Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, Northcote House, Reiby Place, Circular Quay, Sydney. Postal address: Box 4476, G.P.O. Sydney, N.S.W. 2001.
|Editor||Neville Page, 7/44 West Pde., West Ryde. Tel 2-0223 (B)|
|Typist||Lesley Page, 7/44 West Pde., West Ryde. Tel 2-0223 (B)|
|Business Manager||Don Finch, 6 Royce Ave., Croydon.|
|Office Boy||Owen Marks, 68 Hastings Pde., Bondi. 30-1827 (H)|
In This Issue.
|The January General Meeting||N. Page||2|
|The Sydney Water Babies||R. Hookway||4|
|Federation Notes||J. Callaway||9|
|Don't Mine Myall Lakes||D. Butler||10|
|Socially Speaking||O. Marks||11|
|Sensation in the Snow Country||J. Brown||12|
|The 1971 Reunion||14|
|Forgive Them, for they Know Not What They do||D. Peacock||16|
|The Mighty Williams||P Levander||18|
|Coming Walks||N. Page||19|
January General Meeting
- By The Editor.
It being the month of January, Jim Brown had taken his well-earned annual leave from his position of political reporter for the S.B.W. and everyone else being interstate or overseas, it fell to me to fill in. Not that I mind, and after all, Jim is very considerate about the time he takes his leave. January is the most “non-meeting” of the year. But enough preamble; let's got down to the meat of the matter.
Two new members came up to collect their badges, constitutions, and President's handshakes. These were Elizabeth Priestley and Max Crisp, both of whose names were mentioned at the December meeting, but both of whom were not then present.
Minutes of the previous meeting were read and received. There was no business arising from the minutes. Correspondence inwards contained nothing of moment. Correspondence outwards included a letter to the Gestetner Company requesting exemption from sales tax on the purchase of our new duplicator. By way of further explanation, the President said that he had received a telephone call from Gestetner advising him to contact the Taxation Department, which he did, and was told that no exemption was available to clubs such as ours (registered charities or not).
There was no Walks Report.
There was no Treasurer's Report.
Under the heading of Social Report, Owen Marks advised that the Christmas party had cost the Club $17. This brought forth the usual rumblings from the usual sources (none of whom was sufficiently sure of his convictions to propose a motion on the subject) saying that a subsidy should be allocated from Club funds for all those Members who didn't go to the Christmas party, because this is a walking Club etc. etc. (moan moan).
There was no Federation Report due to the fact (as explained by Phil Butt after a couple of attempts) that no Federation meeting had been held since the last S.B.W. meeting. This was because the December Federation meeting was held on the second instead of the third Tuesday of the month.
It was now time for General Business, and Dot Butler opened by saying that the party of young people using Coolana (with our permission) had expressed their gratitude to the Club. The land has been inspected and found to have been left in excellent order.
David Ingram advised all those present once again that square dancing will be on at Rose Bay, and anyone interested should contact him before the first week in March. It is most necessary that people interested should start from the beginning so they may learn the more complicated steps after they've learnt the simple steps.
Bob Younger advised that Shirley Dean no longer wished to be the Club's contact in the telephone book. Shirley has done this job for a number of years and her services were appreciated. A new telephone contact will now have to be found.
Frank Ashdown rose to ask Owen Marks if he would be seeing any painted ladies on his forthcoming trip to the New Hebrides. Owen protested to the President that this was General Business, and told Frank that if he really wanted to know he could see him after the meeting.
There apparently being no further General Business walks and social announcements were made, after which there seemed to be an upsurge of things people had forgotten.
Ray Hookway advised that on a recent walk in the Kosciusko State Park, someone had stolen his Bogong sleeping bag. Some money had also been taken from the honesty box in one of the Park huts. Ray would like to contact Bruce Stuart of Dunedin, New Zealand, a member of the Otago University Tramping Club now walking in New South Wales, who incidentally is not the person responsible for taking the money or the sleeping bag.
Owen Marks, who always likes to have the last word, announced one of his brilliant new ideas. The “Australian” newspaper is presently conducting a Limerick Competition, the best Limerick winning its author a trip to Ireland. Owen's idea is that all bushwalkers should submit their Limericks in the name of Craig Shappert who will (if he wins) hand over the proceeds to the Myall Lakes Committee.
On that note, the meeting ended at 8.35 p.m.
The Sydney Water Babies.
- Ray Hookway.
The walk was advertised as a bludge trip thus leaving myself open to charges of false advertising.
On the Wednesday night at the club several people declined saying “January is too hot for the Budawangs.” Poor deluded fools!
Thirteen gullible people signed on, but Owen Marks due either to second sight or superstition, classified as incipient influenza made a last minute cancellation and on the Friday night twelve people found themselves in 3 cars edging through the fog on Mt. Ousley. The light rain that fell all the way to Sassafras was a foretaste of things to come.
The Tomerong-Braidwood road was a greasy sliding slithering quagmire and rumblings of discontent began to be heard from the back seat. Remarks such as “where's the nearest pub?” and “I wonder what the weather's like on Pebbly beach?”
The bad weather appeared to have set in so fearing mutiny I shepherded the party into Major Sturgiss' barn and barricaded the door with a log. After a good night's rest broken only by the scuffling of some large mice we awoke to steady rain and a misty landscape.
We breakfasted in the barn and set off down the road towards Tanderra Camp. The road was very muddy and as the rain appeared to become a permanent feature of the weekend we left the cars at the top of a particularly bad hill and started off, thus adding an extra ten miles to the round trip. Brian Griffiths carried an umbrella which remained open for most of the remaining weekend.
The road from the Red-ground turn-off to the last creek before Styles Creek is badly overgrown with a large Broom-like weed and it was a very wet party which slushed its way to Styles Creek pausing briefly to feed the leeches at the above creek.
The view across the valley was not reassuring. The thick fog completely obscured Mt Houghton and Hoddles Castle appeared only occasionally through the swirling mist and falling rain.
We sloshed our way across the valley over a beautiful carpet of large Christmas bells and up the slope to Houghton. Skirting Houghton the first incident of the weekend occurred, I slipped and a sharp burnt stake penetrated the heel of the palm of my left hand. Fearing that the rebellious members of the party might use this as an excuse to abandon the walk I bravely hid my agony and we pressed on.
We paused at the Fusiliers cave to dry out, eat a leisurely lunch, and to decide whether to push on over Tarn which was shrouded in fog or camp at the cave till the morning on the off chance that the mist may clear.
At 3.50pm we set out across Mt. Tarn steering by compass through the mist, again passing over carpets of large Christmas bells. I counted up 12 bells on one stalk.
The mist and the rain stayed with us till we reached Mt. Cole just before 6pm and set up camp in the cave on the southern end of Cole where a waterfall thundered down into a normally trickling creek.
We spent a dry and warm night and awoke to more mist and rain.
After breakfast six of us set out to complete the walk leaving five white sugar ants and Max Crisp who was experiencing trouble from an old knee injury, to nurse the fire and sip their private morale restorer.
The rain during the night had been steady and heavy and the whole length of Mt Cole was a series of thundering waterfalls and cascades, several of which could only be negotiated by passing under them. John Campbell insisted on testing all with his head.
The three camping caves on the west side of Mt Cole were all dry and stocked with wood and each would have accommodated the whole party.
The floor of the small trees fern filled gully between Mt Donjon and Mt Cole was under ten inches of water and presented a lovely sight in the eerie light.
We entered Monolith valley by a slightly different route than normal. Walking up the slight saddle alongside the Seven Gods Pinnacles before dropping down into the tunnel to the rain forest, we bore slightly left and climbed higher to follow a grassy slope skirting the rock on the eastern side of the tunnel and joined the Monolith Valley track on the eastern side of the rain forest. The track appears well used but is possibly not known to some club members.
Monolith Valley presented an unusual sight with the monoliths wreathed in mist and water cascading down every crevice, a big change from the last time I saw it bathed in the light of a full moon.
Visibility at Mt Boorang was down to 50 feet so I grudgingly dropped the castle from the walk and headed for the camping caves in the Gully on the western side of Mt Owen.
The creek through the gully was over two feet deep. The low cave on the right in the first gully was dry and stocked with wood but the area in front of it was ten inches under water. The overhangs in the main gully were a disaster (I had planned to camp there..) The picture was made more depressing by the large heap of old cans and bottles left by previous visitors.
We headed back for the camp via the tunnel and the arch, with a side trip to inspect a cave on the northern side of Mt Donjon, this is approached from the gully between Donjon and Cole. This cave was dry but from past bitter experience it is a miserable place when the wind from the north.
The rain had boon falling steadily all morning and the thoughts of the 3 drivers had been dwelling on the state of the Sassafras road. So after lunch we decided to head back and camp at Styles cave. This would ensure we had several hours of daylight to dig out the cars if necessary on Monday afternoon.
The walk back was uneventful until we reached Yarrabee brook below Mt Hoddle. The Brook was running a banker. We scouted up and down for a place to cross but the water was fast and deep and to step off the bank was to step up to your waist.
Eventually Max got across and a rickety-bridge was constructed from several logs. The bridge gave a shaky crossing collapsing finally as Brian Griffith, the tail end Charley stepped off on to the bank.
We pushed on skirting the valley high on the side of Mt Roadie, to avoid the lake we know must be in the valley floor.
Several Kangaroos were flushed and they looked most puzzled at the sight of the waterlogged party as we squelched our way across the valley. One small kangaroo making heavy weather as he splashed from pool to pool, we christened Annie after a member of our party who due to her petite construction was having similar problems.
We continued around the valley till we met the fire trail from Mt Quilty and followed it to Styles Creek. Two further creek crossings on this road were running high and fast and made crossing extremely difficult. Styles Creek was also high and very fast, the force of the water being great enough to sweep you off your feet. Geoff Hattingley after testing the firmness of the far bank with a large stone, attempted to leap across from one shallow spot to another but the bank collapsed under him and he disappeared under the water, surfaced and grabbed some bushes a few yards downstream on the same side of the creek.
We proceeded up the valley on the eastern side of Quiltys Mountain for about 1/4 mile, crossed the creek on a large dead tree and climbed Quiltys to the cliff line.
Styles Cave consists of two overhangs about 60 yards apart, the southern one being adjacent to a large slab of rock about 60'x12'x1O' which has slid down off the face of the mountain leaving a large white patch visible from the valley floor. There are small waterfalls at each cave. The floor of the caves are quite rocky and each would only sleep about 6 or 7 so we split up for the night.
At about 6pm the rain stopped and next morning by about 8.30am the clouds had cleared and the trees and scrub were already dry. The air was clear and clean and the views of Tarn, Houghton and Hoddle were marvellous.
The long walk back to the cars passed without incident and we lunched at the cars at about one o'clock. No problems were experienced with the cars and we proceeded to Tianjarra Creek to wash up and inspect the falls.
Two further incidents highlighted the trip, both involving Geof, he left his Rollei camera at the lunch spot and his wallet at the hospital at Nowra when we went there to get treatment for my hand, both were recovered and after a wet dinner we proceeded home.without further incident.
Despite or possibly because of the weather I enjoyed the walk, as I suspect all other members did despite their frequent cries of “shocking”, “the loader is a liar” and other like remarks.
It also taught me several lessons.
1. All bushwalkers should have anti tetanus shots.
2. The creeks and streams in the area should not be taken too lightly.
3. Compass bearings of area landmarks should be checked when the weather is good not when visibility is zero.
4. You should not rely on finding dry caves when the weather is bad. Unless you have been there before in similar conditions.
But the main lesson was that the Budawangs is good walking country even in bad weather and I'll be going back-again and again.
Why don't you come.
All theatre buffs please note - keep Monday 22nd March free for Owen's Theatre Party to see The Old Tote's fabulous new restoration comedy,
The Shop with everything.
Bushwalkers, Campers, Rockclimbers, Skiers.
A wide range of footwear from boots to Volley OC's. Laces too. Nesting billies both squat and tall.
Stoves in miniature, both petrol and gas. Food for camping. All sorts of dried foods for fancy face feeding.
Tent pegs, tent cord, tent poles, tent bags, even tents. Socks, famous for 20 years among walkers - Paddy's Pink Miners' Socks. Find them all at:-
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd.
69 Liverpool Street, Sydney, N.S.W. Australia.
Phones: 26-2685, 26-2686, 61-7215.
- Jim Callaway.
The President welcomed all delegates to the first meeting for 1971. Peter Burgess, who is an observer from the Sydney Bush Ramblers, was also welcomed.
The Minutes of the December meeting were read and received. Referring to the Minutes Ray Hookway spoke on the Hut situation in the Kosi. National Park. He stated that the basement had been closed and other alterations had been made to the Lake Albina Hut because of the dishonesty of some people who had been staying in the Hut. At White River Hut some individual has apparently been charging people for staying in the Hut. A large supply of unused food had accumulated at Mawson Hut. Ray seemed very disturbed at the way that people treated these Huts.
Among the correspondence received was an inquiry about Federated Clubs by the All Nations Club.
The Treasurer's report was brief. The rent has been paid for the next three months. Accounts for payment were made up of the following: A deposit for the Ball of $20, A.P.M.G. Account for $9 and membership fees to each of the following: ….The Australian Conservation Council, The National Parks Assoc. and The Nature Conservation Council.
There was no S & R report.
The Conservation report was that a letter had been received from The Minister for Lands stating that the proposed road through the New England National Park would not eventuate.
General Business: The Annual Reunion will be held in the Wolgan Valley on the weekend of the 26-27-28 March, 1971. It will be up to each individual club to arrange transport to the Reunion. The President asked that clubs assist in various ways to make this function a success. The President volunteered to look after the toilet arrangements. The C.B.C. delegates agreed to look after the firewood supply. Everybody who intends to go to the Reunion is reminded that they must remove all incombustible matter that they bring with them. There will be a Fire Lighting-Billy Boiling Competition which has a cash prize. The President asked that all cubs try to provide some form of entertainment for the camp fire. At last year's Reunion there was a meeting of Walks Secretaries. Would the Walks Secretaries please indicate whether they are in favour of a similar meeting this year. It was also requested that a club volunteer to supply song sheets for the camp fire.
Pat Marson requested.. information from delegates about camping at Blue Gum. As there was no delegate who could give the required information a motion was passed that Federation write to The National Parks and Wildlife Service, who take over that area this year, requesting this information.
A member of the Sydney Uni. Mountaineering Club attended the meeting. He apologized for Warrick Daniels being unable to find a meeting of the Club when he went to see if they were suitable for entry to Federation. The member hoped that a similar inspection could. be arranged this year.
The Visitors Book on Mt. Guouogang is showing the signs of use and abuse. Anybody going that way would they please take some patching material to repair the Book.
Don't Mine Myall Lakes.
- By Dot Butler.
Most of you are aware that “a National Park” is to dedicated in the Myall Lakes area. To the vast majorIty this testifies that the Government is mindful of the need for recreational areas for the 5 million people who in fifty years will be holidaying every summer at our coast resorts. However, conservationists are not happy about the paltry area of the land to be set aside as National Park (a mere 2 chains width surrounding the water of the lakes and a relatively small amount of Crown land of which about 6,430 acres, (more than half) is to be mined for rutile. The Government may eventually be persuaded to set aside a greater area but what of its quality?
Anyone who has witnessed the complete devastation which is following in the wake of the rutile miners on our northern beaches will be sympathetic towards the Myall Lakes Committee in their attempts to prevent mining, at least within the precincts of the proposed park. They are not propagandizing for the fun of it.
Mining detracts from, and obliterates the quality of a park. At present visitors to the lakes are delighted by wide and peaceful waters; on a closer look they can find even greater charm in the infinite variety of plant communities possible within a uniform environment, “The Sea of Sand”, beginning with low dune species and grading into a climax communities of eucalyptus forest - the whole system being subtly and wonderfully alive. To disrupt this complex system is vandalism on the aesthetic level. On the level of scientific enquiry it is barbarous, yet the Government remains unmoved by representations to protect the scientific area, which has attracted international scientific interest.
We must insist on the absolute inviolability of such areas, with no ifs and buts. Such a policy has been adopted in the U.S. If only the best is good enough for the U.S., the main beneficiary of the beach mining industry, it should be good enough for us.
The Government has no mandate either to sell the State or to squeeze the life out of it. Its duty is to the social and cultural needs of the people of New South Wales, not to overseas corporations.
HELP WANTED! Conservation is becoming a very fashionable cause, due in large measure to the slogans which conservationist's are publicizing. The Myall Lakes Committee has prepared car sticker slogans:
“DON'T MINE MYALL LAKES”
If you could help by distributing these slogans apply to Stephen Morgan, Box 102 The Union, Sydney University, 2006. Stephen can let you have bundles of 100 for sale at 20 cents each, or if you ask for only one, please send 30 cents to include the cost of postage. Your Club's representative on the Myall Lakes Committee is Dot Butler, and she will have these stickers available at Club meetings for all those who care to support the cause.
Hundreds of cars displaying this slogan will help it to register on the public mind, and perhaps save this beautiful area unspoiled for walkers and campers.
- with Owen Marks.
This will be a very interesting month.
|Wednesday, 17th March||Miss Marr (a friend of Marion Lloyd) will be doing her bit for Chiropody Public Relations. As most Bush walkers have feet, this lecture should be of interest to all.|
|Saturday, 20th March||Craig and Marcia Shappert of 15 Gaeroch Avenue, Tamarama (telephone 30-2028) will be having a classical music evening. It will be a wine and cheese night, so bring along your favourite cheese; wine and biscuits will be supplied. Arrive sober at 7 p.m. and you'll be most welcome.|
|Wednesday, 24th March||Gerry Sinzig will be showing his slides on Canada. Gerry has promised to talk as little as possible. Three cheers for his consideration.|
|Wednesday, 31st March||The Bush Music Club will entertain us. You may recall that approximately 18 months ago they were our guests, and due to their enormous success they have been re-invited. It will be a Gala Night, but formal attire won't be necessary (unless you feel you must). A light supper will be provided.|
Sensation In The Snow Country.
- By Jim Brown.
In its telling, this tale becomes rather disjointed because it is episodic in character. Oddly enough, it is worth telling only because it is episodic, so that one can interpolate some of the intervening conjecture, and some of the snippets of information which coloured the story.
Over the Christmas - New Year holiday period, Kath and I spent a week or so in the Alps country, first in the Brindabella Range, and finally a couple of days in the Kosciusko area. It was there on Thursday, January 7th., we joined forces with Nan and Paddy Bourke and their youngsters in a day walk to Blue Lake. At the saddle where the Blue Lake track parts company with the through trail to Carruthers Peak and Kosciusko, we set down our packs and went up “light” to the gap overlooking the western face of the Main Range.
Along this short section of track we met, travelling the other way, a group of four people toting large and rather unprofessional looking packs, and all wearing a collection of sweaters although the day was almost uncomfortably warm. Three were teenagers, I would guess, but the fourth, who may have been about thirty, was wearing a kilt. We exchanged a few words, learned they were going to Blue Lake for lunch, and went our opposite ways.
Perhaps an hour later, as we returned down the Blue Lake trail, one of the younger ones came toiling up the hill, panting and crying that “one of the blokes was bitten by a funnel web”. (You will recall the newspaper alarm about funnel web spiders over the Christmas period). Now, I claim no prescience, but I asked “Sure it's a funnel web?” because I was under the impression that this variety of spider was not found so far south.
I was told “It was a funnel web all right” and when we got down near the lake Paddy and I went on to the lake shore to see if we could be of any assistance. The victim was sitting up and seemed to be OK, but there was a small red swelling on his calf about halfway between ankle and knee. The spider had been in his trouser leg, and had been killed and was in a match box - a fairly large blackish creature, which for my money could be accepted as a funnel web.
The bitten one was now almost surrounded by a group of others camped by the Lake, and one of these people had such a formidable collection of hypodermic syringes and other paraphernalia that it seemed probable he was a medical student. What with this, and the patient's apparent well-being half an hour after being bitten, Paddy felt we could not sensibly intervene, and so we offered any assistance we could give and rejoined our party for lunch.
About this time a four-wheel drive vehicle manned by a couple of people from the nearby Soil Conservation hut arrived at the rim of the depression containing Blue Lake. Then followed a hiatus, in which no-one stirred and there was no indication of the victim being taken out. I ventured the opinion that he may have been bitten by a march fly - of which there were many about - and then found the spider and drawn the obvious but wrong conclusion.
On our way out from Blue Lake we were told by the Soil Conservation people that they were prepared to carry the patient out if he could be got up the hill from the Lake, but his mates seemed unwilling to carry or move him. They had radio-ed the information to the Kosciusko Park Headquarters.
Later, as we neared Charlotte's Pass the same truck passed us and added a rider to the tale. The Park was sending its helicopter in to rescue the victim. No, they didn't think he would have to pay the costs - the Park had been in possession of the chopper for some months and had never had occasion to use it in any emergency situation. Probably they would chalk up today as the big justification for its purchase.
And there ends the main narrative. The snippets follow.
(1) The following day in Cooma we read in that day's “Sydney Morning Herald” of the helicopter rescue of a young man bitten by a funnel web spider near Kosciusko. An ambulance conveyed him from Jindabyne to Cooma, where police cleared a path through the motor traffic. He was in Cooma Hospital in a satisfactory condition.
(2) After all my doubts about funnel web spiders, and snide comment about march flies, I was rather abashed to read in the Geehi Club's booklet on the Snowy Mountains that “spiders of the funnel web (Atrax species) are to be found among the tussock grasses and should be kept at arm's length”, A funny place to keep them, but still confirmation of the type of spider.
(3) Down at Merry Beach we again met the Bourkes, who had an interesting addendum. At their camp at Sawpit Creek they had found, and captured, two large dark spiders and taken them to the Park Information Centre, where it was thought they were funnel webs, but said it would be checked.
On the day they left the Kosciusko area the Bourkes learned they were relatively harmless Wolf spiders, as was the spider which caused the sensation at Blue Lake.
(4) And as a final rider a party led by Pat Harrison was in the Kosciusko country at the same time. The night after the spider episode they spent at Lake Albina, and there met the other three people left after the spider attack. Pat and his party did a day walk to Mt. Tate the following day and while they were away someone swiped Ray Hookway's Bogong sleeping bag and left a tatty specimen in its place.
Well, maybe the spider didn't bite the right one.
The Sydney Bushwalkers Annual Reunion - 1971.
Convenor and transport detail: Bob Younger 57-1158 (H).
Have you paid us a visit yet?
At 167 Pacific Highway, North Sydney, we are conveniently located for all Northsiders, and not too far away from the city for Southsiders. We'd be more than happy to welcome you, and show you what we've got.
And what we have got is the very best available. Sleeping bags (FAIRY DOWN of course), and have you seen our NEW HIGH LOAD PACK, priced at only $27.50. It weighs only 3 lb 10 oz.
All the best gear for walking, climbing, canoeing etc. We've got the lot!
167 Pacific Highway, North Sydney. N.S.W. Phone 929-6504.
"Forgive Them for They Know Not What They Do!"
- By David, W. Peacock.
Life is the most complicated phenomenon of which we are aware - man is still thrashing through its outer secrets, and slowly de-coding its complexities, and each new discovery only exposes more problems. Life on this planet has existed for 3 billion years - think about it - 3 billion years (for those people who find it hard to imagine 3 billion years, imagine that each year is denoted by one second, and three billion seconds equals 95 years; longer than most of us will live!) which is one hell of a time. And yet, individually speaking, life is so very fragile but this very fragility is its saving factor. I assume that you've all heard of natural selection. If you haven't shoot off to your local library and grab one of the many books on evolution, there are quite a number of them. The idea behind natural selection is that during reproduction some of the cells in the resulting organism are mutated (it is now known to result from inaccurate copying of the parents' DNA molecules - but that's a story for another day). Most of these mutations are fairly minor. A typical human being has several million mutated cells in his body, but occasionally there are macro-mutations (macro = large). The majority of macro-mutations however are harmful and the unfortunate organism suffers a premature death. Very occasionally, however, the mutations are beneficial and the organism is better fitted for existence. It breeds more successfully than its less fortunate counterparts and its advantageous mutation is passed on to its offspring (it's that DNA molecule again) which eventually breed to form a new species.
Now this system worked pretty well for 3 billion years and resulted in several million species (the abbreviation is spp.) of animals and plants. These animals and plants got on reasonably well with each other and a very delicate equilibrium was established. But the inevitable happened: a reasoning species emerged. Yes, you're one step ahead of me; it was Homo Sapiens: Man. (Incidentally Homo Sapiens means “The intelligent, wise and judicial one”. Of course the name was self chosen). Now this prodigal child cast his eye around at this old earth and he decided that it needed “correcting”. So off he went with his old shotgun, insecticides or defoliants and began to “adjust” nature. The trail of his merciless slaughter sill echoes across the world. Millions, no billions, of animals died before the barrage and a great part of the distressing toll form the contents of the “Red Books” published by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.). But before we go any further we must clarify one point; the sportsmen etc. who helped eradicate so many species often did not do it intentionally. It was just through plain ignorance of the habits of the animals concerned.
Anyway, along came 20th. century man, but at his disposal he has vastly more deadly weapons. Take DDT for example (I used to know who the initials stood for once upon a time, but unfortunately I've forgotten now, and I'm too lazy to find out), it was discovered just before WW2, and, as a point of interest, Paul Müller who discovered it was immediately presented with the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1939, but that is beside the point. So this “Miracle powder” was chucked about and, lo and behold, all insect pests were falling before its glorious advance - a miracle for science! Note that I used the past tense, because it began to be noticed that insects, especially house flies, were becoming immune to its effects. It was quite simply a triumph for natural selection, and soon DDT-resistant strains existed all over the world. Ah well, people said it was good while it lasted and so they went off to prepare more deadly sprays: the organo-phosphates and the dreaded “nerve gases” to mention a couple. But what they hadn't realised, or perhaps, had just ignored, was that these insecticides perhaps failed on insects, but they were appallingly effective against higher life-forms, e.g. the birds. DDT is stored in fat and the birds eating the treated insects accumulated the DDT until it passed the threshhold level. Have you ever seen a bird dying of insecticide poisoning? My God, it's the most sickening thing imaginable. Firstly the nervous system goes (all the insecticides affect the central nervous system - C.N.S. - some more than others) and the animal is convulsed with uncontrollable spasms - it's choking and its pupils dilate - all co-ordination is gone - and it literally suffocates itself. The heart and lungs just give up. And I think man did this! - and I hate him for it. The birds of prey are declining rapidly for insecticides affect the eggshell forming process in the female and the subsequent eggs have very thin shells, the vast majority of which are broken by the parent birds accidentally, and the offspring surviving is therefore considerably reduced.
There are, of course, other ways of “controlling” unwanted animals. Take the rabbit for example. Way back in '53 when I was but a gleam in my father's eye, some boffin, probably at Porttand Down, England's Germ Warfare Research Centre, thought of the brilliant idea of releasing rabbits infected with myaxamatosis into the countryside. Boy! oh boy! he really must have congratulated himself. It worked beautifully. Approximately 90% of the wild rabbits died, but what a way to die. Just being alive and rotting away; I've seen photographs of rabbits suffering from the disease and it isn't a pleasant sight.
To more recent days, the troops in Vietnam use defoliants to uncover enemy troops, and also lay waste many hundreds of square miles of jungle. The U.S. and others dump obsolete nerve gases into the oceans and the average householder goes wild with “Flick” and “Safe sure Mortein”.
There is such a state of public apathy existent at the present time; too much time is required just to gain money to survive.
Well, we are now hurtling towards the twenty-first century and what will we find? A sterile, antiseptic world inhabited by man and a few domesticated animals. Action is needed NOW, and your help is required.
To close I will now go to sleep listening to the two other fellows in the room describing their encounters with snakes: “I never let one go, I always kill them” says one. “Good on yer” replies the other, and I sigh.
P.S. I recommend that everyone reads Rachel Carson's “Silent Spring”.
The Mighty Williams.
- By Peter Levander.
The main party left Sydney in the Levander Vauxhall about 8 p.m. and consisted of Peter Kaye, Peter Franks, Colin Walpole, John Campbell and Peter Levander. We made good time along the Newcastle Expressway despite the fact that the rear springs curved upwards instead of downwards due to a combination of old age and a full load. We turned off the highway at Maitland and proceeded through the moonlit countryside under a clean starry night, a good omen for river trips - arriving at Barrington House just after midnight.
The next morning we were joined by John Worrell complete with Land Rover and relief driver. John immediately proposed that we should do the 3,000 ft. climb up the ridge to our dropping off point into the Williams River by Land Rover; to which the whole party readily agreed, and soon we were bouncing our way up the fire trail which runs up the ridge from the guest house to Barrington Tops. We climbed the last 500 ft. on foot to the Corker which is a large lump just before the tops, arriving at about 9 a.m.
After admiring the view from the lookout, we dropped off the Williams River side and proceeded to scrub bash our way down the 45° slope through various levels of scunge. The going was not too bad until we gravitated into a side creek whose waters supported enormous growths of lawyer vine, nettles etc. Eventually, however, we reached the river at about 11 a.m. and lunched during which two members removed the only two leeches we encountered on the trip (no ticks either).
At noon, we rockhopped down the river in brilliant sunshine and within half a mile encountered our first waterfall which was soon overcome by a 20 foot bomb (there being no other way) into a beautiful deep pool. The water temperature was about the same at the Kowmung. This process was repeated about every half mile for the rest of the afternoon with six or so beautiful waterfalls with deep bombable pools below. The only thing which dampened our spirits was the short thunderstorm which struck about 2:30 p.m. The nature of the river was constantly changing with cliffs giving way to lush dense jungle and the boulder strewn bed changing to stretches of rock with weird shapes gouged into it by the water.
We set up camp about 5.30 and lit a fire to dry out all our gear which was thoroughly wet after our plastic bags had burst from impact with the water.
We set off at eight next morning and soon encountered more falls, [illegible] swims, with the river constantly changing its character at each turn, we arrived back at the cars at noon. During the trip we encountered quite a variety of wildlife ranging from eels to platypus. We came upon a tree snake in the river which promptly gave a demonstration of its tree climbing ability. At the top of one of the falls, Peter Franks came face to face with an 18 inch Blue Tongue Lizard. When the poor reptile saw Peter, it did a backwards somersault down the waterfall and was churned up in the swirl below. However, Peter rescued it as he swam by, but the thing had stopped breathing so something suggested that Peter give it mouth to mouth, but he made do with a bit of body massage which seemed to do the trick.
- By The Editor.
The Walks Secretary is still recuperating from his big New Zealand ordeal, but he should be sufficiently recovered by next month to write his magazine piece (by which time his tenure of office will be finished).
The Autumn Walks Programme is enclosed with this issue, so you will be able to plan your trips for the next three months. Details for March are as follows:
March 5th, 6th & 7th
Four walks are programmed for this weekend, two weekenders and two day walks. Alan Round is leading an exploratory trip in one of his favourite areas: Ettrema and Taliangla Gorge.
If you think that might be a bit hard for you, and you want something a bit easier to start the season, Hans Beck (phone 67-1517 (B)) is leading a Bluegum Forest walk. This is a good one for prospectives who haven't yet been to Bluegum to get to see the place. It goes from Mount Victoria, then back up via Grand Canyon.
One of the day walks is another of the Combined Club efforts. Jim Gallop-away (alias Callaway) will be leading a combined group of S.B.W.'s and Catholic Bushwalkers from Garie, Curracurong Trig, Garie Trig, Little Bola Creek, Upper Causeway. Train is the 8.42 from Central.
Again, if you feel like a lazy day, Jim Brown is leading an easy one, which even includes a ferry ride. He'll be catching the 8.50 electric train and his home number is 81-2675.
March 12th, 13th & 14th
This weekend is given over to the Club Reunion, details of which are given on page 14 of this magazine.
March 19th, 20th & 21st
The old team of Finch and Wyborn (Doone that is for the latter and Don for the former) will be leading a mighty trip from Erris Clare and back via Ettrema Creek, Sentry Box Canyon and Jones Creek. Home telephone numbers are Don, 74-1070 and Doone, 57-5218.
If you haven't yet been to Batsh Camp, Mount Colong etc., and you'd like to see what all the fuss is about, make a date with Ray Hookway to go on his trip. He has two telephone numbers : 644-6849 at home, and 20333 Ext. 232 at work.
The Sunday walk this weekend represents Kath Brown's maiden trip (the first one she's led that is), or at least the walks secretary thinks so. In any case, she has agreed to lead a Waterfall, Uloola Falls, Kangaroo Creek, Audley trip. The train is the 8.20 electric and Kath's number is 81-2675 at home.
March 26th, 27th & 28th
The major item of the weekend is the Federation Reunion, details of which will be announced in the Club, posted on the notice board, probably advised in the next magazine (if it's out on time) or failing all else, from the Walks Secretary. The venue for this year's reunion is the Wolgan Valley.
Also in the same area this weekend will be Alan Hedstrom with a happy band of bushwalkers. He'll be visiting the Glow-worm tunnel and Chinatown as added attractions. Walkers should take every opportunity to visit this beautiful spot in the Wolgan Valley, since word has it that it is soon to be mined again (coal this time).
The day walk, for those who have had enough re-uning for one month, will be led by Bill Hall. He will be going from Waterfall, Kingfisher Creek, Myuna Creek, Waterfall.
All members should attend the Annual General Meeting.