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 843985
|Editor||Frank Rigby||3/24 Ocean Street, Cronulla 5234475|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke||Coral Tree Dr, Carlingford 8711207|
|Typist||Shirley Dean||30 Hannah St, Beecroft|
|Sales & Subscriptions||Neville Page||22 Hayward St, Kingsford 343536|
380 AUGUST 1966 Price 10c
|July General Meeting - J. Brown||2|
|Mountain Equipment Ad||4|
|Kanangra - Mt. Colong & Return - Dot Butler||5|
|One More Month - “Observer”||10|
|Federation Ball Ad||12|
|'Finding Your Way by the Stars - Starstruck||13|
|One Night in a Tent Frank Rigby||14|
|Obituary Alan Pierpoint Rigby - Myles Dunphy||17|
AT THE JULY GENERAL MEETING
By Jim Brown
A lot was said at the July meeting, so let's get stuck straight into it without preamble. Peter Key was welcomed, and with nothing arising from the June Minutes, we heard correspondence.
- Denise Hull back from the Hinterland and likely to be soon seen in the Club:
- Nurses' Association has $40,000 insurance cover on all persons entering the Clubroom legitimate business:
- Paddy Pallin had forwarded entry forms for the orienteering weekend
- Letter from Rev. Father Coghlan regarding cyclists at his hut on Scotts Main Range
- a suggestion to buy a stock of Paddy's Camping/Walking handbook for resale to brand new walkers
- various publications.
- Oh, we forgot - a letter from Clem Armstrong proposing some form of life Membership.
Well, Dot Butler undertook to reply to Fr. Coghlan about the cyclists at the hut, and Ron Knightley admitted there may be something in life membership and agreed to submit a Constitutional Amendment. On Barbara Evans' motion it was agreed to stock Paddy's book and to replenish stock as the books sold.
The President said we could provide the party of five including one wench who would have a lost weekend at the S & R practice. Volunteers to see him later. No additional personal risk insurance was considered necessary.
Ron Knightley now suggested the Secretary should not read excerpts from advertisements in the correspondence. David said he felt it introduced a lighter touch, and Frank Ashdown moved that we have all such items read. There were some murmurs that it should be at the Secretary's discretion but the motion went through without the option,
Gordon Redmond reported income for the month well above expenditure and a closing balance for June of $288.
Walking had been fairly active in June:
- The Vasey's Kanangra-Jenolan walk in the wet attended by 11 members and six prospectives
- 4/5 June Bob Younger led a party of 5 in the Carrington Falls area
- 19 June Barbara Evans jaunt to St. Helena had 21 starters, including 11 prospectives.
- 26 June John White's day walk brought out 23 (7 prospectives)
- 26 June Gladys Roberts led 11 along Cockle and Cowan Creeks.
- 17-19 June Ron Knightley had five members on a jaunt around Mt. King George
- 24-26 June Don Finch had 5 members and (1 prospective) on his Nattai River trip
- Roger Lockwood's Party was 2 all members prospectiyes in Angorawa Creek.
- 3 July David Ingrams with 7 people out of Minto and Alan Pike's trip on the Cox River and Yellow Dog the following Weekend brought 11 (2 prospectives) abroad.
Edna Stretton, deputising for the Social secretary, said the Colour Slide Competition of 31st August would be in two sections - Australian and Overseas. Total slides contributed by each member (in both categories combined) to be limited to 12.
We felt sure there would be a Federation Bulletin in the Magazine, so didn't take any notes - so sorry, but you've missed out!
Parks and Playgrounds report referred to the proposed car park under Hyde Park, pleasure at the saving of Kurraba Point, further efforts to reserve land at La Perouse, dismay at the authority being given to Local Government bodies to provide space for sporting activities in park lands, and concern at the proposed car park near the Zoo entrance. There we too, rumours of a hut at Era being offered for sale and after some discussion it was agreed that, if the facts could be confirmed, we write to the Minister for Lands reiterating our views on transfer of ownership.
Now came General Business and the President asking us to consider what kind of Christmas Party we wanted; while Gordon Redmond complained of inaudible speakers at meetings Frank Rigby had cause for complaint too - an insufficiency of contributors to the magazine leading to an unbalanced production. There wore so many things that could be reported if people would only take the trouble to do so. On the production side, he added that Shirley Dean could do with more assistants in the regular job of collation and dispatch.
Neville Page followed with a plea for the Subscriptions side and mentioned that many regular “subscribers” had not in fact subscribed yet this year.
Frank Leyden introduced the most weighty item of the evening when he asked that the Club write to Kosciusko State Park Trust, urging continuation of the lease of Albina Ski Lodge to the Alpine Club. He pointed out that the building was erected before proclamation of a primitive area was considered, that it provided the best means for people to enjoy the finest ski country, and would fail if not operated by dedicated volunteers. Gordon Redmond supported the motion, but a variety of other speakers had misgivings.
Bob Duncan pointed out that the primitive area would cover a very small area relatively, and as yet there was no final determination on cessation of the lease. He felt the Club could not endorse special legislation for the sake of one organisation and if that were allowed, it would be difficult to resist the claims of others to operate in the Tops area. Unfortunately drivers of snow vehicles did not always wait for deep snow and could do a good deal of damage to the soil and vegetation. Frank Rigby sounded a similar note: although he doubted that the area was or would be “primitive”, he felt that retention of the hut as shelter for ski tourers generally was the proper course, rather than as an adjunct of a particular club.
A question was asked as to the proposals in the Kosciusko Park Master Plan considered by Federation, and the President replied that, as he recalled it, preservation of Albina Hut as a shelter was envisaged. Ron Knightley said he supported the motion, although with different sentiments to the mover. The Albina Club had done much of the original work and maintenance on the hut: there should be no further buildings, but the existing building should remain and its tenure should continue to be with its present lessees. He felt the letter to the Trust should explain our overall views on primitive areas carefully, also our reasons for a difference in this case.
Alex Colley said bluntly it couldn't be squared with our parks policy and would be very embarrassing. We should do nothing at all in the matter. Alan Rigby repeated that the Master Plan followed our concept that a primitive area should have no buildings except as vital shelters. As for the improved road to the Summit - it could not be expected that a road available for 50 years would be closed. Ross Wyborn was in agreement with the ideas that we could not make exceptions to our conservation policy and any huts should be controlled by the Park Trust.
The motion went to the vote and was lost.
By now it was so late that many of the people had withdrawn and the President drew a blank with Room Stewards and also couldn't get a quorum for a “lost” party for S & R. So the honour of being lost will go to another club. It was all over at 10.08 pm and quite late enough too.
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KANANGRA - MT. COLONG & RETURN.
By Dot Butler
Party: Don Finch, Peter Kaye, Margaret Dogterom, Johanna Hallman, Brian Harding, Dot Butler, Roger Lockwood.
The wireless was issuing gale warnings to shipping and impending icy weather warnings to graziers as our party of seven set out from Sydney on Friday night, 15th July, four in Peter's VW and three in Brian's jeep.
The first snow hit us about Springwood, sweeping out of huge black clouds and peppering the windscreen with tiny ice particles. The higher we went up the mountain road the thicker it became. By the time we hit Katoomba everything was white; the road, the roadside banks, the lawns and roofs and trees. Through a white Blackheath and Mt. Victoria, the jeep travelling in four wheel drive, steadily but with an eerie soundlessness on the soft snow. Down the winding mountain road to a bleak deserted Caves House. Can she make it up the Porcupine? Careful swings round the hairpin bends. Up to the top at last. Masses of snow on the Kanangra Road, blowing across in great blinding flurries wherever a gap admitted the full force of the westerly wind.
The planned stopping place for the night was to have been several miles along the Boyd trail, but the thought of setting up a midnight camp in such icy surroundings was unanimously voted out so we stopped when we saw Budthingaroo tin shed looming out of the murk. Brian poised the jeep with its nose pointing downhill, we hauled out our packs and made a swift dash through the snow in our sandshoes, through the wire fence and into the hut. Here were three mattresses; in a matter of seconds we were in our sleeping bags and bedded down out of the cold. Brian had a look at his thermometer - 25 degrees! Nobody stirred for the next six hours, then Brian, disturbed by a rat or possum scuffing about inside, got up and as the other car had not arrived, he went back towards Caves House to find the rest of the party, including the Leader.
Roger and I got the fire going and within an hour the jeep was back with the other four. The VW had given up the unequal struggle halfway up the Porcupine and was now crouching on the lee side of a hairpin bend where it could stay till our return on Sunday night. It's four occupants had spent the night in their sleeping bags, sitting up, till Brian woke them.
We had a quick breakfast, then all piled into the jeep and so off to the Boyd trail. We left our vehicle a couple of hundred yards down this, then shouldered our packs and away through the snow, wearing all our warm clothes and stepping carefully at first in the hope of keeping our sandshoes dry. We were glad of the open track: plunging through snow-covered bushes would have been really frigid. Margaret had no wool cap so she wore a borrowed blue shirt wrapped round her bead and tied underneath by the arms. It looked ravishing. This was her first snow bushwalk. It was a good thing she was wearing a reasonable heavy pack or she would have been completely carried away in her enthusiasm and all we would have seen would have been her shoes disappearing up through the branches of the highest gumtrees.
It was a glorious exhilarating walk in the high keen air, all the morning through the snowy bushland. It was not till we began to drop down towards the Kowmung that the white cover became patchy and then finally disappeared.
About midday we had lunch in a sunny spot by Lannigan's Creek. The map was spread out and studied at length. Mt. Colong seemed a long way off and Don wondered whether we were going to make it by nightfall. Well, we can only give it a try. So there we are on our way again along the ridge with Colong looming like the Big Rick that it is, huge and purple on the skyline. Spilling down from the summit was a great stilled avalanche of grey stones. This was to be our route to the top. By 4 o'clock we had reached it and in half an hour were running round the large flat expanse of summit looking for the ideal campsite. Don and Brian went questing off down the eastern slope looking for water, while the rest of us found a nice grassy flat under enormous gumtrees. There was so much dead timber that we were able to erect a big windbreak wall about four feet high and in the lee of it we sat, with a glorious smokeless fire at our feet, cooking, eating and loafing. The boys had come back at dark without having found water, instead the water bucket contained some rather dirty looking snow they had scraped up. Nobody really felt thirsty enough to sample it.
The whole forest was hung with long strings and sheets of shed bark, still clinging to trunks and branches, and rustling and clattering in the night wind. It was a sight such as this that so upset the early explorers, especially Berallier. Dreaming nostalgically of the tidy English forests of his homeland, he wrote of these, “long loose dangling sheets of bark which give the woods a desolate and untidy appearance.”
We didn't look at it that way. We gathered up great piles of bark, over which we erected the tent, and on this we slept snug and warm all over, from seven o'clock that night till seven the next morning. Johanna and Roger slept by the Fire. Johanna woke in the night scared. The fire had died down. She thought she was all alone. The bark was beating with eerie rattles on the tree trunks, the huge eucalypts stretched towards the sky, their branches hung with myriads of stars, and a wombat, over whose hole we had apparently erected our windbreak logs, made furtive sounds of disapproval. Then it started to snow lightly. Roger awoke and put some more logs on the fire. The heat kept the snow at bay, so Johanna wrapped herself tighter in her groundsheet and decided to stick it out rather than make a dash for the tents.
7 am saw us sliding out of our white-powdered tents to breakfast by the warm fire. Then up and away, but first, so we can say we've been to the highest point on Colong, we must go and climb up the trig station.
This huge cylindrical pile of rock was well dusted over with snow. It was cold to the fingers as we swarmed up it, getting finger and toe holds in the small cracks between the granite. We read through the names in the book, added our own, then climbed down again, the loose snow-covered rocks not being very much to Johanna's liking.
We followed a ridge down till we struck the old Yerranderie road, through the paperbarks on the swampy flat, then up Mt. Armour and the dead end road that peters out just above Church Creek. Here we saw the marked trail of the party who had been here a few weeks earlier investigating the proposed limestone quarry lease. The whole panorama of country we had been over in the past two days was so completely untouched and free from human dispoiliation that the mere thought of a great gaping scar on the green hillside hurt like a personal blow. There must be other areas, already messed up, where they can get their necessary limestone and leave this graceful hillside unmarred.
At the bottom of the ridge we struck the trail that led through a gap in the hills and so to the Kowmung. We walked along this a couple of miles on the sandy river flats and across the river pebbles, the tall casuarinas whispering in the light breeze. Where Christie's Creek joins the Kowmung we stopped for lunch on a grassy sunwarmed bank. Margaret and I had a swift dip in the icy water. We lay on our sleeping bags soaking up the sun while we ate lunch peace, solitude, sun and bright air and sky, where merely to be alive was a grand affair.
But it can't last forever. Into this Paradise creeps the serpent; in this case it is Time. Donnie starts consulting his watch and working out mileage. What time will we have to leave if we are to be up to Kanangra road before dark? He decided we must leave by twenty past one. That gives us another half hour of glorious loafing and we all lie back and soak up the sun again. Except Brian. Brian says he will go now and make a quick dash to Kanangra and bring back the jeep to the Tops to save us the 6? mile walk 4 to the Boyd trail where our transport is parked. So away he goes and in due course we all reluctantly pack up and start off up the steep slope of Cambage Spire. Margaret has eaten a conglomeration of goodies - soup, instant pud., sardines, sour orange, etc., etc. “Isn't your stomach a marvellous thing,” she says enthusiastically, “what it can take!”
It's a steep pull up the Spire. The three boys get ahead of the three femmes. At the top of the ridge we tail-end Susies overshoot the mark and continue along a wrong spur. We have hardly gone five minutes down this when we discover our error, as we can see our correct ridge sweeping away to the left, so we retrace our steps and start racing along this so as to catch up to the boys. “Fancy doing a thing like that!” we told ourselves. “What mug map readers!” “That a poor shoving we'd make at Paddy's Orienteering contest.”
We went flat out till we met the Gingera Trail. We turned left along this and kept up our speed, feeling very conscious-smitten that we couldn't overtake the boys. We were gaining the high plateau top and into the snow again when who should come bounding up the trail behind us but Don and Roger and Peter! Rather shamefaced they told us they had overshot the mark at the top of the ridge and gone down a wrong spur. They were not quite prepared for the gales of laughter that greeted this confession. “Fancy doing a thing like that!” we shouted. “What mug map readers!” “What a poor showing you'd make at Paddy's Orienteering Contest.” “Now if you really don't want to go astray you ought to get us to lead you.” Margaret was nearly doubled up with laughter.
We felt so elated by this freak of fortune that we decided we'd have a party and eat the rest of our food. Below a rocky escarpment beside the trail was a plastic bucket full of water, collected from a drip from the rocks. We had to break a 2inch crust of ice on it before we could get a drink. Roger put a match to an empty biscuit packet to get rid of it, but in a split second eager hands were piling on dead bracken, twigs and wood, and in a matter of seconds this vital spark of heat became a nice warm fire. Then, as Margaret pronounced this the best and mightiest trip ever, we felt that climbing Big Rick in all that snow was almost on a par with the first ascent of Everest and we put our six pairs of arms around our six shoulders and danced round and round the fire singing the famous Hillary anthem, “we knocked the bastard off! We knocked the bastard off!”
But time was creeping on, so we put the fire out and pushed off to the Tops. An icy wind was gusting wildly over the bleak upland, almost blowing the lighter ones off their feet at times. We raced along at top speed, our bare ears nearly dropping off with the cold. When we got within sight of the road we saw a car there but by the time we reached the road this slight chance of a lift had gone. Nor were Brian and the jeep in sight, so in the waning light we plodded off along the freezing road. On the roadside bushes small twittering birds were making an unusual racket as they settled down for the night, bearing cut Duncan's story that the smaller the bird the bigger the noise it has to make to warm up its small body so that it won't freeze and drop off its perch. Fluffing out its feathers and going in for a protracted bout of evening song is equivalent to Bushwalkers warming up their sleeping bags by the fire and having a heavy argument before they go to bed about who is going to get up first in the morning to cook the porridge. This is a necessary survival mechanism.
About 6 o'clock we saw the gleam of Brian's fire just off the road. He had been an hour tinkering with the Jeep's innards, and had just about got her going. Despite two tins of antifreeze, the radiator had frozen up, and even the oil was solid when he probed it with the dipstick. He lit a fire under the engine, like New Zealanders say they warm up the cows in the South Island before they milk them, but I don't believe it. But a fire under the engine can be too much of a good thing, so Brian had been pushing the jeep off it and back over it again and again for the past hour till the ice thawed. Unfortunately one of the radiator pipes had burst but he repaired this with Donnie's plastic bandage and, except for having to refill the radiator every 50 miles, it did the trick.
We drove off with the seven of us packed like sardines till we reached the VW, still lurking by the wayside on the Porcupine Hill. Her four passengers got aboard and we didn't meet again till a hamburger stop half way down the mountain road. Here we learned that Margaret's stomach, Whose capacity for variety she had been applauding earlier in the afternoon, decided it would play the stooge no longer and revolted. What a pity! All that good food!
We stood at the counter by the wayside stall along with the semitrailer drivers munching our toasted hamburgers, then all aboard and home about 1 am.
Snow trips like this are so out of the ordinary they make a well known bushwalk into a mighty adventure. There should be more of them.
PADDY PALLIN ORIENTEERING CONTEST DON'T FORGET THIS INTERESTING ADVENTURE, TO BE HELD ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3. SEE JULY MAGAZINE AND CONTACT PADDY'S SHOP FOR ENTRY FORMS AND FINAL DETAILS.
The Australian Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club will be holding a
FILM EVENING at the S.B.W. Club room on Thursday, 15th September at 8 p m.
Films shown will include - “Between Heaven and Earth” - the famous mountaineering film on Gaston Rebuffat's book, which won first prize at an International Film Festival.
“Terra Incognity (The Islands of Kerguelen”) - The French Antarctic Base. (Colin Putt called here on his Heard Island Expedition)
“A Mountaineering Team climbs the Eiffel Tower.”
EVERYBODY WELCOME See Dot Butler for further details.
ONE MORE MONTH
Who was the bushwalker who put Rinso in her coffee instead of powdered milk? We sincerely hope that her palate has returned to normal. May we suggest respectfully that in future she forgets washing-up in the bush and leaves the Rinso at home.
John Scott, who doggedly WALKED from Wanganderry to Katoomba in May while others rode in luxury on bicycles (??), is planning to do the same thing again, only this time without stopping (except for snacks). John will walk alone and finds it difficult to explain just why this adventure calls him so - “An affair of the spirit, perhaps”, he says. Many bushwalkers are like this - is it a deep desire to feel at one with Nature, for a period at least?
We might have known it would snow on the weekend of July 15-17th (see Dot Butler's article in this issue). It was precisely this very same weekend last year that record snowfalls occurred in the Blue Mountains, causing such havoc at places like Blue Gum. Leaders please note this weekend for future reference.
You should have heard the screams when members of Alan Pike's recent walk had to cross the icy-cold Cox River and it was not much more than ankle deep/ either. “They don't know what suffering is”, commented one old-timer. He was remembering the wetter winters, when the Cox, equally as cold then, was waist to shoulder deep and was a real obstacle to be reckoned with.
Denise Hull is back in Sydney for a visit after 18 months in the Northern Territory. “The city is not for me any more - I can see no sense in it.” says Denise. Neither can many bushwaikers, especially when it comes to conurbations the size of Sydney.
This “Observer” had the privilege of being on Alan Rigby's last bushwalk. I say “privilege” because I will always be able to remember him the way he was around the campfire on the night before he died, in the surroundings he loved best. “This is the very heart, the reward of bushwalking,” he said, with utter contentment as he recounted several of those fascinating stories from his enormous..repetoire. Could anyone say good-bye to this world in a better way?
**SOCIAL NOTES FOR AUGUST**
On August 17 we have an unusual event, an Auction. The idea is to bring ANYTHING along to go under the Auctioneer's hammer. It doesn't have to be just bushwalking gear although this will be most welcome. Of course we want plenty of bidders, too, so roll up, there will probably be some bargains going.
Bushwalkers have always required specialised gear. The equipment they require is only novel or unusual to the unitiated.
Paddymade bushwalking gear is tailored to the bushwalkers needs because we understand the special requirements of bushwalkers - over the years continuous refinement and improvement is always taking place.
The latest piece of improved gear is the “Bogong” model sleeping bag. An improvement on the “Hotham” model - it is built on the box quilting principle, of breathing nylon. It weighs 10 ozs less and is even warmer than the “Hotham”. Just the bag for extra cold places where only the best is good enough.
Ask to see one this month at Paddys -
PADDY PALLIN PTY. LIMITED 109A Bathurst Street, 1st Floor, Cnr. George Street, Sydney. Phone 26-2685.
FINDING YOUR WAY BY THE STARS
(Condensed from a Talk given by Mr. Tom Petry in the Clubroom on July. 27).
TO FIND TRUE NORTH First of all you must become familiar with the eight stars listed below. To do this, you should buy a Star Chart for about 50 cents at any bookstore or newsagent and study the night sky with the aid of the chart. The rest is just simple mental arithmetic.
On the dates given, the star is on the meridian (ie. the North South line) and north of the zenith at 9 p m. exactly.
The star will advance 1 degree to the west of north for each day after the given date. It will also advance 15 degrees to the west of north for each hour after the given time of 9 pm.
Select one of the two stars whose given dates are nearest to the date of observation. You may select either star depending upon visibility conditions, time of night etc. (If you can estimate North from both stars, this gives you a double check). Check the time accurately, Apply the corrections as above to obtain the direction of North.
Suppose Observation is made at 10 pm on 26th August and that ALTAIR is selected.
- 26th August is 9 days earlier than the given date of 4th September, therefore, ALTAIR will be 9 degrees east (i e. to your right) of the meridian at 9 pm.
- 10 pm is 1 hour later than the given time of 9 pm. therefore ALTAIR would be 15 degrees west (i e. to your left) of its position at 9 pm.
Now from (1), ALTAIR is placed 9 degrees east of the meridian, and from (2) ALTAIR is placed 15 degrees west of the meridian, therefore ALTAIR will be 15-9 = 6 degrees WEST of the meridian at 10 pm. on 26th August.
It follows from this that you will have to estimate an angle of 6 degrees to the east (ie. to your right) to find True North.
To be more accurate, you should observe ALTAIR at 9/15 hrs after 9pm on 26th August (ie. at exactly 9.36pm) when it will be precisely at True North.
TO FIND SOUTH (Approx)
1) Southern Cross-Method: The two pointers point to the head of the Cross. Run your eye (or a stick broken to correct length) from the head of the Cross to the foot, then extend this line 4.5 times its length in the same direction to obtain South.
2) Sirius - Canopus Method:
Join Sirius to Canopus, then extend this line the same amount again in the same direction to obtain South.
Note: The above data will be reasonably accurate anywhere in eastern N.S.W.
ONE NIGHT IN A TENT
By Frank Rigby
I have spent countless nights in tents but none quite like this one, thank goodness.
I suppose it was all Ross Wyborn's fault for not picking better weather for his trips. At any rate, it happened on Ross' Ski touring/snow camping venture on the lower slopes of Mt. Twynam, Queen's Birthday Weekend.
The party had about eight or nine tents erected around a knoll some 500 feet or so above the Snowy the only protection a small group of very scattered snow gums and whatever you could get from the knoll itself, which was precious little. Not a promising sort of place, you might say, but that's the Snowy Mountains all over.
On Sunday Afternoon, a cruel wind from the southeast began to whip across the snowfields and things began to look bad as our little tents flapped and billowed. Our one and only snow saw worked overtime that day as most of the bods cut large snow blocks 9“ thick out of the ground and built walls around the exposed sides of their tents. The Butler family built an igloo to sleep three, partly for the fun of it, but also, I suspect, through premonition of things to come. Graham Budd's mountaineering tent, right on the very crest of the knoll, pitched to the ground 9” below snow level and surrounded by a huge snow wall, looked like something out of a Himalayan adventure. Alan Pike began to reflect on his 4 ft wall, “You know, if that thing blows over on us, it'll crush us to death”.
By nightfall, almost everyone, it seemed, was in good shape except the Rigbys. There just hadn't been a chance to borrow the saw and build a wall in that last hour of day light I must confess that earlier I had preferred skiing to working; my chickens were now coming home to roost.
To make matters worse, the wind steadily increased in strength as the darkness settled in and falling snow was now tearing horizontally across the knoll. It was bitterly cold. Our tent was pegged into the snow. Now solid ground is one thing, but snow is quite another for holding down a tent. I placed a big snow block over each end guy peg; piled up the snow and tramped it down solidly over all the others; piled up snow around the edges to keep the wind out. By this time I was numb with cold and that was about all I could do. By about 7 pm, we had a near-blizzard on our hands and there was no future in being out in the great outdoors of the Snowy Mts. It would be a long night.
We were certainly cosy enough - air beds, sleeping bags, inner bags, layer upon layer of clothing. But the wind was our master - it would give us no peace. It came in great gusts, it screamed through the snow gums and it tore at the tent, threatening at any moment to blow it and us fair up to Queensland. The din was frightening. As I lay there, I began to wonder just what I would do if our shelter suddenly took wings and flew. To even retrieve it could be a nightmare, to put it up again in those conditions would be impossible; and yet to survive the night without shelter was unthinkable I also began to wonder how many bodies could be squeezed into an igloo.
Several hours passed but sleep would not come. The constant anxiety, the japara now flapping in a frenzy, now straining at its moorings - it was just too much. If only the wind would stop, even just for a few minutes. It seemed the worse would happen at any moment. But the elements were in no mood to relax that night; as the hours rolled on things grew steadily worse. Anxious shouts coming from the nearby tents suggested that my worries were shared by some other members of the party as well.
By midnight mental exhaustion should have overtaken me but then a guilty conscience began to plague me. Why had I not built that snow wall instead of skiing? Why had I not shovelled the snow away and pitched the tent on the ground? Why had I not deserted the party anyway and found some hollow somehwere? A guilty conscience is a terrible thing, even if it isn't fully justified. After about two hours of this almost subconscious torture, I must have finally drifted into sleep. Of course I woke up again every time a really heavy gust was thrown at us, right hand on my sleeping bag zipper ready for instant action of some sort or other.
And so it went on until the dawn; never was a dawn more welcome. Not that the weather had improved one iota, but at least we could pack up and get out. We had a lot of gear in this small tent and a careful plan was required to organise ourselves and the gear - everything would have to be done inside in these conditions. While we were busy with this, someone came by outside and shouted above the wind “It's been sheer hell over where we were - our tent finally blew down”. I could sympathise with him.
When we finally exited to the outside world, I was amazed to find that only two of our pegs had pulled out - if only I had had more confidence in the holding power of tramped-down snow! However, the empty tent in which the Butler party had spent the previous night was torn to shreds.
We put our heads down and got out. I don't mind admitting I learned a lesson or two.
COLOUR SLIDE COMPETITION
On August 3Ist, the Colour Slide Competition will be held.
- 1) The competition will be divided into two sections, AUSTRALIAN AND OVERSEAS.
- 2) Competitors are limited to a maximum of 12 entries.
- 3) All slides should be spotted in the top right hand corner (as positioned in the projector gate) and should bear the name of the competitor.
- 4. Entries should be handed to the Social Secretary, Ruth Constable, not later than August 17th.
This is the colour photographers big event. Be in it to win it.
OBITUARY : ALAN PIERPOINT RIGBY
Departed this life suddenly, on Colong Main Range, Middle Kowmung, Sunday, 24th July, 1966, aged 64 years. ORATION read at funeral service, Northern Suburbs Crematorium, Sydney, 29th July, 1966 by Myles J. Dunphy, Mountain Trails Club of N.S,W.
My friends and bush brothers,
In this life we have not much time. All busy people are pressed for time. Before we realize it our time has expired, and then there is the moment of truth.
So it was with our good mate Alan Rigby. Always full of plans and good intentions, always thinking forward in practical way, taking the necessary practical steps to do his own jobs as a process artist; or making things about the home - for he was a craftsman and enjoyed the making; or, with his conservation-minded mates and friends, planning the action and process necessary to impress the authorities with the necessity for creating more national parks for the younger generation and posterity. No conservator knew the social importance of this work better than Alan P. Rigby.
It is sadly ironical that one of the best minds in the bushwalking conservation movement came to a sudden halt in the execution of a voluntary assignment: to procure photographs of rugged limestone scenic features, that were required in the current campaign to protect Colong Caves Reserve from being devasted by commercial quarrying.
For this work there could not have been a more Skilful person: a mountain trailer and bushwalker trained in bushcraft; a superb photographer with first-class instruments and sound knowledge of what was required. He gloried in the fact that he was physically strong, and that at sixty-four years he had examined a lot of new country during the past year; and that he could keep up with the younger men in the National Park Association's tours, and other journeys into scenic wilderness.
We know what he was capable of with the camera. Probably no other enthusiast in the conservation movement in this State has produced such a volume of consistently beautiful work, for so many years. Back in the thirties his series of Kanangra views, exhibited in Sydney, was the best ever seen of that scenic place.
Alan Rigby was one of the leading minds in the early campaigns for national parks, when the first of the bushwalking clubs and, somewhat later, the National Parks and Primitive Areas council, and the N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs, put up such strong cases for parklands, that the authorities were forced to take notice, then to take the action required.
Particularly as an early member of the Mountain Trails Club, and the N.P.P.A. Council, it can be stated that his aesthetic perception, voluntary assistance in planning, his cash contributions and practical enthusiasm, materially assisted the eventual creation of Garawarra Park, Heathcote Primitive Area, Blue Mountains National Park, Kosciusko State Park, Warrumbungle National Park, and others.
It was his discovery of the destruction which threatened the Blue Gum Forest in Grose Canyon, and his indignant report to the Mountain Trails Club, in 1931, that started the successful campaign which saved it for posterity - a campaign which served to unify the ideas of thousands of conservators, and further to impress the authorities with the importance of the movement for conservation.
Our time is limited: this short eulogy cannot be a history of our bush brother. But may it be added that he was a man of a surprising number of parts: an artist; a dreamer of the right kinds of vision; a craftsman with pen and brush; a craftsman with the tools for stone, wood and earth; a member of the Coastal Patrol during the War and after; a pedal cyclist who covered much country for exercise and education, and to feast his eyes on the beauty of the countryside.
And above all, for its virtue as the essence of sheer freedom under the sun and stars - his unbounded, uninhibited joy in wandering and camping, with his mates and his camera, on the high plateau, the forested ranges, and in the great deeps of the rugged country which was the best in the world for Alan P. Rigby - and he knew it.
It is ironic that in the end his enthusiasm for a good job of work lowered his caution and let him down: he did not suspect the symptoms of his final trouble; he was a stoic, anyway. He knew he was a robust fellow but he did not allow for his years - and last Sunday he scrambled around too many rocky outcrops, walked up too many rises, and tried to cover too many miles, all in the one short winter day.
It will be no effort to keep in our minds the memory of this well-read philosopher and happy wanderer in the bushlands: we know about his practical works which made his life useful. We know, too, of Enid's and his own great satisfaction that the father was the cobber of their sons, a proper mate and this is a solid kind of satisfaction for any parents.
Finally, we all trust that the mercy of Providence will blunt the sense of loss and make it bearable as time goes on; whilst we hold the memory - of a lovable character who proved he could rise superior to various troubles that afflicted him.
ALAN RIGBY - HIS CHARACTER AND LIFE WORK
By Myles Dunphy
The scope of Alan Rigby's interests was about as wide and varied as the subjects covered by the books in the Rigby's voluminous library. He was endowed with artistic perception, a love for the beauty of the Earth's natural surface; admiration for the work of great travellers and explorers, and for the architectural and engineering accomplishments of mankind. In his young and formative years, before marriage, he was drawn into the company of many of Sydney's commercial artists, illustrators, art printers and process workers, painters, architects, technical teachers and the early bushwalkers - and those people who were laying the basis for a great conservation movement in the State.
This compound of interests exercised the Rigby imagination; and from these contacts, that remained with him through his life, was developed his thoughtful and forthright character and ebullient Spirit. He was lively, easy to talk with, and had a sense of humour. His constructive mind was critical of the loss of natural values through alleged progress, and he deplored useless waste and vandalism.
At first Rigby started to study architecture and construction, but before going very far he swung his attention to commercial art; then in the tough atmosphere of this keenly competitive business he worked for others, in training, for some time, until he and his artist wife established their own joint business. From his large circle of friends engaged in diverse work and study he obtained sound training, imbibed a lot of ideas from lively and progressive people, a fund of general knowledge and a comprehension of comradeship that helped to mould his independent spirit and love of personal freedom. He liked to express his ideas and discuss topics in an analytical, reasonable manner, by the campfire for preference.
Without any denigration of home, he possessed an acute awareness of human environment outside and beyond the home; and his life showed that persons who possess the right skills and incentives can be at home anywhere where the sunshines. the breezes blow, and trees and hills stand against the sky.
When the Rigbys acquired growing sons Alan developed their interest in model ship and boat-building, amongst other things: and it has been sustained right up to the present. Many years. ago with L. Roy Davies, illustrator, Rigby assisted in the production of P. Neville Barnett's monumental work on Australian Book-plates. He voluntarily designed club badges, book covers and other items for friends and societies, just for the fun of it.
In addition to the clubs and societies mentioned previously, this well-read philosopher was a member of the Rostrum Club, the Clock Club, Camellia Society, Stereoscopic Society, The National Trust of Australia, and the Royal Australian Historical Society.
The family home at Blythewood Avenue, Warrawee, nestles deep in forest growth, overshadowed by some of the tallest eucalypts in the Sydney district.
One of the most pleasurable aspects of Rigby's life was his and the family's connection with Mountain Trails Club and Sydney Bush Walkers camps and tours; the special pleasures of exploration, camping, scenery, colour, contact with wild-life, personal freedom and peace of mind in the bushland were highly prized.
The Rigby connection with the Mountain Trails Club's famous- Miara Sanctuary of 85 acres in Heathcote Creek Valley was continuous throughout the 28 years of the lease. The fine rock pools, sandy beaches and surrounding sandstone bushland provided a splendid environment for club members and friends, where the joys of camping, swimming, discussion, music and good cheer balanced the working existence in the City. The Rigby family made good use of the place and the boys and other youngsters absorbed the theories, philosophy and ta1es of the experiences of trailers and others, old and young.
From their earliest days the Rigby boys were introduced to the worlds of books, art and music and the basis of what was beautiful and inspiring in nature and the works of mankind. At home Alan always was occupied with something interesting or useful and the boys were raised to realize there was always something to be done; they were shown that the things one worked hard to obtain, were the things one would value most, with a clear, conscience and a good deal of satisfaction.
It was providential that Alan Rigby met and married a girl such as Enid, a person of calm disposition, an artist and designer, and used to bushwalking and camping. Her quiet sympathetic understanding of matters smoothed away the troubles that at times assailed the sensitive nature of her husband, and the school trials and other troubles of her boys.
On behalf of many friends this obituary is closed with an expression of their deepest sympathy for Mrs Enid Rigby, her sons Roger, Byron and Geoffrey, the brothers of Alan, the sisters and brother Enid and all other relatives, in their bereavement.
“If I had to give a summary of Alan in one word, it would be 'integrity'. He was that vein of gold in the quartz of life.” Tarro.