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 7.45 pm at the Cahill Community Centre (Upper Hall), 34 Falcon Street, Crow's Nest.
|Ainslie Morris, 45 Austin Street, Lane Cove, 2066. Telephone 428 3178.
|Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118. Telephone 871 1207.
|Fran Longfoot, Morag Ryder, Stan Madden.
In This Issue:
|Hilltop to Katoomba
|Conservation Corner - A Wilderness Act
|Committee Meeting Report - 1st October, 1986
|“Big Chief Dry-Em-By-Fire”
|Just a Minute - Fifty-five Years Ago
|Walks Report - Day Test Walk 17/8/86
|Patrick James, Narelle Lovell
|Sydney Harbour Walk\Dora Freeman
|Central Australia - Part 2
|The Half-Yearly General Meeting
|Bush Walker - A Name
|The Draft of the New Constitution - An Appreciation
|Eastwood Camping Centre
|Canoe & Camping, Gladesville
Hilltop To Katoomba.
by Geoff Grace.
An outstanding walk of five days duration, three trackless, with medium, hard and exploratory sections. Late August. Bill Capon, Bob Milne, Geoff Grace.
Day One: 4WD vehicle to about twelve km northwest of Hilltop, (Mittagong way). The walk commenced at a locked gate constructed to resist a D9 Bulldozer. Walked the 4WD track down to and along the Nattai River. Left the river and climbed up Travis Gully to Beloon Pass. Great views. A steep but easy descent down the pass then a beeline west to intersect the road to the ford at the Wollondilly River. A faint 4WD track (through throngs of kangaroos). From the top of the rise, a magnificent view back to the majestic ramparts of Wanganderry Walls, full square to the sun. Well to the south, Bonnum Pic. After about five km, a good campsite with a large pool of water at Byrnes Creek.
Day Two: Minor roads towards the Tonalli River. Departed the road onto faint tracks, then bush to the river. Mist. Temporarily unsure of our position there! Crossed the river and selected a ridge leading up to a possible pass onto the Tonalli Tableland at Burragorang 527/227. It went, but with very little margin. (Rope handy). On top, we celebrated with lunch at a sunny lookout, the Wollondilly spread out below, well satisfied that we'd successfully negotiated the pass. Any alternative would have added a day to the trip. A route was selected across Bob Higgins Creek and via various tops, saddles, etc. to enter Lacys Creek South Canyon at a break Burragorang 534/274. The map didn't show the canyon of the eastern arm of the forked creek in the break. We stumbled onto it. A narrow slot plummeting down to watery caverns below. Exploration revealed that the western arm, although full of dense vegetation, was negotiable. Followed it down to Lacys to a camp amongst magnificent Blue Gums - a massive forest of them, far exceeding the well known Grose forest. This one is totally untouched.
Day Three: Worked our way downstream past the beetling cliffs of the “Prow” then a short distance after the junction with North Canyon, a turn roughly north towards and up to the cliff “corner” of the Southern Section of the Bimlow Tableland. We were in remote country, but, high up from the creek, incredibly, several ancient sawn stumps gave evidence of timbergetters long ago. Remarkable. A short, hard traverse just below the cliff line put us into an easy break at Burragorang 557/309. Up out of the break, then northwest to the top of the impressive cliffs of Back Bimlow Walls. A short distance northwards along giddy heights of cliff to a high, dry camp to watch the sun go down on a view fit for kings.
Day Four: Northward along the cliff line, revelling in the views. At about Bimlow 586/358, the huge cliffs are broken briefly by a very steep slope, not shown on maps but referred to in an article by David Rostron a number of years ago and recalled by Bill. We tackled the slope and were gratified to find that it went, without difficulty, all the way down. We crossed Green Wattle Creek where there was an exciting incident with some healthy-sized trout isolated in a large pool. A long lunch! Then followed a devious and subtle route using Black Coola Creek, ridges and saddles to place us on Broken Rock Range at about Bimlow 555/394. A steady walk north on the ridge, again with expansive views, then an ankle-bending “down” to lower country. Share amazement at how cleverly Bob negotiates steep downhills backwards! Says it takes the stress off the knees! A streak west into the setting sun to a late, comfortable camp on a sidestream close to Butchers Creek. The exploratory sections over, we feasted and topped off with damper and plenty of tea.
Day Five: A big push. (A result of the long lunch and lazing in the sun). Around forty km to make the train at Katoomba. First a short stretch along Butchers, then a long ridge up to Scotts Main Range. The Range road. Cookem - ugh! Exciting crossings of Kowmung and Cox Rivers, both high, turbulent and cold. White Dog, Taro's. A look back over mystical ranges and cliffs. Back Bimlow walls away in the distance, they'll be there for another time. Now the long slog along Narrow Neck. Torches for the last few km and finally Pizza and goodies carried onto the 8.11 pm train at Katoomba - just made it!
Full marks to Bill Capon for navigating the party through without hitch. Experience tells. A memorable walk. A classic bushwalk. Five days away from it all. Not a soul across our path. Some exploration. Good fun. Good company. Good weather. Magnificent scenery. The elemental bushland “….and at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.”
An outstanding walk.
Geoff Grace. Sept.'86
by Peter Miller.
Eagle-eyed the mighty hunters,
Stride beside the foaming creek,
See the trout there in the water,
Trout all big and smooth and sleek.
Barry jumps into the water,
(Water cold but Barry brave),
Treads upon a trout (so agile),
Trout looks headed for the grave.
Peter leaps into the fray now,
(Trout all swim and dash about),
Puts his hands into the streamlet,
Grabs the trout and chucks it out.
Out upon the bank agasping,
Trout it gives up ghost and dies.
Barry out with sharpened knife-edge
Cuts off head and glazing eyes.
Into pan go trouty fillets,
Fillets four all cooked in butter,
Drooling hoards stand salivating,
Those fed last go grumble mutter.
Who needs rod and who needs licence
When there is a creek nearby?
Hop right in there with your Volleys,
The quickness of the foot sure beats the fly.
With apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Our Club has sent a submission, written by our Conservation Secretary, Alex Colley. This page is an extract from a leaflet “No Second Chance”.
A Wilderness Act.
In 1964 the USA passed a Wilderness Act to protect wilderness areas. Now, more than twenty years later, Australia still has no Wilderness Act, State or Federal. Wilderness still rates last in the land-use priority scale.
In NSW, however, the first steps of change are under way. Australia's first Wilderness Act is becoming a real possibility.
The NSW Minister for Planning and Environment has recently released a report commissioned by him, and supported by conservation groups. The report proposes that the State's wilderness and wild rivers be protected by action such as:-
- passage of a Wilderness and Wild Rivers Management Act:
- ultimate reservation of all wilderness areas in national parks:
- immediate declaration of all wilderness areas in existing national parks:
- allocation of additional resources provided in the National Parks and Wildlife Service to implement the protection programme.
The new Act to protect wilderness and wild rivers proposed in the report includes the essential provisions for:-
- binding management agreements between the NP&WS and other public authorities whose activities may affect wilderness areas;
- Agreements for leasehold and freehold land that are voluntary;
- interim protection powers to safeguard wilderness areas until management agreements are in force;
- management of “external influences”, such as water pollution and fire;
- any member of the public to take court action to uphold the requirements of the Act; and
- overriding other legislation (in regard to wilderness).
Here is the chance for New South Wales to lead Australia in protecting remaining wilderness areas. Five or ten years hence will be too late.
How you can help.
The NSW Labor Government has announced that it will introduce a Wilderness Act, but it may not come to fruition unless it receives a great deal of public support - your support.
1. Write to the Premier, the Hon. B. Unsworth, Parliament House, Sydney 2000, urging the immediate introduction of the NSW Wilderness Act.
2. Donate money to the campaign for a Wilderness Act.
[ Map of Wilderness areas identified by the Wilderness Working Group Report to the NSW Government (August '86). ]
To reach people, to let others like yourself know about the need for an Act, costs money - lots of it (over $1500 per week). Your donation to any of the groups below will go direct to the campaign if marked “Wilderness Act Campaign”. Donations over $2 are tax deductable if made payable to the Australian Conservation, 672B, Glenferrie Road, Hawthorne, Victoria 2122, marked with a preference for one of the groups below.
3. Volunteer, join and send a donation to the following conservation bodies:
- The Wilderness Society, 57 Liverpool St, Sydney (02)267 7929 (Donations to National Campaign for Wilderness).
- The Colong Foundation for Wilderness, 3rd Floor, 18 Argyle St, Sydney (02)27 4714.
- The Australian Conservation Foundation, 3rd Floor, 18 Argyle St, Sydney (02)27 1497.
Ring to find out when these groups hold meetings.
4. Organise a venue for the Wilderness Act Audiovisual (eg at a branch of a political party, at a club etc). Ring Ross Knowles or Haydn Washington at the Wilderness Society (02)267 7929.
5. Contact your local Member of Parliament, urging him or her to support the Wilderness Act. Advice and material can be obtained from conservation groups.
Committee Meeting Report - 1st October, 1986.
The Conservation Secretary, Alex Colley, wrote a submission on the Wilderness Act proposal which the Committee is sending to Mr. Bob Carr, Minister for Planning and Environment.
A letter was received from The Hon. John Kerin, M.P., Minister for Primary Industry (Federal), replying to our letter regarding Harris-Daishowa's woodchipping operation at Eden.
A letter from N.P.& W.S. about a Plan of Management for Wollemi National Park, especially of the Wheeny Creek area, asking for information on our usage of this area.
The Wilderness Society has asked our Club to consider a sponsored Great Forest Walk in the Tantawangelo and Coolangubra areas near Eden which are threatened by woodchipping.
The Treasurer put a motion which was passed that commitments to expenditure outside the budget should be authorised in advance by the Committee.
Members will need to notify the Secretary of changes of address and/or telephone number if they wish to have an accurate Membership List in 1987 and receive mail.
Jim Brown will attend the “Keeping Archives” Workshop on behalf of the Club on 11/12 October 1986.
"Big Chief Dry-Em-By-Fire".
by Grace Noble.
Back in the mists of time, when the Club (and ourselves) were young and brash, there was a group of our “elders” - I suppose their ages were forty-fifty-ish, who were large (in person and nature), amazingly tolerant, and rejoiced in such names as the above. Notable among these was our Dorothy Lawry, who combined the contradictory gifts of being a first-rate accountant (doing dreary jobs like involved food-lists with great exactitude), and the ability to put up cheerfully with woolly-minded folk such as myself.
Once, Dorothy was on the eve of leading a Sunday walk, when she heard “Stoddy” ask me to lunch on Sunday, and me accepting. Sunday was a beautiful day, so at Central Station, Dorothy was “slightly amazed” to see prospective hostess and guest approaching her from opposite directions. (Did we both forget?) Being a large-minded person, she shrugged it off as our usual daft behaviour.
As editor of the magazine, she took over from one who had been overzealous in blue-pencilling inelegancies in grammar. (I don't think anyone attempted blue bits in those days). As a result, articles had fallen off vastly in number. Dorothy's motto was “The character of the person is lost with the flavour of the writing, however loose the construction” and contributions went ahead by leaps and bounds.
Another one of her gifts was one as a verse-maker (of many jolly S.B.W. skits); perhaps not a poet, but with a poetic feeling and love of the outdoors. I remember, with her, delighting in the discovery of an old Gaelic chant which ran as follows, and which may epitomise her (and our) feelings:-
“I am the overlord of the hills and the high places
And it is the changing breath of the mountains that I seize and make into words.
My bed is as high above the clouds as my labouring minister, the earth, can lift me up.
And my thoughts are as far above the stars as my eager heart can carry them.”
Just A Minute.
Fifty-Five Years Ago... In the Good Old Days.
Club Magazine: Moved Miss Hill, seconded Mr. Dunphy, that this Club issue a Club Magazine. Carried.
Moved Mr. Plimmer, seconded Mr. Yardley, that Misses Hill, White, Browne and Lawry and Mr. Dunphy be appointed as a sub-committee to edit the magazine. Carried. Monthly Meeting on Friday, 10th April, 1931.
“Bushwalker”: Moved Miss Trimble, seconded Mr. Roots, that the “Bushwalker” be made the official organ of the Club.
Moved Miss Hill, seconded Miss Trimble, that the name of the “Bushwalker” be changed to “The Sydney Bushwalker”. Carried. Monthly Meeting on Friday, 8th July, 1932.
Day Test Walk - 17/8/86.
by Errol Sheedy.
This test walk was programmed as - Cronulla, Bundeena, Wattamolla, Neram Spur, Waterfall. However, when I heard on the radio that the Bundeena Ferry had had an altercation with some rocks and the Bundeena Wharf during the storm of the Big Wet (early August), I thought I would check the possibility of the ferry being out of action when we wanted to use it the following week. The upshot of this was that when I visited Cronulla the best advice that the proprietor of the ferry service could give was that there was no ferry running 9/10 August, but that there might be one going on 17th August, and he suggested that I phone during the week. This was hardly the type of information I could impart to walkers phoning early in the week before the trip so I decided to cancel the walk and substitute another test walk. A phone call to the President had Barbara agreeing to announce the change at the clubrooms, and following some phone calls to a selection of those tolerant types who often endure my walks, I had my fingers crossed as to the outcome.
In the event, twenty-one walkers, including our President, detrained at Waterfall. These included four who weren't in on the changed plans, but having arrived at Cronulla to discover a paucity of other starters, smel1ed a rat (but did not see it floating in the air), and phoned me, thereby obtaining the good gen which enabled them to catch a train to Sutherland station and join the rest of us. Then, as there were railworks being done between Heathcote and Sutherland we all had to troop out into the Prince's Highway to board a bus for Waterfall. Gasp! Like true love, the course of preparations for bushwalks ne'er runs smooth. After such a chequered start the walk went smoothly - Waterfall, Couranga Track, Palona Cave, Neram Spur, Uloola Falls, Karloo Pool, Bottle Forest Track, Engadine, 21 km.
Brian Bolton introduced an unexpected, but very interesting, innovation into the morning by showing us the way off the lower part of the Couranga Track, north, down to the Hacking River where we tiptoed across a huge dead tree straddling the stream. That put us on the eastern side of the river where we followed the path of an old timber road, downstream, for about 2 km to Bola Creek, where Brian again demonstrated his usefulness and chivalry by carting logs down to the creek to make a walkway for those of us less intrepid. From there it was but a short step up to Lady Carrington Drive, and then on to Palona Cave for lunch.
This limestone (?) cave appears to my very limited geological knowledge to be really a large sandstone overhang with, apparently, some limestone deposits interspersed so that stalagmites and stalactites have joined to form columns. At least one of the columns still appears to be wet/alive.
We lunched on the creek upstream from the cave before returning to cross the Hacking where the leader, dear reader, espied a lyre bird sitting in the low branches of a tree overhanging the river. Those walkers close behind were rewarded with the unedifying sight of said bird in full (?) flight across the Hacking. Bird fanciers may enthuse over the mimicry repertoire of the lyre bird, but having viewed the dubious beauty of its straggling scrawny flight path, and, as I confided to a companion at the time, having been, years ago, in Reedy Creek, Kedumba Valley, the hapless recipient of the contents of a lyre bird's cloaca as it (the bird, that is) flew overhead, I did not regard the present sighting as one of my more memorable avian events.
While on the subject of wildlife, it was during the morning's Hacking River section that Brian also regaled us with tales of giant wombat holes in the vicinity, lying in wait to trap the unwary. In view of the fact that I had never seen wombat holes (or wombats) in the Royal National Park, I was inclined to view the assertion with some incredulity, which emotion was reinforced by the gelid silence of those behind me, and also by the appearance, a little later, of an alleged wombat hole which looked more like a subsidence with vertical sides than a wombat hole. But I will keep an open mind.
Having crossed the Hacking, where we sank to our knees in the sandy gravel, some of us removed detritus from our socks and shoes, while the barefoot brigade put dries on. Then the ascent of Neram Spur proceeded through interesting sandstone formations to the more level areas of the ridge leading to the Uloola Track. Along Neram Spur we saw lots of pink boronia, with some prodigious specimens bearing scores of flowers, yet only standing about 30 cm high.
After reaching the Waterfall-Uloola track, we headed for Karloo Pool where six people decided to take the short route to Heathcote, while the rest of us headed down Kangaroo Creek to the Bottle Forest track, and thence to Engadine. Twenty of us were members, and one prospective.
by Patrick James.
September. On 17th September about sixty of us sat back in relative comfort whilst Dot Butler painted a picture with words and slides about mountaineering in the Peruvian Andes. Dot took us from packing the stores in 44 gallon drums in Sydney to the snow-covered peaks in Peru. Although the trip was made about 15 years ago Dot talked as if she had just stamped the snow from her boots at the Club front door.
The other highlight of the month was the Blue Grass Band; two enormous loud-speakers powered by six dedicated musicians entertained about 25 aficionados of this American music. The band is composed of six stringed instruments - mandolin, banjo, base guitar, acoustic guitar and two fiddles and plays music which is full of life.
October. On 22nd of this month the Club Auction will be held. It is hoped there will be a big selection of goods and also a bigger collection of purchasers.
For the lovers of chamber music and choral presentations the Soiree on October 29 is the evening to keep free. On this night “The Scrub Bashers” will entertain us with their own special music.
Welcome back, Narelle!
November - by Narelle Lovell.
Will be enlivened by a magazine wrap on the 19th. We will be trialling a new eating place - “Kappy's” is next door to “Green Gardens” in Alexander Street (53 Alexander Street, Crow's Nest, to be exact).
A Talent Night is envisioned for the 26th November. We require musicians, songsters, reciters of stirring poetry and the odd amusing sketch. (For auditions by phone - take a deep breath and ring Narelle 398 7962.) All enquiries welcome.
Eastwood Camping Centre.
A huge range of gear to cater for everyone's needs, whether it be for…
- or Car Camping
Eastwood Camping Centre.
3 Trelawney Street Eastwood 2122. Telephone (02) 858 3833. Proprietors Jack, Nancy and David Fox. Established 1970.
Sydney Harbour Walk.
Leader: Ralph Penglis
By Dora Freeman
We're going on a long walk, this Sunday, if it's fine,
So get your walking shoes on - we'll meet just after nine.
You'll need some fruit or salad and something cool to drink,
Some dates and nuts and mandarins, they would be nice I think.
We're ready for the Ferry to take us to Cremorne,
The weather's not too windy, but cold this Sunday morn.
We count the heads - just thirteen - “Oh, can't we find one more!”
“Oh, never mind, there's often been thirteen of us before!”
So off we go, the ferry ride is such a pleasant start,
But we all are really anxious to begin the serious part,
Of walking round the foreshores past Mosman and the Zoo,
So, up the hills and down again, - “Oh, do look at the view.”
What's this? A late arrival, missed the ferry, train was late!
It's Janet coming up behind, she's caught us, that's just great!
For now we number fourteen, that sounds much better now!
So on we go with steady stride, t'wardS Manly Wharf, I vow!
At Bradley's Head we have a rest, a drink and p'haps a bicky,
We're going strong, I hope no-one tomorrow needs a “sicky”.
But the toughest part is coming, “That rock is perpendicular!”
I start to wonder, “Should I take a method more vehicular?”
I'll need a helicopter to get me past this barrier!
But a hand in front, a push behind and I'll not be a tarrier!
With pulse up high, and panting breath, at last I'm at the top!
And very pleased I'll be to have just a minute's stop!
Now we're going downhill, that's a pleasant change,
Past houses which are really away beyond our range.
They look out to the ocean or across to Sydney's lights,
There's a whole new panorama to be shared by day or night.
At last we reach Balmoral and have a welcome lunch.
It's still quite fine, “I'll make it right to Manly, I've a hunch”.
Across the Spit with traffic near, then through some quiet tracks,
A few more hills to conquer! Some rain! Put on your “macs”.
Balgowlah Heights, the changing views, through scrub to such a scene,
Of Harbour, boats and ocean wide, white caps on blue and green.
Then right down to the water's edge to walk the last long mile,
We're almost there, “I'll do it, I can give a victory smile”.
Past houses, great wide windows looking out across the bay,
But as we walk we share their view in this bushwalker's way.
And there's the Manly Ferry, “I've done it”, What a thrill!
I've reached our destination, there's life in the old girl still!
But the best part of a bushwalk is the company that you meet.
The friends we met in Paris, are with us. What a treat!
Diane and Craig and their two girls who walked the whole day long,
With not the slightest grizzle, just steadily plodding on.
And others there, some known awhile, and some we met today,
You catch them up and have a chat for just a little way.
Enjoy the scene together and reminisce awhile,
Yes, walking is the nicest way to pass a pleasant mile.
As you are probably aware, next year (October 1987) marks the 60th Anniversary of your Club.
In the past, such events have been celebrated by holding a “Dress” affair on the Friday night at a Hotel or such, which would currently cost approximately $25.00 per head.
In addition, a Saturday night Campfire meal plus overnight “Tent In” has been held at a Scout Camp type ground which would cost approximately $6.00 per head.
Questions have been asked:- “Why are we celebrating?”, “Why a Hotel Meal?”, “Why a campsite with easy access?”. How about addressing these questions to the Committee or Sub-Committee, and at the same time, make some suggestions as to what you would like. Maybe a catered function on Saturday night in a Hall at a Campsite with a Sunday Lunchtime Campfire.
Your Sub-Committee would like to arrange functions according to members wishes - so lets have your ideas, by the November General Meeting (12th). If you can not come along, this is no excuse, write them down and post or hand deliver to either myself or any other Committee member, or telephone.
- Ian Debert 982 2615
- Helen Gray 866 263
- Barbara Bruce 546 6570
- Ainslie Morris 428 3178
- Spiro Hajinakitas 357 1381
- Alex Colley 442 707
- Patrick James 588 2614
Remember - This is your Club, What would you like to do?
Belvedere Taxis Blackheath.
10 seater mini bus taxi. 047-87 8366.
Kanagra Boyd. Upper Blue Mountains. Six Foot Track.
Pick up anywhere for start or finish of your walk - by prior arrangement.
Share the fare - competitive rates.
Central Australia - Part 2.
by Tom Wilhelm.
Day 4. In the morning we had some trouble. Bob had left his boots near the fire and one of them had been badly burnt; it was curled and twisted and he couldn't wear it! You can't walk barefoot in this country. David was concerned lest this difficulty should stop the walk. George, who had a reputation as Mr. Fixit, was called in and set about fixing the boot. Ultimately it was boiled in one of our communal billies and straightened out enough, or so it seemed, for Bob to get his foot into it. Bob returned moments later with both boots on and all was right. Suspicious!! It all came out - Bob had an extra shoe! It was all a joke, he had fooled the lot of us. Bob gave varying accounts of the prank, depending upon who he talked to! I think he carried the old burnt boot in with him just as a joke. That's just my opinion however - there are many others!
This day we moved eastward, then up and over the ridges of Hugh Gorge where I could look back and see my day walk of yesterday. Down the other side and we had crossed the range. We were on the northern end of Hugh Gorge.
We dropped our packs at the mouth of the gorge and descended to see if we could find water. What greeted us was the stench of death, the first of many encounters with dead horses and cattle. A mother and colt dead and stinking on the rocks - a broken leg? died of thirst? - it doesn't really matter. Horrible. The water at the bottom was putrid - I actually tasted it and regretted I had. We returned to our packs, then followed up over a ridge to investigate the other branch that feeds Hugh Gorge from this side. More death.
We soon were on a track so defined that it looked manmade, but it wasn't - it was cattle and horse made, and what a job they can do with their weight and hooves. At the bottom of this little valley the air was heavy with the stench of death. Mainly cattle here. Just beyond we descended into a rock canyon. No more dead animals - they couldn't get over the ledge we descended. And what geology! You would have sworn that the stream bed had been bored out by a tunnelling machine. Seven metres wide and eight metres high and bone dry. I couldn't help but think that the water that had done all this was from long ago, five thousand, ten thousand years ago?? It certainly wasn't last week, that's for sure!
We arrived at a waterfall with twenty metres below us big pools of water while up where we were was bone dry. No way we could descend. The camera seemed inadequate, too big, too vast, too colourful, and far too bright! I tried, the results were pretty poor, and failed to capture any of the dynamic of the situation.
We returned to our packs, holding our noses while passing the dead cattle, then spent the afternoon crossing some dry watercourses in an eastward direction to reach Spencer Gorge. We eventually made camp in a canyon that animals could not reach, with water at hand, so pristine and beautiful that you could easily forget the stench of death we had encountered earlier in the day.
I slept in a little sandy trough, next to a big boulder, and enjoyed the stars. The brightness of the Milky Way was so overwhelming that it was hard to fall asleep! I just wanted to lie in the cozy warmth of my winter-weight down sleeping bag and gaze at the majesty of the heavens. At this camp only a small portion of the whole sky was visible, and through trees at that, but I saw a number of shooting stars and found the view impressive.
Day 5. Morning, and Spiro who I felt would qualify as a pyromaniac the way he would get up in the dark to start the fire, had the porridge on. It's hard to imagine, but you begin to look forward to the stuff!
Today our plan was to descend Spencer Gorge right through to the south side. We had actually walked down to the mouth of the Gorge last night, where we also got water for our camp, so we knew the immediate ground. Like most gorges in this area, they are blocked by 'permanent' water holes at their narrowest point. Spencer was like this, and hence needed a swim or a climb to avoid the water. The party divided, some went up and some went swimming. I went up; I couldn't be bothered to water-proof my huge pack. I had camera equipment that shouldn't get wet. Also the water looked cold and the climb short and easy. So it proved to be. We were on the other side waiting for the swimmers when the first of them came through. We had made a fire in anticipation of their cold state. While we were climbing over the ridge we had noticed brumbies (wild horses) coming up the canyon toward the water. This side of the gorge was filthy and horse soiled but the other side was pristine and clean. As the swimmers warmed, I took my camera and telephoto lens and stalked the horses. I surprised them and was able to get several good shots (I was fortunately up wind of them) before they galloped off. I also photographed a dead wedgetail eagle that I found lying between two boulders. The smell of dead horses tainted this area.
David, our leader, was a wonder in being able to accommodate all our various desires without ever seeming to be a dictator, which in fact is what the leader is!
We regrouped, some repacked, and we wandered out onto the southern plains once again. We were back on the south side, heading east towards Stuarts Pass for yet another crossing of the range. Walking along in the foothills was interesting. Dry and open, with good distant views of all the major peaks, and ahead loomed Brinkleys Bluff. It got ever larger as we reached the Stuart River and turned northwards and headed for the pass.
We investigated one side canyon, for water. None. Suddenly we found a flowing stream! True the horses and cows had been at it but it was so green, lush and alive compared to surrounding areas that it seemed wonderful. Lunch stop! Big billies of tea, and we realized that we were within shooting distance of the pass. We could carry water to our intended camp, and we all filled our wine skins when we left. An hour or so after departing we reached our camping place in Stuarts Pass. Brinkleys Bluff loomed above the camp, and looked magnificent in the afternoon sun. I wanted to climb it. Even though we were to climb around the southern end of the Bluff in a day, I still wanted to climb it. So I did.
I went off on my own with a little bit of food, windbreak, camera, even a drop of water. I decided to climb the Bluff by the northwest ridge which from my vantage point in camp was on the skyline and looked mighty. I went through the pass, an easy dry one, with a big sandy bottom, and lots of dead horses, signs of digging for water by the live ones as well. David requested that I check the water situation in the spring that lies at the foot of this ridge. So I did, no trouble either. I soon realized that the animal tracks in front of me went nowhere else! I didn't have a map - I didn't need one.
I was not, however, prepared for the sight of the spring. Water like sump oil with dead cows rotting in it. I was almost sick. I surprised a big brown kangaroo who was drinking as I approached and it bounded up the ridge behind the spring. I followed it and soon the smell was behind me and I had a fabulous hour-long climb; clean rock, crystal air and the northern sun bathing this whole ridge. I was too hot most of the time.
The view from the top was probably the best of the trip. What a vista! Mountains everywhere! Colour shaded from dark green in the west where the sun was rapidly sinking, to pinks and bright reds to the east. I was busy with my camera as I strolled up and down the main ridge top, marvelling yet again at the extent and rich variety of vegetation that existed there. I descended the way I had come with one small variation to avoid the 'spring' and to investigate another side valley. I saw my brown kangaroo again and also some more wild horses.
One of the pleasures of camp was barley rum; we each had a pre-dinner cup each night. It was made by mixing up lemon barley drink, heating it, and then adding a small amount of overproof rum. It was doubly pleasurable for me as I was one of the carriers of the lemon barley and rum, so each evening my pack went down by a quarter of a kilo! This evening after my long and tiring jaunt (I'd left at three and it was now after six) it tasted beyond mere words.
This campsite in Stuarts Pass was big and open, at times a little too windy, but with a beautiful log to lean against as we sat around the fire. The wood here is of course as dry as dry can be, which makes fires a pleasure to make and keep burning. Plenty of singing this night, songbooks came out, all the old favourites and a few of the not-so-favourites! The river bed is huge here and provided us all with nice soft sandy sleeping places. There was some concern that horses might come and step on us in the night, so some of us slept near the massive river gums that grew all around the camp. The stars provided their usual entertainment as I drifted off to sleep.
Day 6. A delicate rosy pink dawn greeted us this morning, and Spiro stirring the porridge at the fire. It wasn't freezing but it wasn't warm either, so the fire was greatly appreciated in the early morning. We planned a day walk, and I was annoyed when the leader instructed us to hide our packs in a little side gully just behind our camp. It seemed unnecessary to me - who would be coming around here? There were not even any vehicle tracks to be seen, but in the end we did as instructed. It seemed to ruin some of the 'wilderness' feeling, and in the event we never did see any other humans on the walk.
Our day walk took us exploring some little canyons and ridges that run south and west from Brinkleys Bluff. We had a superb ridgetop walk that put us on some rock outcrops for lunch with a 360° view. We could see the road from whence we had come, and the road that ran up to Standley Chasm, but they were a long way off and not particularly intrusive, the size and peculiar intensity of the wilderness was the greatest impression.
At lunch today as people could see, so many days into the walk, that they had either brought enough lunch material or not, nuts, fruits and other tidbits were more freely passed around than on previous days. Shirley and I had finally realized that since we carried the entire rum supply between us we could 'stop' the rum of those people in the party being non co-operative! Amid shouts and laughs we threatened such action any time the mood took us.
Our descent and return to camp had us find another secure (but horse soiled) water supply, and the country revealed its secrets to those who kept looking. I tried to count the rings of some of the smallish trees we found this day and discovered things the diametre of my thumb that were fifteen rings old! It was pointed out to me, and I suppose it's true, that rings in the arid country don't exactly correspond to years, as the trees only grow in the good seasons. Trees may lie dormant through many a dry year, so fifteen rings means at least fifteen, but probably many more, years! A country that is both extremely hard and extremely delicate, a contradiction seen and felt every day. We passed our 'spring' of the day before and so picked up water for our second camp at Stuarts Pass.
I decided for another afternoon walk to climb, if possible, Paisley Bluff, which lay opposite Brinkley Bluff, but farther back from the pass. I left too late. I even took a torch with me, but once I was out on my own, on a very long ridge walk, completely different than yesterday, the idea of descending in the dark seemed distinctly unattractive. So I had to stop just short of the summit and be content with the views to hand. The sunlight burning red on Brinkleys Bluff, which faced me across the pass as I descended, was worth the effort of the walk as well. It was practically dark by the time I reached camp, and the barley rum was better than ever!
Camp was now a full-fledged routine - soup, main course and stewed fruit for dessert, all very predictable; plenty of singing afterward and discussion of the plans for tomorrow.
Day 7. After another pink dawn with wedgetail eagles and horses for company, we packed everything up and we continued eastward. We headed across the sandy dry riverbed, and ascended a beautiful Col at the southern end of Brinkleys Bluff which we had seen from our camp. An hour or so later and we were there. The party rejected climbing Brinkley (which could have been easily done from this vantage point) and I was very glad I had made the effort the day before yesterday. I was familiar enough with the people in the party now that as we walked along I calculated the average age of the party. After lunch, which we had in a fine little side canyon with an excellent pool of beautiful water, I announced my result - fifty-three years! It was greeted with cries of “That's impossible” or “Far too old” but after some deliberation and the slight correction of a few ages, they beat me down to fifty-two. Big deal. We were no youngsters!
The day continued with a fine long ridge walk to get us to the top of Hogsback, and after that diversionary climb a descent into the 'system' of Standley Chasm. We finally arrived, after a long, long day with full packs, at the backside or southside of Standley Chasm. We were close to civilization now - after all, there is a kiosk at the other side of the Chasm, and there was much joking about walking through to get an icecream! But no one did…. We did descend the gorge to get water and have a wash, and saw a few bits of 'civilized detritus' which was about the only litter we saw on the entire trip. We saw no people, and therefore did not yet break our wilderness experience. A few drops of rain fell but by now we just didn't take it seriously and it went away and no flies were put up.
The walk was nearing its end, our packs were finally getting light, and we were in territory now that was unexplored on previous trips. David's knowledge and map work were impressive. We had had excellent campsites each night, found all the water we needed and were having a grand time climbing and exploring. What more could we ask?
We weren't sure as we headed east yet again; the sirens of civilization were calling but we turned away and went into the next system east of Standley Chasm. From the top of the dividing ridge we saw Alice beckoning us far to the east! Down we went into what I called Garden Canyon. David had a sketch map of this area made by a local walker from Alice Springs and it indicated that we might find water down this one. However it was the plants that impressed me from the top - hence the name. The Macrazamias were so thick at the top we had trouble getting through. The fine large gum trees and cypress pines were luxuriant. The canyon went down about a kilometre and then narrowed at a mighty cleft. Several small crystal clear pools of water were found deep in this cleft, which in spite of its size we easily climbed through. Just below the water we camped where the canyon widened out again. We spent two nights here.
To be continued.
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The Half-Yearly General Meeting.
by Barry Wallace.
It all began, as best I can recall, at about 2006 hours with the President presiding, some 30 or so members present, and around half that number again held in reserve as “noises-off”. There was an apology from Patrick James, and new members John Prior, Stephen Deverick and Jack and Kerry Higgs were called to be welcomed to membership. It transpired that only Jack and Kerry were actually present, but we later found Jeff Niven, a previous no-show, and put him through the process.
The Minutes of the August General Meeting were read and received with most matters arising held over to General Business. Peter Miller advised the meeting that a local contractor has agreed to place a rock barrier on the Coolana access track for $50.00, the work to be carried out sometime during September.
Correspondence comprised letters from Hogg, Robinson and Associates clarifying some minor points regarding the club insurance policy; from North Sydney Council regarding the new Cahill Community Centre and the procedure for booking the hall; from Peter Miller advising of further minor vandalism at the Coolana hut; from Mouldy Harrison (a delightfully warm note of thanks for the flowers which the Club sent to Dorothy Lawry's funeral); from the National Campaign for Wilderness regarding the proposed N.S.W. Wilderness Act; a number of letters offering comments on the proposed Club constitution; a letter from Carol Bruce resigning her position as Walks Secretary and member of the 60th Anniversary Committee; and from Ainslie Morris resigning her positions as Vice-President, magazine Editor, member of the 60th Anniversary Committee and convenor of the Club Historical Booklet. Committee has written to Ainslie asking that she re-consider her resignations.
The Treasurer's Report indicated that we began the month with a balance of $946, acquired $1847, spent $370 and finished the month with a balance of $2423.
The Walks Report began with the weekend of August 15,16,17. As there was no report of Oliver Crawford's “exciting mystery trip to Yarramun Creek caves” we can only assume that mystery, rather than excitement, was the dominant theme. Peter Sharp reported 23 starters and lots of wind and snow on his beginners ski weekend, and Barry Wallace reported 6 people (plus 6, minus 2) and extensive flood damage on the Cox River observed during his wine and cheese walk. For the day walks, Bill Holland had 16 people on his Bob Buck's track walk (they reported extensive damage to the banks of the Colo and were late back at the cars as a result), and Errol Sheedy's Bundeena to Waterfall walk had ferry problems (also due to flooding curiously enough) so was altered to go from Waterfall to Heathcote with its 21 starters.
The following weekend, 22,23,24 August saw Ian Debert's party of 18 getting rained on over Saturday night on his Kanangra walk. Sunday saw some people opt for the soft option by going up the Gingra track, but the tough went to program. Peter Miller's prospectives instructional weekend at Coolana attracted 5 members and 5 visitors (but no Prospectives), and Len Berlin had 12 people on his Heathcote to Waterfall day trip.
Ian Wolfe's extended ski trip from 28th to 31st August had no report, but someone did say they had seen the party near O'Keefes Hut. Over the weekend of 29-31 August Robert King's trip to The Castle attracted 7 starters and the Bill Holland/Jan Mohandas walk to Bungonia Gorge had 14 people on what was reported as a beautiful trip. There were no details available for Wendy Lipiatt's day walk but Jim Brown had 18 people out enjoying a “beaut day” on his Wondabyne trip.
David McIntosh's extended weekend (4th-7th September) Colo trip did not go but George Walton had 10 people enjoying good weather and scenery on his modified Three Peaks trip during the same period. Bob Younger's Cox River walk did not go and Jim Laing's mystery walk surprised everyone of the 12 starters by going to the Red Rocks area. They reported significant wash-aways on the Wolgan River with the Newnes pub just one pier-row from destruction. Of the day walks, Margaret Reid had 18 on her Mt.Victoria walk and Len Berlin's Waterfall to Heathcote trip is rumoured to have been led by Keith Docherty but no details are available. All of which completed the Walks Report.
There was no Federation Report this month.
Conservation Report brought advice that a wilderness policy working party has been set up and submissions are invited.
Of the motions listed on the notice of meeting it was resolved that:-
(a) Barrie Murdoch is authorised to Incorporate the Association (in this case the Sydney Bush Walkers).
(b) The statement of objects of the proposed association is approved.
© The motion to approve the rules of the proposed association be adjourned to the next general meeting (October).
Significant progress was made with this item but it was the feeling of the meeting that more time should be allowed.
General Business brought a motion that the Club re-submit the application to the Paddy Pallin Foundation for a grant to establish the Club archives. This was carried after some debate.
Then came the announcements, and at 2215 hours the meeting closed.
Please add the following names to your List of Members:-
- Christie, Michael, 21 Nepean Avenue, Penrith, 2750. Phone (047) 21 0741.
- Gray, Kathleen, 209 Malton Road, Epping, 2121. 86 6263.
- Hopkins, Rod, 20/400 Mowbray Road, Chatswood, 2067. 411 6763.
- Taylor, LIndsay, 6 Carter Street, Gordon, 2072. 498 6671.
Sandy Hynes and John Williams who were married on Saturday, 20th September, 1986.
Bush Walker - A Name.
As the memories of the War to end all wars receded and the populace started to relax and enjoy the 1920's, Myles Dunphy started to be called upon to give talks on his walking tours. In 1922 he gave a series of lectures on walking and the outdoors at Sydney Technical College where he was employed as a teacher.
Following these talks, a group of male students decided to form a club of their own since the Mountain Trails Club had a restricted membership. They approached Myles for guidance and round April the following year founded the Bush Trails Club. However this created a problem - its similarity with the “Mountain Trails Club”.
Myles, as secretary of the Mountain Trails Club wrote to the new club in July 1923 pointing out the possible confusion and made some 83 suggestions for an alternative name. Amongst these proposals were:-
- The Billycan Blokes
- The Bush Moachers
- Bush Bannian Club
- Koala Bushies Club
- Sydney Swag Club
- The Billy Bangers
- Free Fun Track Tramps
- The Bandeleras
- Beach and Jungle Club
- Wombat Walking Wags
- The Wander Far Club
- Kanangra Kamp Klub
- Tent and Tucker Tourists
- Swag Swingers Club
- Sons of the Sun Walking Club
Included in this collection were the “Bush Walkers Club” and the “Black Swan Bush Walkers”. So had the Bush Trails Club not been so overwhelmed with choices, the word “bush walker” would have come into use in 1923. As it was, the club adopted the first name on the list - “Bush Tracks Club”.
In congratulating the club for their choice of name, Myles noted that the Mountain Trails Club had considered “bush” and “trail” originally for their club name but were worried by their African connection. In fact Myles thought the “Mountain Tracks Club” would have been a better choice.
Thus it was left to a meeting late in 1927 to adopt the name Sydney Bush Walkers as their club name. That decision coined a new word for lexicographers.
The Draft Of The New Constitution - An Appreciation.
by Kath Brown.
In July 1985 an Associations Incorporation Act was brought down by the State Government to enable small sporting clubs such as the S.B.W. to have a legal identity. In December our club decided to consider incorporation in principle and at the Annual General Meeting in March it was decided to go ahead with incorporation because of the safety it would give to club members and also our property, Coolana.
During the last six months a great deal of work was done by our vice president, Barrie Murdoch (who is a solicitor), to draw up a draft of a new constitution to cover the requirements of incorporation. He used our present constitution as a base but included the necessary legal requirements. For instance, we will have to be called an “association”, not a “club”. All this legal and clerical work took many hours of Barrie's time, and for this I would like to thank him.
The Committee then deliberated at some special meetings as well as at the usual committee meetings on this first draft and also on a revised draft, made alterations and invited comment from other club members. When this was done it became necessary to get it printed to send to all club members for their acceptance, hopefully at the Half-Yearly Meeting.
But getting such a long document in printed form also required many hours of voluntary work by Bill Holland (an accountant) and Fran Longfoot and Stan Madden (professional printers). So our thanks must go to them too.
When printed the draft of the new constitution was sent to all members with the August magazine. At the Half-Yearly Meeting in September the first part was considered and voted on with some small amendments. However, owing to other club business at this meeting it was decided to postpone consideration of the rest of the draft constitution to the next meeting, in October. At time of writing this has not yet been done, so it will be towards the end of the year that the new constitution is accepted by the club. Then again it will have to be printed in its final form and the club will be able to go ahead with its application for incorporation as an Association.
A great deal of work! The club is fortunate to have so many people willing to work hard on these sorts of jobs. Thank you all very much!
Footnote. As a “Constitution Watcher” over about 35 years I have some knowledge of the amount of work involved. Thus I can only say this - I, too, appreciate greatly.
Found: A red ski tip - contact the Editor if it's yours.