A Monthly Bulletin devoted to matters of interest to Sydney Bush Walkers, 5 Hamilton Street, Sydney, N.S.W.
No. 47. NOVEMBER, 1938.
|Editor:||Dorothy Lawry Business|
|Business Manager:||J.W. Mullins|
|Publication Staff:||Misses Clare Kinsella, Kathleen McKay, Dot English [Dot Butler], Mary Stoddart, Messrs Brian Harvey and Stan Lumsden.|
|A Scientist in the Mountains||by Dot English [Dot Butler]||2|
|At our Own Meeting||4|
|Grass||by John Ingall||4|
|Camping Thirty Years Ago||9|
|The Spirit of Garrawarra||Frank Cramp||10|
|Thirteen Over Thurst||Dorothy Lawry||11|
|From Here, There and Everywhere||14|
We take this opportunity of congratulating our fellow-member, Betty Bell, on the results of her editorial efforts to bring out a “bigger, brighter, and better” Bushwalker Annual. It was a privilege and an education to work on the Publication Committee under Betty, end, while she would be the first to admit that room has been left for further improvement next year, we are sure her fellow-members of the S.B.W., and, indeed, of the whole walking fraternity, will join us in congratulating her on “The Bushwalker, No.2”.
As was to be expected, the carping critics promptly started blowing off the usual amount of hot air, but we all know them and their little ways, also their invariable answer to the invitation to “Come along and do better yourself next year.” The Federation's Publication Committee has called their bluff. Anyone is invited to let the Committee have constructive criticism in writing just as soon as any critic likes to put pen to paper. All, or any, such criticisms should be given to the Club Representative on the Committee; then they will be available for the assistance of the Committee entrusted with publishing “The Bushwalker No.3” next year.
Now dip your pens, any of you carping critics or else admit that the magazine is a good effort for amateurs of limited financial means, and that you congratulate those responsible for its publication especially the hard-working Editor - and rejoice with them in the splendid sales of the magazine.
by Dot English.
I wonder how many of you are aware that just about a hundred years ago Charles Darwin visited Australia, sailing into Sydney Cove on 12th January, 1836. He was naturalist aboard H.M.S. “Beagle”, under Captain FitzRoy, and, together with other scientists, set out from England in December 1831. The object of the expedition was to complete the survey of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego commenced under Capt. King five years previously; to survey the shores of Chile, Peru, and some of the islands in the Pacific; and to carry a chain of chronometrical measurements around the world.
Their first view of Sydney - “A great and populous city” - was heralded by a long line of yellowish cliff and a solitary lighthouse, “the nearly level country being covered with thin scrubby trees bespeaking the curse of sterility.” They landed in the capital of Australia down by the cove among the warehouses and windmills, and made an inspection of the town, which favourably impressed the visitors, calling to mind some of the larger suburbs which stretch out from London.
In order to gain a general idea of the appearance of the country, Darwin hired a man and two horses to take him to the village of Bathurst, about 120 miles in the interior, in the centre of a great pastoral district. The first stage of the journey took them to Parramatta, and our distinguished visitor was struck by the number of ale houses encountered en route. (Apropos of this, I recall the story of two travellers passing along the same route about a century later who, although pledged non-drinkers, had liquid refreshment at the local ale house at Petersham, and again at Parramatta, as the day was hot. While still more or less in possession of their reasoning powers, they realised that they should control their appetites in such matters, so made a compact to have drinks only at those towns beginning with a “P”, which was a most satisfactory arrangement as they were able to “slake their drouth” at Penrith, Pleura, Patoomba, Plackheath, and so on, till, erratically and in bibulous hilarity they rolled into Bathurst… and no names are mentioned.)
Darwin stayed the night at Emu Ferry and next day, having crossed the shallow Nepean in a ferry boat, commenced the gradual ascent of the Blue Mountains, passing ironed gangs of convict road workers.
He was struck by the extreme uniformity of the vegetation - the open woodlands of the never-failing Eucalypts with their scant foliage and vertically-hanging leaves, making the woods appear light and shadowless, and their partly-shed bark hanging in long shreds “which swing -about in the wind and give the woods a desolate and untidy appearance.”
It struck him as curious to see in the midst of a civilised people “a set of harmless savages of good-humoured and pleasant countenance, wandering about without knowing where they shall sleep at night and gaining their livelihood by hunting in the woods.”
By mid-day Darwin and his companion had reached an elevation of 2,800 ft., where they stopped to rest their horses at the little Weatherboard Inn. Darwin then set out a further 1 1/2 miles to obtain his first real view from the Blue Mountains, which he describes as follows:- “Following down a little valley and it's tiny rill of water, an immense gulf unexpectedly opens through the trees which border the pathway, at the depth of perhaps 1,500 feet. Walking on a few yards one stands on the brink of a vast precipice and below one sees a vast bay or gulf, for I know not what other name to give it, thickly covered with forest. The point of view is situated as if at the head of a bay, the line of cliff diverging on each side, and showing headland behind headland, as on a bold sea-coast. These cliffs are composed of horizontal strata of whitish sandstone and are so absolutely vertical that in many places a person standing on the edge and throwing down a stone, can see it strike the trees in the abyss below. So unbroken is the line of cliff that in order to reach the foot of the waterfall formed by this little stream, it is said to be necessary to go 16 miles round. About 5 miles distant in front another line of cliff extends which thus appears completely to encircle the valley; and hence the name of bay is justified, as applied to this grand amphitheatrical depression. If we imagine a winding harbour, with its deep water surrounded by bold cliff-like shores, to be laid dry, and a forest to spring up on its sandy bottom, we should then have the appearance and structure here exhibited. This kind of view was to me quite novel and extremely magnificent.”
Very early next morning, having reached Blackheath, Darwin and his companion walked 3 miles to view Govetts Leap, which proved to be even more stupendous than the view of the day before. “These valleys”, said Darwin, “which so long presented insuperable barrier to the attempts of the most enterprising of the colonists to reach the interior, are most remarkable. Great armlike bays expanding at their upper ends often branch from the main valleys and penetrate the sandstone platform, on the other hand the platform often sends promontories into the valleys, and even leaves in them great, almost insulated, masses. To descend into some of these valleys it is necessary to go round twenty miles; and into others the surveyors have only lately penetrated and the colonists have not yet been able to drive in their cattle. But the most remarkable feature in their structure is that, although several miles wide at their heads, they generally contract towards their mouths to such a degree as to become impassable. The Surveyor General, Sir T.Mitchell, endeavoured in vain, first walking and then by crawling between the great fallen fragments of sandstone, to ascend through the gorge by which the river Grose joins the Nepean; yet the valley of the Grose in its upper part, as I saw, forms a magnificent level basin, some miles in width, and is on all sides surrounded by cliffs, the summits of which are believed to be nowhere less than 3,000 foot above the level of the sea. When cattle are driven into the valley of the Wolgan by a path, which I descended, partly natural and partly made by the owner of the land, they cannot escape; for this valley is in every other part surrounded by perpendicular cliffs, and 8 miles lower down it contracts from an average width of half a mile to a mere chasm impassable to man or beast. Sir T.Mitchell states that the great valley of the Cox River, with all its branches, contracts where it unites with Nepean, into a gorge 2,200 yards in width and about 1,000 feet in depth. Other similar cases might have been added.”
We take no responsibility for the following paragraph, which was sent to us recently by a correspondent. Our readers must “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the contents at their own risk.
It is an Extract from “TIBETAN TREX” by Ronald Kaulback, and our correspondent suggests that it would be of particular interest to our pemmican addicts (if any), and to Marie Byles. Why? She is a vegetarian. Anyway, here it is…
“In the meantime we went on short rations of rice and pemmican; the latter made such an excellent soup that we came to the conclusion that any restaurant in London which made a practice of serving it would amass a fortune in no time.”
Any prospective restaurant-keepers should remember to serve this soup with Hunger Sauce!
The October Meeting opened at the usual time (8.15 p.m.),and the first “highlight” was the election of Mr.Barrett as Room Steward - on the nomination of Mrs.Barrett.
Two new members were welcomed by the President:
Messrs. Dick Schofield and Alan Wyborn.
We wonder do they realise that the Barretts are “God's Gift to New Members”?
Mr. Dunphy reported that sawmilling was about to be started in the Couridjah Corridor and asked that a letter of protest be sent at once to the Minister for Mines and Forests, and also a letter to the Federation asking them to take similar action as soon as possible. Mr. Dunphy explained that there would be no Council Meeting of the Federation for a fortnight, and, in the meantime, the sawmill machinery might be installed, after which any action for its removal would probably not be taken. In view of the urgency of the matter, the meeting resolved that both letters be sent.
There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 8.50 p.m.
Reprinted from the Melbourne Women's Walking Club's Magazine, “WAYFARING” and they quote it as coming from an old South African newspaper clipping on Grass signed by “John Ingall”…
Grass is the forgiveness of Nature - her constant benediction. Fields trampled with battle, saturated with blood, torn with the ruts of cannon, grow green again with grass, and carnage is forgotten. Streets abandoned by traffic become grass-grown like rural lanes, and obliterated. Forests decay, harvests perish, flowers vanish, but grass is immortal. Beleagured by the even hosts of winter, it withdraws into the impregnable fortresses of its subterranean vitality, and emerges upon the first solicitation of Spring. Sown by the winds, by the wandering birds, propagated by the subtle horticulture of the elements, which are its ministers and servants, it softens the rude outline of the world. Its tenacious fibres hold the earth in its place and prevent its subtle compounds from mashing into the wasting sea. It invades the solitude of the deserts, climbs the inaccessible slopes and forbidden pinnacles of mountains, modifies climates and determines the history, character, and destiny of nations. Unobtrusive and patient, it has immortal vigor and aggression. Banished from the thoroughfare and field, it bides its time to return, and when vigilance is relaxed or the dynasty perished, it silently resumes the throne from which it has been expelled, but which it never abdicates. It bears to blazonry of bloom to charm the senses with fragrance and splendour, but its homely hue is more enchanting than the lily or the rose. It yields no fruit in earth or air, and yet, should its harvest fail for a single year, famine would depopulate the world.
Let us bring grass to our camping-ground at Morella-karong.
The Club has received a booklet called “Summer Holidays with International Youth Tours”, issued by International Youth Tours Ltd., of London. This booklet should be consulted by those members who are planning trips to Europe next year; between its covers they will find much information which should prove useful to them.
It must have been some latent roving spirit which prompted me to amalgamate forces with six other lads who, at that memorable Easter of 1935, set forth to explore the realms of Kedumba Creek. It was the first hike for some of us, and excitement ran high whilst the feverish preparations were in progress.
Our leader, Harry, had been out alone a few times and “knew all about it”, so we accepted his advice and guidance without question. Having purchased a second-hand military pack at the Scout Shop, I added thereto a sleeping-bag composed of three blankets, the latter weighing a mere trifle like 12-lbs!
Wentworth Falls certainly was treated to the appearance of a motley crew upon the Easter Thursday night. How well I recall the Bearer of Light, Charlie, with his small hurricane lamp, and bottle of kero. to match; Fred, the Hunter, with a 303 rifle by courtesy of the Minister of Defence, but without his knowledge or consent; Jack, the Kennell-Master with his faithful hound - ho found it was more economical to pay rail-fare on it than lodgings at the Dogs' Home over Easter. The animal also served as a foot-cosy at night in camp (the advantage of live foot-warmers may be placed before the Railway Commissioner as a suggestion for permanent warmth, should the Federation see fit).
Our leader humped a steel-frame rucksack (hush: it was hired from Paddy), but he had the cutest idea of stowing his toothbrush down the leg of his sock, the bristles peeping out at the top! Max, Frank, and I wore overcoats - mine was an old rainproof, more rain than proof, alas! Also a few spotlessly white sports-shirts among us were most becoming, whilst perched on top of my pack was the long cylindrical roll of sleeping bag, wobbling drunkenly at every movement.
After making final Purchases at the local general store, we bundled into a car, and away to the head of Kedumba Pass. It was a beautiful night as we descended, Mt.Solitary standing out clearly in the bright moonlight. Long before the bottom was reached, my trials and tribulations began. The “mountain” on my back developed a mania of suddenly swinging to one side as the shoulder straps were of pliant green-hide, and easily slipped through the badly-designed buckles, throwing all the weight on to one shoulder. Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise, as the same straps were doing their level best to sever my arms from my body, and the frequent halts to make adjustments were very welcome. Unused to the downgrade jolting action, my knees were shaking like those of a prospective appearing before our Inquisitorial Committee, whilst my tonsils were as dry as some of the monthly general meetings.
At long last we “hit” the creek, and, dumping our burdens, sped down to the moonlit, scintillating waters, armed with mug or billy, and sated our thirst therein. Our sleeping accommodation, consisting of a “Queensland” tent, and a fly, respectively, was soon erected, and - after making a cup of tea, and nibbling a bit of supper - the weary adventurers turned in. It was my first experience of sleeping upon the good earth, and, what with the full moon illuminating the tent, and a furry nocturnal animal playing hide and seek in the small hours, my repose was a troubled one.
9.30 a.m. saw us under way down-stream on the left bank, through tall bracken, eventually emerging at the Maxwellian homestead. Having received instructions and directions from his lordship (whether correct or not I cannot now confirm), we resumed our plodding along. On looking back, one cannot wonder Maxwell does not enjoy the privilege of hikers and walkers trespassing upon his property, as the spectacle we presented might have been sufficient for him to have called in the local sheriff to have us ejected.
Rain now commenced to fall fairly heavily, beating through my “rainproof” coat, and, with the wet bracken brushing my “longs”, things were not so pleasant. We negotiated a creek (probably Reedy Creek) by means of a wire fence, and eventually arrived opposite our objective, namely, two bark huts (which were our abodes for the rest of the holiday),and waded the creek to them. For the last hour (it was now about 1.30 p.m.) Harry had been assuring us that the huts, like prosperity, were just around the corner, and when they failed to materialise he had come in for abuse about his leadership, knowledge of the terrain, and antecedents generally, our empty tummies and wet clothes evidently fraying the nerves of the party. However, the huts proved good, as huts go, and Harry's prestige became re-instated.
Very soon frankfurts (we had about 10-lbs of them with us!) came steaming from many billies, and were consumed with a dash of tomato sauce. The company was soon in good humour. Oh, yes! I did not overlook my little bottle of condiment, makes things so tasty, you know!
Having cut cards to decide the respective tenancy of the huts, Frank, Fred, and I found ourselves in one, and four in the other, it being the larger of the two. Frank and I each had a bunk of sorts, whilst Fred graced the sandy floor when the time came. As the camps were about 40 yards apart, we had our separate cooking fires, and thereby presented a “Mrs. 'Iggs and Mrs.'Arris” existence. We dried off during the afternoon, and had a camp-fire communion after tea, turning in about nine o'clock. Fred decided the “'Iggs” had settled down too comfortably, so he up and lets off the .303 (at lid a shot, he said) with great success, the echoes ringing back from the cliffs of King's Tableland.
Saturday dawned fine, and Harry and Jack went off to see the Cox. The balance of us contented ourselves in roaming the pleasant open timber of the locality, and firing aimlessly (in more ways than one) at sundry galahs and parakeets in high trees, or fishing without luck in deep pools in the creek.
On arrival back in camp we discovered a friendly blowfly, bent on perpetuating her race, had had a good time on our frankfurt supply, which had been left uncovered. Thereupon billies were boiled, and the bundles immersed therein to remove the wrigglers, those surviving the Ordeal of Hot Water being flicked off with the corner of a tea-towel.
Harry and Jack came in just on dusk, and a good tea of Johnnie-cakes, etc., was partaken. Just before turning in I developed a “queer” feeling amidship, and soon lost my tea, laying blame on the frankfurts, or something, as being too rich, although I had a sneaking fear it might be the creek-water, having on occasions noted a faint smell when filling the billy. I crawled into bed, and so to sleep, when somewhere about midnight I awoke to find the bucks in uproar and confusion, and beating retreats to the surrounding landscape, and being violently ill.
It was a collection of “pale-faces” who presented themselves on the sabbath for breakfast, sitting down to a hearty meal of dry toast and weak teat some merely content to wit without the meal. It was on this appetising and energising menu we dined all that woeful day, which was spent in convalesing, and consoling each other. At a hastily convened meeting, we decided to boil all water used, and this, naturally, was carried out in a very determined manner.
Fred, being youngest, picked up a bit of energy near sunset, and, with his little gun, contrived to atomize the hindquarters of a rabbit which had not fled at his fairy-like approach. The relict served as a meal for the dog, which had remained calm and unaffected throughout the crisis. But the worst was not over, Harry saw to that the next day. Before breaking camp on the Monday morning, we performed the solemn ceremony of placing the remainder of the then loathsome sausages in a small flour-bag on a nearby tree, together with a pair of pyjama trousers, all in mute testimony of recent events, and a silent Warning to those who would tarry by the brook.
Proceeding upstream, we had not travelled more than 300 yards when we were assailed by an obnoxious odour, greater than any known b.o. Investigation proved it to be a large dead cow a midstream. Can you imagine our thoughts? Our leader decided to take the GoatTrack from Maxwell's, where we passed through about 10.30 a.m. as we had followed a good track on the return trip – on the opposite bank to that of our forward journey. So, with Harry at our head, we started the Great Ascent. There is an old saying about sheep following their leader, but here was a definite case of sheep being goats, both in their manner of locomotion and in their faith in their leader. The track must have been named in anticipation, and rightly so! Things might have gone all right had we adhered to our original intention, but we now found ourselves traversing the very steep slopes just below the base of the cliffs, making for Kedumba Pass! The going was frightful for the mug hiker, and between lawyer-vine, “dogbush” leeches, no water, and our weak physical condition, the majority were soon almost exhausted. In negotiating Maxwell's boundary fence, Frank placed his pack under first, and, before he himself sidled under, the pack had rolled over and over down about a hundred feet. No record is made here of the language.
Finally he and I, lagging behind, decided our necks were in danger - we had just crossed an old landslide which you can see from nearly anywhere round Katoomba, and had no desire for another similar experience - so we skidded down a dry watercourse, through the longest coils of lawyer-vine I have ever seen, and finally came to rest, streaming blood, on our beloved creek. The bottom of the Pass, not far distant, was reached about 3.30 p.m. and we had a snack of cake from my pack, and a spell. Then up again, to a nightmare climb as we were about all in before we started. Frank was worried about his return ticket, which Charlie had placed in his wallet for safekeeping, but we found a note on the track saying the ticket would be left at the station, so all the boys had come through, by virtue of the note.
Meeting two experienced walkers, we hired a car to Wentworth Falls with them, and caught an overcrowded train, sinking to rest on the hard floor thereof.
We were all off-colour for a time, Charlie losing a half-stone in weight, and a few guineas to the local doctor – gastro-enteritis was the diagnosis!
We swore never to go forth again with our gallant leader, who afterwards calmly confessed that he knew the creek was “not so hot” before he started, but did not like to tell us in case we wouldn't go! The only thing I can thank him for is that he instigated my bushwalking activities, which, of course, I have never since than for one moment regretted taking up, and also (I claim) I am the only member of the Club to have been along the base of the King's Tableland cliffs.
So hearken, all who would journey in Kedumba, boil, boil, AND boil the water. And here ended my first lesson.
“Paddy” has received from the Melbourne Walking Club a booklet it has just recently published called
“130 WALKING TOURS WITHIN REACH OF MELBOURNE”
As the Melbourne Walking Club is in its 44th year, its members know all the walks worth doing, and any folk thinking of spending holidays near Melbourne should visit “Paddy's” and get him to let them browse in this booklet for a while before making any definite plans.
Here's a box of gadgets, thingemabobs and whatnots, straight out from England, packed specially for Paddy - or rather for you.
Angle steel pegs - just the thing for the main guy when the soil is a bit loose. Glass lined aluminium screw-topped jars, with liquid tight tops - just the thing for a fruit salad. Natty combination knife and fork and spoon outfits.
You need no longer envy the possessor of a Gillwell Canteen. Buy one for yourself. They've arrived too.
If you're the sort that must shave in the bush, see yourself in comfort in an unbreakable mirror. There are some nice compasses too.
and DRIED EGGS. You must try them.
All to be seen at Paddy's.
Telephone: B3101 F. A. PALLIN
327 George St. Sydney
At its September meeting the Federation granted affiliation to the “Sun Bushwalking Club”; dealt with the usual number of important matters (for details refer to the Report of our Delegates, which is held by our Honorary Secretary); received reports from its various bureaux; and appointed some new sub-committees. Sounds quite an evening's work, doesn't it? On the 17th October the Second Annual Conference of members of affiliated clubs was held, but only about thirty people attended. Nevertheless, much useful discussion took place, and several recommendations were made to the Council of the Federation. Perhaps next year. bushwalkers in general will wake up and roll up to the Third Annual Conference. …. Me The Federation Annual for 1938, or, to give it its correct title, “The Bushwalker, F0.2”, was received from the printer on October 13th, and promptly started selling like “hot cakes”.
What seems to grow fairer to me as life goes by is the love and grace and tenderness of it; not its wit and cleverness and grandeur of knowledge,grand as knowledge is but just the laughter of little children and the friendship of friends; the cosy talk by the fireside and the sound of music. John Richard Green.
In 1907 there was published in London “The Campers' Handbook”, written by T. H. Holding, in which is offered friendly advice on all aspects of camping to those interested in following this sport.
The author tells us that he himself first camped when a lad of nine, on the prairies of America before the building of the railway, when the plains were inhabited by Redskins, antelopes and buffalo. The love of camping evidently got into his blood, and later there followed canoe trips and cycling trips through England, Ireland and Scotland. He thought out gadgets, tested equipment and experimented to such a degree as fully to qualify him to give advice to others. Much of this advice stands good for to-day, but many of his unjunctions must bring a smile to the lips of bushwalkers. Here are some extracts from his views on Women (or, rather, Ladies) and camping. Read carefully, oh you tigers and tigeresses – the latter may blush becomingly, if they know the art!
“The influx of women into camping has proved one thing of great importance to the movement, viz. that it is NOT a dangerous and absurd pastime fit only for those who are reckless of their health and reputation. We can see the most delicate matrons and maids walking about with their bare legs and feet in the dew, fetching and carrying, cooking and tidying about the camp, and all the while doing it with a smile that won't wash off, and with such a large sense of enjoyment as to suggest a honeymoon on a large scale! They not only grace a camp by their presence but give to it a homeliness and happiness it could not otherwise have.”
And here is praise indeed for these “delicate matrons and maids”:-
“Perhaps I may be permitted to say here that I have seen them excel men in smartness and cleverness. How quickly they pick up the making and mounting of a tent and its appliances; the cooking and tidying up; and how they take to the Bathing! How the beautiful spirit of brightness and the merry ring of their laughter within hearing of the man is an added pleasure to all.”
In regard to mixed camping Mr.Holding's advice is that “single ladies should camp not far from the married quarters but quite separate. It should be an understood thing that the chaperonage of the senior lady present should be recognised throughout. It is extremely pleasant to have ladies in camp who have the necessary adaptability, not to mention the genius for affability and good fellowship. Ladies exercise a reserve, give an agreeable tone and add grace to the camps! Where brother and sister camp together he recommends separate tents, or a larger tent made into two by a DIVISION.
A whole chapter is devoted to Ladies' Camping Dress..
“THE SKIRT. The one beat for camping should finish three inches off the ground. It will do three yards in length around the bottom.” (I would say “hem”). “Knickerbockers should be worn - not too full and with a band at the knee. All undergarments should be of wool and certainly not heavy. The best are combinations which keep their position during exercise and, while fitting the figure, give all the necessary freedom. Being wool, they keep the temperature of the body more even.”
Mr.Holding found it “difficult and possibly dangerous” to write about women's headgear. “Caps do not suit a lady. A bowler hat she cannot well wear camping – it is not possible for the majority of ladies to have any kind of hat that goes on the head as it has to be pinned on the top of arranged hair.”
One cannot help but heave a sigh of regret for the “good old days” of trailing skirts, bird's-nest's hair, and delicate womanly laughter!
Without adventure, civilization is in full decay - A.N.Whitehead.
by Frank Cramp.
The scene is a Blackfellow's camp fire, around which sit a group of young men and one old man.
YOUNG MAN: The strange people who landed at the Bay of the Stingrays have gone in their great canoes like those who were here when we were still unmade men. Now we can hunt and fish just as we always did.
OLD MAN: Never again, or at least only for a little time. Our day is done. Last night, whilst the camp slept, the Fire Spirit spoke to me through the glow of my fire. He said:
“You are an old man. You have seen the men of the Garrawarra Tribe grow from childhood. You have officiated at the Bora Ceremonies and at the the making of men. You have led the tribe in peace and war, and now you are old - and your time will die with you. For a while those strange people, who can make lightning and thunder from their spears, will camp at the Bay of Stingrays, but later they will go further north to the Big Bay, and there they will make a camp that will grow and grow, and from there they will over-run all the land, making camps at Bulli, Wollongong, Geringong, and other places that you know well, and north and west further than your greatest travellers have ever been. They will destroy the kangaroo, the wallaby; the very birds will leave their lands. They will cut down the trees, pollute the rivers and creeks, and the Blackfellows will be driven further and further away from the Strange People's camp until at last, except for a few poor things living upon their charity, the Blackfellow will be no more.
YOUNG MAN: But that can never be. When the Great Spirit divided the lands, said he not to our fathers:
“On this place shall the Garrawarra Tribe dwell. From where the high hill slopes down to the beach, to the south, along the shore, where the palms shine as fire in the sun, past the high cliffs to the place where the river meets the sea, to the north and along the river to the west, there the Spirit of Garrawarra shall have his home.”
Said he not this, O Father of the Tribe?
OLD MAN: Aye, the Spirit of Garrawarra! But not the men of Garrawarra! These strange People will destroy with one hand and preserve with the other. Our land and the land of the Kuringai, of all the lands in many moons of travel, will remain as they are, and the Spirit of Garrawarra will be kept alive by the love of a select few of the Strange People, who will love our country, and live as we live whilst they are here, and go back to their other lives when they must. But always in their hearts will be the Spirit of Garrawarra. There shall be those who will covet this land and strive to wrest it from those of the Spirit, but they will fail, for the Spirit of Garrawarra is the love of the trees, the birds, the glare of the sun at noon, the shade of the cool jungle, the afterglow merging into night, and soft breezes whispering to the surf on the beach; the moon shining on the sea, and the stars looking down on all.
These things are part of man, and while man lives his heart will yearn for them.
This I saw in the fire embers, while the Spirit sat with me.
by Dorothy Lawry.
The suggested trip appealed. The party snowballed! Hastily I hung out a “house full” sign. Even so, there were thirteen of us (four men and nine women) who left Blackheath at about 10.30 p.m. on Easter Thursday by special car for the Kanangra Track.
It was wet and misty, but our driver was undeterred either by the weather or by the heavy mud of the unformed track once he left the Jenolan/Oberon road; However, about 2 1/2 miles along the track the big car was blocked by a number of large rocks which had not then been blasted out of the roadbed. We slithered and walked through the mist for the remaining 3 1/2 miles to Cunnynghame's, and got to bed at about 3 a.m.
On Good Friday morning, the last of us left camp at 8.30 a.m. It was not raining, but visibility was limited by mist to a hundred yards or so. However, it was quite warm, and our way lay along the old Kanangra Track for five or six miles to the tree blazed “T”. When several members of the party reached Morong Creek, they realised they had overshot the tree by more than a mile! While waiting for them to come back, the rest of us provided an unexpected meal for the local leeches. They were out in their hundreds that week-end.
Leaving the blazed tree, we set a compass course for a spot beside Thurat Rivulet which, we had been told, was the only possible campsite on the plateau, but an excellent one. About a mile and a half from the Track we found a campspot near the one described - which had not come up to expectations - and had an early lunch.
Five experienced members of the party, and one young but cautious one, decided to spend the afternoon in camp. The leader, observing that the mist seemed to be lifting, weakly consented to lead the others through the bush to Kanangra Falls and back. Kanangra Walls, Falls, and Gorge - had been the magnet which had brought these youngsters on the trip; imagine, then, their feelings when it was suggested that they should cut out this part of the trip just because there was some mist hanging around! Except where there was no undergrowth available, we had “twigged” our route to camp from the the Track, so I felt that, if necessary, I could walk the party over to the Walls and back to camp by the Track, so, when one of the stay-at-homes asked, before we left, “What time would you like the search party to set out?”, he was treated with proper contempt.
With our one man carrying his rucksack containing our seven groundsheets, about four torches and three cameras, and a packet of raisins and a slab of chocolate, the seven of us set out. I, of course, had map and compass, snakebite outfit and matches, and Tuggie carried a saltshaker, with which she dealt with leech after leech as they attacked her ankles.
We went up on to Thurat Broad, but soon the fact that all distant landmarks were hidden in the clouds, and the presence of extra creeks not shown on the map, brought us back into Thurat Rivulet, and we followed down its right back through fairly thick bush, and thin mist, for miles and miles and miles, so it seemed. Ail the way we twigged industriously, at first for our own return trip, but afterwards to give the search party every assistance. Towards 4 p.m. we must have been within a couple of hundred yards of the edge of the Gorge although we had found no sign of the Falls. Then we gave up the search, for the mist came over like a blanket, reducing visibility to about ten yards.
The map showed that the Kanangra Track should be running roughly east-west somewhere to the south of us, so to the south we went, by compass alone, and reached the Track at 4.50 p.m. approximately half-a-mile on the Rocky Top side of the Mud Hut. Rejoicing at the track under our feet, we set out for camp, but, although we made quite a fair pace, it was dusk by the time we had covered the four miles to Morong Creek, and the mist was just as thick as ever. We decided to do without our dinners, and the comforts of camp.
Tucked away, only about a quarter of a mile from Morong Creek, is Rolay Whalen's Hut, and we reached this shelter at 6.15 p.m. where we found dry firewood, tea, sugar, a billy and a cup, a plate, and some flour - but, though Grace made a damper, all we had to at that night was the chocolate and the raisins - there were too many weevils in that damper!
About 7.15 p.m. we feared we were rescued already, but the shouts proved to be those of a member of the Rucksack Club and his mate. The two men had decided that the hut would be a good place on a miserable night. So it was – for cooking and eating their tea – but it is only a small hut and we seven were in possession, so they had to pitch their tent after all. No, to their surprise, we would not take any of their food, but some of us did use some of their spare clothing, very gratefully.
The hut had a dirt floor and slab walls, with the usual wide cracks, but the roof was fairly watertight. It was furnished with a table, a box to sit on, an old piano-case with a little chaff in the bottom, and a double bed complete with straw mattress and a very ragged old patchwork quilt. As three of us stood surveying the room speculatively, the four nearest the fire chorused,
“We would not go anywhere near that bed!”
We three investigated the bed; carefully shook the guilty and turned the mattress, then spread two groundsheets over it, and decided to take the risk of sleeping on the bed, with the third groundsheet over our bodies and the quilt over our legs. With the horrible predictions of the other four ringing in our ears, we three settled to sleep. Fortune favours the bold; the bed was clean! A wind arose and blew through the chinks in the walls;the other four were cold and uncomfortable most of the night and got very little sleep. About 11 p.m. there was a thunderstorm and heavy rain; we were glad we were not parked out by the creek with only groundsheets and a fires!
At 5.35 a.m. on the Saturday we left the hut, in brilliant moonlight, and dawn came as we walked along the Kanangra Track towards the blazed tree. Grace, being one of those who had slept (?) by the fire, was just about walking in her sleep. It was full daylight on a glorious morning when we left the Track, but again the compass had to be used because of the difficulty in finding the broken twigs in the very open bush. At 7.15 a.m. we surprised the others by reaching camp. We told our tale as we cooked and ate a large meal, then turned in for a couple of hours' sleep. Only one of the stay-at-homes had worried about us at all, even though they thought we were out in the rain, but, they were all delighted that we had returned before 8.30 a.m. - the time they had decided to start searching for us. A side trip to Gentle's Sheerdown had been planned for that morning, but they decided not to go without us, so, after an early lunch, the whole thirteen of us left camp at about 12.50 p.m. to go along the Thurat Plateau and down the East Paralyser to the junction of the Kanangra River and Kanangra Creek.
It was a glorious afternoon, and we did take photos at Thurat Trig. (4,200ft) but we did not dawdle much. However, a party of thirteen moves much more slowly than one of only two or three people. It was 4.15 p.m. when we left the top of Paralyser, with about 3,000 ft. to descend to the river, after a preliminary descent across a saddle followed by a pushing up through very thick undergrowth to a slightly, lower knob from which various spurs lead off, including the East Paralyser. This bit of scrub shoving annoyed us very much, as did all the loose stones and mountain holly of the descent, but we simply had to carry on.
At 6.20 p.m. the light had gone, and we were still about a thousand feet above the river, but we were on a comparatively level spot, just about big enough for us all to sit down. Wearily, we subsided to wait for the moon to rise. Meantime we slaked the pangs of thirst and hunger with raw carrots, biscuits, and the like. A cold wind came up before the moon did, and soon after she appeared over Gangerang the evening haze began to thicken, so, about 8 o'clock, we decided that it was no use waiting for the moonlight to get any brighter, and eight of us set off by torch and moonlight to finish the descent. The other five decided, wisely to camp where they were till morning, and they did get a drink when it rained in the small hours. Meanwhile, although we had failed to find the right ridge in the poor light and so had descended an even steeper spur, we had succeeded in reaching the creek at about 10 o'clock, and next morning we found we were only about 150 yards up from the junction. Down by the creek we were sheltered from the wind and it was a very warm night. We had landed at a lovely campspot, so, after a dip in the creek, supper, tents up, and a long sleep!
Sunday dawned clear but later there was a hot wind and the air was full of dust. We did not rise early, and we did not hurry about breaking camp as the other five had to rejoin us. However, as they had not appeared when we moved off at 10.25 a.m. we guessed they must have found, and come down, the correct ridge. About half-a-mile down the river we found them, just finishing their breakfast. Richard, as leader of that group, said; “As we are so late, we have decided to change our route. Instead of going to Katoombas via White Dog, Jack's Flat, and Clear Hill, we will continue down the Cox's River to Cedar Creek, then tomorrow go over the Korrowall Buttress Track to Kedumba Valley, and up The Goat Track to the San., where we will get a car to Wentworth Falls.”
Richard knew this route, and that the party could do it in the time, but some of the eight wanted to go by the original route, so we said, “See you at lunch-time on the Cox and talk about it then.”, and went on downstream until we reached the time and the place for a swim and lunch. The other five came along as we were starting to eat, and afterwards we all went on together.
It was 3.30 p.m., when we reached the Cox-Kowmung junction, so the leader (still me) decided it was too late to go up the White Dog, and, like the good bushwalkers they are, the whole party continued downstream, reaching the Cedar Creek camp at dusk. Had we attempted to reach Jack's Flat, we would surely have been benighted again, and I felt it was time we all had dinner, all camped together, and all had a campfire! The night was “clear and cold”, but our only campfire for the trip was a good one!
On Monday morning we were up just before 6 a.m. and away before 8 a.m. - but not much. During the day a cold wind came whistling round under a grey sky, which probably helped our pace considerably, especially on the climb, and, under Richard's leadership, we reached the San. between 2.30 p.m. and 2.45 p.m.
The first arrivals phoned for a car, the idea being that they would change while it was coming out for them, and then it would make a second trip to take in the tail of the party.. However, two cars came out, so had to wait a few minutes for the last arrival (me) to finish dressing. Still we were early, for we caught a fast train just before 4 o'clock (and had to stand nearly all the way to town) reaching Sydney just before 6 p.m.
In the crush, four of the party dashed off to connecting suburban trains before we could see them, but the other nine of us rounded off our varied trip, and celebrated Mouldy's birthday, by going straight downtown to a restaurant and dining together.
There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar – Byron.
Have you seen the new Military Map - KATOOMBA - yet? The Club has added it to the map library, and, of course, Paddy has copies for sale. The area covered includes The Blue Gum Forest, the headwaters of the Grose, and the Upper Cox.
From one of our readers we have received a news-cutting which deals with a report from the British United Press that carrier pigeons have recently been used successfully in Alpine rescues, and that a special pigeon loft has been established at Gmunden in the Bavarian Alps by the “Deutsche Bergwacht”, an unofficial Alpine rescue organisation.
Part of the report reads: “The value of the carrier pigeon in Alpine rescue work was first demonstrated two months ago when a German soldier fell over a precipice in the Traunstein Range. The body was not found for two days but, within a few minutes of discovery, a carrier pigeon released by the searchers flew to the military post in the valley and carried the news to the commander. A stretcher party was at once sent to the scene.”
This news is specially interesting because carrier pigeons were also used successfully during the Federation's Search & Rescue Practice week-end last August.
That busy little fellow, Cupid, never seems to take a holiday. He is still providing us with items of interest for this column, such as the engagement of Yvonne Douglas and Harold Charles Rolfe, which was announced recently; the marriage towards the end of September of our old friend, Jack Hallett, to Miss Moira Fallon; and the wedding (also in September) of ex-member, Beryl Madgwick. We wish them all “Health, Wealth, and Happiness”, and hope that Jack and Beryl will soon introduce their other halves to the joys of bushwalking so that they also can get the greeting we send to Chas. and Vonne “Good Camping!”
Congratulations of a different kind are being received by Gordon Smith, who recently broke his own record by walking almost 114 miles in 24 hours - round and round Bankstown Oval! On the same day, and in the same place, young Mary Stoddart walked 50 miles in 12 hours 16 minutes. We congratulate them both on their physical and mental endurance.
When the Douglas Airliner “Kyeema” crashed into the Dandenong Range on October 25th the Club lost a valuable member, for Gordon Goddard was one of the passengers.
Gordon was a public accountant with a thriving practice, and in addition was studying law, so lack of time kept him from walking as much as he would have liked, but he was always well to the fore at Swimming Carnivals and whenever the Club wanted any work done that was in his line. He was a very active member of the recent subcommittee that investigated the possibilities of forming a co-operative society amongst the clubs, but will mainly be remembered for his cheeriness, and for his beautiful playing whenever he could get near a piano.