A Journal devoted to matters of interest to Members of the Sydney Bush Walkers, Sydney, New South Wales.
No. 22 December 1934.
Misses Brenda White, (Editor), Marjorie Hill, Dorothy Lawry, Rene Browne and Mr. Myles Dunphy.
I feel I cannot let the Christmas Number go to press without a few remarks about the Annual Camp.
1927 saw the first Christmas Camp at the southern end of Burning Palms, with Myles Dunphy's party further north.
The Club was then only a few months old, and the members in the first flush of enthusiasm. That was a very happy camp. Only about a dozen were present, and for several it was their first view of the beaches which are now so well known to most of us.
The following year the northern end of Burning Palms Beach was chosen for what proved to be an even more successful camp. The numbers were not greatly in excess of the previous year, but the same spirit of good fellowship was apparent.
1929 was the first of a series of Christmas Camps at Era, each becoming larger than the previous one as the Membership of the Club increased. But the old carefree camaraderie which made the Club does not seem to have increased with the years.
This may be only an impression, but to one who was at those first two camps, and several since, the spirit does not seem to be the same.
This year the choice has fallen on the old love, Burning Palms.
Is this an indication that things are tending towards the happy conditions that prevailed in the Club in the far off days of its enthusiastic but tolerant youth?
I hope so!
(Concluded.) (From Dunc's Diary)
MONDAY 15th. JANUARY. Up early, whipbirds came right down close to the camp fire, Ray skinned and cleaned the eels and said “Look here, Duncombe, if you catch any more of these reptiles you can clean them yourself.”
They were beautiful big fat ones about five inches through. I boiled them first for about five minutes, putting them into boiling water, then fried them in deep fat, and they were the most delicious fish I have ever tasted. We all had as much as we could eat, with damper and butter, and finished up with porridge and coffee, and took about two pieces of eel each with us for lunch. I cooked three dampers in a real good damper fire. Left camp at 10.55 after a good camp and a good breakfast. We had hard walking all morning and did not make much progress. Lunch at 1.15, cold eel, bread and jam. Left again at 2.15 and walked till 5.15, when we climbed along a ledge of rock and let ourselves down into a little creek flowing into a crystal clear pool, and went on through an island where the creek junctioned with the river. We picked a rather wobbly looking camp site on the island, but Rene was not satisfied, so Ray went on a bit further across the creek to a point overlooking the river, not much wood or room, and a good way from handy water, although we could lower a billy from our front door step into the water. We believe this was Tambo Creek. We went fishing with a piece of our previous night's catch for bait. I caught a small perch again, and Ray lost a hook and then got a big eel on his line, but could not get it out because it curled itself round the reeds in the river and broke the line, Ray went in after it but it was too late. Ray used to call the eels “breakfasts”; he said he had given pretty well all the breakfasts in the Colo a sore throat. We had stew made of dried vegetables and meat extract, dried potatoes, stewed apples and custard for tea. Wal ran into the branch of a tree in the dark and nearly blinded himself; I officiated with one of my castor-oil capsules and then had a back rubbing session on Roxy and Ninian. It was a good camp site so far as I was concerned, but Roxy and Rene spun round like tops all night trying to get comfortable in a gutter, Ray picked on the place where I washed my feet to spread his bed and found it a bit sloppy. Wal slid down the bank in the night, and Roxy smelled something burning and woke me up, and there was Wal with his feet in the fire and his blanket scorching. I was half asleep and put my hand in the hot ashes leaning across the fire to wake him up, it was almost impossible to wake him once he went to sleep. Ninian slept with a rock at his feet to keep him from slipping down. Ben was cold all night. Taking it all round that camp was pretty uncomfortable.
TUESDAY 16th. JANUARY. Cooked three dampers, had haricot beans with plenty of butter and two small slices of bacon each for breakfast with porridge and coffee. Left camp at 10.55 and found it very rough going along ledges all the morning. Stopped at 12 o'clock for lunch of damper, fish paste, jam and tea. Had a swim, Ninian and I got lunch while the rest of the family swam, then I had a swim while Rene was drinking tea. The sand had a cake of mud all over it and was so hot we could hardly walk on it. Left lunch 2.20 p.m., very rough scrambling all afternoon. We rounded a bend about 5 o'clock, and saw smoke and heard a roar and thought we had a bush fire, and got all hot and bothered. We decided we had better stick to the river in case it was, but we would not have had much chance even then, because the river was very deep and the banks went straight up from the water about two thousand feet. Fortunately for us we found out later that the roar was rapids and we decided the smoke was haze. We found a wobbly grassy spot jutting out into the river at 5.30, had a swim and Ninian tied his shirt to a rope and threw it in the river to soak, we all did some washing, but the soap was down to a piece as thin as a wafer. Ninian had a shave after an argument with Rene on the subject. Roxy slipped in the mud getting out of the river and skid over backwards into the water again. Ray went fishing and lost rod, line and everything, he stuck it in the bank while he was doing something else and when he came back it was gone. No wood for camp fire, terribly uncomfortable sleeping place, all hollows. Tea consisted of pea soup with beef extract and dried potatoes, dried apples with sago and custard.
WEDNESDAY 17th. JANUARY. Up early and cooked two dampers, bacon and peas for breakfast. We struck blackberries almost as soon as we left camp; Ninian had first go at them and bashed a way through one patch after another, they were thick from the water's edge to the cliff walls and up over our heads. We crossed to the left bank but the going was still rough. Lunch at 11 o'clock and a swim in the rapids, it was a lovely swimming hole, we let the water wash us the full length of the hole and then we would swim round the edges back again and repeat. We had damper and cheese with asparagus paste and tea for lunch. We crossed the rapids at 2.20 to the right bank again and met more blackberries, Wal and Ray banging through them and making up songs about them all the time. We camped in a good flat spot under some gum trees on Main Creek. We had a lovely camp fire, Ray erected a clothes line and did all his washing, without any soap. Tea consisted of stew made of dried vegetables, meat extract and cheese, stewed peaches and custard. The locusts nearly deafened us with their noise.
THURSDAY 18th. JANUARY. We were up fairly early after a good night's sleep and a good bed, had a bath in the creek which was lovely and clear with a clean sandy bottom. Breakfast consisted of one billy of peas mixed with a tin of salmon paste and dried potatoes and 1 1/2 fried scones each and the last of our porridge, also the last of our coffee, but we were not worrying because we thought we were on Tootie Creek and nearly at the end of our journey. We left camp at 9 o'clock finding pretty rough going on the right bank so we crossed to the left bank. Ninian was pretty sick all the morning, his leg was worrying him a good deal. We met lots of blackberries and raspberries, so we climbed up over the shoulder of a spur on very precarious footing with everything loose underfoot; in one place Rene did the slippery dip act down a gully and landed against a tree, while I nearly had heart failure for fear she would miss the tree and go to glory. We gradually climbed down to the river to a ledge about a foot wide and five feet above the water with a little kanuka growing out of it; about five feet higher up was another ledge which looked as if we could get along on, but there seemed no way to get to the top ledge, so we put our packs on the ledge between the kanuka and the wall one at a time and climbed up on Ninian's back and then hoisted him up afterwards. We carried on till we found a cool shady place near the river where we had a drink of water and a cake of chocolate each. Crossed to the right hand bank and struck the old survey track for a bit, it was much overgrown with scrub and covered here and there by land slides; gradually it got higher till Roxy and I sneaked off and left them and came down to the river to a beautiful little glen shaded by sassafras with nothing underfoot but leaves and a few odd lawyer vines for quite a hundred yards, then we ran into a pile of blackberry vines near the river which I banged a way through, and we came to another pretty little creek flowing into a bend in the river which we did not know the name of. In the meanwhile Rene had gone on strike and got the rest of the party to come down to the river. Rene cooked prunes and rice for lunch, and after a spell we decided to split the party for the afternoon, Ray to keep to the river and Ninian called for volunteers to follow the survey track, Wal and I volunteered, the others going with Ray.
Ninian, Wal and I started up the hill after lunch and found the track about 200 feet up, somewhat overgrown; it gradually rose, getting better as it rose, until we were walking round the tops of the cliffs about 2000 or 2500 feet about the river, on a path about a foot to eighteen inches wide with a decided slope to the outside into space; it wasn't so bad when it went round bends into the cliff, but when the path was on the outside and the bends on the inside with space on one side and in front of you too, it just about made my hair stand up. Just here we saw a mob of black cockatoos, and away straight down below was what we thought was the Wollangambe Basin, a tremendous hole with cliffs rising about 1000 feet straight up out of the water on one side, and mountains all round about 2000 feet. We could see the rest of the party below us. The path was composed of loose stones and was like a place I always get on when I am having a nightmare.
We carried on until after 4 o'clock, when we decided to make our way down to the river via a dry water-course. It wasn't a bad place to come down, comparatively speaking, much better than we expected. We caught up with the others camped on a grassy bank with a gutter running along the middle of it, hardly any wood, and a muddy bank straight into the river. We had a swim and carried a billy of water up the slippery bank to wash the mud off. We all had a sleep till Rene had the tea cooked, dried vegetable stew and potatoes, stewed peaches and custard again. Rene woke us up and we ate our tea and went to sleep, while Ben and Rene sat at the cooking fire and yarned till about 11 o'clock, when she woke us up again to go to bed. Rene never got sleepy early and wouldn't go to bed before 11 o'clock at the earliest, but she made up for it in the morning.
FRIDAY, 19th. JANUARY. Roxy discarded her patched sandshoes and socks and borrowed Wal's sandshoes size 7 and my socks size 5; she tied the shoes on with a strip of my ground-sheet, they were all right but about three sizes too large for her. We had a billy of dried peas with some fish paste mixed in it, with butter and a few potatoes which we cooked and then fried in some fat, tea with no milk and very little sugar. We left camp at 8.30. I fell in the mud for a start, crossed the rapids to left bank, very rough going, Ninian got tangled up with a nest of Bull ants and had to get undressed to get rid of them. When he caught up to us we were on a sharp bend to the left where the cliffs came down to the water and we had to rub it out and do it again. We climbed up a tree then on to a ledge in the cliffs, and gradually worked ourselves up pretty high, Ben and Wal ahead a long way, then Ninian, myself, Rene and Roxy with Ray by himself on a ledge lower down. Ninian got stuck and again we had to reverse our arms and climb down to Ray and follow him, thus reversing the order of our going, leaving Ninian and me last, and as we had to go down one at a time on account of the rolling rocks it left me a long way last, as Ninian had to pass me and hang on to a rock Rene had loosened, and hold it till she got down before he could let it go. At 10 o'clock Ray and Ben got on a good way and crossed to the right bank, Roxy and Rene followed on the left bank, the rest of us coming along afterwards. We scrambled over big rocks with kanukas growing thickly all through them, with a few lawyer vines and a very strong vine with no leaves, like strong green string twining in and out the kanukas, thrown in for good measure. It was terribly hot. First we caught up with Wal sitting in the shade, then we caught up to Rene who had lost sight of Roxy and was struggling along by herself, finding ways between rocks and then getting stuck and coming back and starting again. Then we passed what we found out later to be Blacksmith's Creek, and came to where Ray and Ben were crossing again to our side of the river, and Roxy waiting for them. We decided to have lunch at 11.45. Roxy and I had a swim and washed our shoes and socks and put them on wet. I boiled my shirt with some soda and dried it real dry in the hot sun while we ate our lunch of stewed apples and macaroni with custard made of custard powder and water, with saccharine tablets and a lot of nutmeg thrown in to hide the taste, and plain tea. We believed Colo township to be just round the bend ahead, so Ray and Ben crossed to the right hand bank again at 1.40 and pushed on with instructions to stop and camp at 5 o'clock if they didn't get anywhere. We left shortly after and stuck to the left bank, and had terribly rough hard going in vines and nettles, and the banks kept caving in with our weight, through raspberries till we came to more rapids and thought we saw a track on the cliffs the other side of the river, so we waded across, the current very strong and pretty deep and hard to stand up against. We found the old survey track, and made fairly good progress round a sharp bend past big rapids, saw smoke ahead downstream, and at 5.30 saw Ray and Ben the other side of the river on a piece of sloping sandbank with very strong rapids between us and them, and nothing but a mess of great chunks of rocks and cliffs on our side of the river, so there was nothing for it but to get across. After spending about 10 minutes considering ways and means, Ninian got half way across on the rocks, and Roxy volunteered to go in clothes and all if he would take her pack. So she went first to find out where the deep places were and where we could get across without getting the packs wet. Rene and I got wet up to the waist, but we kept the packs dry, but Roxy was wet to the neck. Rene had no dry clothes so she cooked tea clad in pyjamas. We had the remains of the dried vegetables boiled in plain water, and tea with saccharine tablets. We had had no bread since the morning before. Ben and I dug worms and I caught one eel. The boys were all knocked up, and as I was just about dead beat too I didn't fish for long. Roxy and Ninian did some washing and dried all the things by the fire. Ray had had a couple of bad falls in the afternoon, and as his shoes had worn completely through and parted company with the soles he was just about all in, besides which they were all hungry.
We slept on the sand and were too tired to feel how hard it was; we also had to wrap ourselves round the rocks as there was not enough clear space for us to lie on. We were 16 miles above Upper Colo now, but we had no idea where we were or how far we had to go, and we talked of all the things we were going to eat when we got to Colo and what we would like to have just then. Wal had used up his last bit of tobacco that morning and wished he had not cut down weight so much.
SATURDAY, 20th. JANUARY. Up at 4.45 a.m. cooked our eel and the remains of our potatoes, tea with honey in it. Ray and Ben decided to make a dash for Upper Colo, therefore they got a start on at 6.30, we followed at 7 o'clock, Rene, foxy and I taking our shorts off and putting our costumes half on to get across the rapids. We slipped in up to our waists in places, eventually we got across and dressed and proceeded up the side of the cliff per toe and finger nails, looking for the track which we found about 50 feet up; we lost it several times in landslides and then came on it fairly plain. We followed it, gradually rising very high up the side of the mountain. By this time the hills were drawing away from the river and getting more respectable. Everybody was pretty hungry but the track kept getting more plain and it was fairly easy going but very hot. We stopped for five minutes rest every hour. We came to an old stock yard in a gully and from there on the track was very good, everyone's spirits rose and Ninian and Roxy started to sing.
The track again rose very high on the sunny side of the river and kept up for a good while, and we kept getting more thirsty every minute. At last we came down on to the river flat on a green grassy bank under some casuarinas at 9.30 a.m., the dew was still on the grass. We drank about seven cups full of water each besides which Rene, Ninian and I had some out of the billy while we were waiting. We carried on past a lovely little creek and Wal asked if it was Tootie Creek or the Wollangambe Basin. We had more water to drink and then went on till 11.30 when Rene called a halt for tea, her head was aching pretty badly. We boiled two billies of tea and had a piece of chocolate each, I poured boiling water over mine and had cocoa. We had no sugar, and saccharine tablets with tea are fairly terrible, so we each had a cup of weak tea with brandy in it and that was a bit worse. I drank mine out of the frying pan as Roxy was having some of my “cocoa” out of my mug, her own having fallen by the wayside, that is someone put their foot on it. We had an hour's spell, I operated on Roxy's thumb and dug out a piece of thorn. We carried on again for another hour, the heat was terrific, plenty of stinging nettles and lawyer vines, very lovely river scenery with gigantic blue gums and casuarinas, we found some raspberry bushes and made them look sick before we left them, the berries were lovely big juicy ones.
About 2 o'clock we were following our path pretty high over a wide stretch of river when Ninian sang out “Do I see a cow or do I see a Cow?” and as sure as life there were cows the other side of the river. We then came to the first fence we had seen since the Wolgan Valley, then some beautiful horses, then another Tootie Creek. At 3 o'clock all tired, hungry, horribly dirty and soaking wet with perspiration we came to an orange orchard which we walked through. Wal picked an orange and started to eat it and I read him a lecture. We then walked through acres of green corn about 10 feet high, with pumpkins, squashes and melons growing between the rows. The corn was so thick and green we could not see anything. When we got out of it we looked all round for a house but couldn't find one, so we walked on for about half a mile and came to more oranges and a barbed wire fence, with a house peeping through the orange trees in the distance. I fell through the barbed wire fence face down in a heap of stinging nettles and tore the flap of my pack on the wire. There were a lot of kiddies laughing and talking in the river, but we decided they weren't worth investigating. On our way through the oranges we met a man carrying two tins of oil; he said he was working for Mr. Armstrong and had seen two other walkers sitting on the side of the road about an hour ago talking to two men. He also informed us there were no shops in Colo, a store boat came up the river twice a week and not on Saturday, also there was no phone nearer than Upper Colo four miles away. As he didn't seem likely to give us anything to eat we bid him good-day and went on till we saw two packs outside a house on the side of the road, so in we went and Mr. Mailes came out and met us. He shook hands with us and made a fuss over us, he was one of the survey party who went through the Colo in 1887 and he thought it was wonderful for girls to go through. He took us inside where his sister had tea and hot yeast bread with butter and jam waiting for us. Ray and Ben had hurried all the morning tired and hungry; once Ray got tangled up in a lawyer vine and fell head first down a bank just as two wasps stung him on the back of the neck, and from all accounts he was pretty mad. They struck Mr. Armstrong's place first and he took them in and gave them tomatoes, bread and butter and peach dumplings, tea and oranges. They then passed on to Mr. Mailes place and were steadily eating their way through there when we came along. Mr. Mailes had put them in touch with a man who looked like the wild man from Borneo, a great big chap in a grey flannel shirt and about an inch of jet black beard sticking out all over his face; he had sold his lorry three days before to his brother but volunteered to ride across the river and borrow it and drive us to Kurrajong. It was then 4 o'clock and the train left Kurrajong at something past six, so we had no time to change or wash, so after eating two or three loaves of bread and butter and drinking three cups of tea each we piled in the back of an old Chev. lorry and arranged ourselves comfortably on the floor with our backs against our packs, a box with a tin of oil in it and a spare tyre in the bed of the lorry, and a boy with a harelip standing up hanging on to the roof of the driver's seat. Ninian, Ben and the driver sat in front. The driver said he was in a hurry and had 27 miles of bad road to do in less than an hour. After that the trip was something we shall never forget; the driver turned out to be an ex-racing motor driver and I think he thought he was driving a racing car instead of an old lorry. The road was very narrow and rough and instead of driving straight along the ruts he kept going backwards and forwards across them to the gutter, first on one side and then on the other; he would go full tear round sharp bends and the back of the lorry would swing round till it tipped sideways and we all ran down the floor to one side with our packs, spare wheel and the box on top of us. The pegs came out of the side-board and Wal got two blood blisters on his fingers putting them in again. I got as close to the front as I could and hung on like grim death to a pack with one hand and Wal's leg with the other and hoped for the best. We ran slam bang through a mob of fowls and two dogs, I expected to see sausages out the back of the lorry but he missed them all. He sang at the top of his voice all the way, Rene said his ear for music was in my class. He went over gutters at top speed and we all bounced about two feet in the air, then Roxy got carsick so she moved up and lay across my lap and I nursed her in my arms which steadied us both up a bit, so we didn't slip round so much. We climbed up a very steep mountain with a cutting on one side and nothing on the other, the driver didn't bother about keeping to the middle of the road; then I began to worry for fear we would have to go down the same mountain again but the boy told us it was level going when we got to the top.
When we got to the top we absolutely tore along, the trees whizzed by whipping the lorry as it passed. Ray said, “If that kid doesn't get inside he'll be wrapped round a tree and we'll have to cut the tree down and peel him off like taking the skin off an eel.” We passed orange groves, orchards and acres of passion fruit vines, Ray said the orchards went by so fast they looked like a fruit salad. Then it began to rain and the driver decided to take us to Richmond as there was a hotel there and he could get there before six o'clock. We eventually landed in Richmond at the railway station and untangled ourselves from the mess in the bottom of the lorry and you never saw such a disreputable looking lot as we were. Rene borrowed a dish of water and a piece of soap from the station master, we had had no soap for a week and the Colo river water was hard, full of lime.
Ben left us at Parramatta, Ninian and Wal at Strathfield. Roxy was ill and went home from Central, but Ray, Rene and I were starving, so we went to the Monterey and created a sensation. We started off with a toasted club sandwich of chicken and tomatoes and then had a sampler and a rockmelon sundae and ended up with a milk shake. The manageress, who knows us fairly well, came and asked us where we had been and the waitress asked all sorts of foolish questions such as “Where did you sleep at night, I suppose you put up at a different place every night?” “How did you know where to go, did you keep asking people?” “Weren't you frightened of getting lost?” and so on.
We caught the 10 something train home and thus ended a real tough trip and I'm glad I went.
|Ninian||1 knife, 1 packet of cigarettes.|
|Rene||1 new torch. 1 new water bucket, Depreciation on one Monterey handkerchief caused by Ben using it for a washing up cloth by mistake.|
|Ben||1 tooth brush. 1 bathing costume. 1 spoon. 1 towel, lost when bull charged him.|
|Roxy||1 cup, smashed per foot. 1 pink milanese brassiere.|
|Ray||1 shaving brush. strap off camera.|
|Me||Wonder of wonders - nothing, except skin and hair.|
Paddy Pallin extends to all Bushwalkers the heartiest of greetings.
May the sun shine on you.
May you find shade for your tent
And soft turf whereon to lie;
A quiet clear rocky pool,
Or perchance the tumbling surf.
Screw topped aluminium jars 1/- and 1/3
Tucker bags from 3d.
Japara bucket 2/3
Frying pan and plate - camp oven combination 2/6
Send copy of “Bushwalking and Camping” (6d) with your Xmas cards.
An outside in Zipp Fasteners. Paddy has got stocks of 8ft. zipps which when sewn round your sleeping bag enables you to open it right out. Price 12/-
Fitted free (weight 5oz). New Price List just out - gladly given - gratuitously.
F.A. PALLIN, 312 George St. Sydney.
(over Hallams, opp. Wynyard Stn.)
All bushwalkers of course know Mt. King George [Mt. Banks], that massive mountain on the northern side of the Grose River facing Govetts Leap Creek. The first known ascent was made on the 30th. September this year by a number of the S.B.W. - viz: Jeane Travis, Jessie Martin, Gordon Mannell and my self. Contrary to its own expectations, the party managed to find a way up and reached the Trig station after six hours. Unable to find the track back to the Grose River from the Bell road, they were forced to camp at the head of a gully, and to spend a cold, hungry and thirsty night. The next morning the landscape was draped with a light mantle of snow. Owing to the services of Mr. Pearce who lived at the first habitation, the party reached the Grose again and arrived at camp in the Blue Gum Forest to find that four search parties were combing the adjacent country.
Unfortunately no camera was taken on this trip, so I decided to do it again. The first available weekend was the 25/26th. November. The proposed itinerary was more ambitious than on the previous occasion, for I reasoned that with a fast moving party, the climb, return to the Blue Gum and the walk back to the station could be accomplished in one day. Our proposed number was reduced somewhat at the last moment, and only three of us, viz: Joan Fitzpatrick, “Jock” Kaske and myself caught the 5.30 a.m. train on the Saturday.
We had risen early,4 a.m.,and in consequence were a little drowsy. I detached two seats from their framework and made an impromptu bed on the floor. The train was slow and we dozed a little. The country-side appeared unfamiliar suddenly, and imagine our horror when we discovered we were on the Richmond line. Alighting at Riverstone, after much delay we ultimately reached Penrith. Finding the most sandy spot on the platform we spread a groundsheet and emulated Bondi. Owing to the absence of any beach inspectors there was no audible comment on my missing shirt.
The 8.53 a.m. from town duly arrived, packed chock-a-block, and we were forced to spend our time on the carriage platform, more or less comfortable but collecting occasional cinders. We changed later and the sight of Joan in a well ventilated pair of sky blue shorts caused some consternation in the hearts of some elderly maidens(?) who had been “eyeing us off” for some time.
Leaving Leura at 12 noon, lunch was taken near a dairy 2 1/2 miles out. Gilbert Taylor and George Dibley had arranged to wait for us here, but their presence was hardly expected at this late hour. The day was rather hot and sultry as we progressed along the Mt. Hay track, passing through most uninteresting country. Although none of us had been in that direction before, the dome of Mt. King George [Mt. Banks] lay in our line of vision all afternoon. We did branch off a little too soon, and in consequence had to cross a gully but found Lockley pylon without much difficulty. Here we had a little trouble finding the correct spot where the track descends, and much time was wasted. The slopes seemed to be endless, and the evening shadows lay heavily upon the leaf-strewn carpet of the Blue Gum Forest when we reached our destination. Here we found Gilbert, George and quite a number of Bushwalkers camped. Anticipating an early night we withdrew to a distance of some hundreds of yards and pitched the tent. After a dip preparations were made for tea.
At 9 p.m. we crawled into our bags and I slept immediately. Probably the strains of “Danny Boy” and ten thousand other melodies were wafted along by the breezes at all sorts of ungodly hours in the morning; but I heard not, Morpheus and I were co-tenting.
The first twitter of the birds woke me. Joan & Jock looked so “dead to the world”, so comfortable that I hadn't the heart to wake them for some time. The breakfast was nearly ready before they stirred and even then the lazy so-and-so's maintained the horizontal position as long as possible.
At 6.25 a.m. we left, carrying one small pack with two cameras, a torch, first-aid kit and compass, matches, chocolate, raisins and fifty feet of rope. The ascent of the extremely steep foothills of the mountain was laborious but otherwise almost without incident; almost, I say, for during one “breather”, much to my sorrow, but somewhat to the merriment of the others I was bitten on the right cheek by a bull dog ant.
After an hour we reached the base of the cliffs and skirted these until we were beneath the cliffs which presented the only possible route to the top. Immediately it was necessary to follow a ledge and zigzag back. Afterwards it was possible as a rule to follow the cleft upwards. In places sturdy little suckers afforded fine handholds and at times took the dead weight of our straining bodies with ease. For this reason, although we climbed with an occasional empty void of some hundreds of feet close by, the going never looked very dangerous. The rope was kept handy but not used much; when short rock climbs of ten feet or so entered the programme it was a different proposition. Usually Jock stood on my shoulders scrambled up and made fast the rope, Joan and I followed in that order. Once when we were all standing on a four feet ledge spying out the best way up, Jock tried to have “forty winks.” Suddenly he swayed and very nearly lurched sideways into the depths below. On another occasion a large rock crashed down from above and hurtled past his leg. Taking an occasional photo we made steady progress and reached our last obstacle, a high rock with a sharply inclined top surface, slippery and bare. Fortunately there was no drop beneath us at this point, so we were able to experiment, Joan sat on my shoulders and Jock after standing on her shoulders managed to wriggle up. Joan kept one leg straight and I pressed her up a couple of feet above my head. After a short struggle with the rope we both in turn joined Jock.
The cleft for the moment was impassable - a tremendous boulder barred our way. Taking great care we wriggled around a short ledge, avoiding with our eyes the thousand feet of blue haze that yawned beneath. Now we were nearly on the top with nothing difficult ahead.
A tiny pool of crystal water invited the attention of our parched throats. We lay down, relieved, and made a vicious attack on the chocolate and raisins. Some while later we emerged from the shady fissure to the hot blaze of a mountain. Summer's sun. The trig was not in sight and we pushed on towards the first crest of the range, gazing downwards to the Valley of the Grose which lay on our left. Our Coo-ees were heard by Hec Carruthers at camp, and his replies were clear enough. I'm afraid we wasted considerable time taking photos and in contemplation of the grand vista exposed to our view. Surmounting several crests of the range, the trig was at last visible and treading warily through prickles we reached the cairn, in 4 hours 35 minutes.
More photos followed and then it became necessary to think of the return journey. Jock selected a likely looking gully some few miles away and we followed the track from the trig to the Bell road. After a mile or two of road no track turning off was visible, and we decided to follow a ridge in the direction of the Grose. When some distance along this, Jock suggested descending to the gully on our right and suddenly - hey presto! in front of us lay a well defined and cut track. Our stocks soared high again.
Walking more quickly we followed the track which gradually descended and meandered first through a beautiful green gully comparable to the Rodriguez Pass, and later along the side of the Grose River but high up. In a delightful little angle of the track was some shade, and a rocky pool offered an opportunity to slake our thirst. Joan and Jock scorned my suggestion of chocolate but I wolfed a full quarter of a pound.
Later the track was overgrown with prickly bushes and lawyer vine, so that at last in desperation we headed for the river, crossed and followed the track on the southern bank. Speeding up again we reached camp at 2.55 p.m.
A dip apiece made a world of difference, and after consuming my share of nine eggs, bacon and etceteras, I felt almost a new woman. Time flew and when everything was packed, the watch said 4.20 p.m. There was a little more than three hours to catch the last train - 7.30 p.m.
An average of four miles an hour was maintained along Govett's Leap Creek, but when after the Junction the track commenced to wind steadily upwards, our pace slackened. On the zig-zag to Govett's Leap my thighs felt like lead. There was no time for more than a couple of very brief rests and our second gears certainly gave us hell. At the Look out only 35 minutes remained. Once on the flat again we quickened our pace and had the pleasure of seeing the train in sight as we reached the station.
In conclusion may I pay a tribute to the really wonderful performance of Joan. She had had three hours sleep on Friday night and on Saturday even less on account of a bad headache. Although the approximate distance was only 24 miles for the day we were, with the exception of a few short breaks, 13 hours on our feet, and the trip included the two severe ascents of King George [Mt. Banks] and Govett's Leap and a very fair proportion of rough, rugged and prickly country as well. I do not say that no other girl could have done it, but within my experience it was the finest exhibition of endurance and grit I have ever seen. Here's to you, Joan!
Amen and hear! hear!
This is not the record of three very earnest young men spending a hazardous time in “tough” country, avidly gleaning crumbs of Knowledge from the Book of Nature, but rather one of a happy holiday which we enjoyed muchly, being imbued with the urge to be free, footloose, and responsible to no one but ourselves as fancy cared to dictate.
We were three no-ologists, Frank, Evan, and I, and not being cumbered with the burden of past records - mental or physical - were able to relax into a truly hobo holiday spirit.
“Hence, loathed Melancholy,
Of Cerberus and blackest midnight born
In Stygian cave forlorn
'Mongst horrid shapes, and shreiks,and sights unholy!”
And now the story opens at the Mill near Jenolan. It rains as oft it has rained before; there is mud, such mud, and the three of us are struggling manfully with beans, bacon, a small fire, and a tame cat, which last was still happy, fat, and purring when we left.
Came the dawn after a hard night in the garage - a cold and chilly dawn with frost in the air, - and soon a start along the Kanangra road.
Frank distinguished himself by having a pack of gargantuan proportions, and was hung all over with water bags and bottles, a pedometer, a huge pair of what he called “boots”, a camera tripod, a fearful looking “donkey-breakfast”, and - save the mark! - puttees.
Evan was a somewhat lesser celebrity in a burglar Bill cap and something which looked a little more like a pack than a haystack.
I regret to say I had a water bottle which, on occasion, was also a hot water bottle at night, very little soap, and no intention of shaving until I had to. Frank very early made himself a nuisance as he insisted on noting down the time when we (a) stopped, (b) started, © had a drink, (d) took a photo, (e) saw anything unusual, (f) - but why go on? By the time the trip was nearly over Evan and I were so well trained that we automatically sprang to our feet on all necessary occasions, saying as one man “11 1/4 minutes past 10”(or whatever the time was.) The pedometer was a nuisance too because after walking and walking and walking we would ask “How far have we gone - 8 miles?” and Frank would divest himself of some three hundred weight of loose gear and with an air of profound knowledge like an Oracle, impart the useful information that we had gone 2 miles 1500 yards to the nearest decimal point as far as he was able to judge at the moment, but if we liked to wait he would work the distance out correctly. Damn the blithering thing, anyhow! But for it we would have made a trip of 130 miles at least instead of 85.
The wind blew in gusts and we felt very cold at Rocky Top; when we reached the Mud Hut we found some of the more illustrious members of the S.B.W's in occupation, and none of them looked too warm. Tea over the rain came again, and later turned to sleet - ugh!, so disregarding certain jeering remarks we left our tents which were “secured” by tent pegs sunk only a couple of inches into stony earth, and made our way to the vicinity of the old dancing floor where there was less fear of our habitat being flattened by icy gusts during the night.
Snow fell lightly and next morning we were greeted by a much heavier fall lasting until 11 o'clock. Washing up - apart from the cold - was a joy almost as all the mess of eating was frozen and one had but to amputate same in chunks from the cooking and masticatory utensils, so different from the usual greasy corrobaree I often fall for.
We explored Mounts Maxwell and Brennan and spied out the surroundings from Danae with its snowy top, Thurat, and Gangerang in a great half circle to Colong sway in the distance southwards where we were due in four days - and all the time the wind whistled over the Tops, and our capes waved wildly whenever we moved so that standing the camera and taking a picture was an art all on its own. Later a sudden squall with hail came upon us and we only wanted heavy mist and an earthquake to make our picture of sunny New South Wales complete in every detail.
Tuesday was fine and we were away on the lower path for Gingra at 7.46 (New record). About 10.30 we were on the lookout for Wally's marked tree but it remained hidden, so after a consultation we struck off on a ridge past Third Top which bends back at an angle on Gingra. The marked tree may have been burnt - or we may have got on to a detour path and missed it, but I think not!
Our ridge landed us eventually on a slope which swear was close on 50°. Our language down that slope has singed a line five feet high from the top to bottom through the foliage. There was no track - naturally - but there were tangled scrub, fallen trees, holes, loose stones, thorn bushes, and flies.
At last we broke out onto a flat on a creek bed and we all said “Ahhhh!” We followed the creek for fifty yards, and said “Blank, blank, blank, blanks!”
It turned out to be Ferny Flat Creek, full of heavy undergrowth and nettles, and every nasty sort of thing that grew, flew, and buzzed, so trimming three nettle stems for use as walking sticks we climbed out onto Hughes' ridge and, three hours after leaving Gingra, we hit the Kowmung. We camped at Orange Bluff.
The Kowmung is a nice river. It took us four hours to get through the Canyon next day, and the rest of the day to reach Lannigan's Creek. Narry a soul we saw the whole way and we later learned that the miners had deserted the river for climes more pleasant - financially.
Haye's shack appeared in quite good repair but Manning's looked worse than usual, while the famous dam again leaked slightly.
A couple of hours' rock hopping along Lannigan's Creek on Friday morning brought us to Caves Creek, and after making camp and consuming some donkey sausage, figs ,and nuts, we spent two or three hours in the caves taking pictures. The wind was again gusty and inside the bluff the draught whistled through the squeezes so much that our enthusiasm for a mole's life greatly diminished. My happiest moment was watching Frank wriggle through the smallest squeeze, cold, bewhiskered, and very rude when I laughed.
We were pleased to find that the bats are re-inhabiting the lower part of the galleries, from where they were abducted by scientists some moons ago.
The track to Yerranderie via the swamp and the Tonalli River proved very thirsty and our water bottles were appreciated muchly; incidentally the swamp was actually wet.
In the township we made straight for the store, which has changed hands, the Goldings having left, and two young? men now being in occupation.
We were hungry - very hungry - but after 3 bottles of soft drinks, 2 cups of tea each, a pound of chocolate, a tin of salmon, a tin of jam, a can of tomatoes, 112 lb butter, and a loaf of bread, we felt a little better and also able to cope with the junior element which foregathered and proved to be, not half of Yerranderie's young citizens, but the small members of one family - and father's on the dole!
We turned in early and next day, Frank and I climbed the Peak, and were rewarded with a superb view of the hills which enclose Yerranderie, and the fine white ribbon of road winding eastwards to the Burragorang Valley.
This seems a most appropriate finish to the article, that is two young men gazing from a mountain peak with far seeing eyes over a vast expanse of rugged - country, with the light of conquest in their eyes and the satisfied feeling of a trip well done - but I dislike doing the appropriate thing so will continue to the bitter end.
We climbed down and effected a late start in much heat, feeling fed up with our boots, and landed in at Wollondilly Bridge somewhere about sundown, hungry, tired, and slightly the worse for wear. Shaves were the order of the day, also baths, and next morning when our clothing had been washed and dried and we appeared moderately respectable again we were driven into the Oaks by a gentleman with a car - or rather lorry, I should say - and our appropriate finish is now presented. The lorry was full of coal, and we three sat on top; the wind was keen and we were coaled all the way in, but the story of the “Three Beers” at the pub soon warmed us - and so the Sydney, and bed.
A letter from Oliver Glanfield to Myles Dunphy
23rd. August, 1934.
I have been trying to drop in and recount our experiences on our second visit to Tuglow Caves on August 4, 5 and 6 inst., but having been unsuccessful in seeing you I am writing a brief outline of the trip.
The party - Cedric Old and Keith Hardiman, both of the legal fraternity; and Win. Barnes, a doctor; and myself - left Sydney on Friday night in Old's car and stayed the night at his cottage at Wentworth Falls. This time we carried a thermometer as a matter of interest. At Wentworth Falls a strong westerly blow arose and sent the temperature down to 40°F [4.4°C]. Spent a good night indoors and moved off next morning in good sunshine to Jenolan. Along the main road, from about Hartley to Jenolan, snow had fallen the previous night and still remained in protected patches. Somehow we could not get warm.
Passed through Jenolan and up the Oberon Hill, finding the whole country covered with a few inches of snow. Air temperature 35°F [1.7°C] generally, but once dropped to 33°F [0.5°C]. Good road but a bit slippery to Gingkin Turnoff (main Gingkin Road, not the short cut, which is in a terrible condition). Poor road to Gingkin, sky becoming ominously overcast, and a bad road to Tuglow which necessitated detours, and once the removal of undergrowth by axe to provide a safe passage around a road bog of unknown depth.
Arrived at Dennis' Farm shivering and literally blue in the nose and accompanied by a biting westerly wind. What a bleak, exposed position this farm occupies! After unpacking the gear and covering the car with a tarpaulin we set off for Tuglow Hut, not having eaten since breakfast, and it now being around 4 p.m. As we descended we escaped the full force of the wind and by sunset arrived at the Tuglow River, after meeting Mr. Bill Dennis en route.
The river was greatly swollen and crossing proved difficult. [Cedric] Old tried to wade at the usual ford but the current was too strong and the cold water made his skin very sore. As the light was failing rapidly we decided to push a pole across the narrowest part where two limestone boulders formed a deep, rushing channel. A second lighter pole was also manoeuvred into position, and then I crawled across on all fours and fixed a rope to the opposite side. On this somewhat insecure bridge we crossed with our gear, and entered the hut at twilight, finding one of Dennis' hands camped there.
Old, failing in a brave attempt to wade the river, ran up and down the bank trying to warm himself, clad in shirt, pullover, coat, overcoat and muffler, but without his trousers, and presented a strange sight in the fading light of the cold evening. After spending some time and considerable physical effort in warming himself he was unfortunate enough to step forward onto a seemingly solid-looking grass tussock by the side of the stream, and found himself dropped vertically into the chilly stream again. These incidents produced a deal of hilarity but the various comments cannot be recorded.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 5th., 1934. The day broke clear and sunny, but fresh to cold. Party set out over Tuglow Mountain to the Caves. Much to my discredit, I admit an error in guiding and we found ourselves in the next gully upstream along the Kowmung from the Caves, but after a scouting trip on my part, we climbed out and arrived at the Caves about mid-day. We had brought along a winch made of one inch galvanized iron piping with handles, and rigged up this S.E. of the bigger entrance, having previously marked our 200 feet of rope in 20 feet sections. Decided to lunch before the descent. During lunch we drew lots for “first down,” I drew the short stick, so having had a good lunch, I got into the chair we made on the end of the rope, and realizing it was too late to back out now I gave three blasts on the whistle to be lowered. As you know, my experience in unexplored and partly explored caves is extensive, but I must admit a strange feeling came over me as I looked down that hole below, not knowing its depth or what it contained beyond the limit of the beam of my torch, and being lowered on an untested l 3/4“ rope, steadying myself against the almost vertical side of the crevasse. This feeling intensified when I reached a larger cavern, the sides of which were beyond reach. However, I signalled for further lowering and, swinging freely in space, descended 40 feet or so to a ledge. Altering my direction somewhat I continued steadily downward, gaining confidence, sometimes with rocks against which I steadied myself, sometimes freely swinging, until I came to a ledge about 30 feet up from what appeared to be a “bottom”. Looking upward to see how many times the rope was deflected from the straight line, but not being able to see to the opening above, I decided to descend no farther, as such a descent would necessitate passing the rope over particularly rough rocks, which might cause jamming. Dropped a stone onto the floor below, which sounded hollow, and the stone, after bouncing, fell farther and echoed for from 1 to 2 seconds. I was now 120 feet down from the surface. Signalled two blasts (up) and slowly ascended, finding some difficulty in negotiating ledges over which the rope passed, to avoid having my fingers cut off. Arriving at the top the boys lassoed me and pulled me to the side of the hole and released me from the chair.
I had pulled a second rope down with me as a safety precaution and in coming up had moved it from the end of the crevasse into which I had been, to the other end, as a guide to the next man down. This was Hardiman. We lowered him to about 100 feet when he blew one blast - stop. His next signal was 'down', but although we paid out rope it simply laid slack. So we took up the slack and tried to raise him but without success. The rope was jammed somewhere out of sight and Hardiman was swinging in black space, with us unable to move him. By careful shouting, we told him to bounce on the rope, which he did and fortunately freed himself, but not until some anxious moments had passed. We hauled him to the top - minus the seat of his trousers and back pocket and contents, torn off against a rock somewhere in the ascent.
I would mention the matter of sound in the Caves. Each man had a fairly loud whistle of the vibrator or “Boy Scout” type. This could be heard to about 80 feet down, after which it was necessary to place a man at the mouth of the hole to repeat the signals to the winch-man, only 40 feet away. I intend, in future, using whistles of the “Thunderer” type like we use in the Surf Clubs.
Next man down was Barnes. Profiting from the knowledge gained of the first two descents he successfully gained a solid (?) bottom at 110 feet. He left the rope; we hauled it up and sent down Old to join him, Hardiman and I pulled up the second rope (a mistaken move) and lowered ourselves into the smaller hole or entrance which we explored last Easter. However, we did not get far before the signal to haul up was heard (both entrances lead to a common cavern) and we had to hurry to allay fears of the boys being trapped. Old came up first, and then we realized that, as the second rope had been removed, we did not know where Barnes was. After some deliberation I was lowered on the main rope, carrying the second rope, and after some manoeuvring, I saw the reflection of Barnes' torch showing in a hole some 60 feet below me. Through this hole, guided by the faint light, I dropped the end of the second rope, which Barnes succeeded in reaching, although out of my sight. I tied the other end to my chair and was hauled up. Barnes then pulled the main rope and chair down to himself and was raised to the surface.
Dusk was approaching rapidly, so we dismantled the winch and wound up the ropes. Made a short trip to the edge of the cliffs overlooking the Kowmung River, which was running strongly - there were no placid pools between the rapids.
Started back to the hut, ascending straight up the side of Tuglow Mountain, gaining the summit in darkness, with just the faintest glow of light in the Western sky, above Dennis' farm. Kept along the side of the mountain straight for this last glow, and just as it entirely disappeared we found ourselves at the head of the gully leading to the hut. During the descent we were forced to use our torches. Arriving on the Tuglow River flats we set a course by judgment and fortunately walked straight to the hut, which we could not perceive until within 20 yards of it. A good meal and then to bed.
MONDAY, AUGUST, 6th., 1934. Day broke beautifully; sun shining and cold wind but not unpleasant. Arose late and breakfasted in the sun under the lee of the hut. The weather being delightful we dallied somewhat and set off for home about mid-day. Mr. Bill Dennis took some of the gear on his horses for us. Having re-crossed the river on our pole bridge we dismantled it and replaced the poles in the fence from which we borrowed them.
From Tuglow to the main Oberon - Jenolan Road we encountered conditions worse than met with on the outward journey; the road bogs seemed to be more numerous and dangerous, but we successfully crossed or by-passed them and proceeded on to Jenolan for a mid-afternoon meal. From here to Sydney we overcame the difficulty of being cold, by actually getting inside our sleeping-bags and sitting in the car - excluding the driver, of course - although the cold was not so severe as on the outward journey. Stopping at Katoomba we bought packets of chips and fish, and proceeded, thus having our evening meal without delay, by changing drivers. To Sydney without event, then a good, hot bath and bed.
We are convinced that the best way to enter Tuglow Caves is straight down the larger hole on a winch-controlled rope, and also that these Caves present possibilities in the way of good formations and extensive, although possibly steep, tunnels.
I suggest that any would-be adventurers should be dissuaded from attempting exploration underground, unless they have had considerable experience in unattended caves and possess the ability to throughly organize and provide for any eventuality. In my opinion these caves are definitely dangerous, even to experienced men.
I came across the following lines in Henry Lawson, and thinking they expressed things rather well, I'm letting you have them.
“Though the way of the swagman is mostly uphill,
There are joys to be found on the wallaby still
When the day has gone by with its tramp or its toil,
And your camp-fire you light, and your billy you boil,
There is comfort and peace in the bowl of your clay
Or the yarn of a mate who is tramping that way.”
Believe it or not - there is one member of the S.B.W. who has never been to Eras
During October we had two very interesting lectures, one by Mr. W.L. Havard, B.Sc. on Jenolan Caves and the other by Miss Swan on a matter of historical interest. Mr Havard had some beautiful slides of the interior of most of the Caves at Jenolan. These were quite unique and most realistic. Miss Swan's talk about Mrs. Musgrove and her book was intensely interesting and amusing.
In October, we also held the last of the Club Dances, as the weather is now rather hot for dancing.
The 7th. Annual Concert was put forward a week and was held on the 13th. and 14th. of November. We think the idea of giving the concert on two nights in succession an admirable one from all points of view. There was a very fair attendance on the first night, and an excellent one on the second. The concert generally was the usual gratifying success. The consensus of opinion is that it is by far the best as yet put forward by the Bushwalkers. Some of the items would do credit to any professional body.
Financially there should be a profit of round about 15. The father of one of our members, Miss Beryl Madgwick, paid a very gracious compliment to your Social Secretary, when he sent along about 50 Art copies of the programme as Souvenirs to be given by her to the Members of the Concert Party and assistants. I would like to take this opportunity of saying how much I appreciate this gracious act and also to say thank you.
While on this subject I would like to thank all the Members of the Concert Party for their assistance, and also the House Manager, Ticker Seller and all those others who so ably guaranteed the success of our concert by their excellent work behind the scenes.
Once again on the 16th. November, we had the pleasure of listening to an evening's music presented to us by some Members of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society. The works of these two Masters are ever enjoyable and especially so when presented to us by some of their earnest students.
One of our Club Members Miss D. Lawry, gave an intimate talk to the small attendance of Members on the 23rd. November. This was accompanied by slides mainly of the MacDonald River. All those present thoroughly enjoyed Miss Lawry's description of her trip in what is to most of us more or less unknown country.
We wish to congratulate May and Paddy Pallin on the birth of their daughter, on the 19th. October. May she always be able to say - “Isn't it fun being Jennifer”.
On Friday 30th. November, Jock Marshall gave us a very interesting “talk” on the New Hebrides Natives.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Club Members the Compliments of this Season allied to good walking and camping during their holidays.
FOR THE SOCIAL COMMITTEE
Rene D. Browne, Hon. Social Secretary.