A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalker, 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards.
Postal Address: Box 4476 G.P.O., Sydney, N.S.W., 2000.
Meetings at the Club Room on Wednesday evenings after 7.30 p.m.
Enquiries regarding Club - Mrs. Marcia Shappert, Tel.30-2028.
|Editor||Spiro Ketas, 104/10 Wylde Street, Pott's Point, 2011. Tel.357-1381 (Home)|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118.|
|The Annual General Meeting, March 1974||Jim Brown||2|
|Northern India||Helen Gray||4|
|Book Review, “The MacDonnell Ranges”||Spiro Ketas||7|
|Chronicles of Tasmania '74||Kath Stuart||9|
|Federation Report, Meeting held 19/3/74||Mike Short||16|
|Walks Secretary's Notes for May||Bob Hodgson||16|
|N.S.W. Ski Association||18|
The big business occasion of the year stirred into life smartly at 8.0 p.m., with an initial roll-up of about 50, later increasing to something over 60. Three new members, Fran Christie, Gordon Broome and Frank Roberts (later to assume a senior office on the night he was welcomed). Another newcomer to membership, Doug Carson, was not present.
February's minutes were duly signed, the President reporting on the special activity arranged for A.B.C. TV and including some very youthful walkers: and advertising that walkers would be enlisted to distribute conservation pamphlets to visitors to the Boyd Plateau - Kanangra region. Correspondence included a letter from the National Parks Service explaining the basis of the year's ban on camping at most of Burning Palms and mentioned that various regions in the Royal National Park were being given a chance to regenerate by being closed down to camping in rotation. A letter from Warwick Deacock asked our permission for a group of shoolboys to camp at Coolana under his general supervision during the May school holidays and offered a “rental” of $1.40 per head.
On the latter item two motions were put forward - one to permit the camping, which was agreed to; and second, that no fee be charged. The latter point was disputed, since the camp was presumably a “commercial enterprise” and the camping charge included in the fee charged each boy. Finally, it was resolved to accept Mr. Deacock's offer, and to request that an indemnity be given against anyone suffering injury etc. whilst camped on Coolana.
At this stage the annual business of adopting reports and financial statements were transacted, without significant comment, except a question as to where the typewriter acquired during the year had been posted in expenditure - later it appeared it was included under “Repairs”. The President declared vacant all Club Offices, and the elections followed with results already given in the March magazine. Remarkably we almost had as one of the Vice Presidents one SPIR KETAS - the more remarkable as Spiro was writing up the results on the blackboard.
Next, annual subscriptions, where the retiring Treasurer proposed an increase of annual subscriptions to $7 normal single membership, $9 married couples, and $4 for full-time students. Supported by Auditor Gordon Redmond, it was carried with only one notable dissentient - Owen Marks, who opposed the rise “on princip1e”.
Back to the day-to-day business, the monthly financial statement showed a closing balance of $737 at the end of February, and Wilf presented his account of walks matters, commencing with the weekend 15-16-17 February. Owing to the leader's ill health the Bungonia/Jerrara Creek trip was cancelled, and the weather being rather poor there were no starters for Jim Vatiliotis' prowl at Beecroft Peninsula. However 14 people went out on Joe Marton's day jaunt at Blackheath and had mainly fine weather.
The following weekend's goings included a trip into Wollongambe Creek conducted by Helen Gray, which was known to have gone but details were not available. For David Cotton's final appearance as a bee-keeper three people were around, but unhappily the bees “weren't behaving very well”. Quite a good crew went out on the orienteering day planned by Wilf Hilder and Carl Bock, spending the morning in brooding over compass readings and map study and the afternoon in a practice navigational walk.
The new programme commenced with a trip led by Alan Round on to the plateaux and creeks around Ettrema, but it was not reported how it went. David Rostron on the same dates had 8 folk on lilos down the Cox - a most successful trip, with the stream full and only about 200 yards actually walked on the river. The day walk, Keith Brown's trip to Marley, attracted 21 and went as planned.
For the second weekend of March Hans Beck had no starters to go to the Nattai - weather was abominable. Perhaps it was better up north where 8 people were on the Gloucester Tops with Christine Kirkby, only one feature of the programmed trip - Mt. Barrington - being excluded. Ron Hodgson's party of 9 went out in mist and rain, and visited the Crater across the Wollongambe, returning via part of the gorge along that stream. Finally, John Holly had 9 also on a trip from Wondabyne into the Kariong country, using a convenient overhang as shelter at lunch time.
By now we were at general business, with Les Davidson referring to the inconvenient location of the Club Rooms for people in eastern and southern suburbs, and asking that the prospect of getting a City site be re-examined. Carl Bock raised the question of the threat to the Boyd Plateau area and Gordon Redmond moved the matter be referred to the Conservation Secretary for his advice on any action desirable (carried).
There was some discussion as to the possibility that the Reunion campsite at Woods Creek may be cut off by flooded rivers (as it was not, in fact, the discussion is not significant now). Alastair Bettye asked the Club's view on the administration by the National Parks Service of the land yielded up by the Armed Services at Bantry Bay, and was assured the Club supported its tenure by the N.P. & W.L, Service.
The retiring Committee was accorded a very enthusiastic vote of thanks, and Wilf managed almost the last say in telling us the bed of the Colo River had altered a good deal since recent floodings and the road out along Culoul Range was in poor condition.
But as ever, it was the President with his invitation to Re-une who really had the final say at 9.50 p.m.
by Helen Gray.
To begin with, it looked as if all was going well for Frank and me, George and Owen, the original members of the party, still had no plane booking out of Sydney when we two boarded our direct flight to Delhi. It seemed like a pleasant diversion when we flew to Melbourne for extra fuel, but our reactions went from surprise to concern to alarm as we landed in Bangkok, then Karachi, then Tehran. (Teheran temperature -3°, Frank in his T-shirt, shorts and sandals, looked a little out of place in the winter snow.) Not to worry - a plane was waiting to take us back to Delhi. We ate our third breakfast in a row and settled back to review the starkly magnificent Iranian landscape.
Twenty-three and a half hours after leaving Sydney, we arrived at our destination.
Delhi - a maze of narrow streets and miniature buildings. Imagine Rowe Street, Sydney but with vendors and their stalls in front of every building, people lying down to sleep, or squatting to urinate; hundreds more people on the move, together with tri-shaws, taxis, buses, healthy sacred cattle and living skeletons of dogs; food stalls with unrecognisable food and equally unrecognisable smells. After nearly a day's wanderings, 90% of the time not knowing even in which direction, a man selling bananas provided us with our first meal. (We were to average one meal a day for the next few weeks, usually because our days were too full to find time for eating.)
The ceilings inside Delhi's Red Fort were a photographer's delight.
In contrast to the streets, there was the peace and beauty of the Red Fort of Delhi. Built by the Moghuls, it encloses within its massive sandstone walls, audience halls and a mosque of the most delicate white marble.
A tonga (horse-drawn carriage) ride in the evening to the railway-station provided our biggest thrill of the day. In peak-hour traffic similar to our own, and facing backwards, we were driven down a main road. No vehicle ever seems to stop, not even cross traffic. At each intersection the vehicles would weave their ways through as if playing some complicated may-pole game. Vehicles are poorly lit, if at all. That every vehicle with a horn must blow it continually seems to be the only rule of the road.
“Railway-Stations-We-Have-Slept-In” could be a story in itself, and Delhi the first chapter. Frank and I are snobs at heart, and always slept (on the floor) in 1st-Class Waiting Rooms, so we have no way of knowing if the size of the crowds, the amount of spitting and coughing, and the size of the rats, differs in 2nd or 3rd Class Rooms.
Already a day late when we arrived in Delhi, we had learned that there was a railways' strike (only one or two trains each day) and an airways strike had grounded every internal flight. (Later, we were to encounter a bus “go-slow”.)
Getting on trains proved a traumatic experience for us both. The trains would arrive already overflowing with people. On the two most crowded trains we were lucky enough to encounter a marvellous guard (the same one!) who knew what stupid, helpless Europeans we were and somehow got us inside the carriage.
No Indian in a 3rd Class carriage seems to travel without his family, bedding and pots and pans. Every available floor space and baggage rack is taken up with people. One ten-hour journey through the night saw Frank and me perched on wooden slatted benches, unable to put our feet on the floor because of sleeping people.
Later, under Owen's expert tuition, we learnt the secret of boarding buses and trains. Never try the crowded doorway - windows were made for climbing through. And don't bother about getting a foot-hold - throw your bedding down first, then immediately flop onto it.
“How-to-get-your-luggage-out-of-the-railway-cloak-room-after-losing-the -luggage-ticket” is Frank's story. Although I lost the ticket, he is the one who saw every major railway official in the city and ended up in the police station. (He may forget to mention that prior to my losing the ticket he'd asked. “How are we going to fill in the next three hours until Ur train arrives?” I at least solved that problem for us.)
Agra - The Muslims must surely have found the perfect balance between simplicity and decoration, and, for, me, symmetry can never again be unimaginative. All that I had read, every picture I had seen, did not prepare me for the beauty of the Taj Mahal.
We rode in a tri-shaw through a mile of dusty, narrow streets, with the usual decaying buildings, people, cattle, some camels, street stalls, noise. The road ended abruptly and unexpectedly at a huge wall and gateway. Stepping through that gate is the stuff that fairy-tales are made of - out of poverty and noise into a world of wealth and beauty and silence. Lawns, gardens, long pools - and the Taj. Slowly approaching, the finer details of the tomb became visible; the delicate carvings of flowers in marble on the walls, and the inlaid work in semi-precious stones.
The beauty is not all visual. Inside, there are the seemingly continuous echoes from even the softest voices, the coolness of the air, the feel of polished marble on bare feet, and the smell of incense arid flowers.
(to be continued) Illustrations also by Helen Gray.
by Spiro Ketas.
“The MacDonnell Ranges.” by Frank Rigby - Author, and Henry Gold - Photographer.
Publishers - Rigby Ltd. Price - $8.50.
In this, their first venture into the world of books, Henry Gold and Frank Rigby have succeeded in producing a travel book of a different and refreshing style. Their “emotional attachment to the MacDonell Ranges” becomes quite apparent to the reader and as a result some 100 or so really beautiful photographs and an informative and intimately descriptive text has been achieVed.
The author's and photographer's knowledge of the area is first hand. Together, and with others, they have gone “walkabout” into this arid land. They have experienced its many moods and Henry Gold's photographs MAY tempt the reader to follow their footsteps. He has expertly captured the many colours of The Centre, the varied landscapes, the rocks, the trees and wild flowers. Tribute is paid to the explorer, John McDouall Stuart, and his companions, and present day adventurers are given sound information on what to see and what to take.
Often misnamed the “Dead Heart of Australia” this book clearly assists in obliterating that myth, and demonstrates just how very much alive it is.
N.T. Park to be preserved.
Canberra, Wednesday. The Australian Government announced plans today to check the deterioration of the Ayers Rock - Mount Olga National Park in the Northern Territory, and to preserve and develop it as a tourist reserve.
Numbers of visitors to Ayers Rock and surrounding areas will be limited, and objects and sites of Aboriginal cultural significance will be protected.
Test Walk from Springwood 17/19th May.
Frank Taeker's phone number has been incorrectly shown on the walks programme. The correct number is 690-444 Ext.551 (business).
Lightweight bushwalking and camp gear.
This 'shaped' rucksack is excellent for children. Useful day pack. Weight 14ozs.
A single pocket, shaped rucksack. Suitable for overnight camping. Weight 1½lbs.
Have sewn-in curved bottom for extra comfort in carrying. Will hold 30 lbs. 2 pocket model 1¼lbs. 3 pocket model 1½lbs.
Extra large bag with four external pockets and will carry about 40lbs of camp gear. Weight 2¼lbs.
Mountaineer De Luxe
Can carry 70lbs or more. Tough lightweight teryene/cotton, proofed fabric with special P.V.C. reinforced base. 20“ x 17” x 9“ proofed nylon extension throat with double draw cord for positive closure. Flap has full sized zip pocket of waterproof nylon. Outside pocket. Bag is easily detached from the frame to form a 3' sleeping bag cover for cold, wet conditions. Weight 6lbs.
Same features as de luxe model except for P.V.C. bottom reinforcing. Weight 5¼lbs
Timber Frame Rucksack
Young people and ladies will find this pack a good one. It will carry sufficient camping equipment and food for 3 or 4 days or more. Has 3 pockets, capacity about 30lbs. Weight 4lbs.
Hooded bag. Extra well filled. Very compact. Approx 3¾lbs.
Super warm box quilted. Added leg room. Approx 4½lbs.
P.V.C. or nylon.
One, two or three men. From 2½ to 3¾lbs.
Two, three or four man. From ½ to 4½lbs.
Compasses: dry, oil filled or wrist types. Maps: Large range. Bushwalking books. Freeze dried and dehydrated foods. Stoves and lamps. Aluminium cook ware. Ground sheets. Everything for the bushwalker.
69 Liverpool St., Sydney. 26-2686, 61-7215.
by Kath Stuart.
The notes on which the chronicles are based were not at first intended as such; rather they were of a therapeutic nature for a mind grown vague with misuse/disuse (though in undertaking this I am getting more therapy than I bargained for, & style, and consequently the reader, suffers). I felt that a few well-chosen (from the associative point of view) words would do wonders for the memory. Dates were also included to keep things in roughly chronological order, but little else. Primary sources are thus often too scanty and in these cases I have had to rely on my unreliable memory, so, intending readers, be warned; the following is merely BASED on fact, or an approximation to fact. Names have not been changed as there were no innocents.
The bulk of the party was flying Sydney-Melbourne-Hobart on Saturday morning (Feb 16th). I caught the train to Melbourne and was fortunate enough to have the seat next to me vacant for the duration of the journey, which was thus bearable because I was conscious only half the time. What kept waking me up was the immovable wooden divider between the seats which necessitated all kinds of physical contortions.
Melbourne at night made a first vivid impression of Strine and enormous flashing traffic lights. Past that I can't make any comparisons, but a few Tasmanian ones are due to appear around the last instalment, should anyone have the stamina to read that far. I had hoped to catch the boat to Tasmania, but the synchronisation would have got me to the appointed meeting place (T.A.A. terminal, Hobart) either 36 hours too early (raising problems of accommodation) or 6 hours too late. I therefore arranged to fly from Melbourne. On arrival at my loading ramp at Tullamarine on Saturday morning, whom should I espy but Rosemary Edmonds, eyeing her surroundings (including myself) dispassionately; on being greeted she evinced more enthusiasm, and directed me to the rest of the party, huddled in the corner of the lounge: Bill Burke, Dot Butler, George Gray, Bill Hall, Peter Levander, Tina Matthews, Bob Hodgson, Laurie Quaken, Theo Penglis, Larry Moss, Barry Wallace, Rod Peters, Gem Gagne, Heather Finch. Spiro Ketas was off getting seat allocations or something; apparently we were all on the same flight.
After take-off the countryside dwindled to model proportions: pinky brown patchwork with a browner shade of muddy dams and milky turquoise sea. Here and there were blocs of different colour making an abrupt contrast - a black cluster of patchwork (tar pits?) and something similar in a bright, uniform vermillion. This was soon lost beneath a cloud layer, which masked the advent of Tasmania beneath us, until we began dropping and pine trees became evident in the gaps. Out we shot, over the delta, over the harbour, then spun round on one wing and skimmed over a sand-dune onto the runway. The airport, which consists of two loading and/or disembarking gates, was hopelessly overcrowded. We struggled through out to the bus terminal, where we waited for our luggage, pounced on it (I pounced on the wrong pack and had to drag it back again), loaded it into the bus for the city, struggled back inside to get bus tickets (the smart and the initiated had done this on the way out) and finally got the entire party established, although spread over two buses.
Upon arrival at the terminal in town (around 11.30?) there was a great redistribution of food, changing of clothes and attempts to remedy the unsatisfactory rescheduling of some people's return flight. A disreputable looking character sitting in the lounge of the terminal turned out to be Phil Butt, who had come down early for three weeks practice. As a result, he was given the heaviest articles of food, ending up with a seventy pound pack. Amidst this turmoil Spiro discovered that his pack hadn't been loaded onto the bus. There were frantic telephonings to the airport and promises that the pack would be there in half an hour.
A few sallies into the city were made by those posting letters or buying gymboots. In Melbourne it had been sunny, with the promise of a hot day; in Hobart the air had a crisp feel in it, like a very sunny day in the snow. Hardly anything was open and hardly anyone about in the city, though there were odd pockets of activity. On our return two weeks later we had the time to wander round at leisure and it was discovered that the change from one metropolitan division to the next was very rapid (compared to Sydney at least); there were only a few blocks of shops and offices (some buildings in this section were only a couple of storeys and even the taller ones were not very tall, nor in great proliferation) and then presto you were in suburbia, which itself was hardly extensive.
We finally left the terminal in our chartered coach at 12.30, but there were still the accommodation arrangements to be made for the two nights to be spent in Hobart on return from the wilds. We drove to the motel, Bill Burke ducked inside, and returned flaunting a 10% discount for group booking. Then we were off - for half an hour. This time it was a stop at a “modern” (red-brick) but inexplicably isolated pub for a counter lunch. Then out again to the coach, where some members felt the necessity to sleep it off and the long seat across the back was in popular demand.
Yet another stop was made: while one looked for a letter-box, another bought sketch pad and pencil and several others returned bearing grapes, pears, etc. Fortunately for the fiscal state of affairs there were no more stops within reach of “civilisation”.
For the next few hours we travelled in a southerly direction: the sun shining in the right-hand side windows caused a mass exodus in search of somewhere cooler, a disgusting waste, when you think that this was the first sunshine we Sydneyites had seen for weeks. Perhaps after living like troglodytes for so long this sudden prolonged exposure to strong sunlight was somewhat debilitating.
After traversing a succession of increasingly deteriorating roads we reached the “turn-off” to Cockle Creek: a corduroy track barely wide enough for the coach, with a large sign stating “2 ton load limit on all bridges beyond this point”. Our intrepid driver proceeded regardless, although first informing us that the coach weighed 12 tons unladen, and there was an average of fifteen people to the ton. Pack weight was not calculated. The first bridge was 10 ft. long and spanned a gully about 4 ft. deep. All piled out and walked across before the coach inched over, directed by several people. It was noted at this point that its sides tended to project beyond the sides of the bridge. The next bridge was somewhat longer (about 30 ft.) and the same distance above the water. Several people walked out to test it: two happened to step in unison and it began to rock and sway gently in the breeze, while we peered between the occasional crushed planks to the beercans in the murky depths below. Those who have been following the text closely will realise that it was at this stage we commenced our journey on foot.
After a short walk along a road drenched with late afternoon sun, hedged by blackberry bushes, and with occasional glimpses of the sea a few yards away through the gums on our left, we reached Twin Creek beach, setting up camp at the further creek: there was one at each extremity of the beach. Readers can draw their own conclusions about the significance or otherwise of the crude galvanised iron sign, emblazoned “Camp Run-a-muck”, which was found nailed to a jacaranda growing to one side.
The beach was separated from the road for most of its length by a narrow strip of bushes - mainly blackberry and swordgrass. While the sun was out the combination of white sand and crystal clear water was too much to resist, and a few people swam, despite the coldness of the water and the adverse asides of the sour-grapists about getting oneself covered in itchy salt.
By this time tents were established, and upon Heather's instigation - “Can we choose who we sleep with?” - tent partners were chosen rather than allocated. Perhaps Heather was feeling anti-social that night, but she slept out, down on the sand under the stars. Dot made a comfortable bed on an enormous pile of ferns under a second jacaranda, but everyone else played safe and slept in a tent.
The evening was further notable in that Bob manufactured himself a pair of thongs out of kelp (seaweed with long, flat, wide “leaves”) with soles about ¼” thick; everyone participated in cooking by doing their own steaks (methods ranged from frying in garlic sauce to immersion in hot ashes); and I went to bed early. The usual hard core of night owls - there are some on every trip - stayed up till the usual all hours, but not having been one of them I was sleeping lightly enough, at 3 a.m., to wake up when the full moon rose above the trees and shone directly into my face with brightness rivalling that of a search light. I decided sleep was hopeless and spent a chilly half-hour wandering up and down the beach, watching phosphorescent waves and twinkling stars and the lighthouse light in the right hand distance, before returning to my nice, warm sleeping bag to listen to the cockies in the tree next door stealthily but ceaselessly cracking nuts. The moon must have woken them up too, and like General Bullmoose they had no consideration for anyone who wanted to sleep.
The next day (Sunday 17th) there was time for a fairly leisurely breakfast and a swim (optional) before setting off for Cockle Creek, plucking blackberries from bushes as we passed. Cockle Creek, “the southernmost inhabited point of Tasmania”, was the last “residential” area we saw before arriving at Danny King's at the end of the trip. The beach was bordered by a continuous dune, which dropped to low-lying, short-grassed ground scattered with bushes. Two family cemetry plots about four foot square, one fenced by wrought-iron railings were investigated. Deaths ranged in time from the 1830's to the 1940's and in cause predominantly drowning and war casualty with a few illnesses thrown in for good measure. This little stop considerably cheered me as it meant a chance to get packs off for those who were as yet unused to the tough pace (we averaged 5 km in per day) before the first dreaded button-grass plain of the trip (“Miss a step and you're up to your eyeballs in mud!”).
Alongside the track ran a wooden railway line and we were treated to a prolonged (several hours) definition of the difference between trams, trains, railway lines, tramlines, trains on tramlines and trams on railway lines with examples and cross-references, plus short but recurrent digressions on gauge size, the Australian railway industry of the nineteenth century in general as related to Tasmania specifically, and other such edifying snippets of information.
After a series of ridges (a series of disappointments since, over each one, I expected to see the sea, signalling the attainment of one more intermediate goal) we slid over the lip of a sand cornice and onto our first long Tasmanian beach. At the far end we stopped under a rocky overhang for lunch. Fresh water was available from a choice of two creeks. The most impressive thing about Tasmania is that it's so unpolluted: you can drink out of any stream you came to without fear of ill-effects as long as you're not downstream from sock washers or in the midst of inhabited areas.
It was another hot, sunny day and the swimming here was sampled by all. It was even more enjoyable than Twin Creek beach because the sun was right up above, the water clearer, the beach broader and much longer. There was this feeling inherent in the atmosphere of wide open spaces and total isolation; apart from us there isn't another human being for miles turn away and you're all by yourself; the “wide open spaces” are there solely for your enjoyment. This feeling became stronger as the trip progressed, when the surmounted obstacles between us and civilisation had grown more numerous, and reason couldn't protest that there was a settlement only a couple of miles and hills away.
Next stop was two beaches along: River Lagoon. Some went over the top, but most took the track round the foot of the cliffs rock-hopping on a slope of geometrically shaped (because they'd split along planes) slabs. The sun was now directly overhead and the going very hot. Heather had already developed blisters and walked barefoot the last half mile or so.
The camp spot was well back from the beach, right next to the lagoon in a forest of tall guns (E. regnens and E. obliqua according to a forester with a party going the other way). Several trees had been ring-barked; perhaps someone intends to enlarge the camping area.
That afternoon it began drizzling and the next morning (Monday 18th) was overcast, with occasional heavy showers and frequent light ones. It was decided that we remain the day, and a small but eager band waded the lagoon mouth and set off along the rocks to continue their lobster-fishing of the afternoon before, blithely promising to provide dinner. Uncle Bill Burke, the Q.M., put on the beans to soak all the same. Despite expert advice from Peter and a couple of very near misses, only one more lobster was added to the two (now rather smelly) of yesterday. Meanwhile Phil was both educational and entertaining as he asserted that the sport was “lobster-crustaceaning” rather than “lobster-fishing”. The lack of success was beginning to pall and the discussion shifted to the feasibility of swimming out to a lobster boat, which was anchored comparatively close at 100 yards, and buying some. There were no volunteers. The problem was solved when the boat came in alongside the rocks, threw one end of a rope to Dot and Peter, and the other end, attached to a heavy bag, into the sea. The booty was quickly hauled out and the contents inspected as the fishermen chugged off amid cheers of heartfelt gratitude. After this incident, most went triumphantly campwards with the spoils, to begin the gargantuan task of cooking and counting (and also to indulge in a bit of oxometry, it must be confessed).
Tuesday, 19th: left at 8 a.m. and walked 9 km. arriving Sandstone Creek in time for lunch. This was another first - the Great Mud Monster of Tasmania at last left signs of his existence: in rain forest, in ti-tree, in flat button-grass plains and swampy “everglades”. In this last gloomful section, several crocodiles were almost-sighted slithering silently into the slimy squelchemire of the track, or disappearing behind the bullrushes (swordgrass). Being as yet unused to the normal state of south-west Tasmanian tracks (responsible for the infamous “south-west Tassie wrinkled prune effect”) I began tying to avoid the mud. My ingenuity and acrobatic achievements (including swinging from tree to tree and slowing my downhill rate by pulling up swordgrass by the roots) maximised with the volume and area of mud. Speed slowed to an unsteady 2 knots, especially on the last downhill stretch where exhaustion had set in. Most of the time my gaze was fixed firmly on my own feet, but in the short intervals between downhill dashes I could see several people in front of me, descending by the same method: a spreadeagled, staggering stride to the nearest tree, which is embraced in several turns of a drunken waltz. This enables you to slow down, gauge distance, slope and obstacles to the next tree, and let go at the appropriate moment. If your tree is wide enough you just run straight into it, and improve your chances of reaching the next one by launching yourself towards it. This method of progression continues right down the hill, on an amazing combination of the anatomical extremities.
By the time I staggered into lunch camp a fire was in the making and several bodies lay about in prone positions, firmly ensconced in trance-like states of recuperation. I lapsed into my own for several minutes, then wandered dazedly down to the creek to fill a waterbag, wash shoes, socks, feet, legs and de-leech. As far as mud went, this was the dirtiest day of the trip: everyone was solidly coated in it up to mid-calf, after which it began to thin out in stages according to the height of the individual.
The track crossed the creek onto a steep slope covered for a yard or so with very short grass, then thick bushes contoured by the wind sweeping up the gully. Almost immediately it (track) disappeared over what seemed to be a cliff (on close inspection it proved merely to bear a very close resemblance), while the creek ran over a waterfall; both dropped some 20 or 30 feet to the “beach” below, only with slightly different gradients. Granite Beach was well-named; down this end it consisted entirely of small boulders, worn smooth and round by the waves, green-wet or grey-dry. Back in camp I discovered a ravenous appetite, and more people staggering in. They seemed to be hungry too. The shouts of “Here,comes the cheese!” and “Hurray for the cheese!” which greeted the arrival of George were indicative of the prevailing hysteria, though bushwalkers tend to think that kind of thing funny even on “normal” occasions. Cheese thereafter dominated George's life: it became a standing joke and George was only himself when he didn't have his pack on. Such wit could only have been sharpened by hunger. For the next hour or so the air was fraught with sounds of mastication only, most people devoting all their energy to this serious business.
Camp was set up on two sides of a wide gorge a little further along the beach, out of which issued a creek several times larger than Sandstone Creek. The boulders stretched for a short distance beyond, then were replaced by sand mixed with dark brown soil. By dint of skilful hatchet work on Phil's part (clearing, cutting tent pegs, quelling insubordination), seven tents and a fire were established on the far side of the creek, while Spiro, Rod, Gem and Barry camped in splendid isolation on the other. At this stage the party broke up: the fishing enthusiasts (their ranks greatly swelled) went and caught rock cod for tea, and the other bods either explored, or washed and then smoked their garments, or tended the fire and prepared the dehyds. For a time I was content to engage in these activities; then, feeling I should be doing something constructive, but not too ennervating (like washing my hair) I went and made use of Sandstone Creek falls. It was the most convenient people-washing place of the whole trip, and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone going through in the future as a luxury not to be missed. The only significant hindrance was the lack of level space on which to stand or put soap. However, these problems can be overcome by sitting on a stone, with feet in a thoughtfully provided hole, and soap in teeth. Fortunately, I didn't have to go to this extreme.
A roaring fire encouraged a lot of people to stay up longer than normal tonight; meanwhile we were entertained again (for the second consecutive night) by Bob and his trusty harmonica, playing requests and inspirations - there were even some themes from “Bolero”. As a finale to the evening, Dot sang the beginning of a soap opera about a Barcelonio-an with homicidal tendencies named Antonio; before the last few stragglers turned in for a very comfortable night's rest, despite the extreme cold.
End of Part One. - To be continued in our next. Don't miss it!!
Read about the Corpse at Surprise Bay! The mysterious Birthday Cake! The Orgy at Priori Beach and subsequent sightings of Streakers!! And what about the gruesomely-named Deadman's Cove? - was there a connection with the stench of rotting, unidentifiable organic matter in adjacent Lousy-Bay??
ALL THIS AND MORE IN PART TWO.
If you are…
Buying or hiring. Hiring or buying.
Walking… Camping… Climbing… Canoeing… Walking… Camping… Climbing… Canoeing…
Think of Mountain Equipment.
17 Alexander Street, Crow's Nest. 2065. (On the corner of Falcon Street) Telephone 439-3454.
Fairydown sleeping bags, high load packs (weight 3-lb. 10-oz.) and all other things you could possibly need.
by Mike Short.
It was decided that the proposed “Policy on Bushwalkers Access to National Parks” would be sent via delegates, to clubs for discussion. Could anyone interested in this matter ring Murray Smith, 520-0750 (H) regarding a future discussion?
Federation delegates were asked to find the number of club trips through or in the Boyd Plateau in the past year. They were also asked to find the number of club members' vehicles in or passing through the area, i.e. to Kanangra Walls. From these figures submissions will be made to the State Pollution Control Commission which is doing an Environmental Impact Study of the proposed pine planting.
A. box trailer is to be bought to house the Search & Rescue equipment at a cost of $300.
by Bob Hodgson.
|3,4,5 May||Spiro has lots to smile about - here is a walk for the real enthusiast. First class track all the way to the Kowmung, just right for stretching the legs after a hard week in the office. Easy going up Lannigans Creek, with a magnificent view of the Colong Caves from the top of Green Gully. Good views from Mt. Colong if you climb the trig. Some rock hopping around to Chiddys and an interesting descent to Church Creek and a solid climb up Cambage. ++ Walk.|
|3,4,5 May||Alastair Battye is your leader on this Budawang test walk which encompases all the very best scenery that this renowned region has to offer. Good tracks all the way. Well worth the effort to climb the relatively steep but quite safe Meakins Pass to the fabled Castle.|
|4,5 May||Wentworth Falls to Katoomba by the scenic route - Barbara Evans is really turning it on for us. A Saturday morning start for an overnight test walk through our most famous Blue Mountain country.|
|Sunday 5||Rally, rally, rally: Get away from it all for a day test walk with Jim Brown in the Blue Labyrinth. Good tracks about half the way - some scratchy-bush and steep descent to Glenbrook Creek. Lunch at beautiful St. Helena.|
|10,11,12 May||Budawangs from the north, creeping up on that magnificent panorama from Mt. Owen. Really fascinating country, good tracks all the way with several good camping caves in Monolith Valley. Tony Denham is awaiting your booking.|
|10,11,12 May||Peter Miner has finally forsaken work to lead you on this delightful stroll down the Grose River, circumnavigating and finally climbing the mighty Mt. Banks. A steep climb up Zobel Crevasse with excellent views from Banks Wall and from the Mt. Caley road.|
|Sunday 12||All aboard for Elaine Brown's Commodore Heights ramble. Elaine assures us that there is more meat in the walk than the programme would have us believe. This area is a botanists delight with superb views of Pittwater.|
|17,18,19 May||Bring your water-cooled Kangaroo-hopping sandshoes for this, Malcolm Noble's “streak?” through Kangaroo Valley country. Good tracks with excellent views of the Valley and some interesting rock formations at Drawing Room Rocks. *|
|17,18,19 May||Frank assures us that he has given up Sunday evening moonlight bushwalking and has conjured up a delightful test walk following Springwood Creek from its source to the Grose River and return by the Grose Road. P.S. Frank Taeker's telephone number is 690,444, Ext.551 (B), not as shown on the programme. *|
|Sunday 19||Hans Beck is your guide on this all down hill test walk. Lots of mountain foliage and spectacular cliffs on both sides as you follow Glenbrook Greek into its gorge.|
|Sunday 19||If happiness is a ramble in Royal National Park then this walk is for you. Pleasant walking, good tracks all the way, Meryl Watman your leader. Special excursion tickets to Waterfall.|
|24,25,26 May||Dave Rostron spearheads the assault on the mighty Guouogang. Easy going to Konangaroo, a long climb up to Guouogang, some scrambling down Nooroo Gable into Whalania Deep and lots of boulder hopping back to Konangaroo clearing. Pleasant going down the Cox and a steep sprint up the White Dog road. At about 28 miles and 6,000 feet of climbing, definitely a get fit quick walk. Start training now.|
|24,25,26 May||Jovial Jim Vatiliotis takes you test walking in Cloudmaker country. Good tracks with never-ending false summits to Cloudmaker. Occasional glimpses of magnificent scenery down Tiwilla and to the Kowmung, and beautiful grassy camp site. A mild walk up Gingra Creek with a short, steep and occasionally scrubby ascent up Crafts Ridge.|
|Saturday 25||Paddy Pallin's Orienteering Contest. This is a well run event with sections for mixed groups and open. Minimum team size is two, so select your partner or partners and get your entry forms from Wilf Hilder or Phil Butt.|
|Sunday 26||This medium day walk in the Heathcote Reserve has tracks most of the way. Your leader Bill Hall. Special excursion tickets.|
|Sunday 26||A “highway” to The Basin, with views of Pittwater abounding, rock-hopping to Great Mackerel, then a track around the headland back up to the heights. This is what Barry Zieren has in store for you.|
|Snow Trip||A medium hard nordic ski tour will be arranged at very short notice if there is sufficient snow. Experienced tourers should contact Rod Peters 623-0171 (B) or Wilf Hilder 622-3353 (H) before the end of April. An introductory ski-touring weekend will also be held in June - probably on the long weekend.|
* In view of the Federal Election on 18th May, these trips may be altered.
Come on all you potential walks leaders - your walks are needed for the Winter Programme (June, July, August) which is being prepared in the clubroom now. If you can't get in to the clubroom, please write out your walk, giving all details and what type of trip you think it is, and post it to our P.O. Box (4476). Indicate alternative dates if possible.
The amount of Annual Subscriptions has-been determined as follows:-
Full Members $7.00 p.a.
Married Couples $9.00 p.a.
Full-time Students $3.50 p.a. *
Non-Active Members $1.50 p.a.
Members are reminded that these fees are due and payable.
(*Note: Owing to a misunderstanding, subscriptions for Full-time Students was quoted as $4.00 in the March magazine)
Subscribers to the Magazine (apart from Full Members) are reminded that the Magazine Subscription is now due:-
12 months (including postage) $2.00
N.S.W. Ski Association presents “The Australian Alps” - an illustrated talk.
6.30 p.m. Coffee Session - Thursday, 9th May - Music Roam, Sydney Opera House.
Mail bookings are now accepted by Box Office Manager, Sydney Opera House, P.O..Box R239 Royal Exchange N.S.W. 2000.