Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker.
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476 G.P.O., Sydney, 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.30 pm at the Wireless Institute Building, 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards. Enquiries concerning the Club should be referred to Ann Ravn, Telephone 798,8607.
|Helen Gray, 209 Malton Road, Epping, 2121. Telephone 86,6263
|Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118. Telephone 871,1207
|Tom Herbert Tells About “The Bone”
|The Reverse Side of the Coin
|Advertisement - Eastwood Camping Centre
|Where to Winmalee
|Travelling with Children in India - Part 2
|Our Hon. Solicitor
|The Annual General Meeting, March 1981
|Social Notes for May
|Annual Subscriptions 1981
|He's Making a Mountain
|Re Dot Butler's Anniversary Party
Tom Herbert Tells About "The Bone".
I was more than gratified to learn that “the Bone”, the Mace of Office of the President of The Sydney Bush Walkers, was still being exposed on its stand in front of the President at all general meetings of the S.B.W.
As many younger members of the S.B.W. have expressed a wish to know of the origin of this forty-seven year old S.B.W. tradition, I recall my election to the presidency at the Annual General Meeting of the S.B.W. in March, 1934.
The re-union camp was held at Euroka Clearing, Glenbrook, in an ideal setting and attended by most of the Club members who were in sparkling good humour.
Quite spontaneously a small group of members conspired to arrange for the campfire, an initiation ceremony for the newly-elected president. On looking around for some “props” for such a ceremony, they came across the bleached bones of a bovine animal lying in the nearby bush.
Ernie Austin, ex Olympic Games representative and employed as a meat inspector at the Homebush Abattoirs, was immediately voted master of ceremonies and invited to use the beef bones and his professional knowledge to do the presidential initiation.
At the campfire I was called forward for the initiation and quite spontaneously Ernie Austin picked up each bone one by one, identified it by name and explained its function in the animal body. He also related the function of each bone in some way to the pleasures, pains and obligations of bushwalking. It was an excellent speech and many regretted that no record was made of it.
Next day I was draped with the bones I had received the night before and many photos taken. One photo was enlarged, mounted, framed and presented to me a year later at the re-union camp at Emu Plains on March 9, 1935, when I was re-inducted for my second year as president. With that photo were the signatures of those present at the 1935 camp.
Of the bones presented at the 1934 re-union camp one was selected as the President's Symbol of Office, and Charlie Pryde took great pleasure in making a stand for this traditional symbol which had such a happy origin 47 years ago.
The retiring president hands on “The Bone” to his successor in office and a bushwalking tradition lives on.
by Helen Gray.
It was Friday, 13th March, and the re-union weekend. “It will be a failure,” said friend and passenger Ray Hookway as he walked in our front door. “It's going to rain all weekend, and my run of bad luck has already started. This afternoon…”. But no one was listening; “Gunga Din” was on the tely.
Early next morning we finally got away. It was fine but, as Ray pointed out the weather map didn't look too good. Two and a half hours later we were at “Coolana” - aren't expressways marvellous!
“Coolana” looked like parkland. The bushfire may have burnt everything last summer but by now young green growth covered the ground. The Friday-nighters had already installed themselves in the hut and created a homely atmosphere, and Dot and Owen were already spinning yarns, but none the less Denise and Geoff Yudell decided they'd like a quiet weekend and found a delightful secluded spot near the Davison Tree - not realising it was the traditional camping spot for the Grays and Matthews and Finchs and Hodgsons and Butt and Wallace and Fazeley (with three nephews and a niece) and Spiro (with none this time) et al. The Yudells, having left their secluded spot for only an hour to have a swim, looked stunned on their return, but smiled bravely.
The rain had started by now and the giant Hodgson tarpaulin drew people like bees to the honeypot. Which reminds me, David Cotton was there too, talking about his favourite subject. Ray had an audience, too, to which he could tell his Friday 13th saga:-
“I went into a shop for a carton of milk but was 50 short, so I promised to pay the balance later. I walked out of the shop and there on the footpath was a $2 note! I paid off my debt, then I drove home.” 1Lve forgotten Ray's exact words, and I wouldn't do him justice if I ad libbed, but as I remember it he then decided to look in his radiator with the engine still running, dropped the radiator cap on the fan and broke it, walked into his house and opened the fridge to put the milk inside, dis-lodged 6 bottles of drink on top of the fridge (but too close to the edge) and broke the lot.
“Well, at least you found $2,” said someone.
“Probably none of the rest would have happened if I hadn't found it…” replied Ray gloomily.
The rain eased and I left the shelter to visit the new toilet designed by George and erected by him, with Dot and John Redfern, the previous weekend. The influence of his overseas holidays is evident - the toilet seat is about 10 inches above ground and there is the choice of using it as a western-sit-down or an Asian-stand-up.
The sky was clearing and meals were being hurriedly cooked as dusk approached. The musicians started to warm up and the crowd grew. And what a crowd! Over 100 at the camp fire - 130 were counted on Sunday. Barbara Bruce and Bob Younger, as has become the tradition, led the singing to the Bob Hodgson - Len Newland - Gordon Lee trio. Despite such talent to lead us, we still managed to sing in different keys and in different times. (Some even sang entirely different songs.) Dot Butler and Jim Brown, those tireless workers, again produced sketches for our amusement. Dot's adaptation of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” to that of “… Charlie Brown” provided an excellent vehicle for those with acting ambition but little talent as a team of huskies was required to yowl and bark. Such was their enthusiasm that at times even Dot's strong voice was almost drowned out. Jim's sketch, “Background to Bush Walking” amazed us. We know he's kept every club magazine since he joined, but has he kept every newspaper since 1935 too? (I guess not, Jim, your memory is amazing!)*
The supper crew of Spiro and John Redfern had been working hard just beyond the campfire and the smell of fruit cake had tempted us so that when Jim's sketch ended more than half the mob had leapt to its feet and was heading towards the supper area. “We haven't inaugurated the President,” yelled Someone. “Back to your places!” Nine past presidents lined up and Bob was presented with the symbols of office plus Bone and given a chance to say a few words, given a clap, a kiss or a handshake from the past presidents, then supper was officially “on”.
The campfire was still providing lots of heat and the crowd broke into smaller groups to either sing, chat, plan or reminisce. The Grays, Youngers, Gordon Lee, John Redfern, Phil Butt and Owen were talking about Dot. “We've got to take Dot by storm,” said Owen. “Every time the Club suggests something to celebrate her 50 years of walking she says, 'Don't do anything special for me!'. So we'll just organise something and then tell her.”
“We'll have to tread carefully,” said Phil Butt. (On second thought, it wouldn't have been Phil! Maybe Christa said it.)
We decided we'd have a party. Whose yard was big enough for all Dot's friends? Maybe the Grays - but what if it rained? A hall's the answer. Gordon volunteered to look into it and do the hiring, and somebody remembered that Phil's and Owen's shared birthday would be on the chosen weekend, so (illogically) they could pay for the hall. Owen and I elected to approach Dot.
“Hey, Dot,” said Owen. “What are you doing on the last weekend in May?”
“Let me think,” said Dot. “I'll 'be back from Coonabarabran and not yet off to Northern Australia. I'll be home. Why?”
“We've organised a party for you that weekend. All the arrangements are made and we've hired a hall.”
It was after midnight and the number of singers had dwindled but the musicians played on and a few of us lay around the fire looking up at the now cloudless, starry night sky. “It'll be hot tomorrow.” said Ray, “I'll probably get sunburnt.”
To my surprise I awoke early (for me) to find the landscape shrouded in a light mist which soon had shafts of light penetrating through it to turn each drop of water on each plant into a jewel.
“I get to like 'Coolana' more every year,” said Kath Brown and a dozen other voices took up the same sentiment. The Read nephews were already up and playing with the fire as small children always do. Some people were already heading down to the river to freshen up. This took at least an hour. Firstly, there were all the people on the Davison Tree level to chat to. These were the Paddy-A-tent and hamies (at the most) types. Then a short walk down the hill brought one to the Hut People and perhaps the chance of a cup of tea from David's barbeque (or “Cotton's confection” as I heard Brian Hart affectionately call it). More downhill brought one to the River People. A different class altogether. Not only mattresses but tables and chairs, canoes, li-los, luxury tents. Les Griffiths already had wine glass in hand.
“Beautiful place,” said Les (who incidentally had provided S/S threaded fittings for the hut). “First time I've ever been here. Set out 6 times, but each time I dropped into a friend's place at Bargo, had a drink or two, and - you know how it is! Now,the expressway by-passes Bargo - so here I am.”
Someone else's voice. “Where's that fire-break around the hut that's supposed to be such a scar?” On my way back up the hill I looked for it too. Amazingly, it has virtually overgrown already.
The damper competition was under way. Kath McInnes was busy making the biggest birthday damper you've ever seen for her daughter, Debbie, 21 that day. It was Debbie's 22nd re-union if one counts the re-union which her mother attended one day before her birth. The damper competition was a great success. This year an “award” was given for the best decorated damper which resulted in some dampers looking like floral arrangements rather than food. Joan Rigby declined to enter this year and Spiro was one of the Judges (Len Newland was the other), so we thought we had the chance to win this time. But who won a prize - Scott Walker - Joan's nephew. I think he'd had some expert tuition. Fazeley's neice won another prize. (Fazeley's currently taking cooking lessons, interestingly enough.)
“One of those children will burn himself before the weekend's over,” prophesied Ray. Unhappily, he was right. Our cooking fire had been dowsed with water but Fazeley's nephew Alistair (together with his brothers), still fascinated by fire after a weekend of playing with it, couldn't resist putting his sandshoed foot on the soggy ash. Up shot a spurt of steam and down went a screaming boy with a badly burned ankle. Happily, I can report that after 4 days of treatment at the hospital out-patients department, Alistair is now healing well.
Another wonderful re-union over. Reuniting with friends old and new is certainly one of the highlights of my year each year. And we are indeed lucky to have our own “Coolana”, our “meeting place by the water”.
* In coming magazines it is proposed to publish in instalments a slightly abridged version of the campfire presentation of “Background to Bushwalking.”
The Reverse Side Of The Coin.
by Jim Brown.
Almost a year ago, having finally got around to visiting the northern end of Axe Head Mountain, near Yerranderie, I gave my blessing (for what that may be worth) to the often repeated claims of other Blue Breaks aficionados that it commands the most impressive views in the area. However, as I sat on the Sentinel, the topmost point of Axe Head, that brilliant March afternoon, I looked north-east to the line of golden cliffs that form the western edge of Lacy's Tableland and wondered whether the outlook from them would be almost as spectacular. Sure, to judge from the map, you wouldn't have a dramatic eastern skyline: instead you would be confined to a 180-degree panorama, from south through west to north, but including Axe Head itself, and those same impressive rocky islets of Bull Island, Mounts Relentless and Remorseless, and beyond them, blue and gold in afternoon sunlight, the depths of the Kowmung ravine and the humps around Kanangra. In a way it would be the reverse side of the coin.
I had once before trodden a short section of Lacy's Tableland, but that was further north. What's more, the old enemy Time meant that I had walked it in the middle of a summer's day when there was very little shadow relief, and the whole landscape had been hazy olive-green. The cliff line towards the southern end of the Tableland should give a much more imposing view in late afternoon, especially if there were a few nice fluffy white clouds tinged with rosy westering light. There was only one way to find out how it compared with Axe Head - go there and see.
Because of the drought it was a year before I felt game to put it to the test, and even now I'm not sure that I chose the best approach route. This was done from Kanangra via Gingra Range and Hughes Ridge to the Kowmung River, and down the Kowmung to the Water Board road which follows the old Cedar Road formation. Leaving Kanangra shortly before noon, the first night camp was on the river just upstream of the Cedar Road, and quite late at 6.40 pm.
In the morning my path continued up the Cedar Road to Scott's Main Range, and perhaps a kilometre south along that to the Big Stringybark Range, which took me down to Butcher's Creek. Or rather, it would have taken me down to Butcher's Creek if I had not got on to a stubby spur which deposited me in a side creek. It didn't make much odds - the side creek had a couple of small cascades, but they were easily negotiated, and by 9.30 am I was on Butcher's Creek.
The next leg was over the low divide called Green Wattle Break between Butcher's Creek (which had a modest flow, by the way) and Green Wattle Creek. I'd done this once before and even at my crawling pace it had taken only a shade over two hours. I promised myself lunch on Green Wattle Creek. Well, that's where my planned schedule went down the drain. The ridge up to Green Wattle Break went all right, but when I started down the quite short descent on the eastern side, I once again picked a stubby ridge which dumped me unceremoniously into an almost dry side creek. Thinking of Spiro and his recent home-buying capers I said “gazumped twice in one day”, and started down the creek.
Presently I came to a waterfall, which plainly offered no way to a solo walker with no confidence in exposed places. At least there was a rock pool, so I lunched in a small overhang, then began the scramble up out of the gully on to that same ridge I had been on before. Very steep, grown with a lot of rubbish, and obviously burnt out a few years before to judge from the dry sticks bent over at various heights between ankle and thigh. I took a pasting in that scrub, and it was 3.30 pm before I was on Green Wattle Creek. On the way I remember recalling a former work-fellow who used to sigh at the end of a trying day, “There must be an easier way (to make a living)”. And I remember answering myself sternly, “Walking in the Blue Breaks isn't meant to be easy”.
A short spell on arrival at Green Wattle Creek, and my way then led downstream about an hour and a half. The pass I intended to use to get through the cliff line and on to Lacy's Tableland is situated at map reference Burragorang 1:31680 320980, and although I could see there was now no prospect of being up on the plateau for the night, at least I could camp on the creek immediately below the gap, ready for a dawn assault on the ridge.
As it turned out, the further I went down Green Wattle Creek the less water I found, and over the last kilometre I was reluctantly considering having to retreat upstream. I had actually passed the spot where intended to climb out when I found a single waterhole where a tree had been uprooted, and maybe thirty or forty litres of water with a brownish discolouration and an irridescent film over its surface. “I have drunk worse” I counselled and camped straightaway on a pleasant grassy flat just above it.
Up before dawn and away in piccaninny daylight at 5.25 am, wearing long trousers as a concession to the scrub that I knew I'd have to get through on the ridge. Apart from that, it was not a bad ridge and took the right up to a projecting bluff which lies immediately west of the pass. Then it was simply a matter of skirting around just below the cliff and into the pass. It is a little beauty, this pass; the cliff breaks down altogether, and one walks up through a grassy, richly vegetated volcanic spill. It looks very pretty, too, but there's a lush growth of nettles amongst the grasses. Kangaroos were grazing on the verdure as I reached the plateau, at about 2200 ft, and nearly three hours from the creek. I was now almost half a day behind my timetable, but I was on Lacy's Tableland.
Once on top, I was back into typical sandstone country and vegetation. I fancy it must have been burned several years ago, perhaps in the savage 1977 fires, because there are places where there is hardly any small growth beneath the trees, and other sections where the way lies through a tangle of dead sticks. In one respect the plateau is easy going - there are only minor undulations, and the height above sea level varies only between 2200 and 2600 ft. Most of the way the navigation is not difficult, as one can see the blue gulf of Green Wattle Creek not far away to the right (north-west). A little care is needed in places where the true crown of the plateau bends southward around the top of side creeks draining off towards Green Wattle. In one of these places I found I had swung north-west and lost perhaps half an hour getting back on the dominantly south-west bearing. All told, the rate of progress was below 2 kilometres per hour.
And the scenery is good. There are two particular vantage points where the highest ground lies right beside the cliff line and there are bare rocky shelves with nothing to block the line of sight. One of these is about reference Burragorang 302953, with an excellent outlook up and down Green Wattle Creek: the other near the knoll with a height reading of 2570 ft at reference 263926. This one would have been a real competitor with Axe Head if the light had been brighter and the hour later. As it was, I had lunched (a dry lunch) a short while before, but I hung around for a while hoping photographic conditions would improve. Instead it became more overcast, and I gave away any notion of dwelling overnight on the plateau rim. Apart from the fact that my time (and tucker) were running out, the tableland was extremely dry and I suspected one would have to descend a long way into the top of side creeks to find water.
Presently the ridge curved away to the south east, and its rim now overlooked Yerranderie and the Tonalli River. It this point I did another capital job of “gazumping” myself. About 2.30 pm I decided I must be almost due north of Lacy's Gap - my way of leaving the tableland. I eased over towards the cliff edge, but could see nothing of the very obvious semi-detached cliff which marks the Gap. However I could descry some cliffs to the west, jumped to the conclusion I'd overshot the pass, and doubled back. Half an hour later at the cliff edge I could see that I had been almost at Lacy's Gap when I turned back. During my third passage through that scrub I was becoming very aggravated about Lacy's Tableland, and it was after 4.0 pm when I started down the thread of eroded track which winds down steeply to the west of the projecting crag. I camped on the Tonalli about 5.30 pm, still 7 or 8 hours behind timetable.
Originally I'd had some idea of looking at the eastern face of Axe Head, but time had run out, and in the morning I made my way up the ridge into Yerranderie and out along my “quick escape” route via Byrnes Gap and Scott's Main Range until I came to the ridge near Denis Range where I proposed to drop into the Kowmung. Even at this stage, when it seemed impossible, I managed to get off my intended route: oh, yes, the ridge took me down to the Kowmung all right, at a point which I believed to be just down river from Root's Ridge, so I turned upstream for about a kilometre. It was only 3.30 pm but I was weary, my rations were low, and large mushrooms were growing there, so I made an early camp promising a dawn start up Roots Ridge next day.
I was away at 5.25 am and gradually began to doubt I was on Root's Ridge. It didn't seem to rise in that steady grade I remembered. After almost two hours I was convinced when I came to a prominent hump with a decided saddle beyond it. I knew, too, where I was - on Brumby Mountain on the ridge of the same name, the next one upriver from Root's Ridge. Oh, well, Brumby Ridge was a new route out of the Kowmung for me, and in that area, all ridges lead on to Gingra Range. I made just one good resolution, however - NEVER, no NEVER to try to descend Brumby Ridge. As someone once said, not altogether truthfully, about Compagnoni's Pass of Ti-Willa, “You're not supposed to come DOWN etc.”.
Well, there it is. I can't claim Lacy's Tableland to be as spectacular as Axe Head, but if ever you've got a few days with nothing much to do, keep it in mind as perhaps the second-best view in the Blue Breaks.
Where To Winmalee or How To Springwood.
Part the Second.
by Gordon Lee.
You may or not recall the events of the previous episode, so to refresh your memory and otherwise bore you here is our story so far. I had decided to “do” a Newland, and had, as is often my wont, fronted to the leader on Saturday night. We left on Sunday morning and drove to our rendezvous where we were met by the other two people who were to accompany Len on his exploratory. Part one ended as I backed carefully into position, pulled the handbrake into the on position and completed the parking of the car, where it would be left till the end of the walk, when we hoped we would return fit and well, refreshed in body and mind, enabled once again to rejoin the inevitable rat race to which we must go back in order to earn the wherewithal so that we are capable of coming back once more to furbish the physical and mental being, preparing us to take up our daily chores, giving us the opportunity to accumulate the “ready” which makes it possible to…
We dropped down a firetrail somewhere near the head of Lynch's Creek and began to follow the creek downstream. It was downstream for we were delighted to find that partly due to the recent rain the creek was flowing that clear burbling liquid which is such a fillip to our senses, pleasing to the eye, and captivating to the mind when the lure of refreshing our bodies in its balm rises in our thoughts.
And as we made our way down, every now and then there appeared for our appreciation a pool of reasonable proportions which suggested to me the prospect of using this as a very enjoyable summer swimming walk.
As the creek entered into the gorge phase and got away from the lawyer vine and general scrubbiness it became, as is usual for this area, “interesting”. Waterfall drops interposed themselves, impeding our progress. There were cutaways,and overhangs, rock formations displaying the consumate artistry of nature's sculpturing. The changes in the vegetation added a decorative effect which enhanced the tapestry which unfolded as we walked.
Naturally there were the normal accompaniments to any good leader's walk - plenty of morning teas, exchanges of jelly babies and dried apricots and enjoyable conversation on a multiplicity of subjects.
Some time later, because the necessity of getting back became important, we had to turn out of Lynch's Creek (so typical of the area) and lift up some 600' (those metric purists may have fun converting this) to a ridgetop which we had to cross in order to make a descent and second lift to bring us back to the firetrail. The second lift was not quite so demanding as the first, but the whole operation offered us the opportunity of flexing our muscles and extending us physically, and gave us a chance, visually, of taking in part of the panorama of the area which we had covered.
Since I am no expert on flora and fauna I cannot expound knowledgably on what we saw, nevertheless even at this time of the year there were enough of the native bits and pieces to excite our curiosity and engender our appreciation of what we refer to as “ours”.
Regardless of my earlier frivolities in criticising a “Newland”, let the faint hearted take courage, for Len's walks are for enjoyment and enlightenment with sufficient physical demand to placate the purist and as such are always a pleasure.
For those frustrated readers who are still reading expectantly hoping to find out what happened to the various members of the party resulting from their various encounters:-
Margaret emerged unscathed, virgo intacto, and in pristine condition - that is after the wounds healed.
Len's shorts (much to his relief) escaped from the foray usable and good for another 4 or 5 years. The thought of having to replace this item almost rendered Len non compos mentis.
“…..”, after the ceremonious cremation of the offending leech, to which he attended with the utmost glee and much gloating, was found not to be in need of a transfusion.
I have to admit that the unidentified black snake took one look and got the hell out of the way as fast as his/her legs would carry him/her. And that the blood trail left on the Chinese carpet was discovered to be a most foul and undetected leeching.
And to those motoring buffs who may have been expecting another extract from my article “Diamonds are for ever”, please accept my apologies. Due to unexpected litigation instigated by my publishers it was not possible to oblige.
Dot's Party - Friday, 29th May.
The party for Dot Butler at Ashfield Town Hall is definitely “ON”. Starting time is 8 pm. Some people are coming in disguise (Dot says she's coming in a dress and wearing lipstick, and Owen is wearing his dinner suit).
I would appreciate if people could inform me of their intentions to attend so we have some idea of numbers.
We would like people to bring a plate of food and/or some drink. There is a charge of $1 to cover the cost of the hall.
Please come one and all to make the evening one to remember. Helen Gray. Phone 86,6263.
Travelling With Children In India - Part 2.
by Marcia Shappert.
From Cochin we took the bus to Alleppey, down the coast. The bus trip took 2 1/2 hours and PJ and Jenny fought all the way. It must have been a hot day or they were too tired, but I couldn't pretend they didn't belong to me, as I sometimes do in Australia when they act up. No one gave me dirty looks, though, the way people do here, so either the Indians are used to seeing their children acting that way, or they figured “What do you expect of Western children?”
Alleppey was in the throws of a 42-day Hindu festival, this being the 31st day. The place was really crowded, so we ended up staying at a less-than-desirable place for $2.40 for two rooms. Jenny and I in one room and Craig and PJ in the other. In places like this I was always happy we had our sleeping sheets with us. I could crawl into the sleeping sheet, pull it up over my head and feel I wasn't touching anything dirty. (Of course, by this time my sleeping sheet was none too clean, but at least it was my own dirt.)
We had a quick tour of the town and met up with a fellow named Joseph who took us to a fireworks display in celebration of the festival. It was really spectacular, better than anything I had ever seen here - including the big celebrations in 1970. Joseph showed us all around the temple complex and we watched a group of musicians play lovely Indian music. Quite loud, but interesting. Little did I realize that the music would not stop until alter daylight.
The room was quite small and it was very warm, so we had to leave the window open. I was sure the loudspeakers were right outside my window, the music was so loud, but when I checked the next morning, they were at least two blocks away. The concept of noise pollution is an unknown thing in India. How Jenny ever managed to sleep through it all I'll never know, but I sure didn't. However, it did give me the opportunity to catch up on my diary, write some letters, cut my fingernails, sort my pack out, play some solitare, etc. It was loud and long. Actually, if I hadn't been so tired I really would have enjoyed the music, because it was very nice, but twelve hours of it at one stretch was a bit much.
The next morning we were up at 6 am to catch the 7.30 ferry to Quilan, a nine hour boat trip through the palm-studded canals for 30c each. We got to the boat deck and knew we must be in the right spot, because there were about eight other Europeans waiting for the same ferry. We all kept waiting. I heard a rumour that the ferry might not be running again that day (it didn't run the previous day), so Craig and another fellow went off to investigate. They came back with the news that the boat may leave at 12.30 that day, but that was the story that was told the day before too. So we made a quick decision to jump on the ferry that was at the dock and take the two hour trip to Kotaya.
This was the commuter ferry, so all the Indians spent the time chatting to one another or reading the paper, just as commuters here do. We were all fascinated with the country on either side of the canal. Mostly it was tall beautiful palm trees, but many of them were on little one-tree islands, something I hadn't seen before. The small islands looked to be man-made because they were all in neat rows with one tree on each. I don't understand the reason why it was done like this, but it was interesting. Indians came along selling the very sweet coffee the kids really had taken a liking to, so we had a few glasses of that (the theory is: if the glass is too hot to hold, it's too hot to drink). PJ saw one deck hand whose job it was to jump overboard every once in a while, swim back to where the motor was and clear all the weeds off, then jump back on board again. He also noticed that the passengers were nice enough not to use the open-bottomed toilets which were poised over the motors at the time. Leave it to PJ!!
Craig was really fascinated with the fact that all the rice paddys were below the level of the canal. The canal was a couple of hundred feet wide with cement walls all along. Very interesting engineering feat. I was wishing George Gray was there to explain how something like that would work. The commuters got off at stops along the way dressed very nicely with nothing in view but these one-tree islands, so I never figured out what their job was.
From Kotayam we took a train to Trivandrum, on the southern tip of India. It was almost dark when we reached Trivandrum, and we really hadn't eaten a proper meal all day. PJ, as usual, was starving and even Jenny said she was hungry. My friend in Bangalore said if we were ever in doubt as to where to stay or eat, to choose something Brahman. Being the highest Hindu caste, it had to be clean. That was what we did now, and the food was among the best we had in India. By this time we had became somewhat of expert “poori” tasters. Pooris are the flat bread chapati which have been deep fried for a minute until they puff up like balloons. The pooris, and everything else we had at this restaurant was wonderful. The kids were so impressed with the huge size of the pooris they kept ordering more. Our bill for this lovely “feed-up” was $1.20 for the four of us.
Our flight the next day to Columbo was to leave at 2 pm, which meant we had to be at the airport two hours earlier. It took the whole two hours to go through customs and immigration. If the officials would have been slow and thorough, I could have understood it, but they were only slow. For a half-hour flight we had spent four times that waiting.
It was times like this that we were grateful PJ and Jenny are avid readers. PJ bought Enid Blyton books everywhere, and Jenny was into crossword puzzles. Another favourite “waiting game” was “I spy”, and in India you can really come up with some interesting things.
The difference between Indian and Sri Lankan customs was unbelievable!! We were through in no time at all. A Sydney friend had asked me to get in touch with a friend of hers in Columbo and give her $250 for work that she is doing in slum clearance. That amount of money equals 5,185 Rs and is really a big wad of cash. Needless to say, this Sri Lankan couple welcomed us with open arms, and really went out of their way for us. We had decided we wanted to stay as 'paying guests' while in Sri Lanka. This is where you stay in private homes but pay to stay there. We felt this was a good way to get to know the people better. Our friend, Sreyanie, organized several of these for us. The first place we stayed in Columbo was huge. We had our own area of the house, complete with coloured TV and a dryer, things we don't have back in Sydney. Sreyanie and her husband, Sadha, took us out for dinner that night while the servants looked after the children.
At several places we stayed, we noticed that the fridge, TV, washer, dryer or any “mod cons” the family had were in the living room. We put this down to the very small kitchens, until we got back here and were told by friends who used to live in Sri Lanka that they are all “status symbols” so if you have them you show them off.
We decided to go from Columbo to Sigiriya, one of the three ancient cities, then on to Anuradhapura, another ancient city, then spend Christmas in Wilpattu National Park before going to Kandy and Ratnapura. We'd have two weeks in Sri Lanka before going back to India for one more week.
You may be wandering why we spent two weeks in India, then flew to Sri Lanka for two weeks and then back to India for one week. The cheapest fare we could find was to Madras, even though we had to fly through Bombay. So we did the west coast of southern India, then flew to Sri Lanka from Trivandrum, and then back to Trivandrum and continued up the east side to Madras again. So it really wasn't as unorganised as it may seem.
To be continued…
Our Hon. Solicitor.
The Club's Hon. Solicitor, Colin Broad, has just celebrated his 50 years as a solicitor.
At Tom Moppett's invitation in the early 1950s he became our Hon. Solicitor at the time we were transferring our holding at North Era to the Royal National Park, and he has given his legal assistance in our acquiring Coolana lands. Although he has worked so consistently for the Club he has never became an active member, but several years ago he was given Honorary Membership. However he did many skiing trips with early members, especially Tom Moppett and Paddy Pallin.
He recalls exciting ski trips to the Chalet from the old Kosciusko Hotel, when guests were driven up by horse and waggon and the mail to the Chalet was delivered by dog team. There were no bridges over the creeks and crossing on verglassed (i.e. iced up) rocks with skis on was always an excitement.
The Annual General Meeting - March, 1981.
by Barry Wallace.
There were about 45 members present at this year's A.G.M. when El Presidente gonged the gong and called the meeting to order. The time was just after 8.00 pm and there were apologies from Helen Gray, Owen Marks, and several more whom I did not get down.
The Minutes of the previous General Meeting were read and received, but not before we welcomed our only new member for the month, John Jennings.
Correspondence brought a letter from Alan and Alice Wyborn advising of their resignation, a letter from the N.S.W. Premier's Department in response to our earlier letter protesting the plan to permit underground coal mining in National Parks, a letter to Tom Herbert asking for info. about “The Bone” and a letter to the National Trust regarding the Estate of the late Marie Byles.
The Club's annual reports were taken as read and duly accepted on the voices. Someone then moved the suspension of such of the standing orders as necessary be suspended in order to permit the election of officers to proceed concurrently with the business of the meeting, and, despite a quibble from one member, this was passed, and it was on.
You already know (if you read the mag) who is doing what for the next year. The President, V.Ps., Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Walks Secretary, Social Sec. (he didn't even have to leave the country this year) and New Members Secretary were all elected unopposed. It was only when we came to Committee Members that things got tough, up to then we were electing people as fast as Barbara could write them up on the board. We shall draw a discreet veil over the exact details, but we eventually elected people for most of the jobs. Only the Federation Delegates are a bit light on. Not as individuals, I hasten to add. There also seem to be a lot of people on the Coolana Committee, but that had something to do with special aptitudes.
The Treasurer's Report indicates that we started the month with $2435.52, gained $131.40, spent $318.49 and ended up with $2248.43. The Coolana account had a closing balance of $272.15.
Federation Report told of the preparation of a submission to the N.S.W. Forestry Commission on the Washpool Forest logging proposal, of a letter to Senator Don Chipp supporting his stand on South-West Tassie and of a suggestion that Federation support the formation of a club to be called the Wild Rivers Club.
The Treasurer then rose to propose the level of subs. for the coming year. Despite some initial wonderment everyone accepted the proposed REDUCTION in subs. Now pay, blast you!!
The Coolana Report indicates that the proposed land swap to secure the upper section of escarpment at our entrance has now been completed. The bushfire damage to the block is healing rapidly and George Gray has been authorised to buy replacement ag. pipe for the water supply. He has also been authorised to buy a replacement seat for the out-building which was damaged in the fire.
The first two walks for mention in the Walks Report had no report. They were Vic Lewin's Burnt Flat Creek - Wollondilly River and return, damper bake-off of the 13,14,15th February, and David Rutherford's Lane Cave River canoe trip on the 15th - your guess is as good as anyones, and just a bit better than mine. Jim Brown made up for all that by reporting his Heathcote - Woronora Junction - Heathcote Sunday trip as having 12 plus l starters. The weather was hot and steamy but the pools were beaut.
The Barry Wallace Murruin Creek rock-hop of the 20,21,22 February was relocated somewhat to keep the party on the good side of a rather swollen Wollondilly. There were about 10 starters, the weather was overcast but mostly fine and they went to the Nattai instead. Ian Debert's 8 starters on his Bouddi Park walk were not so fortunate, they were in the rainy part of the state and mentioned mosquitoes. David Ingram's Waterfall to Heathcote walk on the 22nd February had an unspecified number of starters and ended up returning to Waterfall in a shower of snakes. There was no report of Marcia Shappert's Apple Tree Bay walk scheduled for the same day.
The new month started with David Rostron's Whungee Whungee Creek trip of 27,28 February, 1st March. There were 4 starters and they couldn't get down the creek. Jim Percy led 10 starters on his Lake Louise, Mt.Ayre, Lake Louise ramble that same weekend. The weather was good, and they all survived even though the Shoalhaven was somewhat muddy. Meryl Watman had 12 people on her Gurramboola Heights to Heathcote stroll which we are told went as programmed. Peter Christian had about 10 starters on the other day walk, also in the Heathcote area.
The following weekend, 6,7,8 March saw Wayne Steele leading 6 people on his Carlon's, Splendour Rock, Galong Creek, Carlons classic while Fazeley Read reported 14 people and good weather on her Gospers Mountain walk. The two day walks were led by Peter Sargeant and Kath Brown. Peter had 6 prospectives and 7 members but there was no report of his scheduled Glenbrook Creek trip. Kath had 12 starters who did their trip in reverse to avoid congregating with the 35 or so N.P.A. members they met on the train.
General Business saw the Club refer a question of a new fence across the Six Foot Track to Federation for action, and a motion of commendation for the Club Treasurer.
It was then only a matter of the new/old President declaring the meeting closed with the traditional “Let us Re-une!” at 9.28 pm, by which time the number of members present had risen to about 70. The drawing power of our coffee and bikkies never ceases to amaze me.
An additional walk for the first weekend of the school holidays Friday 8th May to Monday 11th May is being arranged as follows:-
Carlon's Farm - Breakfast Creek - Scrubbers Saddle - Jenolan River - Kumbedah Creek - Mt. Queahgong - Mt. Jenolan - Cox's River - Carlon's. 40 km Medium - Map: Jenolan.
The leader has located the wreck of a Cessna 182 which came down in 1968 on Mt. Queahgong and he proposes to show it to the party. It may also be possible (time permitting) to do a side trip to Mt. Guouogang.
Private transport. Please contact Leader: George Walton. Phone 498,7956.
Social Notes For May.
by Peter Miller.
Wednesday, May 20th: Square dancing.
The last square dance evening was very successful and with the cooler weather now is the time to repeat the fun. An experienced caller will show how it is done and it doesn't matter if you have two left feet (like most bushwalkers) you can still enjoy the evening.
Wednesday, May 27th: Taronga Park Veterinary Hospital.
Ted Finnie is the chief veterinarian at Taronga Park and has many stories to tell about the hospital. We have all visited Taronga Park and it will be interesting to know what goes on behind the scenes.
Annual Subscriptions, 1981.
This year the annual subscriptions for active members are:-
|Non-active member with magazine posted
|Non-active member without magazine posted
Subscriptions can be paid to the Treasurer, Tony Marshall, or to John Holly at the club, or mailed to Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476 G.P.O.SydnaY, 2001. Please advise details of membership required.
Congratulations - to Rosemary Edmunds and Ben Butler who were married last month.
Covers for Foam Rolls - $2.50 Fazeley Read - Phone 909,3671.
Covers for Sleeping Bags - $2.50 - Helena Gray - Phone 86,6263.
All proceeds to the “Coolana” Fund.
He's Making A Mountain.
(Extract from Himalayan journal)
On most weekends the stooped figure of Mr. David Sawkins can be seen climbing the slopes of Townsville's Castle Hill with a sack of gravel on his back.
Mr. Sawkins has a strange obsession. He is making a mountain.
Castle Hill, one of the coastal landmarks of far North Queensland, is, according to a recent survey, about 18 inches short of the height that would make it a full fledged mountain - 1,000 feet.
So for the last 10 years Mr. Sawkins and six friends who formed the Castle Mountain fraternity have been giving Nature a hand. Armed with buckets, spades and sacks they have been quarrying gravel and lugging it to the top of the hill over a 90' square path they are building up that elusive 18 inches.
Why? “Because when this becomes a mountain the whole atmosphere will change,” Mr. Sawkins said yesterday.
“It's the atmosphere of the thing. A hill is just a hill but a mountain, boy, that's really something.”
Congratulations to Club members, Helen Rowan and Brian Goldstraw, who have announced their engagement.
Tickets for the Dot Butler Anniversary Party are included in this magazine. Please consider these tickets as a reminder of, and an invitation to, the event.
(We hope to see you on the night, but if you can't come there is no need to return your tickets.)
Having trouble finding when Easter will occur? The reason for the variabilIty of Easter is because Easter day, as defined by the First Council of Nicala (A.D. 325) is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox.
The earliest possible Easter date is 22nd March and the latest possible date is the 25th April. A recently published algarithm attributed to Gauss and modified by O'Beirne simplifies the determination. Herewith is a table to enable you to plan your Easters.
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This month was a sad one for the Club with the death of two members, George Dibley and June Tuffley.
Memories of George Dibley.
By Tim Coffey.
In June, 1937 when I joined the S.B.W. George Dibley was an experienced walker of 5 years membership. George was a strong walker and although quietly spoken he had a good sense of humour. We were away 2 weeks in the New England Ranges with Max Gentle who would not eat salt under any circumstances. George salted the porridge each morning and always smilingly asked Max how he enjoyed it. “Great!” was always the reply. In Tasmania when we were climbing a chimney near the top of Mt. Ossa the strap on George's new camera case broke. George was vertically above and the camera was dangling above my face. George called “How about buying a cheap camera!”.
George walked in New Zealand for 3 months with Gordon Smith and party. Bert Whiller taught him to swim during the trip. When he returned we walked down the Nattai and over the Getover to the Wollondilly and to Jack Debert's old campsite. We all stripped off, dived in and swam across the big pool. On the other bank we couldn't land because of dense reeds. George grabbed me and held on and I had quite a job to haul his 16 stone back across the river. We asked “What happened?”. George replied “I didn't learn to turn”.
George was a great music lover and a very artistic photographer, especially of flowers and birds. He and Marie spent 2 years of their retirement working for the Ornithology Department at Sydney Museum.
George was a great friend and we will all miss him. We extend our condolences to his good wife Marie.
Memories of June Tuffley.
Members were saddened to hear of the death of Club member, June Tuffley, who passed away in Brisbane on April 15th after a short illness.
June became interested in Bushwalking in her home town Brisbane and joined our Club in 1970. Very active for several years, she slowed down whilst she obtained her B.A. but had again become active just prior to becoming ill.
June loved the bush and strove to pass her love on to others. One activity was to organise and lead bushwalks for her patients at Mt. Wilga Rehabilitation Hospital at Hornsby.
June will be sadly missed by all who knew her and walked with her. We extend our sympathy to her parents and two brothers.