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,” Reily Place, Sydney. Box No. 44760 G.P.O. Sydney. Phone 843985.
|Bob Duncan, C.S.I.R.O. Camden. Camden - 69251
361 JANUARY 1965 Price 3/-
|At the December General Meeting - J.Brown
|Social Notes for January
|L'il Sweetie Nuggetheart (contd)
|A Summer Mainrange Ski Tour - Wombat
|Katoomba to Katoomba Via Wild Dog Mountains - Don Finch
|Summer Do It Yourself Supplement
|Tuross River - Ross Wyborn
|Mountain Equipment Co'. (Ad.)
|L'il Sweetie Nuggetheart (Contd.)
At the December General Meeting
Christmas tide goodwill was in the air, and the December meeting was a fairly subdued one; perhaps, too, there was something of an air that the Bendethera project had been stalemated, but was not completely written off, which left this admirable cause of debate in suspension.
At all events, having got under weigh with a welcome to three new members, Rosemary Carruthers, Ann Foster and Alan Pyke,and having heard of two others (David Rostron and Tom Hayllar) who were not on deck, we agreed with the minutes and Heather told us of our bid for Bendethera.
There had been promises of financial aid which allowed us to stretch our top bid to 2,200. Initially our delegates saw Mr. Rankin, but could not persuade him to withdraw the 800 acre homestead block from the auction. It appeared that in addition to the 1,200 acres freehold on the Deua control of this area gave access to another 3,000 acres of permissive occupancy.
At the auction Bill Burke was our representative. One of the other contenders withdrew at 1,850 and the other opposition continued to go up by 50 bids until our ceiling was passed and the property went to him at 2,250. Heather continued that we were still hoping to do some good with the new owners as a private transaction and we were asking permission for camping parties to go there over the ChristmasNew Year period.
Correspondence contained an offer of monetary aid with Bendethera from the Newcastle Technical College and University Walkers, and Mr. Tony Carlon's acceptance of our proposal of honorary membership. Mr. Carlon said we were most estimable people (which we already know, of course, although we don't always say so).
The letter outlining Allen Strom's view on our National Parks policy was read. Broadly he considered walkers took too personal and narrow a view of conservation and parklands unless many could enjoy the reserves, there would never be much support. True natural reserves should also exist and walkers may have to expect limitations on their access to these areas. Heather said we were inviting Allen to speak at a meeting in the New Year.
The Treasurer's report showed we were ahead to the tune of 239, but the Christmas party resulted in a deficit of about 13, only 49 people appearing. The President said we should decide, then and there, if another party was to be held in 1965, because halls must be booked well ahead. Bob Godfrey suggested a change in the nature of the party. Perhaps some folk found the cost too high. His thought was to have the party as a camp hiring a small country hall for the Saturday night. Frank Ashdown's main complaint was that people eagerly voted to have the annual party, but many did not attend it, it was therefore a minority rule of the Club's affairs.
To put the discussion on a proper basis, Jack Gentle moved that a 1965 party be held. He didn't view the cost as too high. He pointed out that a profit was made in other years and over all it was not a charge on the Club. Betty Farquhar was all for it too a reasonable price, a good evening, and one didn't want to camp for such an event. Gordon Redmond said there was no minority rule about it if the Club decided at a properly held meeting that there should be a Christmas party, there could be no argument about it. Dick Child suggested the end of November was too early people hadn't got into the Xmas spirit. After an amendment from Frank Ashdown (that those supporting the party guarantee a profit) lapsed for lack of a second, Alex Colley pointed to the absence of young people at this year's party. John Worrell, purporting to speak for this group, said they had no interest in the function as now held, while Jenny Madden recalled that John Scott had sometimes suggested holding a Club gathering at his home. Katy Brown said (pointedly) some people didn't go because they didn't like dancing, and David Ingram who has enjoyed 20 years of Club Parties, indicated he would like to be in another 20. After David said that some people disliked fancy dress nights, the motion was carried with a minority of one dissentient voice (and at lease one who didn't say anything).
This would appear to have almost beaten the subject to death, but taking a lead from some of the questionings and doubts, Heather asked for a determination on the kind of party, which gave rise to another considerable discussion in which Eddie Stretton exhorted the young girls not to wait to be invited, but to get their own tickets and turn up a successful evening guaranteed. The question of John Scott's invitation was mentioned again and finally a decision was held over until this avenue could be explored. Behind it all was the idea of an informal type of party, not hinging only on the dance floor.
This brought us to the walks report which in total said that 81 members, 20 prospectives and several visitors went out on programmed trips during November. Biggest attendances were on Gordon Redmond's Bundeena Wattamulla Waterfall jaunt on 1st Nov. (17 present and somewhat scratchy going in places); Ron Knightley's Instructional walk to Blue Gum (22); Frank Leyden's walk though the wildflowers out from Newnes (9); and Geoff Whitby's trip in Jamieson Valley Creek (14).
The Parks and Playgrounds report showed that a protest was going to the Premier over the delay in bringing down the National Parks Act while the same organisation was hammering at the Water Broad to open its reserves to the public.
Heather reminded us that we would have to select a Reunion site in January, and it was announced that full time rangers were being appointed to the Faunal Reserves at Cowan, Nadgee and Barren Ground.
At this stage Heather seemed likely to declare the meeting closed, but Jack Gentle interposed to move a vote of thanks to the workers in the cause of Bendethera. It was a timely and reasonable motion, and if the President was a little embarrassed in receiving it, it would be because she had been one of the most deserving. It was carried with the applause that it should receive, and brought the last meeting of 1964 to a pleasant end.
Social Notes for January
January has two excellent nights on our social programme. On 20th, Mr. W. Pigot will show us his own films “Colourful Japan, Hong Kong and Glimpses of Thailand.” These films are not slick, high pressure documentaries but a sincere personal effort on the part of Mr. Pigot to show us those things which attracted him most in these three places.
Several years ago, we had a visit from the Bush Music Club. Everybody enjoyed the night so much that in response to several requests they will be at the Club on 27th. The immense popularity of this group is an indication of the high standard of entertainment they present.
A Summer Main Range Ski Tour
Snow Brown arranged it all, and last November Ian Wood, Geoff Wagg and Snow Brown arrived at Camden to jump into my buggy and head for the snowfields. Naturally Snow arrived late, and consequently we had reached only a little beyond Canberra by 1 a m. when I decided it was time to pull up and have a snooze. The sleep was blissful, but hours later a weak constitution forced Ian to get up, and in pique he shook everyone else up with him. Dawn had broken and the light and Ian made it impossible to sleep, so we crawled into the car again and drove on. We reached Jindabyne, the last town before anything was open, but my car needed petrol and oil, so we hung around and then had breakfast.
When we reached the foot of the new Chalet Chairlift, on the Alpine Way, we jumped out and took a look. The bloke said he would start it for us. We were tempted; we could go to Albina from the Chalet and return to Thredbo. But than the car would be in the wrong place, and we decided against it. So we drove on to Thredbo, where they were still skiing from the top to Kareela station. We took the Chairlift, and then climbed on foot to the crest of the Ramshead range.
From here, Ian wanted to take the beeline route to Albina, via Seaman Hut. But Snow and I overruled him, and a good thing, because going along the Main Divide was far more scenic and really easier, So we climbed onto the rim of Cootapatamba Basin and skirted to the west of Etheridge to Rawson Pass. Lake Cootapatamba looked fabulous, a blue jewel in a basin of snow, flanked on its western side by an enormous cornice. From Rawson Pass we climbed onto the summit of Kossy and sat down; munched some biscuits and other fodder, and looked at Victoria. From here you can see the whole of the Australian Alps. There are really only three mountains, Kosciusko, Townsend and Tynam; its a small area, and only subalpine, but its mighty better than most people realise.
From now on it was downhill, so we put on our skis, and zoomed towards Mueller's Peak. On the far side of Mueller's was a big cornice. Ian leapt it easily, Geoff and I had big prangs, and Snow got over without falling and without doing the splits but only just. Then after a short climb we skied down into Lake Albina cirque. What a fabulous site for a hut; looking out across the snow, basin, you can see over the edge of the Main Range Scarp to the Grey Mare Range on the other side of the Geehi River.
I latched onto Snow's ear and pointed out Olsen's lookout on the Grey Mare, from where we had dropped into the Geehi and climbed the Main Range on the October weekend. But Snow was unimpressed; if he hasn't done a trip himself, he won't believe anyone has.
We were all a bit wrecked after the night's driving, so after lunch in the hut we lounged around. I showed Snow and Geoff some incredible pea and thimble and card tricks, but its impossible to raise a glimmer of astonishment, admiration, or curiosity in bovine minds like theirs. They just say “So What?” “I could do it too, if I know how.”
By about 6 o'clock the boredom grew really bad, and Snow and Geoff and I went outside and put on our skis. We decided to ski over Lake Albina to the edge of the cirque, and have a Captain Cook down Lady Northcote's Canyon. It was late, so we couldn't go much further, especially as Ian was already cooking the tea. Lady Northcote's locked fabulous, a great snow chute running down the Western Scarp to the forest below. “I might just go down a little way to see what its like” I said. But once started it was too fabulous to stop, and we ricocheted from side to side of the Canyon down and down to below the junction of Little Austria. It was a long climb out, and by the time we regained the hut Ian had cooked the tea; and had a mighty bowl of soup waiting for us. Over tea, and after, we planned the next days itinerary; we were going to do as many of these fabulous western scarp runs as possible; Ian thought we should get up at 3 am to take advantage of first light and hard snow.
Clearly this was absurd. It was 10 o'clock before we hit the sacks, and no man can survive on five hour's sleep. About midnight a weather change arrived, enveloping the hut in howling wind, drizzle, and cloud. But despite this, like a mechanistic zombie, Ian Wood got up and began cooking breakfast at three. I pulled deeper into my sleeping bag in despair. But then I detected. from the conversation, some lack of resolve, even in Ian, and, relief relief, I heard their thick skulls slowly realise that even if it were possible to ski, there would be no frost, and thus no point in getting out before sparrow chirp. They all went back into their fleabags, and the hut was quiet and sane again.
I got up about 10 o'clock; it was a miserable day; visibility was zero; you'd be lucky to find the hut again if you skied ten yards. We sat in the hut, and played cards, and read. In the afternoon it cleared a bit, and occasionally we glimpsed the rubbish dump. By 6 o'clock we could occasionally see the other side of the cirque and we went out. We skied to the lip of Lady Northcote's Canyon, but it would have been hairy skiing down in the mist, and was difficult enough in the flat cirque, so we went back to the hut, and had tea. The hut barometer was rising, and R.A.D.'s prediction was that the next and last day, Monday, would be good.
The next day wasn't good, it was perfect. We had a pre-sparrow-chirp breakfast, and were out on the snow and climbing Townsend at sun-up. The snow was ice-hard, and climbing in ski-boots with skis over our shoulders was a bit slithery, but the view was fabulous. Townsend, Watson's Crags and Tynam glowered white and red in the dawn light, and looked better than anything I've seen since I went to N.Z. From the top of Townsend it looked as if we could have jumped straight dawn to the Geehi Flats, 5,800 feet below, if we'd had parachutes.
We got on our skis and started down a valley running down and North West towards the Flats. The snow was still like glass; Ian liked it but my legs felt like jelly, especially skidding sideways across the water tunnels on the turns. But we kept running down until we were stopped by thick scrub. Then we took off our skis and began climbing up again. The snow was at last softening, and we could kick steps. We were going to cut through a saddle to Lake Albina, but we couldn't resist the temptation, and we climbed to the top of Townsend again.
Now we mounted our skis once more, and zoomed down the East side of Townsend to Lake Albina. What a mighty run. The snow was like very coarse sugar dry because it was so well drained. We turned left to head down Lady Northcote's Canyon, but a great glop of cloud welled up and stopped us. So we went back to the hut and lunched.
After lunch we headed back to Thredbo mostly on skis. From the top of the Ram's Head we skied down to Kareela station. There the cunning ones, Snow and I, caught the chairlift; down trips are free. The uncunning walked and threw rocks at us as we went past. The rest was a car trip home.
Katoomba to Katoomba Via Wild Dog Mountains
The long plod along Narrowneck started about 9 p m. Friday night; by midnight we were at the cave just below Clear Hill. After some grizzling and groaning at the leader, everyone was asleep in the dusty cave.
At 5 a m. Saturday morning members began to rise and cook breakfast without water. The party, consisting of prospectives Ron Doolan, Terry Norris and Graham O'Keefe, and members Terry Cutting and myself, moved off at 6 am. The first water encountered was the muddy pool at the base of Debert's Knob, the second was at Kennel Flat; the colour of strong black tea. The party arrived at Dingo Gap at 9 am.; two members went out to Splendour Rock while the rest sunned themselves.
Brindle Dog was found without trouble, and then with even less trouble almost lost. A mistake in navigation found the party heading into Merrigal Creek, but the mistake was realised before it was too late and a quick traverse put us on the right track again. The last knob of Brindle Dog was climbed, and there, more than a thousand feet below, flowed the first drinkable water since Friday night.
The party reached the Cox's at 12.30 p m, and soon were sitting in the river. All afternoon was spent swimming, drinking, sunbaking and swatting flies. About five o'clock Dave Nurse came chuffing down the river, and about an hour later the other two members of his party arrived. They had been paddling lilos down the river, and planned to camp at Konangaroo that night, so after a mug of tea they left.
A few cattle were spotted on the other bank of the river, and Ron and Terry thought that fresh milk would be ideal. So after everyone had given their advice on milking a cow, the two of them crossed the river, billy in hand. The cattle immediately set off up the river with the milkers in hot pursuit. About an hour later they came back, after a grand chase they had finally observed that the cattle were not of the type that gave milk. Tea was prepared and, everyone turned in early. Then in the darkness little lights began to flash on and off. After awhile one of the flashing lights was caught and found to be a little flying bug.
The next morning I awoke to see a cow nibbling the grass under my feet, She looked at me, nibbled some more grass, left the finished product in return and wandered off down the river.
The party moved off at 7.30 a m. and arrived at Breakfast Creek around 9 o'clock. After a quick dip we set off up Breakfast Creek. The black snakes were out in force; two were encountered before the first hundred yards was covered. Two bods walked right over the second snake without seeing it. After this the members of the party voted that it was the leader's “privilege” to go first. But only two more snakes were seen. It was eleven o'clock when we reached Carlon's Creek and we decided to have a combination morning tea and lunch. Two trout were seen in a pool, and after half an hour both trout had been caught in a most unorthodox way. Both fish were over a foot long, and they made a delicious meal for all.
At one o'clock we set off up Carlon's Creek. At two o'clock we were at Carlon's farm. Soon after we were on OUT way up the fire road. Around four o'clock the water pipe to Katoomba was found and followed until the Nelly's Glen turn off was reached. Then up Nelly's Glen, the top was gained around six, and we were in the A.B. Cafe at 6:30 p m. We caught the 8 o'clock train home,
It looks as if the Bendethera Project has foundered, but there is no need to re-entomb the Era funds; there are other worthy areas in which the funds and current enthusiasm could be invested. One urgent task is the preservation of some natural stretches of coastline. A particularly beautiful stretch, which we could help preserve, is that embracing Merry and Pebby Beach south of Ulladulla. This is already bounded to the West by the beautiful spotted gums of Kiola State Forest and Faunal Protection District. Only a narrow coastal strip is partially alienated; if we could buy some of this, we might help turn the tide in the campaign to save this coastline.
Summer Do it Yourself Supplement
Make your own waterfall height meter
Few things can be more disruptive to a bushwalking club than to have its members arguing about the height of a waterfall which they have encountered on a summer canyon trip. Say a waterfall whose true height is 50' has been abseiled on a normal 120' nylon rope, using a belay point 10' above the lip of the falls. Later, some members will recall its height at 150', others at 120', while a few may contend that it was little more than 75'. This source of acrimony can be permanently banished by building and carrying a simple waterfall height meter.
Go to your local sports store and purchase 300 of light nylon fishing line, together with 300 1ounce lead sinkers. In your workshop, attach the sinkers to the line at accurate 1 foot intervals. It is now necessary to obtain a spring scales weighing from 0 to 300 ounces; one of these can be found lying around most homes. One end of the line, with sinkers, must be attached to the scales.
In using the height meter the scales should be held firmly in one hand, and the line thrown over the falls with the other. The scales will measure the number of freely hanging sinkers. It is only necessary to add 20%:for reasonable exaggeration, and the height of the falls has been determined.
Make Your Own Canyon Lilo
Since the discovery of Clatterteeth Canyon and the Venice section of the Wollongambe by Ross Wossiborn and party, lazy lilo paddling trips have been all the rage. But the usual air mattress is expensive and easily punctured by snags and gravel; the handyman of average ability can build a sturdier and cheaper mattress himself.
Go to your local fire station and ask for some odd lengths of old canvas fire hose. Now go to your tyre repair man and ask for an old valve, and a dipper full of rubber solution. Next cut out 4 or 5 good 6ft lengths from the otherwise mouldy fire hose, and laying, and temporarily binding these side by side in the form of a mattress, cement them together by generously dousing them in rubber solution. Further sections of hose should now be split so that they can be cemented onto and thus seal the ends of the mattress, but before this is done the sections of fire hose must be interconnected by carefully putting one's hand in one end of each hose and passing a skewer through the cemented section into the next hose. Similarly a valve must be inserted and cemented into one of the outer sections. The wonderful world of Clatterteeth Canyon and the Wollongambe is now yours.
Turn misfortune into good fortune - make your own Canyon Fongoo.
Walkers who have not come home from a canyon trip and found their canyon bag a minature ocean alive with floating prunes, Deb potato, Cadbury's chocolate, and black sausage, must be extremely rare probably they would be of that type who claim their bags never leak. Most walkers admit that their bags leak and simply empty the flotsam into the hen house. Yet there is no need for this waste; properly treated, the contents of the average canyon bag make an excellent base for canyon Fongoo.
Here is the method. First bear in mind that, especially if sudden pudding forms part of the materials and most of the flavour and nutrient will be in the water. This therefore must not be wasted; the whole contents of the canyon bag should be carefully emptied into a 5 gallon preserving pan and evaporated over a gentle flame until it is reduced to a thick syrup. Usually this syrup will already contain a wealth of subtle flavours, but if desired, beer and oil of cloves can now be added. After further evaporation sufficient good quality cheese should be melted in to completely absorb the syrup. It is a good idea also to melt in a small quantity of clean white parrafin wax at this time; this will greatly improve the solidity and water-repellance of the Fongoo.
After pouring into moulds and allowing to set, the Fongoo should be sawn into blocks of a suitable size. Small wafers make excellent party goodies; you need take only one large block on your next canyon trip to have a durable, completely balanced, and completely waterproof ration.
There were 6 definite starters for a trip over Christmas but we had no trip. Mick Elfick suggested the Tuross River and that sounded 0.K., but where was it? Duncan gave a graphic description of its location “South of Sydney and east of Cooma”. So with this precise information we planned a trip. Mick Elfick was to send us a map but we didn't get it until the day before we left. Meanwhile I collected some information from Paddy and saw the leader of the last party down the river who was 6 days overdue. By this time I had envisaged a really rough trip.
Kerry Hore, Jerry Sinzig and I went down in Duncan's car, and met Bill Ketas and Don Finch on Christmas morning near the Bodalla Cheese works. While we were waiting for Bill, Duncan who can't sleep in normal places had a nap on the floor of his car with the clutch in his face. From Bodalla we drove via “Never Chunder” (Nerrigundah) to Belowra Station, which we reached about 11.00 a m.
After getting some information from a farmer we set off up the fire trail to Wadbilliga. This fire trail wound slowly up the mountains and over the hills then dropped to the Wadbilliga River. After a late lunch we headed up the river. This was pleasant scenery with sun on the grassy flats and mist shrouding the mountains which rose abruptly from the valley sides. Meanwhile it began to dawn on members of the party that I wasn't kidding earlier when I told them it was 28 miles to Tuross Falls where we planned to reach that night. Duncan grabbed hold of the map and started adding up miles. All seemed hopeless with 20 miles to go in the few remaining hours of daylight.
Twenty minutes later the party was lazing in a camp site alongside the Wadbilliga River with all sorts of plans for a lazy retreat. Jerry was the only one who showed any enthusiasm about going onwards, but after loafing for a while some of the others felt they could give it a go. After a long argument about the state of the party, the distance to go and the nature of the country, it was decided that we would get up early in the morning and hot tail it to the Tuross River.
In the morning they seemed to have changed their minds, but after they were pulled out of bed we were soon on our way up the fire trail. The climb out of the Wadbilliga Valley was long and drawn out but eventually we bashed across the tops in appalling heat to reach “Tuross” homestead. Here, at a farm house, we asked the way to Tuross Falls. The farmers wife and daughter were very friendly, asked us in for a drink, and gave us some information, but when the farmer returned he wasn't too happy, and told us that we would never be able to get to the falls) let alone get down the river which was according to him impenetrable.
We made quick time over the flat open country to the falls, but hit the river too far upstream, and had to skirt around the upper canyon to get down to the river just in front of the falls. The falls are about 160 feet high and looked impressive from the peninsula in front of them. We got down here easily and started down the river. The river drops very steeply here but the going is quite good amongst the large boulders. We camped at the first corner in the river on a flat rock. Again bods had the map out, calculating how far we had come, and how far we had to go. We had only done 1 mile in the hour and at that rate it looked as if we would be overdue.
Next day we got an early start. The gorge was interesting, and we had some short swims which might have been avoided, but it would have taken longer to climb around. The walls of the gorge opened out after about 3 miles but the going was still slow. We had lunch by a good swimming pool where a side creek flowed in over a small waterfall.
After lunch the river became much easier and were soon bashing up a good average along the grassy river flats, Here there were perfect camp sites everywhere and an abundance of kangaroos, wallabies, lizards and snakes. We saw a 6 foot goanna on a tree on one flat and some ducks in the river in another place. It now looked as if we were going to get back early, so we camped and had a swim.
Next morning after fighting off the flies, we set off once more, cutting off all the big loops in the river, until we climbed a 1000 foot mountain alongside a straight stretch of the river by mistake. Further downstream the great mountaineer, Duncan could not get down a small bluff until Kerry showed him how to do it.
We reached the cars at lunch time and Duncan put on his ski goggles and Russian fur hat and drove home. The place seemed to be alive with S.B.W.'s; we saw the Elficks along the road, and the Grays at Nowra. So if your looking for some good new country, the Tuross River is worth a visit.
Coming January Walks
15-16-17. Cascading down granite section of Cox Bob Duncan.
22-23-24. Instructional - Garth Coulter. Rudolph Cup on the Nattai. Bring your own Lilo or tub - Dave Balmer.
29-30-31-1. Mumbedah Creek Whalania Chasm - Jerry Sinzig. Bungonia Falls Barbers Creek - Alan Round.