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||Jim Brown, 103 Gipps St., Drummoyne. Tel. 81-2675(H)|
|Business Manager||Ramon U'Brien, 61 Nickson St., Surry Hills. Tel. 88-6444(B)|
|Duplication by||Jim Vatiliotis and Owen Marks|
|From the Editor||2|
|At the Annual General Meeting||3|
|Coming Walks||Pat Harrison||7|
|Bouddi Natural Park||Marie B. Byles||10|
|To Yerranderie Once More||Pat Harrison||15|
|Membership Notes||Barbara Bruce||17|
|Federation Notes||Ray Hookway||19|
|Don't Judge a Book…||20|
In one of the first S.B.W. magazines I ever acquired, an incoming Editor wrote:
“In an eddy of the muddied stream of Club business, at the General Meeting, at a time when few had kept their heads above water and many had already sunk, we were elected Editor. This ill-considered action will have some regrettable consequences for readers…”
By comparison with the skirmishing at that gathering in the late 1940s, our Annual Meeting of 1971 was a tranquil affair, suffused with amiable light. However, if the aim of the meeting was to secure a magazine of high literary pretensions, then its choice of Editor was ill-advised.
In fact, your present Editor is a person of quite simple and rather pedestrian tastes, literally as well as figuratively. He likes dogs, beer, steam locomotives and even some small children. On a slightly more aesthetic plane, he is stirred by Mozart and by the sight of a long blue ridge melting into hazy distances.
If he has any worthwhile credo it is that bushwalkers are generally nice people. He can't see any great difference between the walkers of the 1940s and the 1970s, and suspects the members of the earlier years were cast in much the same mould. While having as much difficulty as most middle-aged citizens in bridging the generation gap, he believes he can communicate with young people who feel the same way about that long blue ridge, but is hopelessly at a loss with the young fellow whose horizon is bounded by a petrol engine and a couple of thousand dollars' worth of mobile ironmongery.
As a by-product of this belief, he considers walkers want to hear about walks and walkers, and that many of the tales of walker doings are worthy of the modest immortality that the magazine can confer. There is room for the stories of trips just done, for reminiscence, information items, gossip: there is space for the newcomer and the old hand: for those doing energetic exploratory trips or leisurely camps. There is a place in the magazine's pages for everyone who has known the lure of the long blue ridges.
By Jim Brown.
In opening the Annual Meeting President Spiro Ketas had one sad announcement to make, the death of two old and deeply respected members, Miriam Steenbhom and Frances Ramsay: Frances' death had occurred in Nepal on a trip to the foot of the Himalayas.
New member Mike Smithers was welcomed, and the Swimming Carnival cups were presented. February's minutes were confirmed and the meeting told that road access to Coolana was still practically impossible. Correspondence contained a letter of thanks from a party which had camped at Coolana before the roads disintegrated, and advice that representations were being made for the preservation of walker entry to the Budawangs area from the Mongarlowe Road where pine forests are being established.
Now suspension of standing orders for the election, and the appointment of Peter Franks and Bill Hall as scrutineers, their services were not widely needed and your reporter pondered the civilised behaviour at most S.B.W. meetings compared with the back-stabbing and lobbying which must have taken place in Canberra on the same day. On a motion by Phil Butt, the established system of voting was superseded by a “first past the post” rule, which will certainly simplify it in future years if it is maintained.
The March magazine listed the office bearers elected and appointments to a variety of other posts. The formal adoption of the annual report was carried, but it was agreed to check the attached list of members which didn't quite agree numerically with the totals given in the body of the statement. The retiring Committee was complimented on an interesting report.
A bit of discussion followed the presentation of the annual financial statement. The Treasurer pointed out that the small increase in last year's subscription had improved income, and with the new duplicating equipment, there was a prospect of economising on walks programme costs. Gordon Redmond said coming expenses would include about $86 in 2 years rate assessment for Coolana. Alex Colley remarked it had been a successful year monetarily - a new duplicator costing about $380 purchased, but a deficit of $14 only. Frank Ashdown questioned the amount shown in “accumulated funds” and was informed that it included the value of the Kangaroo Valley property.
The Treasurer reported $874 in the ready-use account at the close of February, and we moved on to the walks report, the first programmed trip (swimming Kowmung Gorge) being cancelled in deference to the flooded rivers, as was the proposed Sunday descent of Claustral Canyon. Esme Biddulph's easy day trip attracted a total of 18 people and Jim Callaway's unprogrammed day walk from Bundeena had 6.
Things were rather better the following weekend when Jerry Sinzig's Jerrara Canyon trip went ahead despite high water. On the return up Barber's Creek great piles of rubble tipped from the cement works were fouling the stream. Saturday and Sunday saw a grand total of almost 50 at the Instructional - Swimming Carnival at Lake Eckersley, including almost 20 prospectives for the Saturday evening.
Alan Hedstrom's team of 13 was in the Wollondilly area next weekend! The river was high, and property owners were still upset over the episode of the unclosed gates last year. There were two Sunday jaunts. Alan Pike conducting a trip with 10 people through Arethusa Canyon where it seemed at one stage that Craig Shappert would solve the problem of perpetual motion by revolving forever in a whirlpool. David Cotton's special went to Darke's Forest where the bees were docile and no one was stung: possibly the bees were dazed by the incessant noise from a coalmine ventilator nearby.
For the final weekend the Wollondilly walk didn't proceed, but Sam Rinde's Helensburgh - Burning Palms walk was well attended, particularly by starving leeches.
Jim Callaway gave Federation Report, supplemented by comment from Phil Butt that a Secretary was needed and that Federation was also without a permanent abode at present.
The Coolana Management Committee also put forward its report, covering the activities of several working bees to remove timber which had fallen on fences, to fill in erosion scars and to plant new trees. The boundaries had been verified, and advice from the Lands Department indicated a road had been surveyed along the existing track from the Quakers. It was proposed that we league with the Kangaroo Valley Conservation Association: quite a deal of wild life had been sighted including a platypus. At present the Management Committee held about $100 in funds, which it proposed to use to keep in reasonable order the hut on the land. River flats on the opposite bank resumed by the Water Board had been paid for at a figure of between $200 and $300 per acre.
The Committee had already agreed to the affiliation with the local Conservation Association and on a motion by Dot Butler, amended by Don Finch to provide that expenditure be met from the Management Committee's resources, it was decided to maintain the hut. During the course of debate Frank Ashdown asked if the names in the visitor's book at Coolana were all, or mostly, Club members or non-members and was told there had been a reasonable sprinkling of both.
Practically the only contentious item was the determination of the Annual Subscription, which the retiring Treasurer proposed as the same as last year's, with a reduction to $3 in the case of full-time students. The old firm moved an amendment to reduce all subscription rates by one dollar, but it was not sympathetically received, and the original motion prevailed.
It was approaching 10.0 p.m. and after Alex Colley had proposed purchasing additional copies of the Colong Committee's magazine for Club usage (Committee will arrange this) and the meeting had been told that the way to the Reunion site would be signposted early on Saturday, there were only two remaining things for the President to do - first to thank the faithful regular Room Stewards and secure their agreement to carry on; and secondly to close the meeting with the traditional “Let us Re-une”.
Members are reminded that subscriptions are now due. The rates set for this year are -
|Active Members (Single)||$6.00|
|Active Members (Married Couples)||$8.00|
|Active Members (Students)||$3.00|
The magazine subscription for non-active members is $1.50.
Subscriptions may be posted to the Club, Box 4476, G.P.O., Sydney,2001, or paid to Alan Hedstrom or John Holly in the Clubroom.
Feel that autumnal tingle in the air? Time to shake off that summer sloth and get back to the hills and the trail.
And what do you know? It won't be long to winter and the skiing season.
So off you go then - with gear from Paddy Pallin on your back or your feet, of course.
Paddy has been in this business for 40 years and knows the sort of gear that outdoors people need. What's more, he has it at:
69 Liverpool Street Sydney, N.S.W., 2000. Telephone 26-2635.
(Just a few doors down from George Street towards Sussex Street)
by Pat Harrison, Walks Secretary.
|1st/2nd May||Sheila Binns is leading an old favourite from Blackheath down Perry's Lookdown to the Blue Gum Forest at the junction of the Grose River and Govett's Leap Creek, then back to Blackheath through the Grand Canyon. There is a track all the way, with a steepish 2,000 ft. descent down Perry's and a gradual 2,000 ft. ascent through the Grand Canyon. The walk passes through some of the most memorable Blue Mountains scenery. Do not miss this one, if you have not been to the Blue Gum; and please note that the walk leaves Sydney on Saturday morning.|
|2nd May||Jim Calloway, who knows the area around Waterfall and Heathcote like the back of his hand, leads a test walk from Waterfall to Engadine via Woronora Trig and Woronora River. A few ups and downs from Waterfall to the Trig, then a wide view as far as Mt. Jellore near Mittagong and Mt. Colong over near Yerranderie. There's some rock-hopping down the river where you can see if you can keep up with Tear-Away Jim Calloway.|
|2nd May||Peter Franks has a harder-than-test day-walk from Carlon's Farm to Medlow Gap by fire trail, on to Splendour Rock (track), back to Mt. Warrigal, and some compass work along Black Horse Range down to Breakfast Creek. Back by track to Carlons. Fine views along the way and at Splendour Rock the plaque to walkers lost in World War II and the Memorial to Bob Thomas of the Kamerukas, who lost his life in Tasmania.|
|7th, 8th, 9th May||Pat Harrison leads a test walk from Deep Pass to Rock Hill, across Nayook Creek to Mt. Cameron and back to Deep Pass. Deep Pass is an atmospheric place where you almost expect to see bearded horsemen in cabbage tree hats and moleskin trousers ride in. There are aboriginal hand stencils in a nearby overhang to be seen before scrambling up to the plateau and following a compass course to Rock Hill. It continues trackless down through Nayook Creek and up to Tambo Limb Trig, where there is another far-ranging view of the northern Blue Mountains. From Mt. Cameron, with its green grass and magnificent Mountain Blue Gums (Eucalyptus deanei) a bush road leads back to Deep Pass. Fine Blue Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus oreades) are seen in Nayook Creek.|
|9th May (Sunday)||That cheerful raconteur, David Cotton, (ask him to tell of the time he was locked out of the boarding house), provides a pleasant outing at and around his apiary at Darke's Forest. If the bees have been doing their thing you should get a sample of honey. David will also enlighten you on the dodges that beekeepers get up to in passing off their inferior honey.|
|9th May (Sunday)||Those two inimitable entertainers, Owen Marks and Alan Pike are leading a car-swap trip through the Blue Gum Forest. If you missed Sheila's walk the previous week, or if you went and liked it so much that you want to go again, here's your chance; and in addition you could be entertained with anything from pancakes to the most outrageous malapropisms.|
|14th, 15th, 16th May||Blue Gum and the Grose are on the menu again, the leader this time being Frank Taeker. Frank has done this walk before, so he knows all the lurks of the area. This is a Test Walk and as well as chalking up that requirement you have an unrivalled opportunity to receive instruction in natural lore from Frank's store of entomological knowledge. But remember, if at any time you should miss the leader, do not worry but just sit down and wait, for he will be somewhere in the vicinity frozen in an awkward pose with camera focussed on an uncooperative bug!|
|15th, 16th May||Phil Butt has long been addicted to the mysteries of Orienteering. He is not always in the Club Room but you can learn all by ringing him on 270-2440 (Business) or 969-3155 (Home). Contact him as soon as possible, as his work removes him from the city fairly regularly.|
|15th, 16th May||The Instructional Walk, a necessity for prospectives and good fun for all, is being conducted by Membership Secretary, Barbara Bruce. Note that the date has been advanced one week from that shown on the walks programme. The camp will be at Glenraphael on the Narrow Neck plateau, out from Katoomba, an area not trodden so frequently since the fire trail was built. Travel on the 9.25 a.m. train from Sydney and contact Barbara for other details. Narrow Neck is a grand place to begin to read maps - it's all there in front of you.|
|16th May||A test walk from Helensburgh to Otford via Wilson's Creek and Burning Palms is taken by Jack Gentle. Mostly cross-country to the farm behind Era, then track. Some lovely scenery, fine Sydney Red Gums (Angophora costata), coastal views and a final walk on a leaf-strewn track into Otford. There are few nicer day trips than this.|
|21st, 22nd, 23rd May||Don Finch and Doone Wyborn are leading an epic river walk which will more than qualify as a Test Walk. There are waterfalls galore in Mumbedah Creek and Kanangra River, while Jenolan (or Harry's) River and the Cox provide some of the best river walking and scenery you can find. Be prepared for wet feet and for some scrambling in Mumbedah and Whalania Chasm.|
|23rd May||The day trip is a test walk led by Jim Brown into the Blue Labyrinth country, which is no longer so difficult because of the proliferation of fire trails. A couple of short sections of untracked bush separate trail walks. Red Hand Cave has aboriginal hand stencils, there are nice turpentines (Syncarpia glomulifera) in Campfire Creek and the park-like Euroka clearing stands on rich volcanic soil.|
|28th, 29th, 30th May||Alan Pike is leading Owen's Birthday Walk from Kanangra to Katoomba. It is a Test Walk, but whether you are a Prospective or a Member you cannot say that you have graduated as a Bushwalker unless you have done Kanangra to Katoomba in a weekend. The scenery is superb all the way and after climbing up Taro's Ladder (look for the plaque in memory of Walter Tarr, after whom the “Ladder” is named) on to Clear Hill you can test your fitness by setting the pace for the 8 mile dash along Narrow Neck to Katoomba.|
|29th, 30th May||Paddy Pallin's Orienteering Contest, the details of which are veiled in mystery until the starting gun is fired.|
|30th May (Sunday)||If you want to do a Test Walk and you want to be well looked after, here's your chance. There is good walking out Minto way around the George's River, and David Ingram, who has led walks there for umpteen years, is about the only one who puts this walk on; so you may have to wait twelve months if you do not turn out this time.|
There they are, the 15 walks for May with something for all tastes. The programme for June, July and August is now nearing completion but I expect when you receive this that there will still be some vacant dates. Please assist by leading a walk, for any walking club is only as strong as its walks programme. Keep in mind too the spring walks programme, the preparation of which will commence during the next month or so. If you feel too shy to lead a walk or can't think where, to go see me and I will suggest a ready-made route or offer any other assistance I can give.
by Marie B. Byles.
The history of Bouddi Natural Park dates back to 5th May, 1898 when the coastal steamer “Maitland” paddled out of Sydney harbour under the command of Captain Skinner. It was a dark and stormy night. Soon mountainous waves were hurling themselves upon the boat. Outhouses were swept away, and then tons of water began pouring into the engineroom. The fires went out and the ship floundered helplessly on the inky waters. In the driving rain and hurricane even the ruby light of Barrenjoey lighthouse was invisible but it would have made no difference even had it been seen.
The people waited for the inevitable crash when the ship struck the bombora off Bouddi Head. Some were flung overboard, to be seen no more. A few jumped into the sea and reached the shore injured but alive. The rest waited. Several attempts were made to get a line ashore and eventually a man called Russell succeeded. Two by two, passengers and crew were taken to safety. Then the rope broke and three more people perished. Some firemen, the mate, the captain and a baby girl were left behind; one can picture the agony of the mother who had been taken to safety. For another day and a half the captain and the mate tried to comfort the wailing baby and feed her on biscuits and water. On the morning of the second day those on shore got another line across and the mate, with the baby strapped on his back, was followed by the others to safety.
And then the “Herald” reporter came on the scene and reported ruefully that Bouddi headland was hemmed by very rough country! He also reported that 39 people survived and that 24 had been drowned.
That is the story of those boilers on Bouddi Headland we used to see through the telescope from our Palm Beach cottage during our happy childhood holidays. The long uninhabited coastline beyond the ruby light of Barrenjoey had an increasing fascination for me. Those unknown lands seemed like the 'Faery Lands Forlorn' of Keat's “Ode to a Nightingale” and I wished I were a nightingale and could fly over and explore them.
When I reached years of discretion (or indiscretion our parents might have described them!) I prevailed upon three girl friends to accompany me on an exploration trip to my faery lands forlorn. One of them was Ester Waite who is now a leading spirit in the conservation movement of the Hornsby District. She wore breeks, a garment no girl ever wore in those days, with a gigantic Colts automatic pistol at her hip. We slept on the beach - this was long before the days of Paddy Pallin and tents and sleeping bags - and we had a small difference next day on the best way through that very rough country the Herald reporter had noted between Bouddi and Kincumber. The other two of the party went off on their own, unable to resist the attraction of Bouddi skillion.
A severe thunder storm came up that afternoon. The other two found a hospitable farmhouse and comfortable beds but Ester and I, despite our maps and compass, had to doss in a smelly cowshed! I don't think that story has at all a good moral, do you? But that was in 1922 before the Federation had made rules about never splitting a party.
The next landmark on Bouddi Natural Park-to-be was the beginning of the bushwalking movement proper, and Paddy Pallin and tents and all that sissy sort of thing. Among the early bushwalkers was Dorothy Lawry who visited the place in 1930. She pointed out that Boat Harbour as it was then called, was not a suitable name for there were many boat harbours up and down the coast. This one was the only one which had the wreck of the Maitland upon it, therefore it should be called Maitland Bay. The name stuck, and later on we had it officially put on the map.
When the bushwalking movement became interested in conservation I dearly wanted Maitland Bay to follow Blue Gum Forest and become a national park. I got the newly formed Federation of Bushwalking Clubs to put it on the agenda, and then I deliberately set to work to soften up public opinion by writing articles to the press assuming the area was already all but reserved. It was easy enough to convince readers of the “Herald” on the desirability of my faery lands forlorn, but not nearly so easy to convince bushwalkers.
A party of them visited it in 1935 and subsequently presented me with a “Deed of Maitland Bay” giving me title to the place “in return for noble efforts to have it set aside as a national park”, and they spoke disparagingly of “the clear fresh drinking water that takes so much finding, the glorious grassy slopes for camp sites that do not exist, the day-and-night flying Imperial-sized mosquitoes, the sleepless 'lights', the surf less bay, etc., etc. and in fact, the whole dog-gone place.”
Just the same, the Deed of Maitland Bay was really very good publicity. The Federation began to get interested, and then, almost without asking, Mr. Barry the District Surveyor, invited the Federation to send some bushwalkers to inspect the proposed parkland with him. Going up in the train we discussed where we should take Mr. Barry. We need not have worried; Mr. Barry, without any bushwalking gear and his lunch done up in a handkerchief, took us, and he took us straight over the very roughest country we might have avoided had we been on our own!
The upshot of Mr. Barry's expedition was that the faery lands forlorn of my childhood's dream were duly reserved and the Federation was invited to nominate three trustees to act along with three from the local Council. The only Council nominee who attended the first trustees' meeting we called Mr. Steam Roller because he rode with iron will over all our proposals, and he wanted roads and all the things bushwalkers abominate. However, when it came to discussing the name it was he, of all people, who suggested inclusion of the term 'natural“. So Bouddi Natural Park it became. Later on Mr. Steam Roller was replaced by Mr. Lillicrap who was a tower of strength to us and whom we elected president.
Working bees have become such a common matter among bushwalkers that probably few realise that the first of all working bees was held at Maitland Bay in 1940. Everyone predicted it would be a failure. That was a challenge to be met by suitable softening up beforehand. Much to everyone's surprise it was a huge success. Sixty people turned up armed with the requisite tools to make footpaths and erect a shelter shed and tanks to provide that clear fresh drinking water the Sydney Bushwalkers had been unable to find in the admittedly somewhat brackish well.
The tank and material had been floated in by boat on a calm day by the then ranger, who was a fisherman with a hut on the beach. The tree-planting was the only thing that failed, both then and at subsequent working bees when 120 came despite the fact that in choosing the full moon of May we usually seemed to choose the date of Mother's Day.
Tree planting has been fruitless because of lack of after care. This could have been given had there been money to pay a full time ranger. My Forestry brother suggests that the only thing to do to rejuvenate the forest is to put proper guards around the native tree seedlings already there but somehow this never seems to get done.
One of the first three trustees was Charles D'Arcy Roberts who had a picture of Maitland Bay in his office long before it had been made a park. He loved the area and knew it from Macmaster's Beach at the north to Killcare in the south, and he was keen to lead moonlight midnight parties through the untrodden scrub. While I was abroad Charlie took over the secretaryship, and under his care various further lands were added to enlarge the original area.
Less than a year after my return, the second World War commenced. Charlie was among the first to enlist, and among the first to lose his life, a life that the bushwalking movement and Bouddi in particular, could ill afford to lose. After the war was over we thought of ways and means to commemorate him in Bouddi Natural Park. Eventually we decided to get leave to name the beach south west of Maitland Bay “Bullimah - the Home of the Great Spirit” and erect a plaque on Bullimah outlook in honour of Charlie. On a windy afternoon of 30th Hay, 1948, Mr. Lillicrap officiated and Charlie's parents came to the little commemoration ceremony there.
The park has always had trustees from the Bushwalkers who are keen workers for it, and now the Council representatives also throw their efforts in too. It is a joy to attend trust meetings from time to time and see the progress made since early days. Daphne Ball, the present secretary, keeps her minutes and correspondence far better than I did and Alan Strom commands an authority with Government circles such as we should have envied. The trust now receives grants that look like fortunes compared with the twenty pounds or so we used to get, but they are still not enough to pay the full-time ranger so badly needed.
The late Mr. Dingeldi did all sorts of practical things quite beyond our ability. At the time of writing this, funds are being raised to erect a shelter shed on Mount Bouddi in his memory and to provide some more of that pure drinking water which my S.B.W. friends so sorely needed.
But it is invidious to mention one name more than another, for all the trustees and their friends and bushwalkers generally have always worked hard to protect the park and keep roads out of the “natural area” which has now grown to nearly twice the size it was when Mr. Barry first set it aside as a park.
The only sad spot is the rutile mining at Killcare Ocean Beach which has turned the best of all the camping spots into a desert. How many bushwalkers realize that the Mines Department has the final say over all lands in New South Wales except Kosciusko State Park? The Trustees had no option but to agree to rutile mining at Killcare Beach. Of course the mining company undertook to restore our bushlands to what they formerly were. There are now only two alternatives - either to leave the beach a desert (and there can be beauty in a desert), or to become reconciled to commercial development and artificial beauty.
The only bright spot is that so far the trustees have managed to keep mining away from Maitland Bay, Bullimah and Little Beach. If I had my youth back again I should use it in trying to get the Mining Acts amended to take away the autocratic powers of the soulless, ruthless, money-making miners. What about the Federation placing the amendment of the Mining Acts on the top of its agenda?
To return to the beginning of the story of Bouddi Natural Park - only last year Mr. John Wall, the honorary ranger who lives near Maitland Bay, recovered the big brass bell of the ill-fated paddle steamer “Maitland”. So when the rusty boilers, which have lain on the rocks for over half a century, do eventually rust away entirely, something will remain to show the beginning of Bouddi Natural Park.
Paddymade Rambler pack (as new condition) $15. (Current price at Paddy's $22). If you are interested please contact Nancye Alderson at 419-2017 (hone), 61-2928 (business).
Any walker in the Lower Blue Mountains who observes a wombat or wallaby wearing a disreputable-looking puggaree is requested to detain the animal, and inspect the hat-band. If it bears a Club badge, this should be removed and returned to Phyllis Ratcliffe who lost it on Nancye Alderson's day walk of April 4th. The puggaree is totally unfit for wear by man, or beast and should be destroyed.
By Pat Harrison.
A year has passed away, as all years pass away, with alarums and excursions of all kinds in the world of men, and once again the month of March sees a party of eleven walkers distributed over three cars heading for Batsh Camp in the late hours of a clear Friday night.
We were all there between 12.30 a.m. and 1.0 a.m. on Saturday morning, to find about five carloads of troggers just arrived. They were, however, well-behaved troggers and soon we were sound asleep.
After a leisurely breakfast we got away to a good start just after 8.0 a.m., the morning being fair and promising, the grass green, the dewdrops hanging from the leaves, the black cockatoos squawking joyously, and Bindook Creek brimming with water, across which an improvised bridge was needs thrown.
We followed the usual route to Flannel Flower Pass (see the magazine for May, 1970), and of course we all had wet feet after crossing Bent Hook Swamp. When we had got up to the slope below Kooragang Mountain, our worthy leader, for some unknown reason, headed east towards Myanga Mountain, and crossed a gully in his progress, but when he thereafter gave every indication of keeping on that course and crossing a second gully, we had to tug on the reins and steer him away to the north. Perhaps he was only testing our alertness!
Flannel Flower Pass is a good place to stop for morning tea. The flannel flowers weren't in bloom, but the country otherwise was a picture after the bounteous summer rains, and the green fields of the old Colong homestead peeped at us from among the trees near Alum Hill in a most enticing manner.
We were soon down the pass and priming our spark plugs with fizz on the banks of Barralier's Creek. This pure little stream, which even in dry summers carries water, is reminiscent of alpine runnels in the way it twists and turns between its grass covered banks, interspersing gurgling sections with deep pools transparently clear.
The primary motive of the walk was to gather quinces at Colong homestead and to carry them on to Yerranderie for dessert; but we were too late by a couple of weeks and only a few bird pecked fruits were left. However, the grass was green and clean, Colong Creek had large deep pools of clear water, and between the immersions and the lolling on the grass, a half hour went quickly by before we moved around Little Rick to Alum Hill Creek where we boiled the billy and had lunch. The water of Alum Hill Creek, although copious in quantity, was oily in appearance, but it tasted all right when we flavoured it with Lan-Choo.
About twenty minutes after lunch, when we had reached Colong Saddle and had paused to take in the view of Little Rick on one side and the Tonalli Range with its chasms and gaps on the other, we could not only see that a thunderstorm was brewing, but could also hear the rattle of its artillery drawing nearer; and by the time we had scrambled up from Mulyang Neck and were on the last leg to Yerranderie Peak the rain caught up with us.
When the storm had passed away, it was a grand sight from Yerranderie Peak to look around at the dark and lowering sky and the swirling cloud billows.
“As when from mountaintops the dusky clouds
Ascending, while the north wind sleep, o'erspread
Heaven's cheerful face, the louring element
Scowls o'er the darkened landscape snow, or shower,
If chance the radiant sun, with farewell sweet
Extend his evening beam, the fields revive,
The birds their notes renew, and bleating herds
Attest their joy, that hill and valley ring”
The rain had stabilised the steep and slippery slope leading down to the pass, and not long after 4.0 p.m. we had dumped our packs at the church and were heading for the water tanks at the Ranger's abode. For the benefit of the uninformed, the Ranger's dwelling has four beaut water tanks, two white toilets (O, shades of Ye Nameless One who journeyed to Ye Budawangs in Ye Days of Olde!), and a shower, all of which comforts were freely available to us on this occasion.
Since we were here last year the house near the church has been burnt down, and no doubt in the course of time careless campers will burn down the church itself. Most of us slept in the church, but some stayed out under the wattle trees to catch the red sunrise over Tonalli Peak.
The apples were ripe and we gathered some before we set out on Sunday morning for an inspection of the Silver Peak Mine, greatly assisted by the book which Ray Hookway had borrowed for the occasion. From notices nailed to the trees around Yerranderie it seems that the re-activation of mining which seemed imminent a year ago has been put off; and so Yerranderie, apart from the refurbished Post Office, will continue to rot away. The old houses, made of heavy slabs of ironbark and lined ceiling and wall with paper, tug at your heartstrings and bring back poignant memories of similar homes far away from here nor'west by west.
We completed the walk by going on to Colong Caves for lunch and back through Moorain Gap to the cars in another thunderstorm which arrived punctually at 2.30 p.m.
The last mile of the road to Batsh Camp is not the best, and the few points of rain had made it like a bed of banana skins, and consequently when Jim Vatiliotis put his Torana too close to the ditch, there were a few anxious moments before 3-man-power got it out. But everybody was home safely at a reasonable hour.
By Barbara Bruce, Membership Secretary, **
Our first new member for April is Christine Brown, only child of well known and well respected members Kath and Jim Brown. Chris has been walking “since before she was born” (according to her mother) and now mixes walking with some elementary canoeing and studying at a Business College.
Another new member is Bruce Edds, whose protracted period of Prospective membership has at last come to an end. It appears that a considerable amount of Bruce's time is taken up in University studies and in playing the part of an active Scout Master.
Next is Evelyn Walker - another English “rambler”. Evelyn works at St. Leonards and also contributes much of her spare time to a worthy cause - the International Set - which helps new immigrants to settle in Australia.
When David Peacock applied for membership I almost expired on the spot. David - who has already contributed some amusing articles for our magazine - is another Pommie, as we affectionately call him, who has only been in Sydney since last August and has already lived in a variety of dwelling places. He is now working as a bus conductor in order to get more than just enough money to exist on, so he is unable now to go on a walk-a-weekend as he has done almost constantly since he joined the S.B.W. However, hard as he insists some of the walks were, he had to scrape to get his test walks done in time. He's made it now, anyway.
Last but not least is Paul Notholt. Especially when taken in comparison with David, I know virtually nothing about Paul except that he is a school student and is a keen, pleasant and promising young walker.
To our 5 new members for April, then, a big welcome to the S.B.W.s.
Fourteen new prospectives were signed up during March. Their names are: Mr. Jean Chauvet, Mr. Alan Fall, Miss Nora Freeman, Mr. Laurie McGeechan, Mrs. Sylvia McGeechan, Mr. Mitch Meyer, Miss Jeannette Pennell, Mr. George Porebski, Mr. Richard Saxby, Miss June Tyrrell, Mrs. Linda Wilhelm and Mr. Tom Wilhelm, Miss Barbara Young and Miss Kelly Zeismer.
March seemed to bring an influx of Prospectives who have migrated from the Northern Hemisphere - from France, from Scotland and several from America.
Denise Amaral, Charles Barnes, David Boxall, Gavin and Janet Fox, Alan Fraser, Graeme Hardy, Peter Martin, Stephen Procter, Errol Sheedy and John White should now request extensions as their period as prospective members is nearing its expiry date.
By Ray Hookway.
The March meeting was held at a new venue Scots Church, Jamison Street.
Advice from the Parks & Wildlife Service and the Superintendent, Blue Mountains Park, confirmed that parts of Blue Gum Forest will soon be closed to camping and walking to permit regeneration of the vegetation. Notices will be erected at the areas concerned, and clubs advised by letter before closure.
Several letters dealt with the reported closure of access to the Budawang Ranges from the Mongarlowe Road. Australian Softwoods Corporation replied they do not hold leases over the land, and their policy is against closing off access without providing alternatives. The Parks & Wildlife Service has stated that there is a public right of way, and any closure of it is illegal.
There was only one incident in February, when a member of the C.B.C. fell and sustained a fractured ankle while walking in the Wiseman's Ferry area. His rescue was accelerated through the efforts of a local landowner, Mr. Smith, who has been thanked by Federation for his aid.
The Wildlife Preservation Society is to hold a display in the lower Sydney Town Hall between 16th and 22nd August. The theme is to be conservation and wildlife, and the Society is asking for both exhibitors and helpers to man booths, etc. Federation is considering a combined clubs exhibit. Interested members should contact the President of the Society, Mr. Serventy or the Publicity Officer, Mr. Kelvin Ward.
Conservation Council is concerned at the scheme to construct a tourist riding trail through the Colo River valley, following Surveyor Townsend's railway survey. Wilf Hilder stated the proposal is for minimum clearing of tracks and secluded rest areas. Supplies will be taken in by packhorse and access roads will not be built. The area will still be open to bushwalkers. Federation is seeking further details, and has expressed provisional disapproval.
Letters will be sent to the Minister for Lands protesting against the use of sand buggies and off-road vehicles in national parks, and asking for enforcement of traffic laws in the parks. These vehicles have become a major problem overseas.
Myall Lakes Committee is seeking interest free loans from conservationists. The money will be used to buy land to prevent future exploitation, and will be refunded in full in ten years.
Is to be held on Friday, September 17, at the UniverLty of N.S.W. Roundhouse. Help is required to sell tickets.
Wilf Hilder moved that money from this legacy be donated to the National Parks and Wildlife Foundation to contribute towards the purchase of land suitable for future parks.
Federation will nominate John Lough, who is well known for his work on aboriginal rock carvings, for this award. John was at the meeting to discuss the proposed plan of management for Kuring gai Chase National Park, and to ask for Federation assistance in having the plan modified. Wilf Hilder and Gordon Redgrave are to read the report and write to the Parks and Wildlife Service.
Hawkesbury River Tourist Map, multicolour. Shows all tracks and fire trails, price 75c. Cobargo South (provisional) 4 maps 1/25,000, covering Brogo River area. Bombala North (provisional). Budawangs Sketch Map (5th edition). This reprint should be available within a few weeks.
For years the magazine cover has been a printed job purchased in bulk at intervals of a year or so.
As an economy measure we are now in the process of switching from the printed cover to a “do-it-yourself” variety, turned out from a special stencil on the Club's new duplicator.
Because of the hazard of smudging the duplicator ink on the relatively non-absorbent card it was a pretty intricate job, but we understand that Jim Vatiliotis and Owen Marks who undertook the work are now recovering, are allowed out on their own for limited periods, and no longer need their straight jackets. And we have a year's supply of economy class covers.