Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker.
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards.
Postal Address: Box 4476 G.P.O., Sydney, N.S.W. 2001.
Meetings at the Club Room on Wednesday evenings after 7.30 p.m.
Enquiries regarding the Club - Mrs. Marcia Shappert, Te1.30-2028.
|Spiro Ketas, 104/10 Wylde Street, Pott's Point, 2011. Te1.357-1381 (Home)
|Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118.
In This Issue:
|The February General Meeting
|Three Weeks Walking & Climbing in the Jotenheimen Region of Norway
|Woodford, Linden & Faulconbridge
|Walks Secretary's Notes for April
|Report of Federation of Bushwalking Clubs Meeting - 20 February
|Why Do Walkers Walk?
|S.B.W. Office Bearers - 1973
|Annual Subscription 1973
The February General Meeting.
by Jim Brown.
The levels of attendance at General Meetings are highly unpredictable, and just why we had about 45 people at the beginning of the February meeting (and more later) is quite inexplicable, especially as there were no pressing issues to be discussed.
Two new members, Kathie Stuart and James Hollingum were welcomed, while three who were originally admitted last year were still not present. Minutes were confirmed and Owen Marks recorded that he had bought the after-meeting tea mugs authorised in January. Amongst a number of otherwise routine items mentioned under Correspondence, it was advised that a pamphlet on the weather produced by Dunlop Ltd. was being obtained in quantity for members (in a year when almost half a year's normal rainfall was registered in the first seven weeks, presumably the manufacturers of raingear may hope for a “killing”). Also in Correspondence was mention of a protest against the Concorde aircraft being organised by the Nature Conservation Council.
The Treasurer, called to account, said that we had slightly increased our working funds during January to close the club year with $888 in the current funds.
This brought us to the Walks Report, covering the period from mid-January to the second week-end in February, and including three week-ends of rather savage weather conditions. Wilf's account began with Don Finch's Cox's River/li-lo trip, with attendance of 19 (or was it 20?). The river was rather shallow, there was rain on Saturday, and Sunday was fine and hot. Pleasant relations were established with the local Water Board Ranger during an encounter on White Dog.
Over the same week-end was Helen Gray's Bell and Wollongambe Creeks li-lo patrol, ten starters, of whom Laurie Quaken swam the whole of the gorge sections: and Roger Gowing had 7 people abseiling in the Kanangra area, where John Campbell had a fall. He insisted on walking out, but his activities have since been curtailed during recovery. The day walk was an easy one led by Bill Hall in the Woronora country, 22 people showing up for the trip despite very warm conditions.
On the week-end of 19-20-21 January Neville Lupton had about six people for a jaunt into the Wollemi Creek/Colo River - a rather hot weekend it was said, while Bob Hodgson leading a team of four did some abseiling in Danae Brook at Kanangra, and because they were few in number and travelling fast, completed it in one day and “did” Kalang on the Sunday. That was the day of Owen's Necropolis trip, when some 20 or 21 members saw “all the proper sights, but only one coffin you could look into”. After it was over there was an odd incident in which police officers checked on the Grays and Gladys Roberts as suspected “larrikins”.
Lack of fuel for the cars inhibited some of the Australia Day weekend plans, Ray Hookway and George Catchpole being compelled to cancel plans for trips at Kanangra and in the Brindabella country respectively, while David Cotton deferred his trip one week. Don Finch's Pretty Beach camp was held, and the Rigbys, with a fuel supply from Canberra, saved the day for the Sydney-siders. However wet conditions prevailed all Saturday and Sunday, and after a sing-song going through to 2.0 a.m. on Monday that turned out a lovely day.
The first week-end of February was very hot and humid, with greatly swollen streams following the rains of the previous fortnight. Notwithstanding this, Frank Taeker and 20 people took to the top of the Grose Valley, finding washouts around Mt. Victoria and electing to leave the valley via the Grand Canyon trail. It was not known whether David Cotton's deferred trip (and altered to the Megalong area) went, but Alan Pike had a team of about 10 down Arethusa Canyon, where the stream seemed no higher than it was on several previous occasions, and the heat of the day made it less shivery. Of the two day walks, Kath Brown had 12 out to Burning Palms and found it very oppressive on the return via Palm Jungle. They met Jim Callaway who was the only S.B.W. taking part in the Bundeena-Lilyvale canter, accompanied by two C.B.C. members.
The great wet continued on the following week-end and understandably David Rostron cancelled his Bungonia Creek descent (too much water). The same applied to day walks to be led by Wilf Hilder (Colo) and Sam Hinde (Otford area), and there was no information as to whether Rod Peters Nattai River venture, or Nancy Alderson's day walk from Glenbrook, got off the ground.
Federation doings reported by Ray Hookway have already been covered in the February magazine, and it remained only to deal with a couple of miscellaneous matters. The President advised of several offices falling vacant at the Annual Meeting, and Don Finch said Reunion planning was under control. Dot Butler referred to the Door-Knock to be held late in February by the Parks & Wildlife Foundation, and a suggestion was raised that weak swimmers should make sure the party knew of their shortcomings before tackling deep rivers.
Wilf Hilder mentioned further depredations by the petty thieves who tend to break into cars parked at Blue Mountain resorts, particularly, it seemed, on wet week-ends, and said the new issue of the Blue Mountains/Burragorang Tourist sheet was merely a reprint with colours of the old version. Then it was finish, finish, finish at about 9.25 p.m.
Three Weeks Walking & Climbing In The Jotenheimen Region Of Norway.
by Dot Butler.
We met, as arranged, in the railway waiting room at Oslo; the Putts fresh (very) from rural England and myself (not so fresh, especially the socks) from a climbing holiday in Switzerland with Ross and Margriet Wyborn and Rona. You all know the Wozziborn keenness for climbing - in four days we had made 4 ascents all in the 13,000 ft./14,000 ft. bracket: the Finsterhorn, the South Peak of the Eiger, the Monk and the Jungfrau - and this session with the Putts looked like being a nice restful holiday in peaceful surroundings.
We caught the 10 p.m. night train from Oslo to Otta, with my 3-week Eurail Pass timed to expire next day. (Full marks to whoever thought up the Eurail pass. You travel 1st Class, at about half-price, almost anywhere in Europe and don't have to suffer the trauma of trying to make yourself understood at foreign ticket offices; all you do is get on or off a train anywhere you like until your ticket expires.)
The guard woke us about 3 a.m. as the train pulled into Otta in the cold and sparkling darkness and we had 5 hours to snooze, the Putts in the heated waiting room and myself out on a nearby grassy slope, till the bus was ready to depart on its 6-hour run to Turtogrö. Originally Colin had planned the trip to end at Turtogrö, but discovered, only when he reached Norway, that the bus would cease to run in about a week's time, so if we wanted to get out eventually we would need to do the trip in reverse. This posed a problem as we had tentatively arranged to have Margriet Wyborn meet up with us, and how were we to let her know to do the trip in reverse? We wrote her a letter explaining all and left it with the station master at Otta, with a graphic description of Margriet as a tall blonde Nederlandska girl with a large pack and an ice-axe. He promised to look out for her when she got off the train and pass the letter over. We also left a similar letter with the bus driver, propped up above his dashboard and addressed WYBORN in large black letters. As the driver didn't speak English we got a woman passenger who did to fill him in on the urgency of contacting Margriet.
That done, we settled down to enjoy the bus ride through the beautiful Scandinavian countryside with its small, well-kept farms, neat villages and healthy looking people.
Turtogrö is nothing but a tourist hotel, but as the tourist season officially ended about 10 days ago the place was completely deserted. As we got off the bus and shouldered our packs the local passengers watched with interest. We were extremely heavily laden with a fortnight's food plus climbing and camping gear, including a 1946 kerosene primus, in fact Putto looked like this (see next page), causing a Norwegian boy to remark; “Ah, you haf brought supplies for the winter?”
We spent the few remaining hours of afternoon light trudging up valley, to camp in the last clump of silver birch before the tree-line ended.
The weather was perfect and with wood for a campfire, life was very pleasant. Next day, again in warm and sunny conditions, we pushed on deeper into the wild country, climbing gradually to a high pass, then down into another remote valley, again to camp below in the trees. The ranges on either side, 4,000 to 7,000 ft. high, show the massive scouring of primeval glaciers, and it is not difficult to picture the whole terraine locked under the final ice-cap which the sagas of the old Norsemen foretold would mark the end of the world:
“Grass and blood, the strife of life
Is an interlude which soon must pass.
All will go back - relapse to rock
Under the shawl of the ice-caps,
The cape which night will spread to cover
The World when the living flags are furled.”
On the third day, sauntering along in the glorious sunshine of late afternoon, we noticed a wide white circle developing around the sun. Reading this as probably some sort of ominous weather sign we began to look for some more substantial shelter than our two l 1/2 lb. nylon tents. Three-quarter way up towards the next high pass we saw a great tipped heap of mine tailings and decided to make for it and camp in its vicinity so we could make a rapid dash into the mine tunnel in the event of dirty weather suddenly blowing up. We thought it was possibly a gold mine, but long time deserted. On reaching it we found it was liberally sprinkled with a substance worth more than gold to us, namely WOOD.
There were old dynamite boxes labelled “SPRINGSTOFF”, which you bet it was! - also sleepers, mine-props and so on. We pitched our flimsy tents out on the tailing heap with a wildly exciting view down valley where the mountain witches were stirring up their cauldrons of evil weather. Soon we had a huge bonfire which kept us so warm we didn't care that the wind was steadily rising in velocity, and the moon was being obscured by wild wisps of torn cloud.
All night long our tents flapped, sounding like a sailing clipper in the roaring 40's, but we were snug inside with our sleeping bags pulled up to our eyebrows. About 5 a.m. Colin got up and made a dash for the mine entrance. In its shelter he lit a fire and soon we had breakfasted and packed up in readiness for an early start. We left about 40 lbs. weight of provisions behind as Colin was developing blisters from new boots and an 80 lb. pack was beginning to be a bit of a burden. We had only about 7 miles to go to the Olavsbu hut and to come back in the afternoon for a second load would be no great effort. As we set out the wind was at our backs but it soon dropped as the sun rose, and here was another perfect day. The track now skirted a long chain of lakes, so perfect in their mirror surface that the mountain peaks reflected in them were images of unbelievable clarity. About midday we reached the hut, located in a sunny position on the hillside by a small upland lake. We had lunch, and leaving Jane to organise the food and housekeeping, Colin and I dashed back for the second load. By now an afternoon breeze was ruffling the lake surfaces; they were an intense blue, but all reflections had vanished. Two hours back to the mine, ten minutes to pack the food, then two hours back to the hut to find Jane preparing a mighty meal.
We awoke to another perfect day. “It never rains in Norway at this time of the year,” a girl had told us in the bus. We quoted this gleefully, but with bated breath nevertheless in case some perverse weather god might like to take us down a peg or two. There were plenty of mountains around just calling out to be climbed but we spent a whole day just lying in the sun and having a bit of prussiking practice over a 20 ft. troll boulder on the hillside, Putto, as usual, thinking up all sorts of innovations to make the job easier (such as knots at 1 ft. intervals on the prussic slings so they could be used as etriers for the final pull over the top of the boulder or lip of the crevasse if that's what you were really prussiking out of). Jane and I later took a walk up a distant ridge while Colin stayed back doctoring his blisters, in readiness for the big climbing programme we had in mind. But the weather now took a hand. We had only one fine day, then the snows started. For three days we were hut-bound. We read everything we could find in the English language, then started on the Norwegian notices pinned up in the hut. Before long we had managed to decipher most of them, Jane being particularly clever in this regard. Sometimes the object to which the notice was attached helped - the “Bokspresser” for example, this being a gadget like a gigantic pair of pliers with which you squashed your tins flat before throwing them on the rubbish heap. It made the old bushwalker couple-of-stones look pretty primitive. We also wrote up our diaries and I even started a letter to the Bushwalkers:
“22nd Sept., 1972.
Here we are, two Putts and a Butler, sitting in our sleeping bags in the Olavsbu Hut in Norway, a few miles from the Arctic Circle. It is the autumnal equinox. Outside the snow is piling up against the walls and the wind is howling through the wire rigging of the little-house. We are surrounded by cod's roe (in tins) and potet puré (dehy. spuds to the uninitiated). The summer foot-tourists have eaten all other supplies in the hut and departed for the winter, leaving the world to cod's roe and to us. Up on the range off Mjolkedalst (7,000 ft.), which we traversed the day before the snows started, we found reindeer nests in sheltered mossy hollows under the rocks, and shed antlers which Colin was reluctant to leave behind as he could make knife-handles out of them. Little brown and white birds were collecting in flocks, sensing instinctively that the time for migration to Africa has arrived.
Jotenheimen, the district we are in (about on a level with Iceland - further north than the southern tip of Greenland) means the Home of the Giants. Every bit of country which isn't still under glacier looks as though it recently was. As we came up the valley from Turtogrö the white ice of the Jostedalsbreen loomed above the near ranges. The Jostedal Glacier is the largest in Europe. Here it was that Scott, preparing for his final Expedition to the South Pole, tested his crude tractors, and here too, that the great Nansen advised him to take dogs, saying, “When a dog dies you eat him or the other dogs eat him, but when a tractor dies it is just a heap of useless metal lying in the snow.” Scott, of course, disregarded this advice, with fatal results.
Margaret Wyborn was to have met up with us three days ago but as yet we have not seen her. We hope she is not lost out in the blizzard and the blow, out in the snizzard and the snow. We have left notes for her on all likely places, such as bridges and notice boards, but we fear the snow will have covered them.
When the weather clears we hope to go to a place called Pigg-gravi to climb one of the largest mountains in Norway (Galdhöppigen). Pig-gravy is about 2 days march from here and the new snow is covering all the marker-cairns so it should be fun. The great danger here is falling into a lake; the whole fabric of the country is lakes held together by thinly-carved ranges scattered with troll-boulders. Blueberries can be gathered by the kilogram everywhere in the valley-bottoms, but once they have been frozen they are no longer edible. The air is clean, cool, sparkling breathable stuff unknown to the rest of Europe.
Here come PEOPLE!! No time to write more….”
The newcomers turned out to be a group of young Norwegian mountaineers, mostly schoolteachers. They all spoke English and we had a great time fraternising and drinking together from the flowing bowl - “Sköl, to the Norsemen, Sköl!” as we upended our heady drinks. One Sigurd took us outside in a period of clear weather and pointed out green Lake Gjende where the young Peer Gynt, in Ibsen's story, dreamt he played with the reindeer.
The weather had now cleared, so we climbed the high peak of Mjolkedalst (2,136 m.), Colin and Jane going up a long gradual ridge and myself choosing a much more vertical but nevertheless easy face. We all came down this way after a good reconnaissance on the summit.
On 24th (Sunday) the schoolteachers had to think of departing for Otta, but were determined ta get in another climb before they went. So we all climbed Sjogholst (29142 m.). Towards the top there turned out to be some difficult climbing in the new snow, but eventually we all got to the top. The Norwegians didn't carry ice axes or ropes, and most seemed to wear only a type of sandshoe with a deep tread. Putto thought a rope was desirable in some of the dangerous spots and Jane was glad of it.
On 25th we all left the Olavsbu hut heading for a place on the map called Leirvasdbu. The lightly-equipped Norwegians were much faster than we were so soon all we could see of them were their footprints in the snow, and those of their little dog who must have had a cold time of it, ploughing along belly-deep in the drifts. Leirvasdbu was another one of those tourist hotels, and nothing else, standing all alone in the wild country. A couple of cleaning-women were tidying up after the departure of the summer guests and they gave us permission to camp close by in a grassy meadow.
Colin and Jane put up their tent, but I was charmed by a little saeter, or herdsman's hut, with two of its walls made of stone and the rest of it excavated into the living hillside. It had a turf-covered roof with flowers growing through the grass, and a manger inside. I spent quite some time cleaning it up. I threw some broken bottles and empty tins and other hardwear under the manger, then made up my bed therein, padding it with grass to fill up the cracks. After dinner by our campfire outside the Putts retired to their tent and I to my manger. I laid me down on the hay in my sleeping bag, when suddenly the whole thing collapsed and I landed, in the pitch dark, on all the broken bottles and tins. There was a scream of uncontrolled laughter from the Putt tent, which continued in spasmodic bursts while I reorganised myself on the ground amidst the shattered ruins of my bed.
Next day we had a lovely walk down valley to Spiterstulen, coming across herds of reindeer pasturing among the grass and blueberries. The largest buck with the greatest number of points to his antlers was in charge of the herd and kept separating the young males when they seemed to be getting too friendly with the does.
We camped down valley from the Spiterstulen Inn, by a clump of trees on the banks of the river, and within view of Hellsbugahö (pronounced Hell's Bugger Ho.! - don't blame me, it's not my fault).
Galdhöpiggen (2,460 m) is the highest peak in the district. On 27th we set out early to climb it despite signs of bad weather coming up. We reached one of its subsidiary peaks (Svellnosi 2,053 m) and as the weather still hadn't been bad enough to turn us back we continued on towards our goal. As we gained height and reached an exposed ridge a howling wind, which Colin estimated at Gusting Force 9, hit us and kept on blowing Jane and me over. So close to our peak we were determined not to give in. Willi-willis of snow and sago hail would come whirling over the snow slopes. Jane and I would press ourselves against rocks or low to the ground till they blew over, then struggle on. At last we stood on Keilhaus Topp (2,351 m) and saw a fierce knife-edge ridge of blue ice disappearing away towards the true summit of Galdhöpiggen. That was enough. We were unroped, so we turned back within 100 metros of our goal. It will still be there next year, when Colin and Jane plan another trip to the Jotenheimen.
That was the finish to the mountaineering. Followed a long road-bash next day which took us out to a little township where we connected with an unexpected bus that was still running, and so back to Otta, then train to Oslo where we spent a day looking at the old Viking ships and the historic “Fram” and the “Kon-Tiki”, all housed in fine style around the waterfront. Putto also looked around at other vessels, as he is still determined to buy one and bring it back to Australia for future adventuring.
Next day the Putts left for England and I spent another week in Norway, visiting Bergen up north where the fishing populace comes down to the beaches to sing hymns at night, and together with a young American lass I did a fjord trip with the mail boat (the tourist boats all stop running when “the season” comes to an end, abruptly, at the end of August). This was mighty, and I would strongly recommend Norway to Bushwalkers who will find there the nearest to the freedom of Australia that they are likely to find in any country of Europe.
Footnote: Margriet Wyborn came into the area, didn't connect with any of our messages, consequently didn't meet us, and after three days around Otta, bad weather chased her back to her relatives in Holland.
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Everything for the bushwalker, from blankets and air mattresses, stretchers, boots, compasses, maps, books, stoves and lamps to cooking ware and freeze dried and dehydrated foods.
69 Liverpool St., Sydney. 26-2686, 61-7215.
Woodford, Linden and Faulconbridge.
by Marion Lloyd.
(Marion points out that this is not original material but a collection of information from books, brochures and individual people.)
Woodford - The Transit of Venus.
It will be recalled that Capt. Cook came into the southern waters for the purpose of observing the transit of Venus across the sun in June 1769, when he subsequently discovered the east coast of Australia.
A Directory of 1882 states that in 1874 Woodford was chosen by the Government Astronomer to observe the transit of Venus. On Dec. 8, 1874, “Woodford” the mountain residence of A. Fairfax, Esq. was selected as a suitable site from which this astronomical event could be observed. In the party was Mr. Du Faur of the Survey Dept. who was associated with the early settlement at Mt. Wilson. The day dawned clear and bright and the transit of Venus was observed successfully…. “with zeal and worthy of the occasion”.
Woodford and Linden are two places very closely associated with Blaxland's journey across the Blue Mountains in 1813, and there are still to be found many traces of the old Cox's Road.
(Incorporating Bull's Flogging Stone, Bull's Powder Magazine, Bull's Bath, Bull's Seat).
Bull's Camp is about 1 1/2 miles before Woodford after Linden and was a convict road gang stockade. The Cox's Road at this spot followed the top of the ridge, i.e. beyond the railway line (near Woodford Trig). When Mitchell was altering the road, late in 1820s to early 1830s, he put the road where it is now.
The man in charge was Lieut, Bull. Bull was a humane man and he is given credit to being the first such officer to ensure Christian burial to convicts who might die. This is one reason why most historians think the “cells”, one in the camp and one in the hill above, were really store rooms for gun-powder or tools. Bull mentioned an Inn, which must have been Pembroke's, which therefore certainly stood at that time.
An interesting spot is Bull's Seat. This seat is in the railway cutting about opposite end of Bull's Camp. It has a seat carved in the rock, a spot carved where the butt of the gun would rest, and it gives a good view of much of the road.
There are a number of “baths” in the area, particularly in the Woodford-Linden area. They were holes cut out of the rock, some more elaborate than others, some having steps leading into them. They were possibly used to store water, bathing or swimming purposes.
Cottages opposite Bull's Camp (Rockerry Cottages).
The sign on the roadside claims they were convict built in 1839. The Springwood Historical Society knows little about them. The map in the 1882 Directory shows a gate-house on the line just before the railway reaches Bull's Camp, but there is no resemblance to a railway cottage. No other buildings are shown in that area (does any one know the history of those 2 cottages?).
Back to Woodford.
A test bore for kerosene shale was put down at Woodford and Professor David reported this in 1889. It commenced at an altitude of 2061 foot and was struck to within 405 feet of sea level, but no further action was taken.
The 1882 Directory also goes in rhapsodies over the “eight very striking waterfalls” in the area.
Buss - Buss's Inn (Woodford Academy).
Hard by the north side of the Great Western Highway on the hill at Woodford stands the Woodford Academy, a building that is steeped in history of the Blue Mountains. Its exterior exudes an atmosphere of the past. To the layman and passing motorist it suggests convicts, military troopers, coaching inns, the goldrush and all the exciting eras of early Australian history. The Academy has experienced all these periods and has been part of the early history of the Bathurst Road.
Latest research into the history of the old building has brought many new facts to light, but unfortunately gaps appear in the chronological history.
First mention of any inn or building in this site was in the 1820s - it was known as “Pembroke's Hut”. In 1836 Pembroke mortgaged the property including the “Woodman's Inn” to John Terry Hughes and John Hosking. There was a Crown Grant to Michael Hogan in 1842, probably for the purpose of “building a respectable inn”. Work done is most likely the nucleus of the present building. Buss acquired the Inn in 1855 for £1040. It reached its heyday as an inn during the Turon Goldrush.
A military depot site was a little to the west of Buss's. Graves of soldiers are on this site - headstones may be seen at the back of the Academy - possibly some were used as flooring in a kitchen. (After the Inn closed it became a popular boarding establishment under various owners.)
After Buss the building was owned by Mr. Alfred Fairfax (possibly of Fairfax and Roberts, the jewellers) who called the house “Woodford”.
In the 1882 Directory an advertisement appears which says:-
“Woodford House, Woodford, Blue Mountains
Change of Air and Mountain Scenery
Private Accommodation for Visitors
Safe bathing places for Ladies and Children at the Falls on the Estate
Choice fruit from the Orchard at Table
Terms strictly moderate - Special arrangements for families
Apply Lamb and Fairfax, 23 Hunter Street, Sydney
or John R. Place, Woodford.
A capital Tennis Court on the Grounds.”
It was once owned by Lord Rosebery. In 1907 it was named “Woodford Academy” and became a boarding school and continued as such for over 25 years. The building is at present used as a private residence and its owner and occupier is Miss McManamey, whose father carried on a boys' school there for many years.
It seemed that there were two reasons why platforms were placed at particular spots. One was the presence of an Inn such as Buss's Inn in 1868 on the south side of the Highway just up the hill from Woodford Academy. When Fairfax owned “Woodford House” the station was moved to this site in 1871. Woodford Station has been in four different places. The second, in 1887 was only a 1/2 mile from the present Hazelbrook. It was moved nearer Sydney in 1880 and finally, in 1902, to its present site at the bottom of the grade. The railway station was known as Buss until 1871.
The second reason for stations being placed at particular spots was the presence of a residence of a person sufficiently important and influential to persuade the railway authorities to cater especially for him and his family. Thus “Numantia” (see below) was present between the present Faulconbridge and Linden Stations. It was close to land owned by Sir James Martin who as one authority claims laid out five acres of foundations for a large house. It became known as “Martin's Folly” after its abandonment. “Martin's Corner” was on the Old Bathurst Road.
Faulconbridge was originally closer to Sydney than the present station and was opened for Sir Henry Parkes, Premier of N.S.W., his home and the station were named for his mother, Martha Faulconbridge.
Linden - Cayley's Repulse.
First mention is from Blaxland's Journal dated Wed. 19 May, 1813 (9th day of trip) ”…. Found a heap of stones piled in the shape of a pyramid by some European; one side of which the natives had opened, apparently to see if anything was deposited in the middle…, conjectured it to have been the end of Mr. Bass's track who attempted to pass the mountains“.
It was a mystery as to who had built it and the puzzle is still unsolved. Governor Macquarie thought later that George Caley had built it and named the spot “Caley's Repulse”. Macquarie passed the cairn on the second day of his trip over the Blue Mountains, and Historical Records of Australia says “The Mountain in the neighbourhood was named Caley's Repulse”.
Others thought George Bass had made the pile, but there is no proof of this either. All that is certain is that some unknown white man had previously reached this point. However it is commonly believed that the present cairn is not the original. “The present pile of stones is, however one that has been erected since the original pile was noted, it having been broken down….” Stephen.
I have been told that the original was on top of the ridge above the present pile. The track along the ridge above the cairn is part of the Cox's Road. Recently a guard rail was put around the Repulse. (Recently houses have been build near the Repulse and it was very hard to find it amongst the rubbish, and unless you knew what the pile of rocks was it could easily have been mistaken for rubble as it appears most insignificant.)
Whether the story of Bushranger King is fact or legend is not certain. He is supposed to have camped in the Cave when he shot policeman John Donahue in 1837. Donahue's grave is buried by the railway, below the northern side of the line near Linden, but the headstone was moved to a spot alongside the track and locals built a rail around it.
Lady Martin's Bath and the Railway Line ("Numantia")
(between Linden and Faulconbridge - see also “Railway Stations”).
This cottage now called “Weemala” was originally called “Numantia” and was built in 1876 for Sir James Martin. Martin was Prime Minister of N.S.W. prior to Parkes and was later Chief Justice of N.S.W. (Note that Martin and Parkes preferred the title Prime Minister rather than Premier.) Martin was a man of grand ideas, and his wife had money, so he decided to build a fine mansion further west, and had foundations put in. However by this time Lady Martin was rather eccentric and she withdraw financial support. Included in the foundations were two excavated rock tanks, 25' by 6' by 10' deep, and about 150 yards south Martin found a spring and had a tiny reservoir built. This was called “Lady Martin's Bath”, but it is doubtful whether she bathed in it. These foundations were called “Martin's Folly”, and stood until 1908 when E. W. Cansdell bought them and built “The Bungalow” on them. This property is now called “Banool” and stands where the highway crosses the line. The tanks are at the rear. The railway siding “Numantia” stood at the western end of the nearby cutting.
Alfred Stephen, who wrote an article for the Royal Australian Historical Society in 1945, recalls that it was in the valley just below Lady Martin's Bath that, in 1896, Frank Butler murdered Arthur Preston, a young student he had enduced to go gold mining with him. Butler had also murdered Lee Well in Glenbrook Gully. Ho was later brought back from California and hanged.
Stone House - "Weemala" - between Linden and Faulconbridge.
The stone house of which only the shell now stands was built in 1881. The builder was a famous local stone mason, Paddy Ryan, and he built it for a city businessman named McCullough. When it was built it was called “Weemala”, but a later owner changed the name to “Errama” and it was known by this name until it was burnt down in 1968 bushfires. In 1889 McCullough sold the house to J.W. Cliff, and in about 1898 he sold it to Mr. George Evans, a solicitor, after whom “Evans Lookout” in Blackheath is named. He died in 1913, and his daughter Mrs. MacLaurin hold it until 1922; sold it to Gilbert Nathan; in 1927 Mr. Joseph Brown bought it. The Browns left it sometime in 1950s (I think); it was then damaged by vandals and a Mr. Adam had just bought it and was restoring it when it was destroyed.
Between Weemala and Eurama was a house “Alphington” which was built in 1887 for Sir Alfred Stephen (then Chief Justice). It was a weatherboard house, standing fairly close to the stone ruins. In fact McCullough lived in it while the stone residence was being built. In 1921 this weatherboard house was removed and now stands in the Great Western Highway opposite the Faulconbridge School and is now called “Danville”.
This little village is only a mile west of Springwood, but has an air of quiet beauty and serenity.
Growing at Faulconbridge (Altitude 1465 ft) is a rare type of Malee Tree discovered only recently. Thousands are to be seen on the northern ridge, the largest probably about 100 years old. There are about 100 trees in the Valley of the Waters at Wentworth Falls and about 200 at Braidwood. These are the only known trees of this species in existence.
Here lived and is buried Sir Henry Parkes.
A few weeks before the Battle of Waterloo and just after Governor Macquarie returned to Sydney after travelling over the recently constructed road to the site of Bathurst, Henry Parkes was born on May 27th, 1815 in Warwickshire, England. In 1839 he came to N.S.W. with his young wife and from his entry into politics in 1848 until his death in 1896 at the ago of 81, he worked unselfishly for his country. He was the driving force behind the movement for Federation but he did not live to see its introduction.
It was Sir Henry Parkes who, in 1866, arranged with Florence Nightingale to send to the Colony a number of trained nurses.
His grave is at Faulconbridge and the village was named after his mother Martha Faulconbridge.
There is a splendid avenue of trees at Faulconbridge known as Prime Ministers' Oaks, as all the Prime Ministers of Australia have planted a tree there.
Our Blue Mountains Yesterdays P. W. Spriggs
The Springwood Historical Society and especially to Mr. T. A. Morony its President
Pictorial History of the Blue Mountains - Blue Mountains City Council
The Blue Mountains Crossing by John Kennedy
Walks Secretary Notes For April.
by Wilf Hilder
|Roy Higginbottom has been sent to Queensland so we need a substitute leader for this medium to hard walk from Medlow to Mt. Strongleg and the Low Gangerangs. Anyone wanting to lead this interesting walk please see me and place a notice on the board.
|The Federation Reunion is on again at Sugee Bag Creek near Spencer on the Hawkesbury. Circulars giving all the details are now available.
|Bill Hall leads this medium walk into Heathcote State Park. Good tracks most of the way except the Girrouba Creek section. Very pleasant walking area with delightful views.
|Late afternoon start for this hard Colo day walk transferred from 4th March and led by Wilf the waster. Waterproof packs are compulsory but fishing rods are not. Photo stops will be made at Bass sized pools on route, says Wilf.
|Uncle David Ingram leads this easy Sunday wander thru Heathcote State Park from Waterfall to Heathcote. Tracks about half the way with a bit of scrub pushing for practice. Inspection of the nudist colony at Morella Karong - by special arrangement only. Please note David can no longer be contacted on the phone no. shown on the walks programme.
|Jumping John Campbell is your genial guide to the Victorian Alps, probably one of the great alpine walks. Mount B—-y, Mount Speculation, Mount Hewitt, The Cross Cut Saw, The Razor the famous peaks of Victoria within your grasp. Book early for this hard walk.
|Uncle Don does it again. Don's Mystery Hike - sorry but you can't give him humble pie for going astray. Good company, ? scenery, ? tracks for ? kilometres on this Easter special.
|George Catchpole's heading for the Monaro Alps on this medium Easter trip to Oldfields Hut. Lush snowgrass meadows and pretty snowgums. Excellent views and tracks all the way. Book early please.
|The good old Nandewars - great walking country. Alan Fall is leading this scenic walk - snow grass and snowgums high above the western plains. Fabulous scenery for 360º from spectacular volcanic peaks. Book early please.
|Anzac Day 25
|Uncle Sam Hinde leads ye easy stroll to Marley and back to Bundeena. Tracks most of the way. Excellent scenery - ask Sam to show you the aboriginal carvings on Marley Head.
|Fondon leads it like it is - the two peaks from Kanangra. Spectacular scenery with a lot of hill climbing, but lush campsites. Ideal company on this hard walk.
|Bendethera Caves are on again with Ray Carter as leader. Steep climb out of valley to cars, but tracks about a third of the way. Spectacular views over Deua Valley.
|A test walk in Darug National Park near Wisemans Ferry. Excellent scenery and aboriginal carvings. Tracks and pads about half the distance. Book early please.
|David Cotton's Bee Walk is with us again - sorry, no cactus samples. Easy Sunday picnic at Darkes Forest.
Report Of Federation of Bushwalking Clubs Meeting - 20 February, 1973.
by Phil Butt.
1. Re Anzac Day Service. Due to the fact that Easter is crowding Anzac Day this year much discussion ensued as to when the service should be held at Splendour Rock - this year marks the 25th Anniversary of the placing of the plaque. The wish of the meeting was for the actual day, but subsequently the sub-committee especially formed to organize the dawn ceremony, under the joint chairmanship of Messrs. Brian Harvey (S.B.W.) and Stan Cattier (C.M.W.), have decided to hold it on the Sunday week following Anzac Day, that is May 6th 1973. Please note this date and then attend!
2. The Federation Reunion is to be held at Sugee Bag Creek on 7-8th April 1973. Be there!! Sing-song and campfire Saturday night, competitions on Sunday.
3. Party of three canoeists missing downstream of Glen Davis. S. & R. asked police to arrange for helicopter to locate the party as the Colo River was in high flood. They were located safely in Capertee Valley.
4. Mr. Murray Scott - Conservation Bureau chairman - presented a copy of a full and comprehensive report for presentation to the Government Inquiry on proposed Natural Gas Pipeline through the Wollangambe Wilderness. A motion was passed praising Murray on his report as it indicates detailed and time consuming research.
Why Do Walkers Walk?
(The following is the text of a letter received by one of our members from his brother, who had just returned from a four-week trip to South-West Tasmania.)
Well, all back, safe and almost sound. It's funny, the planned 25 days was just about our comfortable physical (and probably psychological) limit. I developed painful blisters in the last two days, someone else had a painful ankle by the end, etc.
The first four days took us from Catamaran to Melaleuca (Port Davey) where Dennis King mines tin for $100 per sugarbag, and watches the hikers come and go. We got thoroughly fed up with wet and muddy feet every day; putting on wet socks in the morning to walk through bogs (euphemistically known as buttongrass plains). However, after the second week of wet feet, as it was now water rather than mud, one could accept it as the normal way of life.
The weather had become less kind to us and we had several days of rain. By now we were out along the Scotts Peak Road, near Pedder, and hoping to climb Mt. Anne (4,675 ft.). However, it decided to remain in cloud while we waited there 3 days, but we did climb to the High Camp (approx. 1,000 m.). From below the High Camp we had the “Lake Edgar Panorama” spread to the west. We could see the tree line of the beach of Pedder showing above the water, Mt. Solitary, and Scotts Peak beginning to be encircled by the water.
We returned to the bush, this time to the Eastern Arthurs where the famed Federation Peak (4,010 ft.) lurks. The track leaves from Cracroft Crossing on the Cracroft River (a Huon subsiduary). Here we were awed by a stand of magnificent mountain ash (?) perhaps 200 ft. high. Here and there were “fallen giants”, huge paperbark melaleucas, and tall beeches. We were to see a lot more beech forests in the Eastern Arthurs.
That evening we were visited by a wallaby that ate any food given it. A check of the hut log book showed that it had been coming for 5 years!!
We then had two hot, clear days of climbing, and then scrambling, which became tediously slow when pack hauling for 7 people. We had now reached Thwaites Plateau, but the weather was turning cloudy! The problem with climbing Federation is access. One can either do the southern traverse (if you like heights) from Hanging Lake, or descend the “forest chute” and ascend the “scree chute”. Otherwise 1,000 ft. drops get in the way. The final ascent is 700 ft. of rock.
By next day it was blowing hard, the cloud had descended, and the summit gone from view. So we once again sat and waited for two days, only in much less pleasant conditions as we were quite high up. As it was drizzling almost continuously, we couldn't light a fire (choofers are great, gas stoves are hopeless). We finished all our books, played a lot of cards, told jokes and read a Playboy that we had found. Then we packed up and reluctantly left. However we missed the start of the “forest chute” and spent three miserable hours stumbling about in the driving rain. So it took two days to get down. Moss Ridge is unbelievable. It's everything - wet, muddy, you squeeze between vertical trees, horizontal trees, and both at the same time. Of course your pack gets caught a million times (especially the high Canadian type our leader had). Then you have 8 ft. drops with no handholds left in the mud. The track goes up and down several times. Yes, of course it was raining. Thank God we were not trying to climb up Moss Ridge.
Then followed three days of 12 hours hiking each day as we tried to hurry out, falling further and further behind our schedule as each day passed. This included scrub bashing through dense scrub for 2 hours, climbing through virgin forest - the logs you stood on squelched like wet papier mache and logs and moss lay everywhere. I forgot how many hours for a 700 ft. climb. Then a 19 mile road bash, a fluke 9 p.m. lift from the picnic ground, and the leader and I were at the Geeveston Pub, bathing and lying in strange things called beds.
To me, the relief at being out was immense, as I was utterly exhausted.
I had arranged for a Rental car through work, so I picked it up in Hobart, collected the others, and then we (six now) toured the country in style, but not before a long stint at the laundromat, and a gluttonous meal at a magnificent restaurant (the Beefeater). We ate like pigs for days. Between scheduled meals we ate icecreams, milk shakes, and pies from the country bakeries. And by now we were so lazy that even the tourist-type scenic walks weren't too popular.
You may ask why we did it if it was so miserable. We were walking so as to reach the spot we were to have the next meal!! One didn't enjoy getting wet, or bush-bashing through impenetrable scrub or trees, but there was a feeling of enjoying being there, seeing the unique country, of going somewhere, and of having done something. The unknown lay ahead each day.
So even though we didn't climb our two peaks, and though we argued amongst ourselves and plagued each other, we all enjoyed something.
But I wouldn't do it again!
S.B.W. Office Bearers 1973.
The following office-bearers and committee members were elected at the S.B.W. Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday, 14th March, 1973:
|Bill Burke*, Dot Butler*
|Adrienne Shilling*, Jan Studdert*, Roger Gowing*, Barry Wallace*
|Wilf Hilder*, Heather White, Rosemary Edmonds*, Don Finch
|Substitution Federation Delegates
|Spiro Ketas, Evelyn Walker
|Magazine Business Manager
|Keeper of Maps & Equipment Hire
|Roger Gowing, Ray Carter, Peter Chorley
|Search & Rescue Contacts
|Elsie Bruggy Don Finch, Christa Younger
|Heather White, Bill Burke, Gordon Redmond
|Management Committee “Coolana” Kangaroo Valley property
|Dot Butler, Owen Marks, Spiro Ketas, George Grey, Bill Gillam
* Indicates members of the Committee.
Two assistant treasurers were appointed: Rosemary Edmunds and Gladys Roberts.
At the Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday, 14th March, 1973, the following Constitutional Amendment was proposed by Mr. Spiro Ketas, seconded by Mr. Don Finch:
Section 14, Amendments to Constitution, paragraph (a), that the following words be deleted, “except by a three-quarters majority” and replaced by the words, “except by a majority vote”.
In the debate which followed, an amendment to the motion was moved by Mr. Jim Brown, seconded by Mr. Phil Butt, that the words “except by a majority vote” be altered to: “except by a three-fifths majority”. This amendment was carried, and the amended motion was then put to the meeting which carried it by more than three-quarters majority.
The Constitution now reads:-
Section 14, Amendments to Constitution, paragraph (a), “This Constitution shall not be amended except by a three-fifths majority vote at an extra-ordinary, half-yearly or annual general meeting. Fourteen days' notice in writing of such meeting, setting forth the proposed amendment in full, shall be given to each member.”
Also at the Annual General Meeting the Amount of Annual Subscription and Entrance Fee was determined as the same as the preceding year as follows:-
|Full Time Students
Members are reminded that these fees are due and payable.
Non-Active Members and other subscribers to the Magazine (apart from Full Members) are reminded that the Magazine Subscription is now due:- 12 months (including postage) $1.50
Pacific Tour - Anyone interested in accompanying John Tickell on a Polynesian Island trip starting mid-May and ending mid-June, including Tonga, Samoa, etc. estimated expense about $300. please phone 498-1782.