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)
|Spiro Ketas and Alan Round
|Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118.
In This Issue:
|The September (Half-Yearly) General Meeting
|How the Sydney Bushwalkers Began
|Myles J. Dunphy
|Joadja - Is This a Bush Walk?
|Letter from Frank Leyden in England
|A Quick Exit from the MacDonnell Ranges, Part 3
|Federation Notes - August & September
|Walks Secretary's Notes for November
|Social Secretary's Notes
|Sutherland Shire Place Names, Origins and Meanings
The September (Half-Yearly) General Meeting.
by Jim Brown.
The tally of those present at the start of business was about 40, and without any Constitutional change proposals, no other major fighting issues, and not even a Walks Secretary to give account of recent activities, a quiet Meeting seemed likely, notwithstanding the thunder, lightning and periodical heavy rain outside.
Firsts however, we had to welcome four new members, Jill Cahn, Malcolm Noble, Rod Paton and Carl Down, while another recent admission, Dianna Lynn, was not present. Nothing developed from the August minutes, and Correspondence was a singularly dreary batch, with nothing worth remarking.
The Secretary ran through the financial statements for the months of July/August, which showed an ultimate stability, because the opening balance of $851 in the working funds had appreciated very slightly to $876 at the close of August. There had, of course, been numerous inward and outward movements of money.
Rosemary Edmunds, presenting Federation notes, was at a disadvantage because of a deal of interference from Hughie's “Noises Off” Club but we seemed to hear that a locked gate had been installed on the Medlow Gap Road, following discovery of trail bike tracks on the Cox, together with an intruder carrying a rifle. Federation was also looking into a problem concerning camping in the Mount Tomah area without committing trespass.
The President called for nominations for the 1974 Re-union site, and of the two places named, Woods Creek and Macarthurs Flat, the former carried the day. At this stage there were no takers for the post of Convenor.
So to General Business and a proposal by Adrienne Shilling that Walks Programmes be produced on paper instead of expensive card. It was advanced that in the 3 months' cycle of Programmes, paper at one/third cost would be durable enough and would help keep down postage rates, which were likely to escalate in the near future: a limited number could be printed on card as collectors' pieces. Owen Marks queried what annual saving would be derived and several speakers alluded to the loss of concession postal charges. The use of the best quality absorbent paper and the desirability of not over-producing the programme (quantitatively) were mentioned, and the motion was carried.
Kath Brown mentioned the dearth of test walks on the Sept-Oct-November Walks Programme and gave details of three trips that were virtually identical with walks accepted as tests during the last couple of years. It was suggested Committee could perhaps look at these, and possibly other trips which were not marked as Tests, but were perhaps of the requisite standard. Without proceeding to a motion, it was accepted the programme would be reviewed in this regard.
It was still only 8.45 p.m., but after an appeal from the Federation Ball Committee for stronger S.B.W. support, and the usua1 catalogue of trip announcements, a very tranquil Half Yearly Meeting was brought to finality.
How The Sydney Bushwalkers Began.
Compiled from the Minutes Book of the Mountain Trails Club.
by Myles J. Dunphy - Sept. 1948.
For some years prior to 1927 the N.S.W. Tourist Bureau had directed all inquiries concerning walking tours to the HonSecretary of the Mountain Trails Club, with instructions to write direct to the inquirers. An inquirer might phrase his or her request in a few lines but the worthy secretary, having the interests of the recreation at heart, could not frame his informative answer in similar brief terms; often an adequate reply required four closely written pages and a sketch map, perhaps more. Sometimes neither acknowledgment nor thanks were received for efforts which used up a lot of precious time, and could only have been compiled by an experienced walker.
By 1926 this work had become a rather onerous duty for one person, but as the inquiries were addressed to the club the matter was discussed by members from time to time, in an attempt to discover how best to handle the snowballing situation in a helpful and not discouraging manner. One good result which ensued was that some of the inquiring walkers were invited to M.T.C. meetings to take part in discussions; a few were invited to become members and did so. A fair proportion of the inquiries were from women walkers; none of those was invited,to the club but their needs were just as important as those of the men.
In the meantime certain correspondence had appeared in “The Sun” newspaper relative to the matter, as follows:
(1) Walking Trips (“The Sun” 2/8/27). Mr. J. Debert to walking enthusiasts:
“I should like to see in Sydney a “Hikers” Club, where “hikers” could meet and discuss routes, places of interest, etc. and so fill a 1ong-fe1t want for those who go on walking trips. Many walkers, no doubt, prefer to go with their own friends, or even alone, rather than be bothered with organising trips; but their information would be valuable to others, and so I would suggest a free and easy meeting-place for all those who “hit the trail”. Organised trips could be arranged for those who wished, and no doubt the scheme would be one of mutual benefit. The club should, naturally, be open to lady members, for one sees as many of the fair sex on the trail as men.”
(2) Hiking (“The Sun” 4/8/23). Miss jess Scott writes:
“I and several girl friends read with considerable interest the letter of Mr. J. Debert advocating the formation of a “Hiking”, club. With the approach of spring the beauties of the countryside seem to lift their voices appealingly to the “hiker”, calling him to view their unadorned splendour. With some friends I periodically go out on walking tours, and find it a very healthful and interesting pastime. It is one which, were it easier to get information re routes and conveniences for camping, would be unsurpassed.”
(3) Walking Tours (The Sun, 5/8/27). Mr. Myles Dunphy (Secretary, Mountain Trails Club) writes:
“The Mountain Trails Club of N.S.W. has specialised in walking and camping tours, and the preservation of native fauna and flora and beauty spots, for the past 14 years. Any interested visitors are welcome at the meetings held second Friday every month, 7.30 p.m., at Room 3, N.S.W. Sports Club Building, side entrance, 10 Hunter Street, Sydney. The club is an amateur exploring one; its members preferring rough country right away from settlement, and for that reason membership is by invitation only, and ladies are not eligible for membership, although on some easier trips they have been included in the parties, carrying their own packs, notably to Barrington Tops, Bulga and Colboyd Plateaux, Burragorang Valley, Yarrowitch, etc. Any information as to known routes and kit will be gladly given.”
The immediate result of these letters was that several men visitors called at the next three M.T.C. meetings and went on walks with the club.
It became plain to the Trailers that the club should do something to help the unorganized male walkers without having to break its constitution. The question was: how far could the process of absorption be carried without changing the club's unique character. Its members would not damage their bush brotherhood.
A special meeting was called for 21st October, 1927. The motion:- “That the club create probationary members” was argued at length, with the result that probationary membership was thought to be unsatisfactory. Members were in a quandary; they were animated by the desire to do something for the unattached walkers who expected assistance, but they could not admit ladies to membership, or any men who lacked the trailer instinct and bushmanship.
It was decided a better plan would be to form a separate walking club, distinct from the M.T.C., having its own management, but by name or symbol to show it was formed under the auspices of the M.T.C. It was agreed that the M.T.C. could not do less than render a public service by forming a new walking club, with an easy constitution and easy conditions of membership, with the definite object of being a recreational walkers' club, purely and simply, and open to members of both sexes. Some members of the M.T.C. would be pleased to belong to such a free club.
Alan P. Rigby moved that “a new walking club be formed here and now”. The motion was seconded by L. Roy Davies and carried unanimously, the members present being M.L. Berry (chairman), L.R. Davies, A.J. Crandon, A.P. Rigby, B.A. Dickson, J. Gillespie, H.G. Peatfield, and M.J. Dunphy (Hon. Sec.). It was resolved that three absent members who had written the Secretary in support of the matter be deemed members of the new club. They were:- R.D. Rudder, L. Pura and F. McKenzie - in all eleven members.
Thereupon the M.T.C. meeting was declared closed by the chairman and the first meeting of the new walking club was declared open (21st October, 1927). A.P. Rigby was requested to act as chairman and M.J. Dunphy was appointed acting secretary. On the suggestion of M.J. Dunphy the name of the new club tentatively was declared to be “The Waratah Walking Club”, because of the M.T.C. badge emblem and the affiliation or association with the M.T.C. considered desirable.
The objects and Constitution of the new club were drawn up immediately, the date of next meeting decided, and it was arranged that notice of meeting should be inserted in “The Sun” newspaper.
Meeting No. 2. The press notice for this meeting read as follows:-
(4) New Walking Club. (“The Sun”, 5/11/27).
The Secretary of the Mountain Trails Club, N.S.W. (Mr. Myles J. Dunphy) writes:-
“It should be a matter of interest to all recreation walkers in the State, that primarily through previous correspondence in “The Sun”, a new walking club was recently formed, under the auspices of the M.T.C., and affiliated with it. This action should fill a long-felt want. Membership is open to all walking enthusiasts of either sex over the age of 16 years.
“All interested are invited to attend the next meeting, to be held Friday, November 11, at 7.30 p.m., Room 3, side entrance, N.S.W. Sports Club Building, 10 Hunter Street, when the constitution will be reviewed, the personnel listed, and further tours arranged.”
No meeting of the M.T.C. was held on 11th November. This allowed the interested M.T.C. members to attend this second meeting of “The Waratah Walking Club”. Many visitors turned up, including a number of ladies. Mr. Eric A. Dickson was elected acting chairman. Mr. Charles G. Kilpatrick was elected hon. secretary. The meeting discussed the objects, constitution and conditions of membership, the club's name, and annual subscription. A committee was elected to draw up a programme of a few walks. The club was not yet named “The Sydney Bush Walkers”.
Meeting No. 3 - held on 8th December, 1927.
As before, this meeting was held in the green-painted Long ROOM on the first floor of N.S.W. Sports Club Building, 10 Hunter Street, Sydney. Thirty-eight or more persons attended. At this meeting the name “The Bush Walkers” was chosen, then altered to “The Sydney Bush Walkers” as recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
Well, that is the way it began. R.D. Rudder and other M.T.C. members for a while were in favour of establishing a branch club of the M.T.C. From the club's point of view this idea at first appeared sound, but the autonomous club idea won out. The main idea was to start the new club off in the right direction, with the physical pleasure of walking controlled by an ideology wherein appreciation of outdoors, mutual aid, sociability, and the preservation of wildlife, flora, and the natural beauty of the country were all combined.
It is not generally realized that the Objects of the Sydney Bush Walkers are a simplified version of the Trailers' Code. As it happened they fell into good hands, and through the S.B.W. and the N.S.W. Federation of Bush Walking Clubs the whole bushwalking movement has been more or less modelled on the same Australian bushland culture.
Lightweight bushwalking and camping gear.
H Frame Packs - The Mountaineer De-Luxe.
This capacious pack can comfortably carry 70 lbs or more. The bag is made from tough lightweight terylene/cotton, proofed fabric with special P.V.C. reinforced base. Bag size 20” x 17“ x 9” and has proofed nylon extension throat complete with double draw cord fOr easy positive closure. The large protective flap has full sized zip pocket of waterproof nylon. It has liberal sized outside pocket. The whole bag is quickly and easily detached from the frame to form a 3' sleeping bag cover for cold, wet conditions. The frame is specially designed for comfortable load carrying with complete nylon web back harness and chrome tanned leather shoulder straps and three inch breeching strap for long hard wear. Weight 6 lbs.
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. Has 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 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.
Joadja - Is This a Bush Walk?
by Marion Lloyd.
There were may cars and people gathered in a large paddock on a beautiful day in the valley of Joadja.
I had asked fellow bushwalkers to meet in this paddock, at 11 a.m. sharp, no earlier, as the leader had had a late night, and did not feel up to an early start. I thought they would be easy to find, because I thought they would be the only bods there. But no! It seemed just everyone had taken advantage of the near spring weather. First of all, we were caught in a mild traffic jam to get into the place and had to pay 60 cents each at the gate. We did not know that the owners had opened up the Joadja ruins as a tourist attraction and this enterprising family are trying to promote it. Then we had to find where the S.B.W.s had herded together. This wasn't too difficult as instinct in this species attracted them to one pocket of the paddock.
It was difficult to do a count to know exactly who had arrived and who had not. Some were so taken with the place that they had gone on a pre-exploratory ramble. The situation was complicated further by some disappearing secretively or wandering to another corner of the paddock for the “view”. This presented itself in the form of a trestle table, glasses on the top and kegs of beer underneath. Nearby was a large Bar-B-Q fireplace and at one end was a large urn of hot water. The property owners had had a party the night before to celebrate paying off the last mortgage on their property and were extending their celebration to all visitors to Joadja for that day only in the form of free unlimited beer.
After waiting half an hour for late arrivals, for those to finish morning tea, and others to return from their ramblings, it was decided to regroup near the grog stand. Here we all had a “tiddler” which put us into a jovial mood to introduce each other in traditional S.B.W. style and to commence our stroll. I think there were about 25 participants.
First stop was the school house which was in ruins and looked a bit small although in the 1890s there were up to 40 kids attending it. Behind the school was a large man-made well about 10 feet in diameter and about 15 feet deep. It contained little water but the most disturbing aspect about the well was that it had no safety cover over it. Therefore it was a dangerous trap, especially for young children, as one could walk straight into it; virtually impossible to get out and cries of help would possibly go unheard. A couple of members put long poles over the aperture as an indication of its presence and later informed the owners pointing out the possibility of a fatality.
We crossed the footfall field and Gully Creek to observe the cemetry. In 1890 Joadja's population had reached the 1000 mark. “Nearly all the employees in the little locked in valley are Scotchmen. They were brought out direct to this hollow in Australia and many I believe have hardly been outside it since… They seemed to have had a special aptitude for the work.”
This explains why most of the names in this delightful wee cemetry are Scottish. Like most early country cemetries, it appears there was a high infant mortality rate. The cemetry is situated on the side of a hill in a well protected wooded end of a gully with a creek passing nearby. Those who had been on my Hartley Vale trip agreed that here there was much better drainage for the deceased. One nosy person at the Hartley Vale cemetry had fiddled with a trapdoor next to a grave and pulling up the lid it was found that there were steps leading to an underground vault full of water. We didn't find anything like that at Joadja.
Then we wandered slowly back to the paddock for lunch, passing the grog stand for a “reviver”.
Lunch took the form of a Sunday School picnic. No dehyds or packed lunch but barbecue on porta gas and barbecue stands. Hot liquids from a thermos. Then out came the goodies in the form of biscuits, spreads, cakes and other carbohydrate tantilizers that would make a weight watcher crack up. Of course there was the perpetual stream of people going to look at the “view” with their billycans with the excuse of getting hot water. But it is one of those incredible miracles to see hot water with a thick cold foam on top.
We had all settled down comfortably to eating, only guzzling noises interrupted conversation as we took in the beautiful weather and glorious feeling of being in such a picturesque place and enjoying the communion of friends. A young chap came round distributing free buckets of icecream. It was a fitting climax to such a nice lunch.
At about 2 p.m. I had the difficult task of budging the bludgers out of their lethargy to see the highlight of the trip - i.e. to examine the ruins of Joadja proper.
Our aftern6on stroll commenced at the School of Arts, also known as the church, which was used for dances, banquets and football celebrations. Unfortunately its roof is missing and it is in ruins like most of the buildings in the village. It always seems to me that a place in ruins commands a great deal of fascination, interest and imagination as one tries to visualise what it was like in its heyday and the people who used it. We strolled in groups down to the charming Joadja Creek and crossed it via a foot plank. Along its banks the native flora were making an effort to bloom.
There was about this hemmed in valley and meandering creek a quiet feeling of beauty and intimacy as though the world had been locked out. “The Joadja Creek traces its course from the upland heights through rugged outliers of Hawkesbury sandstone to the Wingecarribee River. The valley is almost completely surrounded by high mountains.” Another writer wrote - “This once wild valley, walled in as it were by the craggy precipices of Hawkesbury Sandstones… a picturesque scene which strikes the visitor with surprise on reaching the head of the mountainous forest-covered plateau over which he has travelled from Mittagong” (1890s).
Another writer describing the deterioration of Joadja (about 1940):- “After the closure of the mines…. the valley presents a pitiful sight of economic desolation. The influences of Nature are beginning to regain their hold, and the chimney stacks poke starkly into the azure sky, surrounded by tall graceful gums and unchecked blackberry bushes. The ornamental trees in the residential section of the village have run riot and, as if in shame, hide from worldly gaze the ruined dwellings, no longer neat and tidy but dilapidated and unkempt. Most of the buildings have weathered and are in ruins, brick walls have collapsed, and roofs blown away, but the chimney stacks still stand as solitary monuments to a lost industry. All ironwork and other materials, even the bell in the school house were salvaged and taken away, and the outward signs of industry will soon have vanished altogether. Then at last the beauteous silence of Nature will reign supreme once more.”
And so it is today, this was the scene that confronted us after we crossed the creek. We walked down through the avenue of exotic trees and dwellings that have suffered from time, weather and people. “The workmen's cottages far from being merely bark huts were built of bricks made locally and arranged in a section of the valley set apart for residential purposes. They were built by the company and let to the employees at a nominal rental of a few shillings a week. In addition to other usual facilities a post office was established in November 1878, and before long, telephone communication.”
Further along was a common known as Factory Flat. It was bounded on one side by a grove of stark poplars that had gone amok and had completely engulfed a couple of dwellings.
At the mining site proper were the ruins of the brickworks and refinery. The most prominent features of these two buildings, and indeed the only part surviving in their entirety, are the two chimney stacks. The one belonging to the brickworks looked very precarious. It was reinforced in one section by iron clamps, but this didn't look very convincing. It had fractures throughout the entire structure and the most hazardous feature was the way in which the mortar and bricks were crumbling away at its base. It seemed that it needed only a strong puff of wind to send it toppling. The “ranger” told me that during the last earthquakes the chimneys had a quite hair-raising sway. I could quite believe it. After a great discussion on the remains of structures in this vicinity we moved on to our next feature.
We came to a fenced in area which contained the liquid waste from the shale processing. Apparently it is about 8 ft. deep and is like a bog. If you fall in you can't get out and to make sure the substance is highly acid in content and so you would be eaten away to insignificance, or so I have been told. With these gruesome thoughts we moved on to the retorts. They present themselves in two parallel rows made of brick and are pigeoned-holed in appearance. Although we went into conference and debated how they were used and why this particular design for these structures, there were plenty of suggestions but no satisfactory answers.
Through this whole area there was once a railway track. The train shuttling shale from the mines to the retorts and goods to the railroad cable where goods were hauled out of the valley. Some shale was extracted by the open cut method but mostly by tunnelling. The Joadja valley is like a rabbit warren with its tunnels as they are so numerous. The one we inspected was the Cable Mine. The shale from this mine was sent down a cable rope somehow or other. It is a quick steep climb to the mine. We didn't explore it fully as the tunnels in this area are considered unsafe due to lack of maintenance and earthquake activities. Most of the “explorers” went back the way they had come.
Several others and myself took a different way down in order to explore a picturesque side gully and so escaped the Hell-fire that followed. Although most of the members had reached the bottom of the incline in time, those who were still descending were caught. The “Ranger”, who was a self-styled egoist, had appeared on the scene. He was dressed to the nines as a ranger, equipped with a “Patrol” vehicle and armed with a megaphone. He was obviously employed by the owners to patrol the ruins and as caretaker. He bellowed at the erring ones to come down immediately, that they had no right being up there, that it was out of bounds and didn't they see the “Keep out” signs, and that they were liable to a fine, blah, blah. He had a couple of cronies with him who backed him up. This was the scene I came across. The others who had escaped were sitting watching the fun with glee while their fellow members were being humiliated into subjugation.
The point was that we had not been told it was out of bounds, that there were no signs telling us to keep out or that there was a fine. “The signs were here, but some one must have stolen them.” said the Ranger. I think the Ranger was out for a bit of sport to relieve the monotony. After the performance was over, some of us had a bit of a chat with the Ranger, quite a decent fellow really, and than wandered back to the cars as it was nearly closing time (4 p.m.). Unfortunately we left the blacksmith shop, brickrow and bakery unexplored, which are quite interesting.
Back at the cars we had a pleasant afternoon tea and then headed for home. Passing the grog stand I couldn't help noticing a small congregation of members whom I assume were trying to dry out the kegs of beer. I thought this would be such a fitting gesture to such a strenuous bludge walk: I think we covered about 3 miles at the most.
If you want to see Joadja, see it in the springtime and set aside plenty of time to ramble and explore.
Additional Facts. Entrance into Joadja is 60 cents. For this price there are no toilets - at least we couldn't find any, but there ere plenty of trees, beautiful scenery and a nice place to spend the day. At least you can get in. Apparently the previous owners were most inhospitable and baled up trespassers with a gun. In those days, one had to see Joadja by devious means, such as going in the back way. The present owners appear very hospitable. Also they distribute a leaflet “Historic Joadja”.
There are many delightful secluded camping spots, but no camping is allowed in the valley. However approaching the owners and pleading persuasively would he worth the effort, particularly if you would like to spend some time there during the week. You may camp in the trams on the plateau, but some have been damaged by vandals and there are plenty of spiderwebs.
Joadja is open all days except Mondays and Tuesdays.
(All references in this article are from Royal Australian Historical Society Journal - Volume 26, P.459)
Letter From Frank Leyden In England.
Dear Hon. Lit. Editor:
I have continued many interesting trips with the Ashdown Ramblers here in Sussex where the S.B.W. are getting well known with the visits of David Ingram and Errol Sheedy and the publicity of my slides. The Crawley Ramblers, East Grinstead Photographic Society, The Legion Of Catholic Women and the Felbridge Horticultural Society to name few - all amazed amazed at the beauties of the Blue Mountains, Snowy Mountains, Victorian Alps, swimming the Kowmung and the unbelievable things bushwalkers do. The people, trees, flowers, animals and scenery of Australia are of great interest.
A recent adventure here was a trip to Snowdon in North Wales, 3,560 ft, highest mountain south of the Scottish border. The intended “Horseshoe” was in mist, so I traversed Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr, 3,300 ft on the Tryfan ridge. Lots of climbers were around. Bit cold on tops in May but no snow. This is an area of fine craggy mountains, beautiful lakes and waterfalls, not unlike Tasmania in parts. Returned by driving right down the mountainous centre of Wales on the back roads. This reminded me of parts of the Snowy and could see why New South Vales is aptly named. From Newport, South Wales, across the famous 2 1/2 mile Severn suspension bridge, the 140 miles back was under 2 hours on the M.4 Motorway. Going up I had some tricky map reading getting around London and Birmingham and through lots of large towns with a maze of roads and diversions and busy traffic going in all directions. Population pressure here is tremendous.
A recent pleasant ramble with the Club here was 15 miles, starting from Otford near Sevenoaks in the Darent Valley, North Kent. The North Downs as everywhere else here are resplendent with the colours of spring and early summer.
We've had a model season. Lots of sunshine. Few showers. Warm and pleasant. Crocuses, bluebells, daffodils, tulips, primroses - everything came in its right turn and full splendour - the woods were a picture of colour. All the blossoms - chesnut, cherry, apple - the 1i1ac, laburnums and amazing rhododendrons and azaleas. Why don't we have lots of gardens like these in Australia.
At our lunch pub at Romney Street out from Otford the garden seats are old church pews in happy retirement.
Our ramble to Herstmonceaux included inspection of the castle gardens and largest telescope in Europe. A forest of other telescopes included maintaining the world standard of time measurement. This is the “new Greenwich”, migrated south from foggy London.
Many rambles include beautiful National Trust gardens, castles and stately mansions and places of historic interest.
Finished the opera season with even more visits than last year including several of Wagner's “Ring of the Nieblungs”. Train strikes made me drive to London which is quite an experience and I got lost the usual number of times. There are quite good local operas and concerts, especially at nearby Tunbridge Wells.
I have been building up a tripod-job-collection of London-by-night slides where the floodlighting is very fine.
The best of good walking to all you happy people - you have something in abundance the rest of the world would envy if they could recognize it - blue skies, starry nights, sharp smogless horizons and the unbelievable quiet of the bush. Most people in these parts would have been born and lived their lives and never heard real silence. Very best, from
David Cotton's Bee Walk - 2nd, 3rd and 4th November 1973.
Bee Inspection on Sunday, 4th, starting at 10 a.m. sharp.
Attendance on Saturday 3rd is optional, and for those attending, activities will be arranged!
Persons coming by train should proceed to Helensburgh Station - catch the bus to Helensburgh township (two miles from the Station). Alight at the Post Office. Telephone 940-131 or 940-121 and leave a message stating how many persons require transport. The message will then by relayed and the persons waiting will be collected.
Special Note: David Cotton cannot be reached on the above telephone numbers - the message will simply be transferred by carrier pigeon!
A Quick Exit From The MacDonnell Ranges, Part 3.
by Frank Rigby.
(Readers, if any remain, may recall that last month's instalment finished with the party sheltering in a rocky cleft at about 7.30 a.m. on that rather nasty Friday. Now read on.)
The route out of the cleft lay up a small sloping valley leading to a saddle. On breasting the saddle I was very nearly blown on to my back. I knew the wind was strong but I was not prepared for the roaring blast which tried to drive me backwards - for the first time that morning we were exposed to the full force of the elements. It was, by comparison, pleasant to descend to a wide valley nestling among the mountains, a place of happy memories; in 1971 we had camped here twice and the landscape colours had been magnificent. Henry Gold's photography from this campsite in the early morning and late afternoon had produced a couple of real masterpieces, but today Henry's camera was deep inside his rucksack. I was now navigating more by my memories of small features close at hand than anything else - familiar landmarks like Brinkley Bluff and Mount Conway were, of course, completely blotted out. When those memories faded I fell back on Joan and Henry and when they too were unsure I dug out the aerial photographs and we made a calculated guess.
In this area between the Chewings and Heavitree Ranges are a number of creeks draining the south side of the Chewings Range and the western face of a high undulating mass of red rock which I have named the Hog's Back. In fact, our route followed up one of them. The water was pouring down this creek, with waterfalls and cascades in full operation. Although most bushwalkers would see nothing strange about a running creek in their favourite walking country, this was indeed a strange sight to me. I was on my fourth trip in the MacDonnells but never before had I seen anything like this - one becomes so used to the dry watercourses that it is easy to forget how they were formed.
Some three hours after our forced departure from the Stuart Pass campsite we were feeling in need of a rest but the question was, where? No one wanted to stop for a minute in the open; personally, I was ready to trade my kingdom for a dry spot where the eternal maddening wind ceased to exist. And then I remembered Gerry's Canyon (Jerrycan for short) discovered by Gerry Sinzig on our '71 trip. It was a little masterpiece, I recalled, a thing of curving and contoured beauty carved out of the rock of the Hog's Back, with pools of water at the foot of each dry “waterfall”; it would be an ideal formation to give us the shelter we so desired. Shortly then, I turned up the side creek which would lead us to it. But I should have known better - a deep pool of water fed by a gushing cascade now effectively blocked the entrance. We could actually see, further in, a large dry cavern perfectly sheltered by an overhang and curving walls but there was Buckley's chance of reaching it. We retreated in bitter disappointment; “so near and yet so far” had never had a truer ring. However, I headed for another rock gully nearby where we stopped for ten minutes in rather poor conditions.
On leaving this place and resuming our route up the main creek I became quite uncertain of our route. It was a nasty feeling. On our right we could see, dimly through the mist, a gap of which I had no recollection at all from previous trips. Had something gone wrong since Jerrycan? It's one thing walking in one direction in fine weather but quite another when walking in the opposite direction without visible landmarks. It was just then that someone murmured “Do you think we'll get out of here today?” One could sense the added anxiety at this turn of events because once you cannot pinpoint your position in weather conditions such as were upon us, you are gone! Compass courses may be alright in some places but they are useless if they lead you to mountain walls instead of passes.
Out came the photographs again while we huddled behind a rock and somehow convinced ourselves that if we were actually where we were supposed to be, then the gap should indeed be where it was. Confirmation would come soon when our creek should start to rise sharply towards the second saddle to be negotiated on the route. I thanked my lucky stars when this did come to pass and eventually we reached the saddle, again almost to be blown off. Conditions were bad enough in the valleys, infinitely worse on the medium-elevation saddles but I shuddered to think what was happening on the tops above 3,500 feet. I couldn't help thinking about my first crossing of this saddle in August 1970 when I had basked in the warm sunshine pouring from a cloudless sky, drinking in the peace and beauty of this rugged and colourful country. Today I couldn't wait to get out of it.
On descending to the connecting valley on the other side I felt that the worst was over. From now on it was all down and the route was clear-cut. Cheery things like Henry's “I remember that very rock” helped to boost morale. All the same, when I glanced back at the single file of figures they seemed a pretty grim bunch - shrouded in sombre parkas, heads bowed, cold, hungry, buffeted by the gale and faces stung by the rain. Now it was down past our '71 lunch spot where a mere trickle of water then was a full-fledged creek now; on down the valley where real waterfalls now were quite unsuspected then; on around the base of Mount Conway whose rust-red slopes disappeared almost at once into the enveloping murk.
It must have been nearly midday when Henry said suddenly: “I recognise that little canyon over there. Dot Butler and Gerry Sinzig explored it last time, remember? There might be a sheltered spot for lunch.” It was a brilliant idea. We had now been on the move for five hours with only two brief rests and without a morsel to eat since the previous evening. We literally pounced on the place and found an overhang with, joy of joys, dry wood thrown in for good measure. Soon a warm fire was going and a hot cuppa was welcomed seven times over. Whoever heard of porridge for lunch? Normally I couldn't stomach the idea, let alone the reality, but that plate of hot porridge, milk and brown sugar seemed more delectable than any meal prepared by a prize chef.
With spirits now lifted somewhat, we debated whether we would “chicken” and try to reach The Alice that day or whether we would camp somewhere in the hope of better weather. Not surprisingly the chickens won the debate and we set out on the final six miles to the Jay Creek Aboriginal Settlement. The weather had improved a bit, the going was now easy and at about 4 p.m. we walked (or rather, waded Jay Creek) into the Settlement, surely to the surprise of the aborigines although they didn't show it. I thought the Superintendent's question if we had a permit to enter the Reserve a trifle inappropriate under the circumstances; on the other hand, he gave us the glad tidings that a bus was due in an hour and would transport us to the fleshpots of Alice Springs for a small charge. How lucky can you get? Perhaps though, this time we had earned our luck…
Sometime after 8 p.m. on that same black Friday all seven of us sat down in the plush dining room of the Oasis Motel. I hardly recognised my companions of the thirteen day trek in the wilds - was that really Heather over there looking all clean and pretty? No campground for us that night! We were now living in the unaccustomed luxury of heated motel rooms with their glorious hot showers, clean sheets, etc. etc. Wine, entrees, great sizzling steaks and luscious desserts were ordered and consumed one after the other. The wilderness is incomparable but just occasionally civilisation seems all worthwhile - perhaps it is the sudden contrasts that makes one appreciate both almost at the same time. The other diners in that restaurant, leading their orthodox town or tourist lives, could not have remotely guessed what had befallen these seven in their midst during the past night and day. Now satiated with all home comforts, I could scarcely believe it myself.
We had learned one or two things since hitting town. Alice Springs had been drenched with more than 3 inches of rain in 24 hours (the 24 hours). With only half the month gone, it was already the wettest June on record and the Todd River was flowing through town for the first time in 15 months.
“In any two week period… etc. etc.”. I will never live it down.
But I'm going back one day to the MacDonnell Ranges. I will arrange things so that 3 inches of rain falls just one or two weeks before I get there and when I'm rambling through the flowered valleys and the freshly watered gorges, the sun will shine down on me every day.
Federation Notes For August & September.
by Rosemary Edmonds.
The Federation has had a letter from the Metropolitan Water S. & D. Board warning that the issue of permits to walkers using the catchment areas was to be tightened. This was because some walkers had been lost on their property and they were concerned about having to use their own staff to carry out searches. A letter is to be written reassuring them that members of all affiliated clubs had to pass tests in map-reading etc. before being allowed to lead parties, and also indicating the existence of a competent well-equipped search and rescue organization.
A representative who had been walking in the National Park in the Jenolan - Harry's River area reported abuse and complaints by a Mr. Duggan who owns and leases property in the area. While there could be some sympathy for Mr. Duggan's views, walkers are assured that they have every right to use all roads and land within 100 feet of the river banks.
Enquiries are proceeding concerning tracks being made and widened in the Wild Dog ranges by Carlons for horse riding. As far as the actual track widening goes, damage appears to be minimal.
There has been some discussion over a report that the N.P.A. is favouring controlled burning in certain areas to prevent large scale fires. This is apparently approved of by the C.S.I.R.O. The opinions of all clubs have to be sought before any kind of policy can be arrived at.
A letter is being written to the Minister of Lands protesting against the siting of a sewage pipeline through Boudi National Park. The protest is being made in the form of a request for information from the Minister on what was being done about altering the siting.
No signs of damage to Carlons chains can be found by two Federation delegates who have recently visited the site, so it is assumed that earlier reports about vandalism were false.
The route for the Wallerawang-Minto power line has been surveyed and work is expected to start in March 1974.
It was mentioned at the August meeting that the road to Medlow Gap was to be gated and locked, and as a result a representative is investigating rights of access and ownership. Apparently a man with a rifle had been seen on the Kowmung, and illegal fishermen and trail bike tracks had been noticed along the Cox. These incidents could be connected with the locked gate.
The Lake Pedder Action Committee is hoping to raise $10,000 to help its efforts to save Lake Pedder. A campaign held recently in Canberra directed at a Labour Party Caucus and the press showed definite support from some Labour Members for a moritorium.
Enquiries are proceeding about access to the Budawangs from Sassafras through the Tianjara Firing Range. No further developments.
Federation was unable to get involved in the Environmental Exhibition held from 10-15th September in the Town Hall due to lack of volunteers.
The Newcastle Y.M.C.A. has now become the Newcastle Ramblers and is no longer affiliated with the Y.M.C.A.
The Rucksack Club has been disbanded after a long life.
A new song book has been produced by the Kameruka Club and can be bought at Paddy Pallin's for $1.00.
Walks Secretary's Notes For November.
by Wilf Hilder.
|2, 3, 4
|Train transport and daylight saving on this Grose River trip with return tickets to Falconbridge. Uncle Frank Taeker leads this great spring walk down the rugged banks of Linden Creek to the Grose and along the river to Wentworth Creek Junction. A steep climb to the Grose Road with magnificent views is a rewarding exercise. If the weather is warm there are numerous big pools along the streams for a swim.
|2, 3, 4
|Base camp at Darke's Forest near David Cotton's Bee Farm, with a singalong campfire on Saturday night. Bee inspection 10 a.m. (24.00 hrs Greenwich Mean Time) Sunday and of course the general factotum (pardon) organiser is David Cotton.
|Joe Marton cracks the whip gently on this Sunday canter down the coast from Bundeena to Otford, a most scenic walk indeed. (This walk has now been approved by Committee as ++ - harder than Test Walk.) Time for a quick swim at lunch, weather permitting. Make a note of the train time 7.47 a.m. and remember single ticket to Cronulla and single ticket from Otford.
|Jim Brown's also heading down south - Coalcliff in fact, with a great scenic trip around the Illawarra Sandstone escarpment. Tracks are scarce in this area but the scrub is reasonable. Train transport - return tickets to Coalcliff.
|9, 10, 11
|Mike Short is Nattai bound this weekend. After the scenic climb of Jellore and Russells Needle with its sawtooth ridge, it's fairly straightforward to the Nattai River and its grassy banks for a campsite. Some rockhopping around beautiful pools in Rocky Waterholes Creek to the easy scramble out of the creek. Train transport, return tickets to Mittagong.
|An easy Saturday - Sunday stroll to Little Marley from Bundeena with Bill Hall carrying the S.B.W. colours. Tracks all the way with the cool foaming South Pacific breakers thundering on the beaches. What are you waiting for - the 12.50 p.m. electric train? Special excursion tickets to Cronulla.
|16, 17, 18
|The Castle from Clyde River - this popular trip is being led by Jim Vatiliotis. Timber trails along the Clyde with a little scrub to Darri Pass. Patches of thick scrub to be found on the tops but most can be avoided. Fabulous campsite in Monolith Valley - with superb views from Meekins Pass (an exposed scramble). Please book early.
|Early afternoon train on this easy day and a half trip to Era led by Roger Gowing. Swimming, surfing and sunbaking in that order, from the traditional campsite at Era. Ideal camping walk for beginners. Special excursion tickets to Lilyvale.
|Sam Hinde is Era bound too - but he's approaching it from Otford and via that unforgetable beach that made Myles Dunphy famous - Burning Palms - pretty hot stuff you could say. Tracks all the way to Garie Beach and bus back to Waterfall. Special excursion tickets to Otford.
|23, 24, 25
|A test walk (not marked on programme, but now approved by Committee) led by Bill Bourke down Little River and up Galong Creek. The historic Six Foot Track takes you from Megalong across the Cox and over to Little River. Some rock hopping down the creek to a bridle track and Old Man Cox again. Some tricky scrambling up Galong Creek in the middle section, but swimming pools laid on. Book early for this test walk.
|Burning Palms again on this medium trip led by Kath Brown. Tracks all the way to this popular oasis. Train transport - daylight saving time - with special excursion tickets to Otford.
Altho' the Walks Secretary's proposal for a two-monthly programme was defeated by a narrow margin it doesn't mean he has forgotten that we need more walks for the next programme December, January, February (Summer).
For those who think there aren't enough test walks on the programme - ask yourself an easy question - when did I last lead a test walk for the club?
Social Secretary's Notes.
by Elaine Brown.
Members' Slide Night - 31st October. Members are asked to bring along a few slides (not more than 12). Bring along your recent holiday slides or slides of bushwalkers and bush walking.
Don't forgot the 21st November, Frank Taeker's showing of slides on New Guinea. As Frank has proved he is one of the best photographers in the Club at the recent competition it would be a pity to miss out.
On the 28th November we are having baby photo guessing competition, now everyone dig out a photo of yourself as a baby or if you haven't one, a photo of yourself in your younger days, we need everyone's cooperation to make the night a successful one. A prize is to be awarded to the member who can guess the most. I would like photos handed to me as soon as possible, the earlier the better. The second part of the night will be devoted to games so come and please join in.
Sutherland Shire Place Names, Origins and Meanings.
(by courtesy of Sutherland Shire Council)
|This area was surveyed by George Edward Thickness-Touchet, 21st Baron Audley, in 1863-4 where he set up a semi-permanent camp.
|Named by Captain Cook. Originally “Sting-ray Harbour” or “Stingrays Bay”, later “Botanist Bay” and finally “Botany Bay” because of numerous new plants found there by Sir Joseph Banks.
|Aboriginal meaning “noise like thunder”.
|Aboriginal word referring to the paddy-melon wallaby. Caringbah was originally called “Highfield” but the name was changed with the opening of the Post Office in 1912.
|Thought to be a European variation of the aboriginal word - “Kurranulla” - place of pink shells.
|Aboriginal meaning “sleepy”.
|Named after King George III probably by Governor Phillip.
|Aboriginal - “a giant lily” - believed to have been named by W.A.B. Greaves, a government surveyor in 1855, after the tall red flowered native lily.
|The village was originally called Bottle Forest. It was surveyed in 1842 and is now Heathcote East. The Parish was ca11ed Heathcote in 1835 by Surveyor General Mitchell after one of two fellow officers who served with him in the Peninsular Wars.
|Royal National Park
|Founded by Sir John Robertson, Premier of N.S.W. in 1879 as “The National Park”, 18,000 acres were set aside as public reserve. The term “royal” was adopted during the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Sydney in 1954.
|Sutherland Railway Station was opened 26th December, 1885, possibly named after the Hon. J. Sutherland, Minister for Works 1860-1872, who fought for the extension of the railway line across George's River. The township took its name from the railway station.
|Derives its name from the waterfalls near the railway station.