User Tools

Site Tools


The Sydney Bushwalker.

A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalkers, Northcote Building, Reiby Place, Sydney. Postal Address PO Box No. 4476, G.P.O. Sydney.

EditorNeville Page, 22 Hayward St, KINGSFORD. Ph. 34-3536
Business ManagerBill Burke, Coral Tree Dr. Carlingford. 8711207.
Sales and SubscriptionsAlan Pike 8 Sunbeam Ave, ENFIELD. Ph. 747-3983
TypistMrs Joan Page

July 1967, No. 392. Price 10c.


The June General Meeting Jim Brown 3
Brain Teaser 4
Yet Another Bungle Don Finch 5
A Quote of Note 7
Night in the Old Trusty Cavern Jim Brown 9
Day Walks Don Finch 11
One More Month Observer
Wet weather Walking Neville Page 14
Startling Statistics 18
Handy Hints for Bushwalkers 19
Socially Speaking Owen Marks 20
Advice for the Lovelorn Aunty Muriel 21
A Potted History of the North Era Trust Fund 21
The Back Page All & Sundry 22


In the year 1627 the American Indians sold_ Manhattan Island to the white settlers for $24. Geometric progression never was a favourite subject of mine, so I haven't bothered to work the problem out, but I'm told that had the Indians invested their $24 at an interest rate of 3% compounds they would today be worth some thousands of millions of dollars.

The last Annual Report of the Sydney Bushwalkers disclosed a balance in the North Era Trust Fund of $1390. Are we going to be satisfied then, to wait for 350 years before doing something with the fund. The money may be gathering interest, but that's all it's doing. Commonwealth Bonds may be a gilt-edged investment, but that doesn't help the conservation cause much. Quite apart from that, creeping inflation together with the explosive trend in land values is reducing the purchasing power of our capital at a very fast rate.

I must admit that I, like many other Bushwalkers in the Club, know-very little about the fund itself. By asking a few questions I have learnt that the money was originally raised to finance the purchase of 40 acres of land at North Era. That land, with its beautiful unspoiled beach, so close to Sydney, was later resumed, and now forms part of the Royal National Park. The consideration for the resumption then went back into the Trust Account.

The question now is, as it has been for a number of years, what should be done with the money? Indeed, what could you buy for $1390? An easy way out would be to donate it to some suitable conservation body, such as the National Parks Association. This, unfortunately, would be virtually impossible, since the Trust Deed imposes very stringent conditions, one of which is that the money may be used only for the purchase of land.

There are apparently two solutions to the problem. A number of Bushwalkers feel that an appeal should be initiated, with the Fund as a basis, in order to raise an amount sufficiently large to purchase a suitable parcel of land. Figures of $10,000 and $20,000 have been mentioned. This may seem considerable, but when it is considered that $260 could be raised in the middle of the Depression to save Bluegum Forest, $20,000 should not be too difficult today. It could also be noted that when the Club contemplated the purchase of the Bendethra property, $4,400 was available from various sources.

A second school of thought is that there should be no question of fundraising until it has been finally decided how we intend to invest (if that is the word) our money. This method would mean that valuable bargaining power would be lost. Vendors generally don't like waiting around. On the other hand, if we have something definite in mind, the cause would be much easier to sell, and contributions would be more readily forthcoming from outside bodies and individuals.

Then again, we could fall back on the Red Indian Scheme and horde our money. But, would there be anything left in 350 years’ time to save?

The June General Meeting

By Our Political Roundsman, Jim Brown.

A quiet and docile meeting forsooth - but who is that in the chair? Is it Burke of the late lamented Burke and Wills? Why no, it’s just the President with an advanced case of five o'clock shadow.

New member Andrew Robertson was welcomed, and after we had ratified last month's minutes, there arose the question of a bush campsite for the 40th. Birthday. What, no nominations? What about the Madden's offer of their block at MacMaster's Beach? Oh, it was sloping and there was no water nearby. Well - where else? A deathly silence.

Your reporter suggested, for want of other nominations, Picton Lakes, adding that the best spot was on private land and some checking up of a site should be carried out; this stimulated others who in turn proposed a site at Agnes Banks, at the Colo, and at the farm of Honorary Member Roy Bennett, near Cattai. It was agreed that the organising Sub-Committee should investigate and report.

Correspondence was a singularly unimpressive collection, and may be left unsummarised, while the Treasurer's Report showed an improvement to $549 in the current account, despite a considerable number of outstanding subscriptions.

Don Finch reported on a modest month of walking activity, Bill Gillam's jaunt in the Wild Dogs taking out 5 people, while Jim Calloway's day walk had one prospective (and an unspecified crowd of members). There were 16 on Barry Pacey's Kanangra-Gingra walk, and 18 on a day walk in Middle Harbour Creek. Despite a lot of rain, Ross Wyborn's jaunt from Kanangra to Colong topped the tally with 27, and Jack Perry's day walk between Cowan and Brooklyn had four prospectives (and again a crew of members not stipulated).

Owen Marks told us our interesting social programme just gone was the work of his predecessor, but put in a plug for the Museum night of 21st June, when the meeting room would not be available.

Federation Report contained the information that $173 had been donated to Tasmanian walkers whose equipment had been destroyed in last summer's bushfires, that some errors had been noted in the Lands Dept. Jenolan map during S & R activity, and the next S & R demonstration would be held on 14-15th. October.

Concerning the dispute that had shaken the S & R organisation, it was reported that an amendment to the Constitution put the field Officer and his deputy in charge of all field operations and training. The Federation President had withdrawn his threatened resignation. Because of reconstruction of buildings, Federation would be rendered homeless, and a Committee had been set up to seek suitable rooms.

Brian Harvey asked if there had been any verdict of the S.B.W. suggestion to amend the Federation Reunion date and was told the delegates had the matter in mind, but the stars had not so far been auspicious to bring it up. Phil Butt, harking back to the 40th Birthday camp, said the S & R demonstration, a week earlier, would almost surely be at the Colo River site.

Parks and Playgrounds Report, read in summary, referred mainly to suburban open space, and we had come to General Business, with Brian Harvey stating about 130 diners had booked to date.

Will Hilder had a deal of map lore - incorrect name of Izards Nob (near Mittagong) as Lizards Nob, errors found in the latest Gangerang map, expected early issue of 2“ =.1 mile sheets covering parts of the old Katoomba and Windsor surveys, new 2” maps in the Moss Vale area. In addition, he explained there was a great deal of backing and filling on scales, and it appeared Lands Dept. sheets would go metric, probably 1 - 25,000 scale, with 1000 metre grids. Gloomily thinking how we will be walking 3.37 inches more in every yard, we dispersed at 8.55 p.m.

Brain Teaser

We have a situation whereby five persons, each of a different nationality, live in five differently coloured houses. Each has a different pet, each smokes a different brand of cigarette, and each drinks a different type of liquid refreshment. Further clues are as follows:-

  1. The Englishman lives in the RED house.
  2. The Spaniard owns the DOG.
  3. COFFEE is drunk in the GREEN house.
  4. The Ukrainian drinks TEA.
  5. The GREEN house is immediately on your right of the IVORY house.
  6. The OLD GOLD smoker owns SNAILS.
  7. KOOLS are smoked in the YELLOW house.
  8. MILK is drunk in the middle house.
  9. The Norwegian lives in the first house.
  10. The man who smokes CHESTERFIELD lives in the house next to the man with the fox.
  11. KOOLS are smoked in the house next to the house where the HORSE is kept.
  12. The LUCKY STRIKE smoker drinks ORANGE JUICE.
  13. The Japanese smokes PARLIAMENTS.
  14. The Norwegian lives next to the BLUE house.

What we want to know is:


This problem can most definitely be worked out - the answer is in the custody of the Editor.

Yet Another Bungle

by Don Finch

As usual we got off to a bad start. After leaving Strathfield at 6 PM we had to wait for Margy until almost midnight she had to do her hair. Then I discovered that my dearest companion, whose friendship I have cherished, man and boy, for years and years, was missing, and indeed lost forever. Probably my treasure fell through one of the holes in the floor of Rosso's car, so there I was without my beanie. It was like Marks without his brolly, Judy without her chocolate-coated peanuts, Betty without her wig, Ron Dully without his rum-soaked Weet-Bix, Jack without General Meetings or General meeting without Jack. A unique tragedy it was, even if the A.B.C. wasn't interested.

The long drive to the Apsley Falls turnoff on the Oxley Highway was completed around 3 AM. Dot and two New Zealand visitors, Keith and Bill, were already there. It was an incredibly cold night, with a clarity such that the stars seemed to be within arm's length.

The next morning, leaving the others to start breakfast, Ross and I drove the half mile out to the falls to see just what we were getting ourselves into.

What we found, apart from Heather Joyce, was a gorge 2,000 feet deep, cut into the rolling hills that otherwise went on for an infinitude. After being suitably impressed by the prelude, we returned to the turnoff to have breakfast. The last car in our party, that is, Frank Rigby's, arrived within an hour, and out popped spouse Joan, Shirley Dean, and Bill Burke. Ross, Keith, Heather and Frank drove their cars down the Oxley Highway for about 20 miles, and then along a fire trail, parking the cars at the rear of a farm. Heather then drove them all back to the falls. This rather simple operation took almost 3 hours, as Gordon would say “being for” at least two false starts on different fire trails, plus an hour or so convincing the farmer that being “experienced bushwalkers” we would not become lost for three days as two surveyors had. Consequently, we had just started on lunch by the time they arrived back at the Falls. When we did eventually manage to start walking it was already 1 o'clock. We had to walk around the rim of the gorge for about a mile and down a relatively clear ridge free of cliff lines. This route can be easily seen from near the falls. It was while we were going down this rather steep ridge that a dislodged rock hit Ross on the elbow, badly gashing his arm. After plastering up the wound, and with the aid of a couple of good kicks, he was up and away again.

Our Kiwi friends went on a photographing spree once we reached the bottom, as they hadn't seen anything like this gorge in New Zealand. However it wasn't long before they got their first taste of canyoneering, as a swim presented itself within 300 yards of travelling down the river. They soon got the idea of wrapping up their packs in groundsheets, and thus we started what was to be a long list of swims, some of which were getting to be about 100 yards in length. The length of these swims was a cause of some consternation in my mind, and by the look on Digby's face, he wasn't overjoyed at the heating arrangements either. Also, the stench of dead eels occasionally filled the air, and I made a mental note not to swallow any water.

The afternoon dragged on, the swims persisted with monotonous regularity, and the long, cold swims took their toll of the party. It was with no small amount of relief that I noticed the smoke from the campfire several hundred yards down the river. The camp site was a bottler, the only flat spot having already been taken by the fire. However, after scratching around for an hour or so, Dot managed to clear herself a spot, and everyone else did likewise.

Then came the trial of our waterproofing. Bill the Kiwi had water in his camera lens and most of his other things. Almost everybody had suffered to some extent, while I had the pleasure of being the most useless waterproofer of the lot. Everything, including my sleeping bag, was soaking wet. We had a sing-song at the campfire that night interrupted at intervals by small rock falls, most of which finished up in our campsite. The map was consulted, and after deciding where we were it was deduced that we had travelled two whole miles. Not a bad start for a four-day forty-mile trip. However, we all agreed that things must get better (after all how could they get any worse). Then it was time to go to bed I had another serious decision to make whether to sleep near the fire on the rocks, or under a small overhang on some shale. Near the fire I could be warm with the danger of falling rocks, while under the overhang I would be cold but safe. In the morning, discussing the merits of the overhang with the others, Dot pointed out that in the event of an avalanche I could have been buried alive. Several minutes later a small rock-fall received our undivided attention. A rather large rock, landing with a convincing thud in the nook that Doone had used to lay his head all night put a resounding full stop to the discussion.

After sustaining ourselves with breakfast we moved off at a goodly rate of knots. The swims were still considerable, but the distance between them seemed to increase. When the map was consulted at lunch time it was decided that our morning's effort had put three more miles behind us. Directly after lunch we found ourselves at a large pool about 50 yards across, with cliffs on all sides except the right side (from our point of view). The water poured into this pool along a deep chute which could be sidled if one had the ability of a fly or Dot, and the inclination to jump twenty feet into the swirling, bubbling pea soup that was the Apsley River, possibly hiding any number of snags or rocks. The obvious people jumped while the rest of us went up and over a steep ridge. By the time everyone had gathered together fifty yards downstream, it had taken two and a half hours to travel about the three hundred yards from our lunch site. Just goes to show how soft Wyborn's getting.

After walking for a further five minutes we found ourselves on river flats. These indeed were a most welcome change. Alas, they weren't to last forever; four miles in fact, then back into the big boulders. After half a mile of this, which took us more than an hour, we made camp under some casuarinas on an island in the river. Much to Digby's disgust we again slept on rocks, though at least we didn't have to worry about rock falls. The distance travelled this day was seven and a half miles a total of nine and a half miles in one and a half days. Ross and Margy turned up with some story of being chased by a cow, but Ross had managed to scare it off by splashing it.

The next morning a rather embarrassing situation developed. Apart from the map and Bill's “Australian”, there was simply no dry paper in the party. One glance around showed the countryside to be steep and rugged, so naturally the map was out. Thus the “Australian” became a truly national newspaper.

Monday was much the same as the day before, with perhaps fewer swims and longer stretches of rock in between. The party from the front to the rear covered at least a mile of river with Dot and Doone up front, Margy and Ross at the back, and myself running to and fro in-between trying to keep track of everybody, telling one lot to hurry up, and the other lot to slow down.

Lunch was had at Tin River, four miles from last night's campsite. Then about a mile after Tin River it happened big, wide, grassy, river flats, long and as consistent as the rocks and pools of the last few days. This was our eleventh hour reprieve, where we belted up an average of three miles an hour.

After two nights of sleeping on hard rocks, everyone welcomed the opportunity to have a pleasant night's rest in comfort. After this well-deserved evening of deep slumber, we wandered off down the river for about 2 miles to a ridge which would take us back to the cars. This revised route cut about ten miles off the originally planned trip. Even so, we weren't exactly heart-broken. The two thousand foot climb up this ridge, which was clear except for a few black boys, offered a fabulous panoramic view as we climbed. As we climbed we could see the whole of the Apsley Valley on the last day, until it was finally obscured behind a ridge towards the west and the gorge.

A two mile road bash from the top of the hill brought us to the cars at 12 noon. After calling on our farmer friend, who was not home, we went back to the Apsley Falls. Now we knew what was around that next bend in the river. As far as could be ascertained we were the only people who had gone right through the gorge. It was a mighty trip, even considering that I had to get there and back in Wozzie's car, which I might explain, is a Vanguard, and a bigger rust bucket of nuts, bolts, springs and washers you couldn't imagine. As Jim Brown once said (slightly amended), “Who called that car a heap, who called that heap a car?”.

Party: Bill Burke, Dot Butler, Shirley Dean, Margaret Dogterom, Don Finch, Heather Joyce, Frank Rigby, Joan Rigby, Doone Wyborn, Ross Wyborn plus Bill and Keith from NZ.

A quote of note for July

When you defile the pleasant streams
And the wild bird's abiding place,
You massacre a million dreams
And cast your spittle in God's face.

John Drinkwater.

A message from Paddy

The first month of winter and skiers have invaded Paddy's.
Many walkers have discovered the pleasures of skiing, especially-ski touring, which could almost be called. bushwalking on skis.
It calls for some extra skills and has its share of hardship and adventure, but ski touring opens up a new world to both bushwalkers and skiers.
Always welcome at Paddy's Walkers and Skiers especially those who find a common interest in ski touring, so dear to our own hearts or all walking and skiing gear. Gear for sale and hire.

1st Floor,
109a Bathurst Street,
SYDNEY. Phone : 26-2685

Night in the trusty old cavern

By Jim Smith

A year or so back, standing on the southern summit of Mount Renwick in the last light of an angry October sunset, I conceived a brilliant idea, or so I thought at the time. It was this: generally the view is better from half way up a mountain than it is from the top. The inclusion in a photograph of the upward reaching cliffs above one improves the perspective and heightens the drama of the setting. The answer seemed obvious. Since there are two or three layers of cliff on most of those south coast mountains, and since animal pads usually form wombat parades along the base of these cliffs, it should be possible to go right around Renwick well below the top cliff line, coming in from the saddle on the western side and ending in the Valley of the Monoliths. As an added incentive there was the virtual certainty of finding a habitable overhang out on the southern tip a room with a view, indeed.

Towards the end of annual holidays in April I set out to prove it. Left town before dawn on a Thursday, and by 9 a.m. had parked the car on the road that goes south from Sassafras and was headed for the Vines. A lovely mild, clear morning, with a promise of more heat than an April day should have.

There's no point in detailing the journey out to Sally Creek and along the swamp, or over into the headwaters of Corang River. It is enough to say that, about 3 p.m. I was sweating up the last rise from the saddle towards the bulk of the Renwick - Roswaine cliff. It was hot, it was hazy, and I thought the steely sky to the south west had quite a threat of storm.

For a few hundred yards, around as far as the rift between Roswaine and Renwick, the sidling was quite reasonable. The scrub had been parted, there were the scrapes and scratches of nails on the rocks, and the only fly in the ointment was the oppressive heat.

Beyond the slot, however, the going deteriorated. It was not always possible to walk immediately below the cliff line, and this meant taking to quite tangled scrub growing from the steeply sloping shelf. Moreover, it was dry, in an area where you expect to find seepages from the base of the cliffs, it was quite drought stricken.

You must understand that the going was not severe enough to make one retreat; it was just a lot slower, harder and drier than expected. At least there were generous sized overhangs at intervals, but none with a tap, I concluded, however, as clouds settled over the tops, that it was going to rain anyway, and the room with a view would probably command an outlook of mist.

About 5.30 p.m. - a good hour later than I’d estimated, I was approaching the southern point of Renwick. In the ghostly light I found another good overhang, but still no water: with the exertion of the afternoon I was already desperately thirsty, so I pushed on, hoping the next little gully would solve my problem. It was dry, and there was no shelter about either.

In the last glimmers of daylight I shoved my way back through the vegetation to the Old Trusty Cavern and flopped down on its sandy floor. It was very still, with mist eddying outside, and I heard a gentle “plop”.

Searching with a torch I found there were half a dozen places where occasional drips fell from the roof - one was yielding a drop every five seconds, the others much slower. So I should not perish miserably after all.

I set billies and cups under the most rewarding spots, and sat down again. Two minutes later I was up, licking the damp spots on the wall of the cave and spitting out the damp gritty sandstone. Then I saw it - lush growths of moss, an inch thick, in niches of the sandstone. I retrieved the pannikan in which about three drops now reposed, grabbed a handful of moss and squeezed. From between my fingers dribbled a small stream of discoloured water; splashing with a beautiful sound into the cup. Half a dozen handfuls of moss and I had three inches of water: it looked like mud, it smelled like mud, in fact it tasted like mud. It was nectar!

During that night in the Old Trusty Cavern I practically stripped it of all water-bearing moss. Like a drunkard on a lost weekend, I roused several times in the night, prowling around with torch and pannikan, wringing out the green moss and flinging the residue out into the misty night. As I did I muttered to myself “Drink Moss Cup” “Moss Cup is good for you” “Like a mossy spring” “Moss Cup is health”. Ugh! Still, it was wet. I saved the small amount accumulating in billies to wash away the taste of the mud. Sometime during the night the mist cleared away and not a drop of rain fell.

In the morning I made up my mind over a breakfast of sardines eaten while sitting in my sleeping bag, that I should go back. First, however, I would go on the few yards to the southern face, to see if I could get a photograph, and then get out before it became too hot.

At a quarter to seven I stood on the best vantage point I could find - a very good one - dickering with myself whether to go on or retire defeated. At seven o'clock, with the sun appearing through the gap behind the Castle, I went on.

We draw a veil over the next 5 ½ hours, in which I progressed about 1 1/4 miles. If there are any animals in that area, they have ceased making wombat parades and now assiduously follow the trails blazed by the C.M.W. If I was not up to my ears in dead tree ferns, it was because I couldn't get through the tangle of vines that meshed my legs up to the armpits. There were times when I am certain forward progress was down to 100 yards in an hour. At least I did find free water twice, but so thirsty was the work that I continued to swallow great draughts of Moss Cup at every opportunity.

Sometime after noon I reached the Valley of the Monoliths, and from that point the way out around the north of Roswaine was familiar and easy.

Friday night was spent on Sally Creek, with the stars and moon above, no Old Trusty Cavern, but unlimited supplies of wonderful clean water.

Was it the Moss Cup that brought on hallucinations, or did I really meet Putto and family, and a motley horde of walkers and cars back at the sawmill on Saturday? Since they saw me and have said so, I guess I can't blame the Moss. But this I know, if they offer me Moss Cup at the Old Crusty Tavern at the 40th. Anniversary, so help me, I'll tell them what to do with it.

Day Walks


Jim Brown, the long-legged man with the pipe embedded in his face, has a trip going from Coalcliffe, Stanwell Tops, Kelly's Falls, Otford. The train leaves Central country platform at 8.42 a.m. Tickets should be purchased to Coalcliffe. The trip is disguised as 8 miles easy, and any further details may be obtained by phoning Jim on 81-2675.

No Sunday trips are programmed for either of these dates.
If this fact upsets you enough to do something about it, see the Walks Secretary, as the new Spring programme is in the making.

Ye olds knights Sir, Davey Ingram (Uncle David) leadeth this trippe from Mint, Bushwalker's Basin, Kalibucca Creek, Minto. Ye electric chariot leaveth Central at 8.25 a.m. - tickets to Minto. The grading is 12 miles medium, and it is a TEST TALK. Sir Davey may be contacted by carrier pigeon, or other means of communications at 635-7733 (Business number).

No Sunday trip programmed.

Walks Programme

The new Spring programme is now in process of being compiled, and the usual cardboard sheets are currently circulating in the Club rooms on Wednesday nights. Spring is probably. the most enjoyable walking season, and it gives the opportunity for some terrific trips. So give the matter some thought NOW, even though the weather is a bit cold. Make this Walks Programme an all-time record; something the S.B.W. can be proud of.

One more month

By Observer.

Have you seen our gracious President, Frank Rigby, since his return from Central Australia. If you have, you will know the answer, when I ask you what you think Frank has in common with Leonardo Da Vinci, Rolf Harris, Claudio Monteverdi, Leo Tolstoy, and Santa Claus. As so aptly described by that master of words, Jim Brown, all appear to have advanced cases of five o'clock shadow.

comes along with quite a promising array of trips arranged and guess what happens. Don Wood's speleo expedition to Parkes discovered, once there, that all likely entrances were densely overgrown, and it would take at least five days to clear a way in, and even then there would be no promise of anything spectacular. All the way to Kempsey went another group, only to be flooded out. Ross Wyborn's ski touring trip went all the way to the snow country to find that there was no snow. “All starters need to be fully equipped for survival in subzero blizzards” said the note on the Walks Programme.

(From Sydney Morning Herald, June 19, 1967)
“Dr. D. F. McMichael, the present director of the Sydney Museum, has been appointed director of the Australian Conservation Foundation. The foundation's president, Sir Garfield Barwick, made the announcement at the first conservation symposium held at Melbourne University.”

The new Club Librarian has been working hard, with the help of her family, so I hear, to get the Library into shape, ready for use once again after a lapse of some time. Ivy Painter tells us that details of borrowing arrangement will be available next month.

Wet Weather Walking

By Neville 'Page.

“FLOOD STRIKES VALLEY” was the headline emblazoned across the front page of the “Macleay Argus”, the local newspaper serving the Kempsey district. “Millions of tons of floodwater have been dumped on the lower Macleay by inches of rain draining from the catchment in the last three days, ” the article continued. “From the hills in the west to the coast, the rich lower river is submerged by a huge, muddy lake.” But should I be starting at the end of the story? Let's go back to the beginning.

Various communications between Sydney and Kempsey culminated in a telephone call a week before the Queen's Birthday weekend from Roger Gowing up there, to me down here. The purpose of the call was to verify final arrangements for his proposed walk in the upper Macleay region.

“How's the weather down there,” was Roger's first enquiry. I explained to him that we were experiencing overcast conditions, with light showers of rain. I asked him how his weather was, remembering that we were now more than 300 miles apart.

“Just like a summer's day”, said Roger, “couldn't be better.” And so our conversation continued for some time, as if the call was costing nothing. Train times were confirmed. We would catch the North Coast Mail, leaving Sydney at 8.15 p.m. Friday night, arriving at Kempsey at 6.31 a.m. next morning. I had bought the map in Sydney that Roger had requested. The truck would be waiting at Kempsey station for us to provide local transport. One thing was for sure; there was going to be no bungling up of the formal arrangements. Anticipating that the train would be full, a compartment of 8 seats were booked several weeks in advance. Everything was organized down to the last detail.

And that's how it was when we boarded the train on Friday night, 9th. June. There were ten of us, two more than expected, but fortunately Ramon O'Brien was able to book into the adjoining compartment to ours. Only Mike Short was separated, being at the other end of the train. The others in our party were Katie Stoddart, Lesley Brown, Christine and David Sadler, Frank Taeker, Owen Marks, Ken Ellis and myself.

Three hours out of Sydney, stimulating conversation began to wane somewhat, in spite of the acute wit and seeming unlimited talkativeness of certain individuals in our group, and the topic turned to our bedding down for the night. This brought forth various points of view, and lasted another hour into the night before anything was actually done. Frank, being the tallest, and Dave, being the largest in the other dimension, were assigned to the luggage racks. The square frame packs were placed on the floor between the two seats, and it is here that we took advantage of one of the marvels of our scientific age. I refer of course to that remarkable invention, the lilo. These were laid out across the packs to give a large flat surface to sleep on, without having a steel frame dig mercilessly-into one's back. The remaining packs were suspended from any convenient projection. Thus attached, they swung back and forth, and from side to side with every lurch of the train. Just as things were in their most confused state the ticket inspector arrived. Bodies, packs, half-inflated li-los and red-faced inflaters were everywhere. The inspector surveyed the scene, punched our tickets, and quickly moved on with barely a word. Being a restless sleeper, I took the end nearest the door. Lights were turned out as I slipped my sandshoes off, and let them drop to the floor; and we all looked forward to a few hours of uninterrupted slumber.

The pre-dawn twilight saw everyone in a semiconscious state, and to our dismay it was raining - and rather too heavily to be a mere passing shower. Mere was the Indian Summer promised by Roger earlier in the week?

Our compartment degenerated once again into a state of utter chaos as li-los were deflated and goods packed up. But there was still something missing. I could only find one sandshoe. A quick search up and down the carriage didn't help any. The train arrived at Kempsey and I made a final lightning dash through the different compartments, but to no avail. Like Don Finch's beannie, it was lost and gone forever.

Roger was at the station with his truck to greet us in true style. It was still raining, and the air at this hour of the morning being rather chilly. Roger's statement that he had arranged a cup of tea for us was welcomed by one and all. So into the truck we climbed and drove off to the residence of one Mrs. Halliday (Aunty Mick). It was here from Aunty Mick that we got our first taste of the wonderful hospitality we received wherever we went in Kempsey. Aunty Mick had not only a cup of tea ready for us, but a large pot of stew on the stove, which we devoured with fresh toast in quick-smart time. I also took the opportunity of warming one very cold bare foot in front of the Kosi. While everyone was eating stew, and drinking numerous cups of tea, Roger, looking rather perturbed, was making a number of telephone calls, which sounded from our end like the A.B.C.’s midday river heights report. Roger advised us that because of the continuing heavy rain, there was some uncertainty about our being able to go where it was originally intended.

As I remember it, Roger's plan was to travel westward from Kempsey in the truck, and after crossing a river we would proceed to Kookaburra. From there it was planned we should walk southwards to Kemp's Pinnacle, as yet, unclimbed to our knowledge. This is an area which has a great deal to offer Bushwalkers, and it is an area in which not a lot of walks have been done. This could be explained partly by its considerable distance from Sydney. The Apsley Gorge (see Don Finch's article on page 5) is 60 miles due west of Kempsey, and is, at 3000 feet, the deepest gorge in Australia. Further north is the Chandler River, major tributary of the Macleay. The area abounds in large waterfalls, with the Wollomombi Falls, at the junction of the Chandler and Macleay Rivers, one of the largest single drops of water in Australia - 1,150 feet. In fact, of the 32 waterfalls on the east coast which have a drop of more than 208 feet, 14 are in the Macleay watershed.

With the rain still falling we donned our groundsheets, which, incidentally, attracted a lot of attention from the locals, and went down the street to buy me a new sandshoe. After attending to this business we loaded the packs onto the truck, and since we also had the use of Roger's car, four of us clambered into that, agreeing to meet at a roadside hotel along the way. Being slower than the car, the truck took a while to catch up. We gathered under the awning of the pub, out of the rain, and discussed the situation over a glass of sarsparilla. If we went ahead and crossed the river, and the rain continued for the weekend, it was most unlikely that we would get back across. We would be stranded until the level of the river dropped. The publican didn't like our chances of crossing the river even at this stage. The fact that the truck was too large to push out of a bog clinched the final decision and we decided against our original plan. As it eventuated, this decision was a very wise one.

So from here we proceeded out towards Dondingalong, where the Gowings' 900 acre dairy property is situated in the valley. Dondingalong, we were told, is the name derived from the sound of bullock bells jangling. About 500 yards from the homestead where Roger 's mother and father live, is the cottage which Roger used to live in, and behind that is a barn. The water on the ground created a sponge-like situation, so that one had the sensation of walking in three inches of water. Pitching tents was out of the question, so we set up house in the barn. That comfort it was too; warm and dry, with the rain still pelting down outside. We collected the dryest wood we could find around the place and built a fire, covering it from the rain with half a galvanised iron water tank. The rain and smoky fire made cooking for 10 rather difficult, but everyone persevered and finally lunch had been eaten by all. Some of us had a bit of a sleep, appreciated after our all-night train ride, while others ventured out into the weather to have a look around. I awoke at about 3.30 in the afternoon to find that apparently everyone had deserted the place, except Owen, of course, who was still snoring on his li-lo in the corner. I donned my parka and proceeded up to the farmhouse, where I met Roger's mother and had a cup of tea in front of the open fire.

Christine Sadler had discovered that the city life wasn't the life for her, and that she wanted to be a milk-maid. Despite the fact that, as was explained to her, milk-maids have been displaced by automation, she has been pestering David ever since to buy a farm. After milking was done, calves chased up and fed, and other farmyard jobs attended to (by Mr, Gowing) and observed (by us) we returned to our smouldering fire and cooked our evening meal.

After dinner it was back up to the house for those not too exhausted, and out came the table tennis table, scrabble board, and card table. Simultaneously these were used, with jovial sounds, and outbursts of uproarious laughter continued well into the night. We had a look at Mr. Gowing's collection of stone axes, including an excellent greenstone specimen. After that, Dave picked up every second stone he saw, declaring unequivocally that he had discovered another aboriginal stone axe. Mrs. Gowing prepared a wonderful supper; trays and trays of biscuits, cakes, jam tarts, cups of tea, and coffee made with fresh milk. What wonderful hospitality we were receiving.

Next morning it was still raining heavily, and we all sat down to decide what we should do. We could do a day in the rain without worrying about setting up camp anywhere. This is what we decided to do, except for Katie, Mike, and Owen who took the car and went back into Kempsey to catch the train back to Sydney. The rest of us packed our gear into one pack, and set off into the rain. One thing was in our favour, and that was that the rain at this stage was not accompanied by any strong winds. The forecast was for clearing showers, which meant, according to Roger, flood rains, especially if it was coming in from the northeast. The countryside is undulating with some steep wooded hills. We climbed one of these hills and onto the ridge, where we got a good view of the area. To the east we could see Smoky Cape, sighted and named by Captain Cook, and to the west and northwest the rugged and mountainous terrain where we had intended going, and which includes the highest mountain (5,300 ft.) New South Wales - outside the Snowy mountains. Roger wanted particularly to show us an area of tropical rain forest, consisting of dense green trees, entangled with vines, and interspersed with gigantic stinging trees. There are also those trees which, grow up around another tree, sending down roots from above the ground, and eventually killing the original tree. This was very interesting to me, since, I hadn't seen rain forest like this before. For lunch we cooked up a large pot of soup, and sipped it in the rain, talking, and joking about what an unusual weekend this was turning out to be. What's more, everyone was enjoying it. We squelched our way back to the barn, and the milkers went up for the afternoon milking. Christine, incidentally, had been up again early in the morning to milk, and to make a batch of scones, which were eaten in double quick time. It was still raining when we had tea that night, and the river height was rising.

After eating it was back up to the house for a repeat of the evening before, with another huge and delicious supper, including a freshly baked apple tart. Ken Ellis played the piano, which had somehow lost its tone over the years. As well as the scrabble and cards, we had a game of progressive table tennis. Now, anyone who has played this game can tell you how strenuous it is. Everyone lines up, half on each side of the table. One serves and moves on, so that people are moving around the table, returning the ball, and walking towards the other end of the table. You score one point for every ball missed, and once you reach 10 you drop out. As the number of people playing falls, the pace of the game gets faster and faster, until there are only two left. At this stage the players have to race at lightning speed to the other end of the table in order to collect the returning ball. Much noise accompanied this game, and at the end everyone retired to their sleeping bags thoroughly exhausted.

Monday morning came and it was just too wet for cooking outdoors, so we used the stove in Roger's cottage. We settled down to talking, and watching the river from the window. It was definitely rising, and water was beginning to spread out over the flat areas. Roger's father came down on the tractor, and asked that three people be ready to move out by twelve o'clock, and he would drive them into Kempsey, where Roger could pick up his VW and come back for the rest of us. The bridge we had come across on our way here was under water, and a different way out would be used. The road was very sloshy and muddy, and it was unlikely that we could push the truck through it. Once the first lot had gone, the rest of us set about to clean things up and pack our gear so as to be ready when Roger returned. We could see farmers herding cattle along the road, and carting them in trucks to paddocks on higher ground. When it starts raining continuously in Kempsey, people set about doing things - no one sits down and watches it through the window.

Two hours later Roger was back for us, and, armed with a tin full of apple tart to eat on the train, we set off. Isolated water was everywhere along the way, including pools covering part of the road. The mud was thick, and yellow, and slimy, and eventually we came to the spot where everyone had to get out and push. The wheels spun while we pushed, and the car crept along sliding from one side of the road to the other through the murk, until eventually we reached solid ground at the top of the hill. From here it was plain sailing except for one spot near the river where the water was more than half covering the road.

Eventually we met the others in Kempsey, and we proceeded back to Aunty Mick's place, where once again a magnificent afternoon tea was turned on. Here we had hot showers, and changed into dry clothes. It was here that we spoke to Mrs. Val Melville, Tourist Promotion Officer for the area, on the telephone. Mrs. Melville, who is also the Mayor's wife, was very kind to us indeed, and gave us some interesting information. Aunty Mick invited us to stay for tea, but feeling that we had imposed on her a little too much already, and may wear out our welcome, we elected to eat at one of the downtown cafes. After feeding ourselves here we found, to our surprise, that the Mayoress had come down to drive us to the station. At the railway, gifts of Milo and Malted milk were given to all of us. If anyone has any enquiries about the district, I am quite sure that Mrs. Melville would do her best to answer them for you. (Her address is Box 89, P.O. Kempsey). It was with this friendly farewell that we boarded the train at Kempsey to arrive in Sydney next morning at 5.30, ready to do a hard day's work.

To those wonderful Kempsey people, to Mr. & Mrs. Gowing, who entertained us so tolerantly, to Mrs. Halliday, and to Mrs. Melville, I would say thank you for making this trip, which had every promise of being a miserable weekend, into a trip to be remembered.

Just how significant has the role played by the professional hunter been in the destruction of Australia’s native faunas The following extracts give some indication.

News Review
May 14, 1965. “According to figures given by the Queensland authorities in 1920, the number of koalas taken in that State during the previous year was about a million. The number of possums taken in the same period was more than five million. Authoritative statements made in 1911 showed that in the previous year two Sydney dealers alone had sold 1,298 lyrebird tails. The ruling price, it appears, was 2/6 each.”

The Daily Telegraph
June 18, 1967. “In 1908, 60,000 koalas were hunted and killed, and their skins passed through the Sydney market. In 1924, the number had risen to a staggering 2 million from the Eastern States. In 1927, Queensland declared an open one-month season on the bears and 10,000 hunters shot 600,000 koalas.”

Handy Hints

A number of Bushwalkers have made it known to me that they would appreciate, a space in the magazine where ideas and hint's could be given an airing, and thus, benefit everyone. The idea is to pass on information about new gear, special recipes, for light-weight food, hints on caring for gear, such as water-proofing tents, and any other ideas which might help to “lighten the load”. Below are a few items contributed by various people. Hints will be published whenever they are received, and every month if possible. Should you have any ideas I would be pleased to hear from you. Ed.

Is yours a pack laden with heavy tinned food? Is yours the heavy load? Perhaps you may prefer to endure those million little gremlins pulling on your pack for the sake of easy comfort at the other end. For those of us who wish to lighten the load there are surely many who can offer suggestions and advice; hints they have picked up along the way or just some idea of their own; a favourite recipe or simply any suggestion to make the going easier.

Here is a simple recipe for rice pudding:
Into a plastic bag put, for two people, ½ cup rice, 1 heaped tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon coconut, 1 tablespoon raisins, prunes or any dried fruit, and a pinch of salt. Then preparing simply put dry ingredients into billy can and add about 1 ½ cups water, stir, and cook over fire for ½ an hour, stirring occasionally.

Condensed milk, added to rice that has been cooked with a few raisins, is simple and quite tasty also.
For breakfast, sausage mince patties rolled in corn flake crumbs, flattened and wrapped in Alfoil, packs easily, and cooks in coals at the edge of the fire.

Girls, a simple freshener for those hot walks - a couple of cotton balls soaked in skin freshener, and carried in a small aluminium container or plastic bag.

A member of the Sydney University Bushwalking Club, Miss K. Webb, recently tested a new ultra-light outdoor activity blanket in New Zealand. The material is waterproof aluminised plastic, reinforced with fibreglass strands. It reflects 80% of the wearer's body heat. The 84” by 56” blanket folds to 8” by 5” and weighs 11 ounce. I think that this is one new product that Bushwalkers are going to hear a lot more about.

Socially Speaking

With Owen Marks

Claire Kinsella's talk on mainland China turned out to be a most interesting and educational evening, due mainly to the intelligent and unbiassed way in which the subject was presented. We hear many conflicting reports on life behind the Bamboo Curtain, usually loaded with propaganda for one side or the other, but Claire's talk was refreshingly free from anything like this.

The other social evening in June was the Museum Night. This was somewhat of an experiment, which worked. Fifty-seven Bushwalkers invaded the Museum after normal trading hours, and were treated to an enjoyable evening, concluded with supper in-the rooftop restaurant. The best received feature of the evening was the excellent film on the “Birth of the Red Kangaroo”.

19th. July
“The Upper Chimbu Valley - New Guinea”. A talk with slides presented by Margaret Vazey.

26th. July
“Club Debate”. It is a long time since the Club has had a debate. Debaters will be divided into two teams of three persons each and each speaker will be given three minutes in which to air his or her views on the particular subject. There will be three subjects for discussion. They are:

1. That small cooking fires are preferable to large communal cooking fires.
2. That H-frame packs are superior to A-frame packs.
3. That Instructional Walks are not necessary.

These are the topics expressed generally. The exact wording will be advised later on, but anyone interested in participating should start thinking about which side to take. If you have any enquiries about the debating, or would like your name added to the list of debaters, ring me at 30-1827.

Aunty Muriel


Aunty Muriel received three letters from worried souls during the month, but after consultation with the Editor, it was decided that the letters should not be published until next month. Aunty Muriel feels that serious problems require a lot of thought so that a just solution can be found. So we hope you can struggle along until next month without too much heartache. In the meantime, anyhow Aunty Muriel offers some interim advice.

To Unhappy R_ _ _ of Kempsey, don't let your de facto know about things just for the moment, and keep out of the way of Daisy and Mabel. And if your wife starts asking questions, play it smart by acting dumb.

To Innocent Irma, if you entertain any of Ron's friends during the next month, it might be best to lock the bedroom door, then you'll have a chance to hide whoever it is before letting Ron in.

To Worried Fanny, there is a very simple solution to your problem, which Aunty Muriel will disclose to you next month. In the meantime, why don't the four of you go gogo dancing together.

A potted history of the North Era Trust Fund

A precis of an article which appeared in The Sydney Bushwalker, July, 1947

From the earliest days of the S.B.W. members have camped at Era. About 1937 the possibility of buying Lot 7, North Era was mooted, and a rough survey was made of the boundaries. Early in 1943 it became known that Byrnes' Estate was to be sold. This includes most of the land round South Era. Fears were around that it might be sold to a land development company. These fears were based on an attempt made in 1927 to float an “Era Development Company”. The proposed company was to erect a large boarding house or hotel and to install all the usual holiday facilities. At first the Government was requested, through Federation, to resume the whole of the privately owned lands between National Park and Garrawarra. The Government would not resume the land, so attention was turned to the possibility of purchasing Lot 7. In a very short time nearly £200 had been promised. The Club also devoted £100 towards the purchase. Edna Garrad undertook collection of funds. Tom Herbert and Mouldy Harrison negotiated with the owner - the price agreed to being £350. By June, 1945, £435 had been contributed. However, the Federal Treasurer would not consent to a sale for £350 of land valued at £210. Unable to purchase, camping rights were leased for £18 a year. A new tactic was tried. A new valuation was obtained from an approved valuer (£300) and the Treasurer's consent for the purchase was obtained. The land was later resumed, and now forms part of Royal National Park.

The Back Page

Saturday, September 9th has been set aside for Sydney Bushwalkers to take a picnic lunch to the above reserve. It is hoped that many will attend, as they have done in the last two Springs, and make this event a minor reunion. Anyone interested could contact Kath McKay 78-7455.

David Ingram's Sunday walk programmed for 13th. August will not now be going via Bobbin Head and. Mt. Kuringai, but instead will go Chatswood bus to Terry Hills - Ryland trig. - Cowan Creek - The Sphinx - Wahroonga. The standard of the walk will be the same. The reason for the change is that David feels it is too close to Geoff wood's walk which followed the same route. Train tickets are needed only to Wahroonga return.

No, not 36 chooks in Pitt Street by University student, but one jigsaw puzzle by Owen Marks. Loaned to someone, but can't remember who. Has great sentimental value to owner.

Could those persons who indicated to Katie Stoddart that they would be joining the theatre party to see “School for Scandal” at the Old Tote, please pay their money to Katie as soon as possible so that the tickets can be purchased.

It is almost certain that there will be a special 40th Anniversary issue of the magazine in October, consisting of 40 pages (one for each year - if the budget can stand it). It takes a lot of copy to fill forty pages, so could you put on the thinking cap and you may come up with something. You need not necessarily have to write, but ideas are always welcome. Do you have any old newspaper clippings which may have some relevance to the history of the Club? This is the sort of thing that is needed. An old Walks programme, or a clipping can have a lot to say. Please forward any ideas to the editor, whose address appears on the front page of this Magazine.

To the contributors : THIS MONTH:

  • Jim Brown
  • Don Finch
  • Owen Marks
  • Dot Butler
  • Kath McKay
  • David Ingram
  • Ivy Painter
  • Neville Page
  • Observer

Aunty Muriel
Plus, YOU, maybe?

As promised, we have the answer for you, but you will have to read next month's magazine to find out, because there is no room left on this page to tell you. P.S. It wasn't Muriel



The news has just been received that Heather (nee Joyce) and. John White were married last Saturday, 8th July, 1967. To Mr. and Mrs. White, on behalf of all Sydney Bushwalkers, we offer our hearty congratulations and sincere best wishes for the future.

Back Page No. 2

Katie Stoddart wishes to advise that her Newnes trip, shown on the Walks Programme for 28th, 29th, 30th, July, has been postponed until 11th, 12th, 13th, August. The trip will include an inspection of the disused railway tunnel which houses the famous Newnes Glowworms. Ample time will also be allowed for exploration of the old mines and shale Oil works.

The Editor would like it to be known that in future, any last minute news items should be submitted at least one week before the publication date. Otherwise the shock next time may be too great for him.

S.B.W. has had numerous marriages of members, but the latest White/Joyce marriage creates a new record in that this is the first time one Past President has married another.

196707.txt · Last modified: 2017/02/24 23:48 by richard_pattison

Donate Powered by PHP Valid HTML5 Valid CSS Driven by DokuWiki