A Journal devoted to matters of interest to Members of the Sydney Bush Walkers, Sydney, New South Wales.
No. 19 June 1934
Misses Brenda White, (Editor), Marjorie Hill, Dorothy Lawry, Rene Browne and Mr. Myles Dunphy.
We were very gratified at the reception accorded the first printed Annual, issued in April. Many copies were sent to friends in other lands, to overseas Walking Clubs, and to Melbourne, Tasmania and New Zealand. We tried to make it interesting, and must in a measure have succeeded, to judge by the quite unsolicited compliments we have had from various sources. But this is only a beginning, and next year we hope to publish an Annual that will surpass our previous effort, particularly in point of size.
But… it will mean a lot of work, so the idea is to start early, the earlier the better, to collect articles, poems, maps and photographs of general interest. In this work you can all help, either by sending in your own contributions, or by urging your friends to send in theirs.
One of the most general criticisms of the Annual was, that the articles were not long enough. This can be overcome next year, for with time and money many things are possible. We have time, nearly a year of it, in which to collect what amounts to money, namely, advertisements. Any suggestions in this regard will be welcomed by the Publishing Committee, who also will, with the consent of the contributor, hold over any suitable article for the Annual.
We all enjoyed “Dunc's” short article on the Colo trip, but in the August issue you will be able to read all the details, taken from her diary, of that arduous walk, now made memorable in song.
Last week's “Zealandia” brought us, in time for publication, a full account of the trip to Cradle Mtn., Tas., led by John Laughton of the Hobart Walking Club, in which three of our members participated. We acknowledge, with blushes, all the nice things John says about us, and hope we deserved some of them.
Since the return of the first Tasmanian party, there have been several others - Gwen Lawrie & Phil Brewster had a most enjoyable holiday in the little Isle, and the Hellyers, Dot & John, spent their honeymoon there - as also did “Dorman” and Jean Hardie, and all these folk were entertained right royally by our good friends Mary Harrisson, John Laughton and others down South.
Joyce Mitchell, of the Melbourne Women's Walking Club, is one of those who made complimentary remarks about our Annual. She is also lucky enough to have the opportunity of spending some weeks in New Zealand at the end of this year, and would like to get in touch with any other girls wishing to join her on an extended walking tour.
It is quite obvious that recreational walking and Walking Clubs have come to stay, despite the look of blank amazement still to be seen on the faces of many as we make our way to Central with packs on our backs. Five members of the newly formed “Coast & Mountain Walkers” were given quite an amount of attention by the strolling populace of Katoomba at King's Birthday week-end. The new Club, now 16 strong, shows every prospect of living up to the best traditions of organised walking. Welcome to the Bush!
Dec. - Jan. 1934. by John Laughton.
Party: Misses D. Spargo, (Perth, W.A.), Win. Ashton, Brenda White, Marjorie Hill, (Sydney Bushwalkers), Mary Harrisson, Roma Reid, (Hobart Walking Club), and Mr. J. Laughton (Leader).
SATURDAY, DEC. 30TH. 1933. We met at 2.15 p.m. in Liverpool Street, Hobart, and piled packs, bedding, tents and all the necessities for the next eight days on top of the Service Car, and got under way on our 108 mile car run, at 2.30. All were in high spirits, and looking forward to much adventure, as not one of us had ever before been over the country which we were to traverse, and from information we had been given it seemed as though we had a good chance of becoming bushed for some of the time at least. Among the gear, which weighed in all just over 300 lbs., were two maps which differed from one another, and we knew not which was correct… but this did not daunt us.
Once on the road, time flew. We were soon in the country, and running along the right bank of the Derwent towards New Norfolk, the river gradually growing smaller. Upon reaching New Norfolk a halt was made for extra photographic equipment, and than on again. Crossing the bridge to the left bank of the Derwent a lovely view opened up to our right, for each river bank was lined with beautiful willows which were mirrored on the glassy surface, giving wonderful reflections. The river itself disappeared some half mile away around a rocky bend above which rose a hill some 600 or 700 feet.
On we went through hop-fields and orchards, until Gretna was passed, when we drove through some of Tasmania's best sheep country, which is very open with only scattered trees.
Hamilton was passed at 3.30, and soon after 'Lawrenny', which is probably the premier of Tasmanian sheep and cattle stations. The whole of the country near the homestead is irrigated with water from the Clyde River. Many cattle were to be seen browsing on these green fields, while in the background all the hills appeared very dry.
Ouse was passed, and we bade farewell to the last township we were to see until the trip was over, some seven days later.
Between Osterley and Dee we had the ill luck to puncture a rear tyre, but the few minutes spent in changing it gave us a break, and chocolates and raisins were partaken of.
Soon afterwards, Dee, Nive and Bronte were left behind, and the new West Coast Road became our highway. In another half hour we passed Derwent Bridge where there is an Accommodation House, run by the noted “Fergy” (well known to most prominent members of the Hobart Walking Club). Mary had written to him to try and hire a launch to travel to the Northern end of Lake St.Clair, and had not received a reply, much to her dismay, as a stamped envelope had been enclosed…. so we did not call. Had this launch been obtainable, it would have proved a blessing in disguise as we were to find later.
Four miles found us at a beautiful Bay at the Southern end of Lake St.Clair, and here we stopped and unloaded our rucksacks, paid the driver and said 'Goodbye' to the last human being, outside the party, we were to see until our adventures, (or otherwise) were over.
Cynthia Bay and the whole of the lake was covered in a thick mist which seemed motionless, and hid from view that wonderful sight of a ten-mile lake, set in the midst of some of the most rugged mountains imaginable. Neither Mt.Ida on the east, nor Mt.Olympus to the west could be seen, and the prospects of fine weather for the morrow looked very doubtful, and knowing, myself, what the West and South West Coast of Tasmania is like, I fully expected a wet trip from beginning to end.
The two tents were then pitched and we had tea, after which Marj. and I perused both our maps, and I was surprised to find that she was such a good Bushwoman, and understood the maps so well. The question arose as to which map was correct, and then we retired, I to fall asleep considering the possibility as to whether we would strike the wild cattle that I had been warned so much against. Apparently they had escaped into the Pelion West country from the V.D.L. Company many years ago, and have been wild ever since. Bert Nichols, who acts as Guide, and was bringing a party through from the northern end, had previously told many of the H.W.C. members alarming stories of how they would attack camps, etc., so I felt much safer when I thought of the Webley 45 in my pack.
SUNDAY, DEC. 31ST. Arose at 4.30 a.m. and had a look out at the Lake which was still misted. Some went for a swim and we then had breakfast and packed all our gear. I inspected some to make sure we had provisions enough in case of snow and blizzards. I realised, that should this be the case, we should have to ration everyone, as we were not carrying nearly enough food of a fatty nature to withstand such cold, and travel hard.
At 6.10 we broke camp, and swinging our heavy packs, (mine 62 lbs.) on to our backs, we picked up the track which led away from the Lake in a West-SouthWest direction. Many pink Mountain berries and patches of Trigger grass were passed and admired, Then came the Cuvier River and a tributary, which were crossed on logs, Dot and Roma getting their packs wet when they slipped. Shortly afterwards the track led away from the river, and another went further to the west and we followed it. I consulted the maps and followed the river to find, that some thirty minutes later it led into some thick scrub, and vanished. We tried to go to the north to pick up blazes or stakes of the other track, but the scrub became too dense for us with our packs. I decided that we should retrace our steps to the fork of the two tracks.
Picking it up we were soon on our way, and in about half an hour came out on to Button grass plains, which made travelling much easier. These plains run for some eight miles up the Cuvier Valley, on the western side of Mt.Olympus.
The sun broke through about nine o'clock, and the mist soon cleared off old Olympus, and there he stood, a marvellous mount of some 4,680 feet, with steep rocky sides rising about 1500 feet above us, and behind which we knew was the pride of Tasmanian Lakes, Lake St.Clair.
At 9.50 a halt was made, while the contents of a bottle of Cascade ale was passed around. This had to go so early as the weight was too much for the small benefit derived from it. At 10.15 we commenced our march up the valley between Coal Hill and Olympus, expecting at any moment to come upon Lake Petrarch, but it was further than we realised. Several snakes were seen, and one killed. Ahead of us, Mts. Byron (4,450) and Cuvier loomed up, and behind, Mt.Hugel rose up some 4,700 ft. Seeing a saddle between Mt.Byron and Mt.Olympus, I knew this was the only way the track could go, (..Tacks in this country consist of a blaze just here and there. The rest you guess.).. so we pushed on till 12.10 when we came to Lake Petrarch, and halted for lunch until 2 p.m.
Just as we left, mists came over the lake and blotted out every landmark, so after passing to the east and to the farther end of it, I consulted the map, and our spare navigator, (Marj.). We decided on a course due north, and after crossing some more plain country, started to rise into the ranges. A hut, (very crude) was passed, and a stake which told us we were not yet-bushed. On up the pass to the saddle we pushed, and saw kangaroo hopping peacefully away ahead of us. The mist lifted at 3.45 and just afterwards I had the ill luck to injure my right ankle through foolishly jumping across a creek. None of the girls were in sight, and I was glad, for if they had known it would have caused some uneasiness, as it did to me for the day to come.
At 4 p.m. we passed through the saddle, and took a bearing on the Traveller Range, on the eastern side of the Narcissus Valley. This was to prove our most serious mistake, we soon came to a lovely myrtle forest, and down we went over logs and debris, until at 4.30 we came to scrub consisting chiefly of Tea-tree and Cutting grass. Marj. tried to find a clear way through, only to return to us with bad news: so our only hope seemed to be in forcing a passage which appeared almost hopeless. Why did we all come on such a trip?
Cattle were heard, and one blundered away into the bush, which we did not regret. After two and a half hours we came to a creek, and to make matters worse it began to rain. I realised we were hopelessly lost for the night, and would not reach Bert Nichols' hut where he would be with the northern party. I imagined I could hear some one call, so we all shouted, but with no answer. I then fired a shot with the 45 but still no answer, but I knew we were only some two or three miles away at the most. So we camped on the eastern side of the creek at 7.20, all tired…but game. Here I must mention the spirit of the three N.S.W. girls. Lost in almost impassable scrub, in a strange country, with wet weather, is not the happiest of positions for New Year's Eve: but they carried on and prepared tea and pitched tents, etc. without a word or grumble.
Tea over everyone turned in at 9 o'clock.
MONDAY, JANUARY 1st. 1934. Up at 5.30, and together with Marj. I left camp without breakfast or packs to find our position. It was very cold with a misty rain still falling, and the scrub was wet, but we pushed on undaunted to come out some two hours later at Lake St.Clair. Then to the mouth of the Narcissus River where we found nothing to guide us, so still walking hard: we, the two of us, went up the valley and found open Button grass plains. Knowing the way must eventually lead to the hut, we altered our course farther to the west to return to camp, and to our great delight found stakes which we followed. Several small creeks were crossed, and we commenced to doubt the whereabouts of the camp, and the others. Eventually we heard their call, and arrived at 8.30 to find a hot welcome breakfast to warm our cold and wet bodies, and everyone was again in high spirits, Marj. warmed her feet which we found were much swollen with the cold, but soon recovered. I must say, that never have I found in my wanderings in Tasmanian bush, a gamer chap, let alone a girl, than she was that morning, for I made my way through that dense scrub (scrub that has to be experienced before one knows what it is like) at a very fast pace, and she was always at my heels.
Congratulations, Marj. !
At 9.20 we again broke camp and retraced our steps to the stake we had found earlier that morning, and arrived at Nichols' hut which is set away in a patch of Myrtle near the Narcissus River. We found the northern party had left an hour earlier, and on the back of a playing card the following message: “Bert will be back tomorrow.” However, wishing to make the trip more adventurous we pushed on across the Narcissus River on a log, and stopped to admire this Wonder of Wonderful Valleys. The grandeur of such Mountains that met our gaze can hardly be imagined. To the east Mt.Ida, 4,400 feet, with its cone-like pinnacle, rising sheer out of Lake St.Clair. To the west were Mounts Olympus, Byron, Cuvier, Manfred (4,545 feet) and Gould (5,020 feet). To the east the Traveller Range, and to the north the Northern portion of the Du Cane Range. What a sight! Shall any one of us ever forget it?
On up the valley we went, ever admiring the views as they changed from different angles, until 12.30 when we lunched. It rained, so a tent was pitched. At 2.20 we again began our march, and the weather moderated and broke fine, so several photos were taken.
Later on, the blazes again became very scarce, and several times we found it difficult to find the way, and when at last I looked for my prismatic compass, I found that I had left it about an hour's walk back where a photo had been taken. Fortunately Brenda had a smaller one, so I decided to leave the several pounds' worth behind, and push on, as we were now nearly half a day behind our scheduled time. The girls over-ruled me, and Mary and Win decided to return for it. Leaving their packs, a tent and food in case they would not be able to overtake us before dark, the five of us pushed on, leaving marks for them to follow. Again difficulty in finding the way held us back, and at 7.40 we had risen well tip into the Du Cane Range, and decided to camp in some Myrtles near an old Trapper's hut which was useless. Looking back down the valley the view was magnificent, and Mt.Gould flow to west-south-west, silhouetted against a setting sun, with its hundreds of needle-like rocks of an organ-pipe nature, forming all kinds of imaginary forms, was something to remain in one's memory for ever. Then we realised, that as Win and Mary had not caught up, they must be bushed, so again fired a shot with the 45 but no reply, so back I had to go, and found them off the track just at dark. Knowing the way, we were soon back at camp, where we had a hearty meal of soup, bacon, rice and peaches, and turned in shortly after 10. The temperature had dropped considerably, and at the altitude of about 3,400 feet we expected a cold night. A Tasmanian tiger could be heard roaming around the camp, but after some time he made off, uttering some of his weird calls. If ever I have been cold to the marrow it was that night, and how I could have flogged myself for dispensing with a blanket to cut down weight, and only bringing my waterproof bag. After one and a half hours' sleep, I lay awake and perished until I could stand it no longer, so up at 3.45 and relit our camp fire, and enjoyed an over soothing pipe, until the others should arise.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 2ND. Everyone arose at 5 a.m. We prepared breakfast etc., packed our rucksacks, and thanked God that the weather was, to all appearances, going to be warm. Breaking camp at 7.15 we turned to the East through the Du Cane Pass, with the brilliant morning sunshine straight in our faces. On our left, and immediately above us, was the Du Cane Range, part of which exhibits a huge rock slide, with its rugged rocky heights standing out against a clear blue sky. The old hut was passed, and after losing the blazes several times, we eventually arrived in the Pass itself, which is actually the watershed of the Derwent and the Mersey Rivers, the Derwent running to the south, and the Mersey to the north. Here we had our last glimpse of that Wonder Valley, the Narcissus, and Mts. Gould, Byron, Cuvier, Manfred and Olympus, all near the 5,000 ft. mark. We had not gone far when Win had a fall. No one took much notice until afterwards when the side of her face was covered in blood. The scare was soon over as it was only a scalp wound and troubled her little.
Turning more to the north east, we gradually dropped into a valley where we knew the Hartnett Falls must be. Here a fresh surprise awaited us, for immediately ahead, and towering above us, was Cathedral Mountain, with its sheer rock walls, 600 or 700 feet high right round it. It was worth twice the hardships we had already gone through to see this one Mountain alone, but we had seen many, all beauties, and were to see many more. By the way, as far as I know, Cathedral Mt. has not yet been climbed, I may have a shot at it in the near future perhaps.
Blazes became even more scarce, and going was slow, but we eventually reached the bottom of the valley, and the track swung back to the west. According to our maps, (which proved wrong), we were near the turn to the Hartnett Falls, so down went our packs, (what a relief!), and we commenced searching. We found some blazes leading up the river, and we followed them for forty minutes, but no Falls could we find. The blazes vanished. There was nothing but the beautiful stream and thick scrub. Time was very precious, as I knew not how much time we were to lose in the day ahead of us, so to return to the packs was the only alternative. A few biscuits, and we pushed on, only to pass within a few minutes a stake with an arrow, upon which was scratched “Hartnett Falls”.
We were now five hours behind time, so we pushed on. I was ever in the lead, and here made the pace a 'cracker' in hot sun through the most beautiful Myrtle and Sassafras forest I have ever seen in this country. Blazes were more numerous so I could keep going, and I wondered how long the girls would stand it, but after an hour I stopped to admire Cathedral across a gorge to the north, and the Du Canes above us, then on again, and camped at the first water at 12.30.
We had not yet seen the Du Cane Hut, and I still wonder how Nichols takes parties through this trip in the time he does, for some of those I know have been through could never have kept the pace up that we were travelling at, and yet carry a pack. The only solution I can find is that he has many short cuts.
After lunch we spelled for an hour, and I lay with Win on a grassy mound, and discussed the position as regards time. Marj. saw several snakes within about ten yards of us. At 2.20 we began again, and in a few minutes reached 'Windsor Castle', an old hut, which was kept from being blown away by a heap of large stones in one corner. We should have been there the previous night, and it was then 2.30 p.m. The way was again difficult to follow, but we kept going hard and passed much Waratah in bloom, a truly lovely sight. We could now see Pelion East, Doris, Ossa and Thetis forming a wonderful panorama in the afternoon sun. On we pushed to the Kia Ora River, and its lovely Falls, above which we crossed on logs, and continued our way, finding many cattle tracks. Scrubby country then gave way to Plains, and we hurried on towards the Pelion Gap hoping to make up much time, and when I now recall it, I wonder how any of our legs stood it. Reaching the Pelion Gap at 7.30 I found for the first time, that the whole party was feeling done, so we halted for a few minutes and admired Pelion East, and Mt. Oakleigh, and then away ahead lay our goal, Cradle Mt. with Barn Bluff to the left of it, like a huge rock rising some 2,000 feet out of the plains — the sight of a life time. Could we reach Cradle in one and a half days' walking? I began to think it impossible, and looked at the girls sitting around tired and nearly done.
There was no water, so push on we must, and I thought then that we must have nearly made up time, as it was one day's march since lunch, according to the maps, and the Pelion Huts must be near at hand. After again missing the track several times, we at last heard the welcome sound of running water in some Myrtles, so there we camped at 8.15. Thirteen hours since we broke camp that morning. After tea, Win went to sleep where she lay and would push her feet into the fire occasionally for me to pull out – and kicked over the billy. I decided to sleep between Win. and Marj. to get what warmth I could from their eiderdown bags, and thereby got a better sleep, the loss of which was telling on me very much. Possums called one another in all directions, and a badger visited the billies, but we slept on. I heard cattle in the distance.
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 3RD. Arose at 6.45 with another hot day ahead of us, and broke camp at 8.40, thinking we were nearly on schedule, but no, not for some two hours' wander down the valley did we come to the Pelion Plains, and saw the huts, behind which rose Pelion West (5,000 ft.). No stakes could be found there, and we crossed the Forth River on stones, by mistake, Roma slipping and losing her bedding pack which went floating down the river with her wading after it, amid much laughter from the rest of us. Just another blunder. We should not have crossed the river, so back again and up to the huts which were the best we had yet struck, and in fact, the only ones fit to sleep in at all. We read many of the names on the walls, and of five days snow during Christmas, 1932. Cattle were heard not far ahead, so I again made sure of the sixshooter, and we hurried on, passing several large blazes, and struck Innes' track. At noon we stopped for lunch, in blazing heat, near a creek, and heard the distant firing of shots from the Mt.Lyell Mine quite distinctly. Then came the question as to whether Mary's boots would see the end of the trip, for they were giving in suddenly, but carry on they must. It then came to my mind the possibility of an accident to me, for my ankle was swollen and troubling me much. It would take five days to get help, even if Marj. could find her way out with Win or Brenda as a companion, and by this time our food would be out. I looked at the first aid outfit more than once in deep thought. Would it be necessary? Snakes,too, were all around us everywhere we went.
At 2.10 we started again, and could see yet another Mountain – Achilles, ahead of us. We crossed Frog Flat, and a creek near a large gum with a huge growth on the trunk, and commenced a steep climb round the side of Pelion West, our course now being north east. The heat told on us all severely, and was, I think, even worse than before. Round the side we went, looking down on Mt. Oakleigh and the Forth Valley, until at 3.45 we came out on to some Plains covered with Snow fern. A grand view of Pelion West was obtained, and the camera used. Away to the north was a thick Pine forest, which we then made for across blistering Button grass Plain with many snakes. We were all very tired, and still wondering how Bert Nichols does it in the time. Skirting the forest we arrived on the edge of a cliff and looked down the Forth Valley – a wonderful sight indeed. How wild this country seemed - and how desolate, and what must it be like in winter covered with several feet of snow? A wilderness of mountains, valleys, and plains – but how marvellous !
On we pushed over the plains, and past dried-up tarns, to come in sight of a Lake –but was it Windermere? The map said 'No', so on again. A wombat was roused from his sleep, and rolled away across the plain like a fat pig. At 7.15 a camp was made near two lakes, in a spot where there was a stone cairn. Many times did we wonder if it was some poor lonely Prospector's grave, but we were not afraid of ghosts. After tea I decided to shave, and I took the billy of hot water only to find there was tea in it, but very weak. But before I had a chance to start, Win accidentally kicked it over. The only water left (the creek was some distance away) was soaking the stew billy, but that was better than nothing, so off came my whiskers. We were all again very glad to turn in and rest our wearied bodies for the all too short night.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 4TH. Everyone of us was up by 7.10 as it was useless trying to sleep any longer, owing to the flies. I went to a creek for my Morning bath and saw a large tiger snake on the Button grass, but they were too plentiful to kill. Breakfast over, and our gear packed, we again shouldered our loads in brilliant sunshine. We followed Innes' track for some twenty five minutes to the north west, and I knew that we were making too far to the West, so we altered our course to North-North-East, after passing several tarns across one of which a whirlwind blow with such force that we were caught in the flying spray picked up from the surface.
In a few minutes we were to receive another surprise, for on coming over a small ridge we looked down on Lake Windermere, perhaps the prettiest lake it has yet been my pleasure to see, with islands in the middle, and fringed with pines. It was then after 10 a.m., and there was not a breath of wind, and, the sun even hotter than the two previous days. Leaving the girls to go one side, I went to the other to have a swim and bath. Again refreshed I took some photos and met the girls, and we hit the trail again towards Rocky Ridge. Snakes were still everywhere. I stamped on one, and one passed between Marj. and me within the next ten yards. Up over the ridge we pushed, the broiling heat soon beginning to tell on us, and spells were necessary. Once on top, plains stretched away to the north, and these we followed, and the going was easier. A porcupine was located and inspected, and Dot and Win dug for wogs while we rested. Lake Will appeared on our left, and as our time did not permit our visiting it, and I could see the heat was soon going to stop us, we held our course. Skirting a Pine forest, a large wedge-tailed eagle which we roused, floated slowly by in the heat haze. I found, at this point, a “miner's right” peg where a claim had been staked sometime by prospectors. Water could not be found, and as we had not had any since leaving Windermere, everyone was very thirsty, and Roma and Mary wanted to stop, but I knew it was useless. On we must go, below the eastern side of that magnificent mountain, Barn Bluff.
At 1.25 we came to a small creek and halted for lunch. No shade could be found except a small gum about 8 feet high, so we made the best of it. We then lay in the heat and sweltered, tormented all the time by hundreds of March and Blow-flies. At 3.30 a heavy haze came over, so we pushed off again towards Cradle round Waterfall Valley, and commenced our climb through a pine forest, up the side of the Mountain. No trace of the track could be found, but there seemed to be only one way up so we followed it. At last on the top of the ridge running from the Bluff to Cradle we found the stakes showing a track leading between them. These we followed right round the western side of the mountain to the northern side. There we found traces of a recent camp. After much discussion we agreed to push on further before camping. It was now easy to follow the track, but we did not know how far we had to go to “Waldheim”. Many outcrops of white quartz created interest in the party, and behind us now was Cradle, a truly wonderful sight, silhouetted against the setting sun, wildly magnificent, yet peaceful indeed, as not a breath of wind disturbed the air. I took several snaps using Win's pack as a tripod, and on we went down the mountain side, until I had another fall caused by the ever troublesome ankle….and lost my sheath knife. The track was now easy so we all made our own pace until a lovely stream was reached where we camped at 7.15. Looking across the valley, we saw for the first time “Waldheim”, but as we were now on time it was not necessary to push on. Our tents were pitched and we sat around the fire, feeling that wonderful contentment enjoyed only by those who complete such trips, for we were now nearly at the end of it all. All our remaining luxuries were taken out, including five eggs, Which had, for some unknown reason, remained whole. Whisky, tea and lemon provided our evening drink, and we drank to the success of the trips to come. After tea we sat round the fire until it died so low and sticks were placed on top, until the supply, handy, had run out. Then into our tents at 10.30 to refresh our now tired bodies with sleep.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 5TH. I awoke at 5 a.m., and talked to Win about going to Lake Dove, but our bags were far too comfortable. At 8.30 we arose, the day again resenting the same blazing heat. After breakfast Dot went bug-hunting in the creek, while others washed out shirts, etc. At 11.15 we commenced our last half hour's walk to the Chalet, “Waldheim”, the Mountain home of the late Gustav Weindorfer. Arriving at 11.45 we were indeed made welcome by the proprietor Mr. L.Connell, and a meal was at once prepared, while we sat and told of our experiences, signed the Visitors' Book, and examined many beautiful photographs.
This we found to be one of the most pleasant places we had ever visited, set away, in, I suppose, some of Australia's most beautiful scenery, surely a fitting place to end such a wonderful trip. Soon we were on the road again, and the party was to separate Win., Marj. and Brenda to go to Devonport, Mary to Smithton, Dot back to Hobart, Roma to Sheffield, and myself to Devonport, and then Launceston and Hobart.
Win, Brenda and Marj. booked for a further week at “Waldheim” to explore Lakes, Mountains and Rivers, which speaks of the enchantment of this National Park, which in the near future will become one of the leading holiday resorts Of Tasmania, and Australia.
By “A Converted Scoffer”
On this 30th. day of March 1934, I am miserable, utterly miserable. No person has annoyed me, nor am I afflicted with a “liver” but still I am miserable.
Until a few moments ago I was entirely satisfied with everything and everyone, but, woe is me, I chanced to gaze upward at old Lady Moon, and as I looked, memories came back to me of similar evenings and I am sad, for it is Easter, and the bush calls.
Why! I ask myself, why did I decide to stay at home? Visions come to me of a campfire throwing out its welcome light, bright faces, cheery laughs, unaffected voices raised in song, and I yearn to be among those people who seek to forget trivial, everyday worries in the solitude of the bush, and as I yearn, I grow more miserable.
A year or two ago the bush, to me, was merely a conglomeration of hills, vales and trees, and I looked with concealed amusement at the bushwalker. Now I am enlightened, and reserve that amusement for him who has never known the call of the bush, or felt the joy of lying on his back under a starry sky with “never a worry, never a care.” He, poor fellow, has never experienced that sweet feeling of freeness, which only the bush can impart.
Oh! to look down from some high peak at this moment. What an inspiration! I think grand things, but as I come down to earth again, so do my ideals, and back I plod to the worn groove of conventionality. At least, I have one comfort. As I lie down in my bed the full moon throws its silvery light down on me and I sleep, and in my dreams hear the crackle of the campfire and the voice of the bushfolk raised in song. “……………….Come! come! come to the bush.”
It is well known that all “Bushwalkers” can eat, but one of our member recently excelled himself.
On a one-day trip starting at 8.30 a.m., he was complaining bitterly about being hungry, so the leader called a halt at noon for lunch. Our friend put away a small meal of four (4) slices of bacon, three (3) eggs and some fruit, besides the usual lot of bread, etc. At tea about 5.30 p.m., eight (8) sausages with a few extras found a home, and still there were complaints of hunger.
Eight other members who heard all the moans can verify this.
Grunts, groans, sundry Imprecations, much wood, several blackened figures and half a dozen “spare colonels”; such is the opening scene of “our camp fire.” The spare colonels give much gratuitous advice and at last, with a little help from the perspiring and grimy figures already mentioned, the “fire” gradually assumes the shape of … well er… er… er… well, any old shape at all!
Next a figure disengages itself from the surrounding multitude - in all probability it is a spare colonel - and applies a match to the mass of logs, sticks, leaves etc. The match goes out; so do the next twenty or thirty. A low mumbling emanates from the region of the “fire”. The fire-lighter must be praying for we hear words which are associated with religion, and at last a despairing voice says “Where's Dunc? I can't light this… fire.” The cry is taken up: “Where's Dunc? … We want Dunc.”
Much confusion, and a blushing figure steps modestly forward and proceeds to show the fire-lighter what's what.
“Crackle, crackle, crackle,” The flames leap up illuminating the immediate vicinity and disclosing to view a circle of weird figures attired collectively in almost every kind of garment which modern ingenuity has been able to produce. There are shorts, sweaters, berets, plus-fours, “long-uns”, “bags”, sailor trousers, gloves, “donkey-breakfasts”, felt hats, overcoats, “bare”-skins, pyjamas, forage caps, swimming costumes, boots, slippers, sandshoes, lumberjackets, eye-shades and goggles.
Down they all squat, lie, wriggle, twist, jump, and otherwise contort themselves, until everyone is taking his or her ease in a seemingly inextricable tangle of arms, legs, clothes, blankets and groundsheets.
Suddenly a voice from the far side starts up “When I was a student at Cadiz…” and gradually the refrain is taken up by all present, some at first singing softly or nervously, but very soon the exuberance or the old hands carries them away and all bring the final verse to a lively finish.
Follows a piece from Gilbert & Sullivan, “Sweet and Low”, and a humorous piece entitled “The Walloping Window Blind” … selections which all know by heart. The fire burns brightly and sparks rise in the air as someone twists a log in the blaze. A voice: “Ernie, would you sing “Mandalay” please?”, and Ernie, obliging as ever, gives us Kipling's “Road to Mandalay”. We drink in the words and revel in the alluring pictures of far away Burma by an English soldier, and sigh regretfully when the song is done. “Thanks, Ernie, that was jolly fine”. Now sweetly a voice is raised near us, a voice we all know well; softly and rather sadly the song rises in cadence and clarity, then again becomes gently low. Rene is singing, and as she sings eyes become dreamy and imaginations wander far may seeking elusive visions conjured up by her voice. “Thank you, Rene, that's beautiful.” Hullo, what's this? Occurs a small upheaval close by and a weird figure squats in the firelight, the while doing wonderful contortions with a belt and blowing on an imitation reed pipe. Not much imagination is required to visualise an Indian Fakir with a snake - and what a Fakir! He writhes, twists, undulates, wobbles, and grunts, and at last with superhuman skill and great loss of life subdues the snake and falls exhausted on top of it. What a man!! Cries of “More - more”, 'hut Ray Bean is already crawling weakly away.
“Where's Norm? We want to see the dying swan. Come on, Norm.” Norm Saill rises gracefully to the occasion and stands still with a pensive expression, gathering inspiration and atmosphere. Someone's mouthorgan is requisitioned for music, and Norm commences to flutter round the fire like a swan in short pants - it's all he has on. Faster and faster goes the music, faster and faster flutters the flustered swan … faster, faster; almost collapses and bravely struggles on as the music slows down, round and round, now in gracefully fluttering curves, now almost finished. Faster plays the music working up to a furious crescendo of sound, and Norman the Swan valiantly responds, fluttering, fluttering, almost dying but just recovering every time until apparently the limit of endurance is reached, and with a last despairing and convulsive movement he lies inert upon the grass; and becomes immediately defunct. (Terrific applause.)
The fire is not quite as fierce now and the moon sends its silver beams slantwise through the trees. A faint breeze blows, the leaves and ferns sighing gently; the tents gleam whitely. Someone says “Let's have a ghost yarn - yes, let's! Barney how about the “Golden Arm”?
“Oh! I don't think I know it well enough, but there is another I might give you if I can get some help. Scotty, you know “the Woman in the Graveyard sat” don't you? And you, Roxy, and you, Frank? Righto, are you ready? … A Wo-man in a grave-yard sat…” The intoning goes on and on… and on… and on… until the finale is reached so suddenly that the uninitiated nearly swallow their tongues.
“And now for something bright again. How about a Sea chanty everyone? A Sailor once came up to town, yo-ho, yo-ho…”
Another chanty follows, and another. It is getting late, and several are yawning. Someone suggests a final chorus before bed and after a short conclave two or three in the far corner commence “Mother Machree.” As the final strains die away we slowly and rather silently proceed to our various tents, many of us feeling just a little subdued, for who knows when we shall again be all so happily gathered together round the camp fire?
“Good night all” … “Good night.”
Marie B. Byles.
It is just over ten years since my brother, Baldur, and I set out at 6 o'clock from a very second rate boarding house in Katoomba - we had not then learned the comfort of camping - for the ascent of Mount Solitary.
We wasted a lot of time trying every little gully before we located the right one leading from Narrow Neck to the Golden Stairway. It was a hot day in March and there then followed a hot thirsty walk along the cliff-foot past Ruined Castle. Harry Whitehouse had warned us that there was no water on Mt.Solitary, so we took a pint flask of the precious fluid with us, and drank sparingly from time to time when thirst became overwhelming.
We reached the summit about noon, and spent two hours in getting thirstier and thirstier while we rested on those barren tops where the trees case no shade. Baldur had recently acquired some theory that a long rest in the middle of the day was beneficial, and I had concurred. But it certainly wasn't. Coming back the heat and thirst were too much for me, and up the final slopes to Narrow Neck, I had to lie down every few yards because my head had started swimming. When we reached the spring under the cliffs we drank and drank and drank! I think we arrived back in Katoomba about 7 p.m., feeling it had been a long day. The coal mine track had been fairly clear, but there was no track beyond, while up the rock had the feeling that we were not the first who had been that way, but that was all.
After ten years I again left Katoomba at 6 a.m.; three hours later I stood on the top of Mount Solitary. The track was well defined all the way, and up the rocks I was reminded of the English Lake District where you can follow the usual route by the nail-marks. As I descended to the stream on top - of whose existence Harry Whitehouse did not know I was greeted by coo-hees, a white tent, and two of Paddy's new eiderdowns hanging out to air. The owners were not Bush Walkers, because they had dropped orange peel along the track, but they were human beings none the less - human beings on the top of Mount Solitary !
Worse still, when I started down the rocks again, I saw smoke rising from the chimney of Ruined Castle, and for a moment I thought the giants had returned to their ancient lair. Then very human coo-ees echoed across the virgin bushlands. Still worse followed, for I met no less than four parties treading the erstwhile deserted path of the old coal-miners. But, perhaps worst of all, I found two nicely-made drinking pools along the track where had been merely damp ground before, to say nothing of an old mining shaft half full of water.
Gone, therefore, is the glorious possibility of perishing bravely of thirst in the attempt to scale the mountain, and gone also the lonely solitude which made it true to name. The only redeeming feature was the fact that I got there in half the time I did ten years ago, a consoling thought for one approaching middle life. For the same reason it was flattering to overhear the following remark on the way home: “I say, Jack, there's a girl guide! No it isn't a girl guide! It's a girl cub!”
I. Bobabout, Megalong
Our Willymuckalong correspondent reports:- This district is being invaded by numbers of iron-shod, armour-plated footsloggers who appear to be busy humping ironmongery and other bulky and heavy gear up into the ranges here. The reason for this peculiar and incomprehensible kind of labour is not apparent, but the Willymuckalong Progress Association, the Backward Miners' League, and the Spirit of the Hills Association intend taking certain action to prevent further intrusion into our peaceful countryside by these human camels. Because of their distasteful presence our local enterprises cannot be conducted properly. Their sweated appearance seriously demoralises our emergency relief workers; and after seeing these human carryalls in action, pack-horses have lain down in their tracks and died of inferiority complex.
The situation now is tense, due to a disgraceful instance of brutality which occurred at Cleanskin Crossing, near Duffers' Retreat, a special lease in the Wet Night Mountains worked by our esteemed fellow-citizens, Messrs. Willy Missem and Nott Mutch. It appears that these gentlemen - who chanced to be upon a high hill overlooking the scene at the time - allege that a party of eight Mountain Trailers (as they are called), whilst on their way into the Wet Night Mountains, allowed themselves to get out of control at the Cleanskin Crossing. Striding down the steep track they were seen to collide suddenly with a mob of mixed cattle, presumably owned by a local farmer. The witnesses watched the disgraceful scene in a sweat of apprehension, but being well out of range and their horses blown by recent hard work, they could do nothing to prevent the damage to valuable stock. Several beasts were killed outright by being struck and walked upon; their hides being dreadfully excoriated, horns broken, ribs fractured and legs dislocated or fractured by the weight, impetus, and hardware- studded packs and the hobnails of the brutal foot-travellers.
Our witnesses and other local farmers are highly indignant and intend forcing their local government representatives to frame a by-law to compel all Mountain Trailers and other pack-carrying pedestrians to carry less weight, wear boots without hobnails and send a boy scout with a red flag and raspberry klaxon in advance of parties to signal their approach.
The Willymuckalong Shire President, Mr.O'Heezer Bird (who is experimenting in the produce world by sending his large potato yields to the Sydney market, instead of supplying the local demands of the Spirit of the Hills Association, and whose re-election is not expected) is very wroth about the whole matter. He intends to array the whole force of the progressive Willymuckalong community against these pedestrian destroyers of sylvan harmony.
Our talented School of Arts Librarian, Mr. Hercules Little, President of the Australian Association for the Preservation of Rural Harmony (incorporated), is compiling a monograph entitled “The development of pack-carrying pedestrianism during the last quarter century and its effect upon soil-erosion and lower form of life” Its publication should stimulate public interest in this growing evil of land-erosion by pedestrians and lead to Governmental repressive measures being instituted.
The leader of the Mountain Trailers, Mr. Hi.Billy Cann, when interviewed made the following statement: “The accident was unavoidable. The party used every care. The track is a public way and although we kept a sharp lookout for dog-traps, school-children, lizards and dogs we did not expect to meet any cattle, because we were told at Bobbabobbawallagal that owing to the temporary somnolence of the Willymuckalong farmers, following the Spirit of the Hills Association's annual re-union, all their cattle had been “duffed” out of the district. We topped a rise and were gravitating down the steep slope to the crossing when a restless mob of cattle rushed suddenly across our course. Sensing the inevitable, every Trailer at once clamped down his 2-heel brakes, held his breath and expelled it violently upon the instant of impact, according to the rules of our club. However, the slope was wet and slippery, our packs, although not large, held 20 days' supplies, maps, compasses, aneroids, can-openers, grid-irons, axes, spare hobnails, cameras, rifles, ammunition, hooks and sinkers and other trifles. As a gesture of self-preservation we were forced to step high. We pulled up well within 100 yards in a shower of sand, gravel, hair, hide and, loose hobnails, and returning to the scene of the accident were considerably shaken by the dreadful sight which met our eyes. Dead and dying beasts lay all about: two promising bull-calves, a poley milker, an unbranded 8-years old heifer, a white working bullock, a black and white steer, and three dry cows. When my friend, Mr. Will E. Last, unavoidably stepped on the head of the working bullock he had the misfortune to have his best “shorts” torn by the one and last bellow of the surprised and dying beast. When Mr. Soapy Sock applied his 2-heel brakes he arrested progress so suddenly that his swag and gunny-bag flow forward like chain-shot and killed the two promising bull-calves. After a much-needed light lunch the party rendered first-aid to several of the badly-injured animals - with a .32 rifle. The vindictive allegations that the party lunched on veal, made biltong of the White bullock mad kept the hides for swag straps and boot-leather are all vile slanders concocted by some of the “locals” who “missed the bus”. Another Trailer, Mr. Stan da Lot, skidded with the piebald steer into a patch of tall nettles and blackthorn. Being familiar with Lannigan's Creek and Kowmung River, Mr. da Lot emerged soathless and with his swag still in position, but the steer died in agony in a few minutes.
I hear the Duffers' Association intends to lodge a complaint with the Mine Department about Trailers using hobnails without first securing a Miner's Right.
Mr. Hi Billy Can, an acknowledged authority on brakes (he is a tram driver in his spare time) added that without heel-brakes Trailers would become a serious menace to the countryside. Skids would be a matter of serious moment. He enthusiastically favours bigger and better hobnails and bigger and better swags for safety sake, and quotes the great Baron Thurat, who has written, “Work your monogram in hobnails; leave your mark wherever you go and make an impression in the land. Keep moving; put your feet down with verve and push hard. Excoriate trails and kick loose stones into the nearest parish. If you happen to step on the dog, get another dog”. The Willymuckalong episode leaves the Trailers cold. They say the “locals” do not know their good luck. So far they have not yet met the Bushwalking Bargers. These double-stomached, steel-shinned cruisers take up-grade range sides like Trailers take their midday ration. They do not use heel-brakes but stop by grasping trees or rocks. Lacking these they grasp each other, or if too far apart for this manoeuvre they just keep moving. The really proficient Barger barges with a swerve, a sort of “googly” progress disconcerting to head-on traffic such as birds and blowflies. One keen observer maintains that Bargers feed whilst “on the move” and that this accounts for the lack of birds, butterflies and thistledown in many parts of the country. Really, the Willymuckalong people have very little to complain about so far.
Rolling moorlands, lone and windswept
Worn by storm and tempest blast,
Ancient and the ancient country
They have crowned for aeons past!
Rounded hill-tops strewn with boulders
On a plateau wide and drear -
Remnants only of the mountains
That in far-off times were there!
And the pale snow-drifts receding
From the noonday's hot blue-gold,
Sole remains of mighty glaciers
That down the heights once rolled!
Dim across the distant ages
Gleam those soaring peaks and walls
Where the avalanches hurtled
From the neve's icy falls.
But those times have gone forever,
And from by-gone days of old
Stay alone the alpine flora
And the upland air's crisp cold.
Once upon a time (all good stories begin thus) there was a man who was very tough and he said to his friends “What's all this fuss about sleeping bags and hip holes and bracken underneath and all”? And his friends said: “O, well we like comfort in camp”; and the man said: “Pah!” (for he was very tough and always said “Pah!” when he was disgusted.)
And one day the King had a birthday (for even Kings have birthdays like ordinary folks) and he said to all the people in the land: “You can have a holiday.” And the people said: “Long live the King” (for that is the way you wish a King 'Many Happy Returns'.) Now, even though the man was tough, he loved holidays and so he packed up his rucksack and put in his blanket and went out to a certain place to camp. And it was very cold. And his friends (who liked comfort in camp) dug their hip holes and got into their “Paddymade” sleeping bags in their “Paddymade” tents, and they were very snug. But the man said “Pah!” (just to show he was tough) and he lit a big fire and rolled up in his blanket and lay down beside the fire. But he was hot on one side and cold on the other. So he turned over - but that was worse. And soon the fire died down and he was cold on both sides. So he got up and chopped some more wood. And the noise awoke those who were asleep and they asked him what was up. And he said: “Have you no souls? Can you sleep on such a perfect night? Come out my friends and gaze at the celestial galaxy.” (by which he meant the stars.) But they grunted and went to sleep again.
And the tough man shivered and he dithered and he danced and he pranced and he chopped, and he hopped, but still he couldn't keep warm. And the next day he was not quite so tough, because he had not had any sleep. And he thought that perhaps a good night's sleep was a good thing after all, but of course he did not say so.
Nevertheless, the very next time he went camping, he had a lovely snug “PADDYMADE” SLEEPING BAG, which weighed no more than the blanket he used to takes And he SLEPT SO WELL and he FELT SO TOUGH in the morning, that he got up and had a dip in the icy cold creek - just to prove he was still tough.
AND HE SLEPT WELL EVER AFTER.
29th. MARCH to 2nd. APRIL. by Chas. Pryde.
The party was comprised of:
Wally Roots, Jean Trimble, Phil Roots, Morrie Berry, Daphne Roots (5 months), Bill Reilly, Ernie Austen, Rene Smith, Jean Austen, Gwen Lawrie, Marge Shaw, Evelyn Higginbotham and myself.
THURSDAY 29th. MARCH: I met Jean Austen and Phil Roots, with the baby at Central Station about 10,30 a.m. in good time for the Caves Express. Our seats had, fortunately, been booked and we were able to get comfortably seated, as there was a big crowd on board, but had some difficulty in finding space for our packs as there was so much luggage about. Sitting alongside me was Verne Lutin, who knows several of the Club members and recognised the badges and we got into conversation.
We intended having tea on the train but there seemed to be only one waiter and he was kept very busy travelling from one end of the train to the other, and, although we stopped him several times, he had not attended to us when we reached Katoomba. There, we went for lunch to the “Popular Cafe” (All British Restaurant) which is becoming a favourite place with club members.
On the way out to Glen Raphael we had some splendid views over Kedumba, Megalong and Kanimbla Valleys with plenty of light and shade on the hills. There had been a girl along Narrow Neck just before us who left tiny heel marks not more than 1/2 inch across and we wondered how she got along over the stones.
Jean and I had a great argument on the First Narrow Neck about the coal mine. She maintained that there was only one mine which was on the Eastern side and I said there was one on the Western also, and afterwards found I was right.
We had several short halts on the way, principally at Diamond Falls but made good time and arrived at Glen Raphael about 5.30 p.m. It was very wet underfoot going through the swamp and there were plenty of leeches. Jean had quite a nice time picking them off me after I'd gone for water. Wood was very scarce and there was a cold damp mist. We turned in about 9 p.m. for a sleep until the others would arrive about 1 a.m. As soon as we heard their coo-ees we got the fire going again at once and all had a meal. Five turned up in this party.
FRIDAY 20th. A cold wet morning with plenty of mist. Three fellows came through our camp at 5 a.m. shouting and swearing at one another and disturbed everyone. Even when they pitched their own tent they kept up the noise and that meant the end of our rest. After breakfast we packed up and got away for Clear Hill about 9 a.m. We did not go right out to the top point. Wally put all our names in the bottle on the Cairn. There was a great job getting the baby down Tarros Ladders. Out over Debert's Knob to Medlow Gap and while there having lunch Peter Page, Paddy Pallin and others' passed. We found a nice little clear, flat space near water where we made permanent camp and spent most of the afternoon making ourselves, comfortable. I was beginning to worry about Morrie who was considerably overdue according to programme, but he turned up at 5.30 p.m. with an explanation and incidentally the balance of my food list.
A nice evening was spent round the fire, singing and yarning. Morrie and Phil had their mouth organs and gave several items each. Jean Trimble was encouraged to try to sing. Turned in about 10.30 p.m.
SATURDAY, 31st. A dull morning with occasional bursts of sunshine through the mists on the hills. As we anticipated a heavy day we got a move on early and after putting all our lunches etc. into one pack, we all, with the exception of Gwen, Phil and the baby, set off across Medlow Gap round the eastern foot of Mt. Mouth to the top of The White Dog Range. We got an awful shock when blazes were seen on a number of trees, as one of the prime objects of the trip was to find a way down this ridge. None of the club members had been down it before and we had counted on pioneering the route.
The going was pretty easy through spotted gums and stringy barks with plenty of Sally, Wattle and other small bushes. After about a couple of miles we came on a big tree which had recently been struck by lightning. The ridge forks into two and we rightly decided to follow the South West Arm. We came on a splendid rock lookout with glorious views up and down the river and over the surrounding district and were able to pick out most of the landmarks. There was a great discussion as to what the name for this lookout should be, and all sorts were mentioned, but the one that found most favour was suggested, I think, by Ernie Austen - Kelpie Point - as all the hills and ranges round are called after dogs.
From the Lookout the going is pretty rough for a while over loose broken rock and the last two hundred yards is very steep. Once across The Cox a fire was started for lunch, and while the girls went up stream, the men went down for a swim. After the walk the water seemed very nice but cold. I was the last out and was just starting to dry myself when some people appeared round the bend and I had to race behind some bushes to dress. These people turned out to be another party of Club members and we had a short chat. After lunch Ernie left us to go down stream as far as the Black Dog track and so back to camp, as he was to go up to Clear Hill that night to meet some more of our party, and took the pack with all our stray gear, etc. leaving seven of us with no food and only one torch. Up Spotted Dog to the top of Mount Dingo is tough going, but we got there after losing a lot of sweat. Struck a nasty misty rain on top. The connecting ridge to Mount Warrigal is rough and almost a knife edge in parts. We gradually worked our way down round under the cliffs of Warrigal and came on a big cave where a name Stanton and an arrow had been marked some time ago. We heard later, from Carlon, that Stanton had been lost in that district. The mist and rain were now very thick and dark was coming on rapidly as we made our way down towards the Blue Dog track, and we got a lot too far west into Mobbs Swamp.
The going now was very rough and unpleasant crashing through wet bushes and stumbling over logs in the dark - but eventually we recognised some land marks in Medlow Gap. Than the problem was to find the Camp but After a little heard the coo-ees of Phil and Gwen which led us homeward. We were all glad to get in - tired, cold, wet and hungry - but a good meal soon fixed us up and we turned in early. Got back to camp about 8.15 p.m., at least three hours overdue, and heard that Ernie had arrived safely about 5 p.m. and after a meal had started for Clear Hill.
SUNDAY, 1st, APRIL. Why was the camp so dull this morning? No one seemed to want to play practical jokes, although the date gave a license for that, and the morning was nice and bright. After breakfast the men got in a big supply of wood while the women did odd jobs and talked and talked. Some of them said they had a wash! Morrie visited some of the tents and got some recipes which I suppose he will want to try out on me sometime. However, I can only die once and trust it will be sudden and painless. Wally, Morrie and I, when looking for a more accessible route to the water, found a splendid cave which would shelter 30 to 40 people. An interesting ceremony was performed during the morning when Wally dissected and cremated his compass which was partly the cause of our hard trip yesterday. Ernie came into camp about noon with Bill, Rene, and Evelyn in tow. He had camped overnight in a cave at Narrow Neck and had picked them up in the morning. Bill in particular was raving about the colour and scenery. After lunch we all went up Mount Mouin and had a good look round and were able to identify a number of well known ranges, etc., but unfortunately none of us had a map of the Southern districts (which we could see very well) to pick out some of the peaks. The race of the cloud shadows over the hills and gullies was wonderful. All signed our names on a paper which was put in a bottle and placed on the Cairn. The fellows who had disturbed us so much on Friday morning were up also.
A cold rain coming on started us down hill for camp. En route, Wally Roots hopping over a root trod on a black snake but his presence of mind made him kick it off before it had time to strike. There was a wallaby hunt along the “Blue Dog” track, all the members of the party racing along yelling and barking like dogs (they were mostly khaki ones) and jumping trees and rocks.
Back in camp the Roots, Berry and Pryde party invited the “Lone Star Ranger” (Margo Shaw) to eat with them - provided, of course, that she brought her own food - which invitation was graciously accepted and she afterwards did the washing up. By the way, Gwen Lawrie is very good at washing up, besides nursing the baby.
At night-fall, we all settled down round a fine fire and a court-martial was being held before Mr. Justice Berry, on my conduct at The Cox River on Saturday, when I was caught by strangers in my bathing suit. The prosecutor (Mr.W.Reilly K.C.) had finished his address and the Counsel for the Defence (Mrs.J. Austen) had just started when a sudden burst of rain came on and we had to run to the tents for shelter, so I am still in doubt as to what my fate is to be. I had pleaded, “Not Guilty”, but the prosecutor almost made me believe I was the most loathsome creature alive. Bill may be a brum architect, but he certainly would be a good lawyer. The rain cleared slightly before sleep time and Marge sat at the fire by herself looking like an Indian Squaw.
MONDAY, 2nd. APRIL. There was some heavy rain during the night, but the morning opened up well and the day eventually proved to be the best one of the holiday. Breakfast over, we packed up and moved off before 9 a.m., for Katoomba via The Black Dog Track and Carlon's. Morrie had to be at work that night so left us at the track and returned by Clear Hill. He reached Katoomba about 1.30 and certainly must have moved, as he says he had only about one pound of prunes to eat on the way. We got a great welcome at Carlon's and of course, all had to go in for tea and to sign the visitors' book, and such apples they gave us! Shortly after we arrived Mostyn Hill left on an 18 mile walk to Maxwell's of Burragorang in his bare feet. Carlon told us he had done the blazes on the White Dog Track, which had so disappointed us,some years ago, and said it was a well known route in the old days. Carlon also said there was a great lot of cattle stealing going on in the district.
The climb from Green Gully up to the road at Euroka is not the easiest and we were all glad to reach the top. Lunch at Megalong practically cleared out all the eatable we were carrying. The party we'd seen on The Cox were here also having come up by Breakfast Creek. From the Valley the views of Pulpit Rock, Narrow Neck, etc. were splendid. About three-fourth of the way up Nellie's Glen we took a new track on our right which brought us out through Bonnie Doone. Although there are several very tricky spots to negotiate, this way is much better going than right up The Glen. It cuts out the very stiff finish and there is no long road walk from the Explorer's Tree, and you get almost to the Station before having to change. After getting over most arduous part of the climb, Phil was invested with the order “S.F.” and some other tributes to the way she had managed all through the trip with the baby and to her nerve and grit in difficult places.
One hardly recognised the various members of the party when all were ready to go into Katoomba. Where all the glad rags etc. were hidden away is one of the mysteries of the packs. Again we invaded the “All British” Restaurant for tea, and some of the party brought fruit and cakes for the train journey. We had not long to wait for a train and all got into the one compartment.
Some of the members tried to get a sing-song going, but somehow it went flat and others wanted to sleep.
A good quick run brought us to Strathfield where some of the party left. The others went on to Central and scattered outside the barrier after a most enjoyable trip in spite of the broken weather.
since last issue of The Sydney Bushwalker.
|Travels with a Donkey.||Robert Louis Stevenson.|
|The Right Place.||C.E. Montague.|
|Gulliver in the Bush.||H.J. Carter.|
|Official Guide to the National Park.|
|My Crowded Solitude.||J. McLaren.|
|Broken Trails.||A.G. Hales.|
|The Call of the Bush.||H. Priest.|
|Gems of the Bush.||Chas. Barratt.|
|A Sportsman's Sketches (2 vols.)||Ivan Turgener.|
|The Gentle Art of Tramping.||Stephen Graham.|
|Nature Fantasy in Australia||Alex, H. Chisholm.|
|The Path to Romeo||Hillaire Belloc.|
One of our most entertaining lecturers, Marie Byles, was in good form on 23rd. March when she took us “In quest of Mountains in N.S.W.” Her Lantern slides were also very fine.
On 13th. April, the Club followed the General Meeting with a Social Evening.
On April 20th. Miss Dorothy Taylor gave a very interesting lecture accompanied by beautiful slides on the MacPherson Range. This was most enjoyable especially as Miss Taylor's talk was very informative as well as intensely amusing.
Mr. Aubrey Halloran, on the 27th, spoke to the Members on “Capt.Cook & Kurnell!” Seldom have the Bushwalkers listened to such an experienced and fluent speaker.
In pursuance of the recently formed plan of holding Social Evenings after monthly General Meetings, the Club entertained Members of the Sydney Hikers Club on May 11th. On this evening there was one of the largest attendances that the Club has ever had, and a wonderfully enjoyable time was spent by all. There were dancing, musical items and games, and the evening was all too short.
The next lecture on the programme was that by Bob & Harry Savage on “The Colong Caves, The Boyd, and Kanangra.” As usual this was a particularly popular night, and the Bushwalkers enjoyed this lecture in their usual hearty fashion.
On May 25th. Mr. W.L. Havard, B.Sc., gave an historical talk dealing with early bushwalking on the Blue Mountains Plateau. This talk was accompanied by slides which were to a large degree photographs of people who are more or less famous in Australian history. They were to the Bushwalkers a unique selection of slides and everyone found them most acceptable.
Since the last “Social Notes” were written, there has been another wedding in the Club, and we all wish Marion & Eric Moroney many, many years of wedded bliss.
For the Social Committee, Rene D. Browne, Social Secretary.