Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker
Established June 1931
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 Cahill Community Centre (Upper Hall), 34 Falcon Street, Crows Nest.
|Phil Butt and Barbara Evans
|The Allure of Lacys
|Obituary - Maurice Lonsdale Berry
|The Half-Yearly General Meeting
|Obituary - Michael Short
|The Desert Survival Problem
|The Jim Brown Sept 22 Wildflower Extravaganza
|Social Notes for November
Our magazine is entering a new phase in its long history. Its appearance and presentation will improve as the new electronic typewriter an offset printer are used. The typewriter has a clearer typeface than that of the old typewriter, as you would have noticed in recent issues. Later on we can purchase “daisy wheels” with other typefaces such as italics. It is not easy to switch from a heavy manual to a feather-touch electronic typewriter, and it is thanks to Kath Brown's willingness and determination that we can see the change in typing so soon.
This issue is the first to be printed with the offset printing machine. A new size of paper is required and a different quality, and therefore our Business Manager, Bill Burke, has organised the preparation of advertising and printing of new covers.
Bit by bit we can develop our skills in layout and printing, which hopefully will be more of a pleasure than an added burden to our able “duplicators” - sorry, printers - Phil Butt and helper Barbara Evans.
Photographs, maps showing routes and relevant features, line drawings, line and wash sketches, can all be presented with your articles or separately as contributions. For this, our printers will need to develop their skills and with experience our reproduction should improve.
Variety of contributions is welcome; for example, cartoons, songs with musical notation, crosswords, quizzes on bushwalking topics, and letters to the editor. So now is the time to think - what can I contribute to our new-look magazine?
The Editor wishes to thank all those who worked on the purchase of the typewriter and printing machine, and all those who give us something to print.
The Allure Of Lacys
by Ainslie Morris
28th August to 2nd September, 1984. Map: Burragorang 1:31,680 Topographic
Lacys Tableland has held for me a mystic aura ever since I was on the Bindook Committee in the mid-1970s. It had a beckoning appeal, yet seemed inaccessible, and only Milo Dunphy seemed to have actually been there. It was, of course, included in our Committee's proposal for a Southern Blue Mountains National Park, intended to extend south and east of Kanangra-Boyd National Park through the Bindook Highlands and Blue Breaks to Lake Burragorang.
The Blue Mountains National Park was extended in 1997 from Mt. Solitary near Katoomba in the north to the Tonalli and Wollondilly Rivers in the south, and so it now includes Lacys and Tonalli Tablelands. The Blue Mountains-Burragorang Tourist Map shows this clearly and is a very good map to take on this walk. It showed us the names of features easily visible from our many fine vantage points, and it can also be used to check the road into Yerranderie from Oberon. The total driving time from Sydney is 5 to 6 hours, and the distance is 300 km each way.
When Bill Capon suggested a walk in this area in the school holidays, I was keen to get up on to Lacys Tableland, seen several times from Yerranderie, the Axehead Range and even from Cloudmaker far to the north. An intended party of four resolved into three starters, the third being Mike Reynolds.
The pine forest just before Oberon seemed like a good place to camp, but Bill thought the ground had too many bits of hard bark, and the sleety snow howling around us an unnecessary test of fortitude. Titania beckoned (the motel, that is) and we got a room for three at 11.30pm.
It is essential to buy petrol at Oberon before driving the 200 km return to Yerranderie, and nearly as essential to buy an apple pie and cream. We tucked into this for morning tea at the Twin Peaks homestead turn-off shown on the Nattai topographic map. Bill was showing his fair-minded nature by dividing the pie equally into thirds with his protractor, and his leadership qualities by keeping the troops happy before we'd walked a step.
We parked the car at 263846 (Nattai map) along the old Picton road where a track leads off to the left 3 km before a M.W.S. & D. Board locked gate. From here the route can be outlined: north over the Tonalli River, Lacys Gap, Lacys Creek, Lacys Creek North Canyon, Bimlow Tableland, Lacys Tableland and return via Lacys Gap again.
The best view of Tonalli Tableland is from near the locked gate; cleared grazing land rolls down to the Tonalli River, and up above the sandstone cliffs up to 400 feet high spread along the whole length, glowing softly in brilliart sunshine. The blue skies and glorious spring weather stayed with us for all but a few hours of the walk.
We started out at 12 noon on to private grazing land, ideal for kangaroos which were a pleasure to see in plentiful groups. The foundations of a house and water tanks remain next to the little dam shown on the Burragorang map; there was an old boiler and a covered shaft, possibly for mining. Lunch and a lie in the sun for an hour on a soft grassy spot at 268863, by the shallow flowing waters of the Tonalli, set us up well for the 2 hour climb up the ridge. Lacys Gap has a distinctive peaky rock overhang 1,780 feet above the river. A bearing of 332° to spot height 123° is helpful, but a track is frequently stumbled upon, and in fact access to Lacys Tableland is easy.
We found the cave used by David Rostron's party of four in 1981 on the left of the “island”, and the ramp up between the cliff line is obvious on the other side of the little saddle. The view from the rim is excellent.
Bonnum Pic 20 km due south was distinctive, and a tower on the horizon 40 km away was shown on the 1:125,000 Tourist map as probably near Mittagong. The waters of Lake Burragorang add interest to the scene.
For the first time I donned my nylon overpants as we walked through moderately dense scrub north towards area 2691 to camp. The “scattered timber” in the headwaters of Lacys Creek is in fact a swamp. There are clear level places to set up tents, which we did at 5.15pm, and enjoyed a windless starry night as the new moon set.
We started at 8.20am on Thursday, 30th August, and 200 metres downstream our swamp water was flowing nicely and much easier to get at for water. At 275915 a small rock overhang indicates an easy ramp down through a break in the cliff line, through masses of soft golden-green ferns, and one hour out of camp we were in the wonderland of Lacys Creek, surely one of the best you could ever go along.
In the temperate rainforest the mossy rocks, coachwood, tall tree ferns and a variety of other ferns gave us the feeling that we were in a special place, visited by very few. The footprints of two people down the creek belied our feeling, but I still think few walkers go here. And yet the walking is easy, often on leaf litter in the clear under-rain-forest trees, beside a series of four foot waterfalls, and shallow pools in which orange, red and yellow pebbles give a soft glowing colour. I had expected boulder-clambering and dense undergrowth, but this creek is gentle as far as The Prow.
As the valley widens out after an hour, the north-facing slopes are glorious with bright yellow wattle groves among the forest of tall straight blue gums, while the southern aspect remains in shaded rainforest. The banks are mostly a gentle slope or flat, but in places scrub and thick ferns decided us to walk in the creek, wading mostly ankle to knee deep on a firm pebbly bed. My one attempt to remove the overpants and walk through scrub was rewarded with a vicious multiple Lawyer Vine scratch on my shin. This creeper, with its throat-grabbing thorns, could only have been named Smilax australis by a botanist with a rapier-like wit.
At The Prow the creek swings north, and as a lovely little clear flat terrace with waterfrontage campsites presented itself at 4pm, we settled down to enjoy the late afternoon sun which was reflected off the pale sandstone cliffs above. While I had a hot bath (ah, the versatility of a breakfast/dinner bowl), Bill explored the apparent break in the cliff line west of The Prow, but soon returned to report huge rock falls and a very steep scrubby climb.
We actually made our 8 o'clock start on Friday, and having noted the sudden descent of Lacys Creek north to its junction with the North Canyon (also called Reilly Creek), we headed up and kept close to the upper terrace below the cliff line at or above the 1400' contour.
The thickest scrub and patches of rain-forest are encountered before swinging on to the north facing slopes, where the going is fairly easy. At Barber Canyon we stopped at 10.20 am at 324943 on about the 1600', level. This creek is perennial and had a pool deep enough to swim in.
We were looking for the northern tributary at 314948, when at the junction its character was completely different again from Reilly Creek, whose mossy green boulders had been quite different in character from gentle Lacys Creek. Now we found creek progress impossible, the boulders being clustered into miniature cliffs. We were standing there considering the route, not talking (for once), when pat-pat-pat-pat - a fox was trotting by on the floor of the rainforest only a few feet away. It looked up in astonishment, turned and fled, white-tipped russet tail bobbing.
From here was a nose to slope scramble in vine and fern, then we were only able to proceed on the south side. It is really a canyon although the cliffs are not marked on the map. After collecting water where we could finally get down, we found a break on the north side at 309954 at 2.30pm.
The top of Lacys Tableland is a gently undulating to flat featureless place, with scrub varying from thin and open forest to medium scrub, and at sources of streams dense tea-tree and almost impenetrable banksia. it is the glorious extensive views from the rim that make it worthwhile walking there.
Thus we headed northeast to see the amphitheatre, and at 319960 on the knoll had a lookout along the Bimlow Tableland rim, and over Green Wattle Creek in the heart of the Blue Breaks. From our dry camp nearby we could see the tower at Katoomba on the far horizon 34km due north. Broken Rock Range fills the foreground, and Lake Burragorang can be glimpsed to the far right.
Saturday was a day of continual scrub bash, following faint ridges using compass bearings. As our timing was miscalculated we only got to a deep gully and creek for lunch at 11.45am at 272936, although we had thought we were south of spot height 2570. Fine views from the rim facing northwest were our reward after looking at bushes for hours.
One of our route plans was to descend the western point in area 2490, and at 3 o'clock we got there. There is a 30 foot cliff to a saddle which looks like a “goer” down north to Bull Island Creek, but it looked too risky for a party of three to attempt. It is well worth a visit, however, as a 290° panorama extends from Kanangra in the north, shining silver in an approaching storm; Boyd Plateau to the west; and below Bull Island Peak the great patches of yellow wattle lit up the Tonalli valley to the south. What a view!
The rain chased us through very dense scrub towards the cave at Lacys Gap. It made a perfect sheltered camp for three (but could fit 5 or 6), and as the thunder crashed we enjoyed the last of our rum toddies, cookies, vintage port, fresh coffee and jaffas. That a tough walk!
Sunday was refreshing with a clear sky and cool breeze after the humid day before. Descending the ridge as it widens requires a firm turn left at spot height 1230' - if you can pick it. We missed it and descended the steeper ridge south, and enjoyed a wash and morning cuppa on the Tonalli. After a look around Yerranderie's “ghost town” and silver mine, now owned by a mining company, we left for Sydney well satisfied with our exploratory ramble in Lacys.
NOTE: Jim Brown led a walk which went right down Lacys Creek to Bimlow (now under the waters of Lake Burragorang) back in 1950, when access was possible in half the time by train and bus. He has also gone off Lacys Tableland to Green Wattle Creek on later solo trips. Bill Capon is considering putting on a similar trip for Easter, returning via Bull Island Peak and Chinaman Bluffs.
Obituary - Maurice Lonsdale Berry
On 28th August in his 82nd year
by Brian Harvey
Maurie, as he was known, commenced his bushwalking career as a young man when he was invited to join the venerable Mountains Trails Club in the early 1920's, at the period when swags and not rucksacks were the order of the day for those who traversed the bushlands. Inspired by Myles Dunphy's conservation ideals he sat on the National Parks and Primitive Areas Council from which stemmed a lifelong interest.
The Mountain Trails Club was a male only organisation and when the desirability of a mixed sexes walking club was mooted, he attended that historical meeting of October 1927 held at the N.S.W. Sports Club in Hunter Street, when it was decided that such a club should be formed. It was Maurie who moved “That the club be known as 'The Sydney Bush Walkers'” and thus was coined the long-accepted expression “bushwalking” for our dictionaries - a recreation hitherto referred to under a variety of other terminologies.
It came about in the early 1930's that Maurie was a member of the walking party travelling down the Grose River which came upon two cattlemen who were about to fell the tall blue gums on their Crown Lease to provide a grassy pasture for their cattle. It is now well-documented history that these men were prevailed upon not to fell the timber but sold the Lease to The Sydney Bush Walkers, a transaction in which our late member was very much involved. He was later appointed to the Blue Gum Forest Trust under the auspices of the Department of Lands.
From 1936 to 1939 he was President of our Club and upon the occasion of the Club's 50th Anniversary, as a Foundation Member, was created an Honorary Member in recognition thereof. In conservation matters, he was also associated with the Wild Life Preservation Society and the National Parks Association.
During World War II, Maurie was very active in the Bushwalkers Services Committee which was instrumental in the despatch of a great volume of material and spiritual comforts to those members of all affiliated clubs on Active Service and which were very much appreciated by the recipients.
For the greater part of his working life he was with the Western Electric Company and when that firm was acquired and staff dispersed, he foresaw the need for social contact to be maintained between the many workmates of long-standing employment, and so he formed the Westrex Club which still holds annual reunions and other activities. It was in a similar context he realised the desirability of forming a purely social club, somewhat ancilliary to the S.B.W., to bring together those earlier members of our Club whose walking days were over and now enjoyed passive activities. And so he was a Foundation Member and Foundation President of The Dungalla Club which nearly 200 of our more mature members and past members joined to carry on that mateship which is a prominent feature of bushwalking. On retirement to the Central Coast he was active in local conservation projects, became an enthusiastic member of the local photographic club, and played a little bowls.
We should be very proud that Maurie's name will live on for posterity in the official maps for we have “Mount Berry” in the Gangerang Range and “Morrieberrie Pass” leading up on to the Kanangra Plateau, names bestowed by Myles Dunphy as a mark of respect to a walking mate and a conservationist.
Throughout his life Maurie was always thinking of others, and indeed Australia is a better place because of such a man. Our Club extends its sincere sympathies to his wife Doreen, and to son John and family, who rejoice in our high regard for him.
The Half-Yearly General Meeting
12th September 1984
by Barry Wallace
The meeting began at around 8.20pm, with some 40 or so members present and the President in the chair. There were apologies from Barrie Murdoch, Don Matthews and Maurie Bloom, and new member Martina Osprey was welcomed into membership in the usual way.
The Minutes of the June General Meeting were read and received, with the comment that Paul Barnes had also been awarded the Order of Australia.
There was no significant correspondence, primarily because we had not been able to collect it.
So then it was the Treasurer's turn to advise of the state of Club finances. It seems we began the quarter with a balance of $3830.36, spent $3938.50, earned or otherwise acquired $1861.43 and concluded with a balance of $1753.29. It should be noted that the expenditure includes the purchase of an offset printer, plate maker and fuser for production of Club publications.
All of which led us to the Walks Report, which was preceded by, or perhaps begun with, an outpouring of discontent from our usually jovial Walks Secretary. I did not record the details, and Bill has almost certainly forgotten them since, but it seems that the world in general, and walks leaders in particular, were agin him on the day.
The weekend of 10,11,12 August saw the cancellation of Gordon Lee's snow camping weekend. No snow, no cars, was the comment. John Williams and Sandy Hines had a party of around 19 people on their Kanangra walk, two of whom became misplaced in Gingra Creek for a time on the Sunday. Spiro Hajinakitas reported a party of 13 and cold, windy weather for his Mt. Colong walk. The trip began in a heavy fall of fluffy, down-like snow. Peter Christian's Grose Valley day walk did go, but there was no report. Sheila Binn's Waterfall to Heathcote trip started off with 22 people. It was a good walk, with a fine day, but when they counted heads at the finish, there were 26 on the trip, none of whom were newborn.
The following weekend, 17,18,19 August saw Bill Holland leading a party of 13, shrinking to 11, on his Shoalhaven River, Mt Ayre and environs trip. Bill Capon had 14 on his Morton National Park trip, but there was no report. We did, however, hear that Peter Miller was injured in a fall and had to be assisted out. It seems some members of the party explored and marked possible escape routes which were not subsequently used. The fact that they marked the routes with items of clothing which were not recovered is in no way related to Joan Cooper's contracting of pneumonia.
George Mawer's Bluegum day walk did not go. Karl Lackmann had around 10 on his McCarrs Creek, Akuna Bay, Elvina Bay trip and Errol Sheedy led 12 members, one visitor and 5 prospectives on his Otford to Waterfall trip, which went to programme.
Gordon Lee's Budawangs walk of 24,25,26 August had 8 people out in windy conditions on what was described as a decent walk. George Walton also remarked on the windy weather on his Kanangra to Katoomba trip which attracted 9 starters. Peter Miller's Kanangra walk did not go, perhaps because Peter was convalescing after his fall. Paul Mawhinney and Jim Brown both cancelled day walks that weekend because of a train strike. Bill Holland's lot were of a more independent cast and drove to Berowra to gallop through to Hornsby on the Benowie Track. There were 10 prospectives and 2 visitors.
The first weekend in September saw Spiro Hajinakitas and Maurie Bloom running their car swap trip as a one-ended walk. It is not clear how many people went, but they had rain on Saturday and a fine, clear, Sunday with glorious views. John Williams reported 4 people on his Coxs River area walk. They also encountered stormy weather on Saturday evening, but described the walk as good nonetheless. Of the day walks that weekend Jan Mohandas' walk was cancelled for lack of trains, but Rudy Dezelin had around 18 people on his Kuringai Chase trip.
Over the weekend of 7,8,9 September Alan Pike's mini Three Peaks trip did not go; Steve Lang reported 21 people and an enjoyable trip on his Yalwal walk. George Mawer's Waterfall to Engadine trip was led by Judy Mahaffey with 12 people, no rain and no snow. Peter Christian reported 12 people and lovely wildflowers on his “Wildflower Special” and Bill Gamble had 7 or 8 people on his Narrowneck walk. All of which brought the Walks Report to an end.
Federation Report brought news of the recent F.B.W. elections. Gordon Lee is Federation President, Spiro Hajinakitas is F.B.W. Secretary, and Tim Coffey is N.C.C. delegate. A scheme of insurance for bushwalkers and bushwalking clubs is under discussion. F.B.W. are asking that anyone finding errors in the C.M.A. 1:25,000 series maps should report them to C.M.A. There is concern at the failure of N.P.W.Service to declare wilderness areas as parks. This concludes the Federation Report.
General Business brought news that Roger Browne has returned from the deep north and will take up his previous position as Social Secretary. Barbara Evans volunteered for the position of F.B.W. Delegate and was elected unopposed, and Mike Reynolds was elected as Assistant to the New Members Secretary.
A motion “That this meeting recommend to the Annual General Meeting that the category of Married Couple Membership Subscription be replaced by a Household Membership Subscription” was passed on the voices. In the absence of advice or recommendations on the Bushwalker Insurance Scheme no significant discussion was possible.
The Club has chosen Coolana as Reunion Site for the 1985 Reunion and Spiro will again act as Convenor, chief cook etc.
The Club was told there are plans to construct a two-storey motel type building on the Coxs River at the foot of Black Jerry's ridge. This is private land.
After that it was just a matter of announcements of coming walks and the meeting closed at 9.30pm.
It is noted that the signboard of the Goanna Track in the Heathcote National Park has been defaced. We wonder if a new name will be chosen when the sign is replaced.
Obituary - Michael Short
By Frank Taeker
The death occurred on July 31st of former club member Mike Short.
Mike joined the S.B.W. in June 1964 and led his first club walk later that same year. During his years in the club he held several official position, namely Conservation Secretary (1070), Magazine Duplicator Operator (1972 & 1973) and Federation Delegate (1974).
Michael and I completed our apprenticeships at the same time and had known one another for many years, when in February 1965 he persuaded me to go on a walk he was leading for the S.B.W. in his favourite area near Mittagong. I went as a visitor, and several months later became a member. By introducing me to the club, Michael opened up a new way of life to me and gave me the opportunity to meet people who have become my 1ifelong friends. For this I will always be grateful to Mike.
Mike, was a sincere and friendly person who loved the bush and bushwalking. Unfortunately, he has been unwell for some years and was therefore prevented from walking with the club.
Those of us who knew him most will miss him.
On behalf of the club, I extend our deepest sympathy to Mike's mother and father, Mr and Mrs Short, and sisters Jennifer, Penelope and Joanna.
At The October Committee Meeting
Doreen Berry, widow of the late Maurie Berry, and herself a member of S.B.W. over many years, was elected as Honorary Member of the Club at the October Committee Meeting.
The Desert Survival Problem
Part Two - The Experts' Opinions
by Marion Lloyd
(The September issue of the magazine contained Part One of this article. It posed the problem of a crash landing of a light aircraft in Central Australia in the heat of summer. Certain specified items of equipment were salvaged by the survivors, and the question was which items were most useful, and why? Part Two contains the “Answers” according to people who claim to be experts in the question of survival
(The foregoing gives the opinions of the “experts”. In view of the terms of reference in Part 1, some fit and experienced walkers may believe that some of the strongest survivors could walk out to the nearest habitation, travelling by night and sheltering during the heat of the day. After all, some early explorers in Central Australia did just that. Probably it depends on whether you accept the opinions of the “experts”. After all, the searchers may be looking for you in the wrong place (“The pilot was unable to notify anyone of your position before the crash” - The Situation) or they may not find you before your time runs out, if at all)
[This section has been removed for copyright reasons]
The Jim Brown Sept 22 Wildflower Extravaganza
A Somewhat Inaccurate Ode, With Apologies to Whoever Wrote the Original Rhyme, the Rhythm of Which was Knocked Off - by Ray Franklin
The hilly trails were neater,
but the valley tracks were flatter
so we therefore deemed it meeter
to walk along the latter.
Brave Jimbo was our leader,
and he made it very clear
that though he'd always take command…
he'd do it from the rear.
Yes, he led us from behind, folks,
while would-be Tigers surged ahead…
although towards lunch and morning tea,
he left them all for dead.
And so, to Philotheca,
the Gully of that name,
he led us 'twas thus before,
he said and now, 'Was just the same.
Yes, some things never change, my lads,
though our brains get old and mushy…
there's ne'er a doubt, at all about,
the memory of a Sydney Bushie.
And so, to see the wildflowers,
in beauty, spread abroad,
Jim took us, and found us also,
a seeming Mongol horde.
You're right: the N.P.A. crowd,
all motley bags and shamble,
and grim of face, with heavy foot…
the dreaded N.P.A. ramble.
We smote them, hip and thigh, my boys,
we stole their goods and chattels…
(Well, in our mind's eye, anyway,
we fight these wondrous battles!)
But 'twas in truth, we bravely risked
the freeways of this nation
We crossed them twice,
to hit the road for Brooklyn railway station
Yes, that was journey's end, my friends:
the station, and the pub
and up in front, bold Brian Bolton,
an example to the Club.
A walker good and true, that man,
but in one thing you earn trust:
when he scents an ale, on the homeward track,
you'll end up eating Brian's dust.
So that was how it ended:
to Jim Brown, we tips our lids,
as we follow Brian homewards,
we'd not have missed it…. not for quids!
Social Notes For November
by Roger Browne
|- Committee meeting
|- Talented Persons' Concert
|This is where Club members and friends get together to sing, play,dance, read poetry, perform magic or entertain in other ways. If you are a talented person, or you know of one, please contact Owen Marks as soon as possible.
|- Magazine Wrapping Night. Help out with production of the Club magazine.
|- Members' Slides Night. The theme is open, so you can bring any slides that you would like to show.
|Dinner before this meeting at the Phuong Vietnamese Restaurant, 87 Willoughby Road, Crow's Nest. Meet outside at 6.30 pm, late arrivals ask for the “Sydney Bushwalkers” table. BYO, cheap.
Members & Addresses
Please add the following names to your Membership List:-
by Judith Rostron
- 500 g Brown Rice
- 1 tin Tomatoes
- 1 packet Peas and Carrots
- Small quantity of PESTO (optional)
- 1 clove Garlic
- 1 Onion (chopped)
- small Capsicum
- Parmesan Cheese to sprinkle over
- (Serves 4)