A monthly bulletin devoted to matters of interest to The Sydney Bushwalkers, 5 Hamilton Street, Sydney.
|No.125||MAY, 1945||Price 6d|
|Sales & Subs:||Jean Harvey|
|Kandos - Mt Uraterer - Newnes||J.C.H||2|
|I have it on the best authority that||4|
|Cox Commentary - Easter 1945||Doreen Helmrich||5|
|The Club's Monthly Meeting for April||…||6|
|The Warrumbungles||A.L. Wyborn||7|
|Letters from the Lads and Lasses||8|
There's many a pool that holds a cloud
Deep down for miles, to float along;
There's many a hedge that's white with may,
To bring the backward birds to song;
There's many a country lane that smells
Of beanfields, through the night and day;
Then why should I be here this hour,
In spring-time, when the month is May?
There's nothing else but stone I see,
With but this ribbon of a sky;
And not a garden big enough
To share it with a butterfly.
Why do I walk these dull dark streets,
In gloom and silence, all day long -
In Spring-time, when the blackbirds day
Is four and twenty hours of song?
W. H. Davies
by J.C.H. Easter 1945 sent bushwalkers North on two trips similar in form, One party left the Dividing Range to descend a spur, the Liverpool Range; our party left the Divide further South and followed a spur between the catchments of Running Creek and Wollemi Creek with the goal, the Capertee River via Mt Uraterer.
Leaving Sydney on Thursday in a crowded train we passed the night in fitful slumber, waking in time to see the sun rise over the mountains at the headwaters of the Capertee River. At Kandos we met the truck which was to take us East on the first part of our journey. Nature has conveniently endowed this district with limestone and clay quarries and a coal mine in close proximity, hence the trinity of cement producing towns Rylstone, Kandos and Charbon.
Following the Cudgegong River upstream through some of the interminable sheep country of the interior our driver enlivened the trip with many anecdotes of the surrounding districts. The road became little more than a track made by log hauling tractors bringing mostly sassafras and mountain ash from the gullies. Finally the truck could go no further so we left our packs to climb Mt Coricudgy. The driver of the truck accompanied us part of the way and I could not but be amazed at his destitution of aesthetic ideas. He looked upon the State forest in terms of super feet only and described Coricudgy as a “30 bag” mountain, the “bags” proving to be bales of wool from the sheep which the mountain could support.
Coricudgy is a long basaltic outcrop rising to 4,300ft (approx.) above the surrounding sandstone ridges. The volcanic earth supports a rich growth of fine gums (Eucalyptus Globulas) and clumps of tree ferns and sassafras fill the gullies of the slopes. From the summit extensive views can be seen partly screened by trees. After lunch on the slopes we descended to the site of the old timber mill and from a cleared spot nearby had a fine view of “The Ovens”, an imposing rocky outcrop. Being tired after our train journey we retired early in a green valley just off the Divide. During the night heavy rain inconvenienced us and led to some frenzied trench digging.
The Main Dividing Range was left, early on Easter Saturday, near Boonbourwa after much deliberation as to the right ridge. The correct ridge runs South East and bears a faint bridle track in places enabling rocky outcrops to be effectively sidled. The ridge is almost all sandstone except for a few small, grassy basalt patches caused by volcanic action on the compressed sands laid down here by ancient seas. Water is available at two points, Swampy Hole and Gosper’s Hole, the former showing some unusual erosion effects on the cliffs which invited comparison with a Burmese temple. Views are to be had of the deep canyons of Running Creek, the mountains of the main range and the isolated Tayan Pic which is almost conical in shape.
Fifteen miles of tramping by compass in a South Easterly direction allowed us to avoid the ridges running down to the unmapped regions East and brought us to Gosper’s Nob with the bald-domed basaltic Mt Uraterer behind.
Uraterer was climbed as the sun sank and the excellent view was unobstructed by trees. Cliffs at the head of the Capertee Valley were of particular interest and the pine trees at Mt Victoria were distantly visible to the South. To our mutual astonishment, we found a descendant of the original Gosper’s building a slab hut near the summit, having come down from Rylstone on horseback. He proved most friendly, volunteered much information and freshly killed rabbits for dinner and showed us sandstone caves suitable for shelter against the freezing wind. Water was obtained from a spring near the hut.
Sunday brought the most difficult part of the trip. A ridge had to be found connecting Gosper’s Nob with the only climbable gap in the sheer walls surrounding the Capertee river. However, we were fortunate and, after one mistake involving the negotiating of a creek gorge, the main ridge was found and eventually the gap itself, five hours walking from Mt. Uraterer. This gap is called “Grassy Hill” because it is filled with fertile volcanic soil and small hexagonal boulders. The track was taken upstream along the Capertee in which pollution from the shade oil works was very evident but a side creek happily gave fresh water and a camp for the night.
Monday was spent at the Glen Davis and Newnes works. To the chemist bushwalker the evolution of the shale distillation industry in Australia is of unfailing interest. In the squat kilns and painstaking design of Joadja and Newnes of past years and the sky-scraping slickness of Glen Davis of the present day is indicated both a change in the type of product required and the difference in the outlook of the builders.
Leaving the model town of Glen Davis the petrol pipeline was followed from the Capertee over the range to Newnes on the Wolgan River where we awaited the arrival of our transport.
Once again we had a 'character’ of a driver. This one combined business with pleasure by making the trip into a hunting expedition. Instead of having his eyes on the road they roved the adjacent paddocks and every so often we came to an abrupt halt whereupon he went off stalking rabbits. We did not mind this though the driver reproached us, blaming the noise we made for his lack of success.
However, we were most apprehensive when he spied a kangaroo and brought the car to a standstill especially as, having just been scolded for frightening the game, we did not dare to do so again. The tension gradually eased as the ‘roo hopped away and presently our hunter arrived back in disgust. Had the animal been in imminent danger I am sure one of us would have had to blow the horn - accidentally, of course.
Only a few days after the £12,000 hold-up Tuggie was held up on her way home. Having reduced her assailant to a pulp, Tuggie suddenly remembered that, to be all coy and feminine she should scream. This she did. We are pleased that the attacker had not a machine gun as, after a few bursts, Tuggie would look as if she had been reducing and had gone patchy. The President is just the merest “copycat”. Because the Gloucesters dash hither and thither by plane she and party must have similar transport for their May venture to the Warrumbungles.
The party of males who, it was thought, might never return from a tough Easter walk beginning from Kandos arrived back safely. (Bad luck). This was no doubt due to the almost proverbial lines “Their strength is as the strength of ten, because their hearts are pure”.
Doris Allden, who was in the Club recently, is getting into the Naval equivalent of the Brass Hat class. Pardon all the incursions into Poetry but she is beginning to remind us of William Morris’s
“Gold on her head and gold on her feet,
And gold where the hems of her kirtle meet”.
Congratulations, Doris, but please do not desert us for the Canoe Club.
Clare Kinsella who has nobly edited this magazine for four years had to have an appendectomy to get off the chain. The present editor is keeping his cirrhosis of the liver up his sleeve until required. Clare went to the operating table in a grey flannel night gown with cap to match and an x over the spot.
The President and staff now preside over the meeting from a dais but, lest one should be distracted by a glimpse of twinkling ankle, a large board blocks the view. It is not, therefore, a means of luring people to the front seats. I quite approve of the idea - I never attend meetings.
Is the Club decadent, moribund? I find, to my horror, that I have not a single wedding or birth to announce to the public.
Which reminds me that Bushwalkers have fallen very, very low in more ways than one. On the aforementioned Kandos trip, the fire was lit at breakfast time, not by the Big Chief Fire Lighter but by the lorry driver! Apparently, at a glance, he could see with what a bunch of incompetents he was dealing.
Serves them right! At Easter, one party under the leadership of Marie Byles’ brother schemed for a pleasant, little stroll into Kangaroo Valley but they did not reckon with the weather. When this party is looking for “blissful ease” again they are heading straight for the Owen Stanleys. It only goes to show that one is never safe further than the back veranda, and even then it is a matter of chance.
Back on the Cox again - exciting like a home-coming after years of exile. Young and refreshed it seemed, and more beautiful than ever with all its fascination of sound and colour. The breeze was sighing in the Casuarina, the water murmuring over the pebbles and the birds singing to us their serenade…. Banks emerald again with quite luscious grass and long quiet pools between the rapids; blue and rose coloured granite boulders set among the pale vivid green of river grasses and a Kingfisher flashing by ..,The old friendly mountains reaching upwards to the deep blue sky, and the white clouds scudding.
So we padded along and on Saturday afternoon came upon Konangaroo, remote and peaceful under its sheltering aerie-gum trees.
As we set there eating a very late lunch we heard a stone turned over - walkers, surely - and three came up the Cox. They joined our eating party as four more arrived from the same direction, one being Doug Johnstone whose bronze beauty was somewhat marred by the impact of a rock from above which had bounced twice, once on his forehead and once on nose! At this moment several more lads strode downstream and proved to be friends of our first visitors, and two more upstream whom they also knew… they said they were getting dizzy in the social whirl, but it had only just begun!
Manfred Souhami came strolling down the Kanangra at this juncture, formidable looking climbing rope protruding from his pack. He told us that Rudy Lamburg was in the mountains behind, with ten others including his wife and his daughter Renate, and put a large billy on the fire to make tea for them… He looked very happy and carefree, with no foreboding of the dramatic events about to follow the straying of Renate and of the anxious night ahead for him. Then would you believe that fully 15 stalwarts appeared heading up river, - University students - surely there must be a friend amongst them….yes, there was Betty Pryde.
Red shirts lent dash and distinction to the next 10 travellers - Rovers - and again we were not disappointed for right in amongst them was Ron Moppett (Tom's young brother).
Caustic comments were made on the previous night’s rain and the havoc caused to plans by long drying-out operations, and also about elusive, stray and unmentionable “Dogs” intended for use as a means of approach but somehow misplaced.
There was also some speculation as to whether walking was still a popular pastime, till reluctantly and rather dazedly we left this social vortex, went on our way downstream and eventually up Cedar Creek, now looking like a fairyland.
Evening fell silently as we camped in one of those perfect Cox campsites and seemingly were alone in the world again… Our river, as discreet as it is beautiful, guards its secrets well.
Three new members - apparently slow to learn a lesson - were received into membership at the meeting on April 13th. They were Mavis Jeans, Margaret Lackey and Claude Haynes. May they live to die a lingering death as we…
A letter was received from Mrs. Anice Duncan suggesting that non-member wife or husband be permitted to attend Club reunions as most frequently the present strictures caused the absence of both in such cases. The meeting approved but it does make it difficult for husbands who do not belong to a lodge to find an excuse to get away quietly.
It must have afforded many members considerable pleasure to be able to elect Mrs. Devitt of 'Woodhill“, Brogher's Creek and Mr E. Moroney, Honorary Members of the Club. Mrs. Devitt has become famous for her hospitality and Mr. Moroney, who has done great work in the past, is Honorary Auditor for the current year.
There was a loss in membership of two owing to the resignations of Jack Whitford and Tom Ramsay and Reg Alder reported a loss of photos which was, to say the least, most unfortunate. The photos had been left in the committee room after a photographic exhibition, and, if any reader knows anything about them, the news would be welcomed.
A willing worker has at length been found to take over the position of Hon Sec, from Beverly Druce who is feeling the strain of the years (of work). This is Hilma Galliott who needs no introduction. Her assistant Mavis Jeans who is showing commendable co-operation in accepting office on her first day as a member. Claude Haynes, now Assistant Treasurer, comes into the same worthy category. Regarding the election of the Hon. Secretary, members seized upon technical points with such avidity and glee that a stranger would conclude that we were doing our best to dissuade any person from accepting the position. If they only knew how we have combed Sydney with a fine tooth comb!
Jean Harvey is shouldering her share of the burden of administering the club by attending to the Sales and subscriptions of the magazine and Flo Allsworth is Librarian.
Notice has come to hand of the Federation Party to be held on June 29th at Sargents in Market Street. According to the notice already displayed in the Club room, a few short items of amusement are needed. Wouldn't it be incredible if some-one offered to provide these?
The Club was asked to express its opinion on a number of questions posed in regard to the proposed Kosciusko Primitive Area. However, members became very loath to give anything away, even their opinions. At times they were quite definite, to be almost immediately overcome by a wave of humility which found expression in a chorus we do not know”. The body asking for our views would most probably realise that they would be a mixture of pseudo-science, selfishness and prejudice mixed with a lot of conscious idealism. Nevertheless it still asked for those views. It was amusing to hear that the average walker considers that practically the only extraneous “animal, vegetable or mineral” which would not mar the perfection of a perfect Primitive Area is the average walker. For myself, I almost entirely agree.
By A.L. Wyborn.
Australia hears much about the natural marvels of other lands, and because of this there is a tendency to overlook the many unique wonders that this continent possesses. The Barrier Reef, many distinctive trees, flowers and animals form part of Australian heritage. The Warrumbungle Range is one outstanding feature, though little known to the general public.
Dr. Jensen's geological monograph describes best where it is situated on the Central Northern Slopes of New South Wales: “The watershed known as the Warrumbungle Range divide the drainage areas of the Castlereagh and the Namoi. It commences as an offshoot of the Liverpool Range east of Coolah, first runs North West, then west, losing itself in the Warrumbungle Mountains to the north west of Coonabarabran”.
This western end strangely enough, is the highest part and to many it is the most interesting. Here are the formations and peeks which will belong to the people for all times under the Proposed National Monument scheme. The area under consideration consists of strips of land, of widths varying from three quarters to one and a half mile, along the tops of several spurs. Although of little commercial value because of its ruggedness, this area contains all the notable characteristics. Keeping the tops in their Primitive state will also ensure a protective forest for water supply, and will combat erosion.
The National Parks and Primitive Areas Council initiated this proposal in 1934. Following upon which the Lands and Local Government authorities were approached in the matter, and much valuable groundwork covered. The serious war situation which then developed caused delay, until just lately, when the subject was revised and placed before the Premier.
The name Warrumbungle is of aboriginal origin and means “short mountains”. Throughout the area mentioned above volcanic bluffs and spires dominate the skyline. Belougerie Spire, rising out of one side of a ridge, and Crater Bluff a bare half mile away on the other side, stand like sentinels of the range. These trachytic plugs have walls 600 and 1,000 feet high respectively where their outer sides emerge from the ridge. Aeons must have been necessary for the erosion of the igneous matter from around them, and this fact provides good reason for the contention that Australia's “Stumps” are among the oldest on earth.
Just a few hundred yards from the Belougerie Spire is the start of the Breadknife, that remarkable dike which many consider is the most intriguing of all these amazing relics of the past. In its fullest extent it is three quarters of a mile of sharp jagged ridge, being more exposed at each end. At the higher end that part of the formation which seems to defy gravity leans over at an angle of six degrees. No part is thicker than twelve feet, though the length of this portion is seven hundred feet and has the astounding height of four hundred feet. At present on the top a lone pine tree has a precarious existence, seemingly growing out of the rock. Of the many other peaks: Mt Tondurin - The Spire is perhaps the most pleasing. It looks like a huge moulded jelly with its purple cascades of lava and streaks of brown and green.
The highest point of the whole range is just over 4,000 feet, with three names: Mt Exmouth (the original), Mt.Terra Terra or Mt Wombelong. It would be difficult to obtain a more extensive cyclorama than is found from this mount. The Nandewar Range rising to 5,000 feet is the greatest landmark although 105 miles away beyond Narrabri. Walgett on the Darling can else be seen from here far across the apparently boundless plains.
Apart from rock climbing for the hardy, (and some peaks have not yet been conquered), there are many other pursuits to interest such as botany and photography. Capt. Frank Hurley pictured this photographer's paradise, and some of his work appeared in the 1939 Home Annual. The rugged beauty and wonderful summer climate should attract visitors, and access will be given by a new road through a gap in the ranges.
National Monuments are dedications and reservations of valuable and interesting geologic, biologic, historic, aesthetic and anthropologic places or objects. The Warrumbungle Mountains are considered to occupy first place among the geological marvels of Australia.
|Keith Bennell||Frank Gentle||R.Huntley Tucker|
|J. Marshall||Dick Smith||Albert Palmer|
Frank Gentle - 2nd April
Although I have not written to the B.S.C. for some time, I realise it is high time that I wrote you in grateful acknowledgment of the numerous Club circulars I have been receiving.
In the past year I have not been able to give a fixed address, in fact, I've had several changes of Unit in that time.
Was interested to read details of walks on the current programme. The Bushwalkers certainly cover big mileages on day and week-end walks - longer than I've yet experienced in 4 1/2 years in the Army. Also read with interest the walking activities outlined in the Annual Report. Some time ago I was able to walk through Lamington National Park, along the Queensland border trail to Binnaburra. That was a long march. Scenery from Echo Point (Lamington) was not visible owing to very heavy mist.
Just a week ago I received the “Bushwalker” annual - with thanks - and, after reading the articles through consider it an excellent issue. The articles “Bushwalking and Hardship; “Central Northern Mountains”, and “Come North with me,” were, I thought, very well written, and the photographic blocks were excellent - it's hard to say which would be considered the best.
Also interested to read of the activities of the Federation of Bushwalking Clubs - I didn't know that so many clubs existed.
Life in the army continues with nothing eventful happening. We are grand leave (36 hours) once every 8 days, and see picture programmes once a week, with promise of boxing matches that are being arranged, so our entertainment is looked after all right.
My brother Max wrote to tell me of the Reunion this year on Heathcote Creek, which he attended when on leave. I wish I could have been there. My last Reunion was at “Leonay” in 1941.
Rob Morrison - 15th March
Since last writing I've been out on all kinds of stunts and so peen a goodly portion of Southern Queensland, and I certainly do like what I have had the privilege of visiting. Been out around Samford Ranges north of Brisbane, up Caboolture - Maroochydore way and around Toowoomba, too, and right now I'm at a training and rest camp near Burleigh Heads. This spell here is hard to take, the training programme is easy enough and it leaves tons of time for surfing and sleeping on the warm yellow sands. Those southern Queensland beaches are not famed for their “shoots”, so I’m told but my little stay here has proved otherwise. The other day some of us went to Coolangatta for the day and we tried out Kirra Beach whilst there - it's a quiet surf because of the sandbank off the beach, and pretty safe and consistent in its miniature shoots. We rounded off the leave with a dance at “jazzland” - bonzer floor, bonzer band and bonzer girls from all over - Brisbane, locally and even some from Sydney.
From this camp I have a grand view of the eastern boundary of the MacPherson Range, and the peaks and ramparts guarding the Tweed Valley. It's all so green here now as we've had plenty of rain, and those green highlands do look attractive. I'd love to be setting out from here to “do” those heights - Cougal is a magnet with its 2,800 feet of elevation and it must be grand up on Sprinbrook at 3,100 ft. The Tweed Valley pimples, some cones, some like twin spires sure do call me, but guess they must wait for my hob nails and rucksack until my war job is over and I can be a civvy again.
The several S.B.W. club mags I've had from you lads and lasses have been much appreciated from the point of view of news of people whom I knew in those good old days, and the articles on those dear old places I love so well but quite apart from the intrinsic value of the literature you send me it’s the kindly thoughts behind your efforts that I do appreciate more than I can tell you. I've never met a better bunch of people than amongst the “Bushies” of my acquaintance and I hope one day (and soon, please God), to be out on the rocky paths and cattle pads with as many of you grand guys as we can muster up.
Monthly meeting held on 20th March, 1945.
A reply to the Federation's inquiry in regard to the burning off of grass was received from the Department of Agriculture. This stated that, where possible, mowing was desirable. Burning off damages grass and other seeds and accentuates the possibility of erosion. The Department advises that it is carrying out an investigation into the problems of burning off.
In reply to the suggestions of the Federation, the Bush Fires Advisory Committee stated that essay competitions in schools were held in 1944 and more will be held in 1945. The Committee has asked for suggestions for 1945/46 Bushfire Poster designs.
Miss Byles reported that she and Miss Birt had attended Parliament House and heard the debate on the new Wildflowers Protection Act. She was of the opinion that an Act such as we really desired could not have been passed at present. The new legislation is an improvement on the old but has a big weakness in that it provides for the leasing of Crown lands. The lessees of such land would not need to grow wildflowers but would have the right to pick those already growing. The licensing of growers is, Miss Byles said, a step in the right direction.
A representative of the committee appointed to arrange a party reported that Sargents in Market Street had been booked for Friday, June 29th. This hall will hold 320 people. A four piece orchestra has been engaged and arrangements made for dancing and a floor show.
The retiring editor of The Bushwalker”, Miss Lawry reported publication of issue No3; and obtained approval for an extended list of complimentary copies. A concession of 4d per copy for the Bushwalkers' Services Committee for this year was authorised. Miss Lawry also reported that the idea of publishing additional copies of “The Bushwalker” No.8 or extra publications to raise money for the Federation had to be abandoned for the present as costs are too high.
Mr, Eric Easton was re-elected Technical Adviser, Mr. Frank Adams was elected Assistant Editor but the position of Business Manager could not be filled (What about you?).
The Federation was advised by the delegates of this Club of the proposal by the Manly and Port Jackson Ferry Co Ltd, to erect flats at either Mackerel or Little Mackerel Beech and to add to its attractions as a pleasure resort by transferring a liquor license there from a point on the other side of Pittwater. It was decided to approach the Ku-ring-gai Chase Trust in the matter, with a view particularly to seeing that, if possible, no access by road is provided through the Chase. A delegate stated that he had heard a number of complaints of bad conduct by people carrying rucksacks. Probably the complaints actually referred on most occasions to hikers (!) but he suggested that something should be done in the Federation to maintain and raise standards of conduct of members of affiliated clubs. A newly formed club applied for and was admitted to membership of the Federation. This was the “Walkabout Club” whose Acting Hon. Sec is Mr, Bob Tompsitt of c/- Holbrooks Pty Ltd, Waterloo.