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 Rooms on Wednesday evenings after 7.30 p.m.
Enquiries regarding the Club - Mrs. Marcia Shappert, Tel. 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 August General Meeting
|Down 'Round Cookbundoon (Part 2)
|Social Secretary's Notes
|A Quick Exit from the MacDonnell Ranges (Part 2)
|Austria and Switzerland
|Lake Callabonna via The North West
|Walks Secretary's Notes - October
|Saturday Night Barbecue - 27th October
The August General Meeting.
by Adrienne Shilling.
A horde of people packed the left-hand back row of the hall, and the meeting of 8th August, 1973, began at 8.10 p.m.
Three new members were welcomed - Brenda Watson, Ruth Whittle and Chris Kirkpatrick. Another, Jill Cahn, was named but not present.
The minutes of the July meeting were read and not disputed. There was little correspondence either in or out and it was dealt with very quickly.
There was no Social Report, due to Elaine Brown's absence on holidays, and no Treasurer's report because of Marcia Shappert's absence (the birth of her baby daughter being the excuse). Wilf Hilder was unable to be present, due to a boss with appendicitis, a child with measles, and a broken crank shaft. Poor Wilf. There was, therefore, no Walks Report (shame!).
A very short Federation report was delivered by Rosemary Edmunds - two points worthy of special note: firstly, Federation fees are rising due to increased costs of postage and telephone calls; secondly, bush walkers wishing to use the Sassafras access road to the Budawangs will be able to do so, provided they contact the Army's Liaison Officer (soon to be appointed) beforehand. Regarding the Wog-Wog entrance, bushwalkers will be permitted to use the private access road, provided they sign the visitors' book kept in the owner's shed. (For more detailed Federation notes, see the August issue of the magazine, page 14).
Under the heading of general business, Dot Butler told the scarifying tale of naturists (nudists) tangling with the lantana and privet - or was it the lantana tangling with the naturists' privets? - on the Natural Areas Limited land at Dee Why on 6th and 7th August during an eradication of underbrush.
Geoff Mattingley reported that the new owner of Coates' farm, Therese Plane, has erected two large notices at the entrances to her property, warning trespassers of the dire consequences of entering her farm. However, she says that bushwalkers are most welcome to enter the property.
And that was it, folks! At the incredible time of 8.31 p.m., the meeting closed.
Down 'Round Cookbundoon (Part 2).
by Jim Brown.
In December's magazine I gave a more or less faithful account of a walk along a short stage of the Middle Wollondilly, in the vicinity of Canyonleigh and a little way upstream from the junction of the Cookbundoon River. This brought forward a note from Kath Mackay over in Westralia which mentioned some walking done in the same locality a good many years ago and spun the following story to account for the place name Cookbundoon -
It seems that on an early exploratory trip under the personal patronage of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, the party camped on the heights south west of Berrima and some made a reconnaissance over towards the Bundanoon area. On return they asked the base camp lackeys if they had done anything about inspecting the western (Wollondilly) flank of the ridge. “Nay”, said the camp supervisor, “but th' cook b'n doon”. Frankly, I don't believe this tale, but its worth repeating.
Anyway, June saw me having another fling and hopeful of covering the whole leg of the river from The Hammocks, where I'd pulled out before, down to the Wingecarribee Junction about 12-13 miles in all. Well, I got nowhere near doing it - and here's why -
On Saturday morning I drove out along the Tugalong Road, and about four miles from the Canyonleigh Road Junction turned left on to the Nandi Road. Within a couple of miles this deteriorated and became very scoured out on a moderate grade, so I parked and set out on foot to enter the Wollondilly valley somewhere near “The Hammocks”. By taking a side trail towards a property named “Wollandi” (a mixture of Wollondilly and Nandi?) and then veering right, I came to a rough bulldozed trail that took me right down to the river, only half a mile or so below my previous point of exit.
The going downstream was fair for perhaps a mile: the flats were very rocky and footing nowhere smooth as it is on, say, the Cox. However the river then swung into a short, quite impressive granite gorge a couple of hundred feet deep. I got through practically at river level, first on the west bank, switching to the east side for the last couple of hundred yards.
Then quite pleasant going, but mostly rockhopping, for a couple of hours, when I found I was entering the big S bend approaching Cookbundoon Junction. There were a couple of quite pleasant grassed flats along this stage and once even a fence up on the steep hillside above. The last mile to Cookbundoon Junction was rocky and rather slow and took most of an hour, and it was almost four o'clock when I came opposite the outflow of Cookbundoon.
Here it is the Wollondilly really goes wild for a distance. It's a regular ravine, with granite boulders as big as houses, and the river cascading green in leaps several feet in height through slots between the granite bars. Suffice to say, the next mile swallowed up almost an hour: I was on the east bank, and I fancy the other side would have been easier, but don't take that as a certainty if you go there.
Anyway the light was failing when I came to the first campable places near the creek junction at map reference Mittagong 063440, so I called it a day, with barely 5 1/2 miles of river covered in an elapsed time of six hours. Next morning, and a few yards downstream at the creek junction, I found a large part of the river flat covered up to three or four feet in depth with timber carried down in past floods.
Next morning, also, I decided to climb out of the valley. Although the going seemed to be getting a bit easier, I was getting further away from the car and every side creek from the east meant another gully to be headed up on the ridge top. There was also a smell of rain in the too mild wind out of the north west, while it was abundantly clear that it would take more time than I had to get down to the Wingecarribee Junction.
Having once scaled the ridge it proved easy walking across paddocks to the car, and in fact I was back to it by 11.0 a.m. En route I noticed that a power transmission line has been carried right across the Wollondilly valley slung from steel towers situated about 1,000 foot above the river, just a little downstream from my point of exit.
This leaves some 7 or 8 miles yet to do to complete the walk along the Middle Wollondilly. I fancy it will be easier than the second leg, reported above, as the 'dilly dropped about 400 feet in the 5 1/2 miles I covered, while it loses only another 200 feet or so down to the Wingecarribee. However, I'm beginning to realise why this part of the Wo1londi1ly is seldom “done” by walkers - and at the same time to be amazed that such an intriguing bit of country isn't given more attention, - but only at times when the river is low, of course!
Social Secretary's Notes.
by Elaine Brown.
On the 26th September two very interesting films are to be shown on Bees and their habits. David Cotton recommended these films from the Australian Honey Board.
On the 17th October, Mouldy Harrison is to give his slide showing on “Gardens Around the World” which should be a most interesting evening, and on 24th October, a talk with slides will be given by Frank Rigby and Henry Gold on “Bushwalking in the MacDonnell Ranges”, a fascinating part of Australia which they have visited several times.
The Slide Competition between members held on 29th August proved very interesting. It was judged by Mr. Don McKenzie, President of Warringah Camera Club, he commented on the high standard. The best slides entered were by Frank Taeker and Jim Brown.
A Quick Exit From The MacDonnell Ranges, Part 2.
by Frank Rigby. (Readers may remember how we finished up last month in the predawn gloom at Stuart Pass in the Chewings Range: “At 6.15 a.m., a mere thirty minutes after I had been up myself, Don woke us suddenly. There was no mistaking the note of alarm in his voice - 'The river's rising like hell and its now only a few feet from your tent'.” Now read on.)
Even in such panic situations, when one awakens from deep sleep, it takes a minute or two to sort out the dreams and the reality. When my mind first began to grasp the idea that this was no dream, I could still hardly believe it. But then, I knew that Don doesn't play jokes at times like this. With moans and groans of despair I shot out of the tent with a torch to once again inspect this silly river that couldn't make up its mind. Sure enough the water was now lapping the second sand shelf on which the tent and the two gunyahs were pitched; although still some distance away from the tent, the difference in levels was only a matter of inches. By now a real frenzy of action had set in throughout the camp as we tried to pack up and beat the menace - any exhortations from the leader would have been superfluous. The darkness, drizzle and the strong wind did not exactly help matters but somehow we managed to cram what had been a full-fledged established camp into seven rucksacks - I remember snatching my groundsheet from the sand as the waters reached its edge. Later we found that Joan and I were wearing one of the other's sandshoes; my pack was a disaster area. But John was probably the worst off with most of his clothing and his sleeping bag wet from his gunyah flood of several hours earlier.
So there we stood, just after 6.30 in the first light of that drizzly dawn, seven miserable figures looking quite sorry for themselves. The joys of bushwalking!
“What's the quickest way out to Alice Springs?” asked someone in a shivery voice. I smiled inwardly but couldn't help seeing the common sense in that question under the circumstances. Of course, as leader, I had to quickly formulate a plan before we all froze on the spot. We had been due at Standley Chasm, and then The Alice, on the following day, but what was the point in hanging around the mountains in this sort of weather? As it happened we were on the right side of the river which was now a raging torrent of a depth, current and width too dangerous to cross. Were we really in Central Australia, I mused? Fortunately, I knew this part of the MacDonnells well as I had, three years previously, discovered a relatively low level route from the Standley Chasm area to this very spot and a year later I had again used the same route. I decided to try this route but towards the end make for the Jay Creek Aboriginal Settlement where we just might, with luck, got transport for the 25 miles back into town - no use heading for the Chasm as it would be deserted in this weather and in any case was sure to have a raging torrent of its own.
I put this plan to the others. I think any plan which got us moving, preferably in the direction of some form of civilisation, was welcome. Breakfast was out of the question in the conditions so we plodded off in the semi-darkness towards a cleft in a low range, the key to the lowest-level route out of Stuart Pass. Half-an-hour or so later we took a first breather in the lee of this cleft to sort ourselves out. Despite the empty stomachs and being awake for half the night, despite the tearing wind and the horizontal driving rain, it amazed me what cheer a bunch of bushwalkers could generate at such a time. Now that it was light, we looked around to see what we could see - actually, not much. Visibility was not more than perhaps half-a-mile at the best, considerably less at the worst - occasionally the massive rock-face of Brinkley Bluff loomed eerily and furtively through the scuffing cloud. Down below our river was tearing through the gap in the range in wild fashion, a gap in which, the evening before, one could not have found a drop of water to save oneself.
Naturally, my 5.45 a.m. report on the trickle of water in the river bed became highly suspect in the light of what had followed; but I was ready to swear to it on the bible if we had one, which we didn't. It was, in effect, my first experience of a flash flood. This branch of the Hugh drains a great length of the northern side of the Chewings Range before turning southwards to plunge through the Stuart Pass. Apparently the run-off resulting from the heavy rain before midnight, coming down countless watercourses, had accumulated in the main river at about the same time, causing a veritable wall of water to reach our campsite some six hours after it had fallen out of the sky. The earlier lesser flooding we experienced at midnight must have been just the run-off from the nearest mountains since it did subside fairly quickly. How easy it is to be fooled by Nature in her grimmest moods? I was glad that MacDouall Stuart himself had had no such encounter - he might never have returned to Adelaide to tell his mighty tale.
Our crude shelter was no place to linger; already we were chilling off. I was worried. Could we find the way out of this mountain maze in this hellish weather? Alternatively, could we find some worthwhile sort of natural shelter? I didn't know the answers. The day had begun but no one could predict how it would end.
(To be continued)
Lightweight bushwalking and camping gear.
Lightweight Tents For All Conditions.
All 'Paddymade' tents are made with utmost care to stand up to rigorous conditions. They are supplied with nylon cords and have overlapped doors at both ends.
The Nadgee tent, of standard green Jarpara, is similar to the famous 'Era' model, but 7'6' in length (6 inches longer than the standard 3 man tent) and with zip doors. The De-Luxe Nadgee tent offers the bonus of Stormtite Japara and sewn in nylon floor; closed on one end with vent and hood cover, sewn-in mosquito net with zip opening, and zipped door closure. 7'6“ x 5' x 4'6”.
Bunyip Rucksack. This 'shaped' rucksack is excellent for children. Useful day pack. Weight 14 ozs.
Senior Rucksack. A single pocket, shaped rucksack. Suitable for overnight camping. Weight 1 1/2 lbs
Bushman Rucksack. Have sewn-in curved bottom for extra comfort in carrying. Will hold 30 lbs. 2 pocket model 1 1/4 lbs. 3 pocket model 1 1/2 lbs.
Pioneer Rucksack is an extra large bag with four external pockets and will carry about 40 lbs of camp gear. Weight 2 1/4 lbs.
Hooded bag. Extra well filled. Very compact. Approx 3 3/4 lbs.
Super warm box quilted. Added leg room. Approx 4 1/2 lbs.
Super Light Model.
Half the weight and packed size of regular bags. 9“ x 5 1/2” dia. 2 lbs.
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.
Austria And Switzerland - Another Letter From Alan Pike.
This letter is about our adventures in Austria and Switzerland. we left Venice about 3 weeks ago, and went to Klagenfurt in Austria. Our main aim in those countries was to do some walking, so the first thing we did in Klagenfurt was to buy some boots. All the shoe shops had a fantastic variety of boots, from light walking shoes up to huge insulated things you could climb Mt Everest in.
Klagenfurt has a very nice lake nearby (the Wurtersee) and is surrounded by pine clad hills, so we set off for the Wurtersee, about 1 1/2 miles away, along a track that followed a canal, our feet feeling a little hot in the boots. We put this down to the fact that we had been wearing sandals for the last three months. As we were coming into view of the Wurtersee we noticed swans on the canal. When we stopped they became intensely interested and swam quickly to us, so we opened our biscuits and kindly fed them by hand. In doing so I dropped the map into the canal. The swans apparently thought that it was good to eat and tried to make off with it, and when we tried to retrieve it, became quite wild, hissing and pecking at us. After a bit of a struggle we got it back and the ungrateful swans made their way to the other side, to annoy a woman washing clothes. We went for a little walk up into the forest but Dot's feet were hurting so we stopped for lunch. However it turned out to be lunch for the mosquitoes, so we then made our way back to the lake and went for an afternoon ferry trip around the Wurtersee, stopping at numerous little holiday villages, which was very pleasant.
We had intended to go to Vienna, but changed our minds, mainly because it was well out of the way, and we had become tired of cities. Also Austria is very expensive and we wanted to get the best value for our money, which we considered to be in the countryside. So we caught the train to Salzburg, travelling through beautiful country, sometimes very mountainous. One station we stopped at really impressed us, that was Badgestein, quite close to Salzburg. So the first thing we did in Salzburg was to catch the next train back to Badgastein. (This train had the same ticket-collector, he looked a little puzzled to see us again). Well, Badgestein turned out to be fantastic, even in the rainy weather we had for our three days stay. First of all it's very high, about 4000 ft., and very close to Austria's highest mountain, The Grossglockner, which unfortunately we didn't see because of the weather. The whole town is built on both sides of a very steep gorge, through which runs an absolutely huge waterfall. The main street crosses the gorge at the bottom of the falls, and you really need a parka to walk across the bridge. The wind from the waterfall blows the spray with quite a force, and it's necessary to shout to be heard. It was so impressive, we'd stand on the bridge for some time each day, wondering how long it will be for the rushing water to erode away the foundations of the quite large buildings and hotels which almost overhang the river.
We were staying in a nice but not too expensive chalet type hotel. The owner and his wife were very friendly, spoke English, and told us the best walks to do in the rather bad weather we were having. There were plenty of tracks winding around the mountainside through alpine forests, but we couldn't get up to any heights. However we were really taken by the beautiful little Austrian houses built of huge pine logs and very much decorated with fancy wood carving both inside and out. Some of the farm houses up on the grasslands were quite old, but in good repair. Obviously the colder climate is not so destructive to the timber houses as at home.
Apart from its scenery, Badgestein is famous for its thermal baths. People come from far and wide to be cured of practically every illness known to man. We heard a story about one man who came here on crutches, and a week later threw them down the waterfall! So we went to the baths. It was fantastic. One indoor pool, olympic size 32°C, and two outdoor pools, one 24°C for swimming and the other a steaming 34°C for cures. It was really strange, the water was very clear and lit from underneath. We floated around as night fell, and the cold misty rain blew across the steaming water. In places there were strong jets of air blowing through the water, which gave the impression it was actually boiling. Inside, the big pool which was actually underground, was quite crowded and I'm sure the Roman baths of Pompeii or Rome wouldn't have looked any different 2000 years ago except for the lighting and the multi-coloured inflatable lounge chairs.
Well, we left Badgestein, promising our hosts to come back one winter for ski-ing, and went to St. Anton. We knew St. Anton to be about the most famous place in the world for ski-ing and so it turned out to be very nice for summer walking also. The weather fined up, became warm and sunny, so we spent three days walking over the mountainsides, gentle slopes covered with spring flowers, and very nice views. There was a cable car ascending a precipitous peak 9000 ft. which gave us fantastic views of the Alps. The ski-ing here must be fantastic. There are about 40 ski lifts, and it is possible to get a downhill run of almost 6000 ft. which could take you about 5 miles or more.
Our next stop, after much consideration, was Zermatt in Switzerland, at the foot of the Matterhorn. The reason we chose Zermatt was that it appeared on the map to have no highway near it. It was a good choice because when we arrived we found no cars allowed in Zermatt, and the only means of transport being little electric trucks or horse and carriage. We arrived at about 8 p.m., walked up the narrow winding main street and there was the Matterhorn, as clear as crystal, and bright gold in the setting sun. Its the most fantastic mountain we have over seen, almost unbelievable. A huge jagged rock, covered with a lacework of snow on its high sheer faces, and obviously huge ice cliffs on the glaciers lower down.
Well, we got the cheapest hotel in town with a river rushing by outside our window and next morning got hold of some walking maps. The streets were full of people, old and young, wearing boots and carrying rucksacks. Most of them obviously going out for little day-walks, a few equipped with ropes and ice-axes, and some with skis and stocks on their shoulders, and not far away were the mountains. A fantastic sight. There's a little cog-wheel train that climbs on out of the valley, up on to one of the main ridges, so we took advantage of it and got off at Rotboden. Here we could look straight across the valley at the Matterhorn. We walked up another 1000 ft., past the last train stop, (had a cup of coffee at the restaurant - 10,000 ft.) and started off down the side of the ridge to the glacier, the Gorner Glacier, which is made up of six glaciers that come off the four mountains, all over 12,000 ft. These mountains are the Italy-Swiss border.
On the way down we came across a large herd of ibex (or steinbock), some of them quite large with huge curving horns about 3 ft. long. We stopped dead, having heard stories of people being charged by these animals. However as we edged up closer, they were obviously quite happy with our presence and slowly moved aside. When we went below them we speeded up a bit as they were knocking rocks down the slope, then we stopped and took a few photos. They were quite tame, unlike the similar animals in New Zealand, chamois and thar, which it is impossible to get close to. Well, we got down on to the glacier and went for a little walk over the ice. We didn't have any crampons or ice-axes, so didn't get far. We came to a few crevasses and then turned back, taking a lower track back to Zermatt. We were a bit weary when we got back that night and after looking at the map, found the reason was that we had descended over 5000 ft. that afternoon. We were also a little sunburned. So next day did an easier walk, along the valley of the Zmutt Glacier which is directly under the Matterhorn. Here we could see the mountain close up, saw an avalanche come down, it looked very small in the distance but made quite a rumble. We went far enough to see another system of glaciers coming off the peaks on the western side, than headed back to Zermatt.
Well, a bit about Switzerland - it's very expensive - particularly food. A sandwich costs $1.50 Australian, a small Coca-cola 50 cents and the cheapest one-course meal we can get is $2. To cut our costs, we bought a little solid fuel stove and made cups of tea in the hotel. It's also useful on a walk of course. We supplement our meals with bread and cheese etc. bought at the supermarket. Zermatt's a funny place. The Swiss seem to be a mixture of German, French and Italian. They are not as friendly as the Austrians who are really wonderful. The two countries vary quite a lot in scenery, Switzerland seems to be more built up, whereas Austria has large areas quite uninhabited. In Switzerland there are signs of habitation in every direction.
Today we did a walk to Schwarzee, a small lake on the N.E. Ridge of the Matterhorn. There is a small stone church here which was used by Whympor and his guides when they made the first ascent of the Matterhorn in 1965. We walked along the ridge, with quite a few other people (a very popular walk this one), looking directly up at the N.E. Ridge. Unfortunately the top was in clouds. We went as far as we could till the snow got too deep then sat around on a rock, waiting for the cloud to blow away, which it did not, so we slithered down a scree slope to a little lake, right next to the Matterhorn Glacier and had lunch there. As we made our way further down into the Zmutt valley, the clouds cleared and gave us a fantastic view, so we stopped and had another lunch in the warm sunshine - then down the valley to Zermatt - a very pleasant day.
Walks Announcement - October Holiday Week-End.
Bob Younger's walk to Mt. Jenolan and Mt. Guouogang originally set down for Sept. 21-22-23 has been altered to take place over the holiday weekend, Sept. 28th to Oct. 1. For those who don't feel like tackling the big climb up and over the Gaspers Buttress, Jenolan, Queahgong, Guouogang and Nooroo Buttress, an easy alternative is a pleasant stroll down the Cox to join the tops party near Konangaroo Clearing.
Bob's phone number is 57-1158 (home). Give him a ring.
Lake Callabonna Via The North West.
by Wade Butler.
I wonder what's out there west of Bourke? I had been to the Flinders Ranges and I'd been to Bourke, but I wanted to know what was in between.
I had just gone for a medical test to qualify for a position in the Antarctic and knowing the Public Service, this would give me at least three weeks before anything happened. I pulled the old motor bike out of the garage, grabbed a few spanners, a spare tube and the usual bushwalking gear, loaded it all up and off I went. Chris could come with me as far as Narrabri where we met John and went out to the Warrumbungles for a couple of days climbing. We only had time to climb Crater Bluff and a night time ascent of the Breadknife before Chris and John had to go back.
On the way to Bourke there are a few beaut hot springs, one at Pilliga and another at Burren Junction. I soaked in these till I was almost cooked through, then on the old jalopy and through the nice cool wind on route to Bourke. I picked up an old 5-gallon drum by the roadside, as it would make a good spare tank for petrol. I filled up at Bourke and roared off into the scrub towards Wanaaring where I camped the night by the Paroo River, a nice muddy river with plenty of water at this time of the year. A small shower awoke me in the morning, threatening to muddy up my roads. Fortunately it wasn't very heavy.
Between Wanaaring and Bourke the road comes out of the scrub and into the semi-desert. There had been a fair bit of rain earlier on and the plains were covered in daisies - really beautiful yellow and white everlastings. Further on towards Tibooburra the plain becomes rocky and the daisies give way to brilliant purple pea flowers and yellow somethingorothers. These were really lovely.
By this time my five gallon drum had sprung a leak from wearing against the carrier. This was no good as the next stretch was 400 miles along rotten roads to the next petrol. I asked the local storekeeper where was the local rubbish dump. This was a really terrific rubbish dump as it extended for about a mile across the plains, with plenty of 5-gallon drums to choose from. After inspecting about 20 drums I selected the best. I padded the carrier with an old inner tube, tied the drum on, went back to Tibooburra and filled up.
I asked the local publican what the roads were like between here and the Strezlecki and he said; “Ah, you'll get through, but ask at Bollards for directions across the dunes”. I made my way through the undulating hills of that area on to the plains and out to the N.W. corner. This is where the road gets really interesting. Instead of a nice graded surface the road had become a pair of wheel ruts in the sand. I followed the dingo fence from Fort View to the Cameron Corner (this is where the New South Wales, South Australian and Queensland borders meet) - the Three Borders. I ran round and round this post, thus going from state to state in a matter of seconds. I suppose the galahs thought I must have been one of them.
From here the road is not signposted, so I rode out along the track that I thought was heading in the right direction, to Bollard's Lagoon homestead, where I was to ask for directions on the route further ahead. No motor bike had been through this area before, so they did not know whether I'd make it or not. Anyway, they gave me directions and told me to call in at Merty, their other station on the Strez1ecki track, 70 miles away.
Now the track was sand-ridge after sand-ridge, glowing a brilliant orange in the late afternoon's sun. The only vegetation was a few low shrubs and millions of the beautiful daisies. I camped the night in an old Geosurvey's bus which the geologists had dragged there on one of their excursions. The bus was well stocked with provisions and there was a windmill nearby, so this was a real oasis in the desert. After a tin of four-year-old peaches for breakfast I pushed off into the beaut sand dunes. On a motor bike, riding through this country, a very good sense of balance is required. You can't turn in the ruts and you can't accelerate or slow down quickly, so you virtually are riding a tight rope. Fortunately the sand is soft and the occasional spill is a real pleasure.
I passed a couple of station people trucking horses towards Bollards. They stopped, had a look at this strange creature, gave it directions, and headed off in their old army blitz waggon. Eventually I got to Merty, told them my story, and they radioed back to Bollards to tell them I'd made it.
The Strezlecki track was quite a highway after what I'd been through, but I had to be careful not to race into big puddles of which there were many along the track. After a couple of hours I reached Montecollina bore, which was gushing out beautiful warm water into a big pool for me to swim in. The water was brackish but drinkable. Being August the weather was quite cool, and the warm swim was quite pleasant.
Now to find Lake Callabonna, which was somewhere out there to the south east.
I went down the road 10 miles, took a compass bearing and meant to head off into the south east, but for some strange reason I kept on going too far south and not enough east, so after 20 miles of bouncing over the lumpy terrain I still hadn't found Lake Callabonna. Surely a 20 square mile lake isn't hard to find! So I headed up to the closest little hill and had a good look to the east. There I could see a faint glimmer of lake. I had just crossed a natural gas pipe line (from Moomba to Adelaide) which had a beautiful track running down it, and now it was just a couple of miles to the lake.
After churning through the soft sand I came to a beautiful spring at the edge of the lake. This is no ordinary lake; it is just a great flat expanse of dried mud, which might have water on it during a very wet season. It looked like a really great race track, so I roared off across it and back again, then headed up on the western side. I came to a point where I should have entered the lake, marked it by doing a big wheelie in the mud - then promptly got bogged. “Mud is no problem,” I thought, so I took off the front mudguard which was jammed against the front wheel, and tried again to get her moving. I got another 100 yards when the back wheel locked up. I hadn't experienced mud as sticky as this and here I was, completely bogged, 20 miles from the nearest road, which was possibly no help anyway. I scratched my head (and got splinters in my fingers!). I tried pushing with all my might, managed to get a few more feet, until eventually the engine couldn't even turn the back wheel around. I don't like littering the countryside, so I thought I had better not leave my lump of scrap iron on the lake.
After about an hour or so I had dismantled everything and there were bits of bike all over the lake. The engine was still connected to the back wheel and now it was so light I could ride it across the mud. Bit by bit I carried all the parts to the edge of the lake. I thought “Now is my chance to ride up and down the lake, chasing diprotodon bones while the bike is light and won't get stuck”. I calculated I would need one tankful plus a bit to get me to Lyndhurst and the nearest petrol. I emptied my 5-gallon drum into the tank, and it didn't even come to the top. “Ugh!” I thought, “Oh, well, thinking about it won't give me any more petrol”, so I assembled the bike and headed off on a compass bearing 30 degrees west of magnetic north. This got me to the road in about 6 miles and then down to Lyndhurst, another 170 miles, where I arrived with plenty of petrol to spare - at least enough for another 2 miles!
From there I headed down the western plain of the Flinders Ranges, skinning run-over kangaroos whenever I found a good specimen. I am going to make a beaut fur coat (I hope), if Donny Finch's tanning formula works out.
I visited a few friends in Adelaide who told me people from the Antarctic Division were chasing me all over the country. They were afraid I was dropping out!!!??? I rang them up and told them all was O.K. and to calm down, and headed north again. This time I was making for Birdsville, but unfortunately the road was turned to mud while I was heading towards Marree. Much to my dislike I had to turn back, so I thought I would turn round in a big mud puddle. I got bogged, of course, but managed to get out with a few heaves and shoves. Now it was a case of back to home, because those Antarctic people might be wanting me. I selected a route passing along as many dirt roads as possible and made it home in three days, with a beautiful tail wind all the way.
There was a telegram, fresh from the Antarctic Division in Melbourne, telling me I'd made it. Now I will be off to the cold Antarctic, quite a change from the beaut hot sand dunes of the southern Simpson Desert.
River Canoe Club of N.S.W.
The evening of September 6th was a bad one for the River Canoe Club of N.S.W., whose clubhouse on the banks of Cook's River at Tempe was gutted by fire. Lost in the blaze were the moulds in which fibreglass canoes are fashioned, but it seems probable that replacement moulds can be taken off the hulls of recently completed boats.
S.B.W. members extend sympathy to the Canoe Club in this set-back.
Walks Secretary's Notes - October.
by Wilf Hilder.
|Uncle Frank Taeker heads for Blue Gum down by Victoria Falls and along ye Grose. Tracks all the way with a lush campsite for Saturday night's camp. Silver train with return tickets to Mt. Victoria at 6.00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 18.00 hrs Military time (East. Aust. Zone) or 08.00 hrs Greenwich Mean time depending on your kind of watch.
|Wilf's Wildflower gallop (alias a test walk) thru Dharug National Park is on for young and bold. Tracks for about half the distance with glorious wildflowers and excellent Aborigine carvings as well. Private transport to Sugee Bag Creek - driving via Wiseman's Ferry and Spencer - about 50 miles each way. Book early.
|Elaine Brown leads another wildflower trip, but this one is track and trail all the way with magnificent flowers and scenery along Cowan Creek. Train transport - special excursion tickets to Mt. Kuring-gai.
|A test walk to old Cloudmaker and Ti-Willa Plateau with Jim Vatiliotis carrying the banner. Plenty of wildflowers out here come the spring. Tracks to Cloudmaker and traces of the Old Cedar Road along Gingra Creek. Magnificent views nearly all the way. Please book early.
|Alan Pike's Y-Creek epic is on again. This hard walk down the Grose from Lockleys and over Mt. Hay takes in the pick of Grose scenery with wildflowers in abundance. Tracks about one half the way.
|Carl Bock leads this hard Sunday walk thru the scenic Brisbane Water National Park and Jack Higgs new track to Mt. Scopas. As the old bush arsonist would say, wildflowers to burn on this trip. Private transport - about 50 miles each way via Peates Ferry Bridge.
|Meryl Watman is your guide on this medium wildflower walk to Uloola Falls. Tracks all the way with excellent lunch spots near Uloola Falls. Train transport - special excursion tickets to Waterfall - top value.
|The good old Nattai with Geoff Mattingley, our worthy Membership Secretary, in the lead. Some rock-hopping up Rocky Waterholes Creek, with easy scrambling along the ridge (?) leading to Russell's Needle.
|Well now it's Shoalhaven time again. Rod Peters leads this classic walk from Tolwong Mines down the Shoalhaven and up Bungonia Canyon. Fabulous scenery on this trip - bring your colour camera. Early bookings please.
|Uncle Sam Hinde is your friend on this easy wildflower ramble from Cowan to Edwards Trig. Tracks and pads most of the way. Excellent scenery. Train transport - special excursion tickets to Cowan.
|Gospers Mountain hasn't been on the programme for a year or two now - but the absolutely magnificent views from this peak are yours for the walking. Wilf is your guide on this classic hard trip. A special stop will be made to sign the visitor's book at Gordon Smith's Monument on Grassy Hill.
|Saturday morning start for Rosemary Edmonds Blue Gum Walk from Evans Lookout. Magnificent scenery and lush campsites. Tracks all the way in this lovely area. Train transport - return tickets to Blackheath.
|Uncle John Holly's Mystery medium walk is still a mystery. But I can tell you this much:- 8.30 a.m. silver train, return tickets to Wondabyne, please join LAST CARRIAGE of train (only one to fit into platform). Probably returning on 5.15 p.m. silver train to Sydney.
“My kingdom for a walk!” - he sure is keen on walking - but it won't cost you an arm or a leg or a kingdom to lead a walk for S.B.W. Just a day, maybe a weekend, spent 'neath sunny Australian skies leading a party of walkers into the wilderness. Difficult - not at all - but plenty of after-action satisfaction. Can't think of a suitable area? - perhaps Wilf can help? - the world is yours - for the walking. (Swimming is not compulsory - but desirable on summer trips).
Punch Line:- The Summer Programme (December, January and February) is only as good as the trips YOU put on.
Saturday Night Barbecue - 27th October.
On 27th October a bushwalker barbecue will be held at the home of Marion Ellis, 11 Romford Road, Epping.
Bring your own Meat and drinks (cup, plate, etc. - other foodstuffs provided.
Transport from the station will be arranged for those who come by train.
Starting at 4 - 5 p.m. and finishing ????? Come and enjoy yourselves with your bushwalker friends in beautiful Epping.
Contact Elaine Brown, Social Secretary, Tel. 93-4830 for further details.