Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker
|A note from your president||Frank Rigby||3|
|Shoalhaven - Bungonia||Lyn Drummond||4|
|Annual General Meeting||Jim Brown||6|
|A close look at Federation Peak||Frank Rigby||8|
|Invasion of Claustral||Lynne Wyborn||13|
|The Platypus||Underwater reporter||14|
|A word from your Social Secretary||Barry Pacey||16|
|Blundering bludgers in The Budawangs||Lindsay Gilroy||17|
|Social scene||Barry Pacey||19|
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalker, Northcote Building, Reiby Place, Circular Quay, Sydney.
Postal address: Box No. 4476, GPO, Sydney.
Editor - Ross Wyborn, 25 Bourke Crescent, Oatley. 2223
Business Manager - Bill Burke, Coral Tree Dr., Carlingford, 2118.
Typist - Lin Bliss, 1/2 William St., North Sydney, 2060.
Sales & Subscriptions - Roger Gowing, 35 Croydon St, Petersham, 2049.\
I don't know how I ended up becomimg editor - what's more at the Annual Meeting, they called the job literary editor. The problem is I can't read or write. I was assured by my “friends” that this did not matter in the least and that the editors only job was to jump on peoples toes and get articles out of them. They assured me that I would make a good impression on peoples' toes being 198 pounds weight.
Since then I have found out that there is more involved in being the literary (I have dropped the editor bit as I like the first name best) First of all, what do you put in a magazine? The first thing I did to solve these problems, was to take a crash course in reading and writing. The second thing I did, was to write this editorial to appeal to the walkers in this club, to scratch some of their adventurous stories on a bit of paper and send it to me.
I would like to see a story about every walk in which something interesting happens, and this must be every walk, or otherwise we wouldn't go bushwalking. It is unfortunate but I can only read articles about bushwalking, the bush, the mountains, bush animals and people in the bush. Please please please send me articles about things so that I can read them.
As well as walking, I would like to introduce a new theme into the magazine - Education - about the bush. To start this I will introduce a nature page which is a bit different to those in the past.
One last thing, I will advertise any coming walk in the magazine, not only day walks. However, I do not want to see a rehash of what is written on the walks programme. Would leaders supply me with an interesting little story about their coming walk. Try to make it appeal to other walkers.
Well, having said all that, there is only one more thing to do jump on more peoples' toes. Watch out, your toes may be next!
A note from your president
This month could be described as an historic occasion for “The Sydney Bushwalker”. At the Annual General Meeting in March, it was resolved that the annual subscription for active members would include the Club's magazine. This means that, for the first time, active members will automatically receive a copy of the magazine each month as a part of their ordinary subscription.
Your Committee has decided that the magazine should, as far as is possible, be posted about the third wednesday of each month, but not later than the fourth monday of the month. Naturally, such dates may not necessarily be rigid always because production of the magazine depends on the voluntary efforts of many people, busy people who have many other commitments of their own. However, this time of the month has been chosen to best fit in with the Club's normal schedule of events, e.g., the availability of a new Walks Programme or the despatch of Meeting Notices. Notices of Meetings and other material from the Secretary will now be included as an integral part of the magazine; Walks Programmes will be included as an insert with the May, August, November and February issues; the Annual Report will be part of February's issue but the List of Members will probaby be included as an insert. No material need now be sent separately through the post to active members.
For non-active, prospective members and other interested people, the maagazine will, of course, still be available on an optional basis. Prices will be as before, i.e. $1.50 per year for the magazine posted, or 10 cents per copy in the Clubroom. Persons in the above categories who wish to have the magazine posted should send their magazine subscription to the Treasurer.
Now that the Club magazine is truly a part of the Club, your Editor will need your support more than ever. Articles, information suggestions and ideas will, I am sure, be more than welcome, and naturally, there are always plenty of vacancies for helpers on the production team. Let's see if we can get our magazine, with its new status, off to a good start.
Shoalhaven - Bungonia
by Lyn Drummond
Margaret Dogterom, Ross Tyborn, Doone, Don Finch, Colin Burton, Lindsay Gilroy, Frank and Joan Rigby, David Russell and I went.
We drove to Marulan cemetery and slept the night with the bods and bones underthe pine trees.
Next morning Doone, up first, wanted to stir the sleeping mob. He looked in Don's pack, found his beanie and threw it up the tree. Don reacted. Then, while climbing up the tree to rescue it, knocked down some pine cones on the sleeping mob below, now awake. A pine cone fight was on, Doone having the protection of the tree.
After a while everyone climbed into their cars and went to Bungonia Lookout for breakfast. Opposite Bungonia Lookout there is an open cut mine completely spoiling the scenic lookout. Everyone pictured the same happening at Colong Caves.
After, we left Colin's car at Adams Lookout, we took the other cars to where we hoped Dog Den Creek might be.
In this area there are few landmarks, so finding a particular creek is difficult. After a little looking we found Dog Den Creek starting as a dry rock creek bed. At last water was seen, everyone was hot, Doone produced some fizzleguzzle, just what we needed with Frank's lollies. The scenery was fresh and green with limestone formations, red soil and small caves. Soon we found ourselves climbing round pools then we had no choice but to swim. The map shows this creek drops 1,000 ft dawn to the Shoalhaven. I wonder where? we soon found out - 700 ft. straight down. We had no chance, no ropes, even if we had, no anchor points. Everyone looked.
Lunch break - everyone inspects their waterproofing - Frank found some eggs - lining his canyon bag, covering his lunch, oozing into everything.
While everyone was lunching, Margaret and Ross climbed the hairy creek wall to see a way out.
“Go back to my arrow” says Margaret. We have found a way. Going back wasn't so easy as coming, our slippery-dips slipped the wrong way. A little rock climbing, Passing packs and thinking was needed. Finally up the ridge and out, Don and Doone straight up. We climbed on the knife edge ridge over our lunchspot and saw mighty views of the Shoalhaven.
Then down, Don and. Doone straight down. At the bottom, a swim in the Shoalhaven. Then we climbed round, some swam with packs to the Blockup. Some people had less swimming than others.
Our campsite on the sand was good, everyone inspected their packs. Colin found one wet sleeping bag, everyone had something wet. Coles laundry bags aren't good canyon bags. The sky blackened, stars came out and went in, everyone was cooking tea, drying goods when down came the rain. “If you forget about it, it stops”, says Doone and it did. No one had tents.
The morning was clear and beautiful we walked along and in the Shoalhaven to Bungonia Gorge where we had a long lunch. we walked up the gorge, first on the banks, then rock hopping, then boulderleaping and climbing. A creek came into the gorge, we climbed this. The creek bed was steep with loose rocks but plenty of roots for hands. At the top we found the road and just made Colin's car before the thunder, lightning and teeming rain. Within minutes the road was a series of lakes and rivers.
One river which was a dry creek bed was now a raging river about 1 - 1.5 ft. deep. The water was racing down, skipping over the edge, the car would have been swept away. So we stopped and waited. When Ross, Frank and passengers arrived it had gone down a little but was still high.
Finally we drove through and had tea at Bimbos which ended a fantastic walk!!
Many people will no doubt have heard that Owen Marks and Ken Ellis shot through, appropriately enough, on April Fools Day headed for places afar.
This means, alas, that Ken's talk on Instant Coffee on the 24-4-68 has had to be postponed to a future date, thus leaving an ominous blank on the social programme. I would appreciate an offer from some kind, generous and generally patriotic person who would like to give a talk on some topic or other on that evening.
Anybody tea happy?
Annual general Meeting
by Jim Brown.
It was quite obvious from the outset that th ePresident at least was concerned at the amount of material on the notice paper: he appealed for concise speeches and a few people actually complied. As it transpired he had good reason to expect a lengthy meeting.
First four members were added, two of them, Mabel Pratt (the guitar girl) and Yvonne Hickson being present . Robert Gibbons appeared later and was welcomed, and of Rona Woods it was said she was about to be married.
The February minutes wore confirmed with great despatch, followed by a motion to adopt the Annual Report and Financial Statement. In explanation of the list of members it was explained that 18 active and 3 non-active members had been crossed off the books, unfinancial, but some had appeared on the list. Bill Cosgrove felt suspicion that magazine subscribers were being dunned over the postage, and it was explained that a cheaper rate had been secured, but the magazine charges fixed before that had become available. Several speakers pointed out that the Annual Report, couched in personal tones, was contrary to the principle that it should be totally objective. The motion to adopt was amended to ignore the personal remarks and opinions and then carried.
Since it could affect the complement of Committee, Frank Ashdowns constitutional amendment to have a small administrative Committee, separate from the working officials, was considered. Although someone classed the present type of Committee as “faceless men”, opinion was heavily against change and the amendment was lost. Thereupon the elections commenced, with the reappointment of Frank Rigby for a second term. The list of officers will be published elsowhere in the magazine. There was one universal nominee for all positions, whivh we nobly and consistently declined.
Correspondence was mercifully short, perhaps the most interesting point being the return of Alice and Alan Wyborn to the Active list. The months financial report gave a balance of $282, despite a fairly expensive month, involving to months' rent of the Clubroom and printing of a walks programme.
Walks Report showed a reasonably vigorous February, although the noise of traffic and overhead trains caused much of the detail to be inaudible to your reporter.
After the remaining normal reports had been heard and accepted, we came to Phil Butt's constitutional amendment, proposing that the amount of the application fee, instead of being a neat half annual subscription, may be “such other amount as Committee may determine”. Speakers made it clear this was intended to clear the way for other proposed motions, so that if the magazine subscription was embodied in the annual subscription, a suitable adjustment could be made to the application fee. There was then an amendment designed to ensure that the “other amount” should not exceed half the annual subs: this was adopted, but the whole motion was then stalled on a proposal by Lawrie Rayner that the vote be withheld under the subscription motions had been passed.
It was well after ten o'clock before we got around to what promised to be the piece de resistance, a series of financial motions proposed by the Treasurer. Pointing to the lateness the President again appealed for brevity and the principle result being that several people had a good deal to say, and the motions were put to the vote after few had spoken.
Motion One - merging of magazine and general subscription was carried, although it seems a few brother and/or sister combinations will get a fine collection of Club magazines. Some concern was expressed that members being crossed off as unfinancial would continue to get magazines for most of the year, to which Joan Rigby replied that the “waste” would not exceed that suffered at present, when copies had to be duplicated “on spec”.
Motion Two - adoption of a reduced rate of subscription for full-time students, instead of under-21 years as at present, was put forward. There was an amendment to embrace part time students, and indeed the wording of the whole motion took considerable bashing, but the essence of the original motion was carried.
Then to the highly controversial Motion Three - that a remission of an amount to be fixed by Committee be allowed to members leading two programmed walks to the satisfaction etc, etc. Discussion (commencing at 10.40 p.m.) was decidedly truncated, as the only “contra” speaker referred to “irresponsible” actions, was ordered to withdraw, declined and was told to sit down. On a gag the motion was put and lost.
We were just shaping up to the Battle Royal - subscriptions - when Jack Gentle (on whom may may Allah shower endless blessings!!) moved a postponement of the remaining business until the night of the April General Meeting. Despite some resistance from the Treasury bench, the crowd acclaimed it, it was carried, and the whole show wound up at 10.55 p.m., The President being so exhausted that he couldn't even croak “Let us Re-une” the usual benediction at the Annual Meeting.
All prospectives take note
In future all equipment hiring and returning must be carried out between 7.30 and 8.30 p.m.
Lorrie and Barbara MacKaness. Your hiring officers.
A close look at Federation Peak
by Frank Rigby
I suppose that, nowadays, the real walking into Federation Peak starts at Cracroft Crossing, at the end of the jeep track, leading from the Arve Road. From Cracroft Crossing to the Peak, as the crow flies, is a mere eight miles and yet to cover the distance takes an average party two fairly solid days of walking and scrambling. This will give you some idea of the terrain. Because many hundreds of bushwaikers have now used this spectacular, approach route, there is a rough track in most parts, with cairns marking the rocky sections. In the early exploratory days (1947-49) of Leo Luckman, John Berchevaise and Company, the route must have been a heart-breaker and I can only take my hat off to them in admiration. One could perhaps agree, in this case, with the standard press description and call it “the roughest country in the State”.
Then there is the weather, which in this part of Tasmania is notorious. Probably fewer than 50% of parties which set out for the peak actually climb it; some parties never even reach the base of the mountain. Yes, the defences and the disappointments of Federation Peak are still formidable. Why then, do so many bushwalkers make it their ultimate goal? I pondered this question as I hoisted my pack at Cracroft and set out across the soggy button grass.
Admittedly, at that moment, prospects seemed pretty bright for our party of nine from the National Parks Association of New South Wales (including three S.B.W.'s - Frank Taeker, Joan and myself). The sun shone warmly, a week of rotten weather in the high parts had just ended, and we were now well into February, Tasmania's traditional “dry” month. Leader John Murray was as keen as mustard and would get us there if it were humanly possible. A food drop, surely an incentive for any bushwaker, awaited us at Hanging Lake and the party was reasonably fit. But would we make it? Who could tell?
The route took us up into low hills and at a saddle we stopped, spellbound. In that few minutes, when we saw our quarry for the first time, I understood something of the special appeal of Federation Peak.
Only the top half, still nearly eight miles away, was visible, but it was enough. We knew now why we were going - to any mountain lover the call would be irresistible. For here was a real mountain, a great finger stabbing at the sky, remote and seemingly inaccessible. Yes, there was the challenge too, for it was only too obvious that the goal could not be easily won. My eyes roved over the incredible route, or at least what I could see of it - this was country that literally stood on end. Recollecting that moment, I would say that any party who missed this first view because of bad weather would miss much. A tingle of excitement touched us all as we put away our cameras and descended to another button grass plain.
That morning we met two separate parties, both on their way out neither had climbed the Peak. The Brisbane Bushwalkers had become tent-bound for three days at Hanging Lake; on the first day it rained, on the second it sleeted and finally it snowed. The Adelaide University Bushwalkers had suffered a similar fate at Goon Moor, about half way in. Plans were abandoned as time and food ran out - and here they were leaving the mountains on the first really fine day in a week. One can well imagine how they felt.
The ascent to the crest of the Eastern Arthurs begins at Luckman's Lead, so aptly named. The first part of the Lead is a bare morainal ridge and on a shoulder we stopped for a day lunch. The sun beat down fiercely and stories of snowstorms seemed to belong to another world. After lunch the real fun started; my bushwalking has got me into some horrible places but the upper part of Luckman's Lead just about takes the cake - a narrow track half covered with scoparia, bauera and other unmentionables, loose earth banks and boggy soaks to make life difficult, and the whole slope set at a steep angle for good measure. It was a relief to came out onto a bare knoll and see the landscape again. Federation Peak was now hidden by the great bulk of the Dial in fromt of us, but in other directions the view was expansive - Mt. Anne twenty miles to the north-west, the jagged West Portal to our left and Mt. Picton showing up prominently in the east. There was more scrub, some rocky knolls and steep pitches before we reached a rocky pool of clear, cold water. It was the first decent water since leaving the plains and we fell on it. (Who said Tassie was made of water?) Perhaps it was the hot day, but we were well behind schedule and when we sidled the Boiler Plates and came up onto Stuart Saddle, it was nearly 6 p.m.
Stuart Saddle (named for John Stuart who died of exposure here in 1956) can provide some impressive scenery if the weather is clear. Federation, hidden for so long, suddenly comes into view as one breasts the saddle. But now the Peak is closer and for the first time the whole of the tremendous north face of the Federation massif, plunging down into the shadowy depths of the Northern Lakes, can be seen. It is all rather awe-inspiring and to be a little scared at this stage might not even be uncommon. Goon Moor, our intended campsite, was according to the map, about a mile away and in fact we could see one corner of it quite clearly. But the Route Guide, compiled by the Hobart Walking Club, gave the time for this section as 2 to 2.5 hours - it would be longer for us, We realised we could not make the Moor that day. Well, what did Stuart Saddle have to offer? Once again the Route Guide proffered the advice “A restricted campsite. It will accomodate a couple of hike tents but water is often a serious problem.” not particularly encouraging for a Party of nine. We scouted around and found two built-up platforms and a third only half-built; it took a lot of work with hatchet and machete and we could pitch three of our four tents. The fireplace sat on a tiny dry patch of ground surrounded by a quagmire. Water was indeed a problem but fortunately the weather held and the view was magnificent. The plan was to be up at the crack of dawn; in the event this was quite easy because eight people were woken simultaneously by a ringing call from George Barnes, “It's the Cracka.” They might have even heard George in Hobart.
The route now took us up among the crests of the Needles, with fabulous views of the Lake Leo, East Portal, West Portal and the saw-tooth line of the Eastern Arthurs. What a country! The cameras clicked and the human foregrounds were shifted around like so much stage scenery. After traversing the Needles, a track (thank Heavens for it !) led down through thick scoparia and myrtle to Goon Moor. The route, in the main, now follows the crest of the main spine of the Eastern Arthurs, with the scenery growing ever more spectacular. Another dry lunch was eaten, this time in a mossy myrtle forest; then we climbed around the Four Peaks through their remarkable series of V notches and finally came out onto the open going of Thvaites Plateau. But what was happening to our beautiful day? Ominous banks of dark clouds, at about our level, were rolling in from the south-west. We made all haste but the white-out, accompanied by a chilly wind, overtook us before we could enjoy the final close-up of Federation, from the Devil's Thumb. That rugged landscape that we knew surrounded us, had in a few minutes ceased to exist, as if wiped from the face of the earth. It was then a case of groping our way towards Hanging Lake and the campsite. Finally a sheet of water loomed before us and there was the food drop too, the four gallon tins in their hessian bags looking as big as forty-four-gallon drums through the eerie mist.
The campsite at Hanging Lake is unique. Level tent platforms have been built up with rocks, timber, hessian bags and straw on the sloping shelf near the outlet of the lake. Protected from the nasty westerlies by higher ground, the site overlooks the 1,500 feet drop down into Lake Geeves, while in front the jagged profiles of the lesser bluffs hiding Federation Peak campsite, an extraordinary picture. The Route Guide describes Hanging Lake (and it does hang) as “a campsite with an unrivalled setting. Tent poles and wood are scarce”. Agreed.
That evening, though it was difficult for us to appreciate the setting of our camp. Visibility was down to one hundred yards or less, there were tents to be pitched, (my tent was larger than the platform so there was a minor cliff line inside) wood to be found, a supper to be cooked and the food drop to be gathered and sorted. Before heading for our sleeping bags, we talked about the morrow. Our schedule was pretty tight, only one day had been allotted for the stay at Hanging Lake and looking out at the murk we felt that our chances of climbing Federation Peak had probably sunk to zero.
I woke up with the daylight and hopefully parted the tent flaps. But there was nothing outside except whiteness and a misty rain. I was sure that we had a rest day on our hands so I went back to sleep. We got up late, had breakfast and pottered around. As the wind dropped, we men went up to the lake outlet for a compulsory bath but poor Joan, being the only female, had to amuse herself in camp; and then things started to happen with the weather.
About eleven o'clock, small patches of blue sky began to come and go. A few breaks in the mist gave us tantalising glimpses of the great rock buttresses sweeping up out of the Lake Geeves. There was movement in the camp and by midday four of the party had more or less decided to have a go at the summit. While we prepared, the weather steadily improved and by one o'clock, John, Henry, George and I were away. At the top of Thwaites Plateau we could now see that a beautiful afternoon was emerging; a north-easterly breeze was blowing the remnants of the clouds from the crests of the ridges and our hopes were soaring. Reading frequently from the Route Guide, John led us over the Southern Traverse route until we reached what we reckoned must be the start of the “Direct Ascent” route up the southern face of the main summit block. It was all very unknown and exciting. Federation Peak is usually climbed from Berchervaise Plateau via “The Climbing Gully”, where a rope is needed for what is said to be a “Grade 11” climb. The trusty Route Guide described our projected “Direct Ascent” as follows: “a little rock climbing is required but the exposure is severe. A rope is not necessary unless Party members are sensitive to exposure”. I looked up the face of the mountain and wondered whether the Route Guide might not have been written by Sir Edmund Hillary - it looked pretty tough to me, and of course we were all strangers to the mountain. However, there were cairns here and there and John and George did some fine leading. I can definitely confirm the exposure business; on one pitch I made the mistake of looking down, and there between my knees were the dark blue depths of Lake Geeves, 2,000 feet below. I have no idea how this climb would be rated but I do know that it came close to my own limits. I suppose the actual climbing took about 30 - 45 minutes before we joined up with the normal route in upper Geeves Gully; from there it was an easy scramble to the summit.
To stand on the very top, to actually achieve the goal, was superb. I though about the long haul in from Cracroft Crossing, the heavy packs, the uncertainty of the weather and the tensions of the final climb, but the reward was worth every bit of it. To describe one's feelings adequately at such a time is impossible and I will not attempt to do so. I can only say that to have become a bushwalker must have been just about the best thing I've over done.
(Party: John Murray, Henry Farlie-Cunninghame, George Barnes, Greg Morgan, Bruce Hamon, Peter Moss, Frank Taeker, Joan Rigby, Frank Rigby)
The nature of tranquility
There's something about a river as it flows between the trees - something that pacifies the heart and puts the mind at ease.
There's something about the sound of water with its soothing tones lapping gently on a bank or rippling over stones - that brings a strange serenity relieving inner stress - so walk where quiet rivers wind and there in restfulness - seek the peace that Nature offers to the soul distraught; the peace that brings the healing balm and calms the storms of thought.
10th, 11th, 12th May.
Kanangra - Wallara vrest - Barrallier Crown - Wallara Ridge- West Christys Creek - Kowmung River - Tiwilla Buttress - Cloudmaker - Kanangra.
This list of names is enough to strike terror into the heart of any fit bushwalker. Long lists, such as this, serve no useful purpose but to take up room on the walks programme and to confuse people as to the leader's intensions. Don't be fooled, though it is obvious, that things like Barrallier Crown and Wallara Ridge are where the party will be once the leader is totally lost. Any questions regarding mapping directed to the leader in these circumstances, shall be met with a blank stare and casual indications of the fist to some obscure position on the map. 40 miles, rough is true and concise, therefore only reasonable fit bods should attempt this walk, otherwise they might be spending Monday in the bush with the rest of the mob.
Contact Margaret Dogterom, 635.9526 for details.
Invasion of Claustral
by Lynne Wyborn.
In typical fashion thirty-three members, visitors and sundry arrived at Mt. Tomah on Sunday morning, 25th February. Added to this, six senior scouts were going down Claustrial and fourteen Springwood Bushwalkers down Raynon Canyon, making a grand total of 53, three more than last years record.
The'advanced' party raced down to the abseils with the ropes to prepare for the hordes of bods to come. Meanwhile, Colin Burton and Don Finch raced around franticly at the top, trying to work out who was and who wasn't there. Eventually everyone congregated at the top of the abseils where a fire was lit.
After the scouts had abseiled down into the icy darkness and moved out of the way, our party began the monotonous task of all getting to the bottom. There were three abseils, the first 30ft., the second 25 ft., and the third (the keyhole) was 50 ft. The water was freezing and everything got soaked. At the bottom of the first abseil, the waterfall pounded on you as you got off the rope. At the bottom of the second abseil, Margaret Dogterom spotted a small furry looking animal clinging to the wall about 6 inches above the water line. It turned out to be a baby possum about 3 inches long. More trouble was taken by everyone to get it to safety, than can be imagined.
At the top of the 'keyhole' abseil, a magnificent sight was seen. The fire which had been lit with damp wood had produced smoke which wafted between between the narrow walls that towered about 150 ft. above. The sun beamed down through an occasional gap, shone on the large silvery spider webs and pierced the inert smoke creating an eerie atmosphere. Nothing was heard above the rush of the waterfalls. At the bottom of the last abseil, we plunged into the water and made a quick dash around the corner into the unknown.
While those at the front were eating lunch at the camping cave, bods were still coming clown the abseils and making their way along the narrow canyon below. At 3.00 p.m people were still coming down, Don having troublecoax ing one girl down who wouldn't budge between the first and second abseils. The forward party, led by Dot Butler, moved on rockhopping, climbing down small cliffs and swimming. We reached the bottom of the steep hillside which we were to climb up. Everyone found their way out O.K. there being only a bit of trouble at the tunnel swim.
Most of the party had to find their way to the top in the dark and reached there about 8.00 p.m. It was rumoured that a party of two which went down after our party, eventually found their way out on Tuesday afternoon after living on ferns and yabbies for two days. Another successful S.B.W. skirmish with nature.
Did you know that the platypus is poisonous?
Do you know how long the platypus digs his burrow?
The platypus is rarely seen by bushwalkers. However, now and then one may be seen diving to the bottom of one of the pools in the Nattai or some other creek in the mountains.
After its discovery on the Hawkesbury River in 1797, the platypus took a considerable time to become accepted by the scientific world. Some declined to accept as a genuine production of nature, a creature apparently half mammal and half bird, furred and webfooted, with a beavertail and ducklike bill. Soon, however, there was ample proof that the “Duckbill Mole” or “Water Mole” - old colonial names for Ornithorkynchus anatinus - actually existed. Early reports of the fact that it laid eggs were discounted until a young Cambridge zoologist named Caldwell described the eggs in some detail in 1884. Actually the platypus along with its cousin, the Echidna or spiny Anteater, are the only egg laying mammals in the world.
The female platypus has mammary glands without nipples and suckles its young by extruding milk through the pores of the skin on its abdomen to be lapped up by the baby platypus. The male platypus is larger than the female and has two spurs, inside the heel of the hindfeet. Sharp and hollow, the spurs are connected to poison glands and the venom is conveyed right into the wound when the animal strikes home.
There is only one species of platypus and it ranges from Northern Queensland to Victoria and Tasmania along the easfern section of Australia. The platypus was often trapped and shot in the early days for their beautiful seallike pelts. But disturbance of their habitat, probably as much as the numbers taken, caused such a reduction of the nervous creatures that they had to be given total protection in Victoria in 1888, and subsequently elsewhere.
The platypus excavates burrows in river banks with the claw of its forefeet. These burrows may be over 40 feet long and sometimes up to 100 feet long. The female digs an individual burrow when it is about to breed. The nest chamber is rounded and covered with grass and leaves. The tunnel too, it is so narrow it probably has the effect of squeezing the moisture from the fur, preventing the bark and leaves in the nest chamber from becoming sodden. Two eggs form the usual clutch but occasionally three are laid. The female broods the eggs for about a week to ten days and when she goes out to feed after the young hatch, also plugs the burrow behind her, presumably against predators like goannas and carpet snakes.
The adolesant emerges from the burrow after about 4 months.
The platypus' diet usually consists of yabbies, earthworms, tadpoles and grubs. It consumes an enormous amount of food usually about 25% of its own weight per day. Apparently they take all their food while swimming blind underwater, scything their rubbery bills from side to side and relying on its extraordinary sensitivity to pick up the slightest water movements caused by yabbies, to recognise the softness to the touch of waterlogged worms, and to feel and avoid the proximity of obstacles like rocks and logs.
Don't miss the very rutty trip on the programme. As a matter of fact 100 miles of ruts from Rylestone to Singleton. Somebody saw Don Finch last week buying a roll of spong rubber for his seat (or was it his bike seat?). The route follows fire trails across country. Date: 17th, 18th, 19th May. Contact: Ross Wyborn.
Rucksack This is a bi-monthly magazine editorod by John Davis and Gary Steer. Price 30c per copy. The first edition of this magazine (March) contains many extremely good photos many of which are dramatic and inspiring. The magazine is well laid out with thirty-one pages and twenty-eight photos. However, some of the photos are not explained and some do not seem to fit in with the text. The text I feel is not as good as it should be.
Glenbrook - Glenbrook Creek - Euroka - Fireworks Ridge - Mt. Portal
Nepean R - Lapstone. 12 miles, medium. Leader John Holly.
A pleasant Sundays walk in the lower Blue Mountains, including a visit to Nepean River, where the hardy types might like to take a dip. Any prospectivos who might need a few lessons in mapping should attend, as John Holly is notorious for making the prospective member do the mapping. The train leaves Central Station at 8.20 a.m. (buy tickets to Glenbrook).
A word from your Social Secretary
Wednesdy evenings as you all know, are devoted to the social and business side of the Club.
My job, with co-operation from my follow Club members, is to plan a social programme, suitable, as far as possible to everyone. To help me therefore, I am asking you, the member, young or old, active or not so active to indicate to me the type of entertainment you would like to see and consider suitable to our Club as a whole. It is my belief that many Club members are capable of giving interesting and entertaining talks on a wide range of subjects. It is from those people that I would like to hear as the deadline for the coming social programme is near and there are still spaces to be filled.
Lack of suggestions will be considered an indicati6n of satisfaction in the present type of social programme and it will continue along those lines.
See if you have any suggestions of how we can possibly improve the wednesday evening social programme. Please bring them forward so they may benefit the whole Club.
Have you been down to The Colo?
Plenty of scrub, plenty of cliffs, plenty of walking. The Colo has many very large pools - ideal for swimming. Angorawa Creek is a canyon and it is planned to reach the Colo by this creek. Parr West overlooks the Colo and it is planned to go out via this route - oh, well anything can happen in the Colo country. Don't bother to bring a map and compass because the leader doesn't know the way wither and we don't want to confuse him.
DATE 3rd, 4th, 5th May. CONTACT - Gerry Sinzig.
On the 4th and 5th of May,
Come to the Zig-Zag Railway,
An opportunity you should not miss.
For further details, see Lin Bliss.
Blundering Bludgers in The Budawangs
by Lindsay Gilroy
Yadboro Flat, Kalianna Ridge, Seven Gods Mt. Angel Creek, Hollands Canyon Creek, Clyde River, Castle Gap, Yadboro Flat.
It was during this trip that I was orientated with the meaning of the word “white-anting” in a big way, Roger Lockwood was the official leader and Ross Wyborn the head white-anter.
The night was spent on Yadboro Flats and at 4 o'clock while trying to catch a wink, we were rudely awoken by a horn and a thud issued by the secretary and the now membership secretary, who were just making sure everyone was comfortable. What an example to prospectives. No wonder only 18% become members!
The cars were left 3 miles past Yadboro Flats and the following morning we followed the road 'til Kalianna Ridge. The track was very indistinct and the party became disjointed and scattered over several miles on the west side of the castle. Two of the more experienced walkers (again the Secretary and Membership Secretary) took a wrong turn and were mislaid for 3 - 4 hours, another striking example to prospectives. The track to the castle lead us through a fantastic natural tunnel through the mountain. Immediately after the tunnel, poised on two rocks the party came to a halt for lunch, although not an ideal place, there being no water and only a fire suitable for dwarfs. If you are a slow eater, your lunch will be considerably reduced before you have time to realize that several people are kindly helping demolish your food. I've learnt by experience.
The packs were left here and everybody raced literally to the summit. The view from the far end was spectacular dappled with small patches of sunlight, since the weather was mostly overcast. The sea could be seen in the distance to the east. The view was worth the climb. A great feeling of pleasure and satisfaction is felt when signing the book on top. The S.B.W.'s, on looking in the book, have had many walks there. The descent down was even more uncontrolled, half running, sliding and falling but no casualties occurred. We collected our packs and the two missing walkers, who had circled the castle several times (great sense of direction). Through a boulder filled gully, half a mile along the track, we entered the valley of the monoliths.
The geological formations were, to say the least, unusual, rising on either side of a narrow valley. Anther term introduced to me on this walk, is “Rum Doodle” - a small monolith. There is one to the right of the valley of the monoliths, which I climbed quite easily, but not thinking how to get down, which is a completely different matter than climbing up.
The white-anters were debating where to go but a sudden burst of rain halted their plan, and a quick dash was made to the fantastic camping cave under Mt. Fletcher. Up to now, two of the members had been carrying very heavy packs. We found out why. They all had a three course meal and round the fire produced a bottle of Claret. They didn't drink much themselves - a certain member of the party had a mighty big gulp.
One of Ross Wyborn's mottos must be do a job well. Next morning the wood supply had to be replenished in the cave, so Ross and Co., stood on top and for the next half hour the sky poured logs and branches.
The white-anters moved into action and as a result, we climbed the Shrouded Gods Mountain, not knowing whether the descent on the other side was negotiable. As we found out several hours later, it was by a very narrow passage between two rocks. Just as well no-one was over weight to any great extent. It wasn't 'til after lunch that the Clyde was reached, another experienced walker, the Walks Secretary, managed to get lost.
Due to the efficient timing of the white-anters, the walk out along the road was completed in the dark, and I did not roach home until 1.30 a.m - the only respectable time to get home after a good walk.
Sunday May 5th
David Ingram will lead a trip from Hint, Bushwalkers Basin, Kalibucca Creek, Freers Crossing, Minto. This trip is 12 miles, medium - and is a test walk. Rumour has it that John Holly is going along to show David the way. Train leaves from Central Station at 8.25 a.m. (tickets to Minto). David can be contacted on 6357733 business phone number.
Your new winter walks programme is now being compiled. Now is the chance for you to lead a trip. If you are new and need advice or suggestions regarding walks, see Don Finch or Doone Wyborn.
The social scene
The Social Scene opens on the evening of Thursday the 16th of May with “Spring and Port Wine” to be held at the Theatre Royal.
Starring that well known English comedian Alfred Marks - don't worry if you haven't heard of him, it's in England that he is well known.
This show will be of special enjoyment to those of you who have seen “Alfie” and “The Family Way”, as they were written by the same chap, (his name escapes me for the moment).
Tickets are now available - so got in early.
“ Her Only Mistake”.
I have recently had the pleasure of being the guest of mine host and hostess at the “Music Hall”, to see the latest above named melodrama.
This is a fine play with the Australian township of Boogerunderri being the setting.
Watch for it on the Social Scene.
Office bearers elected at Fortieth Annual general Meeting held on Wednesday 13th March, 1968 for the year ended 31st January, 1969.
|Vice president||Bill Ketis & Phil Butt|
|Assistant Secretary||Rosalind Painter|
|Walks Secretary||Don Finch|
|Social Secretary||Barry Pacey|
|Membership Secretary||Rolf Janssen|
|Committee Members||Lyn Drummond, Dorothy Noble, Alex Colley & Barry Wallace|
|Literary Editor||Ross Wyborn|
|Federation Delegates||Muriel Goldstein, David Ingram, Wilf Hilder & Barry Wallace|
|Substitute Federation Delegates||Joan Rigby & Brian HarVey|
|Trustees||Maurice Berry, Brian Harding & Joe Turner|
|Publications Business Manager||Bill Burke|
|Magazine Sales||Roger Gowing|
|Hon, Solicitor||Colin Broad|
|Assistant Treasurer||John Holly|
|Assistant Walks Secretary||Doone Wyborn|
|Assistant Social Secretary||Barbara MacKaness|
|Assistant Membership Secreatary||Lorraine MacKaness & Lyn Drummond|
|Keeper of Maps and Timetables||John Holly|
|Search and Rescue||Heather White & Elsie Bruggy|
The Annual Subscriptions for the year ending 31st January, 1969, are as follows;
Full-time students $3.50
Married couples $7.50
All others $5.50
Please note that the above subscriptions INCLUDE the magazine, posted each month.
Subscriptions for active members are now due and payable. Please assist the Club by paying your subscription to the Treasurer or Assistant Treasurer promptly. It would also be appreciated if those members who definitely do not intend to renew their subscription would notify the Secretary accordingly.
The subscription for non-active members will be determined by the May Committee Meeting and published in the May magazine. The delay in fixing this subscription was due to the fact that subscriptions for active members were not determined until the adjourned Annual General Meeting in April.
Please note that this subscription will NOT include the-magazine. Subscription to the magazine will be optional and non-active members will be notified regarding the amount of their subscription as soon as possible.
The annual subscription for “The Sydney Bushwalker” (for all except active members) will be $3.50, posted each month.
Important Notice: List of members as at 31st January, 1968
An incorrect address will mean delay and inconvenience in receiving your magazine. Would all members please CHECK THEIR ADDRESS AS LISTED AND NOTIFY ANY ERRORS TO THE SECRETARY WTTHOUT DELAY.