Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker.
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476, G.P.O. Sydney, N.S.W. 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.45 p.m. at Ella Community Centre, 58a Dalhousie Street, Haberfield (next to the Post Office). Prospective members and visitors are invited to visit the Club on any Wednesday. To advertise in the magazine please contact the Business Manager.
|Editor||Patrick James, P.O. Box 170, Kogarah, 2217. Telephone 588 2614.|
|Business Manager||Stan Madden, 8 Florence Avenue, Gosford, 2250. Telephone (043) 25 7203.|
|Production Manager||Helen Gray. Telephone 86 6263.|
|Printers||Fran Holland & Stan Madden.|
|Swimming and Floating the Kowmung in 1938||Reg Alder||3|
|The Search - A Personal View||Bob Younger||5|
|What a Night It Was - Bushwalkers Federation Ball||Denise Shaw||7|
|N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs||Spiro Hajinakitas||7|
|A Soft Three Peaks - July '87||Ikarus||8|
|Bushcraft Weekend - 7/8 November||Wendy Aliano||9|
|A Walk in the Macdonnell Ranges||Margaret Niven||11|
|Social Notes||Wendy Aliano||12|
|A Song - the Macdonnell Ranges Trip||Michael Reynolds||13|
|End of the Trout Fishing Season - June 1987||Keith Docherty||14|
|What's Biting You? - The Australian Paralysis Tick||Geoff McIntosh||17|
|Half-Yearly General Meeting, September 1987||Ainslie Morris||20|
|Canoe & Camping, Gladesville||10|
|Belvedere Taxis, Blackheath||15|
|Eastwood Camping Centre||16|
Diamond Jubilee Edition
1927 - 1987
Sixty years is a long time; for any group of people to band together, yet here we are in 1987 a strong and vital club. Stronger and just as vital as we were in 1927. Perhaps the secret of our success is that our aims and objectives are straightforward and simple and have not changed in our 60 years.
Sixty years is a long time; most of the present members were not even born when the Club was founded. In 1927 Stanley Melbourne Bruce was prime minister and Thomas Rainsford Bavin was premier of N.S.W. as from the 18th October of that year. In 1927 a second-class single ticket to Katoomba cost 7/3d; the train left Centrel at 6.17 am and arrived at 11.42 am, now the 8.22 am gets in at 10.12 am. In 1927 the construction of the harbour bridge had been underway for 2 of the 7 years required. The suburban electric train system was only one year old in 1927.
Sixty years is a long time; what will happen between now and 2047? Our club will continue so long as we have bush to walk in. Sydney will get bigger, we'll have tunnels under the harbour, monorails following the old tram tracks (straight through like a Bondi monorail), and a new site will be proposed for Sydney's second airport. When you think of how much bush there was 60 years ago or even 20 years ago and how much our city has grown it seems like a good idea to preserve our bush for the use and enjoyment of our future citizens and future S.B.W. members.
We of “The Sydney Bushwalker” take great pleasure in congratulating the Club and its members on the Sixtieth Anniversary and hope that you all enjoy the celebrations. On behalf of the members we extend our appreciation to the Sixtieth Anniversary Sub-Committee who planned the celebrations.
Swimming And Floating The Kowmung In 1938.
by Reg Alder.
This year being an event in the life of the Club with its sixtieth anniversary and since my event is only one year short of a fiftieth which made a great impression on me, perhaps I can be forgiven for putting the record straight. It was the first Kowmung River-bed walk/swim/float and the time is appropriate to record who was in the party and the cirumstances of this epic walk to be repeated many times since.
Time clouds memories and sometimes sharpens them, and I suppose that mine is no different but as the Kowmung River walk was my first major Club Tiger adventure it created a lasting impression. I joined the Club at the end of October 1938 and to my surprise and appreciation Gordon Smith invited me to join his party for an attempt to completely follow the Kowmung River bed from its source at the junction of the Tuglow and Hollanders to the Cox and then on to Katoomba.
The thought of going on a Tiger walk filled me with some trepidation and I trained by walking from work at Circular Quay to my home at Marrickville near Cooks River. It was known from previous walkers that some gorges would have to be swum and we all purchased rubber, child-size surf floats to support our packs. We were to be in one food party of nine and the food list was extensive and varied for seven days isolation until we reached Yerranderie for supplies. I still have the food list. It contained 52 items, weighed 181 lbs, 10 items of dried fruits, 6 varieties of jam, 15 3/4 lbs of sugar, 5 lbs of chocolate, 2 lbs of boiled lollies and 1 lb salt as well as a large variety of vegetables and meats.
The walk was timed to go over the Christmas-New Year period of 1938-39 with extras joining for the Christmas period leaving us at Morong Falls and then rejoining at Yerranderie. The party consisted of Gordon Smith, Jack Debert, Bill Hall, Roley Cotter, Reg Alder, Hilma Galliott, Mary Stoddart, Clare Kinsella and Grace Edgecombe. I remember Dot English and David Stead being in the support parties with about 3-4 others.
Coaches took us to Gingkin and we followed the Tuglow down to establish a base Christmas Day camp near the junction with the Hollanders. It was here that we tried out our floats to find them useless as they were too narrow and the packs immediately tipped over. I don't know why an earlier trial was not made. A timber float was experimented with but this was too cumbersome and difficult to portage or remake. It was then we experimented with wrapping our packs in our ground sheet capes and found the packs floated perfectly. A prototype for the present day canyon bags but out of proofed japara as there was no plastic sheeting then. Those who had a few pinholes put leaves under their packs and kept tinned items in the pockets to offset the rising bilge water.
The day of the unknown Morong Deep arrived and Gordon had us up at 4.30 am to prepare for the big day and it was a long day with 12 hours of walking/wrapping/swimming. Others who had preceded us had avoided swimming the gorge sections by climbing up and around so we did not have the benefit of their experiences. The places where this was done were pointed out to me as Gordon and Jack seem to have been well briefed. We became very adept at swimming our packs in convey and it must have been a strange sight since we swam rather than climb around the edges or rock hop. No one was going to be able to say that we didn't stick to the river bed. Anyhow it was very hot and any excuse was good enough to be in the water. At one waterfall we males slid down the slippery granite into the pool below. Mary, ever ready to emulate the males, enquired “Did you scratch it?” and was soon in the fun.
At one point we slept on the warm smooth granite rocks at the head of a waterfall before next morning sliding down a tree to the long pool.
The final swim appeared to be a risky one as we lowered ourselves and our packs down a steep drop into the water. The gorge disappeared around the corner and we had no idea what was at the other end. Fortunately it opened out into a large pool with grassy, casuarina-lined banks. We were through the rough and made an early camp. It was easy going from then on to Church Creek.
Into Yerranderie to pick up the New Year party and supplies. Bill Hall replenished his supply of bran from a chook feed bin at the store and we bought buckets of ice-cream to carry in our billies back to the Kowmung and for those who did not make the walk into Yerranderie. Another first, ice-cream on the Kowmung and probably never repeated.
Three days then to Katoomba via Cedar Creek and Orphan Rock and for me home after a great initiation into the fellowship of the S.B.W. But for my mother, disgust at seeing her fondly knitted socks shrunk to half their length and felted almost solid after 10 days of river walking. She said that she would never knit me another pair of socks and only relented some 25 years later. The photographs I took of this epic walk are still a cherished memory.
It was never disputed then that we were not the first to fully traverse the river bed. Paddy Pallin with his party followed us over Easter 1939 to pull out at Yerranderie. It is my recollection that we shared a lorry for the return to Sydney as our Tiger walk on that occasion was Yerranderie, Bindook Gorge, Murruin Creek, Wollondilly River, Upper Burragorang and we awaited them there.
Bushwalking In Tasmania - 24th January to 6th February 1988.
Fly into Cox Bight and then spend ten days on the South Coast Track (includes side trips to Precipitous Bluff and South Cape).
Then a rest day followed by a three-day trip to Frenchman's Cap.
These are classic medium hard trips in spectacular countryside. Anyone interest please contact Ian Wolfe 411 5251 (H) or 227 3492 (W).
The Search - A Personal View.
by Bob Younger.
Half the population under 30 seems to be engaged in a struggle to find themselves, so it was refreshing to be asked to find some young people who were genuinely lost.
In the early afternoon on Tuesday, 1st September, Hans Stitcher rang to enquire whether I could assist in a search for three 18-year-olds who were missing in the lower Kangaroo Valley area. As I had no excuse for not joining the search I rang Rosie Maxwell for further details. She gave me the map reference for the Federation of Bushwalkers Search and Rescue intended search base. The S. & R. rescue vehicle and trailer had already left and I should have no trouble in following the signs which would be in place at strategic points along the valley floor.
The three lads had been missing since the previous Thursday evening and their bogged and abandoned car had been discovered sometime later by some Scouts. The trio had gone out for the day and had no food or camping equipment with them. Rosie told me to take plenty of warm clothing as it was very cold down there. Snow and sleet had hampered police, State Emergency volunteers and others who had been searching the area for some days. The parents of the boys had not worried about them until the weekend as they presumed they must have decided to stay overnight with some of their mates. The situation had now been assessed as most serious and Keith Maxwell, the Director of the Federation Search & Rescue organisation, had been requested to place as many searchers as he could muster in the area as soon as possible.
Although Christa always keeps some light-weight rations for such occasions it seemed to take me a long time to get everything together for the equivalent of a normal weekend bushwalk. I did not have the requisite map but I found a 1:63,360 Military Map issued by the Australian Section of the Imperial General Staff in May, 1933. It had cost me two shillings when I bought it for an S.B.W. Easter trip in the 1940's. So if you keep something long enough it will come in handy eventually.
It was dusk by the time I reached the Kangaroo Valley Jack's Corner Road turn-off with the S. & R. sign pointing west. There was a formidable ford at Yarrunga Creek which was too severe for conventional motor cars. These must be parked well off the track to allow passage of larger more powerful four-wheel-drive vehicles.
After wading across the cold, slippery and dark crossing I reached the S. & R. base which had been set up on a pleasant flat alongside a creek about 1 km beyond the ford. There were already quite a few tents erected and the S. & R. truck and trailer had been set up with its radio aerial fully rigged complete with an aircraft warning light flashing away in a most professional manner. Maurie Bloom was among those gathered around the communal fire. Bob Cavill, the field officer for this S. & R. commission, was working out a search plan for the following days. As each new arrival appeared at the fire they were asked to sign on and be ready to move off early as there was a general feeling that time was running out. The father and some of the family of the youth from Moss Vale were also there. They had been involved in the search for several days and were understandably very anxious of the outcome. The father in particular had been getting little sleep and had no appetite for food.
It was a very clear, moonlit, cold night and at about 5.30 am the clammy tent decided to fall on my face and wake me up. I joined the father and family who had stayed by the fire all night talking and dozing and keeping it alight. This made for a quick breakfast and quite a few of us were packed and ready to move off soon after sun-up.
Gary from the Coast and Mountain Walkers approached and told me I was to be in his party of three. The father and daughters were most impressed by the number of bushwalkers now gathered and by the efficiency of the S. & R. preparations now evident. Groups of three or four bushwalkers were soon equipped with “walkie-talkie” radios and informed of the area to be searched. The father thought that we might all go off and do our own thing. Keith Maxwell and his Assistant Director, Peter Tresseder, told him of the search plan and how we all managed to be there. I was sure that his hope of seeing his son alive was strengthened as walkers continued to arrive to join the search. Bill Capon and Gordon Lee were among these early morning arrivals.
Our search area was to be a ridge leading up toward Mount Carrialoo (687 metres) so we waded across Yarrunga Creek again and began to climb the steep nose of our ridge. It flattened out after a while and was capped by interesting rocky outcrops with many overhangs. We checked each of the overhangs for evidence of recent camp sites without success. Gary took the top, I searched the eastern cliff line and Graeme examined the western side of the ridge. We maintained contact by calling each other's name. Other parties were proceeding up the creeks on each side of our ridge. To avoid confusion we were to use “Robert” in lieu of the traditional “Day Oh” to attract the attention of the missing trio, as two of them were called Robert. We were travelling into the early morning sun at a magnetic bearing of about 700. We checked the operation of the radio and continued on up the tidge. We really did not expect to find anyone on this ridge but it was our area and we would search as thoroughly as we could. At most, we hoped to report at the end of the day, “They are not on that ridge so we had better look somewhere else tomorrow”.
I was enjoying myself in a nice little valley when I realised I had not seen or heard Gary for some time. “Not to worry, if I top the ridge and watch my direction and yell more frequently we will meet up O.K.”, I decided to myself. Well, I was wrong. The top of the ridge was flatter than ever and heavily overgrown, thus reducing visibility and audibility. “If I keep going a bit to the left I must hear them,” I further decided, until it became apparent that by now I must have crossed their path. How ridiculous. Here I am separated from my search party and now we will waste valuable time looking for each other. Nothing for it but to return to the rocky outcrops and hope I was ahead of the others. A bit of yelling brought a welcome reply. Gary had come up the ridge after me. He had been searching more overhangs on the western side of the rocky outcrops and we had lost contact.
It was still only about 9.15 am when we located Graeme who was manning the radio. There was good news awaiting! A party of three young men (not us) had been spotted in a narrow section of creek below the cliff line of the plateau above. S. & R. party No.8 who were in this vicinity were directed by radio to identify them and to report back.
We soon had confirmation that the missing trio had been found, but they might have to walk out. Smiles of relief all round. The search was over by 9.30 am and the lads could be winched out by helicopter. We returned to our base and a very relieved and grateful father. We were required to remain at the base until all S. & R. parties had returned. This is to ensure that all searchers return safely and no one is required to mount another search immediately on arrival back home.
By 11.45 am Bob Cavill called us together and gave us a resume of his knowledge of the events before we all signed off. The young men had driven into the Kangaroo Valley from Moss Vale via Meryla Pass and had bogged their car. As one of them was suffering from a sprained ankle it was decided to take a short cut home through the bush. They had no map and no food and finished up under the cliff line of the valley. The one with the sprained ankle decided that he could walk no further so they sat and waited for rescue.
Forty-five bushwalkers had taken part in the search and another ten or so late arrivals had been held in reserve in case a stretcher party was needed. The senior police officer present thanked us for our assistance and also thanked two local men who had observed footprints heading north during an earlier search of their own.
Meryla Pass is normally closed to private vehicles by locked gates at either end. Although it is now only a service track it once gave the Berrima, Moss Vale District access to the coast through Kangaroo Valley. The construction of the Sydney-Goulburn Railway made the general use of the Pass unnecessary. The gates were still open after a search for another overdue party during the previous week when the three young men drove through.
What A Night It Was - Bushwalkers Federation Ball.
by Denise Shaw.
Thanks go to just over 30 S.B.W.s who supported this year's Annual Federation Ball at Lane Cove Town Hall on Friday, 18th September. Our members certainly know how to enjoy themselves - letting their hair down, they 'Stripped-the-Willow', jigged 'The Gay Gordon' and clapped and danced the night away to the very lively music of the Hot Dot Bush Band, who donated their services for the evening.
It was good to see quite a number of our members turning up in the new Club T-Shirts; which looked really great. This was our largest public showing, and we got a number of compliments from the other clubs.
The theme this year was 'Sixty Years Walking - 1927 to 1987' to mark our 60th Birthday, and we were honoured by all the clubs attending when they sang “Happy Birthday, Sydney Bush Walkers”. The Mount Druitt Bushwalkers even produced a birthday cake and handed it around; and Ainslie Morris was photographed by them, looking very smart in her Club T-Shirt.
Margaret Niven did a wonderful job of supplying all the Australian native bush flowers from their Belrose property, thanks Margaret; it certainly brought the bush to the Ball and added a colourful touch to our tables.
A tasty supper and drinks were enjoyed between the dances, and a recently de-cartilaged Donnie Finch was just happy to sit and enjoy the atmosphere and good company.
Barbara Bruce and Jim Percy were called upon to draw the lucky door prizes; while a Mount Druitt member drew out Spiro's name as third prize winner of the raffle - congratulations, Spiro!
What a night it was! A great way to keep fit and help a very worthy cause. Gordon Lee announced that it was a financial success with all the proceeds going towards new radios for Search and Rescue. It was such a lively, happy fun night, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves; so next year I plan to organise an even larger S.B.W. group and you're all invited!
N.S.W. Fedeeration fo Bushwaling Clubs - Report of September Meeting.
by Spiro Hajinakitas.
Federation has issued a press release to most newspapers, radio and televion stations pointing out inaccuracy in the reporting of search and rescues, the implication that bushwalkers (from Clubs) are not adequately prepared and the lack of recognition of the expert work done over many years by F.B.W. Search & Rescue.
The latest Plan of Management for Kosciusko National Park has provision for horse riding. F.B.W. is to ask Bob Carr to meet with a small delegation to discuss our opposition to horse riding in National Parks.
It now appears certain that the level of the Warragamba Dam is to be raised 5 metres. Stage two will be the construction of a spillway and stage three the building of a second dam. This will result in the loss of many favourite walking areas of significant worth. The Sydney University Bushwalkers are looking into the issue.
C.M.W. has all but finished the track to Folly Point (Budawangs) and N.P.W.S. is to put up signs.
Attendance at Federation Meetings has dropped since F.B.W. moved to the Rocks area and some delegates think we should move to the Parramatta area.
Federation is keeping a close look on the Minister for Police's proposal to make people pay for expensive rescues and his plan to have all bushwalkers report to a Police Station prior to a walk to have their gear checked etc.
A Soft Three Peaks - July '87.
Mount Thurat - Mount Paralyser - Whalania Deep - Mount Guouogang - Kanangra Gorge - Strongleg Ridge - Mount Cloudmaker - Craft's Walls - Kanangra Tops.
Distance: 40 km.
Total ascents: 2540 m.
Total descents: 2450 m.
“Do you think I can do it, Gordon? Am I strong enough?”
“Sure, you can do it! I saw you carrying water onto the Axehead last June. You'll be right!”
“O.K. I'll go.”
Saturday morning = twelve feet crunch the frozen earth on Thurat's ridge. Ice diamonds brushed from frozen bushes display a cheerful sun.
A cry, “There's the Axehead!” in the morning light - eyes turn right on a splendid sight. Bull Island, Green Wattle bring on the past - but the present is precious, ephemeral, and there is much to be done!
The morning starts easily with Mount Carra Mernoo and Mount Cyclops going almost unnoticed.
When approached from the west, Paralyser Trig is a disappointment. An inconspicuous pile of stones on a relatively flat area of ground, surrounded by a few sick saplings and nothing much to see, discourages loitering. Although a later climb from the south-east justifies its name in my mind, the party of the present signs the book and is soon on its way.
The descent of Paralyser's northern ridge is surprisingly gentle with a few good views of Mount Guouogang and the afternoon's route up it, Nooroo Gables. At approximately 700 metres elevation we drop off the left of the ridge and descend into Whalania Deep. The dry Steeps are comparatively free of vegetation. Strategically placed trees are useful brakes - descent is sometimes more rapid than desired.
Lunch is brief, and we are soon on that awkward climb. Statistics indicate that the average angle of ascent up the Gables will be about 30° with an elevation improvement of one kilometre, but observation indicates I am moving to a torrid afternoon. Not long is spent with the rest of the party. My view of their backs is transitory. It appears that the afternoon will be a sentence to solitude. Time is rendered meaningless, sweat pours and my feet fall in an endless trudge. Experience has taught me that stopping for pain only invites the greater pain of starting. So I go on in the knowledge that the hardship will eventually stop and the pain will be meaningless, past.
Then, there, a welcome sight seen through a haze - Karl sitting, waiting on a rock.
“I thought I'd stop and give you a bit of company. It does get lonely at the rear,” he says.
“Thanks,” I gasp “how far to go?”
“We may be half-way there.”
Up, up, up we go, seemingly forever; on rocky ridges, by yawning clifftops, stay-a-while bushes slowing my stride - the net of surrender thrust aside by a constant plod.
Then, there on a point are the others admiring a view. They don't look too cold. I am too hot to see much and there is neither time for a pleasure in cooling. The last, steep parts are climbed together until the shrub-shrouded dome of the Mount is reached; but there is no time to see its trig as the sun is falling fast.
In sympathy with the sun we descend. Razorback and Mount Bullagower are soon negotiated. The latter's ridge is a luxury after the afternoon's climb.
The proposed drop-off point to the east comes and goes and then… I am alone! Surely they're not too far ahead! Cursing lenses that could be improved or a second's attention on a vanishing view, I give a shout. Repetitions also meet with silence. I know that time is precious and thoughts of a lonely night on a Kanangra ridgetop and the irritation of others are thrust aside as I drop off to the left hoping the others are ahead.
Down, down to Kanangra's gloom I go, jamming heels in giving ground. There is green grass here and things seem kinder than the morning's Steeps. Down I go, stopping, negotiating a steeper bit, then resuming my jerking slide. Scratches and nettles barring the way are unfelt against the anxiety of fading light and a seemingly endless slope.
Then, at last, the creek is reached, and in good time too, for dusk is past. Kanangra's water tastes sweet beside the afternoon's drought. Time to reflect on a day well spent. Then, suddenly, the others, apparently noticing that they are “but five”, arrive with torches, shouts and a whistle.
The pleasure of a good and apparently never-used campsite is only spoilt when a light rain starts soon after the tents go up. Gordon is early to bed and won't be moved, even when the rain stops. Perhaps he is showing his age. I'd rather think he is enjoying the soft part of his “Soft Three Peaks”!
Morning brings a new burden - a sodden, shared tent. The shedding of last night's meal is doubly welcome. Strongleg's ridge is flatter than Nooroo but I regret not spending last night under my fly. Half-way up, Gordon and a deputation meet me with a request for one sodden tent. This request is gladly complied with. However, in the confusion and by reason of my exhaustion I don't see my sleeping bag going walkabout! I realise that the catalyst for the preceding actions was not altruism, but rather the perceived best interest of the party, but I can only wish that the sleeping bag hangs heavily all the way to Kanangra Tops!
Relieved of my burdens, the way home seems gentle stuff. The views from Mount Moorilla Maloo are outstanding and the finding of a temporarily lost Dex Creek is fine by-play. Lunch at that rubbish dump is soon followed by splendid views coming off Mount Cloudmaker.
The tempo of the amble along the range to Kanangra Tops is only interrupted by a Gabe's Gap grind and a minor disagreement as to how Craft's Walls should be negotiated.
Gordon promises me Monday morning stiffness, even though I have not had that lately. Monday proves him right but any ache is nothing beside the pain of getting it!
Bushcraft Weekend - 7/8th November.
by Wendy Aliano.
Ben Esgate has agreed to put on another bushcraft weekend. Ben is the genuine article when it comes to understanding of and surviving in the bush, and every Sydney Bush Walker can benefit form his vast experience.
Perhaps the best way to tell you what this weekend is about is to tell some of the things that Ben told us at the last one. He showed us how to light a fire in the rain, and when there is no dry kindling how to create your own from Mountain Mallee twigs or the inside bark of the Stringybark Tree. He showed us how to recognise if one has changed direction when walking by the way the clouds are going or the feel of the breeze on the face. We learned about bush fires, where to go and in what circumstances in the case of fire. He showed us how to read the signs in the bush of past fires. Ben talked about animals, rocks and water and we all came away from the weekend knowing a great deal more and able to see a lot more in the bush we love to walk through.
This is a weekend that experienced people and newcomers will all benefit from. So set it aside in your diary now. New members are welcome, and will be assisted in gaining basic camping skills. Also it is my birthday, so if you want to see Wendy cry at being a year older, you can help celebrate as well.
A Walk In The McDonnell Ranges - July 1987.
by Margaret Niven.
Leaders: Ainslie Morris & Mike Reynolds.
The Crew: Maurie Bloom, Jan Mohandas, Jim Percy, Jo Van Sommers, Judy Mehaffey, Brian Hart, Bob Niven, Margaret Niven.
Such excitement as we all met at the group counter at Mascot at 7 am on Sunday, 5th July. Weighing in our packs was very interesting as they went from 15 kg to 20 kg. Much thought had gone into packing. It had been decided that we would carry and prepare our own food, as there were widely differing food preferences. It was quite amazing what an interesting and varied selection of meals were enjoyed each evening around the fire.
So, onto the aircraft for a very smooth and pleasant flight to Alice Springs. We were met there by a small bus and driven to Arura Lodge, where we left overnight bags with spare clothes for the second week, added 3 litres of water to our packs and were transported out on to the Glen Helen road and after 55 minutes were deposited beside the road to start our trek.
After the customary “group about to leave” photo, we walked a short distance to the Hugh River bed, boiled a billy and ate our lunch. At 1.15 pm we set off on our big adventure, a few minutes later meeting a man and wife in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle from Alice Springs. “Where are you from?” they enquired. “Oh, we just came from Sydney,” we answered. “Hell - you must be very tired if you've walked from Sydney!” exclaimed the man, who was quite relieved when we told him that we had in fact flown in, not walked in!
Not being familiar with the terrain, and also not being up high, it was not easy to pick the gap that we were intending to walk through, from the aerial photo Ainslie had acquired, so for our first afternoon we walked 18 km instead of 15 km, but it was flat and easy walking and we ended up not quite in the river bed we'd hoped to reach.
We camped on a large flat area, a bit open to a cool wind which came up at dusk, no water but plenty of wood. Then we discovered “The Bindies”. They lay on the ground like a carpet and we were sure they could jump. Before we knew it, they were in and on everything, and a sight to see was Judy bending over having her shorts combed by Jim, the only way to remove them. Poor Judy, for the whole trip, no matter how careful she was, she always ended up with “the bindies”.
We set off next morning to find our river bed no more than 1/2 km on, and followed it up to the junction, where we found good water, so boiled a billy for morning tea, packed a lunch and, leaving our packs, walked and climbed up a spectacular gorge and up a scree slope to a ridge for lunch with the first of our breathtaking views.
Then back down the spur, collected our packs and left at 3.10 pm to head back to the main gorge. After negotiating a tricky bit around a rock face, to avoid a swim, we arrived at a super camp spot and made ourselves at home here in Hugh Gorge for two very pleasant and comfotable nights.
We did day walks up the Chewings Range and also investigated another gorge, finding two large waterholes - one inaccessible and one used by cattle (there were several dead cows in the area).
Jan's Rossi boots decided to fall apart very early in the walk, so Maurie and Bob got together and evolved a system using a stout darning meedle and a heavy blanket pin and “borrowed” cord from torches to sew the upper to the sole. This became a nightly ritual, along with the telling of jokes, a sing-song, especially enjoyable was Jim's rendition of “The Purple People Eater”, and also some yoga for anyone with the will and enthusiasm required.
Spencer Gorge, our next campsite, proved even more interesting - lovely gums, sheer colourful walls, beautiful and very cold rock pools, the last one blocking the way out, so causing one hour and 40 minutes of climbing and scrambling to get to the other side, a mere 200 metres.
We walked on looking for “Rigby” Gorge, where, Ainslie had been told, we'd find water. We stopped in a small gorge with water for lunch, but later found it was not “Rigby”, but a smaller one, but good to know as there was plenty of good water there. During this part of the walk we sighted quite a few brumbies. We passed the Hugh River Water Guage and found clean water and another super campsite again in the river bed, the only place to avoid “the bindies”. Another happy and pleasant evening was enjoyed with a near full moon and clear starry sky.
Day 6 saw us heading up to Brinkley Bluff, very steep and very rough and oh! that spinifex! Having at last all gathered, by various routes, on the saddle, we had a well earned morning tea and took advantage of the height to get some great photos and also work out where we were and which way to go. Working from an aerial photograph is not the easiest way to navigate and I commend Ainslie, Maurie, Brian, Jan and Jim for their expertise.
After traversing the slope and negotiating another gully, we came to a deep clear water- hole. Bob climbed down and filled our water-skins and after lunch we had our hardest afternoon. We did a very steep and rough and prickly traverse to find ourselves in a very long, steep and rough gully which brought us up to a narrow ridge above the S.B.W. named “Surprise Waterfall”. After scrambling down, finding good water on the way, we set up camp, and after mending Jan's boots again, all retired early.
Day 7 saw us up early and off on a very pleasant and pretty walk to our last campsite at the back of Standley Chasm. We investigated the chasm, Ainslie, Jo and Brian swimming through the first pool and deciding it would be better to find a way to climb around, which Jan and Maurie proceeded to do very successfully. We spent our last night, reliving our walk, having a sing-song, finishing with Mike's composition (printed further in the magazine). It was such a clear, still night, with a full moon and we were all a bit sad that our trip was nearly over.
Sunday dawned clear and mild and after breakfast we packed up and left our packs and did a last climb up the ridge overlooking the chasm and soaked up the magnificent views to remember as we travelled home. We negotiated the track around the first pool, only to find that we had to wade out the second pool chest-deep to the amusement of a large group of camera-clicking tourists.
Oh dear! I think we would all have preferred to go back than to enter the world of buses, cars, kiosks and all the trappings of those poor folk, who didn't get to see the magnificent country “out back in the MadDonell Ranges”.
by Wendy Aliano.
The Bush Rock Cafe.
We set up the tables and chairs in the Hall like a Cafe, and our band “Moonlight” played us Blue Grass music. Len Newland and Gordon Lee, on the fiddle, played and sang beautifully. I wish I could remember the names of the other band members.
We set up a trolley full of goodies (Sara Lee) and drinks, and Margaret Niven played waitress and hostess dressed in a frilly apron made specially for the occasion (worn over other clothes of course). The crowd ate and drank, listened and applauded and chattered away. At the conclusion of the evening it was generally declared that everyone had had a great time, and our musicians had excelled themselves.
November Social Events - Wednesday Evenings.
Quarterly effort to do the Club Magazine. Please remember that, for every month that we do it, a small group of dedicated volunteers do the other two months. So come and help. Refreshments will be provided.
Tasmania Bush Walking. Bob Hodgson will talk about organising Tassy trips, what to take, what to wear, and where to go. Bob has a superb collection of slides which he will be showing. So if you ever wondered what all the fuss was about the Apple Isle, or if you are thinking of going there, this night is a must. See you there!
A Song - The MacDonnell Ranges Trip.
by Michael Reynolds.
Tune: “The Ball of Kerriemore.”
Old folk, young folk, everybody come,
Join the S.B.W. and have a lot of fun.
Bring your mug and billycan and sit around the fire
And we'll sing a song of walking as the flames leap higher.
Ainslie Morris led a walk west of Alice Springs.
She filled her pack with nougat bars, and other ymmmy things,
But when it came to boring things like billies, tents and clothes,
She gave them all to Mike and said “Here, you can carry those”.
Chorus: Old folks, etc.
Bob Niven came along, but had never flown before -
So Margaret bound and gagged him, and threw him to the floor.
She drove him to the airport, and she dragged him to the plane,
And now he thinks he likes it, and he wants to go again!
Chorus: Old folks, etc.
Jan Mohandas came along, but on the second day
His footwear fell to pieces, I am very sad to say.
But Bob and Maurie rallied round and found the very thing
And patched him up with wrapping paper, sealing wax and string.
Chorus: Old folks, etc.
Mike Reynolds came along as well, but he was feeling sick
'Cos he'd brought along his camera, but couldn't make it click.
That night in bed with Ainslie he said, “What d'ya think of that?”
“I haven't got a headache but my batteries are flat!”
Chorus: Old folks, etc.
Jo and Judy came along, they like to have a swim.
In freezing icy water they both plunge bravely in.
A passing ornithologist remarked without a blush,
“That's the first time I have seen bluetits in the bush!”
Chorus: Old folks, etc.
Margaret Niven came along, she always wears a smile,
And does her evening exercise with great panache and style.
To everyone's amazement, before she goes to bed
She does her yoga exercises standing on her head.
Chorus: Old folks, etc.
Brian Hart came along, he always looks relaxed,
Even when he's carrying a forty-two pound pack.
When asked how he keeps fit he always answers with a frown,
“My favourite form of exercise is when I'm lying down!”
Chorus: Old folks, etc.
Jim Percy came along as well, he's never known to grumble.
He takes good care on rocky bits to see that we don't tumble.
This paragon of virtue has the patience of St. Peter
And at night he entertains us with “The Purple People Eater”.
Chorus: Old folks, etc.
And now the ten of us are here, sitting round the blaze.
We've had starry moonlit evenings, and lovely sunny days.
Our trip is nearly over, and we're sad it's nearly done,
But it's been a great adventure, and it's been a lot of fun.
The Christmas production at the Marian Theatre, Killara (Northside Theatre).
“See How They Run” - a British comedy by Philip King - Thursday, 10th December - 8.15 pm. Party concession prices: $16.20 ($11.20 students or pensioners). Please contact:- Fazeley Read 909 3671 (H).
End Of The Trout Fishing Season.
by Keith Docherty.
For various reasons the party of ten anglers I had expected dwindled to only two! Frank Woodgate and myself. So, for the benefit of those who could have come but wouldn't and those who would have come but couldn't, here is my tale of the June long weekend:-
Rain was falling as we left Carlon's at 9.50 am on Saturday, and it steadily became heavier. Frank was wearing a cape as well as a parka but the rain and the wet vegetation of Kennel Flat soaked him to the skin. When we reached Mobb's Swamp at 12.45 pm we lost no time lighting a fire in the cave.
We were joined for lunch by Martin, a Packsaddlers Guide, and a party of riders. They were pleased to share our fire and they offered us some of their saveloys. Frank had been strugging to remove his wet suit boots and he was delighted to accept the help of a couple of attractive young ladies. Martin entertained us with anecdotes of horse riding and farming and demonstrated his billy swinging ability. We were sorry when he and his party had to leave in the rain that showed no sign of abating. Looking at that rain, the dry cave and the cheerful fire, we decided it wasn't really necessary to get to the river that night and we unpacked and set out our sleeping gear.
About 3 pm a lone walker arrived and asked if he could warm himself at our fire. He was soaked to the skin and not looking forward to going out again. As he was only walking in the area, without any definite destination, I suggested he stayed in the cave for the night. There was plenty of room for the three of us.
At 4 pm a woman suddenly appeared and asked if she could bring the girls in. She was a teacher from Tara Church of England Girls School with a party of eight girls on the Duke of Edinburgh Award. They had followed the smoke of our fire to the cave. The girls were sent out to collect more wood and we lengthened the fire to make room for more billies.
While we were eating dinner a “coo-ee!” came from the wet darkness and soon we were joined by half a dozen young people, also on the Duke of Edinburgh Award. They had just settled in when another ten young people arrived. They, too, were doing the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Just as well it is a large cave!
Next morning the teacher was first up to light the fire and she and the girls were first to leave. All of the Duke of Edinburgh Award people were away by 9 am. The leaders had made sure that all tins and plastic items were picked up and taken away. However, we did find half a tin of baked beans a Tara girl had buried at the back of the cave.
The lone walker thought he would stay in the cave until the weather improved but we had to push on to the Cox's. Frank set out at 10.50 am and I followed at 11.15 am and caught up with him at the top of Yellow Pup. It was about there we ran out of the mist and rain and found that very little rain had fallen at lower altitudes. At 1.20 pm we arrived at the Cox's and were surprised to find it very low and clear. After all the rain we had expected to see a raging brown flood.
We set up camp at the bottom of Yellow Pup, then went to the river with our fishing rods. I walked upstream and saw a lot of trout but they were all very nervous. There were prints of waders all along the river's edge so obviously somebody had been fishing hard earlier in the day. Smoke was rising from the cabin at Konangaroo so probably the anglers had come from there.
I caught a trout for dinner and left it at the camp before walking upstream as far as Brindle Pup to spy out where the trout were. I saw some very brightly coloured male rainbows above Konangaroo and some were quite large. Back at camp I found Frank had caught two trout, one of which was the largest he had ever caught. We wrapped a couple of the trout in tinfoil and baked them in hot embers. Moonlight was shining on us as we ate dinner but it was soon obscured by cloud and a light drizzle started to fall about 10 pm and continued most of the night.
After breakfast next morning we went our separate ways to catch a few fish to take home. Margaret Niven had recommended and sold to me a small Nilsmaster “Invincible” lure for bass fishing. I'd had no success using it for bass and found it a bit of a nuisance because the front set of hooks often caught on the line. I decided to try it on the trout. In a short time I had caught four then a fifth managed to snag the line round a rock and snap it off. I replaced it with a Shakespeare “Little S” and caught the largest fish of the trip, a nice male rainbow trout. That made up the five I wanted to take home so I packed up my tackle at 9 am and went walking with my camera to take photos of the wet and misty scenery. I met Frank fishing a beautiful pool below the camp. He had caught two trout and he caught another after morning tea.
Normally when I clean trout I leave the head on but, because of the weight and bulk of the five I was taking out, I cut their heads off. The weight was still over 6 kg and felt even heavier after 2.30 pm when we started the long slog up Yellow Pup. The sight and sounds of several lyre birds and a couple of wallabies helped take our minds off our loads until we ran into mist and rain on Yellow Dog.
It was 5 pm when we reached Mobb's Swamp and found we had the cave to ourselves. Soon the fire was blazing and trout cooking. The rain stopped about 7 pm and we were blessed with a three-quarter moon in a starry sky until a thick mist descended about midnight.
The mist started to lift soon after we left the cave at 9.30 am on Tuesday and sunlight shining through the raindrops on numerous spiders' webs transformed the Wild Dog Mountains into Fairyland. We had morning tea at Breakfast Creek and arrived at Carlon's in glorious sunshine at 12.15 pm. Because we had taken the extra day off we didn't have to battle all the returning holiday traffic and the journey back to Sydney was pleasant.
Frank's first priority was to visit the Eastwood Camping Centre to buy a new, and hopefully, rainproof parka. Next was a visit to his chiropractor for treatment of his back, strained with the weight of the trout he had carried.
Despite some wet weather we had enjoyed the last weekend of the season. Our fishing had been successful and the gratitude of the recipients of the trout made the effort of carrying them out worthwhile. Now we are looking forward to the October long weekend and the opening of the next trout fishing season.
What's Biting You? - The Australian Paralysis Tick.
by Geoff McIntosh.
If you discover something on your skin which is about the size of a matchhead, has eight legs kicking joyfully in the air, you have probably just acquired an adult female Paralysis Tick which has taken a liking not to your looks (as it has no eyes) but to your blood.
Ticks are a great topic of conversation with bushwalkers and rival snakes, leeches and bull-ants in this regard.
Nearly all cases of tick paralysis in humans are caused by the Australian Paralysis Tick (Ixodes holocyclus) and it therefore is the tick described here. This tick is also called the Dog Tick in N.S.W. and the Scrub Tick in Queensland.
The Australian Paralysis Tick can survive only in moist humid areas and hence is found along the east coast of the Australian mainland (particularly between Wollongong and Kempsey) and Tasmania. Native animals, especially bandicoots, are favourite hosts for ticks.
Identification - (Refer Illustration).
The Australian Paralysis Tick adult can be distinguished from other ticks because the first and last pairs of legs are brown, the second and third pairs are pale and the legs are spaced along the outside of a “V” formed between the snout and the sides of the body.
Life Cycle - (Refer Illustration).
The three stages of the life cycle are:-
- Larvae (“Seed Ticks”) - pinhead size.
- Nymphs - matchhead size.
- Adult Females - matchhead to pea-size.
The Paralysis Tick is a 3-host tick, each stage of the life cycle attaching to a new host and feeding for about a week. The fully fed larvae and numphs drop back on to the foliage and moult into the next stage. The fully gorged adult females drop to the ground and lay several thousand eggs which produce larvae to repeat the cycle.
Adult males attach to the host and suck blood briefly, but mostly wander around in the hair of the host eating dead skin and mating with the females.
The adult female tick is therefore the one which causes paralysis. It crawls to the top of foliage where, with its forelegs extended, it waits for a prospective host. If a host brushes against it, the tick crawls on to the host and finds a suitable position to insert the sharp mouth parts which have barbs to anchor them in place.
At the same time it injects an anti-coagulant (which contains a toxin) from its salivary glands to prevent clogging of its fine mouth parts and gut.
Paralysis is apparently due to the toxin affecting certain areas of the brain. The extremely rare deaths in humans are probably due to paralysis of the muscles of the diaphragm.
Ticks do not burrow under the skin but only insert the mouth parts. The tick may appear to be embedded deeply due to a localised reaction resulting in a swelling.
Adult Paralysis Ticks occur in late winter, spring and summer, disappearing in autumn and winter. Lavae and nymphs continue the life cycle from late summer, autumn, until late winter when adults re-appear.
The Paralysis Tick can feed on a large range of domestic animals, 'native' animals and, of course, humans. Discomfort, illness and, infrequently, death can be caused to humans, mainly infants and children.
Paralysis can be caused by the injection of a toxin produced in the salivary glands of the adult female tick. Lavae and nymphs also produce small quantities of toxin but may only cause paralysis when in large numbers on the host.
Symptoms Of Tick Paralysis.
If the tick is removed within 24 hours, the bite may merely itch, and if scratched may become infected.
If the tick is not removed within 24 hours, poisoning may occur. Severe poisoning requires attachment of the tick for several days. As the effects of the toxin are cumulative, they will be accelerated in proportion to the number of ticks attached.
- Headache and malaise.
- Blurred vision.
- Loss of control of the legs.
- Difficulty in swallowing.
- Breathing difficulties (can cause death).
Treatment Of Ticks.
If you detect a tick on your body, do not douse it with any irritant such as turpentine or kerosene as the tick may inject more toxin into you.
If you find one tick, search for others on yourself and on other members of the party. Special care should be taken to inspect the scalp and ears.
Ticks should be removed immediately using tweezers or fingernails, grasping the tick as close to the skin as possible and pulling it firmly away.
Do not squeeze or touch the tick unnecessarily as this may also cause it to inject more toxin. It does not matter if the mouth parts remain in the skin as the salivary glands come away with the body of the tick, but an antiseptic should be applied to the bite.
If the sufferer shows any paralysis symptoms, a broad firm bandage and splint should be applied as for snake bite and medical attention sought.
Other Species Of Tick.
- The Ixodes hirsti is a paralysis tick which occurs in N.S.W., Victoria and Tasmania.
- The Tasmanian Paralysis Tick (Ixodes cornuatus) occurs in Tasmania and Victoria.
- The Bush Tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) sometimes called the Grass Tick, the Bottle Tick or the N.Z. Cattle Tick which is not a paralysis tick and occurs along the N.S.W. coast.
- The Cattle Tick (Boophilus microplus) which is not a paralysis tick and occurs in the north-east corner of N.S.W.
Ticks are not insects but belong to the Class Arachnida which includes spiders, mites, centipedes, millipedes and scorpions.
Ticks At Coolana.
Ticks have been a problem at Coolana but the methods for reducing the hazard are unlikely to be adoped by bushwalkers.
The methods are:-
- Exclusion of bandicoots by trapping and removing.
- Removal of excess vegetation.
- Chemical spraying of vegetation.
- Elimination of moist areas.
This leaves us with the only alternatives:-
- Use of repellents.
- Regular inspection of our bodies for ticks.
“Rid” Cream Repellent (also repels leeches, flies, etc.).
- “Agfacts” - Dept. of Agriculture, N.S.W.
- “Window to Bushland” - Dr. Allen Keast.
- “A Survey of Injuries to Man by Australian Arthrepods” - R. V. Southcott.
- “Know Your Australian Spiders and Ticks” - B. Hadlington.
- “Holiday Safety” - Dept. of Health, N.S.W.
- “First Aid Hints” - Division of Health EducationAc Information, Queensland.
Half-Yearly General Meeting - September 1987. Notes.
by Ainslie Morris.
At 8.10 pm the meeting opened with a number of apologies and 35 people in attendance. The Minutes of the August General Meeting were read and adopted.
Madeleine Graf and John O'Shea were welcomed as new members, and the goodies were held over for two other new members not present.
Correspondence included letters about Gordon Smith's Pass and Gentle's Pass being placed on the next edition of the C.M.A. Kanangra map. (Both were early S.B.W. explorers.) Other letters were received, including one from Pageboy Publications with an account for layout of the historical book of $1,600, one from Stan Madden recommending 500 copies be printed and sold at $10 per copy.
The President reported on the Committee's decisions regarding the historical book. Motions were then brought forward that the price of the book be $8, number of copies be 500, paper used be 80 g.s.m. and 110 g.s.m. for the photographs, and the layout costs be held at $2,500. The motions were then put that the price of the book be determined by the 60th Anniversary Sub-committee, that 500 copies be printed, that 110 g.s.m. paper be used for the photographs, and the typesetter be paid the full account submitted; all were passed.
The Club has agreed to remain at the Ella Community Centre at an increased rental of $40 per meeting and $25 per annum membership, and to stop eating other groups' bikkies. We are writing an apology and a request that other users of the hall label their refreshments.
The Treasurer reported that the total cash at the Bank stands at $7,988.31, and the 60th Anniversary Fund had an excess over income of $2,276.65.
The Conservation Secretary reported that Mr. Bob Carr, Minister for Environment and Planning, is going to introduce a Wilderness Act.
As the hour was now quite late (9.50 pm) the normal Walks Reports were not presented.
It was agreed that another 100 T-shirts sizes 8, 10 and 12 be purchased for $500.
The- Provident Fund proposal was rejected. A new Personal Accident Insurance policy for $5 per head (about $2,500) for one year was not taken out. Comments were to the effect that the Club had managed for 58 years without such a policy and people who needed it could have their own policies for loss of wages etc. As a consequence it was moved that the Prospectives' membership subscriptions be reviewed by the Committee.
The 1988 Reunion will be held at “Coolana” and convened by Spiro Hajinakitas.
The meeting (or what was left of it after this marathon talkfest) was closed at 10.35 pm.
David Rostron's Family Walk to the Cox's River is postponed until 14/15 November, 1987.
Joe Marton's Sunday walk on 22nd November to Wentworth Falls - Country train 8.12 am from Central.