Table of Contents
The Sydney Bushwalker
Established June 1931 A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers Incorporated, Box 4476 GPO, Sydney 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.45 pm at the Ella Community Centre, 58a Dalhousie Street, Haberfield (next door to the Post Office). Prospective members and visitors are invited to visit the Club any Wednesday.
To advertise in this magazine please contact the Business Manager.
|EDITOR||Morag Ryder, Box 347 PO, Gladesville 2111 Telephone 809 4241|
|BUSINESS MANAGER||Anita Doherty, 2 Marine Crescent, Hornsby Heights,Telephone 476 6531 2077|
|PRODUCTION MANAGER||Helen Gray Telephone 86 6263|
|PRINTERS||Kenn Clacher, Les Powell, Barrie Murdoch|
|While the Billy Boils The Editor||2|
|Suspension of Train Service - South Coast Line|
|What Else Were We to Do? Joan Rigby||3|
|“Wildthings Around Sydney” Judy O'Connor||4|
|A 70 km Jaunt to Jagungal David Rostron||5|
|Another Bastion Has Tumbled Jim Brown||6|
|More on the Commercial “Walking” Tours in the Nattai Area Alex Colley||7|
|Blue Mountains for World Heritage Alex Colley||9|
|Portrait of a Climber - Part 1 “Clio”||10|
|“See the Bungles with Russell's”|
|The November General Meeting Barry Wallace||15|
|Food for Extended Walks Carol Bruce||17|
Canoe & Camping - Gladesville & Kogarah Bay
Kakadu - Wet Wonderland
Eastwood Camping Centre
Blackheath Taxis & Tourist Services
While The Billy Boils
Well, its that time of year again when stores go into a selling frenzy trying to boost their profits, and people go into a buying frenzy trying to boost their egos. The tonnages of tinsel and piles of plastic Santas set me thinking about Christmasses past. The exciting ones, all toys and candlelight, when a child. The dreary ones when a teenager, spending most of my time trying to escape drunken bores. Expensive ones, frantic ones, and some very lonely ones.
Like love, Christmas means different things to different people. There is the midnight Mass brigade, the midnight orgy brigade and the lets-visit everyone brigade, which often lead to the St. Johns Ambulance Brigade.
I know people who go broke trying to beat the Joneses and those who go into a state of collapse trying to cram 11 parties into 2 days. Given the choice, I would gladly trade all the 'celebrations' for a walk on The Rolling Ground; perhaps you would too.
Wherever and however you decide to spend your Christmas, I hope you will be happy - and in the New Year which lies ahead, at least one of your dreams come true.
Joyeux Noel! See you on the track
Suspension of Train Service - South Coast Line DECEMBER '89 to JANUARY '90
The State Rail Authority has been advertising that ALL SERVICES on the Illawarra (South Coast) Line will be cancelled between MORTDALE and WOLLONGONG from 27th December 1989 to 28th January 1990 ON ALL DAYS OF THE WEEK. Bus services will operate instead, but details of the arrangements have not yet been released, and delays may be expected during the period of suspension.
The altered arrangements will affect travel on the programmed walks of 31st December and 21st January, and also for any members proposing to use rail transport for the “Clean Up” day in Royal National Park being arranged by the NSW Federation of Bushwalking Clubs for 21st January.
Wilderness Calendars For 1990
From Alex Colley Henry Gold's wilderness calendars, complete with 13 beautiful colour photographs, phases of the moon, and spaced date tabulations to enable noting of engagements; are now available, costing $9. will be bringing them into the Clubroom.
What Else Were We to Do
by Joan Rigby
Bushwalking wisdom recommends at least four walkers in a party, but for thirty years Frank and I have done much of our walking on our own. We have had some scares, turned aside when with a larger party we would have pushed on, and agreed that if an accident happened then was the time to make decisions. A few weeks ago we had to do just that.
The Sara River is a pretty stream, northeast of Guyra and running into the Guy Fawkes. With rocky granite sections, pools, cascades and Casuarina edged banks it could be described as a small Kowmung like river.
It was the second afternoon of a leisurely 3-day walk, and after a cool and rainy morning the weather was clearing and the open tree-lined banks were a pleasure to walk. I was about 100 metres ahead of Frank when I paused to check off the next river bend on the map and to look for a crossing place. Another few seconds and I would have moved on but instead felt, in the same instant, a movement by my feet and a sharp rap against my leg. A quick look at the snake still half-coiled beside me, and I stepped back, called to Frank and reached for the stretch bandage kept in my pack pocket. As Frank covered the last few metres at a run I started to bandage my leg from just below the knee towards the four little bloodspots on my skin. This was possibly the only action we did “according to the rules”.
Frank's glimpse of the snake, now almost into the water, was even briefer than mine. There was no thought or time to kill the snake, but I said it was a red-bellied black, such as we had seen along the banks that day, and even though my impressions were not of the usual glossy snake, this would seem to have been correct.
With the bandage firm to just above the bite we paused to look at my scratched and scraped leg - like the Kowmung the Sara has its share of scrub and sharp rocks - and decided to wash the skin free of venom before completing the bandaging. In the circumstances I believe this to have been sensible as venom could enter my system through the scratches.
Frank lit a fire and made tea while we talked over the situation. I knew red-bellied blacks were unlikely to kill an adult but that there could be unpleasant complications. I certainly should not walk out that afternoon. Help meant assistance by horse or helicopter and would not come until the next day. By the time Frank could prepare a camp for me there would be little more than an hour of daylight left. The shortest route out for Frank was over the ridges to the old mining field of Bear Hill and then 6 km along the 4WD track to our car. I had been to Bear Hill before and believed it would be difficult for a stranger to find the track in the dark. We would stay together for the night and let circumstances in the morning decide our actions.
Except for a short spell of palpitations, sweating and faintness about an hour after the bite I felt well, without pain, headache or breathing difficulties. This reassured us that our hasty identification had been right. I believe I spent a better night than Frank, there was nothing I could do except rest and drink tea.
Monday was a bright morning. My foot was swollen and I had bruises and tender joints but we decided to attempt to walk out by the longer but easier route down river and up Nowlands Creek. Despite the discomfort of the tight bandage it was a very pleasant walk. By the time we reached the 4WD track I knew I had been well envenomed. Closed skin scrapes were bleeding, more bruises and swollen joints had developed and I was passing blood in my urine. Again, except to drink freely, there was nothing more we could do. My fear was of a major haemorrhage or kidney damage from myoglobin released from damaged muscle but our own efforts, as long as I was able, seemed the best way to reach help.
24 hours after being bitten we reached the road and three hours later I walked into Casualty at Tamworth for treatment. By then I had developed heavy haematuria, some impaired vision and a severe coagulopathy. It was eventually decided to treat with anti-venom.
Unfortunately I am allergic to horse serum and very little anti-venom could be given before I had a bad reaction, but I recovered quickly from all conditions after a night in the Intensive Care Unit. A week later I had a probable local infection in my leg which responded to antibiotics and a fortnight later a mild case of serum sickness from the horse serum.
So, it all came good in the end. I believe the bandaging until we reached the hospital delayed the reaction considerably, as it should, a dozen creek crossings would have removed the surface venom, I had Frank's support overnight, and we made our decisions one by one as the need arose. I picked the right snake - but what if it had been a Brown or a Tiger? Would we have dared to wait, could I have spent the night alone? We don't know.
What we do know is that the next time a non-walker says, “But aren't you afraid of snakes in the bush?” we shall answer as we have before that there are worse dangers everywhere than any snake in the bush. However, I am looking for a pair of long army gaiters.
"Wildthings Around Sydney"
by Judy O'Connor
When people ask me why I like bushwalking, I invariably say it's because of the swimming. Never has the water felt so refreshing and welcome as when I first plunged into a lake during a mountainous walk in a heat wave as a prospective member many years ago. I've never forgotten.
Similarly, I've noticed that a lot of bushwalkers seem to like walking, because they like wildflowers. I'm always amazed at the interest and knowledge of many Sydney Bush Walkers in those colourful and delicate blooms that, if I see them at all, only reach my consciousness as tiny pinpricks of colour, or psychedelic flashes as I grunt and groan my way up some never-ending incline. If one happens to brush past my face, or I come eye to eye with one during some bush bashing, it comes as a pleasant surprise to realise just how beautiful they are.
However, even I am impressed with a small book which has come my way entitled “WILDTHINGS AROUND SYDNEY” which is such an informative and intriguing publication that I feel Sydney Bush Walkers may well like to hear about it.
Designed to easily fit into a top pocket or outside flap of a rucksack, it contains 8OO stunning coloured photographs of all the common plants in the Sydney region. The area covered extends from the Hunter Valley and Newcastle in the north, to Nowra in the south, west to Moss Vale and Taralga on the southern highlands, to Lithgow west of the Blue Mountains and north to Rylstone.
As well as plants, the book gives detailed descriptions of birds, animals, acacia, banksia, ferns, palms, cycads, fungi, lichens, mosses, grasses, orchids, rainforests, water plants, sedges, weeds and trees. One of the book's best features, for people like me, is that it's colour-coded for easy identification. In other words, if you see a pink flower, you simply look up the pages in the book shaded pink on the bottom, and they'll contain all the pink flowers you're likely to see. Similarly, yellow flowers are listed on pages with yellow colouring on the bottom of the page (there's even a section on mixed colours).
Of added interest is a section by author and actor Barnum Barnum on the Aboriginal legends which surround many of Australian wildflowers. For example, Barbum Barnum tells the story of how the Waratah got its name, the origin of the black duck and how the Gymea Lily was created according to Aboriginal legend. The book is liberally sprinkled with additional miscellaneous information, such as which plants or animals are natives, and which animals and insects bite. There's even a code for which plants you can eat (but the authors hasten to add a word of caution about doing so).
The book has been written by a team of experts in their field - botanists, wetland consultants, foresters and other specialists. As they say, Sydney's crown jewels are not its Opera House, tall buildings and fine homes, but the bushland and coastline are what make it one of the most interesting nature areas in the world.
The book costs $15.00 and would make an excellent addition to any bushwalker's rucksack. How about a Christmas present for a friend? Copies can be obtained from Judy O'Connor, 43 Pine Street, Cammeray, 2062. Phone: 929 8629.
A 70 Km Jaunt To Jagungal
by David Rostron
It was one of those seemingly wild ideas which occurred to Wayne Steele and me simultaneously when discussing tours for a change of scene from the yo-yo skiing in Perisher Valley during the first week in September (with Bill Burke's downhill group at Kandahar). Yes, why not attempt a Jagungal return trip in a day from Perisher, particularly with the great snow cover which had suddenly built up over the preceding two weeks.
Well, Wayne had business problems and was forced to return to Sydney midweek. There were no other fools around and I was to be off solo on Friday 8th September until Don Finch (influenced by Gluwein and suffering the aftermath of the flu) announced at 9.00 pm on the Thursday, “Make my lunch and I'm coming”. The 5.14 am train from Perisher to Blue Cow had us on the snow in darkness at 5.30 am. Too risky to ski down to Guthega on the “concrete piste”, so it was a 2 km downhill walk to easy slopes, daylight, some skiing and then the Guthega Dam Wall.
A steady walk up to Guthega Ridge took us to the Rolling Grounds as the first rays of the sun lit beautiful fires on the slopes of Mount Tate and the East Ridge heralding the start of a superb day. Then followed some reasonably rapid skiing across the Rolling Grounds. Walking uphill on the firm surface was faster than skiing so the boards were off and on many times. We had our first glimpses of distant Jagungal on the horizon - will we or won't we make it? Turn-around time was to be 12 noon unless we were within a very short distance of the summit.
The outstanding memories are of that morning's skiing - a fast run down through the trees above Schlink Pass, rapid skiing along the road towards Geehi Dam, a lovely relaxed descent of Duck Creek over 3-4 km, crossing Valentine River and then the delightful undulating terrain dotted with trees between Valentine River and the foot of the mountain. (Is there a more beautiful snowscape than our rolling hills with their unique snowgum cover?) It was on this section that we again saw our Mecca from a distance of 5-6 km. It certainly made the pace quicken. There was to be no turning back before the summit. Unfortunately the snow for the final 350 m ascent had softened slightly. It was still faster to walk but the energy expenditure rate was at a high level as we slowly plodded up the last slope.
The magnificent view and a cool wind greeted us on the summit at 12.20 pm. It was the intention to lunch there but a flat rock by the creek below had more appeal. The run down Jagungal's south ramp is usually a ski-tourer's delight but there were sections of breakable crust. Instead of continuous rythmical telemarks there was some apprehension as we broke through and plopped on every tenth to twentieth turn.
The return route was via Mawson's Hut (2.45 pm arrival and another rest), the Kerries, past Schlink Hut and then back up to the Rolling Grounds with surfaces becoming icy. We had anticipated a good half-moon overhead as our “late ticket home”. However, cloud began to pour over from the west and when night fell we still had a third of the Rolling Grounds to cover. A return via Whites River and Munyang was contemplated but then dismissed.
When there was no moon we had a few interesting navigational moments and I managed to disappear over the edge of a few snow runnels (miniature cornices) with drops up to about 3 metres. Then we were back amongst the old tracks on the final section leading to the ridge. We managed to ski about the first 100 vertical metres of the descent, but the trees, steepening slope and corrugated icy tracks compelled us to walk the remainder down to the Dam Wall. No joy on this section as we periodically broke through the crust and sank up to half a metre. Don broke a stock in one of these incidents.
The intervals between rest breaks were decreasing over the last few hours and another long snack break was taken at the Dam. It was the final 350 m ascent over 3-4 km back up to Blue Cow that came into the agony/depression category. As we approached the saddle we were virtually blown along by wind gusts up to about 60 kph.
Blue Cow Station was a welcome sight at 8.50 pm. It was great to be treated with I.L.C. by the group on our arrival back at Kandahar.
Another Bastion Has Tumbled
by Jim Brown
I suppose it had to happen sometime. A little while ago I heard from Dot Butler - whose informant was Colin Putt - that the former SBW Club Room at Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown Street, Darlinghurst, has finally gone to the demolishers.
I remembered that in the Club's 60th Anniversary Book, Alex Colley had written “and so we have moved from site to site, leaving a trail of demolished buildings in our wake”. At a Reunion gig in 1987 I had enlarged on that theme, tracing the story of our various meeting places and came to the conclusion that, of the eight rooms we had vacated over the years, four had gone under the jack-hammers. (Clubroom No.3 in Hamilton Street, City; No.6 at Reiby Place near Circular Quay; and Nos. 7 and 8 at St.Leonards and Crow's Nest.) Of the four Clubrooms still standing in 1987, two were places where we had met for several years, but two were locations we had occupied for a very brief span.
Both of our short-tenure Club Rooms still exist, Club Room No.1 at 10 Hunter Street, City, which we used for a few months by courtesy of the Mountain Trails Club just after SBW was formed: the other is Club Room No.6 at Anzac House, College Street, where we hired a hall For about four months in 1971 before the need to secure more suitable accommodation forced us to “go suburban” at St. Leonards. The remaining two (where we spent some time) and which still stood in 1987 were No.2 at 258 George Street, City - demolished about a year ago - and up to now No.4, the Rat House, Ingersoll Hall, where we stayed fourteen years, 1945 - 1959.
One has mixed feelings about the passing of our Crown Street homestead. In the 60th Anniversary book I dubbed it (quite truthfully) “a dirty dismal place… we all agreed it was disagreeable and probably discouraging to newcomers, but it was cheap and was available on our chosen night”, which was, incredibly, Friday, from the time we moved there until 1954. Yet for those of us who first found SBW at the Rat House and went there for some years, there is a certain sentimental attachment. It is strange that this “dirty, dismal place” is the last of our longer-term abodes to have been demolished.
Of course, we were well aware during our occupancy that the hall was unattractive, and various attempts were made to find something nicer,but in the Post-War period accommodation was hard to find. In any case walkers look on things quite differently to most other folk, and find their greatest happiness in environments that many would consider uncomfortable, primitive, if not downright frightening and dangerous. So we put up with Ingersoll Hall and instead we bitched about other things…. for instance in the Chronic Opera of 1954, dealing with gripes at a General Meeting, we had one speaker complaining:
“We have lectures on our fauna, and we dance amongst the fleas
We have fun-and-games some evenings, and a pair of annual sprees.
We have photo exhibitions, but there's one thing gets our spleen.
What ain't we got? A beaded screen.”
Just to show we were still aware of its shortcomings, the Chronic Opera of the 1958 Reunion opened with two “old members” returning to walking after a few years lapse. The scene was set in 196- something, and on meeting at the door of the Club Room, one peers in and says:
“This place has hardly changed at the dirt and stains still on the wall.
New walkers New talkers. The same old Hall. See the old tables there that often fall?
And in each frame A shattered window held by faith alone
Or maybe dust and cobwebs Still the same - It's just the same as ever I have known.”
In writing the words for this song, I got myself into a great bind. The melody I chose came from a real opera, a scene in which the hero is shown a portrait of the heroine, and declares “Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schoen”, which translates roughly as “This semblance is bewitching fair”. I admit to some deliberate irony in using this tune for my parody, but the trouble was that no one else had any idea of the tune, so I had to sing it at the Reunion campfire - a tenor aria transposed into my bath-tub baritone as I went along. Not so well received, I'm afraid.
During our tenure of the Rat House our members were required to pull down a shutter at the street entrance when we departed, and this closing was done to a roster (mostly the Committee members). On one occasion we hauled down the shutter and locked the lady caretaker in the premises, because no one knew she was upstairs. As Secretary at the time, I copped most of the flak over that, and having had cross words with the same lady previously on other matters, I commented to members “Aw, no problem really all she had to do was hop on her broom-stick and jump out the window”.
So Ingersoll Hall has gone like the rest. Well I, for one, can't actually mourn its passing, but I can look back and think “There our Returned Soldiers of 1939-45 came back to us, some of them. There we greeted the Post-War crop (including me) with all their virtues and failings - mostly virtues I think. There we planned walks, yarned about past walks above all, we were pretty happy whatever the surroundings.”
More on the Commercial Walking Tours in the Nattai Area
These letters were sent to several regional newspapers from the Club.
“Dear Sir, The Sydney Bush Walkers Club regrets that the Nattai Foundation, which is promoting large scale organised tours along a route between Mittagong and Katoomba, is claiming the support of bushwalkers. The so-called “Barrallier Track” bears no relation to Barrallier's route, which was east- west, not north-south. It traverses two of the State's most scenic wilderness areas, both nominated under the Wilderness Act, in which members of this club have been walking for over 60 years, leaving the natural environment as we found it.
The Nattai Foundation has already degraded wilderness by the use of blue markers, paint on rocks and the slashing of native flora. It plans to put in 12 bridges, concrete fireplaces, water tanks, 7 large huts, 6 radio posts and four-wheel-drive access for support. It even plans to remove trees from a number of campsites on which a total of up to 960 persons will be camped every night. These “improvements” spell the destruction of yet more of the State's dwindling wilderness remnants.
Bushwalking is above all a self-reliant recreation. Every participant carries his or her complete requirements. This Club does not admit members until they are reasonably competent walkers and have a knowledge of map reading and first aid. This ensures that safety levels are high, but this will not be so for the “new chums” on the “Barrallier Track”.
Conducted, commercially oriented tours, with marked tracks, “improved” campsites and vehicular support, bear no relation to bushwalking, a term originated by this Club.
ALEX COLLEY (A. G. Colley 0.A.M.)
Hon. Conservation Secretary.
Blue Mountains World Heritage
by Alex Colley
On December 6th Bob Carr, leader of the Opposition, launched the Colong Foundation's book, written for the Foundation by Dr. Geoff Mosley, the subject of which is the case for World Heritage listing of the Blue Mountains. Geoff Mosley is a leading authority on World Heritage listing requirements, having been on the Council of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature for five years, and, as a member of its Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas, he referred seven Australian World Heritage nominations.
Some of his conclusions are that the Blue Mountains are:- O The best example in the world of sedimentary rocks deeply dissected by rivers over tens of millions of years. O The major weathering forces are providing new information about the evolution of the earth's surface. O The vegetation is a classic representation of the xeromorphic assemblages which developed as a result of Australia's isolation and changing environment following the separation from Gondwana. O The Blue Mountains has the best wilderness of the open sclerophyll type in the world. O The area is a stronghold for 157 species of threatened plants and animals. O The site is of ample size to function as an ecologically self-contained unit.
If World Heritage listing is achieved, it will be the culmination of a campaign originated in the early thirties by Myles Dunphy's Greater Blue Mountains National Park proposal. The Blue Mountains National Park in the central Blue Mountains was created in 1957. In 1968 the Colong Committee commenced its seven year campaign to save the Kanangra Boyd wilderness from becoming the site of a roaring limestone quarry and a large pine plantation. When that was achieved it worked for the addition to the park of the rest of Myles' proposal.
The Greater Blue Mountains National Park now exists in fact, though not in name. Along the way the Colong Committee (now Foundation) conducted successful campaigns against mining, a gas pipe line, a dam on the Colo, power lines and other developments. World Heritage listing would afford international recognition and national protection of the area.
The book is probably the most comprehensive description of the mountains yet compiled. It covers history, geology, flora and fauna, scenery and other aspects. It was the original intention to publish it as a “no frills” economy job, but some generous donations have enabled the presentation of an attractive volume plentifully illustrated with photographs by Henry Gold and others.
It will retail at $14.95 and is available postage free from the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, 18 Argyle Street, Sydney.
Federation Meeting Place. The President has been authorised to hire a hall at Burwood Primary School commencing January 1990.
Reunion 1990. S.B.W. have made their property at Coolana (Kangaroo Valley) available for Federation's 1990 Reunion, but have warned people about the numerous grass ticks there.
Personal Accident Insurance. No Clubs have yet requested inclusion in the scheme.
“Barrallier Trail”. On a motion from S.B.W. Federation agreed to oppose strongly this concept.
Search & Rescue. A pamphlet is available about S.& R. for distribution to members of the public.
Clean-up Day. To be held in Royal National Park on 21st January 1990. This will be organised by S. & R. teams. Areas for clean-up will be allocated, and a central dumping place for all rubbish collected will be nominated. Clubs should contact S. & R. convenors.
Portrait of a Climber
PART ONE: 'Canoeing, Climbing and War'. BY 'CLIO'
I was met at the door by a small and frail-looking man with longish white hair. I had come to ask him about his activities in his youth, especially about his canoe trip down the Shoalhaven River many years ago.
As an interview - it was inconclusive. Whilst mentally alert, he was unable to recall dates or activities other than in general terms. He maintained neither diaries nor photographs of his outdoor activities. My inquisition was also punctuated by.his disappearance into the depths of the house to attend to his bed-ridden wife.
I came away with a high regard of that gentleman and with the resolution to find out more.
Eric Payten Dark was born on June 23 1889, the youngest of three children of an Anglican clergyman who, through ill health, had been forced to retire from the ministry to settle on twenty hectares near Mittagong. Rev. Joseph Dark still did the occasional relief preaching and would be regarded as a fundamentalist - only religious books were read in his house on Sundays. He profoundly believed that every comma in the bible was put there personally by God.
As a child Eric Dark chronically suffered from an allergic asthma and when he was about ten or twelve years old the family doctor advised his parents to allow the boy to 'run wild' and not attend school. Thus he spent the next two years shooting hares and exploring the hills and gullies around Mittagong by pony. His education was not entirely neglected for he had several tutors. When he was almost fifteen his father enrolled him at Sydney Grammar School where, because of his desire to go to university and having no knowledge of Latin, he was placed in the lowest class. The fact that he was two or three years behind his confreres, worried him and inspired him to get ahead, so he became a bit of a swat.
Whilst waiting for the result of the Senior Public Exam he was offered, but turned down, a scholarship to Oxford. Although not exactly an agnostic, he already had a good many doubts and thought that at the end of those three years he would not have been able to sign the Thirty Nine Articles. He did no revision at university until five weeks before the exams, managing to scrape through each year. However, in his fourth year he found an interesting subject and decided to settle down and study.
Towards the end of 1914, final year medical students were told they could take their exams five months early but by doing so they would be automatically volunteering for military service. Eric Darke took up this offer and graduated third in the year. Early the following year the War Office cabled Victoria Barracks for one hundred young medical officers for the depleted British Army. Dr. Dark was summoned and signed on for a year or until the end of the war whichever came first. In March 1915 he sailed off to war.
He was assigned by the RAMC to the 18th General Hospital for training and in October 1915 was transferred to the 9th Field Ambulance, Guards Division. His job was to accompany the stretcher bearers into the field and stabilise the injuries. In March 1916 he was promoted to Captain and in October 1917 was gassed during the Ypres offensive. Fortunately this did not physically affect him in later life.
He was allowed to sail for Australia (at his own expense and without pay) to recuperate and at the end of six months he returned to England for retraining. He was re-assigned to a military general hospital in the Vardar Marshes, Macedonia in June 1918 - the worst place in Europe for malaria. Realising the problems associated with this disease, Dr. Dark took extra precautions to protect himself - and was the only member of the 35 strong medical staff not to succumb to this sickness.
In July 1919 he returned home with the Military Cross. He rarely spoke of his war. “However, I have a strong impression that he was deeply disturbed by the brutality and stupidity of trench warfare.” (Eric White)
He married Kathleen Raymond during his stay in Australia, and after he was demobbed they moved to Bungendore, where he established the town's first medical practice. Their son John was born in mid-1920, however Kathleen died several months later. Dr. Dark returned to Sydney University where he wanted to train as a surgeon and worked as a Demonstrator in Anatomy for two years.
In 1922 he married Eleanor O'Reilly - daughter of the writer, teacher and Labor politician Dowell O'Reilly. They moved to the Blue Mountains early in 1923 where Eleanor wrote historical novels - her best known being 'The Timeless Land' trilogy. In 1977 she was awarded the Order of Australia for services to Australian literature and in 1978 received the Alice Award from the Society of Women Writers of Australia.
Dr. Dark's adventures in the wild began when he was 19. He had been staying with a mate at St. Georges Basin, when one of them got the idea to spend Christmas 1907 canoeing the Shoalhaven River. Ralph Blacket built their canoe which, according to Dr. Dark, “was a beautiful little canoe fifteen feet long, about three feet wide and built of quarter-inch cedar with spotted gum keel, ribs and stringers. I don't know where he got the pattern from but canoes are usually unstable things. But in that one you could stand up and shoot with a double barrel gun. Wouldn't give a wobble.”
Carrying a fortnight's food, two rifles and more ammunition than they ever needed, they elected to enter via the Endrick River. Unbeknown to them there was a hundred metre waterfall within the first kilometre and it took them eight days of portage to bypass these falls and travel the sixteen kilometres down to the Shoalhaven. The Endrick is not normally a canoeing stream and there were drought conditions prevailing. “We began to become sceptical of there being a thing called the Shoalhaven River.”
The Shoalhaven was only slightly better, with the river just oozing between stones, although there were some canoeable stretches. One evening as they were about to make camp, they saw a man dashing into the water and killing a goanna because the goannas were always raiding his larder. He was Sivewright, who was prospecting a claim, and directed them to Bungonia for extra rations. Interestingly, his site developed into the Tolwong Copper Mine, c.1909-13.
This was probably the first long distance recreational canoe trip in New South Wales - possibly Australia.
Dr. Dark had an insurance policy mature when he turned 21 and he gave this to Ralph Blacket to purchase a timber holding at “The Vines” in the Budawang Range. Ralph, the grandson of the famous architect Edmond Blacket, later became a forester but gave this up when he felt that he wasn't being recognised for his contribution. He eventually inherited his father's property at St. Georges Basin and became quite well off.
The last year or two of school and the first three years of Dr. Dark's university vacations were spent outdoors. He does not appear to have taken many walking holidays, although Easter 1909 was spent walking from Picton to the Burragorang Valley, through to Wombeyan CAves, and back to Mittagong. Another trip commenced near the Block-up on the Shoalhaven, down to the Kangaroo River, and returning to Mittagong via Fitzroy Falls.
As a boy, he had his first experience of rock climbing in the headwaters of the Nattai. He saw a ledge running up one side of an eight metre waterfall and decided to tackle it. About halfway up there was a difficult patch which made it very awkward to turn round, and so he pushed on to the top. He did no more climbing until the Shoalhaven canoe trip when there was a bit of rock scrambling - presumably round the Endrick Falls. “I found that I liked using my hands and feet on rough rock. That was the beginning of it really - it must have been sort of instinct.”
The Shoalhaven became very popular with Dr. Dark who, with a few mates, used to camp at the mouth of Tallowal Creek and scramble around Billy Bulloo's Canyon. He had been fascinated by an atlas picture of Mount Lindesay, and in 1910 boarded a train for a shooting contest in Brisbane. Alighting at Tenterfield he cycled to Wilson's Peak which he climbed, then walked along the crest of the McPherson Range to the foot of Mount Lindesay. As there was little time left for climbing, he returned the following year to successfully climb it. Dr. Dark thought his was the first solo climb.
Dr. Dark recollected that when he climbed for the first time since Mount Lindesay, he became giddy. He suffered from middle ear trouble which occasionally caused severe vomiting and prevented him from climbing.
Osmar White (journalist, and author of 'Australia for Everyone') had as a youth injured his hand rolling boulders down a talus slope (c.1926). Dr. Dark showed an interest in Osmar's activities with the First Katoomba Rover Scouts, who were hiking and scrambling in the rough terrain of the Blue Mountains. Dr. Dark showed them how to use a safety rope for shoulder belays. Said Eric White “It was then that I gained the impression that he had at least a nodding acquaintance with the more sophisticated techniques of British and European rockclimbers. George Finch's 'Making of a Mountaineer' became our bible.”
Next month - “THE BLUE MOUNTAINS”.
"See The Bungles With Russells"
(and come out Alive - Alive 0) (Sung to the tune of 'Cockles & Mussels')
In Darwin's fair city, where the jets land so pretty, We first set our eyes on our Captain Will-is, And he drove the Pajero, o'er tracks deep in furrow, To the Bungles, to the Bungles, to the Bungles we go. Down the highway we wheeled-0, accompanied by Chris-0, Pajero with trailer and Patrol in tow, All wheeled down the Stuart, to Katherine to camp, To the Bungles, to the Bungles, to the Bungles we go. From Katherine to the Keep-0, they forgot to feed us, By four-thirty as well as dirty, we were hungry and 'shirty, Then Russell said - “Feed them, and then we will camp.” (Chorus) Crying “Hungry” Who's hungry?” - “Ho-ho, Ho Ho-ho!” Meal times on the Keep, with late hours to meet, “Who's got the Ri-vitas, the cheese and the fish? At the next pool, I might feed you all, 'Cept the Pommie with gallons of Vegemite O.” (Chorus) Vegemite 0, Vegemite 0, 'cept the Pommie with gallons of Vegemite 0! On the road to the Bungles, driven by Chris, A rock or a rut, she was not known to miss, As she swerved and she skidded, we sang and we kidded, Till she cried - “Stop singing you lot or I'll do it again!” (Chorus) Do it again, 0 do it again, stop singing you lot or I'll do it again!
He is a 'Gourmet-wonder', with his food cooked down under, He fed us, and fed us, will we ever shed this? To the Keep and the Bungles, anchovies and mussels, No, we'll never! Never ever! Never ever shed this! In the Bungles he led us - through gorges and spinifex, We swam through the chasms in nought but our skin, And looked in great awe, at the sights that we saw, We'll say to our friends - “0 come walk with him!” Come walk with good Russell, and see the great sights, (Big finish) Good Russell, Good Russell, 0, Come Walk With Him!
(Composed by Sydney Bushwalkers by way of thanks to Russell Willis for a great walk. KEEP RIVER and BUNGLE-BUNGLES - May 1989.)
PUT ANOTHER SHRIMP ON THE BARBIE
On JANUARY 10th, when the Clubroom is closed a SOCIAL NIGHT. will be held at Obelisk Beach (Sydney Harbour). Bring FOOD, lights, insect repellant, and celebrate summer by the light of the moon! Phone IAN DEBERT (982 2615) for further details. Starts at 6 pm.
The November General Meeting
by Barry Wallace
The meeting began at around 20.31 with around 25 members present and the President in the chair. Samples of the latest Gestetner machine's art were laid out in ordered ranks on a nearby table awaiting their moment. There was an apology from Jeff Niven, and no new members for welcome. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and received, with no matters arising.
Correspondence saw a letter from Russel Willis placing an advertisement in the magazine and offering to screen slides at a club meeting during a proposed trip to Sydney; from the World Environment Movement; from Geoff Bridger resigning from his positions as FBW delegate and committee member due to changed circumstances at work; a copy of the minutes of the latest FRU meeting; from the Total Environment Centre requesting a donation to assist with their work; outgoing letters to Russel Willis thanking him for his offer to screen slides but declining the offer due to the restricted number of social evenings available at that time; to Senator Richardson and the Prime Minister supporting the decision on the Kakadu conservation zone; and a letter to FBW advising them it was O.K. to re-une at Coolana, but to bring their repellent to stave off the ticks.
Business arising saw passage of a motion that we donate $200.00 to the T.E.C., and an unsuccessful attempt to fill the committee FBW delegate position.
The Walks Report was next, commencing with the weekend of 13.14,15 October. David Rostron's ski touring trip went, but without a leader, or so the rabble insisted. There were 6 starters enduring fairly poor weather, but finding good snow, on the Sunday at least. Ian Debert reported 9 starters on his Mount Solitary day-and-a-half trip which was described as good.
There was no report of George Mauler's Otford to Otford day walk and although Ian Rannard had prepared and submitted a report on his Manly Vale to East Lindfield walk it, the report that is, was out there … somewhere, or so the Walks Sec. said.
Over the weekend of 20,21,22 October Wayne Steele had 16 people enjoying good weather on his Budawangs walk. They reported a spectacular display of Aurora Australis on the Saturday evening around 22.00. Wendy Aliano's Boyd Plateau walk was cancelled and of the day walks, Bill Holland reported his Lane Cove N.P. day walk as expanded into a full weekend of almost continuous barbecue. Numbers were reported up to 25 plus at times with a good deal of general weariness at times. Geoff Bridgerls Ku-Ring-Gai Chase trip was cancelled.
Ralph Pengliss had 12 on his Royal N.P. walk and Errol Sheedy's report of his Waterfall to Heathcote trip was out there … somewhere, or so the Walks Sec. said.
Greta Davis was off enjoying the latest San Francisco earthquake when it came time to lead her Pinnacles to Lockleys Pylon trip on 27,28,29 October, so George Walton stepped forward and led the party of 4 on a walk from Mount Victoria to the Grand Canyon in pleasant conditions with quite firm ground.
The weekend also saw Jan Mohandas lead a party of 22 on his gourmet weekend at Glenbrook. It would seem there was a bit of an epidemic of er .. flu in the early hours of Sunday morning. A number of people were reported to be afflicted.
Alan Mewett's report of his Brooklyn to Wondabyne walk was reported as illegible. There were 22 starters but none of the usual detail. Reports that Alan is in training to be a doctor were denied.
The weekend of 4,5,6 November saw Kenn Clacher and a party of 6 hanging around Thurat Rift on his weekend abseiling trip. Morrie Ward reported 16 people and dense scrub on spire head on his Barrington Tops rainforest walk. He neglected to mention just how many of the party were truly impressed by the section of fire trail at the end of the walk. Ian Debert reported 16 people at Coolana that weekend. They painted the hut and had a fine hooley, despite the disappointing roll-up.
Jan Mohandas, well into recovery by this time, led 12 starters in warm to hot conditions on a Colo well filled by recent rains - to close the Walks Report for the month.
The Treasurer's Report indicated that we spent $1135.13, received $236.00 and closed the month with a balance of $2,164.91 in the current account. As a result of last month's motion the Coolana funds have been invested in SAFA Bonds. A further motion that we invest the conservation funds, totalling around $1,500, in Telecom Bonds for periods of around two years at 15% was carried.
The Social Secretary reported on coming attractions and we were advised that the practice of collating the magazine in the clubroom will be discontinued.
The FBW Report concerned itself with oversnow vehicles, 4WD and horse access into national parks. It may appear elsewhere in the magazine.
The Conservation Report indicated that the Colong Foundation is trying to have the Blue Mountains National Park given World Heritage listing in an effort to improve its security and that the activities of the Nattai Foundation on what they are now calling The Barallier Trail are being viewed with increasing concern by the various walking and conservation bodies. It seems they propose extensive civil works along the route, and if the sample of their policy on trees at campsites is typical they are somewhat out of touch with you and me. (While conceding that trees provide shade and firewood they point out that they are given to shedding branches without warning and that many campers have been injured as a result, and so they must be completely removed around campsites, said campsites proposed to accommodate a trail population of up to 480 people, with possible future expansion to 906 people.)
The Conservation Secretary also moved that we propose that FBW prepare a press release on these activities and our opposition to them. The motion was passed. A following motion that the SBW write to the press and N.P.W.S. on a similar theme was also passed.
General Business saw a motion that we purchase a Gestetner Model 5130 at $8,799.00. This was passed after a brief discussion. A motion was also proposed that the song book subcommittee prepare a financial plan and budget for the production of a SBW Songbook, for presentation to the next general meeting. This also got the nod from the assembly.
The matter of poor attendances at Coolana functions was also discussed, but in the absence of a substantive motion debate lapsed.
The announcements followed and the meeting closed at 22.08. (That's 10.08 pm in Jim Brownspeak.)
(Summer is here, and that means extended trips in the Snowys, Tasmania and New Zealand. You don't have to live on maccaroni, peas and Deb in order to keep the. weight down. A little imagination and planning can produce lots of tasty meals from dried food. EDITOR)
Food For Extended Walks
Extracts from an article by Carol Bruce
How much to take? A good guide is BOO to 1000 grams per day. A sample of the breakup is as follows: Breakfast 80 - 100 g Lunch 250 - 300 g Dinner 300 - 400 g Scroggin 150 g
800 grams may not be sufficient unless the evening meal is made up of complex carbohydrates. An important point to remember is that cereals, nuts and seeds are eaten with legumes to provide complete protein. In other words, wheat, barley, corn, rice, millet, nuts and seeds are eaten with either dried beans or lentils. Alternatively, use a small amount of animal protein, such as cheese, milk, fish or salami. Fresh meat can be used for only the first 2 days. Carry salami and cheese in muslin or cheesecloth, allowing it to breath. Best cheeses are Romano, Pecorino and Parmesan. They keep well and do not go oily in hot weather. Soft fruit and vegetables are easily mangled in the pack - put them in your billy. Scrogoin: put your favourite mix in small bags, varying it a little for each day. Drinks: use Tang (or other flavourings) instead of plain water. Milo, peppermint and lemon tea instead of the usual tea and coffee.
Try out recipes for the long trip on a weekend walk. Don't make them at home, it isn't the same as cooking over a campfire. An important hint is to repack all foodstuffs into resealable bags - commercial packaging is bulky and heavy.
The actual menu depends upon your own tastes. Meals do not have to be significantly different from the food you normally eat. Supermarkets and greengrocers can supply most ingredients, such as rice, pasta, lentils, dried beans, dried peas, corn, mushrooms, capsicum, carrots, onion, herbs and spices. Asian stores have dried pork sausage, dried turnip, dried cabbage, sheets of dried bean curd, dried fish and prawns. The expensive freeze-dried meals from camping stores are not very filling, but can make a base for other ingredients. Meals:
Breakfast: muesli, Vita-Brits or other commercial products. Use rolled oats only when there is sufficient time for cooking and sufficient water to clean the billy.
Lunch: bread can be used for two days, then biscuits such as Orvita, Vitawheats, sesame wheats etc. If possible, a damper would make a change and last about 2 days. Try taboulli - mix your own or use a commercial variety. Spreads such as vegemite, jam, honey, peanut butter or fish paste can alternate with salami, cheese, tuna or sardines.
Dinner: Try to share with someone in order to have the use of two large billies. Cook rice or pasta in one and vegetables in the other. The variety of your meals depends on how imaginative you are. Two interesting recipes are shown below.
Combination Long Soup (4 serves) - 400 g rice vermicelli 16 sheets dried bean curd 20 g dried mushrooms 50 g Surprise peas and corn 1 packet miso soup 50 g Surprise peas and carrot 1 garlic clove 20 g dried cabbage 1 tsp black pepper 20 g dried fried onion 20 g dried prawns 75 g salami 1 tsp dry basil 1 tsp dry oregano 1 tsp black pepper
1. Soak vegetables, bean curd 2. Discard water. 3. Boil vegetables, bean curd 4. Add vermicelli and prawns with pepper close to finish 5. Add soup mix and salami.
Tortellini (4 serves) 500 g tortellini 20 g dried mushrooms 20 g dried capsicum 20 g tomato magic 40 g dried fried onions 20 g dried garlic 1. Boil pasta with mushrooms, capsicum, onions and garlic. 2. Add herbs and spices to tomato magic in cold water. Mix to form thick paste. 3. Add tomato mix to pasta and finish cooking.
ANOTHER KOSCIUSKO TRIP (not on Walks Program)
From Wednesday 27th December to New Year's Day. LEADER: GEORGE MAWER. Munyang Power Station - Brassy Mountains - Jagungal - return via Dickie Cooper Bogong to Guthega Pondage. MEDIUM. Daylight driving and sight- seeing at Canberra en route. Phone 707 1343 (H) - 774 0571 or 774 0500 (W)
FOR 15 LUCKY PEOPLE!
The very best of the Nepal treks - The Mount Everest Remote Approach Trek. Far from the tourist hordes, 5 weeks in the world ultimate High Country with Jan Mobandas. The time, October/November 1990. Tour operators are Wilderness Expeditions. Ring Jan early to make sure you don't miss out!
A grey fawn jacket bearing label MEMBERS ONLY was left in the Clubroom on the night of Peter Tresseder's lecture. Apply to the New Members Secretary (or it may be sold at the next Auction!).
NEW ZEALAND IS CALLING - and George Mawer is going - for 3 weeks during February/March 1990. Routeburn Track, Milford Track, touring and sight seeing. Campervans being considered. Ring NOW if you want to get a cheap Apex air fare. Home 707.1343 - Work 774.0500
STOP THE PRESSES!! Looking for a last minute Christmas gift? (Why not treat yourself for a change?) Judy O'Connor will be selling copies of “WILDTHINGS AROUND SYDNEY” at the wholesale price of $15.00. See her in the Clubroom or phone 929 8629. Too good to miss!
So now am I going to spend the Christmas holidays? All being well, I should be walking from Kiandra to Mt. Bimberi with Ian Rannard. If it's as good as his walk from Mittagong to Katoomba, I'll be the happiest person around. Ed.