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. Until the end of the year the meetings will be 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||Helen Gray.|
|Printers||Fran Longfoot, Morag Ryder, Stan Madden.|
In This Issue:
|Flinders Ranges Trip||Dot Butler||2|
|Just a Minute….||5|
|Total Environment Centre - Reform of the N.S.W. Forestry Commission||6|
|Of Snakes, Trout and Horses||Peter Dyce||9|
|Bodytalk - First Aid Footnotes||Elwyn Morris||10|
|Vale - Dorothy Lawrie||L.G. Harrison||11|
|Central Australia - Part 3||Tom Wilhelm||13|
|In the Matter of Archives||Jim Brown||15|
|The October General Meeting||Barry Wallace||17|
|Committee Meeting Report - November||18|
|Eastwood Camping Centre||8|
|Canoe & Camping, Gladesville||16|
Flinders Range Trip - 20th-26th September, 1986.
by Dot Butler.
Party: Alex Colley, Fran Colley, Gavin Talbot (Hilma Colley's nephew), Dot Butler.
Distance: 1,800 km.
The parts of interest to Bushwalkers in the Flinders Ranges are widely separated, making a vehicle essential - preferably a 4WD if you want to get off the bitumen, which we did and managed to find superb campsites every night under the huge red gums. We were told camping permits were needed for all parts of the Park, but rangers said we could camp at any established campsite - meaning any place where someone else had made a fire. The best time to visit is May to September/October; the summer months are too hot with temperatures in the 30°-40° range and creeks are dry.
Mount Remarkable National Park is the most southerly park, about 250 km from Adelaide via Port Pirie. It is closed for bush camping between November and May because of the high bushfire risk. Mt. Remarkable (alt. 956 m) forms a precipitous backdrop and is the reason for the high rainfall in the wheat country to the south. Mambray Creek, with its water and superb river red gums, attracts all the animals and birds in great number as it winds from its source to Spencer Gulf. From a base camp seven different day walks can be done taking in the river scenery, high ridge-top walking, and a climb to the summit of Mt. Remarkable.
The Flinders Ranges National Park 179 km to the north is the next section of interest to Bushwalkers. We went via Wilmington to Quorn where you can stop off for a 2¾ hour journey through the historic railway built in 1879, 33 km through the picturesque Pichi Richi Pass. You can see over a century of railway history preserved in the Railway Museum (Jim Brown please note!). We had a look at the Old Mill Restaurant which displayed a notice offering “3 Coarse Meals”. Gav is in charge of the Shell Co.'s transport in South Australia, so transport matters were well on the agenda. We visited Q.M.B. Transport who run road trains taking petrol and diesolene and aviation fuel into the Moomba drilling area.
The Flinders Ranges are composed of steeply folded shales and sandstones in a very arid climate. You can see magnificent parallel strata at various angles, often going on for miles in rolling folds. Typical is Wilpena Pound - a huge syncline the edges of which are steep cliffs coloured reds, purples and brown due to iron oxide on the surface of the rock. Days can be spent at Wilpena Pounds, but as most of us had seen it before we only stopped for a brief look at the tourist camping area, then came out and drove 4 km north of the turnoff where we stopped on a creekbed and had lunch. We then travelled north past the Great Wall of China to Blinman, then in an arc through the Glass's Gorge and swung back to Parachilna Gorge. 3.2 km up the Gorge and we camped for the night, but were kept awake for some time by great flocks of quarrions scolding in the tree tops.
The Gammon Ranges National Park (128,228 ha) is the third area for Bushwalkers. It lies about 200 km north from Wilpena. We headed to Leigh Creek South for provisions, then Copley for petrol, and had lunch on a creek half an hour out of the town. We looked up the Ranger at Balcanoona Homestead, and he gave us a map of the area, then proceeded on to Weetootla Gorge where we camped for the night.
Up early next morning for a walk up Weetootla Gorge looking for Grindel's Hut, but as we took the northern arm of the creek by mistake we didn't find the historic hut. We saw a number of snakes, one 5 ft. brown with a yellow underbody. The flowing creek was very tempting so we had a dip in waterholes before moving on to Stoney Creek for lunch. Near a tank we saw our first flowering Sturt's Desert Pea. By now all the wildflowers were beginning to show, a lovely sight among the harsh rocks.
Next destination was Lake Frome, 37 km from the Ranger's station. We drove through the dog fence, which keeps the South Australian and N.S.W. dingoes each on their own side (Shut The Gate!), along the Moomba/Adelaide pipe line, and the pipe lines to Stoney Point, finally to end up on the shore of this incredible salt space. Lake Frome was the most unusual and unforgetable part of our trip. It stretches white and glistening to the horizon - if one spent much time on it, glare glasses would be essential. It looked firm, but the Ranger had told us it was inadvisable to take a vehicle on it, although a few old car and bike trails were visible, also the trail of a running emu, with footprints an amazing 12 ft apart (Dot was used as a 5 ft rule).
Here and there on the lake's expanse sparse salt bushes grew, and away on the distant sky-line we could see trees, but when the sun went down these disappeared; it was only a mirage. But the most astonishing thing to find as we walked out on it were great numbers of ant nests. What the ants found to eat out there in the salt remains a mystery. The Ranger told us of a man who walked for hours out on the lake and when he settled down for lunch was amazed to see ants taking away his crumbs. There were also the odd bright green enamelled beetles on long stilt legs, arched up to keep their bodies off the salt surface.
Alex dug down with our camp spade and at about 2 ft water started flowing in. The surface soil just below the salt crust is chocolate red, made of the very fine silt which comes down from the very slowly flowing creeks which occasionally enter the lake. The lower layers are lighter in colour.
We camped up as high as we could get the Range Rover on a sand dune, which gave us a great view out over the lake under a nearly full moon. But the flies!! Only in two or three places were the flies bad, but here was the worst; they were in their thousands. While Fran tried to prepare dinner on the tailgate, Dot swotted thousands and brushed them off in the sand. Overnight small lizards homed in for the unexpected feast - we saw their trails! The Ranger asked us had we been bothered at night, as they become active in the full moonlight.
We were up before the sun next morning to foil the flies, and took the road to Grindel's Hut. This is a beautifully constructed stone hut, with a floor made of concrete coloured to match the surrounding rocks - it looked almost like veined marble. There is a water trough, filled by a windmill, which was well used for bathing. We camped here, had lunch and went for a walk, leaving Fran with the quarrions for company. Alex followed along a ridge and down a watercourse, while Gav and Dot contoured around the hills, over a Gibber Plain, to Wortupa Gorge. There were lots of goats and kangaroos among the wildflowers.
Next morning we drove to Arkaroola, a privately owned tourist camp on the north east boundary of the Park. It is well worth visiting, if only for its Information Centre, run by a dedicated and knowledgable girl (also beautiful!). There is an excellent geological display of rocks and fossils of the region and colour photos of surrounding scenery are world-beaters, every one. Prof. Sir Douglas Mawson, the Antarctic scientist, spent much of his time here.
Another regular visitor was Hans Heysen. There is now a trail, the Hans Heysen Trail, which extends all the way from Cape Jarvis in the south of South Australia, runs through the Mount Lofty Range near Adelaide, then enters the Gammon Ranges National Park at Crystal Brook and runs north for 80? km to Mount Hopeless. This could well be the next venture for the Club's Centralian lovers. The country traversed would equal the dramatic scenery of the now well-known MacDonnell Ranges. Relevant maps can be obtained from the State Information Centre, 25 Grenfell Street, Adelaide. Other useful reading is “Flinders Ranges Walks” produced by the Conservation Council, 120 Wakefield Street, Adelaide, and of course information on walking tracks is always available from the National Parks & Wildlife Service, Adelaide.
[ Map: The Flinders Ranges ]
If you feel like spending $26 you can get into one of the Arkaroola vehicles and be taken on a tour of the Scenic Rim. It is a private road so you can't take your own car. We shied away from the cost, but the Ranger told us it was well worth while.
We now left for Belcanoona Homestead and returned a borrowed map to the Ranger, and on to Italowie Gorge for lunch. In the afternoon we walked to The Wall via Dr. Chewing's Creek, then returned to our vehicle and drove to McKinley Creek where we camped for the night.
Away early next morning for Brachina Gorge and got our first blowout which was handled very professionally by Gav. This Gorge, which runs through the Range, is well wooded and very lovely. We followed Bunyeroo Creek through the Gorge of the same name and put up our tent at a perfect campsite by water. Gav and Dot spent the rest of the afternoon climbing the highest rocky hill for spectacular views, while Alex went for a walk through the valley.
Next day was overcast and spitting rain. The most magnificent scenery perhaps of the whole trip was driving south through Bunyeroo Valley to Wilpena Pound. Everything green, and wildflowers everywhere.
We drove on to Quorn, via Hawker, where we tried to buy a spare tyre but were unsuccessful. This setback, together with spitting rain, made us decide the trip was over, so we returned to Adelaide, stopping off at Clare, of course, to visit wineries, an excellent way to forget the threatening weather.
I am sure an extended bushwalk could be worked our for the Flinders Ranges, with a little bit of organising of transport and checking on water supplies.
Just A Minute.
The Good Old Days - The Club Minute Book reveals:
Blue Gum Forest: Mr. Turner spoke on the desirability of Blue Gum Forest in the Grose Valley as a National Reserve, and stated that the land had passed from the Crown to private ownership and there was a danger of the timber being destroyed. Monthly Meeting on Friday, 10th July, 1931.
Blue Gum Forest: Mr. Turner reported that the Blue Gum Forest had now been officially gazetted and Trustees approved by the Minister of Lands. Moved Mr. Harrison, seconded Mr. Malcolm, that this report be adopted. Carried. Monthly Meeting on Friday, 11th November, 1932.
Total Environment Centre - Reform Of The NSW Forestry Commission.
18 Argyle St., Sydney, N.S.W. 2000. Phone 27 4714
Six good reasons for reforming the NSW Forestry Commission.
- It strongly resists environmental improvements in forest management, causing major controversies and legal battles.
- It opposes new forested national parks.
- It still refuses formal public input into management plans.
- Community groups and individuals have no right to prosecute infringements of environmental safeguards.
- The Commission is mainly interested in wood production increasingly based on intensive logging practices (i.e. woodchipping of whole forests and “forest residues”).
- Its environmental policies provide too much on-site discretion for the local forester to log steep slopes, buffer strips, protection corridors, etc.
A new Forests Act and Commissions.
With so much wrong with the management of our diminishing native forests, after so many major battles - Boyd Plateau pine planting, rainforests, woodchipping of the south-east - a major report on reform was commissioned by Total Environment Centre.
“The NSW Forestry Act, A Review with Suggestions for Reform” (Prineas 1985), was recently forwarded to the Minister for Forests and some of its suggestions are attached. (Available from the Total Environment Centre at $20.00.)
Letters from your members and your group are needed.
No doubt the Forestry Commission will resist fundamental reform and try to convince its Minister to do likewise. It is vital that you and your members write to:
Hon. J. Hallam
Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Lands.
Hon. B. Unsworth
Premier of N.S.W.
Hon. Bob Carr
Minister for Envt. & Planning.
C/- Parliament House, Macquarie Street, Sydney, 2000.
Help the forests by making the Forestry Commission environmentally responsible and accountable to the public.
Jeff Angel, Assistant Director, Total Environment Centre. Sept 1987.
'The Commission ostensibly manages native forests in accordance with the principle of 'multiple use'. This principle is inadequately defined in the Commission context and appears to be applied opportunistically to specific areas of forest and with the meaning that logging will always be dominant among forest uses. Consideration should be given to properly defining the principle and providing for its application through the Forestry Act.'
'The Commission prepares and approves management plans for Crown timber lands without consulting the public. The Forestry Act gives little or no recognition to management planning, although certain clauses of the Forestry Regulation make reference to it. There is a strong case… for the introduction of formal public participation procedures into the Commission's management planning.'
Objects of the Act
'The objects of the Forestry Commission set out in Section 8A(1) of the Forestry Act, should be reviewed in their entirety. The objects stated were introduced into the Act in 1972. Inadequate consideration was given to general community views in their formulation, and be past ten years have seen a remarkable increase in public interest in forest management. Consideration should be given to adopting different objectives for native forests and for exotic coniferous plantations, as done in Western Australia.'
'Section 9 and related provisions of the Forestry Act with respect to the Administration of the Act and the Commission's relationship to the Minister, should be reviewed. Models which might help to promote a more broadminded and responsive administration should be considered, for example: balancing the Commission's advice to the Minister on management matters with advice from a broadly representative 'Forests Advisory Council'
'The concept of “Forest Practices” legislation has merit… containing public enforcement procedures. Such legislation should be expressed as binding upon State and private forestry undertakings… establishing standards and conditions which at present either do not exist or are only based on administrative measures.'
Clearing for pine
'Consideration should he given to amending Section 13(4) of the Forestry Act to impose further conditions on the establishment of exotic plantations and in order to prevent the clearing of indigenous forest or woodland for this purpose.'
Competition with NPWS
'Section 17(3) which sets out criteria for the Commission's land classification process for forest dedication should be reviewed. Consideration should be given to reformulating the criteria so as to require the Commission to take into account non-wood values and to consult and have regard to any competing claims of the National Parks and Wildlife Service for lands.'
'Consideration should be given to making the Forestry Commission's administration and land management more responsive to non-timber production objectives such as the preservation of rare or endangered wildlife, wilderness areas, wild and scenic rivers and recreational tracks and trails, as has been required of the U.S. Forest Service. As in the U.S.A., this process may require the enactment of specific legislation.'
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.
Of Snakes, Trout And Horses.
by Peter Dyce.
Early in October Keith Docherty phoned me: “How about a trout fishing trip to the Cox's River on the coming long weekend?”
I needed no great urging so at 6 am Saturday picked Keith up at Bondi and we proceeded to Carlon's where we rendezvoused with Peter Sharpe at 8.30 am. With my pack heavy with creature comforts for the proposed base camp we arrived at the Cox about 4 pm, not far below Kanangra Creek, there soon to be joined by Frank Woodgate and Janet Carne.
The plan had been to cross the Cox and walk upstream, but the river was running wide and dangerously fast, swollen by recent heavy rain, so we decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and found a green grassy campsite which became our base for the next three nights.
Not far from us was camped a group of riders, their horses hobbled for the night. Little did we suspect how those horses were to affect our night's sleep. I now know the sounds a chain gang must have made in earlier days. All night long what seemed inches from my head the clinking, clanging of the horses' hobbles went on. Time and again I left the cosy confines of sleeping bag and tent to shoo them away, but back they came, attracted by the lush grass of our campsite. Twelve horses clanging twelve sets of hobbles! Sleep was spasmodic, and though a horselover, I began hating the brutes as the night wore on.
We were all concerned that our tents would be demolished and that we could be trodden on as they grazed all around us. I lifted the fly, a horse's feet were within touching distance. Frank Woodgate was presented with a steaming heap of fresh manure right at the entrance to his tent. However Peter Sharpe came off the worst. At breakfast, as we talked about the night before, Peter told us how he had left an expensive trout rod leaning against a nearby tree only to find it irreparably smashed by horses' hooves when he awoke in the morning. This could be the first time in the ancient and noble art of trout fishing that a rod has been broken not by a fish but by a horse. Luckily and with great foresight Keith had brought a spare rod for just such emergencies. To ward off our unwelcome intruders Frank built a fence of long poles around his tent.
That afternoon whilst spinning for trout I encountered the first of many snakes gracefully curving its way across the flooded Cox; it landed near me, caught sight of me and re-entered the water, the current quickly carrying it out of sight. I saw many more snakes on the land and in the water. Nothing can be more beautiful to watch than the perfectly synchronized flow of a fast moving snake as it glides over the roughest of ground with the greatest of ease.
The fishing was a little disappointing to start with. The water was a muddy brown, and Peter Sharpe was the only one to land a fish the first day. After another fruitless morning I decided to try my luck on the other shore. The Cox was running very fast in semi-flood. It had been 45 feet deep some weeks earlier and the debris of that great flood littered the banks, huge trees up-rooted and rocks rolled away like marbles.
I stripped off to minimize the drag and clutching my fishing rod in one hand and a stout stick in the other I waded in. The pressure of the water became so strong that halfway across I commenced to have regrets, but found that I could not turn around as this increased the pressure, and I fully expected to be taken for a wild ride, so I continued to cross, arriving safely with some relief. I found a likely spot and cast a silver Celta; a beautiful rainbow trout grabbed the lure. In some twenty casts I landed six fish, releasing the two smallest ones.
That night we feasted on exquisitely cooked trout; full credit going to honorary chef Frank Woodgate.
The next morning sitting around the campfire, leisurely eating breakfast, the sky suddenly and quite unexpectedly started to rain trout. Peter Sharpe had hung his fish in a tree away from marauding ants and I, in all innocence, sat down under this fish bomb. The string broke and I was clobbered with deadly accuracy.
The next afternoon Keith and Peter braved the rushing Cox, crossed to the other side and enjoyed superb fishing, catching many beautiful rainbows, releasing most and bringing enough back for our dinner and a few fish to carry home. It was a happy ending to a memorable weekend away, with fine fishing and delightfully compatible companions.
by Elwyn Morris.
First Aid Footnotes: Preventative Measures For Non-Tiger Walkers.
Avoiding Heat Stroke: The Insulating Hat.
I got the first signs of heat stroke - headache and tiredness - twice in a month last summer, just from being in the sun in a cloth hat. The symptoms can progress to nausea, high temperatures and ending up in bed for days, so I invented the following super-cheap solution:-
Top Layer. Light-coloured hat to reflect sun.
Middle Layer. Aluminium cooking foil, shiny side up.
Bottom Layer. Dark-coloured hat to absorb ground/water reflection.
Four safety pins hold inner and outer hats together. They also hold tapes to tie on hat.
This double hat consisted of identical nylon ones, but they could be cotton, polyester or straw. It worked brilliantly on the hottest long walks on sandy tracks and beaches, such as Ainslie's Bouddi walk and Joe Marton's and Errol Sheedy's Royal National Park walks. Others had to admit the immediate difference from their own hats when I tested it on them - Bev Foulds was an instant convert, while engineer John Riddell said it was based on the soundest thermodynamic principles. Roofs are insulated this way.
You don't have to buy two hats, or even one. You can just line the crown of the one you have. A bit of aluminium foil is a light-weight extra for summer walks, ready to add to your hat when the temperature soars. An added bonus is that it is totally waterproof.
Clothing and hats are, of course, far more effective than any block-out cream for avoiding sunburn and, for some, fighting freckles and wrinkles. Some Indian cotton long-sleeved shirts have cuffs that fall over the back of the hands, a very freckle and wrinkle prone area for women. The cuffs can be buttoned up at other times.
Of the two to three hundred block-out creams on the market only about five really block out most of the sun's harmful rays; they MUST be labelled 15+. I use ICI's UV Ultrablock, 15+, around $6 but worth it.
Vale - Dorothy Lawrie.
by L. G. Harrison.
On the 19th August, 1986, about thirty members of the Walking Clubs gathered with their friends to pay a last tribute to Dorothy Lawry who died on the 15th August, aged 91. For several years she had been in the Nursing Section of the Northaven Retirement Home at Turramurra.
Dorothy was born in New Zealand and at an early age came to Australia just after her father died. She lived with her mother and aunt at Double Bay and later moved to Cremorne.
In 1929 Dorothy was attending lectures for the Commonwealth Institute of Accountants where I met her. We talked after the meetings, and she told me that the Sydney Bush Walkers had recently been established. So this was my introduction to the walking movement. She invited me to join a party with Evan and Dot Taylor, with whom she had done quite a lot of walking. In 1929 she, with six others, went on a fortnight's walking trip through Yerranderie, the Kowmung River and the Cox. In the early days Dorothy was a vigorous walker, intensely interested in the ecology and also in the planting of trees.
In her commercial career she changed jobs 28 times, and on each occasion to a better position. She was a member of the Commonwealth Institute of Accountants and along the way she also became a member of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries. She spent many years at Wrigleys (of chewing gum fame) in their Accounts Department. During the 1939-45 War she worked as an accountant in one of the Government Departments, mainly checking costings for authorisation of “cost plus” contracts. This was a normal procedure for firms who supplied goods under contract to the Defence Department.
While she lived at Cremorne with her mother and aunt, for some time Frances Ramsay boarded with them. Frances was one of the original members of the Sydney Bush Walkers. Dorothy supplied much of the income to run the house. She took lessons on how to drive a car, then purchased one and drove it home in peak hour from the City showroom to Cremorne! It was a good baptism for her. Later she drove it on many occasions filled with walkers, taking them to difficult spots to start their walking.
In 1931 a few walkers reported that the Blue Gum Forest at the junction of Govetts Leap Creek and the Grose River was about to be cleared and planted with walnut trees. Dorothy was one of the people who went down to the Blue Gum Forest and later became one of the original trustees of the Blue Gum Forest Trust. Two years later they had raised sufficient money to buy back the Conditional Purchase Lease and present it to the Government so that it could become a reserve and recreation area for all time. She made frequent visits to the Blue Gum Forest during the years when she was an active walker. It is significant that she had arranged that upon her death her ashes were to be scattered over the Blue Gum Forest. This is being done.
In 1948 Dorothy spent the winter on the Myall River as a member of a team of 20 girls, mostly ex-servicewomen and all quite inexperienced, working for a company that had been formed to plant and grow trees. They lived in rough quarters and were taught the work as they worked. After her return to Sydney she counted up how many trees she had planted - 400 approximately per day, 5 days per week, and to her surprise the total was between 20,000 and 22,000! The trees planted were Pinus Carribea.
Dorothy's mother died so she returned with her aunt to Auckland to be amongst her aunt's relatives. In 1953 the Tree Society was formed in Auckland to “Plant the Right Tree in the Right Place!” Senior officers of the Auckland City Parks Department gave the Society much help, teaching its members the correct way to plant trees etc. The Tree Society had monthly meetings, and they always had a trading table to sell each other seedling trees etc. As well, they planted church grounds and the surroundings of school playgrounds.
After Dorothy's aunt died in New Zealand, Dorothy returned to Sydney and lived at Willoughby until the time had come for her to move to Northhaven at Turramurra. She had a dislocated hip and spent many months in and out of hospital. Northaven provided loving shelter for her.
While she was in a wheelchair there she arrived at the last Annual Meeting of the Dungalla Club to be held at Brian and Jean Harvey's home at Wahroonga before it was sold. She was delighted to be invited by the New South Wales Government to attend the preview of “A Singular Woman” - being a film of Marie Byles' life. She took the opportunity of seeing many friends whom she had not been able to meet for many years. Sadly for many it was the last time they saw her.
She made a remarkably fine contribution both to conservation and appreciation of the bush. Her activity and foresight encouraged many people to explore the joys of the outdoors, and so to have a richer, fuller life.
She will be greatly missed.
Note: Dorothy Lawry was the first woman President of the Sydney Bush Walkers, 1942-44.
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10 seater mini bus taxi. 047-87 8366.
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Pick up anywhere for start or finish of your walk - by prior arrangement.
Share the fare - competitive rates.
Central Australia - Part 3.
by Tom Wilhelm.
We spent two nights here. I climbed a huge pinnacle that rose just beside the camp, the base of which formed the cleft or narrowing of the canyon, and was surprised to find it a perfect whistling spot. The echo was just long enough that you could whistle two parts! I was also astonished to find a huge pile of wallaby turds at the very top, a place where no food grew. They must have come there, as I did, just for the view!!
This campsite for me was one of the most comfortable of the trip, and had about the best view of the stars. We had plenty of cooking time here - it was always the case when we spent more than one night in a location, we just had that extra time. The aches and pains of continuing walking were starting to manifest themselves, and some of us were suffering from overexposure to spinifex!!
Singing was strong at the first night in garden canyon camp, and we all sat up till quite late. I don't know why this area was untrodden by horses and consequently was beautiful. The pools of water just above camp in the 'cleft' were inaccessible to hoofed animals, but not to wallabies. The native animals do not spoil the water, perhaps because they drink less and drop less; whatever the reason, it is true - the native animals do not ruin the country.
On the morn we headed off back toward the west, but the country is so convoluted here that we didn't get into the Standley system, but rather some smaller intermediary system that turned out to be exquisite. We found a magnificent pool in a pristine canyon for lunch.
Some more exploration after lunch and finally I had had enough. My left Achilles tendon was quite sore, from overworking, I suppose. I wanted to go back to camp. David pointed out the direction and off I went. What a panic. A few minutes after leaving the others I crossed up and over a small saddle, and the country is so turbulent and confused that I immediately felt lost! Nothing looked familiar and I had to cross heaps of spinifex, big spinifex, ridiculous but true - I felt momentary panic! After I calmed down and just proceeded things sorted themselves out and I finally reached a big creek which I did not recognise, and I hoped that that was because I was so far below camp that it was just unfamiliar. Fortunately that turned out to be true or I don't know what I should have done. Presently I was back in camp, and doing a 'Spiro' getting the evening fire started and water on for tea and barley rum. As I sat and rested my foot, I considered that there was but one more night after this one. We had seen so much country, almost overwhelming. David was proposing one more move to a final camp just into the next system to the east.
The others were very happy when they returned to find instant hot water! Even though the night was cloudy, the spaces between the clouds held stars so bright that the show was as good as ever.
Morning porridge and some muesli for those who could no longer stand the ritual. Camp routine, cleaning up billies, plates, then packing our things was so routine that we seemed like a calm lake as we all prepared to move. Even though we carried a small amount of water (we still were not absolutely confident of finding a supply), my pack was so light. The joy in the light weight was counterbalanced somewhat by the pain in my left foot, which was positively bothersome by now!
We proceeded eastward once again, up toward a little col that was visible from camp, perhaps five hundred metres distant. Up and over this saddle and we were in our last 'system', and like all previous ones, bone dry. Down we went, ghost gums and palms but not quite as luxuriant as Garden Canyon at first, then more palms and suddenly water. Not just a pool, but running water, audible water! The first of the trip and our last camp! Our leader claimed that he was only following the suggestions of the local walkers, but we felt he must have planned it all. The water came out of a little side canyon, fell over a big rock ledge and into a beautiful pool, deep and clear, but still only a few metres across. It had an effect on us all out of proportion to its actual size, and we photographed it lovingly from all angles.
We made our last camp just above the confluence, as usual in the bed of the dry creek, but here we were surrounded by palms in abundance and large gums. We had lunch and prepared for a day walk to explore the source of the water. Today everyone wanted to go and soon we were all climbing around the 'pool' and to our amazement the water continued out of sight above it. The water made the vegetation especially fine, we found little delicate flowers and grass as green as you could wish! We climbed to a fork and took the left branch and now the canyon was dry. The rock was exquisite, each dry waterfall steeper than the previous one and up we went. I felt in my element, finger and toeholds everywhere, the rock seemed a ladder to me that afternoon.
A few of the others found the vertical climb onerous and soon dropped back a bit. I just went up the centre and eventually climbed right out of the canyon itself till I reached the very skyline. I recall the last fork of the stream where I found beds of wallabies, trampled down spinifex mounds set under fine surreal cypress pines. I stopped. My foot had had enough and I made my way back to the others the way I had come.
We all regrouped below the fork at the last signs of water for a fire and some billy tea. I realised that we were all together and took the only photograph of all the party of the entire trip. Others followed suit; we were, after ten days, together. The party as one.
We all descended to camp, and since there was a few hours left the others went to explore yet another canyon below camp. My foot was complaining so much, and the camp so extraordinarily beautiful that I sat it out. I took more photographs of the fine vegetation and some of the canyon we had just explored, which was easily visible from a little hill just behind camp.
Our last dinner was even slower and more drawn out than usual. The sound of water, gurgling, bubbling, all quite unreal. Music to the ears. The sound of life, and fine it is.
Our last morning was more porridge, which still tasted good which surprised me. We said good-bye to 'Grotto' camp and descended the canyon, and soon, all too soon, we found the evidence of horses! Filthy pools and trampled down vegetation only a few hundred metres from our exquisite camp. How small are the paradises of this world! Shortly thereafter the canyon spilled out onto the southern planes of the range, and we were in the real (?) world once again. So dry and unfriendly in appearance, so inhospitable, only memories of the better places we had seen made me feel I could face it. Soon we met the dirt road that was to take us to the highway to Standley Chasm and the preplanned rendezvous with our bus.
The country alongside the highway was still quite beautiful, in particular the trees. Cars, people speeding by in cars, after ten days seemed dreadful, so insular and anonymous. We trudged on towards the parking lot and kiosk. We all went to the kiosk to buy something (I had a salad sandwich and an orange). I noticed on the wall a photograph of Mt. Sonder (which we had seen but not come close enough to climb) that appeared covered with snow. I asked the significance, and sure enough, it was snow in 1981!
In many respects the trip did not end there. In his wisdom the leader had arranged for us all to spend the afternoon and night at Alice Springs and then fly back to Sydney the next day. A slow transition that I was very grateful for. The sense of quiet within me was great, as only an encounter with raw wild nature can bring about. Sydney direct would have been too much. Alice is very small and is surrounded by mountains and looks like the country we had been travelling through in many respects.
We could see the distant ranges as we rolled along the southern plain towards Alice. Slowly the peaks we recognised sank out of sight behind us. We made one tourist stop, at another gorge. We were passing quite close to Simpson's Gap, so David had the bus driver pull in for us all to have a look. Nice but not like Amphitheatre Camp, Garden Canyon or the 'Grotto'. I felt very spoiled. Alice, a motel, a warm shower, off with sweaty socks and on with perfectly clean clothes.
You could spend your whole life in Sydney and never, ever encounter an aboriginal. It was wonderful to find them en masse on the streets of Alice. Part of our walk had been on private lease holdings and part of it on Jay Creek Aboriginal Reserve. I felt I owed something to the locals for the trip had been so good.
Wilderness as a tonic. I feel I need a dose of it now and again to keep me sane, hence my presence on this wonderful trip.
We completed our return to civilization with a smorgasbord dinner at a local hotel. Salads, fresh meat, fresh fruit, and wine - it was all quite overwhelming. Bob was almost unrecognisable; he had not shaved during the trip and had grown a baby beard. When he appeared at dinner freshly shaved I almost didn't know who he was! The meal seemed excellent for such a provincial outpost. I treated myself to a brandy after dinner and it came in a silver holder with a candle under it - a bit extravagant for one just in from lying in dry river beds, and accustomed to sipping barley rum from a tin cup!
After all courses, and toasts and a gift for the leader for a job magnificently done, a night in a bed. Not so good. The room felt cramped, I claustrophobic, the ceiling too close, the sky too far, but eventually I slept.
In The Matter Of Archives.
by Jim Brown.
During October the Committee appointed a sub-committee consisting of Barbara Bruce, Ainslie Morris, Barry Wallace, Phil Butt and Jim Brown (convener) to look into the proper handling of the Club's old records.
Subsequently there have been two developments. On October 11/12 four Club members, Dot Butler, Ainslie Morris, Lorraine Bloomfield and Jim Brown attended a “Workshop” conducted by the Australian Society of Archivists and held at Lane Cove Municipal Library. The lectures and discussions covered the four essential steps in establishing a system of Archives - acquisition, assessment, arrangement and preservation and provided a valuable foundation on which the sub-committee can operate.
On October 22 the sub-committee met for an initial meeting and arrived at some basic decisions on measures necessary for the preservation of the Club's records. A report has been sent to the General Committee.
Canoe & Camping.
265 Victoria Road, Gladesville, 2111. Phone (02) 817 5590. Hours: Mon.-Fri. 9-6, Thurs. 9-8, Sat. 9-4. (Parking at rear off Pittwater Road).
A large range of lightweight, quality, bushwalking & camping gear:
- Lightweight food for backpackers and canoeists
- Cold weather protection clothing and raingear
- Maps, books and leaflets
- Information service for canoeists and walkers
- Survival gear
We stock the largest range of canoeing gear in N.S.W.
Quality touring craft of all types. High quality, performance competition craft.
- A huge range of paddles for all types of canoeing
- Surf skis
- All types of spray covers
- Wide range of jackets & cags
- Face masks
- Many types of buoyancy & life vests
The October General Meeting.
by Barry Wallace.
The meeting began at 2017 with the President in the chair and around 25 members present. There was an apology from Patrick James and new members Michael Christie, Kathleen Gray, Rod Hopkins and Lindsay Taylor were welcomed in the usual way.
The Minutes were read and received with business arising being the news that Ainslie Morris had withdrawn her resignations with a reference to Section 29 of the proposed new constitution.
Correspondence comprised a letter from the office of the N.S.W. Minister for Primary Industry referring to our concerns over the woodchipping operations at Eden, and a letter from Alex Colley about the new Wilderness Act Committee report.
The Treasurer's Report brought news that we began the month with a balance of $2423.00, received $703.00, spent $162.00 and closed the month with a balance of $2964.00.
Federation Report brought news of a new format for the Bushwalker Newsletter and advice that the new Bushsports Program will run for six months. The next F.B.W. Reunion may be organised by the Western N.S.W. Bushwalking Club.
The Walks Report, presented by Bill Capon, had the following details. Over the weekend 19,21,21 September Bill Holland reported 13 people enjoying a camp at Stan Madden's place at Gosford, coupled with attendance at the Old Sydney Town woolshed bush dance and, the following day, at Ainslie Morris' Pearl beach walk. Ainslie's walk had 21 starters all-up and encountered low tide in Patonga Creek. That same weekend Bob Hodgson had 14 starters on his Wollangambe area walk. Hans Stickter's Six-foot Track walk did not go, nor did Gordon Lees' Instructionals. Ralph Penglis had 21 people on his Otford to Bundeena walk which was reported to have gone to plan.
The following weekend, 26,27,28 September, Derek Wilson's Cox River walk did not go but Les Powell reported 8 starters and a good walk with indifferent weather on the Sunday. Of the day walks, Maurie Bloom had 20 starters and beaut flowers on his Marra-Marra National Park trip and Robin Plumb's Manly Dam to Lindfield Station was cancelled.
The October long weekend saw David Rostron with a party whose name was legion enjoying the winds of the Snowy Mountains on his ski touring trip. Alan Doherty's Widdin Valley base camp attracted 17 starters and the Widdin is reported to be gloriously green. Bob King marched his three starters up the hill, then he marched 'em down again on his Mt. Mistake / Colo River trip. George Walton's Katoomba day walk had 15 starters and was reported as a good trip. All of which concluded the Walks Report.
General Business saw the election of Alan Doherty as Walks Secretary and advice that a sub-committee has been established to manage the Club archives. Members are: Jim Brown (chairman/convenor), Ainslie Morris, Barbara Bruce, Phil Butt and Barry Wallace. A motion that the Club purchase two electric staplers to a maximum value of $400.00 was carried on the voices. The S. & R. list is being updated, watch the mag. for an ad. The Club are still assessing the available public halls and the 60th Anniversary Committee want to know what we want to do by way of celebration.
The review of the new Constitution was completed and our incorporation may now proceed.
So then it was just a matter of the announcements, and one false finish, and the meeting closed at 2207 for the second time.
Committee Meeting Report - November.
There is an offer to the Club from North Sydney Council for hire of McMahon's Point Community Centre (near North Sydney station) for 1987. The rooms have been inspected by a Committee member and appear very suitable and at a good rate.
A letter from Reg Alder of Canberra with information on the name of Lake Louise for the archives.
The Wilderness Society thanked us for our donation of $250 to assist it and the South East Forest Alliance which is campaigning against woodchipping near Eden.
The Treasurer's Report forecast a $1,000 deficit for our financial year. Postage and magazine costs are higher than last year. Public Liability Insurance for $5 million will be renewed as required for an Incorporated Club.
Conservation Secretary reported that the Colong Foundation is applying for a grant to prepare a submission for the Blue Mountains to be made a World Heritage Area. The South East Forest Alliance is considering running a candidate, possibly Australian Democrat, in the Eden-Monaro electorate.
The Federation of Bushwalking Clubs' detailed report from Spiro Hajinakitas will be repeated at the General Meeting on 12th November.
Walks leaders are to be strongly urged to notify the Walks Secretary when he/she cannot lead a walk as programmed (postponement, cancellation) or of a new phone number.
From January next year the Club will be meeting in new Clubrooms. Probably McMahon's Point Community Centre, near North Sydney station. Please check exact details in next month's magazine.
3rd December - Committee Meeting, 10th December - General Meeting.
17th December - Christmas Party. Please bring a plate of party food - the Club will provide wine, beer and soft drink.
The Clubroom will be closed for 24th and 31st December, and possibly also on 7th January 1987.
Please add the following names to your list of members:-
- Deverick, Janice, 15 Tudor Street, Surry Hills, 2010. Phone 690 1634.
- Flick, Alison, 2/87-89 Princess Street, Werrington, 2760. 623 9331.
- Frost, Annette, 11/14 Pearson Street, Gladesville, 2111. 817 1788.
- Tridgell, Neil, 81 Carrington Road, Wahroonga, 2076. 489 2229.
- Watson, Prudence, 4 Farnell Avenue, Carlingford, 2118. 871 1361.
Congratulations to Len and Dot Newland on their wedding on 8th November.