A Journal devoted to matters of interest to Members of the Sydney Bush Walkers, Sydney, New South Wales.
No. 13. June 1933.
Publishing Committee: Misses Brenda White, (Editor), Marjorie Hill, Dorothy Lawry, Rene Browne and Mr. Myles Dunphy.
When the Publishing Committee brought out the first issue of “The Bushwalker” in June, 1931, it was rather in the nature of an experiment. We thought it was high time a Club of our standing had some kind of a paper, either official or unofficial, in which the members could air their views (and talents) in prose and song. On putting the matter to a General Meeting, we met with rather a disappointingly lukewarm reception - the Club as a whole did not seem inclined to take up the suggestion, so it was ours for a private venture. Half a dozen enthusiasts banded together, threw in the nucleus of a working fund, and “The Bushwalker” came into being, with Marj. Hill as Editor.
We are greatly indebted, as are so many others, to Myles Dunphy for lots of the spade work - in fact, on looking through No.1 we find that it was entirely written by Marj, Rene Browne, Taro and the ever obliging and capable Myles, who also made arrangements for the printing.
Marj. said in her editorial: “This first publication is brought forward with the hope of future continuous help and patronage of our members; and in this respect the Publishing Committee invites them to consider their various experiences in the light of common interest to fellow members, and to hand in clearly written accounts, in serious or humourous vein, together with personal items or jokes concerning members or walking. Constant features of future issues will be reports of social events and equipment section.” We did not know what kind of a reception our little one would get, but hoped for the best - and, as sometimes happens to optimists, we were not disappointed. So we gaily went our way, worrying long-suffering people for contributions, & really their cheerfulness under provocation is amazing, and will probably earn them a reward when they “gather at the river” (not the Kowmung).
At length we arrived at our little one's first birthday, which we celebrated in a fitting manner by issuing our First Annual Number. A few weeks later we received a nasty jolt - a little pink paper made its appearance in Sydney - free, mark you - and it bore on its title page the legend - “The Hiker & Bushwalker.” Seeing we had not registered that pet word of ours, “Bushwalker”, we could not prevent other people from using it, so we decided on the rechristening of our infant and legal adoption by the Club, and now on its second birthday we wish most sincerely to thank all those who have given their support, both literary and financial.
By Jean Austen
You have asked me for some impressions of Barrington Tops. Well, the “Tops” in themselves form a very small part of the allurement which takes us so often to that district.
I think it is the absolute change from the rugged and hostile country in the Kowmung-Kanangra district to the soft rolling hills of the Allyn and Paterson Rivers and the fairy-like charm of the jungles or 'brush' to use the local term. And from the Mountain tops, to look down upon the rivers, threading like ribbons through a broader green band, that is seen in contrast to the uncleared 'green timber,' is to feel a sort of restful assurance that one is welcome, the countryside as well as it’s people seems to open it’s arms and breathe a soothing welcome.
In contrast to these impressions, I will tell you of the trip which Anice Duncan and I made to the Tops one September.
Arrived at Eccleston late on a Friday afternoon, we made camp by the roadside. It rained a little but we were quite comfortable. Next day we walked through occasional showers to the head of the Allyn and made camp at the Hancock home; after the 15 crossings of the Allyn we were glad of a warm welcome and tea with cakes and scones in the early afternoon. Dick Hancock and his wife are indeed friends to walkers and will do anything in their power to ensure for a party the best of trips and comfort while camped at their place.
They told us of a party of boys who had preceded us by some days and who had very bad equipment and rations which seemed to be mainly loaves of bread in sugar bags. Their shelter was a tent fly, and as the night before our arrival had been a bad one, there was some anxiety as to the boy’s safety. There had been a heavy fall of snow on the tops and we could see it shining in the sunlight.
I had promised Ernie that I would take Dick's advice upon the advisability of our crossing the tops. This is, of course, regarding the weather. There come sometimes fogs that are very dense, and consequently very dangerous to travelers. However, this gentleman has a very high opinion of my capabilities in the bush, (unfounded as you will see later) and after many instructions about what to do in all sorts of emergencies, we set out on Sunday morning at about 9 o’olock. One way led us through several miles of brush and over two crossings. The brush was just beautiful with sunlight glinting down through the trees and ferns.
It is best to travel through these places without a hat as the brim hides the beauty of the tall trees, most of them potential telegraph poles draped and garlanded with Bird's Nest ferns, orchids, staghorns and creeping ferns and lichens too numerous to be comprehended in passing. Intermingled with these are trees with berries of all colours, and the large, soft, treacherous leaves of the stinging tree, while the ground is strewn with fallen lags covered with mosses and all kinds of ferns struggling up between them, the track is a path of fallen leaves. The Brush always reminds me of a pantomime stage set of Fairyland. There is not much life in the brush, occasional lyrebirds, a few small birds, pigeons etc., and an odd Brush Turkey.
Arrived at the second crossing we sat for a while in the sunshine and admired the vines, ferns, orchids etc., swinging over the river from the trees. Our track now led straight up out of the brush and we climbed for the rest of the day through groves of treeferns and sometimes just ordinary climbing with an occasional pass on the side of the mountain with beautiful moss covered rocks to give us an excuse to stop and rest our weary backs. I will mention here that my pack was in the vicinity of 48 lbs (21.7kgs). Anice, who is not so strong as I, had something under that.
Having come to the point where our track meets the Williams River and Dungog track, we grasped an opportunity for a rest while I told of my first trip with Ernie, when we had our lunch at this spot sitting on our haunches in the dense mist and heavy rain. On that occasion we went no further but returned to Sydney via the Williams to Dungog in pouring rain for two days and lucky to miss one of their greatest floods. However, back to our trip. Dick Hancock assured us that we would strike the first snow at about 50 yds. before our proposed camp spot for that night, and lol it was so. Anice was quite peeved because I pounced on the first particle and ate it myself. We were frightfully thirsty. However, there was plenty more, We camped on a small saddle in the ridge (Williams Range) where there is a spring, The ground was hard and stony and the space very limited and exposed to all winds, as we found to our despair later. We could not get away from it anywhere and it seemed to be working itself into a fury. Early to bed, We were very uneasy as this was our first night out really alone, in the wilderness. Suddenly our slumbers were rudely disturbed by a crash and the flopping of the tent around our heads. How I cursed Mouldy and his ridiculous tent poles which he had, with all good intentions I am sure, prevailed upon us to take, (A word here to the unwary - Beware of Mouldy's “light-weight” camping gear). I staggered out from under the ruins armed with torch and tomahawk into the night which seemed to be filled with swaying demons roaring in derision at our predicament, for wood suitable for tent poles was at that spot a thing of the past. (The riding parties stop here for lunch.) I clambered about frantically for a few minutes until I realised that my stomach was doing some queer convulsions, so I stopped short and addressed myself sternly and denied that I wished we had a spare husband somewhere handy. I could not find any tree or branch fallen or standing suitable for our requirements:, so I attacked the slip-rail of the horse corral or fence. At every second blow of the tomahawk the torch would go out. However, all things come to an end. Anice all this time was clinging to the flying tent. We were terrified because we were in close proximity to a barbed-wire fence and in danger of being ripped thereon. However, the pole secured, we were not long in fixing the tent again. But our peace of mind was gone for that night, and we were up early in the chilling wind scrambling down the side of the mountain in our endeavour to escape the draughts. The wind was coming off the snow.
There was a dear little Robin who was very interested in our doings and he looked lovely against the snow. It was piled in drifts all about the camp. We were not sorry to leave this spot, although our way continued ever upward and we were soon walking through snow up to our ankles. Our track now led us to the other side of the ridge away from the wind, over undulating country where the snow grass first became evident. We crossed a small creek and thought how much nicer to have pushed on to here last night and camped an level ground away from the wind. However, on we plodded, very excited indeed to be walking in the snow. We took a couple of snaps and gambolled with snow balls, it being Anice’s first glimpse of snow since leaving England, 5 years before, and the second occasion for me in my whole life. It was very beautiful in the sunlight with the treefems and lower growth showing clearly against the pure white background and the tall gums casting shadows all around.
After some miles of this I began to get uneasy about the direction we were following. You see we had no track to follow in the snow, or rather it seemed we had a hundred tracks to follow. After a while we came out on the edge of a valley and I knew we were wrong before we took our map and compass and found we were heading North instead of West. So hastily consuming some chocolate and raisins we retraced our footsteps and made for the ridge we now knew we should be on. I am amazed at myself now for taking the direction we did but these mistakes are sent to try us. We suddenly stumbled on the track where we hoped to cross it and great was the joy in our hearts, after visions of being lost in the mist and all the terrible things that had been predicted for us by the people in Eccleston. We burst into song, and I found myself singing the 'Mad Scene' from Lucia. Anice was convulsed at my effort. We soon had a fire, in fact we were amazed at the ease with which we were able to get a fire going when everything was apparently saturated. But with some bark and some thin sticks that were standing upright and dry, we soon had some coffee. 'Snow Coffee' we voted as being the best in the world. We drank a large billyful between us, took more snaps and enjoyed ourselves immensely.
On and upward again. Our next point to be located was Careys Peak, which I knew was not far off on our left. Came at last to the spot where the track swings away for the climb to the peak. Arrived there we had a marvellous view of the Allyn Valley and the surrounding ranges, but the wind was so strong that we mere almost afraid to stand upright. Here, as in several other spots, we found fresh orange peel presumably left by the boys ahead of us. We did not stay too long here but got back again to the track over the more or less level plateau towards the “Hut.” The track skirts around a large swamp. This place always seems to have a peculiar stillness about it. By this time we were feeling very tired and the occasional depressions full of snow that we had to plough through became very tiresome. One comes in sight of the Hut, but owing to the swamps it is a much longer trip than at first expected. We were almost exhausted when at last we dragged our weary legs through the last drift and across to the Hut. After a short rest we set about making a fire. It is a marvellous thing how a change of occupation is as good as a rest. On arrival we thought we could not move another ounce, but it became apparent that to eat and sleep in this place we must do extensive repairs. So while Anice was struggling with the worst smoky fire I have ever seen, I struggled with sheets of galvanised iron and logs of wood to prop them up with. In the wind that howled around the place this was no easy task and at one time I expected to find myself in two halves upon the snow. Poor Anice still struggled with the smoke. Of the two jobs I preferred my own although it required more energy. In due course we had our meal, and as darkness came we turned the table over an its side (the legs immediately sank to the floor) and made a wall with the tent around one side of us, propped some furniture and poles against the loosest of the iron sheets and lay down. In spite of the thousand devils hammering and tearing at our abode, we were so fagged out that we actually slept. I really think it was a state of unconsciousness from exhaustion. My last thought, as a loose sheet of iron clattered on the roof, was the hope that we should be killed outright if something collapsed and not be left maimed to a slow death in that bleak spot.
Next morning came clear and beautiful and the sun shone warm and bright. Everything looked glorious. We only had to step outside our door and scoop up a billy of snow and melt it for water. I had developed a terrific headache overnight and could hardly see. A.P.C. (Bex) powders had no effect. We dallied here for a long time enjoying the sunshine. As we had no watch with us we had no idea of the time except that it was before or after noon. We moved on to the Barrington River about mile distant and decided to camp there as my head was too bad to carry the heavy pack. However, we rested ourselves by dragging in logs for a fire. The day wore on and the weather became bad again. We started out to explore but a mist came up and it began to rain, and remembering the stories of all the lost people on the tops we quickly returned to our home. Isn't it wonderful how little it takes to make the security of a home? We had a lovely fire and sat around it in between the bad spells in the weather. We retired early. Next morning, we were surprised to find the tent and all around covered with light snow, and as it was still very dull and cold, we decided to push on although my head was still roaring. We had camped on the spot where the motor road comes in from Scone via Tomalli.
The track to Stewarts Brook goes off to the left up stream. There is a small waterfall about 200 yds. upstream. On through uninteresting undulations to Mount Barrington, whence there is a beautiful vista of hills and valleys. There is a Trig Station here. We were unfortunate on this occasion as all the valleys were filled with mist and we could see nothing.
The track from here goes steeply down to the North Arm of Stewarts Brook. It became hard at times to know if we were on the right spur owing to the mist and at times the track fades out entirely. I don't remember this descent very clearly, my head was so terrible. Eventually we arrived, at a deserted house used by stockmen occasionally. We had lunch there and after some good hot tea with lemon and more A.P.C. I felt greatly recovered. We still had a long descent to make to the Brook and finally we were down and we met a man who remembered Mouldy, Ernie and me from our previous trip. He was trapping rabbits and had been in the district for nearly twelve months. We were charmed with the river and the soft gentleness of the different trees and the birds. Everything seemed fluffy and twittering and was a relief from the hard brightness of the tops in the snow. It is terribly steep from Mt Barrington to Stewarts Brook and you will notice it only took us a few hours to come down and it had taken two days to go up the other side, (Further adventures; next issue.)
The sunlight casts o'er mountain peak
A haze of shimmering blue;
Through mighty gorge by hidden creek
A winding path pursue.
The river bubbles on its bed,
Its rippling waters gleam;
All that my pen has left unsaid
My soul reflects in dream.
All plans set in my head, no compass or maps, I set off with two good pack carriers - Les Hadfield and Alex Ritchie for Katoomba, with over 60 lbs each including a heavyweight pick, shovel and dish.
We arrived at Katoomba at 11 o'clock Thursday night and set off for the usual camping ground and over the first Narrow Neck. I started off with a bad back, but had to forget it as there are no Chemists' shops out that way.
Up early and reduced our weight a couple of lbs. I mean the packs. We set our course for Glen Raphael and arrived in time for dinner.
We counted 42 Hikers going over Clear Hill, so the hill will soon be worn away. A solitary tent was there and I knew it belonged to the Duke of Clear Hill as everything was square. He was out.
After dinner I took my pals over to the edge and explained the country, told them what to do if they got lost and also told them where the gold was and all they had to do was to go back to camp and peel of their clothes and lay on the ground sheet in the sun and dream about all the gold that was in the Mountains.
Just on dusk the Duke arrived with all his clothes in his pack and only his boots on. Informal greetings were exchanged and he told me that a certain Bushwalker was annoyed because he was making the bush safe for the Hikers. I wonder who sold this Pommy our bush so he could have it for himself. I think it a splendid action of the Duke to consider other people and let them enjoy the pleasures of his domain.
We set off on Good Saturday morning over Clear Hill and down the Duke's ladders (Tarros Ladders) and along the ridge until we got thirsty, so we headed down to Carlons Crossing at Breakfast Creek. As it was too cold on top we decided to have our first wash here and brought out the soap and had a good clean up, dinner and another sunbake and dream till tea time.
Next day, Good Sunday, we decided to collect some of the gold instead of going to church although we heard the bell-birds ringing. We washed here and there along the creek, chased a rabbit, fell over and took a chip out of my knee, and then decided it was dinner time. Alec had a ready cooked fowl which we soon made a mess of and told him he ought to have brought two instead of one. Les shot two cockies for tea. I put them on at once to stew as they looked about 100 years old. I was right, they turned out tougher than my crepe soles. So we never interfered with Cocky anymore, only when we were asleep he troubled us after a heavy tea.
We decided there was no gold there and packed up on Good Monday and made tracks for the back of Mt. Mouin. Very rough and poor camp sites. We camped on a ridge with a small waterhole in the creek. Tuesday we explored the creek down for about a mile before we struck water and had dinner, then tried our hand with the dish. I had a powerful magnifying glass but could not see any colour. Back to camp and set off in the morning for Mt. Merrigal; we did not like the look of him and went off down a creek to try and get to Breakfast Creek; first water we camped.
You know I have a weakness for water so can't go past any. Les and Alec explored the creeks around and said it was too rough to take our packs dawn. I cooked them a full course tea. In the morning set off to find a way dawn and had to climb over some very rough country.
I never blazed any trees as I did not know when I was going to get lost and did not want other Bushwalkers to follow me. After 2 hours hard going we slipped down between two creeks, first water of course I camped. Usual sunbake and exploration and washing for gold and ourselves took up the afternoon. We saw 6 Wallabies and shut our eyes when a flock of Cockies went past - no more cocky-stew.
Next morning we arrived in Breakfast Creek, not far from Carlons. Washed a few dishes but no result, dined and made tracks down the creek to a well-known camping ground. We had to stuff the food away as it did not appear to be getting lighter quickly enough. I had overstocked in the hope of getting lost, but no such luck in that part. There are too many landmarks, you can't dodge them. Saturday being the end of the week we decided to wash ourselves instead of washing dirt.
I had my bath and was dry when Alec asked me to get back in the water to take my photo. It was a bit too much, you know the temperature of Breakfast Creek at this time of the year. I obliged and got rheumatics.
Sunday we went in to the Coxs and found our first gold under that part of the mountains named after me - Knight's Deck. So I told them to stop digging there as the deck might fall in. We left the gold there and made for Harrys River (Jenolan River), explored two miles of it and found our second speck. It was getting near tea time, so we knocked off and set back to camp.
Over-eating made me call off food for two meals and I don't want to see any rice and bacon until next camp I go on. Our mission of locating gold carried out, Monday we set off upstream until we got bushed at the junction of Little River. A very annoyed chap came along and told us we had no right on his private property and did we see the notice “Trespassers prosecuted”? We used psychology and told him we were lost and could he put us right. He told us we could camp there, but we decided to push on to Jenolan Crossing, and I think it was a bit off when we are prevented from walking along the best scenic River in the State.
Rabbits by the hundreds here, shot two for a stew. Another bath in the morning and the razor was got to work on two weeks' growth. I looked 85 before I took it off and did not want to go home a grandfather. Next experience I got when I left the Church in Megalong. I got lost and found myself going out to Carlon’s again. I cut across the paddocks for about a mile before we struck the road to the old Pub site. We came up Nellies Glen in the morning and home to Sydney. I have earned more gold in day in Sydney than I would make in the Mountains in a year. So ends my first gold hunt.
“May is here,” came the message,
Wafted from the mountain dells,
“Sunlit days to cheer your passage,
It is time you came, Hell's Belles.”
So those five maids in the city,
Heard the message, loud and clear,
Hoisted packs, and sang this ditty,
“We are coming, mountains dear.”
“Soon we’ll walk along your bush tracks,
Climb your rock mountain peaks,
Scramble down through gorge and rock cracks,
Bathe in your dear crystal creeks.”
“By the camp fire, laze each evening,
Listening to the night birds call;
Countless stars above us gleaming,
'Tis the life that will not pall.”
There was a young lady named Fannie
Whose ways were most uncanny;
She went down the Grose
And injured her toes,
And now she walks like a grannie.
This was a very early trip in the annals of the Club; a very good one, with much excitement. The party entrained on Thursday afternoon for Mittagong and a dark camp was struck on the border of the Municipality. We were escorted there, together with another Club party, which was going down the Upper Nattai, by the Town Clerk of Mittagong, who saw us safely encamped and then departed.
The first night: Very unpleasant, waterymoon, light showers, cold wind, no fire. It might be worth mentioning that camping was not as luxurious as it is these days. Eiderdowns were unheard of, ruck sacks had just made their appearance, Billy hooks were still fencing wire, and consequently space was at a premium and luxuries few. The morning ushered in a beautiful day and the party clambered aboard a motor lorry which conveyed them 8 miles to Burragorang Lookout. This is a very good lookout. The valley lies at ones feet and unfolds itself into the distance to be arrested by the walls of Kings Tableland.
Our first job was to identify the immediate foreground with the parish map in our leader's hands. After everybody had expressed his views, which disagreed with everybody else's, we decided to step into the picture by going over the edge, down a very steep mountain side into the valley. We reached the bottom with very wobbly knees and would recommend others to look for a sheep track 1 mile further back, the knowledge of which we obtained from a shepherd whom we met some hours later while wandering around foothills looking for a way to the Wollondilly River.
We reached the river shortly after lunch when the pleasure of our trip commenced. After a mile of rock hopping the river banks widened out and cattle tracks made the going pleasant. The end of the first day found us at Burnt Flat Creek, which is a good camp site abounding in rabbits and covered in thick grass which makes good beds.
The second day found us following the Wollondilly which is an extremely beautiful river and the going was good. Towards evening, we came to signs of civilization, a woolshed about 5 miles from the Yerranderie Road. Then we came to an apiary which was to be the site of the then President, Jack Debert's, farm. We finished the day at the Wollondilly Hotel and camped on the river flats close by.
The third morning was heralded with a dense fog. Owing to the ravages of blisters it was necessary to leave three of the party behind. This day was really most interesting. Our way led from the Upper Burragorang to the lower, through country known, but still beautiful, on hard roads, the saving feature of the day being a meal of stewed quinces and cream obtained by various means from farms passed en route.
The fourth day found us early on the track down the famous Warragamba Gorge which hitherto had been described as impossible. We hugged the Western bank and fought gamely for some hours with all that nature could provide in the form of obstacles. To add to our discomfort we were hunting three steers, in a dubious state of health, which kept about three yards ahead of us all the way.
Monkey Creek was reached about 11 a.m. after a very hard struggle. Here we were to cross the river and follow the track into Silverdale, but owing to the amount of water in the river, it was impossible to cross. Many methods were tried. We used every ounce of ingenuity and took many risks but still the river won. When all seemed lost a canoe was discovered high up a tree where some flood had deposited it. When it was finally landed it was full of holes and consequently useless; we were back where we started until someone thought of the brilliant idea of placing the canoe in the tent. It worked.
The remaining part of the trip was tragedy, caused by lost time & tiredness. We missed the last car from Silverdale, caught the last train from Penrith and finally got home. It was a wonderful trip and one in which we were well pleased and satisfied.
Now that the cool weather has set in, most people on long trips will spend more time climbing hills than bathing in our mountain streams, so I think the following verses, which express so well what we have all felt on conquering a height, are most appropriate to the present season. Brenda White.
I never loved your plains,
Your gentle valleys,
Your drowsy, country lanes
And pleached alleys.
I want my hills! - the trail
That scorns the hollow.
Up, up the ragged shale
Where few will follow.
Up - over wooded crest
And mossy boulder
With strong thigh, heaving chest
And swinging shoulder.
So let me hold my way
By nothing halted,
Until at close of day
I stand, exalted.
High on my hills of dream -
Dear hills that know me
And then how fair will seem
The lands below me.
How pure, at vesper-time,
The far bells chiming
God gave me hills to climb
And strength for climbing.
HAVE YOU HEARD of the enthusiast who, rather than miss the train for a walk on a recent Sunday, did a thing that, as far as we know, has not been done before in the annals of the Club, even by those who do things that are “not done”? This young man left home in a swanky Northern Suburb, attired only in shirt, shorts, and bedroom slippers!
of the other young man who went out in the dark to chop wood and marvelled at the bluntness of the axe? It’s owner found it next morning with its leather sheath chopped through!
=====OUR EASTER TRIP=====
By One of the Trippers.
The trip may be said to have commenced with the journey from Sydney to Katoomba in a painfully overcrowded train - so much so, in fact, that when the passengers were piled on top of each other three deep (believe it or not). There was still no room for all their luggage, despite the generous facilities provided by the Government in the shape of about a dozen luggage racks quite 15” long.
The train conductor had nothing but scorn for those sarcastic individuals who maintained that fifty or sixty suit cases could not be placed thereon, and, to show what he thought of the capacity of a carriage, even went so far as to order all the ladies inside off the train platform, under penalty of being put off. Three of our party of eight responded to this edict, and travelled warmly in the carriage - the other five travelled incognito (a Latin term meaning “out in the cold”).
There are several interesting tales we could tell, if we chose, regarding that train trip. Have you heard the one about the commercial traveller and that mythological lady, Delilah? No? Well, no wonder. The lady in question perhaps prefers to keep that to herself; but we might say in passing that we are happy to see the spirit of chivalry is not dead. And then there is the one about the poor little lad who was cruelly cut off from his party, traveling in an earlier train, by a relentless guard who held that the train was overcrowded. We invited him to join our party, which he did, and sat, a dejected little figure, among the cinders an the train platform, with a piteous look on his face.
Thinking he was beseeching coppers a kindly fellow-sufferer threw him a penny. It is worthy of note that he scorned this charity. And there was the lady who slept in a vacant space of two Square feet in the carriage doorway, so that anyone who essayed to pass through had to step over her recumbent frame. One damsel who tried to pass through caused complications by becoming wedged in said space, thereby causing the unfortunate victim all the horrors of partial asphyxiation. For the benefit of posterity the said victim aforesaid wishes to place on record the fact that asphyxiation is not an experience to be desired.
We could also tell the tale of the three men who dashed off the train at every stopping place and raced up and dawn the platform in an endeavour to bring back the warmth of life to their chilled anatomy. As I have said, I could tell detailed stories under these headings, but space will not permit of this. Suffice to say that WE GOT THERE.
Katoomba station was one seething mass of humanity, through which we struggled our way, the cynosure of all eyes because of our packs, and eventually emerged, still complete, and gained the road. At this juncture someone suggested supper, So the Paragon, in all its glittering glory, was shortly honoured by our eightsome.
A discreet manager ushered us through to a back room gorgeously adorned by huge sculptured reliefs of nymphs suffering from the extreme stages of elephantiosis. Here, he said, we would “have more room”, which was a tactful way of saying that he preferred we didn't make the place look untidy by dining in the front room, in full view of his prospective clients. We consumed vast quantities of coffee and hot buttered toast, then, restored in mind and body, set out for the open road.
It was a beautiful, glittering night - clear as a mountain stream, and the stars seemed to snap with the cold. We made our way along Narrowneck, while the wind blew up from the valleys and made our noses and ears tingle, and the spray from an adjacent waterfall blew up from the dark depths, to descend on us like rain. The gleam of the camp fires up the hill in the distance welcomed us to our camp site, and we were soon encamped and tucked into our bracken and gum leaves.
(This latter remark refers to our bedding, and not to our evening meal. or the sake of brevity I have left out the eating and tooth cleaning details and packed the whole party off to bed straightaway.) Nor will I do more than lightly touch on the fact that one of our party - a novice - spent practically the whole of the night “digging his hip out”, having been previously schooled in the necessity for a hip hole.
The early bird arose and whet his bill The early worm arose, an easy prey But, early as they were, we on the Hill Arose 'ere bird or worm arose next day.
Which little poetic divagation is meant to convey to the mind of the :reader that we were up before the dawn, breakfasted and away bright and early.
An interesting and exciting little interlude in our morning's march was provided by the finding of a note on the trail telling us of a parcel to be found in a nearby cave, which parcel, when opened by trembling fingers, was found to contain quite a creditable imitation of a child, made out of carrots, and bearing this inscription:- “Go on, you Cannibal! Eat it up. It's good!” We had our suspicions as to who was the creator of this piece of infamy, which were later justified when we came upon the camp of a senior member of the Bushwalkers. Be was playing native somewhere in the background, and called to us to wait till he clothed himself and he would come dawn and talk to us. Which we did, and he did.
After leaving this child of Nature (who, I might state, barely waited for us to be out of sight before reverting to his back-to-Nature garb), we followed the trail to Clear Hill and had a highly exciting time getting the party and the packs over the edge of the precipice with the aid of a rope. Then came a marvellous, dusty scramble dawn the hillside, catching at branches to curb our headlong pace. At the bottom of the hill we paused for lunch, then followed Breakfast Creek down to within a mile of the Cox Junction, where we camped for the night.
The next day was spent following the Cox along, till we reached Kanangra Clearing early in the afternoon. Here we pitched camp and spent the afternoon swimming in the many beautiful pools of the Cox and the Kanangra. Then the girls of the party sunbaked on the warm rocks, while the Yiddish males exerted themselves prospecting for gold. With the concerted effort of all the party, we pushed and chopped down a tall dead tree, for firewood, and when it dropped a dear little bat, smelling strongly of musk, fell out of the hollow trunk. He was uninjured and soon flew away in the gloom.
Next day saw us again proceeding along the Cox. Time and space will not allow me to tell of the beauties of this walk. Those who have been there will be able to visualise it for themselves, and those who have not certainly should have done so, and this is the punishment for their omission.
Our camp on the last night was pitched down by Kills'. We found the spot which was really ideal for a camp was already occupied by a dead horse, so had perforce to move on another half mile, out of our way. On retracing our steps next morning it was discovered that two other Bushwalkers had spent a most comfortable night there, to leeward of the defunct beastie, and thy gloated over the fact that we had had to move on. We hope we are not unchristian, but our sense of humour would have been greatly tickled had the wind changed overnight.
Time flies, and this is the last day of our trip. We spent to-day climbing up the Kedumba Pass, and reveled in the exertion required to ascend this mountain. Several members of the party created records for the ascent, and waited on the top for the others to arrive.
Then we made our way to the Wentworth Falls Sanatorium where we “wet our whistles”, forming a merry party around the marble bar, I mean the tank, – the marble bar came later when we reached Wentworth Palls and made a bee-line for the hotel.
Our mythological lady here made us well aware that she belonged to a day and generation not our own by asking for malted milk in the bar. The bartender looked pityingly at her and said there was a soft drinks shop round the corner (with accent on the “soft”) - Delilah thought this rather unkind. Then, duly refreshed and revivified with ginger ale and stronger beverage, we passed on to the station to catch the train home, and, after a most enjoyable Easter holiday, we kiss our fingers to our audience, bow, and pass out of the picture.
Tune: “I’m going to Maxime's”
I'm going down the Grose,
I'm through with work and woes
The flies will buzz and greet me,
The 'squitoes hum and eat me;
Tramp, Tramp, Splash, splash! Achou
Look out, Hop up Can do
I'm going off a-Grose-ing
And you may all come too!
By Dorman Long
“Quasi” is a very convenient prefix, with it’s apologetic meaning of “as it were”, and is used especially by lawyers, when either they do not mean exactly what they say, or else know not what to say. Be that as it may, Vic. Thorsen' s trip along the Nattai River over the last Easter holidays had all the qualifications of an official one except the name. For, in the first place, the route was that scheduled in the programme, though the leadership somehow became transposed, Mr. W. Henley proceeding along the Cox River instead.
Then, again, there was strongly apparent that outstanding feature of an official trip, that it collected the residuum of the Club's membership after the private parties had taken their toll. Right from the very inception the party gained in numerical strength, until at the close of the journey it had increased almost onehundredfold, like the proverbial snowball rolling down a hillside.
First of all, Jean Malcolm and I, having had to abandon the visit to Michelago by reason of an untimely accident to Marie Byle's ambulatory organ, attached ourselves to the small nucleus of eight on the Central Railway Station. Next, Noel Turnbull, originally intending to go with the “bargers”, but not finding them already on the train at Strathfield appreciated the wisdom of that old saw, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”, and remained with us. Then, on the second last day, when we were encamped at the beginning of the Nattai Pass (Belloon Pass? 2014 edit), Don Wallace, who had been leading his friend, Jack Hallett, along the Cox River from Katoomba, came and pitched his tent in our midst. And, finally, on the last day, when we were having our dinner, Clem Armstrong and his friend became accommodated. From the last two word was passed around that Muriel Hall and some others were seeking us in the Burragorang Valley, but we reached Picton Railway Station without attaining the point of convergence.
To my mind, two incidents of the trip commend themselves above all other for special mention. The first was that of the midnight walk from Aylmerton, on the Main Southern Line, to Hilltop, on the Loop Line, rendered necessary on the Thursday night through lack of prevision on the part of Railway officialdom in allowing only one excursion train at 5:15 p.m. to travel to the latter. On arrival at Aylmerton we tarried for about half-an-hour, while some of the girls changed into their cool shorts for walking. Theirs was labour ill-rewarded, however, for we had hardly proceeded half a mile along the road when they began to complain of feeling frozen at the knees. Eventually we found ourselves on the railway line, which we followed along for the rest of the eight miles to the accompaniment of frogs croaking and the occasional stampeding of wallabies disturbed in the nocturnal quiet.
The second incident was that of the first morning's trek from Hilltop to MacArthurs Flat. The tedium of the monotonous country for the greater part of the way was relieved only by the pleasantries of a pair of motorcyclists who accompanied us. They had been advised at Mittagong to take the bush road leading from Hilltop, because, not being so frequented, they ought to find plenty of rabbits in it’s vicinity. Acting on this logic, they were expecting at any minute to come across swarms of the rodent; but my assurance that we had shot the sole, surviving rabbit at Eastertime in 1930, when we passed along that same route on Harold Chardon's official trip, failed to convince them, and they continued their way with us.
Nature's great compensation for the wearisome walk referred to was our first glimpse of the Nattai River valley, resplendent with its glorious verdure after a season of bountiful rain. The view was all the more invested with an air of romance as one recollected that it was over this selfsame track along which we were going, that Captain Starlight, after whom it was named, with many a heart-throb would escape on horseback from his pursuers, the servants of administrators who were worse bushrangers than he. MacArthurs Flat, where we dined, was a place of sylvan enchantment, the kind of scene you find perpetuated in oil colours in a National Art Gallery, though minus the conventional brace of swans and bevy of nude nymphs.
Speed in walking was a subject which engaged my more serious meditation during a large part of the journey. Why does not the speed-demon obsess the soul of each and every member of a party at one and the same time, so as to prevent any unrighteous discrimination between those who seem borne along, over hill and dale, by some heaven-sent afflatus, and their less fortunate comrades, who, not being similarly inspired, are obliged to carry on doggedly at the same dreary gait as before? The solution would give good scope to the application of Einstein's theory of relativity. On Good Friday two individuals singled themselves out as having the peculiar urge for “getting there”; they were Noel Turnbull and George Dibley. After dinner, leaving in advance of the rest of us, they promised to stop at a pre-arranged place, where we were to camp that night. But, toward sundown, as much as we pressed an, we could not get within earshot of them; until I was for exhorting our leader to camp where we were, in order that the vanguard might learn their lesson from self-imposed segregation. However, he appeared resolute that the party should on no account be for a night disintegrated; and, consequently, the “shades of night were falling fast”, and we were feeling as tired as chickens chirping to roost, when eventually we heard the distant cooee of the two “Grecian runners”. In such a way does speed in some react to the detriment of others.
Nor were we without our minor misfortunes. One of them befell Vic. Thorsen himself. After dinner, on the Saturday, he lay, head reclined on pack, watching with self-complacent pity the efforts of those who were not so expeditious as he in getting ready for the start-off once more. That afternoon we covered more than the usual distance (it must have been about eight or nine miles), probably because we were anxious to show the Sydney Hikers, who were also passing through the valley, exactly what records we could create in a day.
It was while we were preparing the night’s camp that Vic all of a sudden remembered depositing his purse at the dining-place. Consequently, he spent the greater part of the next day in recovering that most necessary part of his equipment. Another mishap occurred to Eunice Mullen, in that she blistered her foot. However, it was not so much for her blisters that I pitied her, although they were bad enough, as for the pretext thus given certain would-be physicians to demonstrate their quackery. “Doctor” Turnbull first addressed himself to the display of his pseudo-science, but the only result was a limping figure, with only one shoe on, and a leg swollen with bandages and socks, like that of a frost-bitten, antarctic explorer. Then, no sooner had Clem Armstrong joined our company on the last day than he espied that same leg so rendered conspicuous.
At once he got to work, and from the innermost recesses of his pack produced the strangest compounds, applying each in turn to his submissive victim, who endured all with remarkable fortitude. I thus came to be reminded of a certain charlatan who, after giving me a potion to drink ostensibly for the purpose of curing a cold, suddenly apologized for administering a remedy intended for in-growing toenails!
Campfire concerts were a feature of the trip. But the outstanding defect was the lack of community singing in the real sense of the term. Where we were all familiar with the words of a song, there were so many diverse notions as to what was the correct tune; and, when we were all agreed on the tune, we somehow forgot the words, and consequently the flaw of intonation would subside into untimely oblivion through dearth of verbal fuel.
Nevertheless, we were particularly fortunate, an the last night, in being visited by a quartet from the camp “over the hill”, consisting as it did of Gordon Smith, a one-armed, ex-soldier friend of his, who had both the countenance and voice of Lawrence Tibbett, and two other vocalists. Gordon Smith himself treated us with the “Toreador’s Song” from “Carmen” in Italian diction, which we took for granted. Humour there was, too, in that George Dibley, without saying a word, reminded us of two screen comedians we had seen; and it needed but the addition of a Stan Laurel in order to complete the illusion.
“Easy” altogether fairly well describes the general nature of the walk along the Nattai River; so much so, in fact, that three of us climbed up Mount Burragorang on the Sunday, with a view to making the trip more strenuous. One unhappy oircumstanoe, however, tended to diminish the zeal of the men during the earlier stages. It was that the weightiest lady in the party would prey on their chivalry, and insist on being carried across the river. A snapshot, taken by one of our more enterprising photographers, will be circulated amongst Club members to establish her guilt.
The weather, moreover, was so perfect that the majority of tents brought with us served more for a mental, rather than a physical, comfort, the potential occupants preferring to sleep around the camp fire, thereby causing much chagrin to the few conscientious tent-dwellers, who had to wake with them at dawn, because of their infernal chatter. When, at the end of our journey, we arrived in Picton, we found the townspeople all agog, a Highland Gathering having taken place there that afternoon. The skirl of the pipes died away in the distance, as our train steamed out of the Station, leaving the more philosophical minded of us to reflect on the vastness of the British Empire, seeing that it could embrace peoples with cultural tastes so bizarre; whilst the more prosaic repeated that old, old story about the joke the Irish once played on the Scotch, the humour of which the latter have to this day failed to see.
Some folks do not mind a bit if their packs weigh about 60 lbs (27kg) for a weekend trip, but most of us consider that the weight to be carried is a necessary evil and the less there is, the better we like it.
The problem is, how can it be reduced?
The best plan is to spend an evening weighing your camping gear. Pack your rucksack for a weekend trip and then go through it, weighing item by item, If you jot down the result of your efforts on a piece of paper and then go carefully through the list afterwards, you will rediscover the old truth that, “Mony a mickle make a muckle.”
You will probably find that the weight can be reduced in one, or both, of two ways, namely:
1. By leaving non-essentials at home. By cutting down the weight of essentials, and this can be achieved by reducing the number and/or size of the articles carried, or replacing some item with one made from lighter material.
With a little care and judicious pruning, several pounds can generally be cut off the weight of one's gear without sacrificing safety or comfort. When two are working in together, it is possible to get the weight down to 17 lbs (7.7kgs) and less. The average person can live quite well on 2 pounds (900gms) of food per day (provided the right stuff is taken) so that there is really no necessity to carry enormous loads for a weekend, or even a week's trip.
Those who are new to tramping camps should watch with care the weight of any new gear that they purchase and should go carefully into the pros and cons of every proposed addition, for too often does it happen that new gear is bought and has later to be replaced on account of its excessive weight or some other defect.
Paddy Pallin is only too pleased to discuss the problem of weight with anyone who is interested. His gear is designed to give the lightest weight for the maximum utility, and he will tell you the weight of any article he sells, from a tent peg to a rucksack.
“Count every ounce every ounce counts.”
COLD WEATHER SPECIALS: Down Sleeping Bags have less bulk and weight than blankets and much more warmth. Complete in waterproof bag - 40/- and 45/-
A Word, to Married Couples: Double Sleeping Bags are very snug this cold weather. One-stuffed with pure down costs 3 pounds:10:0 and weighs 5 lbs (2.2kgs). This makes an excellent single bed quilt.
A double bed quilt covered in a plain coloured material is useful at home or in camp. Pure Down 3pounds:5:0.
F. A. PALLIN
312 George St. SYDNEY.
PHONE - B3101.
(Above Hallam's, opp.Wynyard Station.)
“Oh, to think of it - oh, to dream of it”. Cruising the Pacific Ocean on a 22,000 ton liner! Of course, to us seasoned travelers who go away at least every weekend, preparation is practically nil, and internal excitement also very low.
We boarded the boat at about 3.30 p.m., and then started a round of handshakes and “How-do-you-do's”. These were to the people one already knew. Then a hurried inspection of the vessel, with its Pompeian swimming pool, etc. etc., the orchestra playing the very latest thing in dance tunes.
As the chimes of 4 p.m. floated down from the G.P.O., an almost imperceptible widening of the gap between the boat and the wharf commenced!! We are now under way! Watching the tugs turn the boat round - seeing Sydney from a new angle - and the realisation that we had actually started! All this, unfortunately, put afternoon tea out of one's mind, and one realised this when it was too late. More folk one knew kept bobbing up, and greetings were exchanged.
Soon we were passing Garden Island, Rushcutters Bay, Rose Bay, and then Watson's Bay, and so on through the Heads. We watched the trim little “Captain Cook” sailing out to collect her pilot again, and were greatly interested in seeing the pilot climbing down his rope ladder over the vessel's side and then stepping into the dinghy. Next came lifeboat drill. All the passengers were lined up with the lifebelts from their cabins securely tied around their shoulders in the approved style. We were all given instructions what to do in case of emergency and how to prepare for a sudden wreck or fire.
A few more of the 1,200 passengers came into view, in which one met one or two more friends. The boat already seemed chock-a-block with friends and acquaintances. After watching the gulls flying round for some while, we went down below to spruce up for dinner. ‘ Dinner was quite a delightful affair, being served in the palatial dining saloon, with it’s cream wooden panels, it’s pier mirrors and modernistic light fittings. The meal consisted of a paltry 65 items, served by Indian stewards. Some of these stewards, with very little extra effort, could quite easily turn themselves into ebony statues. During dinner we filled in entry cards for the sports competitions, and received a brief resume of the coming events. Coffee in the lounge, with its Italian architectural decorations, the principal features being four groups of ultramarine blue Corinthian pillars. The soft, indirect lighting, and the extremely comfortable lounges and chairs were certainly conducive to sleeping, but none of our small party disgraced themselves.
Now one repaired to the free talkies. These were shown in an enclosed portion of the deck, the theatre holding about 200 people. At about 9 o'clock the boat commenced to roll. Numbers of people left the talkies to watch the fishes over the side; they having dined rather sumptuously, and a trifle unwisely.
Next came dancing on deck, the orchestra doing its duty nobly. Later one went down to supper, and having finished supper remained talking until 12.30 - then bed. (This was the earliest night of the trip.)
Breakfast on Saturday morning. 40% turned up, the others were lying in their bunks or wrapped in rugs on the deck, looking really quite sad. The boat continued to roll, and owing to the large number of people indisposed, the deck games had to be cancelled; my own partner being well and truly confined to her cabin.
Mr. Mallard, of Harrington's, told me that about 5.30 in the morning he had seen waves breaking over the bow of the boat. At 6.30 I went along for my morning swim, and there were the lovely pale green tiles of the swimming pool, displayed in all their glory. The water had been let out, awing to the rough seas.
At about 7.30 there was 3 ft, of water in the pool which created a boiling surf, the dumpers breaking on to the ceiling. During the day, however, the sea calmed down and the pool was filled to its normal depth of 7 ft of water, sloping down to 9 ft. The swimming pool was a constant attraction, with practically always some folks enjoying themselves in it.
The rest of the day was spent in eating, talking and singing, with a few interludes of deck quoits and circles. That evening a fancy dress ball had been arranged, but owing to the continued indisposition of many of the passengers, it was postponed. We danced on deck, and looked at the phosphorus. After supper we talked until midnight, then went to the music room and sang Christmas hymns and carols until about 1.15.
The next day was Sunday. On Sunday everyone was feeling bright and cheery., The sea had calmed down, but it had started to rain lightly. A choir was enlisted to assist with the Christmas morning service, The choir very shortly developed into a community singing effort, with ballet as an interlude. Those who were pacing the deck were asked would they join the choir or the ballet. If it was the ballet they had their legs measured, and were put aside for further reference. Two elderly ladies walking around declined to join the choir, and as the ballet was the only alternative they seemed a little put out; they sniffed heartily and then walked to another deck. The song birds perched on the after railing, and were photographed by many cameras. It may also be mentioned that the birds far outnumbered the songs.
This interlude was broken up rather hastily by the serving of morning tea. The prospects of having three or four ice creams, or as many as one wanted, simply for the asking, tempted us all.
At 11 o'clock Divine Service was held in the first dining saloon, being conducted by the Captain, the Staff Captain reading the Lessons. There was a very large attendance, as Divine Service on a deep-sea vessel was rather unusual for most of the travelers. Up on to the deck for more fresh air and sunshine until lunch.
Christmas Dinner. At the foot of the stairs, and outside the dining room, tables were arranged literally covered with the viands of all kinds. Boars' heads, barons of beef, pheasants, complete with heads, feathers and tails; hams decorated with edible sugar flowers; and some of the 69 Christmas cakes, and in the middle of it all, a large Santa Claus, with traditional decorations of holly, etc.
Here it was that I asked the waiter for lemon ice, being a brand of ice cream. He promptly sent the drinks waiter to me, whom I did not want, so called the steward again and explained that it was food, not drink, that I required. The waiters are all Indians from Goa.
The afternoon passed quietly, and then about 5 o'clock we gathered round on the promenade deck to see the childrens xmas tree. Santa Claus came aboard and distributed books and torches, pocket knives and dolls, and other toys to the 32 children aboard. These were all supplied by the ship's Captain Hartley. The children then played games with Santa Claus.
We dressed for dinner, and then went down to the saloon. Here the Christmas spirit was abroad. Large paper caps for all and bon-bons on the tables. Again we had traditional Christmas fare, roast pork, plum puddings, mince pies, and a host of other delicacies. During dinner, tiny streamers were distributed. These the diners used to loop themselves together, and then to loop the neighbouring tables in with them also.
Dinner and all its fun being over, we retired for coffee in the lounge, and then, as the carpet had been taken up from the centre of the room, we danced to the boat's splendid orchestra. The floor was, I think, the best I ever danced on. Dancing finished at midnight, when all retired to bed, tired but happy!
A busy but delightful Xmas Day was over.
THURSDAY, 13th APRIL
Left home at 4.45 p.m with about a 40lb (18kg) pack. Great crowds about in streets and the station was thronged with people carrying suitcases, packs etc. The majority of the Bushwalkers seemed to be there and there was great running about looking for members of the various parties.
Our lot - W & P. Roots, W & E. McQueen, Peter & Ray besides myself got together. Terrible jam in train (6.12pm) which started some minutes late. Everybody however, seemed to get in and we took spells of standing and sitting. At Katoomba the train almost emptied and the station was crowded with people arriving and those looking for friends.
Wally Roots and I weighed our packs, he had 42 lbs (19kgs) and I, 48 lbs (21.7kgs). Our party went to a restaurant and had a good meal at which Roots made a name for himself, much to the amusement of the waitress who, apparently, is not accustomed to hungry Bushwalkers. While going along Katoomba St., Ray slipped and fell rather heavily on her knee. Good walk out to Narrowneck under a glorious moon and camped at head of swamp just above Diamond Falls. There was a cold, bleak wind and all complained of cold in the morning although we all slept fairly well.
FRIDAY, 14th APRIL
Got a start on about 7 a.m. and went for a couple of miles to a gully where we saw Joe Perritt of MTC (Mountain Trails Club) and had breakfast there. Quite a number of parties passed us there, among them Wiff and two others going for a fortnight’s prospecting trip round about the Mouins. They had loads of about 60 lbs (27kg). each. Made a good trip out to Glenraphael where we saw Taro and after a halt of an hour or so, when we inspected some of his newest gadgets, went on to the end of Clear Hill and had lunch.
Taro started to put up his wire ladder down the chimney while we took the longer but safer route by Duncans Pass under the cliffs. We found a pack which apparently had fallen over the cliffs about Christmas, as we judged by the newspapers wrapped round some of the articles it contained. There was much speculation about the ownership, etc. Some of “The Bushlanders” who had passed us while we were at lunch were in a bad way, as they were cracking up on the rough work on the pass. We got well down into Medlow Gap and made camp in a snug little spot but a long way from water. Had a nice fire at night but Walter and Edith went to bed early as the latter had a bad headache. Wally & Peter went off to investigate a light seen through the trees and after a good while came back and reported that they had been chasing the rising moon.
SATURDAY, 15th March
Did not get a start on until about 11 a.m. as all slept well and we had a long way to go for water, and then made our way round the foot of Mt Mouin and Mt Warrigal where we lunched. Very poor country about here - trees small and stunted - there is a great mixture of rock sandstone, conglomerate and up-ended shale with occasional patches of gravelly quartz. Started off again over Knights Deck. Wally Roots and I blazed a trail in both directions down Blue Dog Range to the Cox River about 2 miles below Breakfast Creek. We saw same fresh foot marks and wondered who had been through before us.
Just below Knights Deck we came an a magnificent lookout which we named “Birts Lookout” as Ray had been the first on to it. From here down to the river was very steep and slippery, but a lot easier to go down than it would be to climb up. All got safely to the bottom about 5.30 p.m and made camp an a level stretch under the casuarinas. On the way we saw little wild life except a few wallabies and birds. It was a nice quiet night and we sat round the fire until 10 p.m. and turned in for a good sleep.
SUNDAY, 16th March
Broke camp at 9 a.m. and started up the Cox in good form. Just beyond Breakfast Creek we came on Paddy and Mrs. Pallin with a party and we had a great yarn about our respective doings. They had followed us down to Medlow Gap, but had got an earlier start yesterday than we did and it was their footprints we had seen. From Knights Deck they had come down a different spur which had landed them on Breakfast Creek. One of their party had been on the lookout for the pack as it belonged to a friend of his and recovered 30/- and some other odds and ends. What a blow that we did not go through it systematically. It had fallen over the cliffs and the owner could not find it. Paddy's party had 2 dozen double-yolked eggs!!
We pushed on to Harrys (Jenolan) River for lunch and while at it the Pallin Party and Joe Perritt passed us. We left the packs at the Junction and went up the Canyon light. Got a few photos but although the light was splendid the gorge is so high and narrow that it is impossible to get a good picture. On towards Little River we passed a great many dead cows which fairly hummed. Met Skeen and a mate shifting cattle down the river and had a yarn. Wally Root had met him several times while he was on his holidays a few weeks ago. Ray's knee was giving her trouble but she stuck out the walking well.
At Little River, on Peter's recommendation, we went up about a mile and got a wonderful camping ground - plenty of wood, good water easily got, and sheltered. All were glad to get the packs off and we soon had our dinner well on the way. Had a fine fire at night and got our boots and socks dried out. There were 12.5 pairs of socks hanging on a pole. Turned in about 9.30 p.m.
MONDAY, 17th March - All up about 6.15 a.m. as I made a big noise with a billy and stick. All revelled in a good bath with nice sparkling water running over granite rocks. Left camp at 9.15 am and made good time to the Junction and then started leisurely up Black Jerrys Ridge. Skeen caught us on horseback and stayed with us for a long time and at various places pointed out land marks. At the top he gave us a demonstration of fire lighting and presented Wally with his flint, steel and tinder. Perritt caught us up again. Ray's knee was giving her a lot of trouble. Had lunch at Megalong Creek where some of the Bushlanders passed us again. There were quite a number of parties in Megalong.
Started off again at 2 p.m. and made up the “Devils Hole” which was new to all of us. Discussion on the merits of Nellies Glen and here, and all agreed that the Hole was the best way up. It's rougher but for most of the way up is not so steep except for the final pinch which is pretty bad. Sat on the rooks at the top and admired the splendid views. We changed into our home going clothes at the reservoirs. Made for a pub in Katoomba where a beer went down well. Then there was a raid on a cake shop where pies and cakes were procured and then some fruit and so to the station. Got settled very comfortably in a train which left Katoomba at 5.10pm and had a good run to Sydney where the party broke up. All enjoyed the trip. The various parties pulled well together and we had wonderful weather throughout.
I was unfortunately not in Australia when the Sydney Bushwalkers Club was founded, but various faithful reports were given to me on my return and there is no doubt that in its inception its members were serious and earnest in outlook.
It was probably for this reason that they chose the Flannel Flower for their badge, the white blossom of a pure and blameless life, which was to cause them so much concern when it was afterwards taken by a certain religious body as the symbol for Mothers Day.
Although their numbers were few, their thoughts, manners and actions were widely known and noted and their fame very soon became firmly established. One story alone will suffice. Certain non-serious hikers - the sort usually termed “hoikers” were engaged on a motoring-hiking-camping tour. They had left the oar behind and set forth for a short amble taking umbrellas with them, because it was starting to drizzle. In a short while they perceived a party of true blue he-man hikers approaching in the opposite direction. They were dressed in shorts and had business-like raincapes draped over their enormous packs, and as they drew nearer the Flannel Flower badge marked them as being of the famous Bushwalkers. Immediately this was perceived, “the hoikers”, who were, I fear, rather wags, ostentatiously erected their umbrellas and marched forward like Macbeth's enemies under the trees of Burnham Wood. At once the bushwalkers began beating their chests and chanting, *Bushwakker! Bustrwakker! Bushwakker!” - at least that is what it sounded like to the umbrella-bearers.
When the two parties met, the leader of the Bushwalkers ceased beating his chest, put a severe frown upon his face and spoke forth: “Waterfall 9.15 a.m., south east 8 miles, north west 5 miles, south 4 degrees west 2 and 3/4 miles, making for Audley north six degrees west Il and 1/2 miles, thence Bundeena direction not yet charted. All this information was a long way above the heads of the umbrella-bearers, but it made a profound impression upon them none the less, and the story of the Bushwalkers' prowess went down in history.
Later, a certain Miss Smith was attendng the theatre in the company of one of the umbrella-bearers and chancing to look over the heads of those in front, she remarked pleasantly: “Why, I do believe that that is a party of Bushwalkers down there.” Her companion replied, “Well you can easily tell 'Walk down the aisle beating your chest and chanting, Bushwakker, Bushwakker” If they greet you as a familiar friend, you will know you are right. If they run you into a lunatic asylum, you will know you are wrong,”
I quote this little incident just to show you haw great was the fame and wonder of the early Bushwalkers. It is sad to relate that the seriousness of the pioneers was not followed faithfully in after years when walking became only one of the minor functions of the Club, subservient entirely to the major ones of camping, cooking, eating and bathing.
It is true that certain members still went for strenuous tramps carrying enormous packs, but these were the exception and they no longer beat their chests proudly or frowned forth the day’s achievements. For the rest, every outing usually resolved itself into a camp with intervals for cooking, bathing and, of course, eating. Whatever else the Bushwalkers could not do, they could cook! and literally hours would be spent round the frying pan and billy.
Then in the evening the camp fire would be enlarged and they would all lounge round it listening to various members singing how they were happy when they were hiking, or reciting about doggies with spladgy paws. Very, very late at night they would retire to their tents, and very, very late in the morning they would arise and again would commence the usual round of cooking, eating and swimming.
One of their poets, Dawrie by name, inspired and saddened, like Byron, by the Decline of noble People, wrote a tragic ode of which the concluding verse ran as follows:-
“Place me on Era's rocky steep,
Where nought beside the waves and I
May hear our mutual murmurs weep.
There swanlike let me sing and diet
And Club of cooks accursed shall bet
Dash down you frying pan and tea!
It strikes me that a representative of nearly every Easter trip has sent in a write-up so, as none of the other Bargers has had the time, energy or whatnot (as our friend Mouldy would say) I suppose it's up to me to say what we did and where we went.
In the first place, we were honoured by the presence of the Club's President in the party, but did you ever see a less “presiding” person on a trip than Cliff? Ask anyone who saw him walking along those last 14-16-18-20 miles into Nowra, attired (among other things) in bright blue socks and a red beret, not to mention a “housemaid's knee.”
Of course, on Easter Thursday night the Railway authorities excelled themselves as regards traveling arrangements, causing one of our members to desert us in favour of Vic Thorsen 's party - but never mind, our number was increased by an uninvited but very welcome addition - one “Bunda”, short for “Bundanoon”, where this little four-legged chappie joined us right at the start. It really made us Bushwalkers feel a bit ashamed to see what a small amount of food he seemed to need (yes, Phil, including your canned horse), and Jove, he was game on the “rough stuff”. Those slides of Tom and Harold's give a very good idea of the scenery round the Bundanoon Creek, Kangaroo River and Shoalhaven area and are much more expressive than any words of mine.
The weather was glorious, and so were some of the sandy beaches on the river - we took every opportunity to bathe and sunbake. As frequently happens, we had no map with us but that only added a blissful uncertainty to the many other attractions.
We killed a large death adder on Bundanoon Creek, but did not see a single black snake on the Shoalhaven, where they usually abound.
We left the river at Yalwal Creek on Easter Sunday morning and went up the ridge and finally on to an old road through Grassy Gully, where we had a look at the quartz-crushing plant with which a family of optimists hope to make their fortune in gold.
We rejoined the Shoalhaven that night and camped not far from Burriar. Next day we had a long hot walk on the road into Nowra, delightfully relieved on one occasion by glasses of milk ad lib. at the ideal dairy farm - “Barrenjella - about 10 miles from our destination. One hears of the hospitality of country folks - here we experienced it in full - long may they prosper!
The end of the story is just sun, dust, road and more dust, plus thirst and a few blisters, and the final tragedy - the loss of our little pal “Bunda” who bolted when he got into civilization again - not that I blame him, but his gain is our loss. Brenda White
We have rarely had a more enjoyable talk than that which was given us by Mr. A.J. (Jock) Marshall, on the 20th April last. We were glad to welcome Jock along and are looking forward to his next appearance with pleasure and interest.
April the 29th was for the many, Boat Race Day, but for the “Bushwalkers” it was Austens' Party. All those who were there - well, they know what a good time they had - and as for those that weren't, we won't rub it in by telling them what an enjoyable time they missed. Suffice it to say that the Blue Gum Forest is now a fully paid up purchase, and entirely free of debt. Bravo! Bushwalkers!
The Social Secretary had left May 19th free, for a dance and frolic at the Club Rooms and despite the deluge that persisted, over 50 members turned up to trip the light fantastic and to see if they could forget how wet it was outside.
May the 26th will be memorable among Bushwalkers as an entertaining evening during which they listened to Tom Herbert telling of his and Harold Chardon's recent canoe trip down the Shoalhaven River. Harold supported Tom ably; he projected on to the screen a truly comprehensive pictorial account of the trip - proceeds of both their cameras. Those of us who have been on the Shoalhaven were impressed again end again with the rugged beauty of that lovely Gorge.
A little bird - not so little either - whispered to me that Bushwalkers may be seeing pictures of another Canoe trip very soon. This time down the Kowmung. Now that these Canoeists have been down nearly all the rivers, I would very much like to suggest that they Canoe up the next one for a change. I am sure it would be ever so much harder work and very likely much more thrilling. Also I would like to tell Tom and Harold that the really latest and best way of catching a duck, is in a hat a la Dunk.
The first SBW Dance of the 1933 Season was a glorious success. The pretty Ballroom of the Arts Club is a very good setting for such functions and the many beautiful frocks of the girls helped to make a very pleasing scene. All were, as usual at Bushwalker Dances, in the mood to get the best possible out of the evening, and a matter for congratulation is that the attendance was one of the largest we have had for a very long time. That grasping Social Secretary of yours will have a little more cash to add to the account in consequence.
We heartily congratulate our friend “Griff” (Miss E. Griffiths) on her being able to get back again to the Club on Friday evenings. We hope to see her standing on her own two feet again - that is without the need of support. It has been a long 4 months for “Griff” and not exactly exciting.
Our congratulations are extended very sincerely to Joe and Kath Turner on the recent addition to their Home and Hearth. We hope to be allowed the privilege very soon of making the acquaintance of Elizabeth Joy. Long life and happiness to her are our wishes.
We were surprised and pleased to see Albert Crandon - a very old one-time member and his wife - an old friend of the Bushwalkers - in the Club Rooms on Friday last. We would like to see them there more often. We value our old members and friends.
Don't neglect the 5th Annual Sports Day. Come and see how fast you can boil the billy (The Social Secretary will be only too glad to use the water) and run round in circles and other entertaining things. It has been rumoured that “Griff” intends competing for the three-legged race on her own. Come and see what you can do against her. July 1st and 2nd are the auspicious dates and we are looking forward to a large roll up.
The Social Secretary wishes Members to bear in mind the forthcoming First Annual Bushwalkers’ Ball to be held at Hordern Bros. Ballroom an Thursday, July the 27th. Tickets will be available at 6/6d. each from the Social Secretary in a fortnight. Rene D. Browne Social Secretary
Our Social activities are extending further afield and so Walks have been arranged with the Hiking Club of Sydney and The Mountain Trails Club. The first on 9th and 10th September, to Lilyvale, starting from Bundeena via Marley, Garie and Era, the leader for the weekend being Mouldy. A party led by Vic Thorsen will leave on Sunday and join the campers.
The Mountain Trails Club joint walk will be led by Myles Dunphy and will take place on the 16th and 17th September - Woy Woy to Mt. Patonga.
It is hoped that many will turn up an these walks and meet the members of our Companion Clubs. Ed.