A monthly Bulletin of The Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown Street, Sydney.
|Editor||Alex Colley, 55 Kirribilli Av., Milsons Point|
|Assistant Editor||Dot Butler|
|Walks Reporter||Kevin Ardill|
|Business Manager||Maurie Berry|
|Production Assistant||Peter Price|
|Sales and Subs.||Christa Calnan|
|Assistant Sales and Subs.||Bill Horton|
|Editorial - Hints to Walks Leaders||1|
|At Our Half-Yearly Meeting||2|
|Social Notes for October||5|
|Conservation in Britain||7|
|Pastures of Peace||“Minnehaha”||8|
|Delayed on the Nattai||“Dormie”||9|
|Doings at Duffy's||Kevin Ardill||12|
|Bushwalkers are Getting Sissy||Dennis Gittoes||14|
|Annual Report of the Noises-Off Club||15|
|Exhibition of Weight Lifting||16|
“Too much is being done by too few” said the Committee, “the necessity for good leadership and care of prospectives should be publicised.” Whereupon we offered to write an editorial on the subject, feeling that in this at least our experience in organising some of the Club's worst walks would be put to some use.
Time and again prospectives turn up on walks badly equipped and unsuitably dressed. Heavy, badly balanced packs, shiny leather shoes that slip at every step, high heels, skirts instead of shorts, and so on, would make a hard walk for anyone, let alone one who has never been bushwalking before and for whom a few miles with a pack is a strenuous effort. Consequently many prospectives come on one walk, and, after their day's struggle, never appear again. This would seldom occur if walks leaders were careful in advising the inexperienced ones in the clubrooms. They should not take anybody on a hard walk unless they have some evidence of their walking capacity, and, in the case of a prospective, they should carefully inquire as to their gear and whether they know what to wear. Leaders should tell them just what the walk is like and make sure the newcomers can do it without wearing themselves out and being a drag on the party.
On the trip the prospective's lot, or anyone else's for that matter, is made much easier if the walk is properly planned. If the leader gets his party away in the morning early enough to avoid rushing, allowing for spells when the party feels like it, and for a daylight camp, it is much easier for everybody. The leader should make the prospectives his special concern. He should stay with them when the going is hard, rough or dangerous; for a little help over the difficult parts makes a world of difference to morale. He should help them too to get to know the rest of the party, as many people don't like “butting in” and may feel strangers to the party unless the leader goes out of his way to make them feel they belong.
At present a few members do far more than their share of helping the prospectives while others are only concerned in meeting their old friends and having a good time. It is not easy for anyone, particularly the girls, to get walking experience, and it is the walks leader's responsibility to set the example in helping them along.
The President was in the Chair and there were about 50 members present.
Five new members were admitted - Joyce Fletcher, Val Downing, Ron Stone, Bill Lake and Roy Braithwaite.
Marie Byle's resignation as Federation Delegate was received. In her letter she explained that, after 30 years working for noble causes, she felt that she needed a holiday. She had, however, lost none of her interest in the Federation and hoped to take her place again on the Federation Council. A motion of appreciation for her services was moved by Vic Bolton and carried unanimously. Brian Harvey was elected Federation Delegate in her place.
Dorothy Lawry reported that the application from the Burning Palms Surf Club for permission to erect a 60' x 30' surf shed on the hillock, near the centre of the beach would be considered by the Trustees. Tom Herbert, Theo Atkinson and she had visited the site and heard the case of the Surf Club on Sunday 3rd August.
Next item on the agenda was Allan Hardie's motion to restrict non-active membership, for metropolitan non-actives, to seven years. Originally, said Mr. Hardie, non-active membership was for country members and to “assist females doing their duty to the country”. The privilege was now abused - one even stated in his application that he was “too tired” to walk. Why had he (Allan Hardie) picked upon a period of 7 years? In this he had copied the law, which held that 7 years was the period of presumed death - i.e. we gathered, that if you didn't hear of anyone for 7 years you could declare them dead. Seven years therefore seemed a fitting period far a “presumed lack of interest in Club affairs”.
Mr. Hardie had hardly sat down when someone asked “which is the Metropolitan area?” - a question which he answered finally and completely by merely quoting the appropriate Water Board Statute.
In the discussion which followed Roly Cotter said that he thought the period of seven years was too long. Vic Bolton pointed out that we would lose a lot of two and sixpences. Dorothy Lawry said that many of the Club members who were no longer physically active were prepared to pay for the privilege of non-active membership and the Committee had full power over this type of membership. Wal Roots suggested increasing fees if non-actives were too much trouble. Jack Debert pointed out that we were originally a walking Club and did not see why we should consider quite so much those who did not walk. We should be a young virile Club. Older members should be prepared to pay a little more or get out. Betty Hurley questioned whether the issue was one of finance or of principle. Ann Bransdon asked whether it was to be assumed that females had lost interest in the Club just because they were bringing up little ones. After this someone moved the closure and the motion was lost.
The next notion re the grammatical error in Section 5, Sub-Section (kk) para 1 was carried. Our iggnurunce will no longer be proclaimed in the Constitution.
The Honorary Life Membership motion was a washout. Ron Knightley was unable to attend the meeting because of illness in his family and no sooner had Wal Roots moved it than a spoil sport moved that the motion be “not now put”. It wasn't.
The President announced that he had inquired into alleged damage by S.B.W. members at Joadga and found the owner herself, Mrs. Snodgrass, quite satisfied that no harm had been done by any of our members. However she would like anyone going that way to 'phone her at UL2000.
Allan Hardie then got going again. Thin time it was a financial coup. A special reserve is to be created out of accumulated Club funds for the purchase of a Club Room when possible. If such a reserve was not created members would get the idea that we had “an overwhelming mass of funds” and lower the subscriptions. The idea seems to be to kid ourselves that we have less than we really have so that we will accumulate more in future years. Resistance was at a low ebb by this time and the motion was carried.
Jack Wren then moved that, after experts had been consulted as to the right species, trees should be planted at Lot 7 North Era. He suggested one working bee a year for this purpose. Various opinions were given. Marie Byles said that not one of the trees planted at Bouddi had grown. It was pointed out that young trees needed constant water and attention and protection from cattle. Dot Butler said that olive trees grew nicely in sand without being watered. Jack Debert said that his 500 olive trees wouldn't grow that way. Arthur Gilroy suggested casuarinas on the swampland. Allan Hardie suggested cabbage tree palms as at Bilgola Beach. Jack Wren said that swamp oak, melaleuca species and several eucalypts had been suggested by the Forestry Dept. The motion was carried and a committee formed to carry out the idea. The committee consisted of Jack Wren (Convenor), Edna Garred, Arthur Gilroy, Ray Kirkby and Phyllis Ratcliffe.
At the conclusion of the meeting Eric Rowen asked that something should be done to ensure that there would not be a delay of some half hour in the efficient working of the projector when the lecture on the Barrier Reef was given on October 24th. In reply the Social Secretary said that he had thoroughly investigated the projection mechanism and had eventually located a major technical fault. The screen was dusty. He had then gone to work with great thoroughness and had been authorised to buy a new globe. In reply to a query as to whether he had organised the cleaning of the screen the reply was “Yes”, he had done it himself.
This was the last business of the evening and the meeting closed at 9.30 p.m.
The Federation Annual Party. Friday 21st November. North Sydney Town Hall (Ten minutes by train from Wynyard). Tickets 5/-.
“What's to come is still unsure”(Shakespeare, I think)
Once again the immortal bard does not know what he is talking about. Indeed should he be alive today I doubt whether I should have him along to the Club for a lecture. As far as your social programme is concerned what's to come is pretty sure and all you have to do is present your pretty faces to be creased with “wreathed smiles.”
On the 24th. October there is a lecture by Mr. McNeill from the Australian Museum on “The Barrier Reef.” This lecture, which will be illustrated by slides, is guaranteed to be first class. The lecturer is a professional and very much au fait with his subject.
Many of the stars who appeared at “History House” on the 8th and 9th of October will be seen again at the Club room on the 31st. To continue the astronomical metaphor, some stars may be shining more brightly, some may have burnt out, some may be suffering an eclipse, there may be “novae”, while same stars may be languishing and drinking themselves to death and not the “Milky Way.”
Congratulations to the Tararua Tramping Club on the publication of their first annual magazine. “A good magazine,” says the Editor, “can build morale, create enthusiasm and stimulate further enterprise… it seemed that the inevitable resurgence after the restraints of wartime would provide a good opportunity for making a start with the publication and so it has proved.” Though most of the articles are written specially for New Zealand trampers, some are of considerable interest to bushwalkers - or anyone else - particularly the article “Flight Over Everest.”
Another article which we found of great interest was “Winter Ascents in the Kaikouras.” Four trampers did this trip. Their packs, which contained adequate clothing to avoid frostbite and such oddments as a gallon and a half of petrol in six water bottles, two primuses, ice axes, crampons and two ropes 110 ft. and 60 ft. in length, weighed 70 lbs each. They started in light snow which became heavier and was several inches deep on the morning of their first camp at 2000 ft. As they ascended the snow became deeper and they sidled for an hour round a steep slope above a waterfall over slippery tussocks buried in two or three feet of soft snow. Soon the river was “all frozen up and choked with the ice of minor avalanches.” At the second camp they squeezed into their six by seven alpine tent pulling their boots in after them to prevent them freezing outside. “Primuses buzzed and their eerie glow lit the tent.”
Next day, above 4000 feet, the “floundered in snow drifts up to their waists” carrying 30 lb. poles for their tents in addition to the rest. They climbed another waterfall - this one frozen hard - and camped at 6000 ft. All their spare clothes didn't prevent the cold from striking up from the snow through the floor of the tent. They cooked breakfast “holding the primuses in their laps”, and thawed out their boots, puttees and socks on the primuses. Then they set out to climb Alarm, sinking well over their knees as they crossed a great snowfield. Before they were across number one was “making a bare hundred yards before sagging, gasping on his ice axe, and motioning the next unfortunate into first place.” The feet of one began to get numb and he had to stop for half an hour to rub them back to circulation rather than risk frostbite. They continued, cutting steps, hacking away ice, and so on, till they reached the top at about 9,400 ft.
Next day they climbed over 3,000 ft. again - to the top of Tapuaenuku (9,465 ft.). In the last 1,000 ft, they had to cut steps all the way.
The trip out again, over a 7,400 ft. range, seemed no easier than the trip up. The whole trip was done in 9 days, was 70 miles long, and included two high ranges and two major peaks.
We cannot help feeling that bushwalking is not nearly so exciting, but its a lot easier. What, we wonder, would have happened if a blizzard had come up when they were near the top of one of the mountains, several hours from the one little spot where they could survive the night? However, maybe its not so bad when you know what you are up to.
Timber houses are the easiest to build. There is little good timber within easy reach of Sydney, where we do most of our walking, but, good or bad, transport costs are low and it brings a high price on the black market whatever its quality. This makes it worth while to steal trees.
The first saddle on the ridge leading from Pacific Highway to Gunyah Bay used to be a delightful spot for camping. A couple of months ago tall trees grew on it. When Jean Kirkby led her walk there on Sept. 13th the trees had gone. One of the party, Mouldy Harrison, wrote to the Kuring-gai Park Trust, asking had they given permission to remove the trees. They immediately sent an inspector, who found that timber valued at £500 had been stolen.
The Trust thanked Mouldy very much for his letter and asked that any others noting such depredations in the Park should immediately report them.
Economic adversity has not prevented Great Britain from planning the conservation of 5,700 square miles of her tiny area - more than we plan to conserve in a whole continent. The National Parks Committee has recommended the formation of 12 parks and special legislation is to be introduced to give effect to the plan.
The areas selected are within easy access to the big centres of population and when the programme is completed, almost everyone in Britain will be within 50 miles of one of the parks, entry to which will be without charge either on foot or in cars, but motor coaches will be barred from all but the main roads.
Farmers, who will still operate within the areas, will be assisted to cater for holidaymakers, while there will be quiet hotels for the elderly, hostels for the young and guest houses for families.
Characteristic landscape beauties are to be strictly preserved with suitable protection for wild life and for places of either architectural or historic interest. All disfigurements are to be removed and any new buildings must conform with the local architectural styles and blend with the landscape. Advertising, whether from hoardings or mobile loudspeakers, or even by skywriting, will be prohibited.
Maintenance of the parks is estimated to cost £750,000 a year, with a capital expenditure of £9,250,000 to be spread over ten years.
The plan also includes proposals for the setting up of 52 “Conservation Areas” in districts with outstanding features of landscape beauty, scientific interest or recreational value.
“Our greatness as a nation and our well-being as individuals are largely due to our natural resources and both are seriously endangered by the prodigal and ignorant course that we have pursued for the last three generations. Four-fifths of our forests have been cut down, three-fourths of our grasslands grazed to stubble, and almost a third of our arable land eroded or otherwise reduced to barrenness. The denuded watersheds have became spillways. The rivers, sterile with pollution, alternate from foul trickles to devastating floods… The very water is disappearing… More than a million farms have been abandoned.”
Bergen Evans, writing of the U.S. in Harpers, Dec. 1946.
“In the Eastern and Central Divisions of New South Wales some 50% or approximately 60,000,000 acres of land, for the most part of high fertility and in moderate to good rainfall areas, are suffering actively from erosion”.- E.S. Clayton.
After many years of over-work and no proper holiday, the inevitable breakdown happened. I remembered Peter and Ray, my old bushwalking cobbers, and a wire brought them to meet me at Kiama and take me to their little hill-station above Jamberoo, where green grass ledges foot the sandstone cliffs below the Barren Lands.
They pitched a tent for me in a lonely lyre-bird glade and then they left me alone with Mother Nature for my nurse. My only visitors were three old cows and their baby bulls, who mouched the lush green grass, and were sometimes a little too interested in the inside of the tent. My music was the little laughing brook in the fern-green lyre-bird thicket near by, and the songs of the birds especially the mellow call of the dollar- bird which sang continuously. My ballet was the dance of the blue-wrens, the orange robins and the little fan tails, which spread their pale pink and orange shells and darted about with the sureness of Pavlova. Far away the pale sea lay dreaming under peaceful skies. Down in Jamberoo the air was hot and humid, but here it was clean and pure, and even mosquitoes did not came. Oh! it was good to lie in the cool shade and do nothing whatever except drink in the healing peace which Mother Nature brought me every hour, far better even than the blackberries, mushrooms and cress, which grew around.
Then it rained, but to lie in the tent and watch the mist and rain and the pearly dew-drops on the blades of grass - that was lovely too. At night a misty moon rose from over the sea.
Dark trees and moonlit mist,
and silver blue and grey,
save for the constant cricket
and the churning of the brook.
Listen to what the dark and silent trees are saying,
and the hills silent beneath the moonlit mist -
Peace from the eternal strife of wanting!
Peace from the concern for what tomorrow brings!
Peace from themselves,
from the everlasting striving
that no day fulfils,
from the futile longing that no time stills.
When I next went to see Peter and Ray it was winter, and the skies were always blue. The grass was not so green, and the little brooks ran more slowly. White clematis festooned the trees and the lyre bird sang even more brilliantly. But the same peace brooded over everything, almost the peace of the English countryside with church bells on Sunday morning. The peaceful feeling here did not came from church bells; perhaps it was from Mother Nature, or perhaps from the contentment of the owners, who while still in the prime of life have left the mad ways of the city and given up the fool game of making lots of money, to do a really useful work in growing things, and a kindly work in providing bushwalkers with a peaceful holiday resort.
“Report me and my cause aright to the unsatisfied” said Hamlet to Horatio, when the former was about to depart from this world (“Hamlet”, Act V, Scene II). This Shakespearean text aptly typifies my mental anxiety at the present time, lest our recent misadventure on the Nattai River should be misconstrued. There have been so many murmurings, if not outright accusations, in the Club Room, about our being lost, that I am forced, in sheer self-defence, to write this plea of extenuation.
To be quite blunt about the whole matter, we were not lost, but just merely delayed. One is lost when one panics, loses all consciousness of what one is doing, and is entirely oblivious as to where one is. But there was not the faintest sign of panic on the part of anyone of the three of us, we were perfectly confident that we knew what we were doing; and we had a good, general idea of where we were. Our only trouble was lack of time: and, not having the power ascribed to Joshua, who in biblical times held back the sun while he smote the Philistines, we just simply had to suffer the thought that it would be physically impossible for us to be at Hilltop in time for the 6.37 p.m. train on Sunday, the 13th July, 1947. So we reacted to the circumstances like three wise men.
When I volunteered to lead a weekend walk from Friday night, the 11th July, 1947, from Couridjah down Little River, along the Nattai River, and then on to Hilltop via the Starlight Track, I suggested that it should be a test walk, because at Easter 1930 I had done the same trip with Harold Chardon's party in four full days, whereas this time we should be completing the distance in two full days and part of a night. I did not, however, make due allowance for the fact that the early years of the Club's history were those of “laissez faire” and do as you please, when they were only too glad to have you in the Club, provided that you were not absolutely hopeless, and so long as you finished up at the same place as the others, no matter how long it took you to get there. In those days the institution of the “test walk” had not been invented to keep down an embarrassing overplus of Club members.
Kevin Bradley was already on the 5.21 p.m. train, when I arrived there on the Friday night. A few minutes afterwards Roger Pratt, a prospective member, put in an appearance. He at once expressed surprise at not seeing more on the trip: evidently he was expecting a big party. I told him that before the weekend was over he would probably understand why there were so few. Little did I appreciate the ironic significance of my statement at the time.
It was very cold that night, as we alighted from the train at Couridjah. But we had forgotten all about the cold by the time we finished our eight-mile stretch to a spot near the junction of Blue Gum Creek and Little River. The next day was a perfect, sunny one, with just enough cold to make us feel full of energy, and just enough heat to make our many rests an enjoyable interlude. While we walked by the Little River, and looked up on to its colourful walls, I reflected on the days when I walked along that same track with the late Gordon Smith, and listened to his praise of the same walls. Gordon liked the Nattai River country for walking and camping, and at night the valley would resound with his basso interpretation of his favourite ballad “Friend of Mine”, or his favourite aria “The Toreador Song” from “Carmen”. But now the powerful Gordon had became a powerful memory.
I had long promised myself a trip along the Nattai River valley, in order to record in black and white and kodachrome the imcomparable beauty of those walls. Now, in lighting conditions ideal for photography, my wish was being realised. The Nattai River may be dry, silted and arid in parts, but I challenge anyone to cite another valley in the Blue Mountains terrain, the rock escarpments of which so reflect reds and golds as do the Nattai River walls. Kevin was also beside himself with photographic joy; and, as he darted camera in hand and deer-like from hillock to hillock, I could quite well understand how Bill Cosgrove came to give him the sobriquet “The Yearling”. We were so pleased with the day's takings that we scarcely noticed that we had gone some distance past the Alum River, where we had proposed to camp on the Saturday night.
On the next day all the trouble occurred. We seemed to be approaching McArthur's Flat in record time, and I thought that we might get there even sooner by leaving the river. That was where I made my fateful mistake. When we came on to the river again it was running from north to south, instead of from west to east: and, moreover I recognised the country between Jellore Creek and McArthur's Flat. So, while Kevin walked packless on the other side of the river, trying to find that elusive spot, Roger and I tried to reason out from our military map just what we had done. Then there came back to my mind an incident that had happened about ten years previously when on Bank Holiday weekend 1940, I had led a similar walk over the same country with Jock Kaske, Sheila Porter (now Kaske), and Gladys Roberts. On that occasion the lastnamed had become lame, and Jock had asked me, just before we came to Wanganderry Creek, to go on to McArthur's Flat and to prepare the luncheon fire while he followed on with the two girls. This I did, but although I had prepared the fire and eaten my lunch the rest of the party failed to appear. I cooeed and shouted, but no one came to relieve my solitude; and, having waited as long as my margin of time for catching the train would allow me, I proceeded to Hilltop and finished the trip alone. Next day, while at the office, Jock Kaske rang me up to inform me that they had missed McArthur's Flat and had caught a train at about 2 a.m. from Mittagong. Then did I really think that bushwalkers were morons.
But apparently we had ourselves this time made the same mistake. After lunch we walked back along the river bank, hoping to find McArthur's Flat and the Starlight Track. But so prolific had been the growth of tall ferns and small trees in the space of seven years that I could not find either. (Let conservationists take heart from this piece of news!) Time went on, as we continued to search, until eventually we decided to forget all about the Starlight Track, and to get out of the valley by the nearest possible ridge. Climbing up a likely-looking place Roger exasperatingly reminded us of the diminishing time left for catching our train. When the three of us eventually reached the top “the shades of night were falling fast” as we resolved to follow an easterly direction, and then a south-easterly, until we came on to the Starlight Track. We had not gone far, however, before we came to a gorge; and there not being one strong torch between us we decided that it was useless risking life and limb by pushing on in the dark. So we made a waterless camp and took stock of what food we had left. I had some cheese, Roger had a tin of beans, and Kevin had some menthol jubes. Roger's food being the most liquid, we each took a spoon and ate from the tin, finishing up on Kevin's menthol jubes for dessert. Anxious that we might get the earliest possible start on in the morning, I thought that we should not bother about erecting a tent but that, each of us having a tent, we should sleep individually, each man with his own tent thrown over him. However this idea was soon dispelled, when rain began to fall and continued to fall. During the night I awoke several times with the nightmare thought on my mind that I was stealing a holiday.
At 6.30 a.m. the next morning we started the descent into what turned out to be the first of a number of dry gorges. Luckily the rain of the previous night had made a small, shallow pool in a rock on the opposite side of the first gorge. Accordingly we had a drink of water and partook of my cheese. We were in happy mood, but we were wondering how long it was going to take us to walk into Hilltop, and what time train we were going to get. We kept to our original plan, following the ridge so long as it followed the right direction, and crossing gorges only when we were forced to do so. After four hours' steady going, however, we were beginning to tire of looking at gum trees, and to long for a human habitation to vary the monotony. As we walked over the Nattai Plateau we thought how fortunate we were that it was winter, water being so scarce. At length Kevin called out that he could see a shed and, sure enough, I recognised one of the buildings on Coates' farm about half a mile away. Now we were within reach of the destination I had been aiming for, and the most anxious part of our adventure was over. Reaching Coates' farm at 11.30 a.m. we proceeded along the road to Hilltop, and six miles further on accepted a “lift” on a passing timber waggon. Thus ended our delayed walk.
At Hilltop the little lady in the one and only store could not cut enough sandwiches to satisfy our ravenous appetite. I did not feel flattered when Kevin rang up the place of his employment and explained that he had been “lost” in order to account for his absence. Nor did I deem it a compliment when the local Postmistress, harking back to the not-long previous incident of the missing boy scout, remarked that Hilltop was becoming famous for its “lost hikers”. However, as we made ourselves comfortable in the 3.50 p.m. train for Sydney we felt like normal individuals returning from a normal holiday.
By K. Ardill.
I still think I had something put over me. You know how you are too busy to go away next weekend. “I'll stop home and catch up with the odd jobs etc.” By Saturday evening you are looking for a blunt razor to cut your throat, when suddenly you remember the day walk. Well, it wasn't like that with me. The chief reason I'm present on Ruby Clark's walk is that I have an impression that Duffy's is a tavern, and having calculated distance from Sydney and consulted a couple of boozer friends, I find I am a bona fide traveller, which entitles you to sign someone else's name in the pub book, and then sink the amber fluid. So far, so good, and things are pretty reasonable when we change trains at Richmond and climb into an antique that may or may not take us to Duffy's. I sneak a lick of my cooking salt and with the right money in my hand I'm all prepared. Someone whispers “Duffy's”, and I'm running before my feet touch the ground. I don't go far before the eyes tell a terrible story, there ain't no tavern and there ain't no town. I'm through with the B's and starting on Chinese adjectives when one film goer intrudes and recalls that the only Duffy's Tavern he heard of was a film of that name at the Prince Edward Theatre in Castlereagh Street.
Anyone would be glad to leave the miserable place and you can guess how we started our walk. Up a hill of course. Well brothers and sisters, you can guess again. We didn't do anything of the sort, in fact, we shot across perfectly level terrain, so level that someone had strung barbed wire fences all over the place. You may have wondered at some time or other where all the barbed wire entanglements went from Bondi and all the other beaches. You know now, its all at Duffy's, and that's on the level too. By the time we left the fences and found a road the party looked like a mass advertisement for “Every picture tells a story” backache pills. Anyhow, you don't want to hear my troubles, you've got troubles of your own.
We lunched at a very nice creek and the girls are giving me a kind word now and then when, bingo, the blow falls. I forgot to mention that Ruby had several visitors in the party; to particularise, one blonde (nice), two brunettes (luscious), one small sister, one small friend of the said small sister, and last but not least - Norm. If ever you are going on a walk with a favourite girl and you find yourself in company with a visitor called Norm, I would advise one of three courses -
(1) Bundle your girl on to the next train back to town and picnic in the Domain.
(2) Break your leg at the first opportunity and tell the rest of the party minus your girl to go ahead.
(3) Drastic slip this:- Empty the contents of Norm's pack down the biggest cliff you can find.
The whole trouble started when this bloke produced a fruit cake and informed us that he had baked it the previous day. The rest of the blokes present (a pathetic minority) could just about manage to make a mud pie and by the time he had fried up chip potatoes to precede the cake, the girls were literally eating out of his hand. It was the most miserable lunch hour I've ever spent and when the bugle blew for moving off there wasn't a male protest.
You could say the new order had arrived as far as the composition of the party is concerned. Ruby Clark in the lead, then a large flock of girls with Norm in the centre, and dragging along at a discreet distance a group of mere males.
The final blow fell at 2.30 p.m. Eastern Australia cooking time. The party found itself on a ridge, and proceeding along same walked straight into the middle of a piggery. Can you imagine Ruby's job? A couple of walkers had cameras so they were easily sorted out, but it was at least half an hour before the complete party was marshalled and the roll called. The delay nearly proved disastrous but we had a five minutes up our sleeves and were lined up on the three sleepers that is Kemsley's Siding when the museum exhibit pulled in.
Where am I going next weekend? Well mates, to tell the truth, I'm stopping home to try out a slashing new recipe for cream sponge, and without wishing anyone any harm, hope Norm's [illegible].
The exhibition of weight lifting arranged by Ray Dargan was a really good show. With the permission of the Australian Weight Lifting Association, he brought along some of the leading exponents of the sport. Gordon Roberts (a strong contender for the Australian middleweight title), Eric Morley, John McCall and George Temple gave us a fine display of strength, balance and muscular control. In a series of two handed overhead lifts weights which most of us could hardly raise from the ground were raised high above the head. In the “snatch” 160 lbs was raised straight up in a swift movement. In the “military press” 180 lbs was raised; in the “clean and jerk” (a two movement lift) 240 lbs., and in the “continental press” 210 lbs. In the “bent press” George Temple raised 110 lbs. above his head with one hand. George is in the light weight class and this is a remarkably good lift for one of his weight. In the “clean lift” (from floor to knee level) Gordon Roberts raised 400 lbs and was still well below his maximum capacity. In a series of acrobatics Ray himself performed the remarkable feat of bending back and touching the floor with the back of his head without the use of his arms. George Temple did the very difficult “belly Roll” which is really like the sort of somersault we can all do backwards except that he started it from a standing position and, turned over on his front ending on his feet. The balancing feats by two members of National Fitness Movement were very impressive.
Amongst the spectators were Mr. Allan Hardie, who, we understand, brought the weights in in his pack, and Mr. Clem Hallstrom who conceded it was a very fair effort, considering they were meat eaters.
This happened on Rus Wilkins' last public holiday Week-end. It seems that the party went by lorry and stopped at Moss Vale to eat at a cafe. One plodder left the eating house and, for reasons best known to himself went wandering around a dark lane. When he returned the lorry was noticeable by its absence. Action stations, shouts of “to horse, to horse!”, bugle blasts and one taxi shoots out of town with one bushwalker quivering on the front seat (Quiver explained - he had jelly for dessert.) After two miles a tail light is investigated but it's not the missing lorry. You may have guessed the rest. On return to Moss Vale the lorry is found about a hundred yards on the other side of the street. There is a moral, but who are we to say?
Jock Marshall, well known to many bushwalkers, is now leading an expedition to Jan Mayen, a bleak windswept island off the coast of Greenland. Scientific instruments left there ten years ago to record the effects of cosmic rays will be retrieved. One purpose of the expedition is to train leaders for exploration work.
The N.O.C. has had its ups and downs since the good old days at No.5 Hamilton Street, where our members were as happy as could be in the Committee Room and on the landings. At Sue's Cafe and Manufacturers' House we had the greatest difficulty in keeping out of meetings - in fact, many of our members actually went home because of the near impossibility of making any sort of noise which would annoy the S.B.W. meetings without at the same time annoying other people. The reproofs of these other people might prove embarrassing rather than remind us that we are all boys and girls together, as we feel when the S.B.W. meetings ask us to be quiet. When we moved to the Ingersoll Hall we thought that our troubles were over, as there was ample space within safe reaction range of the meetings where we could chatter and cackle to our heart's content. However, one Black Friday, the meeting played a caddish trick upon us by requiring that we should either join it or go outside. Attempts by members to overcome this handicap met with quite unsporting resistance from the meeting. Even though we sat at the back and muttered, we were forced to come into the centre of the hall, where we were an easy mark for the President's bone. Our only pleasure was to chatter around the sides of the hall as long as possible, thereby delaying the start of proceedings. Last meeting night these tactics proved surprisingly successful. So hard did the President thump with the bone that it broke in half. Encouraged by such an auspicious event we plucked up courage to look for another rendezvous and, to our great delight, found an almost perfect spot on the landing just outside the Club Room door. The charm of this venue is that our cheerful prattle can be heard very loudly through the thin dividing wall. Here we will be able to plan our trips to Era, Bluegum, Bouddi or some of the other delightful spots that the Silly Bush Walkers have set aside for our enjoyment while they, poor saps, continue to organise the S.B.W. and protect the bush for our benefit.
It has been decided for us that our Club shall have a badge and a motto. The design for our badge is to be a cuckoo sitting on a sprig of mistletoe and the motto “Let someone else do it”. We hope members like the badge and motto, though, of course, we will never know what they think because this might mean a meeting and (worse still) a vote. We hope too that they enjoy this report which, in the best tradition of the N.O.C., has been left to one of the saps.
The Club Room caretaker has asked that members refrain from wearing hobnails in the club room.
Would anyone interested in going down to Tasmania on 9th January, please see Phil Hall or ring him at LM5679?
Illustrations by Dennis Gittoes
Yes, here's damnable proof…
[Walkers in lorry to Kanangra]
Off they go - rucksacks, hobnailed boots, etc. The innocent bystander would think they were going walking. But don't be deceived!
[Walkers eating served lunch]
When they reach the mountains they lunch by the roadside - in Caves House!
[Tour of Jenolan Caves]
They explored the Caves under the constant attention of a guide who saw that they didn't fall down stairs or similar hazards!
[Walkers in Dance Floor Cave]
They did do some walking (apart from the caves). Yes! They walked from the truck, which was parked at the end of Kanangra Road, right over to the dancing floor cave! All in a day too!
[Scene of Clear Hill, with lorry, tea house and escalator]
Of course when their dreams come true, the sissy bushwalker will arrive at Clear Hill per bitumen [highway] scenic drive, furiously devour scones and cream to give him (her) strength to go down the wallaby track - per esculator!
[SBW meeting with President breaking the bone]
Historic Event - shows the ceremonial bone being smashed. It seems, by this, that older bushwalkers are immune to the epidemic of sissyness! They are getting tougher!!