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 at 8 pm at Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre, 16 Fitzroy Street, Kirribilli (near Milsons Point Railway Station). Visitors and prospective members are welcome any Wednesday.
|Editor||Morag Ryder, Box 347 PO, Gladesville 2111. Telephone 809 4241|
|Production||Fran & Bill Holland Telephone 484 6636|
|Printers||Kenn Clacher, Les Powell, Margaret Niven & Barrie Murdoch|
|While the Billy Boils||The Editor||2|
|Vale - Paddy Pallin||3|
|Jan's Annual Bludge Walk (A Day walk from Kanangra to Katoomba)||Brenda Cameron||5|
|Cooking with Spices in the Bush||Jan Mohandas||7|
|A Tale of Three Rivers - Part 1….The Styx||Michele Morgan||8|
|Boots and Sandshoes||Errol Sheedy||11|
|The Lighter the Boot-er the Better||13|
|The December General Meeting||Barry Wallace||14|
|Summer Walks & Social Program||16|
|Willis 's Walkabouts||13|
|Blackheath Taxis & Tourist Services||15|
While The Billy Boils.
Having had one of the snowiest winters in years, it seems we will have one of the hottest summers. Which means being restricted to walks along major rivers, unless you fancy carrying 4 litres of water.
It also means that the pyromaniacs will be busy, with their kero and matches, happily burning down anything they can find. A recent blaze at Balgowlah is a good example. After being thwarted three times, the firebug finally made it. Recent fires near Gosford were deliberately lit, and I'm sure you remember the disasterous fires in The Royal a few years ago. They too, were deliberately lit.
Even in these days of 'environmental awareness', people find bushfires exciting and trivialise the destruction of our dwindling natural heritage. Anything for a bit of 'fun'.
I'm amused by people who say that Australian bush just naturally bursts into flames in dry weather. Or those who solomnly assure me that fire is 'good for the bush' and plants will not seed without fire. I know a (secret) place on the Hawkesbury which hasn't been burned for 50 years. The bush is thick, flowers prolific and young plants are everywhere.
So how many of your favourite walking places will be reduced to a blackened mess by the end of summer? When they are, you can thank your local friendly pyromaniac.
See you on the track….
Our New Kirribilli Home.
Street parking is plentiful especially under the Bradfield Highway.
For any enquiries, ring Bill Holland on 484.6636
Vale - Paddy Pallin.
For over 50 years he was mentor, friend and guide. He joined us in the 1930's, when bushwalking was still in its infancy. He supplied whole armies of aspiring walkers with the equipment they really needed, the sort he used himself. From his wide experience in the bush, he gave us wise counsel, writing on bushwalking subjects from cookery to survival tactics.
His generous donations not only promoted rucksack sports, but helped to conserve the unspoilt wild country we love so much.
On Thursday the 3rd of January he left us, but his presence remains. Not only in the equipment he designed and the associations he supported, but most importantly, in the lives of those whom he helped to enjoy the bush.
Paddy Pallin was an Honorary Member of SBW, and had been an active member from 1930. There were many SBW representatives at the funeral, held at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium. A floral tribute of native flowers was sent from the Club.
The large crowd attending the funeral overflowed from the chapel as many bushwalking, Scouting, skiing clubs were represented, as well as friends and people who shared Paddy's many adventurous activities. The speakers emphasized Paddy's love of the outdoors and the snow fields, stating that he continued with walking, skiing and “trekking” into his 70s and 80s. He was 54 when he began skiing.
In a summary of his life it mentioned he was English born, came to Australia in the 1920s, lost his office job in the Depression, began making walking and camping equipment, and his name now applies to a chain of outdoor sports stores across Australia.
In Paddy Pallin's book “Bushwalking & Camping + Ski Touring”, 1979 Edition, he writes under the heading “Bushwalking and Camping”:-
“We all know what camping is, but what is bushwalking anyway? The answer is a wide one.
Bushwalking is a path in a shady wood, with dappled shadows dancing in the sun; swimming in a clear cool stream, the birds' dawn chorus as the sun comes up, or moonlight glistening on glossy leaves. It's the smell of gum leaves burning, or bacon frying; a mountain covered with a silver white carpet of snow daisies, or the creamy froth of blossoms effervescing from a bloodwood tree. It is sitting with friends by a camp fire.
And lest the feast be too cloying, it is getting wet and cold and hungry and scared and bewildered (but never lost!). It is a bit of life simplified, for the nonce into the problem of finding the way by map and compass from A to B via C; living for a week (or maybe longer) on what can be carried in the pack.
It is, for those who have eyes to see, ears to hear, noses to smell and souls to apprehend, a profound experience.
From Dot Butler
When I started bushwalking in 1932 Paddy was already established in George Street as a seller of light-weight camping gear. Being an innovator, I like to make my own gear. Nevertheless, Paddy was willing to sell me the necessary yards of japara for sleeping bag or groundsheet, and would obligingly use his heavy-duty sewing machine to sew up the leather buckle straps on the canvas pack I had made on my mother's “Singer”.
I even had the effrontery to go to Paddy's “Bible” (his little bock listing the fundamentals of the game) and cross out half of the “essentials” as unnecessary. “If every bushwalker was like you, Dot,” he would tell me with a typical Paddy chuckle, “I would soon be out of business.” Luckily he realised that most of the prospective customers would be normal people who like a moderate amount of comfort and convenience apart from the basic groundsheet, sleeping bag and jam-tin billy.
To walkers of that early time Paddy was always in the background, as a ministering angel ready to tell us the weight of every piece of gear he sold (a very important consideration) and to make the repairs and innovations his customers asked for.
Good-bye, Paddy. We shall not see your like again.
From Geof Wagg
Well - Paddy has gone.
To people my age I suspect it seems that an era is ending. When I came to the bushies in the early 60s, Paddy wasn't often seen in the Clubroom or on walks but we were aware of him, like a father figure perhaps. You could always see him in his basement shop in Castlereagh Street, of course, and be sure of a friendly word or some sound advice. Somehow he kept up with day by day events among Club members as I discovered, when, shortly after Grace had our first, I was in the shop for a map or something and he took down a little blue bunyip rucksack and said “From what I hear, you'll be needing this. Make sure you get him out on the tracks as soon as you can.”
Another enduring image I have of Paddy is at the SBW Reunion campfire with a dozen or so kids sitting around him - faces entranced and glowing in the fire light while he cajoled their shy, uncertain voices to join his booming baritone.
“With my hand on myself
What have I here?
This is my bread basket
Mighty good cheer…”
So long, Paddy - we'll miss you.
From Jim Brown
Almost 10 years ago, I was surprised to receive a handwritten letter from Paddy Pallin. No, it had nothing to do with campfire skits and singing, topics on which we'd had happy communion over some years. It was in reply to a nonsense article I'd written for the SBW magazine about route-finding by the stars, especially as practised by the Army in 1941-45. There followed an interesting exchange of letters in which Paddy “sorted me out” over a couple of misconceptions - and his final letter enclosed a copy of the current edition of “Bushwalking, Camping & Ski Touring”. It was endorsed in Paddy's hand - “To my young friend Jim - Paddy Pallin” (I was 63 at the time). This book is one of my most highly treasured bushwalking souvenirs.
From Kath Brown
In 1947 I was doing little bushwalks with friends and called in at Paddy's shop for advice. He said, “Why don't you join the Sydney Bush Walkers - they are the best.” So I did and have always been thankful for his advice and feel he was a real friend then and later. In his shop he was never too busy to give helpful advice, to work out routes on maps, discuss trips. He was a good friend to every bushwalker.
Jan's Annual Bludge Walk.
A Day Walk From Kanangra To Katoomba.
(Distance: 55 km - Total ascent/descent: 2,000 m)
8 September 1990
Jan Mohandas (Leader and organiser), Brenda Cameron, Bert Carter, Maureen Carter, Stephen Ellis, Eddy Giacomel, Michele Powell, Ken Smith, Richard Thompson, Morrie Ward and Rob Webb.
Ably supported by: Carol Beales, David Carter, Chris Maher and Robyn Plumb.
“Morning everybody.” Jan's voice jerked me sharply out of my semiconsciousness. It was 5 am, the darkest hour before the dawn, in Dance Floor Cave, Kanangra: all was quiet apart from a few rustlings and murmurings from the others in the cave.
After a quick breakfast, we made our way up to the carpark where the remainder of our party was assembling. On the way up, I looked towards dark shadowy Kanangra Gorge and, clearly defined against the dawn sky, the familiar outline of Cloudmaker, our destination for the first part of the walk.
At 6.05 am, with day packs full of food and water, together with (at Jan's request) an extra kilo which comprised a basic “survival item” (e.g. a tent fly, extra food, water, etc.) and in a mood of barely suppressed excitement, we were on our way, back down the steps and along Kanangra Tops with its familiar views - Mount Colong, Blue Breaks and Byrne's Gap to the south and, in the other direction, Thurat Spires and Kanangra Falls, looking quite lovely in the first rays from the rising sun. All the usual sights, in fact, for a Kanangra walk - but this was not just another Kanangra walk; our final destination on this day was not Cloudmaker, nor Ti Willa, nor Kanangra Creek, nor even the Kowmung; it was Golden Stairs carpark, Katoomba, 55 km away.
We moved along at a brisk rate, quickly warmed up and were soon at Gordon Smith Pass. The strategy was to regroup every hour; at 7 am we were at Krafts Walls - just time to remove our outer garments and for a quick drink of water. (Time, of course, is at a premium on this walk; for none of us wants to be climbing Taro's Ladder in the dark.)
Eight o'clock and our next regroup, between High and Mighty and Stormbreaker. 8.50 saw us on top of Cloudmaker, where each signed the book before descending the track to Dex Creek arriving there at 9.25 to take our very welcome morning tea break. Left Dex Creek at 9.40, all the better for a little sustenance. As we were leaving the area, we passed a pair of campers who seemed to be having a lazy lie-in and a long breakfast. They looked at us rather curiously as we strode by purposefully with our daypacks on. “Just out for a day walk!” we said bracingly.
Our route then followed some very pleasant open heath-type country towards the Strongleg Ridge. The gently undulating Strongleg Ridge provided easy walking and some lovely views, particularly of Paralyser, Marooba Karoo and Guouogang away to our left, together with our first view of the Cox's River far down below, looking still and calm from up on high. We were soon to see just how deceptive that particular illusion was.
Arrived at the top of the knob past Mount Strongleg at 11.15 and took another food break. A steep descent to the Cox followed (great for the knees) and we reached it, just downstream of Kanangaroo, at 12.20. The Cox was deep and wide and flowing strongly; a formidable obstacle confronted us. However, a little way downstream we found a viable crossing place, observing as we walked along the evidence of just how high the river had been recently as it had carved its way along the bank. We were half an hour in the actual crossing, having to negotiate the river with the aid of a rope and by clinging on to semi-flattened, strongly rooted trees in the path of the floodwater. Afterwards, we reflected on how demoralising it would have been had we not been able to cross the river and had had to retrace our steps to Kanangra - starting by flogging the 600 steep metres back up Strongleg from whence we had just come. What a hideous thought! How thankful we were to our far-sighted rope carriers and those resilient little trees.
So at 12.50 the Cox crossing safely completed, we put our dry socks back on, or wrung them out as the case may be, and at 1.05 pm left the Cox to commence the long climb up Yellow Pup, reaching the top of Yellow Dog at various times between 1.50 and 2.05, and time for more food. Slightly restored for the food break, we left Yellow Dog at 2.25; now with the 600 metre Yellow Pup climb behind us, we justifiably felt the end of the walk was in sight and could sense Katoomba getting nearer (give or take another four or five hours), and so it was with winged feet that we sped along the track which now took us through familiar Blue Mountains country past the Splendour Rock turn-off; Mobbs Soak and through the mud towards Medlow Gap.
At 4.10, the cliffs of Narrow Neck could be seen through the bush, and at 4.30 we reached Medlow Gap, having slowed down noticeably for a while to save ourselves for the last climb of the walk, Mount Debert which was just ahead of us, towering up to the sky. We slogged up and down the three knobs of Debert, trying not to think of the 10 kms of Narrow Neck road (mostly in the dark) which still awaited us.
As we approached the end of Debert it was very gratifying to see our support party waiting for us near Taro's Ladder, ready with orange juice, chocolate, and words of encouragement. It was great to see them, and I will digress here to express the group's thanks and appreciation for their support and encouragement in our time of need! They too would be slogging the 10 kms with us up the Narrow Neck road in the dark, having of course just come down.
We dragged ourselves over and along the rocks to the end of Narrow Neck road, or, more to the point for us, the START of Narrow Neck road, most of us arriving there at around 5.15 (still daylight - just), although Jan and Richard and Rob had already set off to bash the 10 kms of road back to the locked gate at Golden Stairs carpark. Those of us who hadn't, took a few minutes for a final water and food stop to recharge ourselves for this last and most tedious part of the walk, most of it, as I say, in the dark, while by now feeling tired and stiff. And Narrow Neck, true to itself, was very, very cold - a dark, damp, clinging cold that penetrated.
Some one and a half hours and seemingly endless kilometres of foot pounding later, I peered ahead through the darkness and thought I saw the heavens illuminated; no, it was the glare from a car headlight. Wonderful! It would only be Golden Stairs. And so it was.
I think that without a doubt one of bushwalking's most exciting moments is seeing ahead, materialising itself out of the dark night, that locked gate at Golden Stairs carpark at the end of the K - K walk. Indeed for Jan, Bert, Michele, Morrie, Rob and myself it was the second such experience, the six of us having done this walk 12 months previously. I recall after the first time saying I would never do this walk again - the achievement of having done it once is more than enough to keep most bushwalkers contented! That's what I said. That is, until it came around again this year, the adrenalin started doing whatever it does, and once again I was hooked! And, I think we all of us agreed, it is just as exciting doing the walk a second time and the feeling of personal achievement is just as great.
7 pm, a few minutes either way, and 13 hours after leaving Kanangra, we were all back at Golden Stairs and the end of the walk, where our front-runners had arrived some 20-30 minutes earlier. Rob, who had jogged Narrow Neck road and was first one home, Richard brewing up tea on his stove, and of course Jan, looking absolutely delighted (as well he might, for his achievement was also the planning and organisation of the walk which made the whole thing possible).
As we were all congratulating each other on our supreme feat (supreme feet?), I was slowly and clumsily putting on some clean warm cloths; this task was not easy for I was very stiff and cold and felt like a small child learning to dress itself for the first time. In fact I had to get Robyn to tie my shoelaces up for me! However, some hot steaming tea from my water bottle and the prospect of hot food at Aroni's soon had me right.
On a final note, writer Greg Powell in his book “Bushwalking in the Blue Mountains” summarised a “K - K” walk thus: “It is best to allow 4 days for the walk from Kanangra to Katoomba but 'Tiger Walkers' have been known,to complete the trip in two days.”
So what does that make us?
Cooking With Spices In The Bush.
By Jan Mohandas.
Bored with your usual bush tucker?
For your next base camp or bludge walk try something that will make your fellow walkers drool with envy!
Meat Curry: Use of garam masala, cardamom, fresh chillies and capsicum enhances the flavour.
Vegetable Curry: Coconut milk powder improves the taste.
Note: The dry granules of garlic and onions should only be put into warm (not hot) oil prior to adding the spices. Use only very small quantities of turmeric. Chilli can be avoided if one prefers food to be spicy but not hot.
Meat or Vegetable Curry
Ingredients: (for one person):
- 250 Gms cubed meat (beef, pork, or lamb) or vegetables
- 1 Clove garlic crushed or cut to fine pieces - (or dried)
- 1 Onion cut to small pieces - (or dried)
- Small piece of ginger, finely cut
- Fresh chillies, capsicum cut to small pieces
- Mix of spices (cumin, coriander, paprika, chilli, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, all together one teaspoon full)
- 1 Teaspoon full tomato powder
- 1 Tablespoon coconut milk powder
- 2 Tablespoon oil, 1 cup water
- Heat oil, add ginger and garlic and fry until light brown
- Add onion and fry until light brown
- Fry chillies and capsicum for about 3 mins
- Cool down the mixture a bit, add spices and mix well
- Add tomato puree or powder, mix to paste
- Add meat or vegetables and fry for 5 mins turning pieces in the spice mix
- Add water, bring to boil and simmer until meat is tender
- Add coconut powder in vegetable curry
Please add the following name to your List of Members:-
Dick Weston - 31 Burke Road, Linden 2778 - (047)53 1003 (H), 764 3757 (W)
A Tale Of Three Rivers - A Christmas Lilo Adventure.
By Michele Morgan.
Part One... The Styx.
And here begins another Bob King Summer Lilo saga…
This adventure took place on the Styx, Chandler and Macleay Rivers just outside Armidale (NSW). Maps were: Jeogla, Big Hill and Carrai. Aventurers led by Bob King were Michele Morgan (me), Edith Townsend, Janet Waterhouse and David McIntosh.
Boxing Day, Monday, 26 December 1988.
I left Sydney aboard a Greyhound bus, departure at 6.15 am - delayed to 7.00 am, delayed to 8.00 am… I took the front double seat on the bus and slept the whole way except for a lunch stop where all the passengers went inside to dine a la frozen, fried, oily petrol station fare. I set up my mini stove and boiled water for tea and dined on Mum's Christmas pudding and left over Christmas leg ham, mmmm… Arrived at Armidale 4.45 pm instead of 4.00 pm. Bob had been and gone and left a message with an old man that he would be back. He was - he had met Edith's train due in at 4.30 pm, now delayed to 5.15 pm - so he came back to collect me first and then back to Edith's train. Janet and David had just arrived at the station and thought they were the first! No appearance of Wayne Steele suggested that he was not coming. After a quick search around all the closed Armidale shops (after all, it was both Boxing Day and Uni holidays) Janet and myself managed to acquire foot plaster and sunburn cream; then it was off, into the Wilds of New England for the start…
The guys parked us girls and equipment near a creek (with some mighty friendly cows as neighbours) and zipped off to do a 1 1/2 hour car shuffle - it got dark and started to rain on and off. Three hours after they left we began to suspect the worst. Marauding space bandits… car drove over a cliff… car stopped… No, it had just taken longer than expected. Meanwhile, we had put up tents/flies, lit the fire, cooked dinner, eaten dinner, eaten dessert, talked, talked, talked, and Edith and I retired to bed. The guys did eventually return - “Weren't gone that long, were we?…”
Tuesday, 27 December 1988.
After a late rising, fire lighting by our leader who braved the rain, and breakfast at 10.00 am, we loaded five people and five overfull packs into Janet's little two-door hatchback with me in the middle of the back seat which had a very uncomfy bar under it and no padding on top. Along the way the muffler escaped so we all piled out to watch David do a repair job with a coat hanger, under the wheel on the down side of a hill. Dave, is the hand brake on…? Fixed - onwards - this time Janet sitting in the middle of the back seat - ouch! We got to a locked gate, stopped and parked: right behind us were four cars full of Queenslanders attempting a similar trip to ours but without lilos.
Over the electrified barbed wire fence we heaved our packs, then with great expertise we all followed, each doing quite different styles of highjumping. Bob, map and compass in hand, was leading - up hill, down creek, around and around - at the top of a mighty steep descent he wavered… then pointed right at yet a higher spur, said that was the one we needed and zoomed up. At the top he wavered and then again pointed right at a higher spur and sped up!
Stagger, stagger - he was carrying two litres of port as well as all else! At the top of the third peak we spied a much higher spur to our right and all groaned - except for our fearless leader who said this was the one and skated and skittered down. Slip, slide, skid, “ROCK!” was the story down that steep descent - perhaps even the Man from Snowy River would have walked his mount. At last, the bottom - with torrents of dark, cold, rushing water - and lunch in the sun.
Then lilos away, we were off in the force of the water. A look of innocent, do-anything glee was upon the face of our leader as he took on one then two fearful rapids that all others except Michele walked around. On the second most ferocious rapid our fearless fairskinned leader lost his one and only hat (watchoutforthatsunnnnn) - and it never surfaced. I came off on this, the second rapid of the trip, and bashed my right leg (front bone) against a rock and it hurt badly. There was no hole in my thermals, but skin came off underneath - lots of pain, a bruise, a hole in my leg!
After a few walks around rapids and a bit of a float, we set up camp, Five Star I thought. My little Macpac Microlite tent set up ten feet from the fire and six feet from the water on a dug out and flattened platform - I could sit in the doorway and survey all - wonderful. David and Janet also had a nifty site, a large, well balanced rock formed part of their roof, and a tent fly the rest. Edith just had a flat spot and Bob a four foot grave which he swears (but none believes) was comfy.
Wednesday, 28 December 1988.
Feeling alive and great, I leaped into action first thing by starting the fire, boiling the billy and then sat drinking an early morning cuppa while watching the river rush noisily past and the mist rise up off the water. Sunlight started struggling down towards where we camped - it never quite reached us and the sky became cloudy just before we left.
We started the physical part of the day at 9.30 am; half an hour earlier than yesterday with a portage around a ferocious spillage of water. Then in we all went - IK! - the water was a bit chilly! Lots of rapids, we had to portage around 50% of them. The river appeared to be up, we could see vegetation about 20 cm below the waterline which normally grew above water. Janet, David and Bob did a 'triple train' down a rapid; Bob gave an uncertain laugh as he subsided quickly into the depths. A puncture - so he walked. From midday on it was sunny, but not warm enough for my new bright orange and black fluro sunning attire…. so much for getting a great tan. Why is it always cloudy and coldish in this area early in the day?
Edith and I were paddling lazily in a long, wide, deep and crystal clear pool during the afternoon soaking up sun, when Edith said, “Watch out for that trailing thing as it might catch on the stick,” (or something like that). The stick and the trailing thing was in fact a snake with its head out of the water, probably just about to climb aboard my vessel. When Edith spoke, I turned around quickly and reached out my hand, which must have frightened the beast, for suddenly both stick and trailer disappeared and a red-bellied black snake about two and a half feet long surfaced some three feet away and then dived again. We both paddled carefully but rapidly from the scene.
Edith acquired a 'slow that got faster and faster' leak in the afternoon and had to walk the last hour or so. We set up camp at 4.15 pm on a split level, extremely flat grassy area miles from the river. Edith and I were collecting wood and dressed in dry clothes, when there was a (male) yell. Seems Bob went over a large rapid and got caught in a stopper. Dave and Janet had to help him out - drama! Dave and Janet then spent the remaining daylight on hot rocks down by the river - hugging hot rocks became a wonderful pastime on this trip!
It was a very windy afternoon and we had to take great care with the fire - lots of surrounding dry grass - potential to start a decent bushfire. After dinner Dave and Janet shared the port around, and Bob shared around the port. It was getting heavy and didn't look as if it was going to last to New Year's Eve… And so to bed.
To be continued…
Boots And Sandshoes.
by Errol Sheedy
When I joined First Ramsgate Scout Troop one of the attractions was the chance of going bushwalking and camping. Lectures on the right gear to obtain were heady stuff to eleven-year old lads just out of the Cub Pack. We heard of the need for lightweight gear but, alas, this did not extend to footwear.
We were told it was absolutely essential to buy good, solid boots for bushwalking so our feet would be properly protected from sticks, stones and other knobs and excrescences we might encounter on the track. Our mentors said we had to get army boots. I bought my first pair at an army disposals store. They were an unusual red colour and although the hue was somewhat muted after soaking in water for an hour I nevertheless proudly put them on over the prescribed two pairs of woollen socks and went down the street for the thirty-minute walk which, I was assured, would augment the breaking-in process begun by the softening of the leather in water. This must have been good advice, because I later found that the boots were always very comfortable.
AFter the breaking-in came the next fascinating stage, namely applying steel hobnails to the soles and heels. This was done to ensure a better grip and to reduce wear and tear on the leather. Each hobnail was in the shape of a cluster of three round, flat knobs joined together with three nails underneath. It was quite fun sitting on the ground with a boot upside-down on my father's bootmaker's last, hammering in the hobnails and trying to think up a decorative pattern for nails across the sole and heel. They really worked well, those hobnails. A good grip was assured on rock and I never did need to have the boots resoled or heeled. Also, the boots offered very good protection, and many small rocks, branches and sharp sticks were contemptuously kicked aside as I discovered the delights of conquering trackless scrub.
Confirming the necessity of strong boots, and an intimation of things to come, were later vouchsafed me at our Annual District Scouts Camp on Scout Creek at Heathcote. It was Sunday morning and visitors were welcome. One of the Scouts received a visit from his sister. She was young, beautiful, blond, dressed in khaki shirt, short shorts, the sturdiest of hoots and had legs that went with them. Furthermore it was said, in hushed and reverential tones, that she was a member of The Sydney Bush Walkers Club. It was the first time I had heard the name but thenceforward I had a favourable preconceived opinion of the organization. Boots could also provide enchanting minor pyrotechnical displays. Forty feet, shod in hobnailed boots, marching downhill on an asphalt road at night could strike sufficient sparks to imitate a troop of Dain's dwarves clumping out of the Iron Hills to rescue Bilbo Baggins.
Yet, much as I loved my strong boots, a feeling of unease had begun to grow in my mind. I think it first came during the trip to Perisher Valley. Our Scoutmaster took us there for a week, one January, and we camped in the shelter hut at the edge of the main road opposite Mount Perisher. As I recall, in 1951, the hut was the only building visible from the road through the valley. We did practice walks, training for our last and greatest effort which involved a day walk from Perisher Valley to Charlotte Pass, Blue Lake, Mount Kosciusko, returning down the road to Perisher.
The walk was about forty kilometres and among my black thoughts as I walked in the dark down the road, there was a growing realization that my boots were, in a word, HEAVY. That thought stayed with me right through the later proud ownership of several pairs of what we then considered to be the Rolls Royce of boots, namely Waterhen brand work boots (guaranteed waterproof for use in blood, brine, caustic solutions, etc). They had a suede type finish, were quite flexible and were lighter (even with hobnails) but I still thought they were HEAVY.
By now I was at high school and the study of physics, especially physics problems (which were a problem) prompted me to attempt to calculate how many foot/pounds of work I would do lifting a pair of boots up and down during a bushwalk. I decided that for this calculation the weight of the pack was irrelevant because when one leg was lifting a boot the other leg took all the weight of the pack. I never did work out the answer but one didn't have to be an Einstein to see that a reduction in the weight of the footwear would mean less work done, physics-wise, and that thus the leg muscles would be less tired at the end of the day - or so my theory went.
There were doubtless lighter boots available but we didn't know about them in those days. In my quest for lighter footwear I decided to experiment with gym boots which had rubber soles, canvas uppers and laced up as high as a boot. Although they had no heels they were the closest lightweight alternative to real boots I could think of. I bought a pair of gym boots and decided to put heels on them. Then, as now, the manual arts were not my forté and after a few kilometres of straight track walking the rubber heels which I had fastened to the soles with split-pins parted company with the soles as the split-pins pulled out. The idea might have been good but the execution of it left something to be desired so it was back to proper boots once again.
Then came the day of illumination, of revelation, of enlightenment (no pun intended). We were a small group of Rover Scouts camped at Corral Swamp, about eight km from Katoomba, on the track which, in those days before Warragamba Dam and the fire-trail went the length of Narrow Neck to Duncan's Pass. It was about three pm when a chap trotted down the hill to the creek. He carried a small frameless pack, wore shorts, a light windproof jacket, and on his feet were Volley sandshoes. He said he was heading for Katoomba, and that he had left Kanangra Walls at 6 am that morning. We said he must have been running most of the way, and he said he had. He told us his name was Peter Melhuish, a prominent distance runner in the men's Saturday afternoon Interclub Athletics Meetings. He told us that he hadn't been racing lately as he had a bit of an injury. Today's effort was just a training run. He was very obliging and showed us the nearby camping cave before jogging off to Katoomba.
Then the lights began coming on. If sandshoes were good enough for a little trot like he did, then why not give them a go? It did not take long to discover the delights of walking in sandshoes. They were much lighter than my old boots. If it wasn't too cold you could splash through creeks without taking off shoes and socks. The water soon squelched out and eventually you ended up with dry footwear. (I was also to discover that crawling out of a warm sleeping bag to put on wet sandshoes and wet socks at +3°C is a lot less pleasant than having breakfast in dry footwear at -4°C.) The sandshoes were not damaged by water, and were useful for those occasions when the easiest way to follow a creek was to be in the creek. The herringbone pattern of the soles gave a good grip, especially on rock, and in camp if you put your raincoat on top of them they made a good base for a pillow.
I soon realized that one of the principal disadvantages of sandshoes, also, paradoxically, brought its own reward. With sandshoes, you had to be a lot more careful about kicking your toes and ankles on rocks, logs and sharp objects. There was the time when I was running down the fire-trail from Pigeon House to the Clyde River and a sharp pain under my heel brought me to a sudden stop. Something had penetrated the sandshoe and left a bleeding puncture wound under my heel. I searched around and found the culprit was a small charred stick protruding from the ground. It was only the size of half a pencil but the end had been burnt by fire to a hard spear point.
All this brought about a distinct change in my style of walking, especially off-track. Whereas heavy boots encouraged an army tank style of progress, soft sandshoes invited a more cautious, dare I say, graceful method of negotiating a path. I suppose in the long run it didn't matter either way but I began to feel that perhaps I was getting a bit closer to the style of the first bushwalkers.
I did revert to boots for the walking I did one winter in England. Expatriate Club member Frank Leyden invited me to join The Ashdown Ramblers Club for some easy day walks south of London, and in the muddy conditions the light walking boots I bought did an excellent job of keeping my feet dry. They were good, but of course not quite like the real thing.
Now, as well as sandshoes, there is a vast range of walking and running shoes available so that on Club walks one sees various types of these as well as boots and sandshoes. So far I am still loyal to my Volleys, although I do intend to have a go at a running shoe or a boot again, one of these days …
The Lighter The Boot-er The Better.
|Trail||0.85||Leather/suede/nylon||5-10 ladies,7-14 men||$115-|
|Sierra Lite||0.9||Cordura/suede||4-8||$ 95-|
|Eagle/Laser/Quest||1.0||Cordura/Suede||5-10 ladies, 7-14 men||$140-|
The December General Meeting.
by Barry Wallace
There were no obvious signs that this was our last meeting at Dalhousie Street, but Bill, in the chair, did take off his tie just after he called the 17 members present to order at around 2040. Whether this was meant as an omen of increasing informality or not was unclear, but when Bill put forward the idea that the General Meeting need not vote on accepting the accounts for payment in the Treasurer's Report, certain elements of the assembled company were very clear in their opinion, that things need not get quite that informal. No-one seemed to think we needed to vote on accepting the correspondence however.
There were apologies from Ian Debert, from Bob and Jeff Niven, and from Kay Chan.
The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and received with no matters arising. New member Dick Weston was welcomed into membership in the traditional way.
The report of committee doings indicated that Kay Chan has been appointed as Federation delegate and that Bob Younger will be offered the task of reviewing the Club's S & R call-out lists to bring them up to date. The S & R notes on the walks program will also be revised.
The committee have located alternative club Premises at Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre and from the new year we will meet there. We have advised the Ella Community Centre management and have donated $100.00 to them in thanks.
The Treasurer's Report was next. This indicated that our income to date is $16,314, we have spent $12,098 and hold a bank balance of $6,003.
The Walks Report started with Errol Sheedy's day walk from Engadine to Heathcote on Sunday 11th November. There were 12 starters and the walk went to program. Bronny Niemeyer was also leading that weekend, with her Eastern Suburbs ramble. There were 8 starters and the day was excellent.
The weekend of 17,18 November saw Moray Ryder leading a party of 5 on her Otford to Heathcote, day-and-a-half lengthy-rockhopping trip under conditions described as warm, while Bill Holland and his party of 22 experienced some minor navigational problems on his Kuringai Chase day walk.
Ian Debert's canoe trip on the waters of Tallowa Dam over the weekend of 23,24,25 November went, but there was no report. It was the same story with Vic Leewin's Wollemi N.P. walk. Of the day walks, Moray Ryder and a party of around 12 were sighted proceeding to schedule during the day and Patrick James reported that his walk, programmed for Kuringai Chase, was transferred to The Royal. There was a party of 9 on what Patrick described as a brilliantly organised, beautiful day in the bush. He did not reveal however, who it was that led the walk.
November 30, December 1, 2 saw Jim Oxley cancel his Wollongambe walk and there was no report of Bob Hodgson's walk in the same area. Kenn Clacher had 3 adults and 2 children on his Megalong Valley swimming trip. It is reported that even Don Matthews went swimming. The mapping instructional brought out a party of 9.
Jim Percy's mid Blue Mountains walk of December 8,9 had a party of 8, but there was no report of Sev Sternhell's Budawangs trip. Errol Sheedy's Deer Pool - Marley Creek day Walk had a party of 14 enjoying a pleasant day. Eddie Giacomel was unavailable to lead his Pierce's Pass trip. It has been postponed to 15,16 December. All of which brought the Walks'Report to an end.
The Conservation Report indicated that there is logging going on in the Nattai River in the area covered by the national park proposal. ACF has accepted FRW as eligible for grants. An article covering this will appear in the magazine. We have received a news sheet from the South East Forest Alliance and copies of the Colony Bulletin are available for the asking.
Jim Brown, although not an SBW delegate, provided a Confederation Report to the meeting. It seems FBW's financial statements have passed audit successfully. There were two searches during the period covered by the report, both for people who had strayed from retirement villages in the mountains. Speaking of missing persons, it seems that Vince Foskett is listed as missing. Anyone knowing the whereabouts (etc) please contact the authorities.
General Business brought advice that the next General Meeting will be presented with options on the site and timing of our Annual Reunion. Committee will be discussing this in the coming month. There are a number of the books on the Club history as yet unsold. These will be retained for sale to new members over the coming years. There was also comment on a letter from Joe Marton pointing out that he feels that some Club walks graded as medium are in fact hard.
The meeting closed at 2122.
The Club Xmas Party.
The last Club meeting at the hall in Haberfield was the Club Xmas party. It was attended by about 80 people, including several not seen for some time, and judging by the volume of conversation a good time was had by all and many old friendships renewed.
The surprise announcement of the evening was that three new Honorary Active Members have been appointed from 1991. These are Helen Gray, George Gray and Spiro Hajinakitas, who have all been members of long standing and who have worked continuously for the Club in one position or another. The appointments were greeted with applause, cheers and great pleasure shown by all present. Their certificates will be given to them at the Annual General Meeting in March at the Kirribilli Hall.
Sydney Bush Walkers Inc. Summer 1990/91 Walks Program.
Feb 3 - Great North Walk
Thornleigh Station to Chatswood Station Via the Great North Walk. Meet at Thornleigh Station at 8.30am. Easy/Medium. Map: Gregorys. Leader: Barry Ihle 449 1983 (h), 397 2072 (w).
Feb 3 - Blue Mountains National Park - Glow Work Canyon - Abseiling
Mt Wilson - Cavern Creek. Medium 12km. Map: Wollangambe 1:25,000. Leader: Peter Christian 476 1312 Mon/Tues only 7-9pm.
Feb 3 - Mid Blue Mountains
Undercliff walk to Wentworth Falls, descend via Slack's Stairs, unmarked track to Vera Falls (swimming) climb to Empress Falls, return via short cut to Circular Drive. Train 7.15 (i) Meet Wentworth Falls Station 9.00 am. Medium 12km. Maps: Katoomba Blue Mountains Tourist. Leader: Jo Van Somers (047) 586 009.
Feb 1,2,3 - Nattai National Park
Starlight's trail - McArthur's Flat - Nattai River. Swimming, li-loing. Medium 17km. Map: Hilltop. Leader: Ian Debert 982 2615 (h).
Feb 1,2,3 - Kanangra - Abseiling
Saturday: Kalang Falls 9 abseils. Sunday: Dione Dell (Wallara Falls) 4 abseils. Ideal for those who have had some instruction in abseiling, but little or no other abseiling experience. Leader: Kenn Clacher 449 4853 (h), 968 0059 (w).
Feb 9 - Eloura Bushland
Walk in Elouera Bushland. Barbecue and swimming at Leader's house. Easy. Leader: Bill Holland 484 6636 (h).
Feb 10 - Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park
Salvation Creek - Refuge Bay - Hallets Beach & return. Scratchy. Bring water. Optional swimming. Medium 12km. Map: Coal & Candle Creek 1:10000. Leader: Sandy Johnson 489 3500 (h).
Feb 10 - Dharug National Park
Biamee Creek circuit track a.k.a. Mill Creek circuit track with a detour to Flat Rock. Car transport via Wiseman's Ferry. Easy 12km. Map: Gunderman. Leader: Alan Mewett 498 3028 (h).
Feb 10 - Royal National Park
Waterfall - Kangaroo Creek - Karloo Pool - Heathcote. Train: 8.36 (s). Easy 10km. Map: RNP Tourist. Leader: Errol Sheedy 525 0316 (h).
Feb 8,9,10 - Wollemi National Park
Newnes - Zobels Gully - Constance Gorge - Deanes Creek - Wolgan River - Newnes. Medium 30km. Map: Mt. Morgan. Leader: Greta James 953 8384 (h).
Feb 8,9,10 - Blue Mountains National Park
Mt Wilson - Wollangambe River - Yarramun Creek - Camping cave. Lots of swimming with packs. Medium Wet. Map: Wollamgambe, Mt Wilson. Leader: Bob Hodgson 949 6175 (h).
Feb 17 - Blue Mountains National Parl
Golden Stairs - Walls Pass (Chains) - Cedar Head - Ruined Castle - Golden Stairs. Medium 17km. Map: Jamison. Leader: Geoff McIntosh 419 4619 (h&w).
Feb 17 - Belanglo State Forest - Mapping Instructional
Mapping instructional day. Cost $1, or $3 if you wish to retain the map. Easy 10km. Map supplied. Leader: Maurie Bloom 525 4690 (h), 543 3637 (w).
Feb 17 - Heathcote National Park
Waterfall - Kingfisher Pool - Bullawarring Tk - Girromba Ck Dam - Lake Eckersley - Trailers Lake - Woronora River - Engadine. Swimming. Train.8.36 (s). Medium 15km. Map: RNP Tourist. Leader: George Mawer. 707 1343 (h), 774V 0571 (w).
Feb 15,16,17 - Shoalhaven - li-loing
Leisurely li-lo trip from Tallowa Dam downstream till we find a fabulous camp site for Saturday night. Lilo and/or walk back to dam. Medium. Map: Burrier. Leader: Les Powell 389 9968 (h).
Feb 15,16,17 - Wollemi National Park - Bass Fishing
Grassy Hill Fire Trail - Alidade Hill - Pass 11 - Colo River - Canoe Creek - Grassy Hill Fire Trail. Swimming, bass fishing, some rock scrambling. Medium 15km. Map: Colo Heights. Leader: Jim Rivers 908 1674 (h), 436 6569 (w) (phone before 9.30 pm).
Feb 15,16,17 - Blue Mountains National Park - Abseiling
Kanangra Road - Sally Camp Creek - Davies Canyon - Whalania Chasm - Kanangra Road. Medium 20km. Map: Kanangra. Leader: David Rostron 451 7943 (h).
Feb 18-22 - South Coast - Coast Walking and Surfing
Bateman's Bay to Tabourie via coast. Train: South Coast daylight express 9.23am. Easy-medium 70km. Leader: Alex Colley 44 2707 (h), 247 4714 (w).
Feb 24 *T* - Wollemi NP
Mountain Lagoon - Colo river - Tootie Creek - Tootle Creek fire trail. Plenty of swimming. Meet at 7.45 am at the start of Mountain Lagoon road near Bilpin. Medium Test 20km. Map: Mountain Lagoon. Leader: Jan Mohandas 872 2315 (h) 516 7640 (w).
Feb 24 *T* - Royal National Park
Heathcote - Karloo Pool - Uloola Falls - Calala - Tamar Brook - Wises Track - Garie North Head - Figure Eight Pool - Otford. Rock hopping along coast and beach walking from Garie Beach to near Otford. Medium/Hard Test. Map: Royal National Park. Train: 7.36 (s). Leader: Jim Callaway 520 7081 (until 7.00pm), 219 1719 (after 8.15pm).
Feb 24 Blue Mountains National Park - 3 Canyon Li-lo Trip
Lower Du Faur - Lower Bell - Upper Wollangambe. Easy/Medium 14km. Maps: Mt Wilson, Wollangambe 1:25,000. Leader: Peter Christian 476 1312 Mon/Tues only 7-9pm.
Feb 24 - Brisbane Water National Park
Palm Beach ferry - Patonga - Patonga Beach - Greenpoint Creek - Pearl Beach - Warrah Lookout - Patonga - Palm Beach. Swimming. Easy 12km. Map: Broken Bay. Leader: Alan Mewett 498 3028 (h).
Feb 22,23,24 - Ettrema Wilderness
Yalwal - Bundundah Creek - Corroboree Flat - Yalwal. Medium 25km. Map: Yalwal. Leader: Bob Younger 580 1158-(h).
Feb 22,23,24 - Morton National Park
Wog Wog Entrance - Corang R. - Cascades and Rock Ribs - Corang Arch - Corang Peak - Wog Wog Entrance. Swimming. Medium 23km. Map: Corang. Leader: Geoff McIntosh 419 4619 (h&w).
Social Program For February 1991.
|February 6th||Committee Meeting|
|February 13th||General Meeting followed by wine and cheese|
|February 20th||The Water Board and the Environment. Talk and video by Paul French from the Sydney Water Board.|
|February 27th||Everest - Arun Valley. Talk and slides of the recent SBW trip|
Advance notice: Jan Mohandas is planning another trip to Kakadu in May/June 1991. The length of this trip would be 16 days including a 14 days walk (food drop after 7 days) through the Kakadu wilderness. If you are interested, please contact Jan (872 2315 (h), 516 7640 (w)) as soon as possible.