A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, c/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St. Sydney.
|Assists||Elsa McGregor, Norma Barden|
|Bus. Manager||Maurie Berry|
|Sales & Subs.||Jean Hervey|
|“Mount Tomah”||Arbores Australis||1|
|“An Episode (Regrettable)“||D. Helmrich||2|
|“For the Gossips”||News!||6|
|“Porthos & Pathos with Priddle”||“Dingo”||8|
|“Things of Yore”||Skip||11|
There is gladness in the laughter of the sunshine;
There is beauty in the blue light of the sky;
There is sadness in the earth beneath them lying,
Source of all man's life that man has made to die!
Where the giant trees of old grew grand and lofty,
And the jungle with its tree-ferns wildly fair -
Where the twining vines and hanging orchids flowered
In the darkly green, and ferny leafy air.
There is now a lonely ragged tree-fern standing,
And some old burned stumps, whose lordly trunks lie dead,
And a waste of barren bracken, round a stunted
Sassafras, which bravely rears its scented head.
In past times out-pourings of primordial love
Overspread the earth's wide paneplanal view,
And natural orogenic cataclysm
Brought the old to end and ushered in the new.
Now no natural cataclysm earth has need of
Bringing Age of Man unto a timely end.
He himself destroys the source of all his being,
And will take his part in Nature's cyclic trend.
But the Life-Force lives and brings to life forever.
And from out the barren waste that man will trace,
It will bring to life another cyclic era,
And perhaps a kinder and less selfish race!
Related by D. Helmrich as a warning of the misfortunes likely to overtake Bushwalkers who become too interested in their work,.
The Friday of Eight-hour Day week-end dawned clear and bright. Ticket in pocket (reserved seat), rucksack practically packed, I set off to work, meditating upon the joys of the holidays ahead…
As the day wore on I came upon a tantalising, fascinating case, and wrestling with the problem, consciousness of the week-end became more and more remote…
Late in the afternoon with a rude shock came the realization that I probably shouldn't have time to catch the train - the 5.52 p.m. the one and only to Berry. Quickest possible speed to Chatswood got me home with ten minutes to change, finish packing, eat and get back to the station - first class panic - all the family pressed into service - taxi called - came late.
Even then if the of a train had coincided with my arrival at the station the situation would not have been quite desperate. But no! Twelve minutes to wait. Too long…
With a gasp and a prayer, casting caution to the winds, said I to the taxi-driver, “Will you drive me to Central station?”. “Sorry, Miss - there's a Regulation. We can ring for our private-hire car tho'”.
“Yes said the Office, you can have it in a few minutes”. Precious minutes went by before it materialised.
“Please give me your name, address, age and religion”, said the driver. “I have to ring and tell the office, it's a Regulation”. Away ticked inexorable Time.
“Fifteen minutes until your train leaves Central?” said he who had my fate in his hands, “I think we'll get there”.
Crows Nest - traffic police - North Sydney - traffic lights - Bridge - traffic police - toll - Bus ahead - Market Street - traffic lights…
Cursing all Regulations, we saw the Town Hall clock; two minutes to go… “The fare will be £1-1.0”. “Here it is”. (what a wrench!) CENTRAL…. AND IT IS 5.54 p.m.
“Please wait”, said I, “I'll be back if the train has gone”.
The magic word Berry was nowhere on the Indicators; The train had gone…
Dejected, I returned to the car, and we proceeded at a leisurely pace towards Chatswood.
At the first telephone box the driver said, “Excuse me but I must ring the office to tell them I'm now returning.”
“What for?” I asked.
“It's a Regulation,” he explained. “It's just as well I didn't get pinched for speeding coming in - 30 miles is the limit along here you know.”
“How much were we doing?”
“Over 60,” was the reply. Then… “You know, I had a garage at Tamworth, but when I came out of the Air Force my nerves were so bad that I had to come to Sydney. That's why I'm here. I have shock treatment every day…”
Take a train for the Gangerangs, slide down Suicide Cr., walk (?) through Ti-Willa Canyon, and pass over Solitary on the way home. Are you tired of life? Do your kidneys trouble you? Are you spotless - outside (remember Inner Cleanliness comes First)? Kill care on Suicide Creek! Go Ti-Willaising!
Do I sound rather keen on Ti-Willa Canyon? Until last year it was just a name on the map to me, and not particularly attractive at that. Last year it became The Name on the map for me, for I christened Suicide Creek with a spectacular jump over a cliff.
This year I revisited the scene of the crime. Having passed Gentle's Pass you have but a mile or so to go. There's nothing special about Suicide Creek where it starts up on the range except it has a swampy beginning, and might have water in it when others haven't. It's north of Dex Ck.
If you're wise, this is where you camp, even without water. We had tea on two tins of spaghetti heated in ashes. Add a tin opener (to get the spaghetti out - am I not obvious) and you have a ready made atom gun.
Next morning, if you wake up, you follow down Suicide Ck. Naturally you meet a cliff. This can be negotiated on one side. Which brings you to another cliff. Here I took the shortest way down the first time, but that's another story.
At this point the lunatic is well advised to take the ridge on his or her right hand and follow it down. Care must be taken that the ridge does not follow you down. In this wild land where the hand of man has never set foot, or hardly ever, the foot of the wallaby gives a helping hand. On the way you clutch madly at tufts of grass, loose rocks, prickly bushes, and further down near the end you can hardly resist temptation to take to the vines. (Not of the grape, but even that applies).
You're down. Or are you? If you haven't seen water since leaving the Cox yesterday morning, you throw away your pack and dash frantically for a rock pool. But don't trip over the boulders. In good time nearly the whole of the ten foot width of the Canyon floor is taken up with a beautiful babbling brook. Wrens and robins chatter noisily in the sunshine filtering through the leaves above. I don't know what it is that grows there, but there's a lot of it. However I do know a tree fern when I see it, also the river-oke (that spelling's official) which grows to gigantic proportions in this ageless land.
If you're lucky, there will be only a series of pools here and there, water flowing between them under the ground, water-worn rocks making up the bed of the stream. Here and there this gives way to smooth rock, the water flowing along a self-made channel. At these places you're apt to sit down suddenly. Gee, octopi are lucky suckers.
About every five minutes you change direction with the stream. Eagerly you anticipate something new around the next corner, and after you've stopped anticipating what doesn't seem to be coming you draw back your outstretched foot from the 40' drop below you. I have had the temerity to call these Surprise Falls. The only way to bypass them is to take to the hills. On the right you hang by the eyebrows just above the brink of sixty foot cliffs until you come to a long shale slippery dip, unless the Tarzan urge becomes too strong for you, and you attempt to get down the cliff on vines. On the left you hang by the eyebrows just above the brink of sixty foot cliffs until you come to a long shale slippery dip. You don't have to go as far on this side as on the other, and there are no tempting vines.
I might make mention here of the only fly in the Rexona. These are nettles, and on these little hillside expeditions to get round things, all portions of one's anatomy are equally as likely to suffer. And suffer one does.
For all the hard work so far you have the benefits of almost tame wild life, Rose Robins will flutter around you, and lyre birds are forever dashing off in a panic before your irresistible progress (that's for the benefit of the ladies or otherwise 'cause I like to think I'm gallant). We came across a dead fox, and never has the wallaby, often seen, been such a friend, with his network of paths along the hillside.
Having mode the creek once more you keep on walking till you come to Mary Falls. These are not such a surprise, but are deeper and more spectacular, and you have to struggle skywards to circumnavigate them. Both times I've taken the left side, so you take the right, and everybody will be happy. Except you.
When you've again reached the creek you have only to walk until you reach the Kowmung. By this time you've got completely used to walking over round stones and are skinning along at a steady four miles an hour, dodging over falling trees, and wetting your feet in the interests of progress if you're not fussy. It saves a lot of hill climbing. There are however tricky and slippery places which can mean an involuntary bath for the unwary.
Further down the creek widens out, and here and there at the bends are grassy banks - and nettles - and traces of the bovine breed. The river okes grow tall and straight, and sunlight reaches down unhampered by warmth hungry branches. On and on you go, bend after bend - has the creek no ending.
And right where you think there's going to be another bend the creek broadens immensely. Stones give way to grass. Ahead a wide stream busily bubbles over slippery stone. Ye Kowmung!
And if it isn't yet dusk, don't worry. Have tea, bed down quickly, and sweet dreams to you. For tomorrow and tomorrow you have to struggle with the Cox and Solitary before you can settle down to a good meal in Katoomba.
The social round on Labour Day.
Nose to the ground, eyes peering hither end thither, notebook appearing and disappearing in flourishes grandiose, the Official Reporter was on the Official Walk. (Alarming, what?)
When first I looked, Edna Garrard was there. Again I cast my eyes around - and she was gone! Did the Barren Lands mists swallow her up? Or was she conscious of my furtive entries in the notebook?
Subterfuge was rife. Norma Barden, with enough food for three (and Bob Younger carrying it - Labour Day, alright) did her best to whiten Alex Colloy's hair. Got lost three times, with at least three males. She seemed to be the nucleus of the Breakaway Group, which consistently lagged five miles behind the leader, saw him only at meal times (sometimes), and in a last half-mile sprint to catch him - yes, missed the train!
The Leydon-Cosgrove controversies confounded the critics. Bushwalkers were lousey; Berry beer was lousey; Kosciusko weather was lousy. But all agreed that when the depression comes, it will be grand to go walking permanently with occasional ports of call to collect the dole!
At Central, Dennis Gittoes missed the train, then raced it to Berry! No, this isn't Ripley's column - he hi-jacked a timely truck.
We thought we had a U.S. Army Construction Battalion, but someone murmured, “Dorman.” Intrigued we were by two lumps of hose-pipe, one large, one small. “Fire persuaders, for blowing fires to life. Large one for large fires, small one for small fires.” When he wants to put the fire out, he sucks instead of blowing.
At Yoola, followed the trend of the times, sporting a ten-man tent, with pack annexe complete. Is it not amazing how the tent is put away in the pack all day, and the pack put away in the tent all night?
Phil Hall struck geologic fame over night, unearthing the best fossils Yeola has yet produced. “Pooh!” said a sceptic, “I've seen better ones in club!” We hope he meant rocks.
You have heard Roley on women of course? “Two men to every woman, lads, etc., etc.”… but there's another side to the story. There he was on the Walgon - the old dog for the hard road. Three women in the crowd, and every one of them in his food party! Need we explain that his pack weighed 101bs., that he fried not one single chop; nor stirred one single billy; yes, nor washed one single plate?
In that impromptu spirit so manifest among the walkers, they wandered up a side creek from Annie Rowan's, to find an impasse in the form of two waterfalls. No; they must turn back. But whist! Was that a voice up there? Why, there were Jenny and Eric, way up top. Now this, my dears, was a pretty pickle - for half of the food was up and could not get down, whilst the other half was down and could not get up. Have you ever faced the prospect of living the rest of the day on dried cabbage and milk? Then do you wonder that Jenny yelled as only Jenny can yell?
Yes, as forecast, the stork has been working as hard as usual. The Paul Barnses drew a cloak of secrecy around the event, but it is now known that their daughter will be six months old at Christmas.
The Ron Bakers, too, are gurgling baby-talk. Rhonda Lisbeth is their last light-weight effort. Visitors to the ward noticed that another baby bore strong resemblance to one of the club's male eligibles. Now, who's blushing?
The Year's hard luck story comes from the poor unfortunate at Garrawarra working bee, who, far from missing the nail and hitting his thumb, placed his thumb on the nail, then hit with unerring aim!
Irving Calnan has disappeared from the Club. Gone to Lismore. Did he read the Kweensland Speshul and develope a yearning for the North?
The “free” nights on the social programme are not because we think you are broke. Merely to remind you to turn over your spare cash to Rene Browne's Kiddies' Treat.
Next month!! The year's best artic1es! Fun and gossip; full page illustrations by Dennis Gittoes and Ted Constable; poems by the Club's lyrics; articles (we hope!) by many contributors (yet to come). Come forth and contribute.
So I sez to myself says I “What you want, old chap is a nice quiet ramble in the bush and then you'll return to work as fresh as paint”. Being Friday evening I wriggle down to the Club and there I am introduced to a pleasant bird called Luke Priddle. Luke it seems is taking a team from the Upper Colo to Kurrajong Heights. I have conversation with Luke and emerge from the fray sixteen boblets poorer, but, my little Spanish Onions - I'm on the walk.
The succeeding week I float about and Friday evening finds me with sufficient fodder for the trip. I am also to be found at Parramatta Station whence the truck is scheduled to leave at 7.30 p.m. I arrive at 7.20 p.m. and by 8 p.m. have walked about two miles around the station, seeking latecomers. Betty duly arrives and there is a vulgar scuffle to see who sits next to her in the motor chariot. Disgusting the way these young chaps push themselves forward. From where I sit I see the top of her ear occasionally so brighten up somewhat.
The trip is entertaining from the beginning. When we get really going the lorry gives out a great shower of sparks from the undergear, so much so, that a following motor cyclist draws abreast and informs our driver that he is on fire (not the driver). Much to our disappointment we pull up and discover that it is only carbon from the exhaust pipe and I settle down to look at the ear again.
About one hour afterwards we are bowling along a dusty road and I would not be contradicted if I mench that a speck or two of the same dust enters the part where I sit. I am informed that it is called affectionate dust, which I believe because a pound or two is clinging to my skin. Around about this time some heartless beast obscures my view of the auditory appendage (ear, you mug) so I cast a glance to my right. Dogone my ornery hide if I'm not sitting next to Bob and Phil. Having bunked with Phil on Berry Mountain, I feel at home and shortly afterwards the conversation turns to tents. It is discovered that we three have a tent each, so someone suggests we tent together and utilise the surplus tents as coverage. A very solid idea, so when we turn in at 11 p.m. it is not surprising that we three are cheek to cheek, more or 1ess anyway. I also am not surprised to find myself on the outside as we have drawn straws for the position in the centre.
I spend a very restless night and am pleased to see the dawn. I am joined by others and soon breakfast is on the way. Phil and Bob each report a good night's sleep, which makes the big bloke a little envious. Phil however draws attention to my sleeping pants and I am advised that by removing the oranges from the pockets an improvement in the slumber will be noticed.
The instructions are to be ready to move off at 8 a.m. so at 9 a.m. we kick off to a very nice start - up a hill naturally. Going down the other side to Hungry Way Creek I find myself again with Bob and Phil and some bright soul classes us as the Three Musketeers. There is some speculation as to how to allot the characters but on discussion Bob is Aramis, Phil is Athos and you can guess who cops Porthos. I rack my brain and am rewarded with the memory that Porthos is the dullest of the trio. Curse Alex Dumas. The descent is also highlighted by a wallaby achieving almost impossible leaps from rock to rock. Westward along the Creek and we come to the Colo River. There we receive a pleasant surprise as the River is cleaner than we expected. About midday the party crossed the river, knee deep at the crossing, and mention might be made that all talk of swimming before lunch seemed to just fade away.
Lunch at the junction of the Colo and Tootie Creek and afterwards along the creek for about half a mile then Bingo, we seek higher altitudes. The afternoon passes climbing four successive ridges and Porthos here dips his lid to the girls in the party, Gwen, Betty, May, Shirley and Jenny. They never change down into low gear. I would like to report the same about Porthos but you know how it is. Too many witnesses. Five o'clock finds Luke & Co. at Conder Trig, and we are cheered at the news that camp is only a short distance away. Several glamour boys take the opportunity to pose on the trig for photos and it is really disgusting the way they push themselves forward and it is only by good fortune that I am not shoved off the trig and put completely out of the picture.
Away goes the team to camp and away go the Musketeers, and please notice, Betty. I'm not a woman to talk but that girl has really got taste. When next we take a look about us the rest of the party seem to have vanished so we follow in the direction we assume to be correct. After a few minutes we are not so sure of ourselves, so Porthos, who has learned to Cooo, gets in a little practice, but not even an echo replies. Things are so quiet that even the sound of Sinatra singing would be welcome. Yep Bud, it is as quiet as that. So Athos, Aramis and Porthos start to use their horse sense and bowl down a ridge or two. The position is not improved by Athos' pack going for a stroll all by its self. It does not go very far but completes the trip by dropping over a middle cliff. Just between you and me the abovementioned pack contains eggs. By this time the place is getting very dark and on account of power rationing there are no lights (Curse the Government - Curse the Miners). The gentle reader may now be excused for thinking the Musketeers are lost, but not those bright boys. All you have to do is return to Conder Trig and make another start. So away they go and walk for about half an hour, but some practical joker has removed the trig. By this time it is so dark that the owls are even carrying Glow-worms for illumination and it is decided to make a dry camp. At that presact moment several coos are heard and in a couple of minutes along bowl Luke, Clem and Colin. I don't wish to be any way emotional but everyone kissed Betty and even Porthos is carried away and participates in the orgy and is only halted when he makes a mistake in the dark and gets gulash on his chin. The least said about the shameful return the better but I am assured that although Bushwalkers may be overdue, they are never lost. Which is a very comforting thought when you don't know where you are.
Sunday morning finds the party overlooking Wheeny Creek and it is gratifying to receive the compliments from the rest of the party. The Three Musketeers are even honoured to the extent of being placed at the head of the crowd. As I was saying we are looking down on Wheeny Creek and you might be pardoned for saying it is only a short step down. Investigating officers Johno, Luke and Clem report it to be only a short step, but a rock face intervened so we must needs turn our back on the short way. At the back of our ridge we find a convenient creek, but half way down we also strike a not so convenient waterfall so it is a case of back up the creek.
The next creek looks promising so with strict instructions to the Musketeers not to stray, away go the investigators. Better luck this time and a halt is called half way down for lunch. Short and sweet would be the correct term for this meal as we are behind schedule. The decent of the creek is most interesting even if at times a trifle rough and Wheenie Creek is reached practically without incident. It might be mentioned that Porthos is inclined to be a little original in his method of descending a waterfall. After he has picked himself up it is explained patiently that feet first, not head first, is the correct way.
From Wheenie Creek it is just a biscuit toss to Kurrajong Heights and after a couple of hours we come out on to the roadway where we expected to find our lorry. It is almost six o'clock and we are heartened by a report from a passing motorist that there is a covered lorry just up the road. Luke has never been over the complete route before and a gentle pat on the back is merited for his leading prowess. Back to Parramatta by our motor chariot where Luke further endears himself to the team by producing a chaff bag full of oranges. He now informs us that he purchased them for twenty sheckels at Armstrong's Orchard at the commencement of the walk. I recollect the story of a bloke who once carried half a hundred weight of cocoa over seventeen mountains so I look hard at Luke but he doesn't bat an eye and swears they were carried in the lorry since the time of purchase. Disregarding my broken back I believe the story.
There is nothing else to report except to record that the Hamburger shop sold out at Parramatta and a milk bar has vacancies for two new attendants next time we go there.
A damsel bending over Peggy's knee,
(A wicked grin, but speaking not a word)
With alternating shrieks of pain and glee,
As Peggy wields a pin,
A splinter causes strife in any woman's life!
And fiercely jabs it in
With Roley pacing up and down the sward.
During my period of self enforced absence from bushwalking I've been looking over my souvenirs and photographs of my few but happy days in the bush. Everyone of us has his own personal experiences on which we look back with pleasure and pride, awe or what have you. Some of these belong to you and you alone, but some are boomerangs; that is they repeat themselves, although we do the coming back.
Occupying pride of place at the present are three feathers from a lyrebird's tail. This pride of place business is very temporary, as most of the souvenirs serve no purpose other than to remind one of the past. The present is continually replacing them.
Anyway, whilst the present state of affairs exists they droop in rather bedraggled splendour, jammed between the leaves of a large trade catalogue. They will go soon, but the memory stays. These were picked up along Ti-Willa Creek, where I have seen many things I will not soon forget. Two waterfalls, difficult to negotiate, rose robins which would flutter round one's head, stinging nettles (rather redundant, that), thorny trees, thick undergrowth, and wonderfully pure water come to my mind as I write.
Another place where I had a most satisfying experience with lyrebirds was Deep Creek, Narrabeen. I suppose this is rather scorned by the bushwalker who's “had” most places, and is seeking fresh fields to conquer. But the Sunday Picknicers do not penetrate far, and this rugged little gulley has much to offer those in search for beauty after you've passed the barrier of rubbish.
Lyrebirds in Deep Creek, you wonder? I certainly can vouch for that. Whilst fifteen of us were drying ourselves after a swim in the creek, one of the party drew our attention to a female lyrebird scratching for food. She slowly approached us, and shortly her mate appeared. They took very little notice of us as they scratched about, and the pair came within ten yards of us. The only thing that did not happen was the spreading of daddy's tail feathers. Sounds uninteresting? I suppose so, but you didn't see it. You weren't there!
And lyrebirds aren't the only thing in Deep Creek. I have four or five plaster casts of animal tracks somewhere. There is the inevitable wallaby, the lyrebird, some sort of lizard, a goanna and a possum. Then again the place is alive with firetail finches, ravens, and mosquitoes, and we heard the currawong. Again we saw the little forest kingfisher, the kooka, peewit, mullet, sundew, slipper ochid, the blue and red sort of fowl that's peculiar to Narrabeen and so on and on and on. There is tall timber under which to camp and an unreliable water supply. But this is only for a camper, not a bushwalker.
But the first time I saw a lyrebird was on the Cox River. What a trip! It was the first time I had walked - or tried to - for more than three days and thirty miles. What was worse, we had to pick the worst summer the mountains have had - 1944. The Cox flowed not - at least not on top - although the few pools we saw were of some help, mostly for relaxation! Between Black Jerry's and Harry's River we relaxed several times, and from thereon the only water in the Cox was Harry's River. I daresay most of you remember that summer with its terrific bushfires, dust hazes, and at least one bushwalker fatality. I do 'cause I was nearly one myself, or so I like to kid myself. However, back to the point.
We caught only a glimpse of quite a few lyrebids all that time, but made our first acquaintance with a dingo and duck a la nature. We remember the heat and haze, the sensation of walking through burnt out country where logs are still smouldering, and of the starkness of a dead animal - our first experience of these things. I remember fifty miles with blisters on all toes and both heels, and a dry swollen tongue.
Perhaps I've brought back half forgotten memories to you, or perhaps I've kindled an interest about these places. And perhaps you mutter a whispered prayer as you turn to the next article - “Lord prevent him from seeing anything worth souveniring next time.”
The following maps have now been completed by this section:
Map No. 37 - Nymboida River (Nymboida to Clarence River Junction).
Map No. 38 - Clarence River (Nymboida River Junction to Copmanhurst).
Includes a large-scale inset specially illustrating the approach, portage of, and general negotiation and navigation of the Clarence River Gorge.
E. Caines Phillips, Convenor.
39 Silver Street, St. Peters. (Phone LA2667)
Watch notice board for details. For information see Social Secretary - Laurie Wood. (Phone BW 6424).
A late flash (very late) brings news of Bill Burke. Next time you see him, congratulate him upon the acquisition of a son.
Still later flash - Don and Betty Gordon are the proud parents of a son - name Angus.
Remember Rene Brown needs helpers.