A Journal devoted to matters of interest to Members of the Sydney Bush Walkers, Sydney, New South Wales.
No. 17. February 1934.
Misses Brenda White, (Editor), Marjorie Hill, Dorothy Lawry, Rene Browne and Mr. Myles Dunphy.
My appeal in the Xmas issue for contributions has had very gratifying results, no fewer than four people who had not previously written for the “Sydney Bushwalker” having come forward with articles. This is just what we want. We always like, and somehow expect, to hear from the “old reliables”, but we do think that there are many others in the Club who take on worthwhile trips and have interesting experiences but who are rather diffident about writing for publication. Nobody seems to have much difficulty in describing thrilling and amusing incidents to their friends at the Clubroom, but ask them to write - and it's a different story. Let's hope that the example of some will have an encouraging effect on others, as we want our little paper to be truly representative of all sections of the Club.
I wish to thank Dorothy Lawry and Jean Trimble for helping to gather in contributions for this issue.
The Annual will be published in April in future instead of June, as the Club year ends in March, and it is our intention to make it an issue of much more general interest to walkers in other countries, as well as in our awn.
The idea of having this type of Annual originated in the fertile brain of Marie Byles, who very kindly offered to help me with the selection of contributions. The work is well in hand, and we can all look forward with interest to the April issue.
I have on hand an interesting article on a trip to Barrington Tops by Gilbert Taylor, which, awing to lack of space, I am forced to hold over.
Don't forget that the Swimming Carnival is being held at Bushwalkers Basin 24th and 25th February, also that the Annual Reunion Camp will take place at Euroka Clearing a fortnight later.
Now comes a very pleasant duty, that of placing on record the fact that the people of Tasmania are the best ever. Mouldy wrote an article some time ago in praise of the hospitality of the Melbourne Walking Club - but it would take the space of many articles to adequately express our thanks and appreciation of the way the folks of the Little Isle took us to their hearts. We were only there a few weeks, but we felt as much at home as if we had lived amongst them for months.
Marj. Hill [Marjorie Hill] has promised to write an account of our Cradle Mountain trip for a later issue. For wildness and grandeur of scenery there can surely be few places to compare with that new National Park.
Motoring back from Kosciuszko the sun glinted on the granite slabs of a range of true mountains; then we rushed through Michelago and saw them no more. But they remained in my mind, and, after several abortive efforts I did at last find myself, one grey, rainy morning, tramping over the green paddocks and rabbit-proof fences between Michelago Station and the Tindery Range [Tinderry Range]. The drifting mists swept backwards and forwards and between whiles revealed the rocky tops 3000 feet above the valley. It was the last view we were to have of them for two days.
Near the foot of the col between the two highest summits we reached the Michelago Creek and the last farm house. We felt certain we were successfully looking like part of the landscape when some eagle-eyed or fox-nosed dogs barked our betrayal to their owner, and there was nothing for it but to step forth boldly into the open and meet him as he came hurrying down to see what he could do to help us. My companion, who had worn only bloomers under the skirt she had discarded on account of the rain, stayed discreetly in the background and left me to do the interviewing with no better moral support than a pair of very ancient shorts which had never, even in their youth, possessed much beauty, and had lost whatever beauty they did possess in the Jounima [Jounama] scrub. During the interview I was acutely conscious of Mouldy's remark concerning these same shorts when they were in the heyday of their life, “Why Judge! They are nearly as good as some I once made for myself!” However, Mr Byrnes did not seem to notice anything wrong with my attire and treated me with as much kindness as one usually receives from country people.
We pitched our tent a little further on where the green of the plains gave way to the bush of the slopes. Here we ate a second breakfast and watched the mist drop lower and lower on the heights above. I kept my eye on them the whole time, but there was only one opportunity for a compass bearing.
We then started upwards, keeping to the right of the creek in accordance with Mr Byrnes' directions. The lower slopes were barren of undergrowth and delightfully easy going, but as they steepened they became covered with stones, rocks, undergrowth, and a general mix up of dead and living trees. It rained on and off, and once or twice the sun attempted to come out, but nothing came of its good intentions. From the col we had no means of knowing just which direction to go. The parish map showed the range as approximately N.E. and S.W., but everyone acquainted with parish maps knows how helpful they are. We struck up the hill on the left, and on the top felt more lost then ever, for the mist veiled everything. However, just then there was a small break and we saw a little rocky knob considerably above us and across the next valley. We did not know what it was, but I vowed that, anyhow, bag that I would, if I had to climb it in my stockinged feet. The rocks in these parts are covered with lichen and moss and were frightfully treacherous in the rain for rubber-soled boots, and that was the reason for the last part of the vow.
Wet branches, wet undergrowth, slippery rocks, logs, trees, a tangle of plants, and eventually we struggled up between the boulders and scrub to the rocky top. Even in stockinged feet, I had one nasty slip on the greasy rocks. The mist was still over everything, and I could see nothing as I crawled up by hands rather than feet to the top, where to my surprise I found a cairn and trig sign. I had imagined there was only one cairn on the ridge and that on the highest point, and this I felt certain was only a little rocky knob of no importance.
I rejoined my companion, who was much out of condition and therefore unable to tackle the final pinch, and then a marvellous thing happened. The sun shone through for perhaps a couple of minutes and the valley spread out below the angry clouds, a glory of emerald and gold amid deep sapphire hills, but more wonderful still, we found that we were higher than anything else around, and I realised joyfully that I had bagged the highest peak and had him safely in my rucksack!
We struck down the face of the mountain as a variation from the route up, and we soon realised why I had seen granite slabs glistening in the sunlight. But that was not all. Between the slimy, slippery rocks was a tangle of undergrowth, loose stones, little precipices, dead trees rotting under the criss-cross living ones, and every conceivable obstacle that nature could invent to show us the folly of the route we had chosen. And what was worse, the steep slopes did not give way to the easy ones until we were practically in camp.
It did not rain that night, but the next day it did, the less said of it, perhaps, the better. On the third day it cleared, but the treacherous rocks of the upper lands seemed to have lost some of their attractiveness to me even, let alone my companion. So we went down to the Michelago Gorge and the Murrumbidgee River, where the pointed native cypress, the creamy marble rocks and the swift muddy river seemed altogether un-Australian, and I dreamed I was back amid the tall spruce forests and the glacier rivers of Canada.
Marie B. Byles
I have been asked to contribute an article for this “Bushwalker” - why, goodness only knows - but when I asked what subject I should write on the reply was, after a moment's hesitation: “Oh! nothing.” Hence the title.
“Nothing”. I came home, retired to my couch, and gave the subject most serious consideration, and, considering, lying on my back and staring at the ceiling, there rose before me, as in a dream, memories and recollections of Club activities and personalities which, already in the short period or my membership of little more than two years, are passing into the limbo of forgotten things. “Verily”, thought I, “the old order changeth and giveth place to new.” How true, how sad very often, and yet how inevitable.
Comparatively speaking I am a new member and still look with a certain amount of reverence upon those senior members who originally strove and worked, explored and dared, for the sake of the Club and the freedom which we enjoy today. And how many of them are left? Time, with his scythe, marches cynically an, caring naught for old prejudices, old likes and dislikes, and in his wake blows the wind of current thought and opinion, which leaves breathless and inarticulate those who were many but are now few.
Faces floated before my eyes, mistily, phantastically; faces that smiled and laughed; faces that were sad. Yet in all those faces, whether laughing or sad, there dwelt a question - an appeal: “Quo vadis”? Whither goest thou? Repeating the question, I wondered.
Again before my eyes there rose the deeds of yesteryear - the happiness, the joy, the verve of life, and above all the general cameraderie which was so characteristic of the earlier days. The Reunions when all were present - sparkling campfires - spontaneous gaiety - laughter bubbling over - wit - joie de vivre - and good comradeship all round.
Slowly the scene changed; faces appeared that were not there before; others vanished to return no more. Instead of just a sea of faces there showed many little groups of faces. The smiles were fewer, and as one group approached another, advertently or inadvertently, the latter receded with exceeding swiftness. Came a look of mute wonder on some - here and there of incredulity - and sometimes a slight sneer! And over all hung an air of expectancy, not of joy but of foreboding.
A sadness came upon me as though I were witnessing the last scene of a drama whose characters were about to fulfil a mournful destiny, when suddenly it seemed as if a light shone on the assembly, a light which at once illuminated and woke to sudden life all whom it touched - a light whose appeal was irresistible.
My last impression was of a warm glow of good-fellowship which emanated from the happy and carefree band now mingling freely, one with another, and all at once a great shout rent the stillness - a shout …
“Quarter to six, old man, and time to get up”. Father stood at the door, and the sun streamed in upon me through the open window. I murmured sleepily and gazed unseeingly at … NOTHING!
(Continued) H. Chardon. [Harold Chardon]
Wednesday - HEAT!!! - As the sun rose the sky had that brassy look which always presages great heat. Today was no exception.
Up early, we paddled round taking photos and swimming in the pool in front of our camp till it was time we left on our voyage downstream.
At 10.30 we started and the rapids came thick and fast till we wondered whether it was worthwhile embarking at all. Lunch time found us an a sandy beach in the rather scanty shade of a wattle; drinking lime juice and gasping with the heat. The sand was so hot one could scarcely bear to set foot an it. Just as we were embarking again a breeze sprang up, making things bearable for our afternoon trip.
More rapids! They continued right up till camping time (4 pm). During the day we had to negotiate 14 rapids, making a total of 40 up to date. We were absolutely done in when we at length unloaded “Joy” and made camp back of a sandy beach an the left hand bank of the river just below Bullow Creek. My legs got pretty badly burned as, being stern paddler they get no protection. After resting up for a while Tom took the prospecting dish down to the river, and in the cool of the evening we panned for gold, getting several specks of colour. Just at dusk a Lyrebird on the rise behind our camp gave us a most wonderful exhibition of mimicry until we turned in (about 8 pm). Ducks were seen during the afternoon but too far for a shot.
Thursday - up at 6 am, breakfast was soon under way, after which we wrote our diaries, this duty having been deferred from the previous day. Are were afloat at 9.55 and after passing our third rapid came to a fine long pool, right in a bend of the river. Further rapids followed, all of them small, till we came to another large pool. Fishing was decided on at this stage, so a spinner was let out aft with about 20 yds. of line. Ten minutes later we had our tea in the shape of two fine perch. This is the simplest fishing I've ever done! The fish catch themselves on artificial bait.
Another rapid and another pool, half way along which we stopped for our usual cold lunch, and as I write this we are lazing in the shade of a willow, smoking our pipes and swilling lime juice. The sun had been hot as my legs will testify, but a cool breeze is blowing and altogether the weather is perfect. The cliffs on either side of us are falling in height, and today we passed the point at which the older rock disappears and the sandstone makes its appearance right to water level.
While waiting for the sun to do its worst before starting, I noticed some ducks downstream well out of gunshot. We debated whether or not we would go after them, and in the end decided that as our meat was running low I should go along on foot and get a shot in. This I did and winged one; Tom then brought the canoe and we dispatched it in fine style with another shot. 14 had been pretty bad with sunburn up till now, and this short spell in the blazing sun finished things. When we arrived back in camp I was in agony and could not even help Tom with the cooking. Later I remembered having heard that Bicarbonate of Soda was a good thing. It was! Relief followed immediately and after polishing off a good feed of duck I was able to cook damper for the morrow. We are staying the night here.
STOP PRESS. Our eel line just went off and nearly pulled down the tree, we had it tied to. We landed him. A beauty! As thick as your arm and 2' 6“ long. The line is a sight for sore eyes. I'm not touching it till daylight.
Friday - Up at 4.45 am and packed and away by 6 o'clock. Even then the flies beat us, and we interred our perch with all honours. The going was easy so we put the spinner out again and soon had two more fish, even bigger than the others. Goodness only knows how many we could have caught had we wanted them. The river is simply alive with fish and game. We passed through several long deep pools with occasional rapids, and at 7.59 am “Joy” turned into Kangaroo River and headed upstream. We stopped at the first rapid a little way from the mouth of the river and prepared breakfast.
The fish (grilled) were beautiful and although we have not yet sampled the eel, he looks 'good oh!' in the stewpan. Today is a scorcher! Even our cool breeze of yesterday has turned hot. We do not intend going on until late afternoon as my legs won't stand the strain of another day in the sun. The rapid below our camp is the first one we have been able to shoot, and although but a baby, we have been making up for lost time. Even to stunt shooting in an empty boat. As I write this (12 noon) the heat is almost unbearable and the incessant drone of the flies and locusts very tiresome. During the afternoon a storm worked up and we decided to make camp here as the position is good. So far all that has happened is that a few drops of rain have cooled down the air, but I think we will get it tonight. We've just had a good tea of boiled eel, potatoes and anions, damper and jam, figs and tea. Not so bad after a week “at sea”.
Christmas Eve - It rained steadily all last night. This morning a gale is blowing with occasional scuds letting down more wetness on us. Our departure was delayed until 11 am to get as much of the sun as possible to counter the icy blast from the South.
The Kangaroo River is a beautiful placid stream, showing a very marked contrast to the Shoalhaven. The first pool is some six or seven miles in length with well treed, grassy slopes on either side. About half way along, the River is joined by Bundanoon Creek while at the top of the pool, after passing up a small rapid Yarrungah Creek [Yarrunga Creek] is met. Small rapids follow in quick succession as the river bends away to the East through most beautiful country, eventually finding its source in the mountains surrounding Kangaroo Valley.
Banks lined with Casuarinas, the river is clear, with a gravelly bottom and thick grass to the water's edge, broken by occasional patches of rock. Camp was eventually pitched in a pretty setting about 8 miles up from the Shoalhaven. Tea was soon under way and as soon disposed of, damper cooked and a little fishing indulged in. The fish were small so we had to catch four to make a decent breakfast. A gale of wind has been blowing all day and although we are quite sheltered here, we are wearing flannels and keeping pretty close to a respectable camp fire. The rain seems to have cleared away and Christmas Day should be fine. Tom came to light with cigars after dinner “Just to show it's Christmas”.
Christmas Day - Still windy with a clear blue sky. We started downstream after a good solid breakfast of porridge followed by boiled fish and coffee. After negotiating the rapids we passed yesterday, we put out the spinner and I took the bow seat with the gun. We bagged neither fish nor fowl and came to the conclusion that, compare with the Shoalhaven, the Kangaroo River is practically devoid of game. We stopped at Bundanoon Creek and walked about a mile upstream, the creek bed became too rough after that for bare feet, so we returned to the boat and paddled back upstream about half a mile to where we had seen a good camp site, had a cold lunch and settled down to a quiet afternoon in the shade of the casuarinas. When we awoke, it was to find the sun setting and the wind setting rapidly. Tea was soon over and we took a turn up and down the river with the spinner. Nothing doing! Tom made a wonderful damper on our return which we set aside for the morrow.
Another pipe of tobacco, memories of past Christmas Days spent together and we turned in.
(To be continued)
(Tune: It Ain't Gonner Rain No Mo')
1. This is the yarn of Dunc and her friends, who thought they were all very tough,
When they left one day in spirit so gay to tackle the Colo rough.
They were loaded with food and cameras galore, which filled their old packs to the brim,
But their hearts were light though they looked such a sight, and they all were in very good trim.
2. They went for two weeks with the object in view of ambling along at their leisure,
With never a thought in the time so short, of anything else but their pleasure.
But the vines lay thick in the valley bed, with their armour of bramble and thorn,
And so in dismay they made their way, all bloody and scratched and torn.
3. There was Ninian in front and he hacked path from dawn to the close of each day,
With Dunc at the back to flatten the track and form the permanent way.
While Auntie and Roxy and the rest of the gang came trundling along behind,
All doing their best to survive the test and Ray to preserve his mind.
4. The days flew past and the miles crawled by, the party getting thinner & thinner,
And the day came at last when they had to fast and go without any dinner.
They were down to some aspros, some tea and some rice, & it was hours since they'd last been fed),
When Dunc caught an eel and they made a good meal off the bones & the skin and the head.
5. At last quite exhausted they broke from the scrub like seven grey ghosts from the west,
After ninety miles odd, and they thanked their God that at last they'd be able to rest.
Their boots were worn from right off their feet and their clothes were hanging in tatters,
But they've all stood it well, and they're back now from hell, which really is all that matters.
6. Now Dunc she has made ten new holes in her belt & Roxy's just fading away,
While Auntie doesn't care how hard you may swear, so long as she can eat all day.
The others are most of them pale & thin, and their health won't allow them to laugh
But poor Ray Bean can hardly be seen - he's minus two stone and a half.
Food - at once the blessing and curse of camping. How easy without food (to carry) a fortnight's trip would be, yet how drear the prospect of a fortnight without food (to eat).
Many folk would blush with shame if they realised just how much of their time was spent in the contemplation and consumption of comestibles. In camping the proportion is greater than ever. If you see a group of people sitting round a table in the club, frowns on faces, grave demeanour, pencils and paper handy, you can bet a rucksack to a tin of tomato soup that the subject of discussion is not President Roosevelt's gold buying policy, the unity of the Labour Party or even something serious such as test walks. No the subject is food.
The writer quite candidly confesses that the question of food is an important one to him and openly attacks the problem at every opportunity. Here are a couple of tips he came across recently:-
Spread tinned baked beans on a flat dish and dry in the sun or in an oven without scorching. They should then be pulverised and may be carried in a ration bag. They make an appetising and nourishing soup, which is ready in a few minutes.
An old hand gave the following:-
Prepare ordinary green beans as for cooking, i.e. string and slice thinly. Spread out on a tray in the sun and leave until quite dry and brittle. They may then be carried in a bag and take very little longer than fresh beans to cook in camp.
Paddy Pallin has got something new too in the food line. It is “Carnox” granulated meat. It is fresh meat, minus bones, gristle and water. It will keep indefinitely and does net attract flies. One pound is equivalent to 5 lbs. of fresh meat. It takes no longer than fresh meat to cook. It will make any dish that can be made from mincemeat, such as stew, rissoles, shepherd's pie and so on. It should be worth a trial.
Of course you know where Paddy hangs out:
312 George Street,
Over Hallam's Ltd.
Opp. Wynyard Station
(where all the policemen are)
Alighting from the train at Leumeah on a recent Saturday afternoon, a party of five of us wended our way to the “Basin”, which was nothing very unusual, as we frequent the place suite a lot. The walk out held no new attraction, with the exception of an auction sale at one of the farms, which, of course, did not interest us, particularly as it was raining fairly steadily. Of this feature we were pleased, for the morning had been exceptionally hot and the rain, more or less, cooled the atmosphere. Frequent flashes of lightning were visible, and peals of thunder heard, which warned us that the rain might not be so welcome as we first thought,
After calling in at one of the farms for fruit, etc., we arrived at the “Basin” and at the cave above Bill Henley's, which we usually occupy, as knowing of many caves there we seldom bother about tents. “Our Home” is a very open cave, but unless it rains extra hard and much, one can usually manage to keep dry.
Our first task was to get a supply of wood in, which we did, the heavens still remaining open and the thunder still growling its warning. By this time it was rather a difficult job to pass from one end of the cave to the other without being sprayed with drips, although there was plenty of dry space for our gear on the ledges at the back of the cave. The next item was a meal, after which we felt prepared for the worst.
As Bill Henley had not arrived at this stage, about 7.30 p.m., we decided that we would occupy his cave for some time, at least until the river rose, if it did. We also made use of Bill's bundle of hessian which he leaves at the “Basin” from week to week. Just as we were settled, Gordon Smith arrived, and his position in the cave was such that he was able to keep an eye on the river. Fixing a torch to the roof like a lamp, we made ourselves quite comfortable and prayed that Bill would not come and upset our plans for the night. As is customary with us we sang many of the songs from our repertoire including - “River, stay 'way from Door,” which was most appropriate.
About 12 o'clock we were awakened by Gordon, at least those of us who were asleep, and it was decided that we would have to vacate Bill's cave, as the river was fast rising. Such excitement, I can assure you! As the rain had ceased, temporarily, we just brought our sleeping gear to “Our Home” and dumped it down, having decided to walk around and have a look at the “Basin”. This just looked like a mighty ocean, but as it was fairly dark we could not get a very good view. On arriving back at the cave we once again attempted to get comfortable for the balance of the night. But lo! the hessian was gone. Speaking candidly, I was mystified. However, Gordon solved the mystery by discovering some gear some distance away, which meant that B111 had arrived and was transferring his hessian etc. to a higher and drier cave. Thus ended our night's sleep, I think, as it began to rain again and the dry space in the cave was reduced to a minimum. We were quite tickled when one of the boys decided to sleep on the top shelf, but I can assure you he did sleep, which could not be said of some of us. Some were in sitting positions, and I was lying on rock at an angle of 45°, with a large stone at my feet to prevent me from slipping out into the wet altogether. Thanks to a new sleeping bag of Paddy's, I was at least warm.
At the first signs of dawn we could see the river from 'our door', a most unusual sight, and which meant that Bill's cave was well under water. The water was rushing by at such speed. too. Around we went to the “Basin”, so sorry, of course, to vacate our comfortable beds - oh yeah! There were no falls at all; so high was the water that it just poured straight in without a drop. Punchbowl Creek was sending in its share to make the big sea, and where the river and creek met in the middle was a kind of whirlpool. The combined, waters flowed on their way, causing a very fast current.
Blue sky, however, began to peep through the grey, and 'Old Sol' was endeavouring to penetrate through the clouds. Later on in the day, when the floodwaters had subsided somewhat, we got into the river below the “Basin”, and swam, or allowed ourselves to be carried with the currents for about a quarter of a mile or so, which provided a new thrill.
All day long the “waves” were capped with white foam, and the “Basin” certainly had the appearance of an angry sea, The day turned out quite hot, and, as usual, we had some sunbaking, and in due course departed for home having seen the “Basin” under extraordinary conditions.
by “Mal de Mer”.
Friday was a scorcher. The hearts of the intending voyagers rose at the prospect of a good night at sea. Nine of them arrived at Albion Wharf to find all quiet and in darkness. Eventually they knocked up the Skipper and he let them into the wharf about eleven o'clock. By midnight the party was complete and numbering twelve. Sailing was scheduled for 2 a.m., so an excursion was made to that low dive at Central Station, where one picks up a tray, looks at it, sniffs, turns to the cutlery, resigns oneself to the use of it, and passes on to ponder over the menu. There was quite a selection, but on inspection cocoa and toast seemed to be the general order. By the time the toast was scorched, and they had paid several visits to the canteen for forgotten cutlery, and had been grumbled at by more experienced cafetarians, the time passed and they trooped back to the ship via back alleys.
At precisely 2 a.m., the propeller kicked over and the “Eringhi” moved out into the stream. Pyrmont Bridge opened to an imperious toot-a-toot, and the “Eringhi”, with its freight of fruitboxes and Bushwalkers, slipped out into a sable and diamond studded night.
'Twas Jean's first ocean voyage, and she stood near the bridge thoroughly enjoying the lift and fall of the ship as she took her course to the Heads, nosing into a freshening breeze. The more blasé ones reclined amidships amid the cargo, or made themselves comfortable in odd corners. The “Eringhi” may be a luxury liner, but not for the passengers.
Manly was astern when a figure rose from the melee and took a place at the rail. Shortly another followed, and our worthy leader and his wife heaved in unison, while Richard hovered round with cups of water. Off Dee Why, Jean, not to be out of things, also went to the rail. The headwind steadily rose, and the “Eringhi” began ploughing her way through a heavy roll. The remainder of the party slept on till dawn, when Edgar also joined the “hearty” heavers. The following is a sample of the conversation: Richard: “Look at the sky.” Jean: “Isn't it (heave) gorgeous” Heave! And the dawn came up.
After rounding Barrenjoey the “patients” were able to lift their heads to appreciate the glory of early morning on Pittwater. The ship moved well up the harbour and made her first call. May and Jean compared complexions to the amusement of the crowd. May won on a black smudge, though there was little to choose. A general clean-up was the order of the morning, and then early morning tea. The weekenders with well-kept lawns making emerald splashes through the grey-green of the gums only added to the peaceful beauty of the morning.
The promise of a swim at Patonga sent the crowd into their costumes, but the sun became hotter and hotter and made those sunbaking seek shelter. While cargo was being unloaded the party dived into the shark-enclosure at Patonga, to cool off. Hawkesbury River Station was the next call, and there the “Eringhi” added to her quota of passengers, who were much mused and some a little horrified at the costume-clad folk aboard, They soon realised there was no harm in them, and only thought them a little mad. From Brooklyn the “Eringhi”, after calling at Dangar Island, steamed up under the Bridge. There must have been close on a hundred calls made at the farms along the river, and at each call the “Eringhi” nosed into the bank, slewed round, dropped her cargo, completed the circle and steamed across the river to do it all over again at the next farm. Occasionally, to break the monotony, she dropped supplies into the boats which came alongside. The river is very lovely, with mangroves and, later, graceful pale green willows along its banks, broken here and there by river flats fringed with reeds.
Just after lunch she arrived at Wisemans Ferry to stay half an hour. A trip to the township for light refreshments and then a swim soon saw the half hour slip away to threequarters before the “Eringhi” moved out into the stream. From Wisemans Ferry the river gets slightly narrower and is bordered with willows. At 4.30 p.m. preparations were made to disembark, and shortly afterwards the party was waving goodbye to the “Eringhi” and her crew who had been much amused throughout the trip. Another swim, dinner and early bed to the tune of a thunderstorm completed a long enjoyable day.
Sunday was cloudy with a promise of rain. A plunge from the jetty, and a swim down river with the tide to the punt slips was a good appetiser for breakfast. Camp broke up at 9.30 and the party got onto the road for a leg-stretcher into Windsor. After casting envious eyes, at the melon patches at Ebenezer, a large watermelon was procured and consumed at Wilberforce. The rain cut lunch short and packs were shouldered in very short while. The party moved into Windsor at a brisk walk to keep warm, and after inspection of the Macquarie Church and graveyard they wended their way stationwards.
Even Jean and May and Paddy voted it a good weekend, so roll up for the next one. It will be an unofficially official one.
The Eye slowly travelled around the room. Under its hypnotic spell some wilted, many hurriedly glanced down, a few gazed with awe as It pounced on a likely victim. At last It saw me - step by step nearer It came - I clutched my seat in terror, made a frantic effort to escape, but too late! “Any contributions for the 'Bushwalker'?” went on our Recorder.
I suppose I'll have to write something, if only to uplift the ideals of the paper, but what can little humble I write about the Kowmung, Black Dog, Kanangra, Kedumba, etc. that everyone does not know? What advice can I offer you seasoned hikers - excuse me, walkers - that would not savour of telling your esteemed grandmothers to suck eggs? The answer in both cases is a lemon, or as the vulgar say, Nil. So I'll just confine myself to a few sketches culled here and there, commencing with a social note from the “Sydney Bush Talker”.
“The relatives and friends of Mlle. Jeane, one of the noted Pony family, will be grieved to learn that an Ixodes holocyclus, commonly known as a tick, inserted itself into her leg, whilst she was staying at her country seat, the ever popular resort, Basinville. Displaying heroic stoicism, while the bystanders were treated for hysterics, she resigned herself to our medical skill. Friends will be pleased to know the operation was successful, a half-inch splinter being removed from her extremity,”
On Being Photographed: - Escaping refugees could learn many hints from our efforts to dodge press photographers. Just when one is hot, tired and hungry - “Your picture, please” from some suave cameraman strikes a jarring note. One gets wearily up, registers action, looks as if the pack doesn't feel heavy, or that there is no blister on one's heel, and with a “Sun” smile contortion of the face, walks into focus. “You'll see this in tomorrow's paper” he says, as he saunters off, smiling smugly. We hope we won't.
On that notable Health Week Sunday, down at the Garrawarra reservation at Bulgo Lookout we met four of the species, who persuaded us to pose, just as we untidily were. Once we surrounded an important Person - hush! - the director of Sydney's leading store, and tried to look as if it was a usual event to be with a member of the Australian Broadcasting Commission - there! I have almost let it out. Again we sprawled picturesquely over a fallen log, emulating our ancestors in our attitudes.
Still, why worry over these things when a tinned milk firm thought our photo good enough to use in their ads? And it wasn't the “Builds Bonnie Babies” one! We hope to sample a case of their samples soon.
Icy-cold dips take first place in a walker's pleasures. Down near McMahon's, Cox River, we had our dip in the enticing grey water. Seething and bubbling o'er the polished pebbles, the lullaby of the river softened to a stillness as the waters entered the quieter casuarina-fringed reaches. These brooding sentinels afforded fatherly protection for our tents from the leaden sky. A splash and all was the same. No. Four heads floated lazily down stream. Gliding along, seductive reeds reached out lovingly, their intertwining fingers beckoning us to stay with them in their enchanted home. But no, with regret we had our last swim, and climbed out, leaving as a token our cast-off garments of fatigue and dirt.
Another time. Climbing wearily up the many steps towards Neates Glen, near the Junction at Blackheath, we reached a pool - silver splashes below the waterfall which clothed the rocks with its lacy gown. No one in sight, no feminine intruder; we stripped and dived. Four strokes brought us to a ledge upon which we sat, a spray of melted crystals, kissed by the sun, brushing our faces. Out of our icy bath, a brisk rub down, and lo! where were those steps ahead which daunted us before? We covered them rapidly, refreshed in body and in spirit.
Why all this fuss about Era? Everywhere we hear about people Era-mad. We read about Stars “going Hollywood,” but what of (K)nights “going Era”? Here is a rival song to “Put me an the train for Era,” and to the same tune:
“Put me on the train for Leumeah,
That's the place I long to see yer,
Off along the track, plenty in my pack,
For I'm going to eat it at the B.A.S.I.N.
Where the Punchbowl Creek just flows in.
That is where we like to dive in.
So, I hope to see you, pal,
At our Swimming Carnival,
For the Basin's just the place for me.”
|Australian Wilds, In||C.B. Barrett||2|
|Australian Wild Flowers||A.E. Sulman||35|
|Adventures of Johnny Walker,Tramp, The||W.H. Davies||16|
|Along the Road||E.K. Morton||27|
|Along the Track||R.H. Croll||13|
|Adventures in Friendship||Ethel Powell||42|
|An Australian Anthology||Percival Serle||71|
|Autobiography of a Super Tramp||W.H. Davies||48 & 63|
|Along the Road||A. Huxley||41|
|Australian Aborigine Place Names||J.R. Tyrrell||60|
|Barrier Reef, On the||S.Elliott Napier||29|
|Bush Calendar, A||Amy E. Mack||26|
|Bush Charms||L.G. Chandler||15|
|Birds and Green Places||A.H. Chisholm||12|
|Birds and Man||W.H. Hudson||23|
|Bush Boys Book, The||Donald Macdonald||28|
|Bible in Spain, The||George Borrow||78|
|Creatures. that Once were Men||Maxim Gorky||44|
|Coolah Valley, The||C.B. Fletcher||18|
|Cotswold Book, A||H.W. Temperley||49|
|Cargo-Boat and Mountain, By||M.B. Byles||57|
|Days When The World was Wide, In the||Henry Lawson||25|
|Exploration in Africa||E.W. Smith||59|
|Four Months afoot in Spain||H.A. Franc||19|
|First Crossing of Greenland, The||F. Nansen||77|
|Fifth Continent||E.O. Hoppe||84|
|Friendly Road, The||David Grayson||21|
|Forest, The||S.E. White||38|
|Foot-Loose in India||G. Sinclair||52|
|Forest Insects and Timber Borers||W.W. Froggatt||47|
|Green Mansions||W.H. Hudson||62|
|Hills and the Sea||H. Belloc||74|
|Hound of the Road||Mary Gilmore||55|
|Inland Voyage, An||R.L. Stevenson||33|
|Knocking Round||Le Gay Brereton||6|
|Kinship of Nature, The||Bliss Carmen||50|
|Lore of the Wanderer||Geo. Goodchild||20|
|Land of the Sun, The||E.J. Bray||4|
|Later Days||W.H. Davies||46|
|Landlopers||J.Le Gay Brereton||40|
|Mateship with Birds||A.H. Chisholm||73|
|Manual of Map Reading||War Office||81 & 39|
|Men Books and Birds||W.H. Hudson||51|
|Murray Valley, The||C.B. Fletcher||17|
|Old Bush Songs||A.B. Paterson||30|
|Open Road in Victoria, The||R.H. Croll||14|
|Open Road, The||E.V. Lucas||53|
|Pilgrims Way, On the||D.P. Capper||10|
|Purple Land, The||W.H. Hudson||67|
|Physiography of the Cox River Basin||Frank A. Craft||85|
|Romney Rye, The||George Borrow||80|
|Rambles of an Australian Naturalist||Paul Fountain||56|
|Save Australia||Sir James Barrett||9|
|Selected Poems||H. Kendall||24|
|Swags Up||J.Le Gay Brereton||5|
|Summer on the Rockies, A.||R.L. Price||31|
|Songs of a Sourdough||R.W. Service||61|
|Specimen Days in America||Walt. Whitman||64|
|Sydney Bushwalker (June '31-Dec.'32)||Club Magazine|
|Tramping with a Poet in the Rockies||Stephen Graham||43|
|Tramping in Arran||T.S. Hall||22|
|Trees of N.S.Wales, The||R.H. Anderson||1|
|Tales of Lonely Trails||Zane Gray||58|
|Tramps Anthology, The||Stephen Graham||65|
|This World of Ours||J.H. Curie||66|
|Virginibus Puerisque||R.L. Stevenson||32|
|Wild Flowers of N.S.W. Vol. 1.||Florence Sulman||36|
|Wild Flowers of N.S.W. Vol. 2.||Florence Sulman||37|
|Week on the Concord & Merrimac Rivers||H. Thoreau||45|
|Wool Track, On the||C.E. Bean||3|
|Week End Book, The||69|
|Wild Life in a Southern Country||Richard Jeffreys||75|
|Wanderings and Excursions||J. Ramsay McDonald||76|
|Walks and Walking Tours, On||A. Haultain||79|
|Walk About in Australia, A||Phillipa Bridges||7|
|Walking Essays||A.H. Sidywick||34|
|What Bird is That?||N.W. Cayley||11|
|Wild Wales||George Borrow||54|
|Yerranderie Silver Field||L.F. Harper|
I know it would be presumptuous of me to endeavour to describe with my limited vocabulary the wonders of our trip down the Woronora River by moonlight; but there must be many amongst the Bush Walkers to whom the mention of canoe-ing brings back happy memories. Every river has a charm of its own in the daytime, but it takes the moon rising slowly over the ridges to bring out the fullest beauty of the silvery waters.
Our party separated at Como at dusk; two of us to do the ten miles in our pack-laden canoe and the remainder to walk to Engadine to the Sabugal which was to be our destination. The walkers arrived some considerable time before us, and we were greeted by a hearty meal which was most welcome.
The Woronora is alive with fish of all description, and in the hopes of securing a fish breakfast we arose early the next morning and tried angling, yodelling, swearing and all orthodox and unorthodox methods - to no avail. Having completely given up hope we returned to our camp and brought forth the inevitable eggs and bacon. It was then that we were treated to an exhibition of the piscatorial art at its best. We perceived a motor boat and dinghy - crew attired in correct nautical garb - proceeding down the river midst much noise and commotion, which we were given to understand was the correct method of sending all fish life down the end of the river. This process continued for some half hour or so, then, having supposedly driven the scaly inhabitants of the Woronora into an area of some 20 by 50 yards, they proceeded to scientifically lay their net. From our vantage point we gained a first hand knowledge of how this should be done and were duly impressed. These modern Izaak Waltons then drove the fish up into the area covered by the net; the method employed closely resembling carpet beating, and this feat accomplished, the big moment arrived. Breakfast being temporarily forgotten, we gathered around to watch. The crew dashed to their respective positions and the net was slowly drawn up, but, alas l absolutely devoid of fish. The look of incredibility on our faces was seriously rivalled by the expression of chagrin registered by the disillusioned fishermen who slunk hurriedly out of sight. A little later a local rustic arrived on the scene, and using the most primitive method, threw a stone at a big fish that came to the surface, then calmly waded out and retrieved his booty.
This river is apparently the mecca of all would-be rowers, which afforded us an amusing afternoon; particularly when a rather pompous man-about-town - well-known to several of our party - was majestically rowing his lady-love up the river. On sighting us he put forth his “better than best” effort, with almost disastrous results. He unnerved his fair passenger and unseated himself. We endeavoured to appear oblivious of his discomfiture, but I'm afraid our shaking shoulders and suppressed giggles gave us away.
To my mind it is the enjoyment derived from simple incidents that contributes largely to the general happy spirit of the Bush Walkers.
(Play in Four Acts) Barney.
ACT I. Scene: The Club. Time: Umpteen long months ago. (Enter a young man dressed in his best, and a second rises from a seat at the back).
1st. (Cecil Kaplonk): Good evening, Mr. Morale. Are you going anywhere this week-end? I am very keen to do one of these trips you have told me about.
2nd. (Claude Morale): Why, certainly Mr. - er, what is your name? I'm sorry I've forgotten it. Kaplonk? Oh! yes, of course, Mr. Kaplonk; one meets so many people you know that new members' names are rather hard to remember. Yes, some of us are going to the Kowmung River for the week end. Rather stiff you know - about 47 miles - but it's very interesting country and I'm sure you would like it. Would you care to come?
1st.: Thank you very much, I would. Er - have you had tea yet? No? Well, come and join me - I'm going to have a glass of milk and some brown bread & butter.
ACT 2. Scene: The Club. Time: Some months later.
(Enter Claude, followed soon after by Cecil who removes his hat and discloses a rather muddy countenance from which the stain of daily toil has not yet been removed).
Claude: Hello, Cecil, old man.
Cecil: Why, hello, Claude. What shall we do to-morrow? Any suggestions?
Claude: As a matter of fact I was thinking of going to Era again, although we've been there twice during the last three months. It's so quiet and it will be a change from walking all the week-end.
Cecil: Righto, I don't mind. Shall we get the 2 o'clock? O.K! Er - had tea yet? No? Well what's on the menu? (Reads list) Ham, salad, beans, spaghetti, roast beef, oysters, prawns – ah! prawns. That's it, prawns, toast and tea.
ACT 3. Scene: The Club. Time: One year later.
(Enter Claude. Cecil already sits at ease with one leg in the table. He has no tie).
Cecil: 'Lo stinker.
Claude: 'Lo you blister, 'ow are yer? Cecil: Oke, brother, but gotta helluvathirst. Claude: So'v I. (Raises an eyebrow).
(Cecil shuts one eye, they both nod, rise, and depart through door).
20 minutes later.
(They return. They are not sad).
Claude: Going to Era to-morrow?
Cecil: Of course. You coming?
Claude: 'Umph! But can't go next week. I've been to Era 29 times since last Christmas and I'll just have to stop home and mow the lawn. Anyway, there's no peace at Bra with all the crowd there. How about going to Bondi?
ACT 4. Scene: The Club. Time: ? (Two untidy figures sit at a table. There is an overturned glass of milk and a faint aroma of lavender).
Claude: Where are you goin' tomorrow (hic)?
Cecil: So (hic) am I.
(Final curtain, and terrific crash as bad eggs, a dead cat, two turnips, and the Committee descend simultaneously upon the stage.)
(to say nothing of the dog & the woman).
Most of us were “Bushwalkers” but had no objectiones to riding in cars when going on a trip although some of our club mates think it is “infra dig” to do so, but none of our party minded the stigma. We had only a long week end at our disposal, and wanted to get out as far towards our objective as quickly and as easily as possible, as we all still had that Christmassy holiday feeling.
SATURDAY, 30th. DEC. 1933.
I'd arranged to meet the others at Gordon Station and of course, went to the eastern exit, where, after waiting a long time and seeing several trains come in, I saw Paddy on the bridge going westwards and went after him, but when I'd got across he had vanished. Search up the road and along the platforms was futile, but after a little I heard my name called, and found he'd been looking for me. The conveyance was on the main road already loaded up with May, 'Chips' and Leo with their packs - not Leo's as he is a super light weight camper and all his food etc. was in others' packs. The car was a 'Ford' truck and May had pride of place beside Chips the driver. Paddy and I. sat on the running boards while Leo on the tray with packs all round him was not contented, but wanted to be right in front between May and 'Chips', and had to be sharply spoken to on several occasions.
A quick run brought us to St Ives, where we bought some oranges and then another short run took us to a turn off which we soon found was the wrong one, but were able to get across to the track we should have been on, and so really got started on our trip to Commodore Heights & Little Pittwater. What a trip it was, too! Up and down gullies, with glorious views on either side from the tops of the ridges. It was a treat to seek the wild flowers, particularly the Christmas Bells.
A few years ago the Government spent a lot of money making this road out to West Head a scenic one for cars, etc., and we were counting on it being in fair condition, but what a disappointment. We could see where it had been good, but now most of the good parts had been washed away, and the best travelling is mostly through the scrub alongside the road, or over sand which has filled up SOMB of the lower lying parts. Inside half an hour Paddy and I were quite expert at hopping off the moving truck to either help the engine over a big rock or to act as brakes to prevent the truck dropping over one too suddenly. May and Leo also had their share of jumping off and on, but May sat over a good many of the jolts, and afterwards proudly showed us the bruises she'd got. “Chips” did not know what he was taking on when the trip WAS arranged. One of the worst stretches was along the divide between Coal and Candle Creek & McCarr's Creek. From below Arden, Willunga and Topham Trigs, we got splendid views over Lovett & Tagler's Bays to Pittwater, where a big number of yachts and launches were gathered for the Regatta. Everything considered, we made good time to above Little Pittwater, where the truck was left in the scrub and we got an our packs. Followed a little Creek, through some very rough stuff down to the salt water where we got a nice camping ground. All the way down there were some beautiful shows of Christmas Bush and Bells, palms and ferns.
Just across the Creek there was a big tent which we soon found sheltered a family party of Father, Mother and two sons. They were there for ten days and had a fine motor boat in which they did a lot of fishing. Soon we had a fire going and had 'a snack which we all needed, particularly “Chips” as he'd had nothing since breakfast at 7 a.m. Then the tents went up and we made ourselves comfortable for the night. There was a good supply of bracken and fern and any amount of wood. It was dusk by the time we had got all fixed up and had to have dinner by candle light. It was a glorious night with a nice balmy air and a full moon. Round the fire we talked and had a few choruses etc,, and then to bed as we were all tired. The mosquitoes in the tents were a pest, and all complained in the morning about having a broken night. Leo, like the humans, was restless and barked several times as well as doing a few scampers through the scrub after ?
SUNDAY, 31st, DEC. 1933. - All on the go about 7 a.m. and arter a cup of tea t for a swim, as the tide was on the ebb' and the beach is very flat. It was Leo's first Swim and he was a bit doubtful about it at first, but May's coaxing got him well in and he enjoyegit as much as the rest of us. The water had a nice soft feel and the sun was warm. After breakfast Paddy and I went rock- hopping round to Flint & Steel Bay, and on the way had a great game with an eel we found in a hole. Hungry Beach is an ideal camp spot with a good big expanse of flat grass and nice sand. There was a big camp made under the shade of some fig trees whichmade a beautiful picture. We'd left word that we would be back at 1 o'clock and would expect dinner to be ready and what did we find? May, Chips and Leo all asleep in the sun. They'd spent all the morning reading and sleeping and never bothered about a meal, as they'd plenty of nuts, chocolate, etc. However, we soon got -Wings moving and made up for lost time.
In the afternoon we all went round the rocks towards Challenge Head. It was very rough going as the rocks are covered with oyster shells and the cliffs too steep to climb round. Leo got very tired and foot sore. After tea we sat round the fire and had a little sing-song and yarn. We'd intended to sit up and see the old year out, but as all were tired and sleepy we compromised by going to bed at 9.30 and getting up just before midnight for supper. Paddy called me at 11.30 pom0 and we made up the fire and got tea ready. Careful watching of the time told us the big moment, to say nothing of the rockets and engine whistle from Brooklyn announcing the hour, and there were greetings and handshakes all round, Then some one produced a bottle of wine and some cake, and we toasted one another. It's wonderful what a Bushwalker's pack will hold. Eventually we settled down for the night about 12.30 a.m.
MONDAY, ist. JAN. 1934. - Through the night I was disturbed by something moving over my face and felt something furry. Switching on my torch I saw a little bandicoot disappearing out of the tent. The mosgaitoes were very bad again. All turned/out about 7 a.m, to find a dull grey morning with rain threatening. Such a contrast to yesterday. Great argument as to whether we'd have breakfast or a swim. Breakfast won as the water looked very cold and wet, but later on we hal a dip. In the creek there were a lot of little fish ranging from about I” to 3“ in length. Paddy has a fish pond at home and unused himself for the greater part of the morning angling with a jam jar he'd found. He got several which were transferred to a syrup tin for transport. We'd lunch about noon and struck camp, so were ready to move off by 1,15 p.m. Instead of sticking to the creek as we'd come down, we went straight up to the top of the ridge and found) we were right in thinking this was the easier way, as although the first scramble up was severe, the going on top was very easy and we hit the road within 100 yds. of the truck.
Leaving the packs and May at the truck, the three men and the dog went over to Euro trig where we thought there would be a good view of Pittwater and the boats, but were a bit disappointed. We saw Rarrenjoey well, and The Basin at our feet, but the lie of the land hid the yachts. Back to the truck and got aboard. Had several good runs as the lie of the road helped considerably, but we struck one or two bad parts. Once, the near rear wheel almost went over a bank, but by building up stones and pushing we were able to save a spill.
We'd planned to have tea at the creek which goes into Lovett Bay, so the truck was run across & up a steep slope on the other side. Paddy and I had gone back to where the packs had been left, when we heard a wild yell from “Chips”, and on rushing back found him trying to stop the truck from running down hill. Our extra pounds and a few stones held it up. At tea we used up most of the 'left-overs' and then got on board the truck again. On the divide between McCarrs Creek and Coal & Candle Creek there is a very nasty bit of road - badly topped and with two sharp turns. “Chips” had been dreading this, but got the 'bus' over it safely. From the top we had a good run until we saw the main road, and then pulledAp to make ourselves presentable for civilisation, that is, we tucked in our shirts and put on longs and jackets - at least “Chips” and I did, but Paddy only put on a jacket and May - ? Leo did not bother to chaage anything. He had the best of the trip - no pack, or bother about food or anything, and got plenty of petting.
A quick run brought us to Lindfield where the party broke up - I to catch a train to St Leonards and the others rounded the corner to get home.
The Christmas Camp was largely attended although there were a big number of non-members present. The weather was dull and not the most suitable for beach sport but the campers present managed to enjoy themselves in their usual hearty fashion.
New Year week-end was better favoured as to weather and the beach was, therefore, more popular.
We regret to learn that our old friend Myles Dunphy was taken ill while away an his holiday on the Kowmung, and we wish him a speedy and complete recovery.
Rene D. Browne, Hon. Social Sec,