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, Crow's Nest.
|Editor||Ainslie Morris, 45 Austin Street, Lane Cove, 2066. Telephone 428-3178.|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118. Telephone 871-1207.|
|Production Manager & Artist||Helen Gray.|
|Printers||Phil Butt & Barry Wallace.|
In This Issue:
|The Snowy Mountains Trip - January, '85||Ben Esgate||2|
|April Committee Meeting, also New Members||5|
|Kosciusko National Park 24-29 December, 1984||Peter Miller||6|
|Gear for Summer Walking in Kosciusko Nat. Park||Peter Miller||8|
|Oxley Wilderness Park (from S.M.H.)||9|
|Summer Mountain Safari||Deirdre Schofield||11|
|A “White Christmas” in the Snowy Mountains||Rudi Dezelin||13|
|The 1985 Annual General Meeting||Barry Wallace||14|
|The Longest Day||Jim Brown||16|
|Report on First Aid Course||17|
|The S.B.W. Annual Re-union, 1985||Helen Gray||18|
|Social Notes||Bill Holland||20|
|Annual Subscriptions 1985||20|
|Eastwood Camping Centre||10|
Alpine Theme: This April issue is devoted mainly to articles on alpine trips which members went on last summer.
The Snowy Mountains Trip - January '85.
by Ben Esgate.
Round Mountain, Mt. Selwyn, via Jagungal and Table Top plus two days at Blue Water Holes.
Maps: Khancoban - Denison - Cabramurra.
This New Year's walking trip started with a party consisting of:- Janette Kenrick, Vivien Schaffer, Peter Christian, Jeff McIntosh, Chris Nugent, Don Matthews, Jim Morris, and myself leading. We had arranged to meet at the Cabramurra turn-off on the Snowy Mountains Highway, near Kiandra, at 12 noon, December 31st.
By 2 pm there was still one car missing causing some concern, as those present having had lunch were considering how you locate missing travellers between Sydney and Kiandra. A brown blurr appeared and with tyres screeching, the problem was solved. Peter, Vivien and Janette had been to Yass by mistake (??). We moved on to Mt. Selwyn ski car park where Jim and I transferred to other cars. Then on to Round Mountain turn-off, 30 km via Cabramurra.
Having parked cars, we started out on the Round Mountain fire trail under a very overcast sky, with a S.E. breeze in the face. The possibility of reaching a camp site near Pugilistic Creek was now remote, as it was now about 3 pm; by 3.30 pm a heavy drizzle smote us on the face. Jagungal was sighted, but clouds and rain shrouded the crest. However, Peter was at the camera, in spite of the weather looking for the impossible special shot. At 5 pm a gleam of sunlight squeezed through a crack in the cloud, as predicted by Don, but it still went on raining. Near by on a ridge top, some flat ground lay among the snow gums, so a camp was made there. New Year's Eve was passed with a lot of drying out and wetting in, wine by Peter, champagne by Jim, with a good fire being enjoyed by all.
The New Year's Greetings was in the form of very threatening low cloud. The mid-morning rest on Pugilistic Creek found patches of sunlight brightening the day. The other bright spot was Peter and Vivien busily gathering gold, “Fools Gold”, by the handful, much to the enjoyment of the onlookers. With walking conditions now much improved we pushed on to the junction with the Grey Mare trail at the head of Tooma Swamp and Tumut River saddle. Turning N.E. along the Grey Mare trail, past the N.W. base of Jagungal, we came to rest at the S.M.A. rain and weather station for lunch.
The billies were boiled and the worms fed. Our packs were then stowed in the scrub and we plunged slowly up the north ridge leading to the top of Jagungal. A strong cool breeze from the S.E. let us know we were on top. The day was now a Snowy Mountains very best, with light scattered cloud amidst the bright blue yonder. The camera addicts were now in their glory gathering evidence. This was the show piece of the area as everybody agreed. So off over the brink and down the side to gather our baggage. In the course of doing this it became obvious that two of the party were missing, Peter and Vivien. Some time later, after a general rest up, I suggested that a note should suffice, mainly to direct them along the trail to the O'Keefe hut about 2 km away, as it appears they had dodged across the top of Jagungal to take some specials. The note was placed on Vivien's pack under a rock, then away to O'Keefe's hut to camp. The hut was vacant so Janette elected to camp in while the rest camped out. It was well worth it after the previous night.
The sun was setting and no Peter and Vivien. I said to Don, “I'll give them 10 minutes”. Shortly after that, two bedraggled figures appeared on the near ridge - Peter and Vivien, thankfully. It appears they missed the fire trail coming down, over-shot the packs and ended up in no bushwalking country. Both recovered sipping cups of tea in the hut.
The morning found us moving off into “The Doubtful” country. Still on the Grey Mare trail, we passed the Farm Ridge junction, then across Doubtful Creek, up through Doubtful Gap and on to Mackey's hut for lunch. We shared the site with a ground lark (Pipit) whose nest was near by.
[ Map ]
Leaving the Grey Mare trail at this point, we turned E.N.E. towards the junction of Tibeaudo Creek with McGregor's Creek, in Happy Jacks Plain. The afternoon sky looked ominous to the N.W. As the Snowy Mountains makes its own weather, you have to read it as you go. Thor was frowning down. I decided to make for the Brooks hut on Arsenic Ridge, E.N.E. from Tibeaudo Creek, for the night. We crossed onto Happy Jacks trail to gain access to7Arsenic Creek. We found the old single pole bridge crossing of Happy Jacks Creek intact, then on to Arsenic Creek, sideling on to the ridge with overhead looking very bad indeed. With luck the hut should be within 2 km, around a few more knolls and gullies and there it was, 200 metres away, so near yet so far! WE had lost the race. Sure enough some bushwalkers coming down from Kiandra had just opened the door and staked their claim.
There were no camp sites handy, 20° slopes everywhere except on a spot already taken. I said to Don, “That next gully should be O.K.” It proved to be good enough. Janette, being tired, felt like sleeping in the hut, so I chatted with the winners and found they were only going to cook there. So I decided to camp in, too. All was peaceful at bedtime except for the breeze coming through the cracks in the floor. Then “pitter patter” on the roof and down it came for most of the night.
Dawn broke with no rain but very low clouds. Then the “invasion”, wet this's and wet that's started to arrive, approving of a very nice fire ready for the occasion.
Breakfast over, all were ready to go, so off again up Arsenic Ridge. The “winners” were still there at the hut, being wet doubtful starters. The bush was wet so a bit of weaving and ducking went on, and before long an old cattle trail showed up. This we followed in a northerly direction. The clouds were low, and eventually we reached them on top at Bolton's Hill trail. Heading in an easterly direction on this trail, we came to the Table Top trail on the Great Dividing Range.
Turning north along this with visibility very poor and hands in pockets or in gloves, our thoughts were on lunch, probably at Table Top Creek. This proved otherwise - no water - so we marched on past the Nine Mile Diggings and had a late lunch on the Nine Mile Creek. With hot soups and tea, we were all warmed up and aiming for the Four Mile hut for the night's camp. We followed the trail to the head of the Four Mile Creek, then some snow poles bearing to the right across a gully, over a small ridge and there was:-
[ Drawing of the Four Mile Hut, from the S.E. ]
There was one bunk in the above hut, claimed by Janette, room for one on the floor, my bunk. The rest found flat spots in the lumpy ground. Early to bed this night, no rain, no nip in the air.
However, it was not to be. Some time after midnight a plaintive voice came drifting across, “B-e-n, are you th-e-re?” - no response. Then again, “Yes,” I said, “what's up?” “Can you hear something?” “No!” “There it is again, put your torch on.” Torch proved nothing. I said, “It's probably a rat,” With this I hung my pack on a hook and said to Janette, “If it's well fed we'll be O.K.” Dawn broke late with Chris or Don banging on the door (no window) and we were still in one piece.
We were packed ready to shove off when, “Who's this coming up the gully?” from somebody. Don broke the silence. “I think its Tom Wenman.” Tom was out for a couple of days lonesome and was on his way back to the car at Kiandra. We then trundled off back on to the trail. Shortly after Tom turned with the trail down to Kiandra and we branched left to Selwyn via a marked ski track. On arrival I packed two drivers into the mighty mouse and back to Round Mountain by road (30 km easy) to gather in the other two cars, also some goodies at Cabramurra.
We lunched at the Three Mile Dam, then off to the Blue Water Holes via Long Plain. There we had a good rest camp, plenty of good water again, caving scenery in the Gorge and oodles of trout. So ended the Snowy Mountains Trip, January, 1985!
Report On The April Committee Meeting.
The Bush Dance to be held on 3rd May by the Federation B.W. is being held to raise funds for a custom-built $7,000 trailer for S. & R.
Steve and Wendy Hodgman will not be returning to Sydney or retaining membership of the Club. We will miss them as leaders of walks and bike trips, stirrers to go on S. & R. practices, and as companions in the bush. They have joined Northern Rivers Bushwalking Club and would welcome old friends to visit. Their address is - 34 Bellevue Avenue, Lismore Heights, 2480.
The following new members were admitted to the Club in April. Please add their names to your List of Members.
- Casey, Judy, 19/315 Bondi Road, Bondi, 2026. Phone 339-1313.
- Bray, Greg, H.M.A.S. Penguin, Balmoral, 2091. 982-6715.
- Huggett, Michael, 14 Taree Avenue, Balgowlah. 949-6774.
- Sandner, Ilse, 14 Taree Avenue, Balgowlah. 949-6774.
Congratulations to Margaret and Bob Hodgson on the birth of their second daughter, Melanie Amanda on 1st March last.
Kosciusko National Park. 24 - 29 December, 1984.
by Peter Miller.
Walkers: Colin Barnes, Carol Bruce, John Redfern, Barry Wallace, Peter Miller.
This is a cautionary tale of walking in Kosciusko National Park in summer. If you are hoping to read about an idyllic summer trip with happy walkers strolling across snow-grass covered hills 'midst sun dappled snow-gums and spending leisurely hours cooking and yarning in the long twilight, then read no further. Walkers there were to be sure, but at times none of them seemed to be particularly happy. Snow grass there was in plenty but mostly it was being beaten flat by a savage wind and the mist blotted out the view of all but the closest snow-gums. In the long evenings the cooking was done in double-quick time as the fire roared like a furnace in the gusty wind and the conversation dwelt on the topics of the wind-chill factor and whether the tents would stay up until morning.
If this kind of trip report is for you - read on, but if you prefer lighter reading try “This Accursed Land” by Leonard Bickel.
We met at Jindabyne on Christmas Eve and drove up the summit road and camped at Spencers Creek. We had our first taste of gusty conditions with the wind blowing from the north-west and flapping the tents all night.
Christmas Day dawned cloudy and cool and after an early breakfast we drove up to Charlotte's Pass to begin the walk in a strong cold wind.
Once clear of the small amount of shelter at the pass we were buffetted by strong winds all the way to Seaman's Hut where we had a brief stop before going on to the top of Kosciusko. We only stayed on top long enough to admire the snow drifts along the Main Range and to observe the grey clouds being driven overhead by the wind.
We followed the track across to Lake Albina and sheltered for lunch in the lee of foundations of the old hut. The temporary shelter there is a crude, unlovely structure which is to be removed in the summer of 1985-86 leaving only Seaman's and Cootapatamba huts in the area. I was apprehensive about the weather as a storm was approaching and unwisely I urged the party on in the hope of getting to a more sheltered spot.
We climbed back up to the track and set off north walking as fast as possible, but on Mt. Lee we were struck by the fiercest hail storm I have ever experienced. The hail was the size of small marbles and was driven by a very fierce wind. Carol had to hold on to Barry to prevent herself being blown away. We were forced off the track by the wind and Carol and Barry found shelter behind a rock over the side of the mountain. John, Colin and I were knocked off our feet and lay on the ground while the hail and the rain roared over us.
Barry came back and directed us to his more sheltered spot where we gathered our scattered senses and put on more clothing as the temperature had dropped sharply. My legs were a mass of red welts where they had been struck by the hail. We found it difficult to keep on our feet going over Carruthers Peak, and when we reached the saddle leading to Mt. Twynam we discussed our next move. Carol and Barry, the fittest members of the party, were in favour of following our original plan of walking over Twynam and camping above Pound's Creek. John, Colin and I were not enthusiastic and opted for us all to return to the cars at The Chalet.
This we did and we arrived back at the cars chastened, grumpy and not happy with our decision. We drove round to Island Bend and camped for the night where we had our various Christmas dinners and sat around the fire wearing parkas as the wind blew showers of rain across from the high country which was in heavy cloud.
The plan had been to walk north from Kosciusko to Jagungal via the Main Range, but as we could not do this we decided to walk in the northern end of the park first and return to the Main Range if the weather permitted. (Don't hold your breath folks - it didn't.)
In fine weather we climbed up Disappointment Spur, regaining all the height we had lost in our inglorious flight the day before. From Gungarten we had excellent views of the surrounding mountains. That afternoon we camped just south of Tin Hut in a spot carefully chosen among the snow-gums to protect us from the north-westerly wind which was blowing straight off the nearby banks of snow. About six o'clock the wind veered to the south and our sheltered spot was sheltered no longer and we were in for a noisy night of flapping tents and straining guy ropes.
This was our best day for weather and in bright sunshine we set off for the cirque on Jagungal intending to camp there and climb to the trig without packs. Unfortunately by the time we reached the Cup and Saucer I had developed a sore knee and couldn't face walking across another seven kilometres of springy heath. We made an early camp and promising ourselves an early start the next morning we enjoyed a pleasant evening watching the sun set on on Mt. Jagungal.
After another noisy night in the flapping tents we woke to thick cloud and a poor lookout for walking. After lunch Carol and Barry, chafing at the bit from sitting around in the cold wind all morning, decided that the conditions were good enough to attempt Jagungal. Well rugged up against the weather they strode purposefully off while the rest of us had an easy stroll up to the top of the Cup and Saucer.
Carol and Barry returned safely from Jagungal in four hours and after an early dinner we tightened up the tent guys and went to bed. The wind grew stronger and brought with it a fine rain which found its way into the tents in varying degrees, ranging from mild discomfort to sheer misery.
The view from the tent door was most discouraging; one rock, wet; snowgrass, very wet; snow-gums tossing in the strong gusts, extremely wet; visibility, fifty metres. We decided to have a cold breakfast in the tents and then head down to Valentine's Hut.
We found several other people there with the same idea and we swapped stories on what a lousy night we had spent. From there it was simply a trudge in the high wind and occasional rain back to the cars at Guthega. We passed numerous parties heading into the mountains, but we were glad to be going out to dry clothes and hot showers in Jindabyne.
Altogether, not the most successful trip to the mountains.
My next article concerns the gear necessary for walking in Kosciusko Park in the summer. I had plenty of time while lying in the flapping tent to work out the details.
Gear For Summer Walking In Koscuisko National Park.
by Peter Miller.
The following list of gear is necessary for anyone walking in Kosciusko Park in the summer. The weather can range from extreme heat to extreme cold in a matter of hours and walkers need to plan ahead for their safety and comfort. Kosciusko Park is a magic place in the summer as long as you are prepared, self-reliant and mobile.
Parka: Take a good quality parka with an adequate hood to protect your face. It should be long enough to come to down to just above your knees. Do not wear a cape ground sheet or a poncho as these may tear in the high wind or cause you to be blown over and possibly injured.
Overpants: These are essential to prevent heat loss in cold conditions.
Shirt: Take a long-sleeved shirt with a stiff collar which will stay upright to protect the back of your neck from the sun; “T” shirts are hopeless.
Long Trousers: Take either stretchy nylon or crimplene or pyjama trousers. Do not take jeans as they restrict your movements and take too long to dry.
Duvet: (Down vest), Long Johns, Gloves, Beanie - Take them if you are particularly susceptible to the cold.
Jumper: Essential even in mid-summer.
Shorts: Shorts are nice to wear in the early morning or late afternoon, but don't get your legs burnt during the day. Some of the scrub is pretty nasty, so keep the long trousers near the top of your pack.
Hat: Take a soft hat with a wide brim. If you are a baldy like me you may need to sew a piece of towelling inside the crown for extra protection. Attach strings so that it can be tied on under your chin.
Tent: Low profile tents are a must if you intend camping above or near the tree line. The average el-cheapo three-man nylon tent from K-mart is not suitable as it will be knocked about by the wind. A two-man wall tent has a lower profile and will stand more wind. Take a fly and make sure that it comes low to the ground to stop the wind getting under it. Note that a standard nylon “A” tent or wall tent needs a bell-end to keep the rain out in high wind. This is in addition to the fly. Make sure the tent is proof against flies.
Sleeping Bag: Take a winter weight bag.
General Hints: Waterproof your pack either with a plastic garbage bag or a slip-on nylon cover, not a cape ground sheet or poncho. Take a fly veil and insect repellant. In the hot weather the mosquitoes, flies, blowflies and bush flies will carry you off - be warned. Cream for lips and sunburn cream is necessary. Take the best blockout protection you can. It may sit in your pack and not be used or you may use it every day. Do not go to the mountains to get a sun tan. The sun can be very fierce and you need to protect yourself. Put cream on your lips each day whether it is hot or cold or they will dry out and crack.
Food. Have a reasonable amount of food that can be eaten without cooking. Have you ever been in a tent with only dried vegetables and no way of getting a fire alight? If you are walking in cold and wet conditions keep eating.
Drink. Finding water is not a problem but be careful to boil water taken from creeks near the huts or if there are any signs of sheep in the vicinity. Drink a lot to prevent dehydration in the hot weather.
Torch. And finally there is one thing you can economise on - your torch. Remember that because of the combined effect of latitudes, longitude and altitude the sun does not set until 8.30 pm and there is a long twilight.
This list is of course not exhaustive as all the other bushwalking gear also needs to be taken. I have only mentioned those items which need special attention because of the extremes of climate that can be experienced. I have not yet completed any walk in the Kosciusko Park as planned because the weather has always forced us to change our route - be prepared.
Oxley Wilderness Park.
From The Sydney Morning Herald, March 30, 1985.
State will buy land to extend national park.
By Joseph Glascott, Environment Writer.
One of Australia's largest wilderness parks, totalling more than 32,000 hectares, has been established in the Macleay-Apsley river gorges, east of Armidale.
The State Government has added vacant Crown land to existing nature reserves to create the park. It intends to increase its size by linking these areas with private property bought by negotiation.
It says it will not resume any private or leasehold land for the park. Additions would be made by voluntary negotiations with landholders.
The Premier said this week that 15,000 hectares of vacant Crown land had been combined with the existing Yarrowitch Gorge National Park, the Apsley Gorge National Park, Rowley's Creek Gulf Nature Reserve and the Hole Creek Nature Reserve to form the Oxley Wilderness Park. The Minister for Planning and Environment, Mr Carr, said a resource study was being conducted in the area. He said the Government had rejected proposals by the Electricity Commission for a major dam on the Apsley River.
“The magnificent scenery of these steep gorges and the wild rivers make it a great recreational area which visitors from all over Australia and beyond will appreciate,” he said.
The project co-ordinator for the Wilderness Society, Mr Randall King, said the Government's decision laid the foundation for the protection of the third largest, wilderness area in Australia and one of the largest national parks in NSW.
“This is the most significant decision on wilderness conservation in NSW since the announcement of Wollemi National Park outside Sydney in 1979,” he said.
Oxley his the potential to become the Kosciusko National Park of the north.
Mr King said the Apsley, Macleay and other wild rivers of the Oxley area cut spectacular gorges which were the most extensive in NSW. Numerous waterfalls, including the highest in Australia, cascaded down from the escarpment.
Many of these were already accessible by car from the main highway to scenic lookouts and picnic spots.
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Eastwood Canvas Good & Camping Supplies.
3 Trelawney St., Eastwood, NSW, 2122. Phone 858 2775.
Summer Mountain Safari.
by Deirdre Schofield.
In January I had the rare privilege of going on a Mountain Safari Horse trail ride for 9 days, led by Charlie Lovick, son of Jack, one of the cattlemen of the High Plains who is mentioned in Harry Stephenson's book “Cattlemen and Huts of the High Plains”.
Jack's grandfather came to the Delatite Valley in 1873 and it was he who introduced spotted and rainbow trout to the Delatite River, some of whose offspring we sampled as a barbecued entree one night. His four sons all ran cattle in the mountains. Jack's father had the Mt. Buller run from 1919-1939. The current Jack Lovick is Merrijig-based and retains the 1,400 acre home property and runs about 800 beef cattle. The mountain safari business is a sideline he developed a few years back, and these trips take one through some of the finest bush and mountain scenery in the State of Victoria; Merrijig, Timbertop, Howqua, Mt. Howitt, Mt. Lovick, Wanangatta, with superb views of Mt. Buller never very far away.
It was a real luxury (and the only one) not to have to worry about a back pack. The gear went in two 4-wheel drive vehicles and an army truck that met us at the end of each day when we'd set up camp. But if you think horse-riding is more relaxing than walking - forget it. It's just that different bits of you get the battering. After a full day in the saddle one's legs seem to stiffen up around the shape of one's horse so that when it's time to thankfully dismount they won't straighten up immediately. Consequently one hobbles around in a very odd sort of way.
Then there was the problem of the occasional unintentional dismounting, when you and your horse part company, as happened to me when going over a fallen tree log. This resulted in my having to finish the ride in a 4-wheel drive vehicle that day.
All in all, I think I'll settle for the heavy back pack next time and the only pony to be involved will be SHANKS's.
However, it's an experience I wouldn't have missed for the world and can thoroughly recommend it to others. Prior riding experience would be an advantage!
Some of the horses we rode were used in the making of the film “Man From Snowy River”. It was Jack Lovick who trained the actors to ride and quite a few of the Merrijig folk were extras in the film. We were actually riding in some of the areas where certain scenes were shot. How I wish now that I hadn't spurned the film on the grounds that I thought it would be little better than a glorified Marlborough ad. Shall definitely have to catch it next time round.
Due to new Government legislation pending, the cattlemen's way of life is now under threat. The legislation is for the creation of a massive National Park that will take in practically all the Victorian alpine region, the remoteness and undeveloped beauty of which Victorians have enjoyed for five generations. Government policy states that the cattlemen will continue to use this National Park once declared. This is not seen as possible at all, as the use of horses and various other activities which are an integral part of grazing directly oppose the basic principles of a National Park. The introduction of a National Park must require the removal of the cattlemen, horse tour operators and most other forms of private recreation.
The cattlemen know and understand the mountains better than any other group. For 150 years they have been voluntary rangers, caretakers, rescue service and close friend to all who use the high country. Through their Association they've decided to oppose the new legislation. Some of their reasons are:-
(a) The removal of cattle from the High Plains will allow vermin such as feral horses, rabbits and hares to go unchallenged and multiply.
(b) Cattlemen's local knowledge is invaluable in the field of search and rescue and their huts are of value for refuge.
© Cattle keep tracks open to allow visitors pleasant and easy access from roadways into the bush.
(d) Scientific study confirms that grazing improves wildflower display.
(e) Mountain cattlemen provide a living link with Victoria's rich heritage and this link should be preserved.
Some frequent claims and comments:-
1. Cattle damage moss beds and water catchments.
Comment: Recent university research has exploded the myth of moss bed damage. This and many other myths have been grossly exaggerated by the conservation movement.
2. Cattle contaminate drinking water.
Comment: Cattle eat vegetation only. Carnivorous animals (foxes, dingos and birds) present a far greater risk to humans, with hydatids, worms and hepatitis. Cattle do not transmit these diseases.
3. Cattle damage soil composition with disturbance from hooves.
Comment: Soil pressure and disturbance from cattle is no different to other animals (wild horses, deer, wombats and humans). Frost heave more than compensates for the natural compaction factor in the High Country and cattle most certainly disturb the soil less than rabbits, wombats and humans.
4. Cattle destroy flora with their preference for seed heads and wildflowers.
Comment: Completely untrue, as recent university studies have shown. Cattle prefer young pasture and then move on to eating shrubs. Grass grazing removes competition from flowers which then bloom profusely when ready. As in the home garden, shrubs (such as grevillia) respond to trimming in the autumn before cattle leave.
It is stated policy that once the National Park is created, pressure from the established conservation lobby will increase until regulations force the cattlemen to part with their culture, their heritage, and the freedom of the High Country. Those are their fears.
No doubt the Conservationists have their point to put, perhaps in another issue.
The Editor welcomes letters on this conservation issue, on opinions on walking gear for the alpine areas - or anything else that is on your mind and you want to unload.
A White Christmas In The Snowy Mountains.
by Rudi Dezelin.
Here is an account of a recent pack-walk in the Pilot Wilderness area of Kosciusko National Park, where I experienced the usual extremes in weather conditions of the High Country.
Saturday, 22nd December, '84.
Arrived at Thredbo Alpine Village, looking forward to the most welcome comforts of clean and comfortable lodge accommodation after “roughing it” on the way down south from Sydney for the past week or so. The previous night was spent in a shelter hut at Thredbo Diggings, halfway between Jindabyne and Thredbo (Rutledge Hut).
Most of the previous day (Friday) was spent sheltering in the hut as gale-force south-westerly winds were howling outside and snow-flurries were carried by the winds. On arrival at Thredbo there was still snow on the ground from the previous day's storms!
Sunday, 23rd Dec.
Set off early morning from Thredbo in ideal walking weather: sunny and dry with refreshing cool westerly breezes.
After leaving Dead Horse Gap, on the Cascades Firetrail, I spotted a beautiful, glossy, orange-yellow fox scurrying off the trail. After a three hour trudge up and down Bob's Ridge I arrived at Cascade Hut just in time for lunch. After a refreshing dip in the nearby stream, it was enjoyable to lunch in the shade of the hut. Cascade Hut is one of the best-kept huts in the Kosciusko National Park: it is maintained by the Illawarra Alpine Club from Wollongong.
Monday, 24th Dec.
Christmas Eve dawned sunny, dry and warm after an unusually mild and clear night. I left early morning to avoid walking in the heat of the day, for the 3 1/2 hours stroll to the Tin Mine Huts. The Tin Mine Huts area looked much worse than on my previous visit here two years ago. “Charlie's Hut” looked rather dirty, untidy and very delapidated, and the other two huts nearby are unusable and half-demolished.
Three men from Adelaide Bushwalkers Club were also camping at these huts and we had an enjoyable evening yarning around the campfire. On a short walk at dusk we surprised a beautiful solitary stallion brumby but he made off with a snort at a fast gallop, as soon as he noticed us! Other fauna sighted included a spectacular bright red-breasted “Flame Robin”, scores of King Parrots, crimson Rosellas (Mountain Lowries) and a few Gang-Gang Cockatoos.
Tuesday, 25th Dec.
Christmas Day turned out a very unsettled day: mostly cloudy, very windy morning then a brief thunderstorm with hail at lunchtime; clear and sunny, warm by the afternoon. The weather in the High Country certainly is extremely unpredictable and changeable!
Left Tin Mine Huts early morning for the long (mostly uphill) trudge back to Cascade Hut, and again saw a multitude of brightly coloured parrots along the track. It was very pleasant walking among the beautiful and colourful profusion of Alpine flowers which are only out for a very brief season in the short alpine summers. The countryside in general was very lush and green after the good rains since the drought broke in March 1983.
Spent overnight at Cascades Hut once again then returned to Thredbo the following morning for a very welcome hot shower and hearty breakfast!
Just before leaving Cascades Hut on the dawn of Boxing Day, through the heavy mist appeared a beautiful brumby family peacefully grazing on the flats, 200-300 metres below the hut. There was a stallion, mare and a tiny foal - all a glossy black colour - a stupendous scene.
All in all, a most rewarding walk, in spite of the rather fickle weather conditions! Highly recommended!!
The 1985 Annual General Meeting.
The meeting began at around 2005 with some 50 or 60 members present and the President in the chair.
There were apologies from Alastair Battye, Barbara Evans and Maurie Bloom. New members Peter Sharp, Veronique Crowther, Helmut Land, and Don and Ruth Seymour were welcomed in the usual way with constitution, badge and applause.
The minutes of the previous general meeting were read and received.
Correspondence brought letters from Ron Knightley, proposing various activities as the Club's contribution to the bi-centenary celebration and an application for reinstatement to full membership from Dorothy Webb.
The Annual Reports for the President, the Walks Secretary, Social, New Members, Coolana, Magazine Editor, and Conservation Secretary were taken as read and adopted.
The Treasurer's Report was taken as read, and at this stage the Hon. Auditor, Gordon Redmond, sought leave to address the meeting. Leave was granted, so Gordon proceeded to draw to the attention of the meeting certain matters that had become apparent to him during the progress of the audit. He began by pointing out that most members were probably unaware of the sheer volume of work and time involved in the execution of the Treasurer's duties, and appealed or the Committee and membership to more fully support the Treasurer in the management of the club. He remarked upon his concern that on some occasions the principle that the Trustees were appointed for the purpose of ensuring that the wishes of the general membership were carried out, was not observed as scrupulously as might be desirable. It seems that on one occasion during the year, one of our income producing loans had become due for rollover at rather short notice, and that in haste, one of the steps in the laid down procedure had been missed, such that the Trustees were not involved in the transaction. There was also the matter of an as yet unallocated invoice for the Club's offset printer. Gordon suggested that complete familiarity would only be gained over an extended period as Treasurer, and that as far as the Treasurer's position was concerned, the membership should reconsider the present tradition of persons only holding office for a maximum of two years. After some further general discussion the Treasurer's Report was accepted.
The meeting then proceeded to the election of officers for the coming year. A voting system was agreed, and elections proceeded. The results will have appeared in last month's magazine, so I have no intention of repeating them here. There was a move to replace the Trustees with the aim of making access easier for the Treasurer, but this was set aside in view of possible costs and complications which Dot Butler warned the meeting might ensue.
At this point the motion on the Agenda to replace “married couple” subscription rates by a “household” rate was discussed and carried. A resultant procedural motion that only one copy of the magazine and Club publications be forwarded to each “household” was also carried.
The Treasurer then proposed that the annual subscription for the coming year be set at $11 per household of one person, with an addition of $5 per person for households larger than one. The student subscription was to be $9, and the entrance fee $3. In support of the proposed fees the Treasurer outlined the budget for the coming year, primarily one of containment with a small surplus predicted. After some discussion, and one or two unsuccessful amendments the proposed subscription levels were accepted.
The Treasurer's monthly report indicated that we began the month with $2614.54 in the kitty, earned or otherwise acquired $648.58, spent $1440.41, and concluded with a balance of $1822.71.
All of which only served as a warm up for the Walks Report. For the weekend of 15,16,17 February Elwyn Morris took a party of 5 to the Munmoral State Recreation area, Barry Wallace had 6 people on his Kowmung River tea bag trip, and the Coolana prospectives weekend drew 9 starters, although the mix of instructors to students to hangers-on is not clear. Of the day walks, Peter Harris' Du Faurs Creek trip was cancelled and Len Berlin's Bundeena to Otford walk had 13 starters.
Roger Browne led the bidding for the weekend of 22,23,24 February with 20 people on his Shoalhaven River walk. Hans Stichter's Megalong Valley for beginners trip was cancelled, but Bill Holland's Apple Tree Bay walk reported a cast of thousands. There was no report of the other day walk, Joe Marton's Glenbrook trip.
Over the weekend of 1,2,3 March Bill Holland had 22 starters on his Bob Turner's track day walk, Peter Harris cancelled his trip to the Port Macquarie area, Bill Gamble cancelled his Cox River weekend trip and Peter Christian cancelled his Woronora River day walk. HELP! HELP! the sky is falling.
The weekend of 8,9,10 March saw Roger Browne leading 12 people on another trip in the Shoalhaven area. David Rostron and Laurie Quaken both cancelled their trips that weekend, so it was left to the day walks to carry the day, so to speak. Joan Cooper's Erskine Creek trip had five starters, but alas no Joan. Jan Mohandas is reported to have led a multitude on his Waterfall to Otford trip. All of which, with the Walks Secretary's urging, brought the Walks Report to an end.
We were advised that there was no significant report of S.B.W. matters to present.
General Business consisted of a vote of thanks to the outgoing administration group, and announcements were limited to notification of changes to programmed walks.
It was then only a matter of declaring the meeting closed, together with some prompting from the audience, before a near approximation of the traditional call “LET US RE-UNE” echoed (well, sort of echoed) from the chair, and the ravening hordes fell upon what remained of the bikkies.
One pair Volley O.C. sandshoes, size 5 (feel more like size 6), $12 - Barbara Bruce, phone 546-6570.
The Longest Day.
by Jim Brown.
(Sketch presented at the S.B.W. Annual Re-union, Coolana, 16-17 March, 1985).
Introduction: Over a good many years, a lot of S.B.W. members have tackled the Three Peaks trip. A key feature is the “longest day”, the Saturday, starting on the Cox River near White Dog, thence up and over Cloudmaker, Paralyzer, and finishing - often after dark - on Guouogang. The “three peaks” are between 1140 metres and 1300 metres above sea level, and the intervening valleys between 140 metres and 300 metres above sea level.
The sketch is dedicated to those S.B.W. who have accomplished the longest day - and also to those who have tried. All the tunes are national anthems or national songs.
Scene: Cox's River at the base of White Dog on a Saturday morning. The various bodies are lying on the ground. The leader rises, and shakes into wakefulness one of the others.
Leader: (to “The Star Spangled Banner”)
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light
These ridges we'll climb when the daylight is beaming?
All these poor suckers here, when the stars spark tonight
Will be still on their feet when they ought to be dreaming.
In the evening, climbing Nooroo, their steps will surely, surely, flag
At last on Gou-oo-oh-gang each creeps into his bag.
Deputy Leader: O.K. boss. Let's wake 'em all up. (to “The Internationale”)
Awake ye walkers from your slumbers,
Arouse ye toilers on the tracks.
Eat any tucker that encumbers,
Then we'll take off with light packs.
To the ridges, to the trig points,
We'll make it free and fair and fast.
But oh, the creaking in your knee joints
When this longest day is past.
Scene: Late afternoon on Kanangra River, below Paralyser and at the foot of Nooroo Buttress. Most of the party lying in a stricken attitude on the ground. One struggles to feet, almost falls, rises again…
(to “Deutschland Uber Alles” or hymn tune “Austria”)
Nooroo Gable towering over us
Makes a man feel awful frail.
Nooroo Gable lowering over us
Even boldest spirits quail.
My dash is done, it's gone with the sun
Crawling like a ruptured snail.
Spine and ankles creak, knees are feeling weak,
Must tell the leader this is where I fail.
To the leader - “Sorry, boss, this is where I'm pulling out. I'll just go down the valley and along to the Cox.”
Leader: Oh, well, this is the place where the rabbits check out. Any more?
Deputy: Er….Ah….Well, one of my knees isn't too good. Think I'll keep Don company. If you don't mind. Wish I could go on. (Wipes furtive tear from eye)
At this, another member of the party hurries over and tries at first to persuade the two defectors to go on… then has some doubts… (to “La Marseillaise”)
Now come, you can't just drop out here
There's only Nooroo to assail,
And the end of this long day is near -
Only one thousand metres to scale.
Only one thousand metres to scale…
(Reflectively) Oh my! A whole thousand metres…
No wonder they seem so distraught!
Perhaps I should give it some thought…
Perhaps I should stick with the retreaters.
(Cheerfully) Cheer up, don't look so blue!
Cheer up, I'll go with you!
Let's go…let's go… down the valley
Let's quit this crazy crew.
Scene: Several hours later. Summit of Guouogang. Remainder of party arrives by torch-light.
One of Party: (to “Advance Australia Fair”)
Now walkers all let us rejoice
We've topped Gou-oo-oh-gang.
No whimpers, moans, or screams or groans,
Well go out with a bang.
Now let us spread our flea-bags here
With sense of deep delight,
Then as we lie, with one deep sigh
We'll go out like a light.
We've done what we set out to do
We've earned a tranquil night.
Report On First Aid Course.
The last weekend in March was fruitfully spent by twenty seven S.B.W. members doing their St.John Ambulance Basic Certificate. Included were eleven regular walks leaders and a couple of prospectives, and with Dot Butler there showing that you're never too old to learn how to try to save a life.
We practised on mannikins with no arms or legs; Brian Bolton got a vicious lovebite doing the “kiss of life” on one, so she wasn't as 'armless as she looked.
A good time was had by all, thanks to our instructor and cave rescue expert, Grace Matts.
The next course will be held in April, 1986, for those who want a Basic Certificate or anyone wishing to upgrade to the Voucher Certificate.
The S.B.W. Annual Re-Union, 1985.
by Helen Gray.
“Will you write up this re-union?” someone in authority asked, but nicely. So nicely I couldn't refuse, even though the request came at the end of the weekend. I hadn't observed the weekend's events with a reporter's eye, so forgive me if I've failed to record the highlights as you saw them.
I arrived early Saturday afternoon to find Coolana almost deserted. This, plus the fact that only 4 persons had contacted me re transport, caused me a little concern. Was this year's re-union to be the first ever flop? (First ever? Perhaps a re-union of the 50s could be called a flop, with a roll-up of one at the venue at Wood's Creek. George Gray was the only one to cross the flooded Nepean River that rain-drenched weekend. But that's another story.) Coolana this re-union wasn't deserted. I'd failed to notice that some had already parked their cars on the opposite side of the river and waded or canoed across, and were now happily “skinny-dipping” in the river. (I don't know who they were - I didn't recognise them without their clothes on.)
Soon the place filled. The high camp among the banksias and angopheras suited some, others chose grassy river banks beneath the wattles, while the light sleepers and solitary types scattered themselves around the umpteen pleasant camp-sites that Coolana offers. The rot soon set in. The hot weather, the company, the almost-warm river seduced any would-be workers away from even thinking about building a camp-fire - until Kath Brown suggested to some of us past-presidents that it was our job to organise the fire-building.
“What about Barbara, our new President?” I moaned from my prone position under a shady tree.
“She's busy learning her scripts for the three plays she's in”, replied Kath.
Suitably shamed, we got to work.
In the meantime, Spiro and John Redfern had arrived with the former's freshly-baked carrot cakes and fruitcakes, coffee and cocoa, etc., drums of water, a table, and a candelabra. Elsewhere, babies and toddlers were being fed and bedded down. (The latter being unsuccessful, judging by the number of happy, wide-awake under-twos at the camp fire later.)
It was quite dark before people started for the fire, but the lighting of the tinder-dry wattle (helped by a little kerosene) soon drew the rest, a crowd of 80 or more. As is almost traditional, Bob Younger and Barbara Bruce started the sing-song going and attempted to keep us all in key, time, and tune, always a difficult task in the open air and this year made more difficult by a small group who (with the aid of more than natural high spirits!) always sang a different song. This made community singing hard for everyone.
The S.B.W. Theatrical Company was up to its usual high standard, with Don Matthew's “Lets Get Physiotherical”, inspired by Dot Butler's experiences, with Dot starring. Jim Brown treated us to “The Frog Prince” - written 25 years ago for a previous re-union, but new to most members present. The five players (with Barbara as the Princess) each had a song to sing and wore fanciful costumes, which unfortunately were not seen to best advantage owing to lack of stage illumination. Roger Browne, at his first re-union, took the part of the Frog Prince at short notice - thanks, Roger. Later in the evening “The Longest Day” was presented (no costumes necessary), and several people asked that the words be printed in the magazine.
Our energetic President, Barbara Bruce, never left the stage. Even after conducting, acting, singing or organising, she was the centre of interest for the presidential inauguration when eight past presidents placed the Symbols of Office around her neck. She even had the voice left to make a small speech and the energy to do a quick waltz in the arms of an enthusiastic admirer, resulting in all the chains around her neck becoming hopelessly tangled. (Barbara was still wearing the symbols the next afternoon, so I assume she had to sleep in them. The large horn carvings, particularly the flannel flower, must have been most uncomfortable!)
Supper was delicious. Thank you, Spiro, for the cakes. Smaller groups now formed for more singing. Some of the shyer (?) members (who won't step forward before the campfire crowd) were persuaded to air their talent. Mike Reynold's song of the bantam cock deserves a larger audience, as do Jim Percy's nostalgia trips into 1950s songs, especially “Purple People Eater” with accompanying dance movements.
Sunday: The early-rising children were swimming noisily when the Ranger, from the reserve across the river, made his first round of the day. The children's voices dropped to a hush at his stern look and the only sound was the dipping of Craig Austin's oars as he left Coolana's banks for his car opposite.
“You shouldn't be camped-there.” called the Ranger with authority. “That's private property.” “It's O.K. I'm a Sydney Bush Walker and we own the land.” “Then you shouldn't park on this side of the river.”
I guess it's good to know our property is being watched for us.
I had woken to bright sunlight, with the river valley below still in mist, a beautiful sight. Already the keener cooks were preparing for the damper competition and speculating as to who would win. Joan Rigby, a hot favourite, didn't enter this year. (She was too busy answering questions - about her accident of some months ago while on her motor-bike - to the seemingly endless number of people asking after her injury. Joan has made good progress and is again back on the bike and intends to discard her walking stick very soon.) Joan would have had stiff competition this year. While judges Jim Percy and Barbara Bruce (yes! Barbara again - now in a bikini but still with tangled dingle-dangles) finally decided on the winner, we who devoured the dampers found all were delicious.
Eighty or more enjoyed this re-union, and about 350 missed out and the loss is their's. Perhaps we re-union reporters paint a picture of a soft weekend which doesn't appeal to you. However, despite this reporter's inactivity, many are most energetic. A couple of years ago, a bike riding contingent rode from Mittagong along roads and fire trails and almost non-existent tracks to the dam, where they were met by friends with canoes who ferried them (plus gear, plus bikes, AND after dark) to the other side. They enjoyed the Saturday night's activities, then rode to Nowra station the next day. Hardly a soft weekend! Others have done virtually the same trip on foot. Yet others enjoy a canoeing weekend. Of course there is always li-loing and swimming, not to mention exploring the over 100 acres of bushland of the property (YOUR property, as a member.). Start thinking about next year. Could you lead a walk/canoe trip/bike ride/car swap trip, with Coolana as the Saturday night venue?
But leave me out. I'll continue to enjoy S.B.W. re-unions in my usual manner; renewing old friendships, meeting new people, recalling past trips and planning new ones.
Footnote: The price of lazyness is… grass ticks! I got 200 or more. Can anyone better that?
The Federation of Bushwalking Clubs is holding a dance to raise money to pay for a S. & R. trailer.
Date - Friday, 3rd May. Venue - Lane Cove Town Hall, Longueville Road. Cost - $7 at door. B.Y.O. drink AND supper. Dress - casual. No need to bring a partner.
The S.B.W. PARTY is being arranged by Barbara Bruce (546,6570) and Denise Shaw (525,0316).
Come along and have a great night! 7 pm - 1 am.
by Bill Holland.
Committee meeting - where matters of international importance are discussed behind closed doors, and new members get their chance to meet the committee.
Federation Bush Dance at Lane Cove Town Hall.
Learn to give a back massage. A professional instructor will teach you how to give a relaxing back massage to soothe those aches and pains. The lesson starts at 7 pm sharp! Bring a towel and a mat such as a Therm-a-rest or foam pad.
Maurie Bloom will show his slides of the South Island of New Zealand, together with an informative commentary. Sorry, Maurie, for mis-spelling your name on the Walks Programme.
Dinner before this meeting at Eric's Seafood Restaurant, 316 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest. 6.30 pm sharp, B.Y.O. Don't be late, since the restaurant closes just after 6.30 pm. We'll be in the private room at the back. Impressions of this place were most favourable last time we ate there.
Magazine wrapping night - come along to help out, and to see what's involved in the production of our monthly magazine.
Members Slide night - the theme this time is people. Bring a dozen or two of your favourite slides to show.
Annual Subscriptions 1985.
At the Annual General Meeting on 13th March Annual Subscriptions were fixed as follows:-
Single member|$11| Household - $11 plus $5 for each extra person in household|$16 (for 2 people)|
|$21 (for 3 people)|
|$26 (for 4 people)|
|Full-time student (unless included in household subscription)||$ 9|
|Entrance Fee||$ 3|
At the April Committee Meeting the following subscriptions were fixed:-
|Non-active member + magazine posted||$ 9|
|Non-active member (no magazine)||$ 3|
|Prospective member - for 6 months||$ 5|