A Monthly Bulletin devoted to matters of interest to The Sydney Bushwalkers, 5 Hamilton Street, Sydney
No.128, AUGUST 1945 Price 6d
|Assist. Editor;||Dorothy Drigden|
|Sales & Subs:||Jean Harvey.|
|Via Broken Cart Creek||by Ruby Payne-Scott|
|Data and Dopa|
|Message from Goodman's|
|Dear “Bushies”||by LAC Kan Taylor|
|Agony Column||by “Ubi”|
|Cultivating our Native Flora||by “Arbores Australis”|
J. LeGay Brereton.
What is the name of that bird that sings
High in the air,
Deep in our hearts?
The swift bright flash of his crimson wings
Flits in the blue sky everywhere.
Out of the east I have seen him soar;
A light in the heart of the night he darts
Down in the silent bush, and soon
Under the moon
He pours his wonderful song
And fills our soul with a hope undreamed before,
While your heart throbs by mine and we forget
The limits God hath set
And wonder all night long.
“SURELY, SURELY, SLUMBER IS MORE SWEET THAN TOIL, THE SHORE THAN LABOUR IN THE DEEP MID-OCEAN, WIND AND WAVE AND OAR….”
Few will not have heard of the request made to the Club to vacate the rooms at 5, Hamilton Street where for about twelve years it has met on Friday nights, This unexpected necessity comes at a time when accommodation in the city is very difficult to obtain but the immediate reaction to the request is to range the corridors of one's mind and memory and the streets of the city in an attempt to find a roof for the Club, even though it be a temporary one. Without a centre where members may meet the Club must be useless and nerveless like a man with a broken spine. But a question rears its head wearing a disconcerting look of dissent - is it worthwhile?
For some time it has been apparent that the spirit of the Club has been failing and this has been remarked upon by many members, particularly those of long standing who are in a position to compare current times with earlier periods in our history,
A Club is a collection of people with a common object who band together so that the efforts and pleasure of each may be shared and enjoyed by all. Unfortunately, the opinion is now commonly expressed that never in the life of our Club have “so many owed, so much to no few”.
That the molten thoughts and aspirations which fired the earliest enthusiasts should harden into uninspiring slag is no new phenomenon:
“For each age is a dream that is dying, Or one that is coming to birth.”
Perhaps it is our misfortune that we are witnesses of a Club in its death throes; if so, is it worth the effort of attempting to nurse it through a difficult convalescence to restored health? Lack of co-operation and selfishness are a cancer which grows with alarming speed until even the spirit of those people most blessed with their opposites is sapped.
There is a considerable amount of work to be done in the Club but not more than can be accomplished if, of the 300 members, each does his share, It seems they cannot or will not, so the present crisis comes as a convenient time to give the Club its quiet when what would once have been a murder may pass as justifiable homicide and we can look unmoved and indifferent oh the course which was such an entrancing youth. Why attempt to face the burden of added difficulties?
“Surely, surely, slumber is more sweet than toil, the shore than labour in the deep mid-ocean, wind and wave and oar…”
A public holiday in the middle of the week, a job just finished at work, the promise of snow in the morning air when a note from our head office arrived ordering me to take some of my accumulated leave! Bill thought the P.M.G. might be able to struggle along without him for three days and they, plus the aforementioned holiday and a weekend, would make six - one and a bit for travelling and four and a bit for walking. Our objective was Canberra to Tumut. Obviously we had no time to go astray on the tops, as is so easy in that country, so, after conferring with Maurie Berry, we decided to try to get down Broken Cart Creek, which is reputed to have once had a track along it down which machinery was taken to a big gold mine at its junction with the Goobarragandra.
So the Tuesday night before Anniversary Day found us in the Canberra car of the Kosciuszko Express, not in the sets we had booked - for they, it appeared, had been on the morning train - but very comfortably settled by a kindly guard in a carriage that had for most of the trip only one other occupant, who obligingly slept on the floor and offered us sandwiches at all sorts of odd moments.
Alex Colley, meeting the train in the dawn, decided we did not look up to Hotel Canberra standard, and nobly took on the job of feeding us and then delivering us, well filled with wheatmeal porridge, to our old acquaintance, the mail-man, Mr. Storen. Alex, plus a bike plus quantities of food was to accompany us as far as the turn-off to Mount Franklin, for he was laying in winter supplies at the chalet.
We said goodbye to Mr. Storen where his road crosses the Goodradigbee and after lunch, travelled the five miles downstream to camp near the hut of Mr. Bob Reed, Mr. Reed is an amazing old man - aged 70, grower of prize gladioli by the thousand, expert bushman and apparently also expert walker. He told us that night that, after visiting his daughter in Nyngan, he decided to walk home - its only 400 miles, and it was off-time for gladioli.
Next morning, after another call on Mr.Read for advice and boot repairs, we set off up Cooleman Creek. At his suggestion, we turned off to the left about a quarter mile up the creek in a red cutting and followed the “pack” track, which keeps to the ridge instead of continually re-crossing the creek.
For those who might wish to make an Easter scamper of this trip (and it could be done if transport could be arranged), time could be saved by turning off to the right where a branch track is shown in the map. This takes one to Mick's Flat, from which Mr. Reed considers it should be easy to climb out to Broken Cart Clearing.
However, we were in no hurry, so we followed the main track to where it crosses the travelling stock route not far from Peppercorn, and then set off along the T.S.R towards Broken Cart Clearing. At this stage we acquired respect for drovers because, partly owing to a recent fire, the T.S.R. is mainly non-existent. We came to a very pleasant green flat but, lured on by a hut marked on the map (the night promised to be cold), we continued walking,only to find that the hut is a deserted and dilapidated mine, whose pest diggings have made a horrible mess of the head waters of Broken Cart Creek. All this country was apparently rich in gold and there are signs of past mining activity everywhere. Here we first encountered the briar rose, which presumably came with the mines, and is now as common as blackberry bushes in Kangaroo Valley.
We camped by the creek, and the night was cold, judging by the ice on our water bucket next morning, and the heavy frost - though we felt nothing but a slight chilliness towards dawn. We felt more of the cold when, setting off dawn Broken Cart Creek, we began crashing through frost-covered undergrowth with the frozen ground under our feet.
Soon we struck what at the time we thought to be the remnants of the reputed track down the creek but what we now, with our greater experience, know to have been a mine-race., i e., a channel cut to divert part of a stream to provide washing water for mining operations (Bradfield's scheme for watering the inland on a small scale). You will hear more of these water races later but, for those who have never met them, I may add that they often run for miles, usually some distance above the level of the stream, and, when disused and filled with leaves, look vary like an old and eroded track.
We later met the man who took the air-compressor plant down to the big mine on the Goobarragandra, and learned that there never was a pack track down Broken Cart Creek - the machinery was brought out by bullock wagon from Micalong and taken straight down the Mountain side, with the four wheels of the wagon chained and three trees on behind to brake it
Our mine-race, of course, ended at a mine - a fairly small one half way down the creek, and from there we had to make our own path. Up till then the creek had been very open, but now it appeared to narrow and drop more steeply, Hence we decided to climb out on the right hand side and follow the ridge for some way. This, incidentally, gave us a good view of the country on the far side of the Goobarragandra. The going was fairly easy (though dirty), as a recent fire had destroyed the undergrowth. We dropped into the creek again just below a waterfall, and after some further scrambling along the side of the creek, emerged on the Gooberragandre for lunch.
Here was the large mine of which we had heard, and the beginnings of a well-marked bridle track, a few hundred feet above the river, which we were to follow for the rest of our trip, as it gradually broadened and finally became the main road into Tumut. Without this track the Goobarragandra would be mile-an-hour country - it is surprisingly wild. As we walked along we had several good views of Dubbo Falls. Finally we made an early camp at the first suitable place - a sheltered flat where the right-hand branch comes into the main river, Near this junction are the remains of another large mine, and the track becomes wide enough for a cart. As we walked along the next morning, we were surprised to see that for miles the water-race from this mine had been cleaned out and was running - in fact, it was not till then that it dawned on us what these channels were. After a few hours' walking the mystery resolved itself. We came out on a large, very green flat with a hut, and could hear the whirring of machinery, Closer inspection showed the machinery to be an electric generator, operated by power from the water-race. The owner told us that he had cleared and extended the old race, and was also using the water for irrigation (hence the green-ness). He demonstrated to us: the home-made valve and water-wheel operating his generator. His present generator runs hot and the lamps he is using are too low a power for efficient lighting but he is awaiting a new generator and better globes.
Eventually we dragged ourselves away from these attractions and, filled with milk and our pockets bulging with walnuts, said goodbye to our friend, his two dogs, and Temmy the cat, and continued on our way. He had told us that eucalyptus-getters were in the neighbourhood, and we soon observed the marks of a cart, scattered tobacco packets, and the strong scent of the freshly-cut narrow leaved peppermint. I must say that, all the way down the river until we were well past Goobarragandra station, it was most pleasing to see no signs of erosion and nothing to spoil the country except for the mess left around the mines and the activities of the eucalyptus- getters and, following the latter, the seedlings appeared to be growing again almost as quickly as they were cut.
That day was to be our rest day, so early in the afternoon we found ourselves the ideal camp site and settled down to an orgy of washing and damper making. Bill hopefully tossed- morsels of bacon and grasshopper to trout that watched with a superior smile - alas, we had left our trout fishing too late, for the fish had been running over our feet in Cooleman Creek and further up the river.
The rest of the trip offered no particular excitement - along the river the next day past Goobarragandra station end the still of our eucalyptus-getters, to camp in a spot we should not have been on, and then into Lacmalac early the next morning to order a car into Tumut. After a few hours spent exploring the town and admiring the avenues of elms and poplars, we boarded the four o'clock train for home.
Have you ever noticed the lacy light shawls
Spread on the beach at Cronulla?
Op'ning and folding at every wave's will,
Foam patterns in fleecy white colour?\\ A.E.
When we record the fact that we recently saw a photo of Johnny Woods' taking doing its best to brighten a Second Class dog-box, we are not being nasty, Perhaps the selfsame department was once a royal kennell.
Now do we spitefully mention that Peter Page who has been on leave from the Army has spent quite a deal of it playing golf, You do lose your condition in the Army - Oh, no.,. isn't that what you put on?
Look to your laurels, you young and beefy! Our friend, Stoddy grandmere, lead a July walk but encountered opposition from Charlie Pryde now a grandparent, If, in future, you see them giving descriptions with their hands it could be fish or it could be grandchildren, No doubt a certain amount of friendly rivalry will be engendered and possibly challenge to eighty milers in the weekend, For many' years our eyes have goggled at walking exploits of Stoddy grandmere who refuses to let the years ground her- and thus sets an example which we hope to follow.
Even the wisdom which comes with time does not always bring the ability to prophesy the Weather. For, as it is reputedly seven years since Arnold Barrett did a walk, one would think he was waiting for the seven year cycle which brings a warm day in July. On the contrary he slept at Corral Swamp with snow outside the door and without “Roxy” to see that he was wearing, his red flannel.
A hard worker whose labours are not known to many in the Club is “Dunk” but Servicemen reap the benefit, For every month “Dunk” has the labour (of love) of replying to letters received by the Services committee. After the war she will probably be receiving many more kisses than we have already seen her kindliness inspire.
One of our more worthy bodies is anxious to obtain ripe Waratah seeds for the purpose of cultivation to help to ensure the survival of our flora. We would be glad of any you may gather.
Mr, K.A. Hindwood, one of the State's well-known ornithologists, wants to buy “The Sydney Bush Walker Annual” No.1 of 1934 in order to complete the set, “Good price offered”, Might this not be an easier:way out than “popping” your overcoat?
In “The Sun” of 27th July last “Lonely Lonesome Lingering Lad” wrote Dorothy Dix, “I am a boy of 17, and would like to know if there are any Youth Clubs or clubs where dancing, hiking, classics, and music are popular”. After three unstinted paragraphs Dorothy finally writes,“The Bush Walkers” Club may be contacted any Friday evening at No,5 Hamilton Street, City on the 3rd floor,“ In view of recent events we hope that LILL does not arrive to find us gone and, as a consequence, fall into the hands of some of our erstwhile neighbours… so sad… a lad of seventeen.
by LAC [Leading Aircraftman] Ken Taylor
This letter will be speeding to you shortly from somewhere along the North West Coast of Borneo my present whereabouts. AS it is I partook in a recent invasion with Australian forces in this area, we have now been in occupation for some time experiencing front line activity amongst the enemy. No doubt my descriptions of the invasion, the story of Japanese aerial attacks and resisting breakthroughs by Jap marines would rake interesting reading but I'm more concerned in describing my impressions of this strange country with its manifold freaks of nature and wild ruggedness.
At sea on the first stage of the journey from Australia to Morotai I had some idea of the vastness of the northern N.G. coast with high ragged ranges subsiding into the sea. All along the coast you pass many palm fringed islands rising out of the blue waters and enveloped in fleecy clouds yellowed by the glare of the tropic sun. For the most part the mountains forming the main range of the Torricellis can be seen from shipboard. To lovers of beauty and nature, as I know most of you to be from past happy wanderings amongst the blue gums and eucalyptus of the Australian bushlands I think the gorgeous colourings of the dawns and sunsets of the islands would appeal to you all immensely. Both at sea and from island bases in the north the vivid setting of the tropic sun drifting down to rest above palm dotted islands with white beaches glistening in all colours is truly beautiful.
Being an amateur photographer I have been able to capture some, at least,of these scenes and will be able to show you them on my return.
Morotai seething with restless activity and buzzing with noise and clouds of brown dust rising everywhere wasn't exactly picturesque to my way of thinking but was typical of the tropics in every way. On a neighbouring island one could plainly see the volcano while out in the bay natives in their small outriggers and lakatois came to ply: small wooden models and other wares in exchange for tobacco and cigarettes.
Next thing we were in the China Seas with a task force headed towards Borneo, Mindanao and Palawan were passed by and one dawn amidst falling bombs, screeching shells and a hail of flying lead we landed on the beachhead pushing inland with troops to our positions. The japs resisted with some effort but were soon overcome.
Now that resistance is ended, I've had some time to look over the place, In parts our area is pure, virgin jungle intermingled with swamp and tall grass, The gulleys and gorges are deep too and unsafe to wander amongst no matter how enticing, Our camp is by a river on which I've enjoyed some splendid trips in native prows. The river is fringed with mangroves and in some inlets the undergrowth is very thick. Up to date, I haven't seen the hideous bulk of a crocodile but have seen queer fish with legs which nest in the mangroves and jump great lengths into the water. The zebus - domestic - resemble our own cattle - zebu milk is far more bitter than that of our cattle. They tell me there are bushes hare which fall flat on the ground when you approach them and vines from which is given water, but at the same time by impact of footfalls those very same vines release water before you can cut their stems. I haven't actually seen these yet, but they do exist.
In mid river an uninhabited native village is built on long poles, most other villages have bean re-occupied. One old Malay whom we met told us of his Japanese treatment, It could be evidenced by scars of whip-lashes and twisted bones and flesh - not very pretty I can assure you.
If one gets a little time out he can always appreciate the better things but dent have too many illusions as to the North, There's the other side of it - fevers, heat, mosquitoes, all these and more, I envy you those rambles through the bush, the smell of the gums and the jollity of a boiling billy on a campfire with good comradeship.
I had intended writing to Edna Garrad but today I received a photograph from the Committee and thought I'd write and thank you for it.
Please give my regards to Edna and the best to all of you.
Photos are really appreciated, the more the better, and I had a tinge of homesickness when I received this one.
Thanks again and kind regards to all round from
Your old ”bluey humper“
IF, WHEN YOU READ THIS MAGAZINE, THE CLUB HAS NOT A HOME LET US KNOW YOUR IDEAS.
I once advertised in the papers for Walkers. I had done everything I could think of to find some congenial company but almost without result. Suddenly the idea of advertising popped into my head and then I wondered why it had not occurred to me before because for months past I had been reading the “Miscellaneous” column of the local papers for my amusement. Having assured myself that I could at first keep my identity concealed the idea sounded feasible. However, no one would get any amusement out of my “ad” - it would not be in keeping with the local product and read something like ”Walker, 148 pounds, lantern-jawed, CE., five minutes from the station etc, would like to etc, etc,“ but just ”Any one interested in walking please write to No. so and so“ and, lest the foolish or ill-intentioned linotypists should add after ”walking“ the word ”nut“ and in order that the inhabitants of this modern Philistia should not be mistaken, I included the words ”or climbing“ in the finally lodged advertisement.
Even before this there were, of course, periods of doubt. How, for example, should I rid myself of the undesirables should any such become attached to me? I eventually inserted the advertisement with the problem unsolved. Having had advertisements for board completely ignored I was convinced that if I received one reply I would be lucky.
I was disconcerted almost immediately in a manner which, I must confess, had not entered into my calculations. Several of my friends saw the advertisement and told me about it with great eagerness. First I joked my way out of confession but eventually my regard for the truth was too overpowering and I divulged my little scheme. My tardiness in enquiring for replies was due to the aforementioned conviction that my request would probably be unanswered. However when, feeling like a criminal with the text of my advertisement written all over me, I enquired at the desk, three or four letters were thrust into my hands. Now I began to get excited because the unconventiality of the move was dawning upon me as I came face to face with the results of my action and the experiment began to interest me, as an experiment, and I vaguely wondered what fish would come up, in the net. The other paper yielded a similar number of replies.
I could not bring myself to open the letters in public but had to restrain myself until I was immured in my room. I think I surreptitiously opened one or two behind an aspidistra in the restaurant at dinner time. The first I opened was very brief but I noted that it was typewritten on good paper and indicated some one at least literate. It gave me the feeling of having been dashed off the moment the writer read the advertisement and a similar feeling of haste seized me so I dashed off an equally brief reply suggesting a meeting.
The second letter was not, I am afraid, of such high standard. The writer addressed me as “Dear Brother” and I formed the impression that he was an old man with no previous walking experience. I decided not to answer. Then for the first time the possible reactions of my advertisement on other people began to agitate me. As I had qualms about revealing my identity I began to wonder at the faith of others in answering me on trust and decided that before I would do the same, I would have to be as desperate as I was My conscience smote me as I put aside my “Dear Brother” but surely it was wiser?
The remaining letters, but for three, were all from men and warranted a reply. One from a chap in the Army was very effusive, one frankly enquired what it was all about, a third was from a young fellow who wrote in purple ink and advised that he stood “five feet eleven under the shower”, one girl, obviously very self-reliant, desired further particulars and one girl, who had walked before, wanted to hear immediately about possible trips. I met No.1 girl and she proved quite interesting in so far as she had done a few day walks, had made designs for a pack, and was very capable and efficient. However, she was quite young and frankly admitted that her parents would never, never consent to her canning out without a goodly company of which a proportion must be females. Even if she herself were unconventional and fearless, I did my best to rouse her suspicions by asking her up to see my photos. What thoughtless naivete!
I had not heard again from the person who wrote first in such haste and this puzzled me.
My friend who stood under the shower was a curious person. He was young, appeared to be subject to sudden enthusiasms and was such a mixture of hot and cold that I was never sure of his keenness. It was finally arranged that he should come down the coast with us one weekend but, at the appointed hour, a terrific rain storm broke over the city and he did not put in an appearance. We were surprised that he could be so easily prevented when he was so used to living his life under the shower.
Still no word came from No l. I was completely mystified and groped 1 for a possible motive.
Two letters and their writers deserve special mention. They came from the same town about three hours by train from the city and they betokened real bush lovers and experienced walkers. The writer of one, in order to assure me of his experience, claimed that he had been walking and climbing in Queensland for years but complained about the difficulty of getting company. I decided to visit both families one weekend but was consumed with doubt about a nicety in etiquette. Should I tell one family about the other, seeing that both had confided in me? My dilemma vanished soon when both families avowed that they were already the best and closest friends. To meet these families was like an unexpected breath of a gay Spring in the middle of a dreary Winter; they delighted in the country - the scenery, the flowers, the wild life. One family had an extensive library of walking, climbing and travel books and in the company of these people I felt like one of Euclid's triangles - “equal in all respects”.
Eventually I had a phone call from my number one reply and a meeting was arranged after work. A very tall, almost huge man confronted me, and, thinking of the sub-tropical heat, I wrote him off fifty per cent. “I am sorry”, he said “that I have not been able to get in touch with you before, but I have been buying a hotel”. Off vet another 25% as regards walking but I thought that knowing him might have its advantages, “In any case”, he continued “I doubt whether I shall be able to do any walking in the weekends as I have just been granted a bookie's licence”. The net amount standing to his credit was now about half of one per cent. We began to talk and I found him a very interesting person and much more promising than his opening pronouncements would suggest. Despite his bulk, he had done walks of many days in Rabaul, and had experienced several of the volcanic eruptions there. His soul began to pep out when he mentioned the hotel he was buying. Strangely enough I knew it - a ramshackle, old place in a quiet village on the edge of the beautiful Blackall Range with a delightful view of the coast over the variegated coastal plain. He had visions of converting it into a place with a reputation with emphasis always on the country atmosphere and the view. There was more than the average share of artist in him.
A few weeks before I had arrived at this particular “pub” after a long, although delightful road walk and felt in one of my rare, beer-desiring moods. After spending a considerable time without finding a single occupant, I concluded (I should imagine quite correctly) that there was no beer anyway. Perhaps if I had stayed in Brisbane longer and had cultivated this last friendship I would have developed into an efficient barman with a little “book” of my own.
A Visit to the Forestry Commission's Nurseries
by Arbores Australis
There is no sign-post on the main highway where the winding road leads down to the Forestry Commission's nurseries, but if you are interested in the experiment of growing all manner of shrubs and trees from all Darts of N.S.W., go and find the turn-off.
The winding forest road leads down, protected along its edges, not by the usual white posts, but by young saplings of trees which will grow up with silver-white stems, and be an object lesson for engineers who plan “scenic roads”. In between them is a small stand of coachwood growing quite happily in spite of the official pronouncement of the Commission that it has not yet learned how to cultivate this valuable tree. But Mr. Martin, the officer in charge, has green fingers, it seems, and he grows countless rare things from out-of-thee way places and also things, less rare, but which we so often try in vain to grow.
If you are interested in street tree-planting - Mr.Martin can give you very valuable suggestions especially that of a wattle which does not get the borer and should therefore life indefinitely (acacia elata). Can you imagine anything lovelier than a street lined with wattles?
Or you young bushwalker-newly-weds, what about saving money and avoiding ugliness by dispensing with the usual hideous paling fence end having a hedge of sweet scented ti-tee, or if you must keep the neighbour's dogs out, what about the prickly hakea? Or perhaps you have another fancy, well, collect the seeds and send them to Mr. Martin and he will grow them for you.
Anyhow, street-tree-friends, or newly-weds, or just bushwalkers, if you have a Saturday afternoon to spare, and want to learn something about our native trees and shrubs under cultivation, make up a party, give Mr. Martin a ring and he will be pleased to show you the beginnings of a very interesting experiment,
In the bush there is no winter. It reflects more truly the essential Australian climate than cultivated conventional gardens with their alien plants. These give an impression for a few brief months of resting, except for the exuberant flowering Peaches and plums which don their party frocks to greet a spring which is yet some months away. The wildlings of the bush (like experienced walkers) know better than to rest while the going is good. After a succession of dry winters they welcome the moist conditions now prevailing and all but a few plants are putting out new shoots and donning new leaves.
In our little plot of bushland things are going with alas! a few tragedies, Six flourishing boronia leifolia plants succumbed to the wet conditions and the Christmas bell seedlings resented the surplus moisture. The rock lilies have enjoyed it however and are bursting prematurely into flower. Dylwinnias planted 18 months ago are now flourishing and coming into flower, a yellow everlasting has grown into a husky plant and has just finished blooming. The waratahs are still small and so with rieinocarpus, lultenaeas, isopogon and others which are but a few inches high. A pink flowering tea tree planted at the same time is 3 feet high but not flowering yet.
So it may be winter by the calendar but in the bush the annual flower show has begun, Casuarinas are still russet red, banksia brushes glow with sombre fire, wattles are in bloom (weeks early but not as good as usual). On the ground boronias eriostemons, styphelias and dylwinnias are a feast of colour,