This is an old revision of the document!
A Monthly Bulletin devoted to matters of interest to Sydney Bush Walkers, 5 Hamilton Street, Sydney, N.S.W.
No. 38. February, 1938.
|Editor:||Marie B. Byles|
|Business Manager:||J.W. Mullins|
|Publication Staff:||Misses Clare Kinsella, Dot English, Flo Allsworth, Kathleen McKay, Messrs John R. Wood, Brian C. Harvey, W.L. (Bill) Piggott.|
|Are Bushwalkers Mad?||Marie B. Byles||1|
|Bush Walkers in New Zealand||Dot English||2|
|Wading Harry's River||Jack Debert||5|
|Antonio - A New Dolly Ballad||8|
|News from Here There and Everywhere||11|
We welcome the following new members to our ranks:-
Doris Christian, Wallace Jones, Frazer Ratcliffe, and Frank Gentle.
We congratulate ourselves - or the treasurer - for the information given us at the last meeting that we have practically no unfinancial members and that very few were struck off through non-payment of membership fees. Surely this if anything speaks for the virility and vitality of the club of over 200 members imposing a strict entrance test. We have so many faults to find with ourselves at general meetings that we may be forgiven for once in the way giving ourselves a pat on the back.
Most people would reply emphatically, “yes”, and in a democratic society the opinion of the majority goes. Most of us are delighted to admit to a streak of madness, merely pointing out that the only difference between us and ordinary madmen is that we know we are mad; ordinary madmen don't.
I mention this because one of our members told me he did not think it was quite nice to suggest that the Melbourne people and our own “Tigers” who seek to walk 84 miles in two days, were mad. I am sorry that anyone should misunderstand an intended compliment. I can only say that mountaineers, to my mind the cream of society, are just a little madder.
It is the people who do something a little out of the ordinary who make life interesting. How terrible to contemplate a society where everyone was sane and orthodox!
by Dot English. 25 Mile Hut, 28/12/1937.
Dear Mob, This letter is going back per Ada and she leaves us to-day, so having stodged ourselves on Pompalonas (a species of fried scone about the size of a pancake) I have a brief lull in which to write. Bertie is just approaching his 19th. pompa. thereby surpassing all his previous records, as 2 are considered a fair meal. Gordon is a close second, but realises that he hasn't much of a chance.
We are all congregated in a mall one-roomed hut about 12 x 16 - fifteen of us, eleven in our party and 3 other lads. We slept last night packed in like sardines. The hut is situated up above the Rees River with great snow-capped peaks 7 and 8 thousand feet high all around. The river is a green milky flood rushing along at a vast speed - you can hardly stand against it knee deep. Gordon is just reading out a notice pinned up on the hut wall - the wrapper from a Palmolive Soap cake. It says “Successful Men are Well Groomed.” The one called Smith has a dusky ziff about a fortnight old. When he crouches in his bunk in the dusk Bertie says he looks like the wanted man. Boy, is he tough!! Not so tough on the feet though. He excelled himself the night before last by stamping on an upturned crampon in the dark, and spiked himself severely losing about a pint of gore.
(Picture of a crampon spikes)
We had a wet day yesterday - the first so far. Tell Marie this and make her weep, We had another wet afternoon last week and showers at night, but the days have been perfect - bright sunshine and fresh breezes off the snow fields. We are all sunburnt to an unrecognisable hue. Yesterday three of us had to dash back to the nearest township 25 miles sway to get more food for the mob as we have been short for 2 or 3 days. Bert, George and Dot volunteered and got a lift for 14 miles each way in a lorry and so got back with the food in the one day. The party leaped on it like hungry dogs. Says Gordon, with honey and other foodstuff all over his beard “What a glorious feeling to be full.”
The others spent the day playing cards, chopping wood, washing up etc.
The day before yesterday 6 of us climbed Mt. Earnslaw (9,180 ft) Bert and Dot were on one rope with one called Jack Aitkin - a bonza chap who gave us our head and let us go. He's one of the best mountaineers in N.Z. and we had a most exciting time glissading down vast snow fields at an angle of so many degrees. Bertie in his exuberance dashed in a crevass on two occasions and only for the fact that Jack dug his ice axe in and we pulled on the rope, we might have lost our little Bert.
Gordon was on another rope with one called Len (who is carefulness and caution personified - and who incidentally prefers to be called Leonard rather than Lenny) and another mountaineer :friend of Jack Aitkin's by name of Roy Stroud, who is big and beautiful and friendly and talkative (a second Debert) 6 ft.3 1/2“ in his socks, and his boots are size 12 1/2 - almost big enough for young Bruce to sleep in. This rope load took things easier but I doubt if Gordon enjoyed it as much as we did.
A note re Sandflies: We collected and squashed a representative collection on the Milford Track, which George wants sent on to Billy Mullins. They will be found enclosed. There were very few and we had a job to snare the enclosed specimens. They don't attack when you are walking and don't bite - only buzzing around the face while you are eating and making a nuisance of themselves. We have accordingly discarded the mosquito netting ends of the tent as being unnecessary (there is a fight going on down below, which I can witness from my location on a top bunk. Bert has Gordon by the throat, accusing him of publishing libellous statements. Gordon is saying in his letter that Bertie was sea-sick after his fourth pint of icecream on the Awatea which Bert vigorously denies. Those two have various scars as relics of different brawls along the way. Gordon can demonstrate his Grave-Talbot abrasions, caused by indiscreet scruffing, and Bertie has his Milford bruise, his Homer scratch, his Kinloch contusion, etc. etc.
The 2nd. batch of boys are just cooking their breakfast. Bert has been banished outside by Gordon to wash up, lest he become hungry again and so disgrace us.
We have had swims in all the lakes and rivers and the sea encountered on our way. The water is absolutely frigid - the sea no less than the snow fed lakes and rivers - its current sweeps up direct from the South Pole. We dived in pink and supple and come out blue and stiff without our breath. “In and out” is the order of the bath.
There's a big discussion going on below about dangerous climbers - and the various casualties and fatalities occasioned by such. I must ceaso writing for a while as I can't concentrate.
——– (indicating that time has elapsed).
George has been some high-class photographs - just wait till you see them - you'll all be coming over here for a holiday.
The beech forests here are amazingly beautiful - a soft green light filters through the tiny dots of leaves, and the ground underfoot is carpeted thick with brown and fawn and vivid red fallen leaves - as brightly coloured as Christmas apples.
This is a land of stream and ferns and mosses. There is the dainty little fern-like moss which clothes every tree trunk and branch and every fallen limb underfoot, while grey ghostly lichen beards the gnarled trees and sways in an eerie fashion with every lightest breath of air. Up on the high mountain passes grow the pincushion mosses almost circular in shape, smooth and cushiony and dotted all over with tiny white flower heads, giving the appearance of pins.
In the yet and dripping watercourses grows the feather-bed moss 4 or 5 feet thick. You can leap on it and bounce up and down. It would be marvellous to sleep on if it were not full of water.
Gordon and Bert and I (Dot) climbed a hill overlooking Milford Sound, so as to get a view of the waters of the Sound. The hill was about 2,500 ft. and this we expected would take us at the most a couple of hours, which we had to fill in before tea. So we set out, following up a watercourse then cut off into the bush. Gee, did you ever imagine bush could be so dense and matted - it grew up almost perpendicular slope so that we practically climbed up from tree to tree. We slipped up perpendicular rock faces - erstwhile waterfalls - burying our hands and toes in the thick featherbed moss to which we clung, (We think this must be a misprint! Ed. ) then followed a steep tree-clad ridge where the ground underfoot was feet thick with fallen trees and branches so moss-covered that we couldn't see whether we were walking on terra firma or six feet above it on rotten wood. It was inevitable that we slipped through on numerous occasions, Gordon going through up to the waist-line, cursing and swearing and nearly breaking his legs and Dot frequently vanishing from sight all of a sudden down a green mossy hole. Nevertheless it was the best bush I have ever climbed in - nice and soft on the bare feet and nothing to cut or scratch the flesh. I wish we grew such in good old N.S.W.
You should see our cooking arrangements over here. We started out with a knife, spoon plate and mug apiece, but have now little by little lost various items of cutlery so that we take it in turns with spoon for our porridge and Dot eats from the pot with a knifes, while, Brenda acts her best to dispose of soup with a crust of braad and a fork. The day before yesterday Jack Aitkin surpassed us all in economical cooking. He warmed up the tinned sausages in a billy of water and then made tea with the said water. All would have been well if the tin had not been varnished on the outside. Even Gordon, thirsty as he was, declined to drink the varnish flavoured beverage.
There is a poor lone lad with an enormous pack down in the valley unable to cross the flooded river. Bert and Roy have just gone down with the rope and ice-axes to help get him over - great excitement.
They carry enormously heavy packs here - having no Paddy Pallin to advise and direct them. If this boy falls in and wets his pack I pity him he won't be able to rise from the ground. Imagine a 60 lb pack dry - and then imagine it wet. Hell! said the Duchess!
The high alpine meadows here are unsurpassed by anything I have ever seen. The grass is thick and soft and green and when the wind blows over it, it ripples like the surface of the sea. Big white and purple clover flowers grow in profusion and their strong sweet perfume permeates the air. Big fat lazy bumble bees buzz from flower to flower weighing down the clover heads where they settle with a louder and more persistent buzz. There are bushes of wild briar roses whose keen strong scent remind me of the old home town and the friends we left behind. I generally wear a rose in my shirt so I won't forget you. My word you'd all like it over here. No doubt ours will be the fore-runner of other S.B.W. parties in the future. Gordon is keeping an accurate diary of times and dates and trains, boat and car arrivals and departures, not to mention places where food supplies can be obtained, for the benefit of future S.B.W. visits. This trip is a marvel of organisation and good old Smith gets all of our congratulations. The people over here are 100% helpful and kind and considerate and friendliness itself. Their hospitality is almost overwhelming. I had better not start to enlarge on this subject or I will be writing all day.
The birds here are all very different from ours. There are big heavy game fowl ones called wekas which are so tame they will come right up to the doorway of the huts (incidentally huts are a great idea here. When it rains it rains and to try to cook outside on a wet day would be impossible.)
Up in the mountain passes and on the peaks are the keas, a symbol of the untamed rocky peaks as they rasp (?) defiance at our approach. They are of a grey-brown colouring, with a flash of pink underparts when in flight, like a sunset tinged cloud (Brenda thinks I said they had pink underpants - we are not amused).
The mountain passes are dotted with millions of Alpine daisies and snow lilies - very beautiful and dainty.
This letter is necessarily patchy as I am just jotting down things as they are recalled to mind, and time is short. Ada will be ready to go very soon.
Our next address will be c/o The Hermitage, Mt. Cook (till 28th. January) after which it will be c/o G.P.O. Wellington.
Hoping to hear from some or all of you, and kin regard and the Compliments of the Seasot to the Mob.
From the Whole Pack,
Per D. ENGLISH.
By Jack Debert.
Frantic rush at the start - usual holiday night crowd at the Railway. 6-30 train was so crowded that at 6-15 the ticket collector at the barrier refused to allow anybody else on the train. Hilma and Doris running true to form left everything to the last minute and would have been forced to take a later train except for Gordon's and Jack's gentle eloquence which overcame the ticket collector's officialism.
The party alighted from the train into rain at Katoomba. Gordon almost immaculately dressed in white shorts and shirt made locals shiver and smile. Everyone else in the party already had ground sheets out and looked ready for dirtiest weather imaginable. But Gordon is tough. Rain was falling as the party proceeded on their way in the damp darkness. Nellie's Glen was more wet than usual but the party made good time and arrived at Megalong Creek and within two shakes of an unfolded tent all the tents were up by 11.50 and the pleasing sounds of Bert's snoring came to those dallied in getting into their bags.
Lo and behold dawn broke and Jack was not the first up for Roley had the fire burning brightly before Jack even got out of the tent. The morning was dullish but showed every indication of clearing up. There was no urgent need to make a very early start - so after a large breakfast of delicious steak topped off with a variety of tit bits that tend to make our meals most appetising; a start was made at 7-22. The trip through Euroka down Black Jerry's and to the Cox is well known, so apart from mentioning the refreshing sight of a few newly born lambs in the stockyard and the glorious panoramic view to be obtained from the top of Black Jerry's Hill, it is sufficient to say the going was very easy and it was only 8-50 when we arrived at the Cox. Somehow the writer will never tire of the Cox. He has, like most other ardent walkers, seen it in many moods, and yet he always feels happy to be back amidst its sylvan surroundings and sighing casuarinas.
The party was moving too rapidly so a halt was made for 15 minutes to enable the official photographer, Roley, to make pictorial records with his Rolleicord. Strange how on these long so-called tough trips the self-called “rabbits” are always urging to be up and away and it proved to be the same on this occasion. It was thought that lunch might be had at the junction of Cox and Harry's Rivers, but when, after dawdling down the Cox and admiring the sweet scented clematis and the creeping tecoma or crackerjack, watching the flight of the wongas, king parrots, and listening to the tinkling of bell birds, the time flaw by like the distance and 10-5 found the party sipping saline and chewing chocolate for a full 30 minutes at Harry's River junction. (“If this resting goes on much longer we shall never get through in time and won't the know-alls of the Club have a laugh over us then”, was the thought of one of the party.)
On the first stages of Harry's River the walking was very easy being on cow pads and it was delightfully pretty and to all intent and purposes a miniature Cox. Then came the gorge and the easiest way was to paddle in the water, but we were forced to stop in admiration of a most marvellous array of rock lilies. Sheer sandstone cliffs 150 feet high on either side of a river, no more than 30 yards wide, and looking on the eastern cliff Jack counted 400 rock lilies in bloom and many hundreds more almost on the point of flowering. Truly an exquisite sight and one worth going miles to see. The walking was still very easy and though there were frequent wadings in mater Mumbedah Creek was reached before mid-day after passing through a profusion of tecoma and clematis vines. So to lunch - to which was added watercress from the river.
Well over an hour was taken for lunch and apart from much water wading the going was very easy up to Bee's Nest Creek and Gordon and Jack were very intrigued as to just when they were to hit the rough country they had heard so much about. As mile after mile of beautiful country Was covered the two old stagers realised someone had erred badly or else the roughness came suddenly and must be bad. Shortly after lunch the party encountered a stockman complete with horse, dogs and cattle. He was tremendously interested to hear that they intended going through along the river to the Caves. “It just cannot be done', he remarked. “Why you cannot drive a rabbit through it. The cliffs come down like this”. (at the same time forming a V with his hands).
Bee's Nest Creek is a glorious spot. Jack intends going back there to camp someday. There's a little bit of a flat, vivid green and undulating hills, a pretty patch of volcanic soil. So delightful was the sight that a number wanted to camp there and then though it was not yet 3 o'clock. Jack wanted to load a revolution and might have done so - but Gordon is so big - and besides Maida, Doris, Jessie and Hilma - the female species - were also dying to get into the rough stuff. Maybe in about 50 years time, when the deterioration of the present race is complete, some members of the then Bush Walkers Club will read of such worthy walkers who revelled in rough country to such an extent that they would pass over such a divine camp spot as Bee's Nest, and want to go on looking for “something tuff.”
Well, it was not long before the party struck all the joyous roughness their hearts desired. For shortly after passing Bee's Nest Creek the river entered into a granite canyon. Nature must have been in a playful mood when she tossed a few of those granite boulders about and the constant running of the river in smoothing down the rocks completed the task. Over waist-high wading, slippery dips that outdo Luna Park, narrow ledges, clambering and climbing made the going very slow. It was here that Roley perilously perched in a slippery slipping situation had no less than 40 odd birthdays at once. It was no laughing matter for Roley, but Bush Walkers are ever ready to laugh at a brother's misfortune in similar circumstances and this party was no exception. Anyway the worst never happens and Roley is still alive to tell the tale. The girls took to the water jumps like old stagers. Hilma and Jessie are tough and tried. Dauntless, they duck under what they cannot clamber over. Maida was only a prospective but already she had a reputation for going en tough trips and getting there even on one occasion going on a Bill Mullins' running special after returning from a dance at 4 a.m. Doris, with elastic bandages on her knees, looked as though she might give trouble, but a willing heart and long legs easily carried her where Jack in his old age found difficulty in going. Roley had the camera if he ever needed an excuse. Laurie's steel toe plates gave him many hectic high stepping moments. Bert and Bill were just too tough and of course Gordon - oh well, he was ahead at times. At 4-10 Gordon and Bert, leaving the party at a possible camp spot, went in search of something better - and found it, and so a halt was made at 4-35 in what turned out to be practically the last possible campsite until one reaches the farm just below the Caves. Most everyone had a swim in spite of the perpetual immersion. What a repast the party sat down to, sausages, green peas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, followed with apples and mincemeat. Even Bert - a tremendous eater - was satisfied. It was a glorious night and after the usual varied discussions around the fire the party turned in to their respective tents which had been erected in Abdul fashion.
Jack must be getting very old, for on the second morning he was not the first up. The crown for early rising that has adorned his brow for so long must now pass over to Roley, who seemed to be unable to sleep. But no to be outdone, as Roley rebuilt the fire, Jack lay in his bag and yelled get up in the approved Derbert manner. But the party, realising he is aged and worn out took no notice of him and so he hied himself to the river to drown the reflections of his past glories in the icy cold waters. Still in spite of all the parties' laziness the rearguard left camp at 7-50 and after the usual rock hopping, water wading, barging, charging, climbing, clamouring, 9-55 sees the chocolate ration being doled out at Big Oakey Creek. (A word of warning here. The angle of the junction of the river and creek is almost the same as that of the junction of the river and Bull's Creek. Local rain in Big Oakey Creek catchment area might easily make water appear in a larger quantity than in river and one might follow up Big Oakey Creek instead of keeping to Harry's River). From here on the party practically walked in the water right up to Caves House Farm, nearby to which a halt was made at 12-25 for lunch. It is interesting to note that watercress lined both banks of the river from Mumbedah Creek up to the spot where the party stopped for their midday meal.
Harry's River is well worth the trip and it was not as rough as was expected but it could be very difficult and practically impassable after heavy rain. As it is anyone doing the trip must be prepared for plenty of water work, slippery sliding over the granite, but the mild flowers make up for it all. Jack has never seen so many rock lilies in flower and numerous orchids were on the point of blooming.
The party ambled up to the Caves House as a number wanted to do an inspection. Naturally the mob, arrayed in bush walking attire, aroused the curiosity of the popular picnickers and the Jenolan Caves House staff were intensely interested to hear the party had come right up the Harry's or Jenolan River. They said to their knowledge it was only the second time it had been done, and definitely the first time any girls had done the trip. So girls, on that trip you made history. The cave inspection over, more provisions were purchased and then Gordon, evidently keen on a little training for his forthcoming 24 hour walk set out at a good pace. Bert was out to show that hills were his meat even though it was poison to Bill and Jack, who lagged slightly behind after doing the first five miles in 1 hour 16 minutes, but caught up again before the camp spot. Just over 8 miles in 2 hours 2 minutes is not bad going with heavy packs. But it was a mere trifle to Gordon and Bill, for leaving Jack to cook the dinner they walked back to help the girls up the last stages of the hill.
Roley was first up again next morning, rumour has it that he did not sleep so that he could be up before Jack. Camp was broken at 7-50 but the party found the walking easy, but not exceptionally interesting, going over Black Range. Before reaching Little River, Roley, who had injured his knee going through the Hell's Canyon on Harry's River but had not complained, experienced much pain in walking, and was forced to lag some distance behind the early starting “rabbits.” There is little pleasure for anyone who has a wrenched limb on a trip and so at Little River a veritable jumble sale was hold whilst members dived into Roley's rucksack fighting for the honour of carrying the spoils, to the accompaniment of unheeded protests from Roley who was forcibly prevented from interfering with the proceedings. Why should the mere mention of helping an injured person carry his pack always bring forth loud protests, when the distribution of the pack's contents means only a slight additional weight to each person when divided among a number of willing helpers?
The trip over Gibraltar Rocks to the Cox and into Megalong and up the Devil's Hole into Katoomba was devoid of any exceptional incidents other than the fact that the extreme heat when climbing out of the Cox Valley made the party realise that the weather was becoming too warm to do any heavy walking.
It was a great trip and to Hilma's intense satisfaction was a decided answer to the knowalls who had all but prevented her from doing the trip upstream; for in their opinion the safer method was to take a car to Jenolan Caves House and walk down Harry's River.
So passed Eight Hour Week-end 1937.
You 'member Noggs the Milkman, Ma, W'oos goin' to mally Mary?
W'oo always saved me lots of cream, An' telled me I'se a fairy?
Well, once he knewed a story Ma, About a fried-fish shop.
I fink you'd like to hear it Ma, if only I can stop:
One't they was two 'Talians Ma, wis rings into their ears,
Like the Fortune-Teller lady, we saw on Blackpool Piers.
An' a big one was a sailor, Ma, an' calls himself 'Anton',
An' the other's bery small, Ma, an' so he stopped at home.
An' a small one kept a fried-fish shop, on a corner of a street,
An' he'd s'rimps, an' whelks, an' lobsters Ma, an' lots of fings to eat.
An' in the afternoons, Ma, when a trade was raver slow
He'd stand outside an' puff his chest, an' tell of Antonio.
An' peoples far an' wide, Ma, heard all about Anton,
Of how he was a big, big man, an' weighed quite eighteen stone.
“You not haf seen my Brudder, Sah?” The fried-fish man would say,
“He bery bigga-da chest, Sah Da bery bigga-da thigh,
“If anyone no pay me, Sah, He swipe a dem in da eye,
“He gotta bigga-da sailing ship tattooed onto da chest,
“Da talla-da mast, da bigga-da sail - (You like-a da lobster best?”)
(Ma, why do 'Talians look so queer an' speak so bery funny?)
(An' do they all have bruvers, Ma, to help 'em get a money?)
Well, one day, Ma, when Anton's there, a sailor he come in,
“You want-a da feesh, da oyster stack, da nice-a piece-a da brim?”
The sailor asked for fish and chips an' sat down at a table,
An' ate a lot of dinner, Ma, as much as he was able.
An' Anton's lickle bruver come, an' asked him for a money
But sailor says he's got no beans, which I fink raver funny.
Why are some peoples bery rich, like lickle Lottie Morgan?
At others have to play for pennies on a barrel-organ?
Well, Anton must've heard a noise, for from a door he dashes
An' stands in front of sailor-man - a-twirlin' his moustaches.
An' Anton says: “You gotta pay”, an' a sailor says he can't,
An' Anton raise his fist ant say: “I kick-a you in da pant,
“If you no pay, I lift you up, an' break-a you on da table -
“You tink you able seaman, eh? I make you not so able!
“You see da muse, da ship I got tattooed onto da chest?
“I hit you-so, an squeeze you-so, an' you go sailint-west!”
An' Anton took his jacket off, an' made his muscles wiggle,
But Sailor isn't flightened, Ma, for he began to giggle.
An' this is how it finished, Ma, as Anton's bruver told it:
“Mine brudder Anton puff da chest until he cannot hold it,
“He raisa da fist - he hit - he miss! He make-a da little slip-Sah
“Da sailor hit - oh poor Anton - da-ship - he sinka da ships Sah.
I fink, Ma he'd be bery cross to go wisout a money.
An' see poor Anton doubled up, an' holdin' of his tummy.
I wisht if we could go an' see a fried-fish shop some day,
I'd like to hear a 'Talian talk that bery funny way.
An' that's all what the story was what Noggs the Milkman said, Ma,
An' now I'se get my dolly eh? An wamble off to bed. Ma!
9th. January, 1938. The Editor, “The Sydney Bush Walker”.
My Club noted with interest a small paragraph in your last issue on the subject of the Kanangra-Kowmung Reservation. My Club also expressed a desire to send you further information hoping that you will be able to pass it on to your Club by publishing it in the next issue of the “Bush Walker.”
At the moment, the reserve is for the preservation of native flora and fauna and its status has not yet been decided by the Government.
Mr. Arthur Lowndes' tactics in securing this area will be accepted as a model in future matters of the kind. He took a Cabinet Minister and various departmental heads to Kanangra, and then compiled a petition to the Government, supported by many photographs and the signatures of representative scientific, business and outdoors interests. This he presented to the Minister for Lands, who was favourably impressed, and the result Was the gazettal notice of October 15th. 1937.
Whilst making this explanation, we wish also to pay a tribute to the work of Mr. M.J. Dunphy who was largely responsible for the preservation of the old Kanangra track for the use of walkers and whose untiring efforts in the cause of Blue Mountain reservation are well known to all.
I am, etc.,
J. Gibson per H.M. Whaite.
Warrigal Club of N.S.W.
Paddy begs leave to congratulate the Editor on the much improved appearance of the S.B.W. Magazine and makes bold to say that the monthly appearance at a reduced price of the publication is a welcome innovation.
But believe it or not folks, thinking up something bright to say in Paddy's Page every month is a terrible strain.
Nevertheless Paddy will do his best each month to advise, amuse, instruct, inform or at any rate remind you that he is still in business and still makes good camp gear for walkers.
327 George St.,
SYDNEY. Opposite Palings.
The Club started the New Year badly by Hilma Galliott turning up on the official walk in a pale green silk tennis suit, or play-suit, we think they call it. As luck would have it the party bumped into the official walk of the H.H. Club, the one club above all others requiring the example of proper bushwalking efficiency. Nor was the worst. Flo Allsworth, the leader of the S.B.W., the leader, mind you, left her rucksack behind and carried instead one of those handbags ladies use for holding baby's nappies. It is time something was done. The best thing would be an amendment of the constitution expelling all members who wear pale green silk play-suits or carry nappie-bags - anyhow if they meet the H.H. Club or any other of the “lesser breeds without the law.”
Frances Ramsay and Vera Phillips arrived safely by the Aorangi from Canada. All except new members wil recall that Frances left us to take a teaching exchange in Scotland, and that Vera gave up flourishing dressmaking-business to go to the same place. When in London latter reply to an advertisement for an “experience dressmaker”, got the job, and found herself making the Coronation robes. So now she will doubtless advertise as “formerly dressmaker to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.”
Three other old friends who dropped in recently were Buster Purnell on holiday from Melbourne, Morris Stephenson from the country, and Norrie Macdonald from some god-forsaken place where it is 20 miles to the nearest tree - probably it was to provide shade that he grew a moustache!
Gwen Lawrie has left Sydney to take up work in the office of the “California” at Katoomba. It will be a wonderful opportunity for her to teach hikers and tourists to “burn and bury all their rubbish and their tins and hide their bottles as they would their sins!”
Rumour has it that Norm Colton is engaged to someone who is neither a bush- walker nor a blonde!
We congratulate the flourishing firm of F.A. Pallin Proprietary Limited, the leading Australasian manufacturers of camp gear for walkers, on the holding of a staff picnic to mark the centenary (or was it the sesqui - or the deci-centenary?) of the firm's existence. May it hike ever onward towards greater success and prosperity!
The third baby boy this summer is the son of Bill and Pearl Chambers. He, baby Duncan, and baby Reilly will form perhaps a Triumvirate for the Club a quarter of a century hence.
If there is and gossip that has failed to illuminate the camp-fire circle it is because the better part of “Firelight” is shining on Barrington Tops!
The following paragraph culled from an article by a New Zealand tramper in London is of very considerable interest:- “Hiking (the word “tramping” is even more taboo here than in Australia), is quite a popular pastime in England, but the irritating factor to a colonial is that you can't go where you please, but have to follow the lanes and certain pathways, and all the time seem to be crossing stiles. Nevertheless walking in England has a charm of its own by the quaint old villages to be found almost everywhere. It is not unusual to see men and women in shorts with rucksacks on their backs walking along Oxford Street London at any time of the day. Can you imagine that happening in Princes Street Dunedin?” or down Pitt Street Sydney? (Outdoors the official organ of the Otago Tramping Club, N.Z. Dec. 1937 Vol. 4. No, 2),
The annual report of the Melbourne Walking and Touring Club helps to remove the bad taste left by that shocking motoring article in “The Melbourne Walker”. The club itself appears to be very active judging by the number of walks and the numbers that patronize them. On re-union walks they seem to average about 40 and on Ladies' Day Walks a total of about 90. The club now numbers 171, but is calling out for increased membership. The Canadian Alpine Club is doing the same thing. On the other hand the Sydney Bush Walkers complain that their membership grows too rapidly. Apparently clubs always covet what they have not. It would be an interesting subject for an inter-club debate, the question of whether a large or small membership is more desirable. (Forty-third Annual Report of the Melbourne Walking and Touring Club).
Perhaps we do not often stop to think how differently the hiking or bushwalking or tramping (or whatever you will) movement has developed in Australia as compared with other lands. The objects of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club show that difference more clearly than do many articles:
“To open, develop, extend and maintain trails for walkers, mountain-climbers and nature-students in wooded and mountain regions - - and more particularly the Appalachian Trail - to construct and maintain camp sites, open shelters and permanent camps - - to collect data of interest to users of the trail concerning history, geology-, botany, forestry and wild life - - to prepare maps etc.” - the rest of the objects are similar to our own. Bushwalkers often feel very superior because they need no tracks or shelters, but how many would be willing to give up one Sunday a month for a “work trip?” And do we take the trouble to acquaint ourselves with the botany, geology and forestry of the bush we pass through? This American Club has regular “nature trips” which aim at walking a mere five or six miles so that the members may really learn about things on the way. As usual each club may learn from every other. Probably we should find their walks ridiculously tame, but they could certainly run rings round us in other respects. Bulletin Potomac Appalachian Trail Club - October 1937.
Whenever one reads a number of “Into the Blue”, the official organ of the Coast and Mountain Walkers, one always has the feeling that they are a very live lot. This issue contains account of two first class trips, one from Ginkin via Morong Falls to Katoomba, and the other over Mount Colboyd and the Gangerangs.
Foreign friend reporting her first bushwalk:- “There are so many biting things in the Australian bush. Round our camp there were lots of bulldog aunts.”