Table of Contents
THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bushwalkers, Box 4476 GP. 0,, Sydney, 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.30 p m. at the Wireless Institute Building, 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards. Enquiries concerning the Club should be referred to Mrs. Marcia Shappert - Telephone 30-2128.
|EDITOR||Helen Gray, 209 Malton Road, Epping, 2121, Telephone 86-6263|
|BUSINESS MANAGER||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive Carlingford, 2118. Telephone 871-1207|
|DUPLICATOR OPERATOR||Bob Duncan. Telephone 869-2691|
|The Great Coolana Hootenanny, Helen Gray||2|
|Laughter with Your Disaster, Dot Butler||4|
|Bed and Breakfast on Townsend, Christine Austin||8|
|At the November General Meeting, Jim Brown||9|
|Foam Rubber Ski Tour, Paddy Pallin||12|
|Mountain Equipment Ad||16|
|Open Country Fields, Peter Christian||17|
|Why not Live to be a Hundred? Dot Butler||17|
|David Cotton's Notebook||19|
|Social Notes for January, Christine Austin|
|Walks for January, Spiro Hajinakitas||20|
The Great Coolana Hootenanny
by Helen Gray
“George, why don't we have some sort of celebration to mark the completion of the hut?” suggested Dot as she lowered herself from the guttering, having just put the finishing touches of paint on the roof. “Well, we could always hold a barn dance” replied George, who's never been seen to dance in his life. The 20 of us at that last working bee promised we'd turn up. And so it started. George put a barn dance on the
It was the Wednesday-night-before, and by now another 30 people said they'd like to came. Surprised at the popularity of the proposed dance, George decided he'd better provide supper on the Saturday night. Biscuits and drinks for 60 ought to well cover it Well, a bigger crowd or a bigger success he could never have imagined.
The weather was perfect - warm, with a cloudless sky. People kept coming and coming until the count reached 108. Dot swept the hut a dozen times and decorated the walls with greenery. Susan Gray nimbly hopped from rafter to rafter, trailing a spider-web of streamers. Balloons were added as a final touch. Then arrived the club's musicians; Len Newland with his bagpipes, guitar and mandolin, Bob Hodgson with his mouth organ and Gordon Lee with his guitar and fiddle. The club singing group came too.
Tuning-up started. Len practiced his bagpipes for 5 minutes. When he finished there was loud applause and cheers from a crowd somewhere down-stream, with yells of “More” (They got it, and for many more hours.)
In the meantime, the majority was settling down on the river banks amongst the long grass, now virtually weed-free thanks to Brian Hart's ceaseless efforts. A large group of people were in swimming, with the usual li-lo fights already in progress. In one freak and unfortunate accident, Margaret Stichter's head collided with brother-in-law Otto's shin, resulting in a huge gash to Margaret's forehead. A dash to Nowra followed. Hans stopped a police car to ask the way, and was provided with an escort all the way to the hospital. (Margaret's wound required 10 stitches, but she is doing fine and has barely a scar already).
Now it was dark, and the hootenanny commenced. The musicians were in fine form, the dancers were the usual bushwalker standard. (Why can't bushwalkers dance?). Nothing has changed in the 20 years I've been in the club; the men still hang around and the females, if they want a dance, have to do the asking. Dances ranged from the barn dance to the highland fling and it was during the latter that Barry Wallace collided with Magdy Hamad (yes, Egyptions do the highland fling as well, or as badly, as Australians). Poor Barry suffered a badly sprained ankle which put him out of action for the rest of the weekend.
The evening was hot, and during breaks in the dancing, folk-songs were sung by the club's folk song group, and by Geoff, Malcolm and Fiona Wagg. The crowd joined in. George had luckily overcatered for 60, and supper was easily provided for the whole mob.
The evening rushed by as all pleasant evenings do. The crowd slowly dwindled to about 30, who by now were sitting in a circle singing songs. At about 12.30, Len packed his instruments and walked up the hill to his car (and thence to Melbourne for a christening later that days). Bob's mouth organ accompanied the last of the singers into the early hours of the next day.
Sunday was as beautiful a day as Saturday. The river was full of canoes, li-los and swimmers. People sat around lazily in groups on the banks, chatting. And all these chatting groups agreed it was a wonderful weekend, and another barn-dance was a “must” for next year.
THE EDITOR AND MAGAZINE STAFF WISHES EVERYONE A HAPPY CHRISTMAS
Apologies to Gordon Lee. In his poem “Alone” (in November's magazine) the second line should reads “Attend the body but leave the mind to FALLOff,”
Congratulations to Anne Morgan and Neil Brown who have announced their engagement and will be getting married “when Neil finishes building the swimming pool”. And, also to Christine Brown (no relation to Neil) and Geoff Davidson (of the River Canoe Club) who announced their engagement when they returned home from England last month. They will be married next April.
Laughter with your Disaster - Or it was all Snow Brown's Fault
by Dot Butler.
Earlier in the week there was Dave Rostron urging Spiro: “Came ski-touring. Don't go on that Widden Brook trip; it's boring. Nothing but farmlands and scratchy sera.” But here we have Spiro as one of the starters when the five cars converged late on Friday night on the common near Nullo Mountain out from Rylstone. The Bob Parks carload cunningly sought out a shelter shed while the others erected tents on the wet grass.
After an early breakfast we drove about 30 km to our starting point. Earlier parties had taken their cars some miles through the farm belonging to Mr. Merritt, but we left ours outside the property and walked through mud and thistles up a marshy hillside heading for a fire-trail that ought to be “somewhere up there”. Our co-leaders Craig and Christine Austin had gone over to the owner's house to pay their respects but no one was home so they rejoined the mob, now about half a mile off course. Having taken a wrong turning at a gate we rambled round paddocks for half an hour, climbing through the same barbed wire fence two or three times. About 10 o'clock we stopped half an hour for morning tea then moved on smartly for hours.
We found a fire-trail which led us out on to a spur, but we decided that it was the wrong one and decided to backtrack, to the derisive cawing of flocks of sulphur-crested cockatoos. “We're lost,” croaks Alastair lugubriously. In the midst of this disaster another struck: one of the 16 was missing: Where was Bill? No one had seen him since we had stopped way back for him to photograph the exciting skyline of broken rugged peaks. Our co-leaders must go back and look for him. If they found him in time they would go round the ridge to Mt. Pomanay and meet us on the summit for the night's camp. As it turned out, they didn't get there …… and neither did we. The 13 abandoned children looked bewildered as their teachers left them, but brightened up when Snow Brown was appointed leader and they were promised lunch in 10 minutes …. “just down there at the creek”.
We headed off blithely down the mountainside amidst the bloom of wattles and the song of birds, the grassy clearing bedecked with blue violets and yellow ground orchids. Suddenly we are brought to an abrupt halt at a 60 ft drop. We scrub-bashed along the top of this precipice till the makings of a break appeared. It was now or never. “Where trees can grow, man can go,” quoth Dot Butler. Bob Parkes was despatched to reconnoitre. After a lengthy wait a voice masked by echoes rumbled up from below, “I reckon it'll go if we have 15 ft of line.” Sev comes good with 30 ft of tape and the party begins the perilous descent. Without benefit of tape and without too much moaning and groaning we get packs and bode to a ledge 20 ft down the side of a precipice. “This is madness,” says Snow, surveying the steep drops yet to come and anxiously watching the climbing antics of his brood. “Aw, cats' meat,” says Dot disparagingly. (Cats' meat is a New Zealand mountaineering term applied to climbs that are just too ludicrously easy.)
Time runs by as the large party gets down another two ledges, Sev muttering that he has been on climbing trips when they didn't take nearly so long, it should only take 10 minutes……
Having got so far, retreat is out of the question. We have to negotiate a free swing of 30 ft. Some of the boys go down and the packs are lowered, then one by one the party, some gracefully, some otherwise, are launched into space. The two Bobs are waiting below on a sloping earth bank to receive them, Bob Milne supporting Bob Parks. Each new arrival is accompanied by a great shower of small rocks and earth, our hero on the receiving end spluttering something about demanding dirt money.
Claribel descends gracefully (?). “You'll notice that although I'm not enjoying this I haven't griszled once.” Now we hear frantic moans and gasping groans. Is that Fazeley in labour? What a place to give birth to a baby: Fazeley is duly delivered on the end of the rope, arms and legs in all directions and half-strangled round the waist by the safety line. “I didn't make a sound!” she protests; “I was as mute as a giraffe.” Evelyn's folk dancing training didn't do much for her graceful deportment either. Dot comes down the hand line complaining that the tree-fern she was depending on for a foothold has been wiped out by great hulking boys.
3 hours after having left the top we are down where the boys have lit a fire, having lunch at 3.30. We don't know what creek we're on. “We're lost,” moans Alastair. “Save enough food for Monday. IT'S ALL SNOW'S FAULT!” (When Boy-Brown was at the height of his Bushwalking career, some 20 years ago, whenever anything went wrong on a trip he got the blame. So now, seeing that the Austins have passed the leadership over to him, we can use the old cry: “IT WAS ALL SNOW BROWN'S FAULT!”)
“We took too long to come down,” mutters Sev. “I have been with other parties ….”, “Don't knock this group,” says Snow “They're as good as the old timers. When I was a young man, men were men and barmaids ate their young.” - This had the effect of silencing Sev he couldn't see how it applied in this case.
A hurried lunch, then we moved off down a wildly overgrown creek which we hope is Washpen Creek, but we're not sure. It's probably virgin ground untrod .. red yabbies in the water, lyre-birds' dancing grounds, scrub-turkeys' mounds in the dense thickets, wombat burrows in the rich red volcanic earth. After 1.5 hours of scratchy going and having passed several side creeks we stop for the night at a creek junction. “We're lost,” said Alastair. “I reckon sailing a boat on Botany Bay would have been better.”
A big campfire, food in the stomach and assorted grog. Lots of talk and laughter. “You'll notice I haven't whinged once on this trip,” says Claribel.
Sunday, 6 a m. Awakened by the songs of lots of little tweetering birds and the strong call of the spangled drongo. A hasty breakfast and away by 7, determined to do a 2.5 days' walk in one. (This walk had been assessed by the experts as requiring three days.)
We pressed on up the creek, then took the first available route up a side gully to the top. From this vantage point we got a view of Cox and Pomany. As luck would have it we were in the right position. We got this sighting just in time, for now the rain came down and that was the last distant view we had for the rest of the day. Up on a dead branch we saw a pair of rare redpolled grey cockatoos.
Half an hour later we are at the junction of the ridges between Cox and Pomany. Mass whiteanting takes place and we decide to forego Pomany and take the most direct route to Cox. Early lunch under a little overhang at 10.30. The only water available was full of wombat droppings so we filled the billy from everybody's water bottles.
Warmed and comforted by the big fire and food we emerge again into the misty rain. At this stage we are following an old packsaddle trail but it gets fainter and fainter and then disappears. We plod onwards into the mist but are brought up abruptly on the edge of a fearsome drop. (We're lost,“ moans Alastair. “We'll never get out.”) “Who's got a compass?” says Snow. “When all else fails we'll look at the map.” A map is produced and we find our bearings.
Then it's just a case of plod, plod through the misty rain, up the mountain, along the fire trail, through the paddocks where the startled cows and calves stupidly run away helter skelter into the rain, but the big flocks of goats, alertly cerebrating, trot a little way ahead then cunningly circle around us till they are back again where they had been, under the shelter of the trees. There was a bit of discussion as to how one would barbecue a goat but you would first have to catch it, and my money would be on the wily goat.
Back to the cars. Nobody there, but a big log fire burning and a note under the windscreen from Bill. Christine's lost pupil had been found, and what's more he had some beaut photos in his camera. So when all memory of this epic trip has faded from the successful finishers, Bill will probably be the only one with a permanent record of it. Such is life. The race is not always to the swift.
Bed and Breakfast on Mt Townsend
by Christine Austin
My husband and a certain character named Patrick McBride have a major preoccupation in the ski season. That is, to find the nearest mountain and climb it. So what, you say? However, the aim of climbing the mountain is not only to see the view, but to case the summit as a possible campsite.
This was the idea in mind one clear and crisp July afternoon as we trudged up Mt. Jagungal. The weather looked settled, we had to camp somewhere and so why not next to the trig? We had a delicious meal, crawled outside to see the view and had a long, luxurious sleep.
That was in 1977 and was the first and last of our summit snow-camping for that year. The next year the same trio were skiing around the Townsend area on a hot, clear day in perfect weather. After lunch we climbed to the summit, stopping every now and then to cool off in the afternoon heat. As we approached the summit, the inevitable suggestion arose. Where was the flattest spot in this labyrinth of snow and ice? Right next to the trig, of course. So, after the usual stamping and scraping, up went the Ignel two-man tent. The three of us sat back to survey our handiwork as the last of the day trippers left. We were now looking forward to the magnificent sunsets which we'd seen from Jagungal the year before. Unfortunately, instead of a delicate rose and orange sunset, a series of peculiar moteorological patterns began to occur. Steel grey clouds rose out of the valley and commenced to whirl before our eyes. Those prophets of doom - hogsback clouds - loomed around us and the previous serenity of the mountains vanished. A light breeze was buffeting the tent.
After firmly securing the tent, we climbed inside and closed ourselves against the forbidding scene. Soon the light breeze changed to a strong gale. Pat and Craig made the dinner that night as I was incapacitated - jammed up against the back wall of the tent. Then there was the normal final procedure of the night. Luckily we had Pat's down boots for it was extremely difficult to put on ski boots in the confined space. Outside the world had changed to a swirling mass of white while ghost-like ribbons of snow swept around us. The trig and tent seemed to be the only (relatively) stable objects in this volatile atmosphere.
We were surprisingly comfortable that night as we lay in rather haphazard fashion about the tent. We couldn't do up the inner skin so Pat lay with his head stuck into the alcove. We were so warm and comfortable that it was difficult to believe where we were. Actually, I tried not to think about it at all on the few occasions when I woke. It was now snowing heavily and the beating on the tent was to continue relentlessly all night. Craig, sleeping on the windward side, kept the tent in its normal shape by the pressure of his body.
We woke at dawn to a grey light but the storm showed not the least sign of abating. I stretched, ran my fingers through my hair and removed a handful of snow. Craig said the expression on my face was rather pained. From beneath the blanket of snow covering Pat, a voice said nonchalantly, “I'm fine, thanks.”
Next began the problem of extracting from the snow, cutlery and billy lids which had been strewn about the alcove. The job of cooking breakfast appeared so immense that we grabbed chocolate and raisins instead. An even more awkward job was that of unfreezing and putting on boots. It is amazing how the normally trivial task of getting ready in the morning became so mammoth on Mt. Townsend. One by one, we dressed and squeezed through the door, all defences ready for the elements outside. As I was hurtled over the snow, I was amazed to see how stable the tent looked. Soon all the packs lay on the snow, and the final, rather shaky, photographs taken. We began dismantling the tent. The pegs were ripped from my hands and shot through the air like missiles. After hastily retrieving them, I determined to keep a firmer grip. With only one peg still fast in the ground, I lay right across the tent. It ballooned up and I squirmed and wriggled about to hold it down. It was going to be awkward enough to climb off the summit without looking for a tent on the way. Then came the final assault. Craig and Pat pushed and bashed and at last we managed to pound it into a rather amorphous but small bundle.
All this time conversation had been kept to a minimum. The violent wind meant that communication could only effected by a series of high-pitched shrieks.
It was with rather ambivalent feelings that we left the trig to trudge once more through the labrinth of ice and snow below. We were happy knowing that soon there would be a respite from the frightful wind, but rather sad to leave the scene of a most unusual camp site.
At the November General Meeting
by Jim Brown
So warm it was on the evening of the November meeting that one might have been pardoned for believing that the long-delayed spring season was with us, and summer just around the corner. It was all a flash in the pan, of course, and the ensuing weekend was as bleak and damp as any November weekend in recent memory - but that's another story.
Some 40 to 45 walkers were present to hear a welcome to new members - Robyn Herbert, Anne Davis and Rosemary Baxter - while the two latest male recruits, Jam Curedale and Derek Wilson were mentioned in their absence. An apology from Barry Wallace who was unable to be present, and the October Minutes were dealt with, without any consequent debate.
Correspondence contained a letter to Dot Butler saying that Shoalhaven Shire Council had not so far had any advice of a change in the valuation of Coolana; rates were therefore levied at the old valuation, and amounted to $340. It was suggested we approach the Wollongong office of the Valuer General for advice as to any amendment. For Conservation Secretary, Alex Colley, the Australian Conservation Foundation had provided some material for publication in the Club magazine, and a group covering conservation activity in South-Western Tasmania was also forwarding an article for publication. From Tasmania, too, came an advertisement for a newly formed Aero Company offering its services to walkers for transport of persons or stores, and stating its basic charter rate was $110 per hour. The Australian Branch of the N.Z. Alpine Club thanked S.B.W. for its support in holding a celebration of its 21st birthday during October. Finally we were told that cloth flannel flower badges for attachment to packs were now available at $1.50 each, and stickers “Save the Colo Wilderness” on sale at 50 cents.
Assistant Secretary, Sheila Binns, read the Treasurer's monthly statement, which recorded a decline from $1618 to $1439 in the working funds - a fairly normal condition at this time of year, and Spiro was summoned to give report on walking activities: actually he was able to get someone who had been on each trip to tell the tale, commencing with Alastair Battye and his account of the “disasters” which occurred on the Mount Pomany/ Widdin Brook walk listed for 13/15th October. This trip story appears elsewhere in this issue of the magazine.
Gordon Lee related the main points of Hans Beck's Megalong Valley walk of the same weekend - 12 starters and a pleasant, successful trip. On the Sunday. Meryl Watman's Kurnell-Cronulla trip attracted 17, and after viewing a fine crop of outsize flannel flowers finished with a long beach walk dodging motor bikes and 4WD vehicles.
Over the weekend 20/22 October was Barry Wallace's Wine & Cheese Ramble in Megalong Valley. Hans Stichter told us it brought out 13 people, with a predominance of females and also non-drinkers. All were avid cheese eaters however, and there were “20 or 30 varieties available”. So much was left after Saturday night that a cheese fondue was prepared on Sunday morning. That afternoon 3 of the party retreated via Tin Pot (was it to get away from the “revolting cheesy smell”?). The waterfall in Galong Creek was very slippery, but was negotiated with the aid of a rope provided by Colin Putt. On the same weekend, John Redfern was back in his favoured Upper Capertee Valley area, with 8 people on two day walks - Saturday to Pantoney's Crown, where a visitors book installed by Ray Hookway in 1976 now has 10 or 12 entries - and Sunday on Black Mountain at Airly. Len Newland had as day walk his exploratory trip in the upper part of Glenbrook Creek, coming in via Sassafras Gully and going upstream to cross an intervening ridge and return down Western Creek. Much of the country has had the scrub destroyed in the bushfires of December last and going was not unduly difficult for the 9 members present.
October 27-29 and Bob Hodgson's hard walk in the Wollongambe country. Gordon Lee was prepared to reports-but asked if we wanted a full story or an outline and when the meeting muttered “brief” he was extremely-brief. It appears however that one of the 8 in the party broke a leg bone on Wollongambe River and most of the weekend was spent in extricating him.
Fortunately he was not wholly disabled and was able to help himself quite a deal. The Mount Solitary walk was cancelled, and of the day walk from Bundeena leader Ian Debert reported 25 starters (including 15 prospectives) - not to mention 7,000 flies. There was some rain, but the party made it through for a latish train at Otford.
The last weekend to be covered was Nov. 3-5, with Bill Burke's Wollondilly-Tomat trip reported by Don Cornell who classed it as a most interesting and well-managed walk. The Wollondilly was somewhat high, but was crossed without too much trouble. Details were not available about Wayne Steele's Upper Cox River walk, but it was known to have gone as planned and with 18 people. There were two day walks, one led by your reporter with 17 folk: to comply with specification, the last half mile was altered so that it did really get into Royal National Park, and the wild flowers were surprisingly good for November. Victor Lewin had a trip into Govetts Leap Creek with four people, and carried it out as planned with the deletion of part of the upper portion of the creek.
Federation's report will probably be covered by the Bulletin sent out with the magazine, but the following points may be emphasised :
(1) Walking groups are asked to refrain from camping in Monolith Valley (Budawangs) to allow of regeneration.
(2) A protest has gone to the Parks & Wildlife Service over “controlled” burning in the Budawangs.
(3) The property at Yadbora Flat is again up for sale by auction. The N.P.& W.L.S. is reported as not interested in purchase.
(4) A report on huts at Kosciusko recommends retention of about 40 huts.
(5) The time is considered ripe to press for reservation of wilderness areas in the Deua/Brogo country (after the report the Club resolved to write to the Minister for Lands supporting Federation's view).
(6) The mining engineer who issued writs on various conservation groups over their opposition to mining activity in the Ettrema Gorge and then failed to appear at the Court proceedings, had re-issued his writs. Federation, which had intended to meet its own legal costs associated with representation, is considering seeking to recover its expenditure.
In General Business we carried the motion mentioned in Item (5) above, and Len Newland then told us that Federation was developing certain 'policy' statements, and would be referring them to various clubs. A Policy on “wilderness use” would be available shortly and would be followed by its recommended guidelines on “walking tracks”. It was also announced that the Club's Social Secretary has plans for a slide competition about the end of March 1979, with two categories “Landscape” and “That Bushwalking Feeling”.
It had been quite a lively meeting, even if there were no strongly debated topics, but now it closed, at 9.25. pm.
Foam Rubber Ski Tour
by Paddy Pallin
There was a time when ski touring was really hard - especially the sleeping at night, on wet earth floors, uneven boards or rusty, old spring mattresses which sagged alarmingly and were oh! so cold. But now the rising generation seek more Comfort and by devious ways and means contrive to have six inch - sorry, thirty centimetre - foam rubber mattresses in the various huts on the ranges.
Rex and I planned the trip ten years ago but when the time came we learned there was no snow on the Bogong High Plains and so the trip was abandoned. As the years rolled by I kidded myself that I would have to give up the idea of doing the crossing on skis from Bogong to Hotham, but Rex was persistent. “It's all in the mind,” said he. “You did the Kiandra Guthega trip last year. What's the difference?” So in February last Rex, Ian, Nan and I did a recce over the course and the trip was on. Six in the party - but it would have been twelve or more if we had accepted all the would be starters.
Rex, the companion of many walking and skiing trips - a great skier, gatherer of wood and water and always by the side of any “lame dude to help with silent companionship or friendly advice.
Ian, the all round competent type who had done 12 months on the Antarctic where he took part in dog sled survey trips and. Nan his cheerful, capable wife and self-appointed party cook.
Bill, a new recruit to ski touring, His first serious trip was with us on the Kiandra Guthega run last year. He so enjoyed it he insisted on joining us. A strong skier and good companion.
And Rymill, one of three of us who skied from Guthega to Kiandra in 1956. His wisecracks and wry humour kept us smiling when the going was tough.
After a week on the snow at Illawong Hut we headed for Tawonga in Victoria. As Bogong is 4,500 feet above Tawonga I decided to try and break the climb into two parts, loaded as we would be with skis and stocks in addition to full packs. We had hoped to get away from Tawonga with some daylight to spare, but as usual we were delayed and by the time we reached the bottom of the Eskdale Spur it was almost dark, but until we reached the snow the track was quite clear. When we got to the snow it was not so easy and so we put Rex in the lead to find the way with his keen eyesight. The going was not easy on the frozen snow and steep slope, but we eventually arrived at Mitchell Shelter at 10 pm. To our disappointment, we found the hut occupied by 8 chaps from Geelong. We were very relieved, however, when five said they were using tents and one a snow cave, leaving two in the hut.
The hut was a mess! A steady drip from a leaky roof wet the floor, except for the sleeping platform, The stove was broken and parts were missing, making it almost impossible even to boil a billy, let alone cook on it. The only cheerful thing in the hut was the sleeping platform which on our previous visit had been bare, but was now furnished with - guess what: Three superb foam rubber mattresses. Unfortunately, the two members of the other party seemed to resent our late invasion and used a mattress each, so that only two of our party got a soft bed that night. The other four of us made our beds on the least wet part of the floor.
Next morning we climbed the last 1,000 ft of Bogong, dumped our packs and started a tour of the mountain, The snow was superb - firm and frosty but not icy. Ian and Rex, who have just been bitten by the telemark bug, showed off their new skills, while the rest of us just enjoyed the runs and climbs on the way to West Peak. We returned to our packs and made our way to Cleve Cole Hut two miles away and 800 feet downhill, so we had a marvellous run on the fast snow. Lunch and further touring of the eastern end of the mountain, with some spectacular demonstrations of telemark by Ian and Rex.
That night we all enjoyed the comfort of soft mattresses.
Next day we made our way down the valley to the top of the T Spur and the 2,500 ft descent to the Big River. There was some hairy skiing at first through the trees, but eventually it got too steep and we ploughed through a foot of increasingly soft snow for a further few hundred feet, carrying skis and stocks, The ridge flattened out and we went through a stand of magnificent mountain ash, as yet untouched. by the timber getters. Then a further steep slippery descent to the Big River.
On our summer trip we crossed on rocks and barely wet our feet, but now it was different. The water was 2 or 3 feet deep and surging along at a dangerous pace. Luckily someone had put a bit of fencing wire across the stream and secured it firmly at both ends. The tall ones, Ian and Bill, went over first, deposited their gear and returned to help the shorter members of the party. I stripped off to the waist and was about to enter the mater when Bill grabbed my skis and took them over. It was just as well, because in the centre the water was nearly up to my waist and with a 30 lb pack on my back I would surely have been toppled over. With a free hand to grasp the wire I was safe and scrambled thankfully ashore. As Spiro remarked in a recent article, our legs were not blue from the ice cold water but bright pink!
Circulation was all too soon restored with the effort of climbing the 2,500 feet up to Ropers Hut. Here we entered cloud and we barely saw further than the next snow pole on the 4 mile trip to Johnstons Hut. Here we found a couple of food parcels we had arranged to be left by the Falls Creek Ski Patrol (God Bless Them).
We hardly got settled into this fine hut when it started to rain, but of course we had marvellous foam rubber mattresses once again. Next day it still continued to pour and we agreed to have a lay day, but at 10 am the sun came out and we decided to push on to Cope Hut. “Here” the masochist in me said, “you won't have soft beds”. Cope Hut is a genuine old cattleman's hut built with axe, adzes and a few nails. There are no home comforts there. However fate had other ideas. Just as we topped the rise half a mile from Cope Hut and imagining ourselves to be the only inhabitants of the Bogong High Plains, we were astonished to see a party of about 20 men and women skiers coming towards us. It was a party organised by the Melbourne Mens Walking Club who were staying at the Rover Scout Hut about 2 miles away. They were on their way to inspect a memorial plaque placed on Rocky Top in memory of Bill Waters, for many years Rover Commissioner and chief organiser of the building of the Rover Hut. Mutual introductions followed on our way to the memorial. The ladies were horrified to hear we intended spending the night at Cope Hut and insisted we accompany them back to the Rover Hut. Rymill briefly demurred but realising he was in the minority, like the good fellow he is agreed to join us.
Some hut! Electric generating plant, drying room, 3 rows of gas stoves, log fire and upstairs in the sleeping loft - you've guessed it! foam rubber mattresses.
A foot of snow fell in the night and it was still snowing when the time came for us to get ready to depart. We decided to go, but our kind hosts told us the hut was in a very sheltered spot and if on reaching the open near Cope Hut we felt the weather was too bad, we must feel free to return.
Feeling very heroic we skied off into the snow watched. by the occupants of the lodge, but when we got to Cope we got the full force of the wind and snow coming from the southwest (the very direction in Which we had to travel) and no adequate shelter until we reached Dibbins Hut many miles away. We decided to turn back but thought we would visit Cope Hut first.
We found the hut occupied by 6 skiers vainly trying to dry out sleeping bags and clothing which had got wet through the snow blowing through the cracks in the walls. We would have had a very uncomfortable night with 12 in this tiny hut. The six were bound for Falls Creek - six miles away and downwind. They departed and we returned to Rover Hut somewhat less heroically than when we left. We were received kindly and so we spent another night on soft beds.
Next day the wind still blew but the snow had abated and so we bid a final farewell to our hosts and set off on the 16 mile run to Hotham.
The new snow was somewhat slow and the wind strong, so we made poor time.
We had a 1,500 ft descent into Cobungra Creek with snow all the way, but of course we could only ski a small portion of it Rex failed to duck when going under a tree-and scraped a hole in his scalp which bled profusely. When we took skis off we were knee deep in soft snow. Lunch at Dibbins Hut and thence onto the Loch Spur to Hotham through whiteout, sago snow in the dark. We left Rover Hut at 8.30 am and got to Anton Hutte in Mount Hotham Village at 8 pm. We took more time to do one third of the journey than Charlie Derrick took for the whole trip. He was trying to beat his own record when he perished in the snow on Loch Spur in 1965.
Rex and I are members of the Australian Alpine Club and so we reckoned we could get accommodation in Anton Hutte. We found the sole occupants were an Ansett pilot, his wife and two children.
There was no manager but after introducing ourselves we were accepted. They were due to go out to dinner but had no baby sitter. We gladly accepted the job and were presented with a freshly grilled chicken. We were hungry and the good lady was astonished to see that chicken disappear in front of her eyes without benefit of knives or forks* Then somewhat apologetically she said they were returning to Melbourne the following morning and could we use some steak and chops they had left over. Could we??
To tell you what kind of beds we had would be superfluous. Next day we rang Ryan Jess at Tawonga and he came over in his minibus and we were returned to our vehicles and so home again.
24th October, 1978. The Sydney Bush Walkers,
14 Atchison Street,
On behalf of all the members of the Australian Section of the New Zealand Alpine Club who attended our 21st Birthday Party at Gardener's Inn, Blackheath last week-end, I would like to say “Thank you” to all the members of your Bush Band who came along and added so much to the enjoyment of the evening. Len with his guitar, Barbara with her singing and delightful personality, Bob with his singing and astounding dancing accomplishments, and Gordon who could have been transported straight from the shearing sheds into our midst.
We hope you will be around when we celebrate our 25th, 50th and 100th birthday.
ADRIAN COOPER, Section Chairman.
Open Country Fields
by Peter Christian.
The ageless aura of open country fields,
As slowly shy nature her many children yields.
At first the cautious silence that clings,
Then swoop rainbow minstrels as their music rings.
Buzzing, flitting insects are all before your eye,
A million sounds blend to saturate the azure sky.
Their symphony well-conducted and performed without a flaw,
Such beauty, such majesty, you have never sensed before.
Her slender leafy servants sway to her beckoned call,
Her song is never ending, will always rise and fall.
You feel her love all around,and deep
Within For those who live in harmony, it shall always spin.
Why Not Live to be a Hundred ?
by Dot Butler.
Scientists believe that man is capable of adding 30 years to his average lifespan. In the Soviet Union there are over 20,000 centenarians! Just think what that lot would look like all together - something like a Dungalla Club reunion. In Azerbaijan and Georgia and some parts of the Ukraine there are people who live anywhere from 130 to 150 years. One man who died recently was 158.
The scientists list the causes of the big killers (cancer, arteriosclerosis and hyper-tension), and chief among them is smoking, drinking and tensions. Nikolaas Tinbergen, Department of Zoology at Oxford University, won the Nobel Prize in 1973 for his work on Ethology and Stress Diseases. In his Nobel Prize Address he spent a good bit of his time extolling the stress-reducing technique of an Australian, F. Matthias Alexander. To put it briefly, Alexander taught that if a person maintained at all times a good posture he could combat the stresses of life and live a healthy life to a ripe old age, which he himself did. (He died in 1955 aged 86, still with a straight back!)
All of which brings me to the subject of this dissertation. All the old members know her, but let me introduce to new members Marie Byles. Almost a foundation member of the Sydney Bush Walkers, Marie with her keen legal mind did much for the Club in its early days, helping to thrash our Constitution into shape and giving legal advice when required.
Marie has written a book - “Stand Straight without Strain”, introducing the Alexander Posture Therapy. It is available from the Adyar Bookshop, 67 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, for $10.50 (at other bookshops it is slightly more expensive as they must pay postage from Melbourne).
Direct from the Publishers: L.N. Fowler (Sales) Ltd., 1201 Chadwell Heath, ROMFORD, ESSEX. FIE 6 4DH U.K. L4.25. (Notes L, not Do11ars) Post paid. Plus extra for Air Mail. Send a copy to your friend as a Christmas present (or an After-Christmas present). Save your friend from becoming a has-been Bushwalker. Why regard a stoop as permanent in old age. Live to be 100 and like it.
David Cotton's Notebook
My “photo-in” held in conjunction with the recent Coolana Barn Dance was a very successful exercise. Proof sheets of photos taken are available for inspection and finished prints may be ordered as required.
The Coolana Barn Dance was also a very successful event with over 100 people attending. The warm weather was appreciated by most people who enjoyed themselves just lazing around or swimming in the river. Many thanks to all those people who relaxed their inhibitions, allowing me to photograph them, making my contribution to the weekend a worthwhile event. Photographically the weekend proved very interesting, as my my work varied from basic straightforward photography through to creative and experimental work, providing me with a lot of new ideas for the improvement of my work.
Photo-Ins are now being planned for running in conjunction with Marcia Shappert's Moon Watching Gourmet Weekend and for the Annual Reunion.
CAN YOU HELP? In my photographic work at present I am specialising in the photography of children and young people, mainly in the area of general studies and portraiture work. The area in which I am concentrating much of my work is in the 11-14 age group and require the assistance of young people to participate in photographic modelling sessions.
As all young people photograph well, the only basic requirements are that the young people are able to present themselves in a confident manner with a natural spontaneous sparkle, together with the willingness and patience to be photographed in sessions which last for around one hour.
Young people selected for photographic modelling sessions will receive a cash payment of $5 for their time and effort together with a selection of 12 smaller prints and two especially selected 8 x 10 inch prints suitable for framing (prints are black and white only). Young people participating in sessions will find the work basically easy and a lot of good fun.
I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who mould like to participate in a photographic modelling session or from anyone who knows someone who may be interested in participating, and would appreciate the supply of a recent photograph (to be returned) of the person involved. Information sheets are available for anyone requiring more information.
Social Notes for January
by Christine Austin
January 17th is a Free Night to discuss aftermath of Christmas trips,
January 24th Members' Own Slides.
January 31st Geoff Harding (a friend of Eve Walker) is a lecturer in physics at Sydney University. He will be showing slides and discussing Solar Energy as a Future Energy Source. Geoff is extremely knowledgeable about his subjects. I've heard one of his talks before.
DON'T FORGET THE SLIDE COMPETITION 28th March, 1979
Please give me your slides (15-20 per person, maximum) two weeks beforehand, i.e. March 14th at the Annual General Meeting. This is imperative as they must be rearranged by our judge, Henry Gold, a well known wilderness photographer. EVERYONE please contribute.
The two sections are: Landscape, That Bushwalking Feeling (including slides of people)
PAM 'S RECIPE.
for two people.
2 chicken stock cubes Rice
2 pieces of cooked chicken Lemon
Make up and cook the ricein the stock. Five minutes before the rice is ready, Put the lemon in to warm through. Just before serving, add the juice of the lemon. In winter, instead of the stock and lemon, use any thick soup and add fresh cauliflower pieces or small sprouts.
* On second thoughts, Fazeley says to put the chicken in to warm up, not the lemon.
THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKERS
Summer Programme - DEC. 78 JAN. FEB. 1979
JAN 5,6,7 BLUE MTS: Katoomba Narrow Neck - Clear Hill - Debert's - Medlow Gap -Black Horse Mt - Blackhorse Ck - Breakfast Ck Carlon's Head - Narrow Neck 35 km MEDIUM
Maps Jamieson/Jenolan 1.31680. A popular traditional two day test walk, expansive views of the Wild Dog Mts, swimming if desired - flat grassy campsites.
LEADER: IAN DEBERT 6490281 (B) Ring between noon & 12.30 pm
6,7 WALLANGAMBIE LI-LO AT NIGHT Map: Mt. Wilson. Saturday afternoon start. Each person is asked to bring along some wine or rum (or both) to sip whilst observing the interesting & suggestive antics of the fire-flies half way down the canyon at night.
LEADER: ALASTAIR BATTYE 451 9240 (H).
Sunday 7 WATERFALL Couranga Track - Bola Heights - Burning Palms - Palm Jungle - Otford 18 km MEDIUM
Maps Otford 1259000 A not too difficult test walk good coastal and bush scenery, swimming of course. \\LEADER: PETER CHRISTIAN
12,13,14 DAVIES CANYON: Boyd Plateau, Sally Camp Ck - Davies Canyon Whalania Chasm, Boyd Plateau (Abseiling)
Maps Kanangra 1:31680 Another superb Canyon trip - just the thing for hot January weekend.
LEADER: BOB HODGSON 8888111 X293 (B) 5496175 (H)
13,14 MOONVIEWING GOURMET WEEKEND AT COOLANA Children welcome Easy walk to
Mt. Scanzy and return.
LEADER: MARCIA SHAPPEET 302028 (H)
12,13,14 KANANGRA Roots Ridge - Kowmung R Christy's Ck Kanangra
Map: Yerranderie 40 km MEDIUM Excellent ridge & creek walking in the majestic Kanangra area - flat grassy camp sites
LEADER: JOHN REDFERN 8081702 (H)
Sunday 14 ENGADINE Tukawa Rill - Kangaroo Ck Karloo Pool - Heathcote (Swimming)
15 km MEDIUM
LEADER: IAN DEBERT 649028 (B) between 12.00 & 12.30
19,20,21 KOWMUNG LI-LO: Kanangra Cambage Spire - Kowmung River - Bulga Denis Canyon - Roots Ridge - Kanangra 42 km MEDIUM
Maps Yerranderie 1.31680. Enjoy the grandeur of the Kowmung as you float down the river on your li-lo.
LEADER s PETER LEVANDER 6988866 (B).
Sunday 21 BLUE LABRYNTHS: Springwood - Glenbrook Ck - Sassafras Ck Junction: Swimming 10 km EASY
Maps Springwood 1:31680
LEADER: LEN NEWLAND 432419 (B) Train: 8.10 a m. (C).A scenic & peaceful Sunday walk in the lower Blue Mts.
Sunday 21 WATERFALL: Uloola Falls - Karloo Pool - Heathcote (Swimming) 10 km EASY
Maps Port Hacking LEADER.: SHEILA BINNS 7891854 (H) Train: 8.26 a m. (C)
26,27,28,29 ASSORTED WALLANGAMBIE WILDERNESS CANYONS: Three days to discover the many
29 varied & beautiful canyons in this spectacular area.
Maps Wollangambie 1.25000
LEADER: BOB HODGSON 8888111 X 293 (B) 9496175 (i)
26,27,289 KANANGRA: Pages Pinnacle - Gingra Ck Kowmung R - Cox's R Kanangra Ck - Murdering Gully - Kanangra 60 km MEDIUM
Map: Kanangra 1:31680 Good river walking, flat grassy campsites assured.
LEADER: SPIRO HAJINAKITAS 681 2000 (B) 3571381 (H)
Sunday 28 ENGADINE - Tukawa Rill - Kangaroo Ck - Karloo Pool - Heathcote 15 km EASY
LEADER: NEIL BROWN Trains 8.26 a m. (C) Phone: (042) 941376 (H).
+indicates a Test Walk
++ H harder than a Test Walk
All train times are from Central Electric C. Country
All walks without transport details are private transport - contact leader for details. Please note - vehicles are not expected to wait more than 15 minutes after pick-up time.