A Journal devoted to matters of interest to Members of the Sydney Bush Walkers, Sydney, New South Wales.
No. 12. April 1933
Publishing Committee: Misses Brenda White, (Editor), Marjorie Hill, Dorothy Lawry, Rene*Browne and Mr. Myles Dunphy.
This is the first occasion on which the “Sydney Bushwalker”, as the official organ of the Club, has had the opportunity of welcoming a new Committee with, we are pleased to say, the same President.
In fact, all the office-bearers are the same, except that Harold Chardon is Vice-President in place of Frank Duncan. We are very glad to see Harold in office again, but regret the absence of Frank from the Committee.
He is one of those evenly balanced people, of whom there are far too few, who can see the other fellow's point of view as well as his own.
He has done good service in the past both as President and Vice-President, but now, as an ordinary member of the Club, he will be able to devote more time to bringing up that small son of his in the my Bushwalkers should go. Whither?
To some extent my story is inspired by Miss Byles, who, in an account of Kosciusko, described it as the “Trampers Paradise”.
Being a bit of a hobo myself and as it nearly led to us going to Paradise (or along the other track), it seems we have something in common.
Jim Muir, Scoutmaster, all the way from Wagga, dropped in on our Scout Camp at Menangle last Christmas.
Said James, “Doing anything next meek - no - good - we'll go to Kosciusko.” We went. So with a spare week and a baby car we eventually arrived at Khancoban, a small outpost of civilization on the Swampy Plain River, some eight miles off the Victorian Border. Leaving the car with Mr. Reid at the end of the upstream road, our immediate objective was Geehi, a small settlement of fishing huts on the rich Trout streams nestling in the foothills of Australia's greatest mountain.
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down the creek bed. A mile downstream the creek changed its nature. Instead of falling casually and affording easy walking, it became a granite-bound ravine which forced us to cling tooth and nail to the almost sheer precipitous sides to save crashing down the everlasting waterfalls.
We camped in the creek bed in the late afternoon, after the creek had fallen some 3000 feet in about three miles, and summed up the rather precarious position. Most apparently we weren’t in the right creek, but to return was practically impossible. Sheer drops we had climbed and slid down, immense logs we had used as slippery dips and the everlasting creek growth would present an unconquerable face.
As we dressed our many wounds before retiring to our rock-strewn couch, my mind turned back to the much abused granite of the Upper Kowmung, and I regretted that I hadn't been able to recognise a Sunday school Picnic when I saw one. One comfort alone we had. We were on the Murray Watershed, and if we were able to follow the creek long enough, we must come out in civilization somewhere - sometime - somehow. Nevertheless, our sleep was troubled that night. Beautiful waterfalls, that in more congenial surroundings might bring a poet inspiration, sang discordant music in our ears, light rain commenced to fall shortly after midnight and caused us some concern. Boxed in a gorge with no possible hope of climbing out, a good storm on Kosciusko would mean camping up a tree for several days, while the creek became a torrent of destruction below us. Comforting thought!
Rising at dawn, we set off again. The creek flattened somewhat, losing 300 feet an hour. This gave some hope. Falling at that rate made rock-hopping just possible and the constantly dropping elevation would bring us out on the Murray or Swampy Plain in the late afternoon. The fates were kind and paradise was not to be ours. At three o'clock, after a particularly grueling day, we arrived - cut, scratched, torn and very wet - on the Groggan track a mile upstream from Geehi. In fact, We were on the Geehi Creek and had unknowingly followed it all the way down from the top. With what was left of the day, the walk over the Geehi Wall to Khancoban was made, and it was two very tired walkers who arrived at Reid's farm just on dusk.
Perhaps it is well that after the day's walk the spirit of the camp fire sends our minds back to dwell on the smooth, rather than the rough spots, and as we dropped into the friendly arms of Morpheus, we dreamed, not of nerve-destroying granite gorges, but of the glories and beauty that a kindly nature has bestowed upon our mightiest mountain - KOSCIUSKO.
JOHN ZUCCHETTI, AGED 59 YEARS
By the untimely death of John Zucchetti of Yerranderie, which took place at Glebe on Saturday, February 25th., Sydney Bushwalkers, Mountain Trailers and other travelers lost a wonderful friend whose unvarying degree of kindness had become something of an institution. The late Mr. Zucchetti was a silver-miner who, together with Mrs, Zucchetti and their children, managed a small orchard and farm on the Tonalli River, about a mile outside Yerranderie. For many years the environs of this farm have been regarded as the recognised camping place for recreational foot-travellers emerging from the Kowmung country or about to enter it. Over the years many people have been glad to avail themselves of the guiding services of this bush-lover or to partake of his generosity and appreciate his sterling value as a man of gentle disposition and broad and tolerant views. It is only fair to the memory of a simple, kindly and altogether pleasing personality to record the fact that many regret there are not sufficient men in this world of the calibre of the late John Zucchetti.
As a kindly father to his children and a serviceable friend to all who needed his help in any way, he was an object lesson to all reflective minds.
The walking fraternity extends its sincere sympathy to the not less generous and kindly Mrs. Zucohetti and family, with the hope that time will heal the sense of loss somewhat. Walkers of the Colong and Kowmung country will always remember John Zucchetti with honour and admiration.
Over the mountains, into the vale, Through the scrub we followed the trail: Oftentimes we blaze the way - The harder the walk, the better the day! We barge or push or hack or rip, Just so long as we do the trip! What's it matter if the going's rough - ‘Tis only thus we're made so “tuff.”
But gently does it now and then, So we slip and slide to Nelly's Glen; Or trip along to Stoke’s Creek - To find that rest from a hectic week!
Does life seem sad as the cars flash past, And the supercilious inmates cast Their looks of pity - their delicate shrugs - As they muffle into warming rugs? No; ours is the joy of hearts that swell: Free our life - in freedom dwell: We slake our thirst at the cooling spring And go our way with laughter's ring. W
We had walked pretty hard all day, stopping only for a dry lunch, and always for the two or three minutes rest every half hour or so, that is essential to large daily mileage with heavy packs, when above 4000 ft. During these rests we usually ate a few raisins or else a portion of the day's chocolate ration. Well, after crossing a slight easy depression, say half a mile wide, 100 ft. deep, and about two miles long, (probably from later observations this depression would mark the connecting route shown on maps between Adaminaby and Nine Mile Hollow - but beware of maps in this country, because in this case as in many others, there is no trace whatever of a track), we decided to camp in a slight gap, looking out over the depression towards Tabletop (Cabramurra, 5850).
After pitching the two tents, it was noticed that an unusually heavy mass of storm clouds was rapidly heading our way from Jagungal. Having been caught before, we immediately put all our gear inside the tents, tied everything down, and then - not one drop of rain fell, but the thermometer fell about 20degrees F and the air became white with hail. It literally fell down for about fifteen minutes and, believe me, I was scared, - three days walk from Kiandra and God knows how far to Kosciusko and the Chalet, and a damn good chance of having both tents torn to shreds by the searing hail, and then just as suddenly as it had started, it stopped again. The sun was shining in about two minutes, and about two minutes later we beheld a spectacle rarely given to city folk to see. It was an enormous rainbow strikingly perfect in every detail, seeming to rise from out the green earth at our very feet, and behind it more delicately tinted but as complete as the big one, was its reflection, a second rainbow.
I can still clearly feel the bright sunshine on my body and the delicious icy wetness of the long snow grass trailing against my bare legs as I clambered up the gap to take a last look at the dominating Jagungal ere the sun set behind the mighty Dargals. We have named the place “Rainbow Gully“ and often ruminate about our good fortune. W.P.
No - Muhammad wasn't a bushwalker! In fact, had the mountain really come to him, it is not too much to say that the noble art of hiking would have perished for lack of support! It's so easy, I should imagine, to sit back comfortably and watch the mountain creeping towards us… think of the extra long beer we could enjoy! 'Tis but a step further for aforesaid mountain to shrink, (be' careful of the Lux, girls!) - or perhaps climb down us until we recline gracefully (or otherwise as our persons permit) upon the summit! Then again - when Scento-Television becomes as notorious as the modern bushwalking gal, - 'tis certain that ‘iking will be carried out by proxy, as it were, so to speak, etc! We presto a button, and hey press! Before our eyes a vision of Nature's beauty unfolds. Sweet flowers scent the air and the sighing of wind through the trees mingles with the gurgling of the brook. By this method (patents pending) we guarantee full reception without distortion, on the instant, and with as little leg exercise as possible… Of course, some method would have to be devised to eliminate the reception of mosquitoes, packs, nettles, burnt-offerings, and, other obnoxious animals! We must be nothing if not thorough, and anyone caught proceeding to the Club-Rooms at more than the Mountain's speed to Muhammad (if any!) will be sentenced to spend a week in the Kowmung without “eats”. Meanwhile, thank heavens, we continue as before until we reach the aforesaid state of evolution… and Dolly ballads are no more. TX.
Give us from dawn to dark, Blue of Australian skies, Let there be none to mark Whither our pathway lies.
Give us when noontide comes Rest in the woodland free, Fragrant breath of the gums, Cold sweet scent of the sea. Give us the wattles gold, And the dew-laden air, And the loveliness bold Loneliest landscapes wear.
These are the haunts we love, Glad with enchanted hours, Bright as the heavens above, Fresh as the wild bush flowers.
James Lister Cuthbertson. (1851-1910).
We camped in a hollow among Bull's Peaks, after a very hard day’s walk, and during the night everything not under cover had frozen stiff, so that even the tents crackled when we touched them, from our soft warm luxurious eiderdowns. However, we got up, had a wash - after breaking the ice (really), and some breakfast, not forgetting my Roman Meal, or the damper that Brenda had misused on the previous evening with snow gum that wouldn't stay alight.
And then four of us set out to walk over to Jagungal. It looked about one mile but it was a good four, and some climb too, even without packs, so when we finally conquered that mighty dignified mountain we were all suffering from oxygen shortage (6,755 ft.) We had a ration of chocolate each while we hung on to each other around the trig, for although it was quite calm below, there was an exhilarating gale roaring round the top of the mountain, which, by the way, is a mountain compared with Townsend, Ramshead or Twynam, or that miserable little mound they call Kosciusko.
From it can be seen the best view known to me. To the North, Tabletop looms immediately in front, although it is fifteen miles as the crow flies and a devil of a lot longer as we walked. Behind Tabletop, Tantangara is seen, and to the right of these may be seen the mountains that form the boundary line for the Federal Capital Territory. To the East the Monaro Range is seen, and behind it the Dividing Range, and the coast side of Cooma, may be clearly distinguished. To the South, Dicky Cooper blocks out the Pilot, and Twynam obscures the Ramshead, but Townsend stands out clearly as do these slaty gorges falling away from it for thousands of feet. Nestling between Townsend and Twynam is a little spot of snow that is Kosciusko. South west, one could make out against the smoke haze a patch of snow - probably Hotham - To the West the Dargals seemed enormous, purple, and awe-inspiring as ever. Little is known of them except as they are practically unmapped it would be dangerous to attempt to cross them from Tooma to Jindabyne. B.P.
One, who shall be nameless, intimated his intention of being present at the Swimming Carnival. He caught the train as per schedule, and then alas! memories of the 1st. S.B.W. Swimming Carnival came back to him and lured him and four others away. As the renowned song had it then, “He arrived like the milk in the morn,” but this time he got in, in time for a late tea. “Bul Bul.”
There are things happening in the sea that only Scientists and their followings know anything about! I am sitting on North-West Islet scribbling a few notes about things in general. There are about 45 of us here on holiday, and quite a varied crew! The scientific interest has drawn most but there are a number, like me, who have just come for a holiday and to leave behind if only for a few weeks that “madding crowd”. I have been out on the Reef all the morning communing with Nature. I discovered such a lot that surprised me. I wish all the world's children - who have reached that ever-embarrassing “question” stage, could be brought here and let loose for a few weeks in the lagoons at low tide. It is a calamity to have “batted one's quarter century” and be as ignorant of the simplest facts of nature as I found myself. This morning Tom picked up a shell-fish. He turned it over. It was shaped like an ear. “This is called the Ass's Ear or the Venus Ear shell” he volunteered. “What do you think is inside it?” “Well, flesh I s’pose” I returned. “Ah, watch!” Then he proceeded to dig his powerful thumb through the poor little beastie’s entrails. “You know, you're a cruel wretch,” said I, fixing him with a cold, hard gleam, which, him being so used to it, had no effect. “See here,” he exclaimed, and there nesting in the folds of the flesh were two tiny wee crabs, the smallest I've ever seen. “They are called Commensals” (from the Latin 'mensa’ a table, so the idea is 'eating at the same table’) he went on “and are parasites of the worst type. They have taken up residence in this animal and literally live on it.” “Well,” remarked I, “you can't help but admire them for their initiative and if they can get away with it…” “That's not initiative, my girl” replies our hero, “that's Blind instinct.”
After that, I made a wild endeavour to appear intelligent and before the next hour had elapsed I had pieced together quite a surprising amount of crab information. I can never look at a tin of tinned crab now without feeling superior. We picked up several Venus Ears and every one had at least one tiny crab in it. “Of course” speculated our Scientist, “the other half of the combination is probably out on a morning's “bender”, for, after all Science has no reason to expect that in the crab kingdom my lord finds his home comforts so alluring that he never wishes to absent himself occasionally.”
Then we studied the anemones through the water-glasses. What teeming microscopic life lives in the seas! The queer part about the parasites is that the things or animals on which they live like them - provide for them - and in some cases, I am told, could not live without them. There are crabs living in anemones so small that they can hardly be seen. Yet the anemone is
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I watched the nest from day to day. It was hundreds of feet up, but the great twigs could be seen from quite a distance. How I used to envy these birds their divine isolation! Their’s was no polluted atmosphere and not on their ears fell the incessant idle chatter of the crowd. They harmed no man but were not destined to endure, Furthermore - another vandal has left his mark on one of our Dream Islands. It is said that a few days’ enforced idleness caused by stormy weather necessitated a stay on the island when it had been intended to visit a number of others. It appears this person felt the need for exercise and promptly got to work tree felling. I am told he made a path right through the island to the other side big enough for a cart and horse to pass through. Surely in a party of 40 or 50 persons there would be a few artistic souls who would show their resentment and see that this was not allowed! But this is not all. In a few years the very Reef itself will be a veritable shambles! I have seen people stalk through lagoons with hammers and having knocked every coral over in sight return to camp with one or two tiny pieces, remarking that they were not going to cart back a lot of junk to the mainland. Why aren’t children all taught that a thing of beauty can be a joy forever? So those of us who are yet able, let us drink deep of the joys of these little isles of the Barrier, while yet Desecration stalking abroad, drunk with rapine and disseminating Destruction, knows not of all the Hidden Places.
The time is not far distant when the lapping of the waves will not be heard for the laughter of fools, and the birds many of which, terror stricken, have already sought fresh fields and pastures new - will just die off, as they have done elsewhere. All these islands are protected sanctuaries for wild life. It is a great thing to pronounce wise laws - but a far, far greater thing to see that they are carried out!
Owing to the Easter rush, PADDY PALLIN has been unable to prepare his usual, but of course all Bushwalkers know where to go if good camping gear is wanted, or repairs or alterations are necessary. His latest service is waterproofing tents. Waterproofing adds only a few ounces to a tent, yet it makes the tent quite proof even if touched. Another advantage is that after rain the tent weighs only a little heavier and not double its normal weight, as is usual with unproofed tents. The cost of treating a 7 x 5 tent is 5/7-. Other tents in proportion. P. A. PALLIN 312 George St. (Over Hallam’s - Opp. Wynyard) SYDNEY. PHONE B3101.
We have swum and some of us have won our races, but most of us went to the 5th. Annual Swimming Carnival at Leumeah and enjoyed the fun.
The Mandelberg Cup has passed to its next holders, Jean Trimble and Bill Purnell, who are proud of their win.
The weather was perfect for our purposes - a hot sun poured down all day and the water was the best place. Watermelons also were well in evidence to keep the inner man cool, so what more could a swimmer ask?
The Social Secretary’s arrangements for a special carriage for the return journey went a bit awry, but there were plenty of empty 1st Class carriages, and who are we that we should refuse to ride 1st Class for once? Never let it be said!
The members generally and music lovers in particular had a treat when some twenty members of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society paid us a visit in March. The singing was delightful, and the visitors who remained to dance with us after their entertainment were voted jolly good company, and in short, everyone enjoyed themselves to the full.
Apropos of the above, we think the singing must have gone to the heads of some of our members, for on the following day there were serious strayings from the right path, or should I say track?
The number of people, and old Bushwalkers too, who mislaid themselves on the way to the Reunion was, to the very small few who went straight, absolutely astounding.
It was a great pleasure to have our first President, Jack Debert, with us. Indeed, I think the pleasure was mutual. There was a good attendance when they all did arrive, and a very happy band we were,
Rene D. Browne, Hon. Social Secretary.
The deepest sympathy of all members is extended to Richard Croker on the death of his mother, which occurred on llth April.