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194509

THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER

A Monthly Bulletin devoted to matters of interest to The Sydney Bushwalkers, 309-311 George St. Sydney

No,129 SEPTEMBER 1945 Price 6d.

Editor: Ray Kirkby

Production: Yvonne Rolfe

Assist.Editor: Dorothy Brigden

Assistant: Kath McKay

Sales and Subscriptions: Jean Harvey.

CONTENTS

Carlon's in June by K.M. Page 2

Letter to the Editor. The Club Psychologist. Page 4

Joys of Motoring by “Prolix”. Page 5

Sniffs from the Newshound. Page 7

Interlude in Sicily. Doreen Helmrich. Page 8

Food Lists by “One of ten”. Page 10

One of the Old Hands. Page 11

“Nothing” by Backslider. Page 12

CRICKETS

Patrick Hore-Ruthven.

The night is star-slung and immaculate,

The moon rides low behind the foreign trees.

The crickets sing it; inarticulate,

Man trembles at the beauty that he seees.

Trembles and strikes a chord, but all in vain;

He cannot join in cricket melodies,

Nor chorus their refrain.

God gave to man the power to rise and walk

And think and build and fight with either hand;

Vouchsafed him lips to kiss with and to talk,

A soul to nourish and the faith to stand

By all that he holds holy; yet it seems

He cannot join the songs of cricket land,

Nor dream with them great dreams.

CARLON'S IN JUNE

by K.M.

You who have been so often to Carlon's and think of it doubtless with affection, would you like to hear how it was looking this widwinter, tucked away in its deep hollow, with the mists swirling round the crags up above?

No - don't tell me. You would be bored stiff. You would rather read about tiger-walks of incredible speed and endurance; of inaccessible heights conquered at last; of thrilling escapes from imminent death.

None of these things belong to a sojourn at Carlon's. But I don't mind; I shall just set down these notes for my own pleasure, for remembering in days to come.

It was wet this June, and warm-ish and not very windy, so that when you came along Green Gully beneath the lofty casuarinas to your first glimpse of Carlon's, the hillsides were green as Erin and the leaves, brilliantly yellow, still hung thick on the weeping willows.

And there were the blue cattle dogs rushing to meet you - Rover and Rambler and little Biddy the pup, still rounded and woolly, imported to bring fresh blood into the clan. Old Bluey, with his quaintly-twitching lip, was tied up under the bare peach tree, curled round in his motor tyre beneath the sloping shelter of corrugated iron.

Disentangling your legs from the dogs, you came in under the thick ivy, letting the gate shut behind you with a clatter of its axe-head weight sliding home down the sheet of tin.

Mr.Carlon himself was on the narrow earth-floored verandah, smiling a welcome, ready to lead you round to the kitchen to Mrs. Carlon and the heartening bowls of soup and huge fat scones that she produces as if by magic at any hour of the day or night.

I know you remember it well, the comfort of this warm homely kitchen, with the fire burning cheerily in the stove and the big iron kettle miraculously always on the point of boiling.

There in the corner was Bart's rd ten-gallon hat, become by now a legend - like the wood block outside the open door, with its unfailing supply of grated cheese for the birds.

All through the daylight hours they come - blue-bonnet Christopher Wren with his harem of Jennies and numerous sons and daughters; Willie Wagtails; thrushes; woodpeckers - Simple Simon, with his head cocked on one side; red robins, and yellow; Jacky Winters; silver-eyes and finches - all the feathered populace of the valley fluttering round the doorstep, the hardier spirits venturing right on to the kitchen table among the pots and pans.

Anyone, I think, reviewing his memories of Carlon's, must place the birds first on his list.

And then of course there is Queen Victoria. She is a white Chinese bantam with a curious little red comb distinctly reminiscent of the Widow of Windsor's cap. Her husband (yes, Albert.) has a much handsomer topknot in red and powder blue, and the pair of them consider the kitchen their rightful domain.

Nor must we forget the ducks, the fowls, the geese and the turkeys that make up Mrs.Carlon's innumerable family. On the still afternoon air towards feeding time, comes the symphony of their varied cries, and the voice of Mrs.Carlon admonishing them at some length and with great fervour, as though she were at one and the same time solo artist and conductor of this strange orchestra.

“Some day” said Elizabeth, “those fowls are going to answer Mrs. Carlon back and she's going to get the surprise of her life.”

Even when night falls the bird voices are not wholly silent. Snug under your mound of six blankets on a verandah bed, you hear smaell drowsy cheepings of wrens in the two giant orange trees, and farther away the long note of an owl, or the mopoke who “wakes all night and grieves”. Those sounds, and the creek gurgling under the willows, are all that break the deep peace. So you sleep, than open your eyes to see the morning star looking as big as a street-lamp above the orange tree, and shut them again hastily, realising that it is much too early. And when next you open them, there is the sun making havoc with the mists up on Black Billy and Mr. Carlon is carrying in logs for the dining-room fire.

Do you remember the girls' dormitory with its classic wall-paper, culled from the pages of women's journals? Elizabeth, in the midst of her toilette, was wont to utter sharp yelps of excitement as she pursued a serial round the room, now peering behind the mirror, now grovelling on the floor. There were baffling headlines like “Summer is When Clarke Gable”. The rest is silence. We shall never know what he does to cause summer.

And you assuredly remember that other maddening contrivance on the front verandah - the game of Doodlem Chuck. For the benefit of those who do not know, it consists of an iron ring suspended on a string, and the idea is to swing it gently forward so that it catches on a nail set in a neighbouring post. Experts do it with the nonchalant ease of a child with a yo-yo, and the record is, I believe, 37 bull's-eyes in succession.

There is much, much more to remember of Carlon's: of walkers coming and going, dumping heroic packs on the verandah; swallowing gargantuan meals and striding off again into the night; of long hours in the firelight and lamplight, listening to Mr. Carlon's bush lore and tales of a lifetime spent in the wild hills and gullies; of swapping yarns about this trip and that and planning new ventures - talk that is as good as a tonic to minds stale with the din of city life and the blare of loud-speakers. But I have written far too long a screed alrealdy, and you must fill in the blanks for yourselves.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

WHATS WRONG WITH THE CLUB?

Dear Sir,

I must say I didn't like the gloomy article in the last issue of “The Bushwalker”, about the Club dying on its feet (again), although I quite agree that it's in a very bad way.

What we ned to think about is not how to die gracefully, but to try a little self-analysis, find out what's wrong with us, and do something about it.

It seems to me that there are a lot of disruptive influences about, and these influences - as always - come from various groups of members who have never stopped to consider the effect of their attitudes upon the Club as a whole.

I have noted the following groups:-

I. The ANTAGONISTICS who are just agin the government and although lots of their ideas are quite good they simply don't go the right way about putting them over.

There are two divisions in this group -

(a) The EXPLOSIVES who hurl an idea at a meeting, and then retire, and

(b) The MUMBLERS, who mumble their grievances out on the landing.

II. The NEGATIVES, who make no contribution good or bad. A worthless group.

III. The IRRESPONSIBLES, who undertake jobs, and then don't do them. A very dangerous group.

IV. The WOMAN-HATERS, so out of date that they still think the male of the species superior to the female. This group is a nuisance in a mixed walking club and should take itself off and find (or found) a Men-only Club.

V. The OLD CLUB MEMBERS, who appear once a year, (you know when) and vote blindly against any alteration in the Constitution. A very reactionary group.

THE FEW who don't belong in I-V are the PERFECT CLUB MEMBERS, enthusiastic, public-spirited, tolerant, friendly …..

So, let us look ourselves over to see what change will have to be made to make us into P.C.M's as above,

Any advice re analysis will be willingly given by

The Club Psychologist

(ABSOLUTELY free of charge).

JOYS OF MOTORING

by “Prolix”

June 1945 proved to be a month set aside by the Rain Gods for breaking one of the usual droughts. The Gods made up for lost time by soaking the countryside for days on end. However King's Birthday is also in June but our party of five males and three females, believing in the traditional walking custom of never cancelling a planned trip (i e. never - as a rule) entrained for Mt.Victoria. Deep down in his heart each member of the party doubted the wisdom of attempting a trip from Kanangra to Katoomba with the rain run-off at its peak but of course, openly expressed complete confidence in Fate, alias The Maestro.

At Mt.Victoria we experienced a sample of the typical misty, drizzling Winter night through which to travel for three or four hours. Somewhere about 11pm we were at last snugly fitted into the car and leaving the town's lights behind us. Our headlights made ghostly reflections in the mist, broken spasmodically as it cleared and then closed down again. This, coupled with a sticky and muddy road made progress slower than usual and more hazardous.

In case the reader is about to drop this story exclaiming “Heck! Does this guy think he's the first person to do this trip?” let me persuade him to hose down his fires of impatience and bear with me a little longer. Yes, we did pass through Little Hartley and the few other places well known to you but - not so fast - we are not yet at Jenolan Caves for the driver brings the car to a halt after a sluggish sweep around a bend and nearly dropping us over the yawning sides of the long hill down to the Caves.

Yes, it was a puncture - well-timed in the mist and rain on a steep hill in the mud. Were we to be stranded? Fortunately the driver had a spare. We all vacated the car and the driver manoeuvred to a more suitable position. The “boot” travellers were speedily dumped on the road and the men armed themselves with all kinds of “helpful” implements from large stones, torches and spanners to the jack and the spare wheel.

Much ingenuity was displayed by the use of the spare wheel as a preliminary stage in the jacking-up i.e. by driving the deflated wheel up on the spare to gain sufficient height to just fit the jack under the car. Finally the wheel was replaced, packs and passengers reseated and once again we were on the move.

Jenolan passed by, silent and impressive. The Plymouth made heavy work of the long, steep hair-pin bent road beyond the Caves but once on top we rolled merrily along towards Kanangra. Several miles past the Oberon turn-off we were amazed to see two ghostlike shapes loom up in front each with a torch-light. These resolved themselves into none other than Sally McKay and Peggy Bransdon and at 1.45 am. These stoics had been out all the previous week in rain and storm and swollen rivers on a trip to Kanangra via the Kowmung River with no previous experience of the country. They had been walking since 10 pm that night in the hope of meeting our car assuming we attempted the trip. They have my eternal respect.

This meeting proved very fortunate for us as the girls gave warning of a large tree which had fallen across the road some six or seven miles our side of Kanangra. Our spirits sank. We were in no mood to relish six or more miles on such a night at 2 am.

Sure enough we came upon the tree - large and ominous - right across the middle of the road. It seemed far too large for us to handle but, driven by despair, the men heaved mightily and broke a few branches. Suddenly I noticed that the main trunk was shattered at the edge of the road, promising a chance of clearance. With even mightier heaves the obstructing portion was moved sufficiently to break it away and clear the road.

We would have been very late indeed in getting to bed had we been forced to foot those extra miles so we celebrated our good fortune by drinking tea until 4 am.

TRAGI-COMEDY IN SEVERAL ACTS

Scene - Some hundred yards from the Cedar Road.

Time - The dirty past.

ACT 1

One party led by Frazer Stanley Ratcliffe is about to leave for the Kowmung via the Cedar Road, the other, led by Ray Livingstone Kirkby is about to leave in the opposite direction for the Cox River. The Ratcliffe party has the advantage of an American paratrooper's scarf covered with a map of some of the Pacific Islands. Fanfare of trumpets (human) off. Weepings and wailings and gnashing of teeth where possible. They part.

Livingstone K. speaks, “Farewell, Stanley”.

Stanley R. (with his well-known flair for variety) “Livingstone, farewell!”

They part again (this time properly).

ACT 2

Livingstone K. is discovered having lunch with two native women at “Kowmung House.” He is under the impression that Stanley R, is many miles away in the opposite direction. There is a sound of tramping feet and a voice says “Mr.Livingstone, I presume?” Sure enough, it is Stanley R. and party. Mr Livingstone K. gulps “Whaaat?” and makes a mental note that one is never safe even in darkest Australia.

EPILOGUE

Mr Stanley R. eventually arrived at the Kowmung although during Act 2, using the American map, he was convinced that he was just crossing the northerly tip of the southenmost island in the Halmaheras.

STOP PRESS

SEPTEMBER 14th is the LAST NIGHT the CLUB CAN MEET AT THE GEORGE STREET ROOMS. UNFORTUNATELY WE ARE UNABLE TO ADVISE WHERE THE MEETING OF THE FOLLOWING WEEK WILL BE.

SNIFFS FROM THE NEWSHOUND

We are never sorry being able to record the appearance of old faces in the Club rooms. For example, Betty Pryde and Allister Menmuir were able to track the Club down to its new room in George Street. (Censor: Is not your first sentence rather tactless? Editor; Well you know what I mean and in any case we all shall have to get used to putting up with a lot now we have peace.)

Last month one writer deplored the apathy shown in the Club these days. Just to give this claim the lie direct the Sports Carnival was held recently with all the pomp and ceremony, the enthusiasm and the numbers of the Grecian Olympian Games, Perhaps I should add “in one of the smaller city states” as there were only three men present. At a late hour in the arrangememts Jack Rose undertook (with commendable keenness) the job of organising, but the results were so disappointing that when we saw Jack after the event he could be described only as “nipped in the bud” or perhaps “fully blown”.

Oh, happy, happy, happy Parents! Two sons this month. The owners of one are the Wyborns. Their son was 8 pounds 14 ounces when born and can already do simple quadratic equations. Peter John walked in on the Harpers almost at the same time as the domestic staff at the hospital walked out for their VP Day celebrations. I did not hear whether Peter John turned to and scrubbed a few floors.

After VP Day Russell Wilkins appeared at the Club wearing a white polo sweater which crowded around his throat in a thick ruffle which would have done credit to Queen Elizabeth. This went, naturally, with an air-force uniform. Apparently some WAAAFS were so eager to get at him that they tore the front out of his shirt. Russell says the reason was VP celebrations.

News has been received that Mouldy Harrison travelled from New York to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he picked up the “Aquitania” and eventually reached London via Scotland. It looks as though he will be able to head one chapter of his autobiography, “I was in London when the war ended.”

Did you hear about the little boy whose teacher told him that “to be frugal” meant “to save”? He was told to write a story illustrating its meaning. This is what he wrote “A beautiful princess was one day walking in the woods and accidentally fell into a deep pond. In her terror she cried out,”Frugal me, frugal me“. A good knight happened to be passing and he heard her and he went and he frugalled her.”

One of the new girls in the Club is most anxious to acquire a tent of any size or description. So if you have a tent which is just mouldering away with dis-use think of the pleasure you could give one person eager to walk and camp, by striking a bargain. See the Editor who demands only a modest 50% commission.

HAVE YOU MADE EVERY ENDEAVOUR TO FIND A SUITABLE ROOM OR HALL FOR THE CLUB'S USE? SEE STOP PRESS - PAGE 6.

INTERLUDE IN SICILY

by DOREEN HELMRICH.

Memories of Sicily - 1939 - are crowding into my mind. Sicily with its clamorous cities and stone villages; its olive groves and GreekTemples; its oranges and lemons and all pervading yellow; its green valleys and bright flowers, clear streams and craggy mountains, almond blossoms and cactus and its indescribably lovely Mount Etna.

Vivid memories of Palermo, the capital, are of the clamour of small boys shouting in sheer exuberance, of carved and decorated yellow wooden carts, drawn by the most diminutive of mules bedecked with rows of shining silver bells jingling at every movement; of narrow back streets, winding and flagged where people swarmed like ants, and children flocked in thousands but were very gay; where stalls displayed every imaginable food stuff, including quite alarming looking fish and strange varieties of breads.

Behind these market streets ran the streets of the peoples' dwelling places-chill, stone unending, with no space between the buildings-unfit for human habitation. We saw old rooms and crannies lit by dim oil lamps, their occupants making shoes and using sewing machines in the doorways to get the last of the sun and light.

Oppressed by the oppression of its millions we escaped from Palermo Southwards by train, through valleys and orchards, and avenues of eucalyptus trees. Another surprise was the sight of rows of huge prickly pears carefully cultivated to protect crops. We saw peasant families working unceasingly in the fields, donkeys scarcely visible under engulfing loads of hay or vegetables, and herds of aristocratic looking white goats.

After hours of struggling our train limped into Caltanisetta railway junction, where we got out and waited. Up in the distant hills there was a smear of yellow - the ancient sulphur mines. While we waited the peasants gathered round as they always did and we held many pleasant conversations in execrable French, our only common language.

They all seemed to have relatives in Australia, and knew about our wonderful surfing beaches.

Eventually another train arrived and we chugged further up the mountain and so to Girgento, steeped in memories of the past. All Sicily bears the imprint of the dozen civilisations that have flourished there since the dawn of history - Phoenician, Greek, Carthaginian, Roman, Byzantine, Saracen. Even the Normans made an excursion from the North and overran it in the Middle Ages.

Girgento is built on the heights 1000 feet above the Mediterranean and as we sat on the Terrace of our Inn looking down over the beautiful ruins of the six Greek Temples, over the Olive groves below to the blue-green sea we tried to reconstruct some of the tempetuous past, little dreaming that our own people would be the next invaders.

Our host at the Inn owned a villa on the coast at Port Empedocle, so gave us our lunch and the key and insisted that we should go down for a picnic and swim. It was a delightful little villa gaily painted and decorative with its bright Sicilian rugs, pottery and painted furniture. The sun was all that a Mediterranean sun should be, but the sand was dull and the water still and shallow for so far that we gave up in despair.

On the road back to Girgento we met peasants returning from their day's work in the fields, one little boy carelessly dangling in his hand a Roman terra cotta vase which he had just come upon as he dug. These people have (to us) quite priceless treasures in their homes. They are likely to find them just any time in the fields and should, I believe, hand one third of their spoils to the Government to be placed in Museums.

The journey onwards to the East Coast took another whole day in the leisurely train. We used to spend five minutes at each station, and carriages were always being added or subtracted - but no one felt any need to hurry. Suddenly over the green hills, a dazzling, shimmering snow clad peak emerged, silhouetted against the bright blue sky. It seemed unreal, impossible. As soon as the peasants noticed it they made sure that we did too. “Etna. Etna”, they cried, pointing excitedly. Gradually we came down from the mountains to the Plains of Catania, and turned North, with Etna 10,000 feet high on our left, and the Mediterranean calm and untroubled as ever on our right. The long curving beaches were separated by rocky projections or inlets, one time haven of pirates and bandits who were finally quelled only by Il Duce Mussolini, we were assured.

Taormina, another picturesque little town perched on the heights was our destination, and we arrived on Good Friday in the midst of one of the most interesting celebrations in the whole Sicilian year. Our hotel in the miniature main street was decrepit but very amusing. The beds rocked like ships in storm and the floor tiles rattled when we walked. It took three days to get a hot bath, but the event was so ceremonious, necessitating as it did the escort of two maids and the handing over of three enormous bath towels, that it almost seemed worth the 1/9 it cost. The geography of the building eluded us and we never did discover its full extent, but we did find three wings opening to three different streets; two gardens with ponds and birds, three terraces and a vast glassed-in sun room furnished in wicker and decorated with palms that reached to the roof.

As we were sitting at the street tables of our palatial residence the waiter came out and said something which was translated for us “The Italians took over Albania today. King Zog invited us to occupy it.”

This important announcement, however, didn't cause nearly the interest of the Via Crucis Procession which came by as night fell, with hushed rythmic tread of feet and solemn music. The Cross was carried high and a draped coffin borne by men; then came a double line of black robed and hooded women, one on each side of the street, each woman carrying a lighted candle. Small girls in white walked in the centre carrying symbols. Then came the draped figure of the Madonna, on a thick cushion of purple covered with white flowers, each bearer carrying a torch; the dignitaries of the Church in scintillating vestments walked under a canopy of red, followed by the band and the people of the town in a dense mass. The steady trend of feet to solemn music and the long rows of candles flickering in the darkness were very impressive.

Easter Saturday however was a Fiesta Day so the small boys had their procession, accompanied by a tin-can band. They beat jam tins with sticks and made castinets of saucepan lids.

At night there was a Grand Ball at every restaurant.

The “Taverna” would have the best celebration we were told so we were taken there. It was a large, grey rough walled cavern-like place, with lights in pirate lanterns, and barrels and bottles hanging from the roof. A brightly costumed orchestra played gloriously from a cave in the wall to the thronging crowd seen dimly through tobacco smoke. The tiled dancing floor centre, seemed as large as a family dining table, and the spirit of carnival flourished. Waiters flew in all directions carrying delicious wines and every little while one of the orchestra turned soloist - the violonist was a fine artist, two danced the “Tarantella” another sang.

Fashioned into a hillside, the Greek Theatre stands on the out-skirts of the town. From the rising Auditorium the audience looks down through the arches behind the stage to the beaches and the Coastal villages hundreds of feet below. Built in golden stone it has stood for 2500 years and we thought of the drama enacted on its stage and in the lives of the people through all those centuries.

A very short journey along the coast brought us to Messina, where our train ran right onto the boat waiting to take us across the narrow Straits of Messina to the Italian mainland.

The Sicilians have an old saying that “God created Sicily in a moment of supreme content.”

Ancient, primitive colourful, beautiful - it is an unforgettable Island.

FOOD LISTS

Nightmare horrors food lists cause.

Immutable as holy laws -

Juggling pounds and pennyweights,

Reviving long forgotten hates,

Panic when two tins of malt

Myopic eyes have read as “salt”,

Making lunch of even date

As preordained as Omar's fate.

Can the sugar with the tea

Be trusted not to disagree?

Will the butter miss the train

And bread be dry as Western plain?

Will the chap who always brings

Such quantities of useless things

Bring of bidden quantities

The party's bare necessities?

Comes the hour of reckoning -

To Peter would I rather wing,

Even saints would not exact

Such punishment for our worst acts.

“Debit, credit, put and take,

We owe you more, you brought the cake,

She takes that, now you owe me

A “deaner” point six four two three.”

ONE OF TEN.

ONE OF THE OLD HANDS

Maurie Berry told me in a tone which implied understanding on my part that he is one of the “8 originals”. I admitted that I did not appreciate this claim. So he unfolded to me the beginnings of our Club, back in 1927 - the letter to the newspaper deploring the lack of a walking club and the reply by the Mountain Trails Club which brought together the first enthusiasts. However, the “8 originals” (mostly married now, I presume, with large families) wanted a club open to both men and women and so in time the Sydney Bushwalkers was born.

We bemoan even now the paucity of maps and the wartime lack of gear but walking in those days was so different that it is difficult for us to appreciate the early conditions. Meurie commenced his walking carrying a “Dungal Swag” which is something after the style of that carried by the present day “swaggie”. “Paddy always claims” said he, “that I had the first rucksack but”, he continued with judicial honesty, “I cannot confirm that to be so”. It is little wonder that Meurie left Oberon for his fortnight's walk to Yerranderie with 70 pounds aboard for, in those days, he always carried an axe, tents of the pre-lightweight era were heavier and we have all the advantages of progress in bushwalking which is practically synonymous with lighter packs.

Can you visualise the Blue Mountains when a trip to Clear Hill and return was considered to require a holiday weekend for its performance? If you can you will anpreciate the adventure behind those early trips down the Cox, the Shoalhaven or the Grose which sound to us so humdrum but which, to the pioneers, had the proportions of one of our trips into the most remote, unmapped country.

Maurie has a record of service to the Club and one which is by no means ended. He has been on committee many times, has been Assistant Secretary, Treasurer and President. His present love, to which he has given four years of tireless work, is the Bushwalkers Service Committee of which he is Treasurer - surely an important post on a Committee filling its coffers in order to happily empty them for the benefit of Bushwalkers in the services.

Though Maurie first walked in 1924 his enthusiasm for the bush is greater than ever and do not imagine because of this-date, his snowy hair and growing responsibilities that he hes retired from active walking. Only quite recently he “discovered” Kosciusko and now talks of it with the boyish delight he has always felt for the countryside.

You have probably heard of Morriberri Pass from the Cox River up onto the Gangerang Range and have been deceived by its aboriginal sound. It appears that the well-known cartographer, also a member of our Club, who mapped most of the Blue Mountains was arraigned for calling so many features after white people so he concocted the above name which satisfied the authorities by passing for genuine aboriginal. Maurie was one of the first walkers to go over this route.

Maurie's only regret at the present time is that the Club is so large he finds it impossible to know even a fraction of the members. “I suppose it is partly my own fault”, he admits and advises attendance at official walks as the way to overcome this shortcoming. And speaking with the authority obtained from association with the Club throughout its whole history he confirms the application to the Club of the 2,000 year old precept, “The more you give, the more you will receive”. We believe you, Maurie - you ought to know.

"NOTHING"

By “Backslider”

Strolling leisurely down Hunter Street in the pseudo Spring Sunshine, I met Mr. Editor toiling up. There was that “Shall I shan't I speak” hesitation and then - a simultaneous “How are you”?

This courtesy exchanged, Mr. Editor remarked: “You don't come into Club these days, do you?” and to counter his tactlessness I replied “Er - no - but I'm “financial” you know - and I've been reading the Magazine and think you are making a great job of it.” And into his eyes came that look which only a man, presented with a magazine and nothing to load in it, can wear. I listened sympathetically while he spoke and, as he grew more eloquent, the little worm of guilt wriggled inside me. But I haven't been walking for - yes, I can almost say years…

“I know it must be hard”, I muttered, “but I can't help - you see, I'm right out of touch with everything and everybody and have nothing to write about”. And with a “Cheerio” we parted.

Walking! My memory stirred. And my first thought was of my pack. How I hated that thing! Even now, when I see it squatting complacently on the top of the wardrobe I hate it - it was always too big and too heavy - and it never grew lighter.

Straining up perpendicular mountains, my heart bursting, my legs and shoulders racked with pain; glissading down perpendicular mountains on all sixes, the pack bumping behind with malevolent intent; scrambling down steep slippery banks to wade through icy, rock strewn creeks because, with a pack, I could not balance on log bridges; rock hopping along creek beds, apprehensive of snakes in every crack, fighting back tears and praying to God to end the misery. Never did Christian stumble in his “burdened manner” as I did with my pack - and yet….

Bluegum in the dawn mist; Kangaroo Valley and the incomparable soft greenness of Yeola; the majesty of Solitary, the poplars along the Cotter river; the intimacy of a small camp-fire party; bush orchids and the wildflowers; Romance and good comrades; excitement as bush creatures are surprised; the pungency of bush smells; the satisfaction of a full tummy and a warm sleeping bag; stillness; moonlight; and the bliss of a deep hot bath after a trip. All these and a hundred other memories crowded my brain as I continued on my way. But it's all so long ago, and, as I told Mr.Editor, there's absolutely nothing I can write for his magazine - nothing at all…


E. (TED) CAINES PHILLIPS, Convenor of the Topographical Section of the River Canoe Club of N.S.W. writes under date 7/8/45.

Please note that the following canoeists' maps have now been completed:

No.31 Paterson River (Paterson to Hunter River junction (Morpeth) section

No.32 Little Manning and Manning Rivers (Gloryvale to Barrington River junction section).

Again thanking you for your continued publicity of this section's activities,

194509.txt · Last modified: 2014/05/30 04:40 by apaddock2