, and then after some years I realised all the arguments were concerned with food-listing, and my friends had a pathological horror of being derived of one meal. Being lost, tired, exhausted was as nothing to the possible loss of one snack. Unknown ridges, fearful sallee, gross surveying optimism, duff gen held no terrors for these people. One packet less of chocolate, a doubtful quantity of rice could reduce some of then, in the club rooms, to a state of nervous collapse. The disposition of tinned food would only be accomplished by taking each member aside, confidentially, and saying that someone else had two tins, or if you were the unfortunate two tinner that someone else had three.
One of the most sensible and beautiful girls I ever knew had this phobia to a marked degree. After several months of contention it appeared that we were, in fact, not suited. To be sent wandering the midnight streets of Katoomba for addenda is a severe test of any blossoming romance. I did not really object to shelling peas on the train; the pods could be thrown out the window. The nub was eating an immense meal of the reserve tinned food after one had climbed the Dogs. I have said this girl was sensible as well as beautiful. In a magnificent burst of sensibility she invented a mythical girl-friend who would come next week-end, certainly and definitely. This mythical girl was small so would not eat very much; she was not very experienced, could we two carry the extra food for her. Certainly. When we caught the train M- was ill, she thought the trip might be too rough; she had gone to Canberra for the week-end. We ate very well and were regarded as sure to make a match. 'They never argue, she cooks wonderful meals.' When I did uncover the plot, I was eating plum pudding and brandy sauce, I thought it wise to say nothing. Many times we seduced the leader into ten minute breaks for chocolate, for buttered raisin bread, for the glucose sweets which strangely were always at the bottom of my pack.
To those who are planning an extended trip involving food dumps it seems that complications and arguments grow exponentially, in the way mosquitoes breed in the warm weather. Will eggs keep for thirteen and one-half days? If we assume fifty percent rottenness. All that hard tack, shouldn't we take a mild purgative? Sugar versus sacsweet. Dampers versus biscuits. (If J- cooks the damper I won't eat it). Dried meat? Disgusting stuff. Tinned meat? We will need a packhorse at this rate. (Why do you think you were invited?) Lannigans Creek or Church Creek. Upstream as far as possible. Downstream as far as possible. Above the big creeks where the river doesn't rise as much. I saw it halfway up Cambage Spire last time it flooded. Oatmeal and grapenuts? Scott didn't take enough fat to the Pole. Bacon would go off in Christmas weather. Tinned butter? Tropical slime. I indicate the headings and not the bitterness engendered.
Eventually the food is purchased, the last drop of solder has sealed the tin, durable goods have been distributed and the cache party has caught the train to Camden. Two of the party have had a few ales, the collater is making another check of the packs and the fourth member is suffering, along with the others, from a Christmas party. Harmony is like a warm glow over the box carriage, although in a moment the acrimonious dialogue will resume. What follows is, as biographers disclaim true but not accurate.
V–. What's that.
A–. What? (Aley and innocent).
V–. That Bottle.
A–. Vinegar. It's on the label.
V–. Couldn't be vinegar on the food list I gave you.
A–. Your writing, it's pretty rough. What could it have been?
V–. (looks viciously through the master foodlist. A–. gives an aley innocent wink to the others.
J–. I knew there would be some b– trouble.
W–. Needle and thread? Buttons? If its food he left out I'm resigning.
V–. There's nothing remotely resembling vinegar. Have you all got your food lists?
Three are produced. A thinks he burnt his. All the food is placed on the floor, segregated carefully. The vinegar bottle rests carefully on a sleeping bag. Each item is named, the number of letters counted and V–. writes it out in her normal hand. Nothing resembling vinegar.
V–. (tearfully) It must be something in the tin.
A–. We are not opening that.
V–. I feel that it must be something terribly important.
She retires to the only place one can retire to in a box carriage.
A–. unscrews the cap of the vinegar. There is a delicious aroma of canefields, a memory of hot nights at Era and cold nights at Kossie. He has procured some legendary and pungent rum.
A–. (aley and innocent). We'll keep the joke going a bit longer. V. returns, sees another bottle.
V–. What's in THAT bottle.
V–. Oh no! What didn't you bring?
W–. There might be a dry stage across Colong Swamp. A little bit extra never hurt any foodlist!
Pymble - bus to Warrimoo Rd. Cowan Creek - Bare Creek - St. Ives. 12 miles. This trip will traverse the fresh water section of Cowan Creek. Could be scratchy in parts, particularly down Bare Creek. Gaiters recommended. Meet the leader at Pymble Stn.
Train: 8.10 a.m. Hornsby train via Bridge from Central Electric Stn. to Pymble. Tickets: Pymble return @ 3/9 plus 2/2 return bus fare. Map: Hawkesbury Tourist or Broken Bay Milit. Leader. R. Knightley.
Engadine - Scouters' Mountain - Eckersley Gap - Woronora Trig - Myuna Creek - Waterfall. 13 miles. Generally pleasant sandstone hills and hollows including portion of the Heathcote Primitive Area. Sections of the walk are definitely scratchy.
Train. 8.20 a m. Cronulla train from Central Electric St. to Sutherland. Change at Sutherland for rail motor to Engadine. Tickets: Waterfall return @6/-. Map Camden Military or Port Hacking Tourist. Leader: David Ingram.
Waterfall - Kangaroo Creek- Karloo Pool - Audley. 12 miles. This walk follows the valley of Kangaroo Creek from the source near Waterfall Station to the junction with the Hacking River. A couple of rocky sections but mainly bush tracks.
Train. 8.20 a.m. Cronulla train from Central Electric Station to Sutherland. Change at Sutherland for rail motor to Waterfall. Tickets: Waterfall return @ 6/-3 Map. Port Hacking Tourist. Leader Ern. French.
Minto - Bushwalkers Basin - Punchbowl Creek - Freer's Crossing - Minto. 12 miles. The leader makes no apology for a second visit to Bushwalkers Basin within 6 weeks. Lunch at Kalibucca Pool, where there are normally good stands of Gymea or Giant Lily.
Train: 8.25 a.m. Goulburn train from Central Steam Station to Minto. Tickets: Minto return @ 7/1. Map. Camden Leader: David Ingram:.
Remember the Shell film on April 24 - “Captain James Cook” a film tracing the steps of this explorer and “Around a Gum Tree”.
Federation Report - February 1963.
Tracks and Access.
The Y.H.A. Campers are to clear and re-form tracks in the Palm Jungle Area (South of Burning Palms) with the Garrawarra Trust's approval. N.S.W. Uni. Bushwalkers are to improve Compagnoni's Pass during the first week-end in March. Chains and spikes are to be installed. The Warden at the Towler's Bay Hostel is clearing the old foreshore track to the Basin.
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (Gold Medal).
The affiliated Clubs will train the contestants and the Outward Bound Movement will conduct the examinations. A high standard of walking and camping is required, including a 50 mile (at least) walk, involving 3 over night camps with map reading and compass work.
Search and Rescue.
Was called out early in February to assist in bringing one of a party of 4 who was suffering from cold and cramp, out of Arasthusa Canyon. Two previous alerts did not necessitate any action, as the overdue parties turned up before searchers were organised.
Heathcote Primitive Area.
Is to be increased to 3,900 acres, thereby doubling the present area. The new area will include Woronora Trig and Morella Karong on Myuna Creek.
Kanangra-Boyd National Park.
Most of the National Parks Association's proposals for this area are acceptable to the Lands Department.
Annual Reunion 1963 Attendance Figures.
|Active Members' Non-member Wives||3|
|Past Members' Non-member Husbands and/or Wives||2|
|Active Members' Children||42|
|Past Members Children||1|
|Numbers an Saturday Night||114|
|Additional on Sunday||29|
|Old Members' Dogs (in contravention of By-Law)||1|
|Fool with Bugle||1|
|Unidentified Object with note-book and whistle||1|
In memory of bushwalkers who fell in World War II.
Their splendour shall never fade.
Erected at Splendour Rock, 22nd February 1948.