A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney.
Annual subscription Apr., 1948 to Jan., 1949 4/2.
|Editor||Alex Colley, 55 Kirribilli Av., Milson's Pt.|
|Assistant Editor||Dot Butler|
|Walks Reporter||Kevin Ardill|
|Business Manager||Maurie Berry|
|Production Asst||Peter Price|
|Sales & Subs||Christa Calnan|
|Asst Sales & Subs||Betty Hurley|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|Editorial - The Annual Report||1|
|At Our February Meeting||3|
|Social Notes for March||4|
|Re-Union Train Times||4|
|Official Easter Trip Changed||5|
|“The Gag” and the “Previous Question”||5|
|First Official Over the Comboyne||A.L. Wyborn||6|
|The Hartz True to Form||Ray Kirkby||8|
|Hannel's Spur the Hard Way||Roy Braithwaite||11|
|Notes on Growing a Beard||K.H.||13|
|Letter from Clare Kinsella||13|
|Have You a Rat?||Kath McKay||14|
|Swimming Carnival Results||15|
|Federation Notes||Brian Harvey||16|
|Club Debate - That Communism is Right||17|
|Lop that Gum||“Deadwood Dick”||18|
This year's Annual Report is, on the whole, an encouraging document. Active membership is slightly less, but no concern is shown because “in almost all the Club's activities there have been more than usual participating”. The number in the Club is not important, what counts is the number who do things. And as one reads it becomes evident that quite a lot has been done by quite a number of members.
The magazine has been well supported. Walking activities have been strong, and special mention is made of the scope of the walks Programme. The play nights were most successful.
There was a wide range of social activities of which the club room entertainments seemed most popular. Skiing as well patronised. The Instructional Walks were “popular and successful”.
This is all to the good and justifies the conclusion that “in many respects there is more interest in, and enjoyment of, Club activities than ever before”. But the Annual Report unlike the magazine editorial, is not the place to point out what was not done. A few dark patches can be discerned. The Sports Carnival and Swimming were once very happy affairs. Last year they were not held. There were only 7 exhibitors at the Photographic Exhibition - all old members. Bushwalkers as a whole, of course, don't like crowds. But we used to like to get together two or three times during the year and now we don't. Is it that our sole pleasure is in the use of our legs? Is the canned entertainment of the radio sapping our originality? Is it because none of the very few who can and will organise such affairs took them over? If anyone has an answer we would be glad to hear it.
The section on conservation is short but revealing. Beecroft Peninsula was reserved as a result of N.P.P.A.C. efforts. The purchase of Era was finalised by the S.B.W. Some other conservation projects are described as having been “revived” - (this means they were discussed at S.B.W. meetings). Two Club members made a report on the use of firearms which resulted in some tightening up of regulations, and this seems to be the only progress made through the Federation since the Wild Flower petition in 1944.
Passing on to the Accounts, the finances are in a very healthy state. Income exceeded expenditure by £46:14:11, but you won't find this amount in the statement of income and expenditure. This is because, contrary to any known principle of accountancy, an amount of £100 for a Clubroom Acquisition Special Reserve Fund has been placed under “Expenditure”. This results in an “Excess of Expenditure over Income” of £53: 5: 1d. Never before has a reserve been created out of a loss.
However, despite the few blemishes we have detected, the big thing that does show through the report is that the Club spirit is on the mend. There are still a number of members who like their pleasures organised for them cheaply, and others who regard the Club as a room in which to arrange walks but many more are helping in the work of running the Club and liking it.
The Forestry Commission of Great Britain is inviting owners to make over their plantations to the State by deed or agreement. In return they are to receive financial assistance equal to 25 per cent of expenditure until the woodlands become self-supporting. The owners “dedicating” their woodlands to the State in return for financial assistance must work to the Forestry Commission's plan and promise to devote the lands to timber growing for all time.
The President was in the chair and there were about 70 members present.
Five new members were welcomed - Valerie Hands, Meryl Watman, Barbara Spence, Josephine Clayton and Elaine Scott.
In the reports from Club Officers it was revealed that nobody went to the Tivoli on January 20th - probably because bushwalking was as good anyway. The Treasurer reported that Doug Johnstone's unpresented cheque for 3/3d. had been brought into the books as a donation to Club funds.
The Federation hour was next on the programme. In view of the dwindling funds due to the loss on the 1947 Annual (caused by the opposition of one of the Clubs who boycotted the magazine and would not agree to it being sold on the bookstalls), the fact that there was no Annual Ball, and a small number at the party, the Federation was low in funds. The meeting decided (with one dissentient) to support the proposal for a levy of 6d. per head. Ron Knightley undertook to be the S.B.W. nomination for Editor of the 1948 Annual and Laurie Rayner to be Art Editor. Arthur Gilroy is to form a committee to help the publications committee. The Club favoured a professional producer if no production manager can be found.
After this Narrow Neck was referred to the Federation for the third time, after the usual discussion.
Next we had reports by Betty Hurley and Ruby Payne-Scott on the alleged sheep shooting incident at Kosciusko. Betty Hurley reported that a number of Youth Hostel members arrived in a truck and she heard the sheep being discussed. Though no carcase was in evidence, she did see a leg of mutton with wool still on it. Two other members of the S.B.W., having eaten some preferred mutton were told, a few days later, that the animal had been running round shortly before they ate it. In the main the party of Youth Hostellers and others had been lacking in consideration. Ruby Payne-Scott said that bushwalkers were indebted to the Chalet staff who allowed them to use the Chalet for packing food, and to stockmen, who allowed them to use their huts. The Youth Hostels' members, having stolen and shot a sheep, were very badly received at the Chalet. Fred Doutch (Ruby said) reported that, although Mr. Peterson had offered them accommodation at the Hotel, they had broken into the hut at Smiggin's Holes. Some members of the party, which was not all Youth Hostellers, had given Bushwalkers a very bad name. There were over 100 walkers in the area over Christmas. We should protest very strongly to the Federation (Query: How did they get into the Federation if they don't subscribe to its objects?). In the discuSsion which followed Malcolm McGregor, in a one sentence speech, said that the Youth Hostel's association was responsible for the actions of its members. The matter was referred to the Federation (for the first time).
It was announced that Cliff Mosely, ranger at Point Lookout, had been re-elected as an Honorary Member. A letter of sympathy had been sent to Mrs. Mosely, who has been ill for some time.
In general business Ray Kirkby reported that he had been “covered with shame” when several members of another Club had entered the Fraser Park bus without shirts. He moved that our delegates request that the Federation require members of affiliated clubs to always wear shirts - at least. The motion was carried - minus the last two words.
The meeting closed at 10 p.m. It had been a fair work-out for the Annual General Meeting on March 12th.
March being a month devoted to Annual Meetings, Easters and suchlike, there are no fixtures for this month - except the Grand Fixture of All, the Re-Union, of which there are further particulars in this magazine. The 19th, the week before Easter, is a free night, so that you may make your last minute arrangements in comparative peace.
On the programme on the 30th of April, it is stated that there will be an “Epidiascope Night - Kosciusko and Tasmania”. The arrangement of this has proved difficult and instead we shall have coloured slides of Tasmania by Frank Leyden.
Here is advance news of the utmost importance to you. A fortnight after Easter, that is the weekend of 9th April, there will be a working bee at Era. You know what a large attendance at this working bee will mean - everybody will have time to enjoy what is to be enjoyed and nobody will be overworked. Make a red-pencilled note in your diary.
Trains leave Central for Macquarie Fields at the following times :-
Saturday morning: 8.27, 8.54, 10.30, 11.30.
Saturday afternoon: 12.20, 12.47, 1.29, 3.30, 4.30, 5.00, 6.00, 6.30, 8.00, 9.00, 10.00.
Sunday morning: 8.25, 9.30, 10.8.
Owing to alteration of the train service, Frank Leyden's Easter trip to the Nandewars has been cancelled, and the following trip substituted:
Kempsey - Motor transport to Upper Five Day Creek - Telegram Range - Point Lookout - Bellingen River - Parkwood.
Tickets:- Return to Rayleigh.
Total Cost:- Sitting £5, Sleepers £8. £2 deposit required by 12th March.
Arrive back: 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Train: North Coast Mail - leaves 8.15 p.m.
Further particulars from Frank Leyden - 'Phone B0522, Ext.739.
In order to clear up the confusion that appears to exist in the minds of some members re the above formal motions at meetings, the President has supplied the following notes:-
Closure Motion - also known as “The Gag”. This is the meeting's defence against long-windedness. Its form is “That the question be now put”. It can be moved on an amendment as well as on the main motion. It must be moved and seconded, but there is no debate. If carried, the main motion or amendment must be voted on immediately without further discussion. If lost the debate goes on. The Chairman need not accept the motion.
Previous Question Motion - This is the meeting's defence against an ill-considered decision. Its form is “That the question be not now put”. Its object is to prevent a vote being taken on the main motion, but at the same time allow discussion on the matter. The “Previous Question” is the decision as to whether a vote is or is not to be taken. It cannot be moved while an amendment is before the meeting, only on the main motion or the main motion amended. It must be moved and seconded and is debated. While the Previous Question is being debated the main motion is also debated. The main motion cannot be further amended. The mover of the Previous Question has no right of reply. If the Previous Question is carried the main motion lapses and cannot be brought up again at that meeting. If it is a matter which requires notice of motion, it can be moved again only after the required notice. If the Previous Question is lost, the main motion must be put immediately without further discussion. The Chairman need not accept the motion. The Closure motion can be moved on a Previous Question motion.
By A.L. Wyborn.
Following my usual practice of going far afield in search of new walking country, I found myself at Wingham at 6.30 a.m. on the Saturday of Anniversary Weekend, having decided months ago to do this “official”.
The party was a small but motley one. The intrepid leader, Allan Hardie, short, and with a couple of packs on the front as well as one on the back; Fred Doutch, long, bronzed and bearded; and Allen Stien, a new rangy prospective trying out a new rucsac. The presence of three with the same christian name was quite convenient for Fred, but none of us knew exactly whom he was addressing.
Transport had been arranged from Wingham to Elands, and it turned out to be a bus. Now you can't imagine four bushwalkers hiring a bus, so 8.15 a.m. found us leaving the post office perched on top of the framework at the back of the Elands mail lorry. This lofty framework was the only space left, as the vehicle was cluttered with parcels of bread, meat, children, dogs, mail bags, and other passengers - not forgetting four large rucsacs.
The three hour trip of thirty miles to Elands was most enjoyable. Many a time we only just escaped being deposited on the road by overhanging tree branches, as we detoured from post office to post office on very second grade roads. One enterprising member of our party amazed us with a new gag - collecting in his log book the postmarks of Dingo Creek, Marlee, Warriwillah, Bobin, and Elands.
Elands is prettily situated at 2,000' at the start of the Bulga Plateau, where rich red soil makes possible the thriving industries of timber and dairying. However many trees have been rung, and stand now as a stark reminder of the ruthlessness of some former settlers. Our friendly lorry deposited us a mile past Elands, and only a quarter of a mile from Ellenborough Falls, our first important objective. The large body of falling water made an awesome sight and this true fall is most unusual in that it pours over from the side and some distance from the abrupt end of a gorge. A large deep swimming pool on top was tried out, as the day was quite hot, and later we slid to the foot of the Falls, where large drifts of spray turned all the rocks a shiny black. We were all convinced that the height shown on the military map (520') was wrong, and that the actual fall was no more than 300'; yet I was more impressed with the fall than some much larger ones that I have seen. Clambering over huge rocks down the Ellenborough River below the Falls proved too much, so when we came to a wonderful rock pool with the River rushing through a narrow gap into one end, not much enticement was required for another swim.
Camp was made that night back on top of the Falls. Next morning we said farewell to the Bulga Plateau and started East across the ridge to the Comboype Plateau. Bulga Trig provided us with our first sight of the Plateau, and also the Upper Hastings valley. Proceeding along the ridge, which is below the level of both plateaux, we noticed the soil was much poorer, and this probably accounted for several deserted farms which had long given up the struggle for success. Also noticeable were the vivid cork trees, whose plentiful red plumes were outstanding.
At 4 p.m. we were up on the Comboyne Plateau where the main road passes by Mt. Gibraltar for Wingham. Striking up a timber track we climbed the short but steep slope to the summit (2,800') where a cycloramic view awaited us. Stretching to the south were the wide plains of the Lower Manning River with the volcanic plugs on each side of Koppin Yarratt Creek standing out in the foreground. The sun was sinking behind the Bulga, while over behind the Comboyne lay the Hastings and Broken Bago Range near Wauchope. Descending from the Gib to the north we found a camp spot in delightful open country near some dense brush hiding a gurgling creek. A few hundred yards away was a dairy farm (Aicken by name) and we just arrived after the separating, but in time to help the poddy calves drink up the skim milk. Next morning we collected over a gallon of sweet milk, and supplemented this with stewed apples and nectarines, and a little while after along the road with large blackberries. Veritably living off the land!
Our route on the last day lay across the Comboyne Plateau and down the road from Comboyne to Lansdowne following Koppin Yarratt Creek. Before leaving the rim the views were superb, and then the upper valleys of the Camden Haven River provided some real primitive jungle. Here were huge trees clothed in elk and staghorns, with vines, ferns and palms growing in profusion to make the whole a beautiful garden. A short cut down a steep ridge saved us a few miles of road bashing, and brought us to the valley floor by noon. Here we lunched by a running stream in the shade of a lemon tree, as the day was very hot. Soon we pushed on, as two remarkable rock formations were beckoning. On the right was Savill's Rock or Lot's Wife, a hundred foot monolith perched on the top of a ridge with a gaping cave mouth in a seemingly inaccessible position on one side.
We would have liked to climb this, but time was growing short so we decided to climb the other higher volcanic plug which was locally known as Mt. Oliver. We had also heard it referred to as Mt. Phillip or Savill's Rock, but we are still not sure what name is correct, as the military map doesn't show it at all. One of our party went to a farm to try to glean some information about it, and returned with a hat full of juicy peaches which were soon demolished. Mt. Oliver forms part of a ring of plugs which was once the centre of volcanic activity in these parts, and rises abruptly about six hundred feet from the valley floor to a fairly small point. It proved very easy to climb, only taking 20 minutes, but there is only one way up, the rest of the circumference being sheer walls of trachyte. From the top the closeup view of the surrounding valley walls was quite good, but of course nothing as extensive as from Mt. Gibraltar.
So our walk finished. A bus was to pick us up at 5 p.m. and take us to Lansdowne railway station, but we found that it would run much later than usual, the day being a public holiday. As there was therefore a risk of missing the Kempsey Mail back to Sydney, we decided on a hitch in a cream lorry to Taree, doing about 30 miles including deviations. It was quite good while taking turns with the driver but - oh boy - in the back!! Everything was jumping, including us, but mostly 12 gallon empty and full cream cans which set up a terrific din as we lurched over ruts and round corners. The driver was certainly a roughneck, and I quite believed him when he told us he had worn out three brand new diesel trucks in 2 1/2 years on that run. The dust came in the back in clouds, and of course we helped unload the empties, and stacked the fulls until there was only just room to stand. Quite a ride; however, it proved worth while as we were able to see Taree, and have a meal there, with enough time to catch the train.
Summing up, the trip is very interesting, and not being hard, is quite suitable for a fairly hot holiday weekend in summer.
By Ray Kirkby
George used often to say at the Hartz Mountains, as the wind strained at our ears and the clouds perpetually trailed across, “Well, there's nothing between us and the South Pole”. When I looked at the map afterwards I found that he was right.
To walkers, the Hartz are synonymous for bad weather and mud. They seem to be seldom visited as yet by Sydney walkers though they are only a few miles from Geeveston, which is only 38 miles from Hobart. If they were in N.S.W., Geeveston would be equivalent to Scarborough from Sydney and the mountains themselves about as far down as Bulli Pass!
To get to Geeveston you take a bus south through the attractive apple-growing Huon district - the run alone is well worth while. It was there that Jean, George Dibley and I had arranged to meet Lesley, the fourth member of our party. Lesley was a native of Dover, a coastal village fourteen miles further south.
We loafed in the cold in front of the pretentious Town Hall in the narrow main street and began to think that our hastily-met friend had gone astray. However, she drove up soon after in the family car with her sister and we all packed in and set off for the timber mill which was the end of the negotiable road.
True to their reputation, the mountains were covered in mist and rain was drizzling.
After lunch at the mill we took a track marked “To Hartz Mts.” which seemed very tame considering the lurid ideas which now we associated with the word “Hartz”. The track was in good condition and for some hours we wound up through the forests, beautiful forests in which the trees were festooned with long mosses - a forest of green plush with green curtains. It was the thickest forest I have ever seen, like an overgrown hedge, and on the ground there were mattered and rotting logs and of course the whole was oozing water. It is probably gratitude which now makes me think that the track was not so very muddy though one had to pick every step. You debouch for a while from the forest on to the Kermandie Plains, which were a morass of black mud and water. Here, by carefully chosen steps, we did not sink over the ankles more than a few times. On no account, however, keep to the track here unless you have the ability to breathe under water.
Towards evening we climbed steadily and about nightfall can out into an extensive plateau on which is situated the hut at no more than 2,500'. Mist and rain swirled around but we could occasionally see black rock masses towering behind it. The hut is commodious with bunks for about sixteen, if need be, and two fire places. It is not very attractively placed, looking over a tree-covered undulating plateau, but by going just outside you can see the whole range from Hartz Peak one end to the Devil's Backbone at the other.
The next day was a Hartz day. It rained incessantly so we had a genuine rest day - scarcely getting out of bed.
The day after that promised better so we packed lunch and set off to the Peak. It was still drizzling and very wet underfoot and the atmosphere was not improved by the early looming up in the mist of the grave of the two Geeves brothers who perished in a blizzard many years before. From the lower plateau you get some pleasant views over the Huon but after passing a few small lakes the track climbs up the Hartz Pass. Here the wind was very strong and we had to shelter behind rocks to look at views.
Below us was Lake Hartz, held in by a semi-circular ridge showing unmistakeable signs of the action of snow or ice. The nearest peak was the majestic Picton, a massive and isolated mountain with a symmetrical top still covered in snow. As we climbed up the mountain the weather improved and so did the views. When we rounded the next rise the exclamations of delight could be heard even above the wind.
Right along the skyline between the crest of the ridge over Lake Hartz and the lowering clouds, stretched a jagged range, the Arthurs, like a frieze painted by an inebriated artist. On the left, it culminated in the spectacular and unclimbed Federation Peak which seems more precipitous than Queensland's Barney and is set in almost impenetrable forest. Much kudos and satisfaction will cone to the first party to climb this legendary peak. Further to the left were numerous excellent peaks and our map was too poor or scanty to decide which was which but just around the corner of Mt. Hartz poked out Precipitous Bluff - aptly named. This 4,000' mountain rises almost straight out of the sea at the New River Lagoon on the way to Port Davey - yes, we are looking, we are looking at this country of names as provoking as those which goaded Ulysses.
A solid bank of fog hung between us and Adamson's Peak so we decided to lunch on top hoping that the weather might improve. It was quite comfortable screened by rocks from the wind but the fog refused to budge. You could practically lean out and touch Mt. Snowy but beyond that there was only mystery. Our plans were to walk from the Hartz to Adamson's Peak, if the weather were at all favourable, following a route described in a Tasmanian “Tramp”. The auguries were not very auspicious for we could see neither peak nor route and the Peak leads the list in notoriety for bad weather.
It looked as though we might be unable to start that trip so we decided to pack the following day and, if we could not go on, go down the mountain. Then we could go to Dover by road and climb Adamson's from there. It is hard to believe that all this fuss and bother was over a bit of country with no big drops and of an extent which could easily be covered in a Sunday walk if it were near Sydney.
The next morning the sky presented the usual threatening appearance and storms swept over the mountains so a retreat was the order of the day. If we go round by road we may have a chance at least, of seeing Adamson's Peak. Not that we were dissatisfied with the Hartz. Rain, mud and bad weather are their nature and the views we saw repaid us.
The Commission takes the view that the nation cannot permit any individual or generation of individuals to use any land in such a way as to damage it irreparably. We believe that the holding of land is, in a sense, a trust for posterity and that no individual or corporation, no matter what their title of ownership may be, should be permitted either wilfully or through ignorance to use land in such a way as to render it liable to erosion.
From the Third Report of the Rural Reconstruction Commission.
By Roy Braithwaite.
We had had enough of the Main Range after a couple of days of westerly winds, and the suggestion of a trip to the Murray was welcomed. It would be leisurely with excellent swimming at Grogin and Geehi. I was the only one of the party of four who had been over the track before, and, with the confidence of experience, explained to the others the necessity of travelling light so as to make Hannel's spur easy on the last day. It would, I explained, be quite unnecessary to take warm clothes.
That night we camped on a lovely spot overlooking Spencer's Creek. Being tired we slept in next morning and were late reaching the Chalet to pick up our food. The Chalet was crowded with Melbourne walkers packing food and it was almost noon when we finally left. We lunched above Foreman's without undue waste of time and then pushed on up the road. A thunderstorm came up quickly when we were below Ram's Head and there was a heavy fall of hail and then rain.
Arrived at Dead Horse hut we ruefully observed hosts of men and pack horses at the hut and other walkers camped on the Thredbo. Our Melbourne comrades were travelling de luxe. There were thirty Club members and they had pack horses to carry their camp gear. As we pitched camp we watched another storm bank up. Before we had completed cooking it began to rain again and the meal was uncomfortably eaten in the tents. Storms were coming over in series with heavy rain and wind. Our tent pegs were not too secure in the loose earth and one tent was blown down. However, next day we woke to find the weather calm and clear.
We made Grogin in good time and had our anticipated swim in perfect weather. The night was so fine that we didn't bother to put up tents, but by 4 a.m. there was a heavy thunderstorm. It was raining heavily during breakfast and we waded across the Murray and set out for Geehi in a downpour. Kath Jamieson was delighted - it was just like home (N.Z.).
We walked through to Geehi without a break, but the last few miles of endless ridges and ceaseless rain became dreadfully monotonous. At Geehi we crossed a swollen creek and met a number of others, equally wet and miserable, trying to make a fire.
It was at this crossing that I made a blunder. There were several creeks crossing the flats, and, selecting the largest we encountered, I named it Geehi Creek, forgetting that on my previous visit the creeks were very low, whereas they were now all running strongly. Al without reference to the map too. Though the others later studied the map and expressed the opinion that we hadn't yet crossed Geehi Creek, their misgivings did not impress me and I felt certain that Hannel's Spur was just up under the clouds.
We were very cold before we succeeded in lighting a fire. The others had not taken much heed of my advice re clothing. They were well equipped with dry clothes whereas I hadn't even a pair of dry shorts.
Just before dark the clouds lifted a little and the rain eased. The last light from the setting sun filtered through and we saw some astounding colours. An amazing purple fog was one highlight with the enamelled greens and greys of the cleared hills blazing above. It was very garish and unreal.
We woke early next morning and it was still raining and very cold. After packing the wet tents again we started the day's walk in heavy rain. Just as we entered the timber at the foot of the spur we had a brief view of the tops covered with fresh snow. Though we couldn't locate a track I noticed that the direction was southerly, as per map, and was quite confident we would shortly cut it. The others reiterated their theory and as we went on my confidence began to waver. Eventually the fog and cloud lifted and we walked out on to a magnificent view of Hannel's spur high above us and about a mile to the east with Geehi Creek roaring down in between. My prestige fell with a terrific crash.
It was a disconsolate party which struggled down to Geehi Creek. Bill Freeburn's knee had been bad for days and he found it particularly painful walking down hill. After a difficult crossing we began an hour's arduous climb to the spur in bracken six feet high. By 10.30, after 3 1/2 hours tough going, we were about a mile up the spur.
After slogging hard up the spur we ran into hail and sago snow just above the tree line. We reached the gap in the range about 6.p.m. It was now snowing heavily. Kath was enjoying the snow and started to sing her Tararua Club songs. By the time we reached Seaman's Hut, which was already occupied by fifteen Melbourne walkers, we were once more a cheerful party.
The usual post-mortem was held and the verdict was “well it all turned out for the best”. Had we been on time we would have missed the heavy fall of snow and that sight in midsummer was worth some of the hardship and anxiety. But, in future, I will look carefully at maps and listen to others' views on geography. It won't happen again - not there anyhow.
After June 1st no individual, except the police and members of rifle clubs, will be allowed to possess military rifles. Whether the Government's motive was fauna preservation or self-preservation is a moot point; but, despite the fact that “forty-fives,” “twenty-five-twenties,” “twenty-twos,” and, in effect, almost anything excepting cannon and machine guns can still be discharged at our dwindling fauna, the Government's step is decidedly in the right direction.
When we arrived at Rose Bay Airport about 6 a.m. on the morning of our departure for New Zealand I found that our leader had already started on the beard-growing project which was apparently one of the major attractions of a six-week's holiday. A two-day growth of red stubble already adorned the lower half of his face.
Now I am one of those people who try to look reasonably respectable when travelling through cities or among non-bushwalkers and it pained me that, by the time we reach Christchurch (three days later), our leader should have the appearance of a tramp.
I'm sure that on our four-day hitch-hike The Beard was a definite drawback - anyone would think twice before offering a lift to such a desperate character. We others had to be extra polite and charming to make up for it, and I even wore a skirt instead of shorts most of the time in an effort to establish our respectability.
When, however, we finally reached Te Anau at the edge of the mountain ranges, with the prospect of being in the wilds and far from civilisation for some time, and where it didn't matter a bit what we looked like - then, of course, for reasons which are a closed book to me - then, of course, he shaved it off!
Extract from a latter from Clare Kinsella, at present in England, and lucky enough to have holidayed in Switzerland at Christmas time:-
“We travelled all night through Belgium, Luxembourg and France until we arrived at Basle at about 5 a.m. After a cleanup at the station we had breakfast at the buffet, and what a breakfast! The best rolls I've tasted and real butter. The two eggs and the bacon were nothing compared with that. We looked around the town and then left by train for Berne. We found the shops there delightful and the old clock and street statues most interesting. After lunch we left for Interlaken and then on to Wengen where we were to stay. I have never experienced anything as beautiful as that lovely little spot. The snowfalls had been heavy but while we were there the weather was wonderful. The snow was a foot deep everywhere on the roofs, and piled high in great drifts by the roads. The balcony of our room at the hotel looked out over the white valley, the snow-laden pines and across to where tiny chalets lay almost hidden under the snow amongst the great pines. The hotels were most comfortable and the meals delicious. We hired ski boots to get us a round on the snow covered roads. Also skates and toboggan. We skated on the tennis courts to gay Swiss music while at the side of the rink men played the evidently most exciting game of “curling”. The shops were filled with the most beautiful windproof jackets with hoods, fur lined boots (impossible to get in England). Our most perfect day was when we went to Grindalwald and from there by chain cable, swinging out over the hillside with the chalets and ski runs below us and the great peaks with a huge green glacier before us. We went right up Sheidegg (I think) to the station, where first we had hot soup and hot spiced wine at the Chalet, and our packed lunch from the hotel. The sun was shining brightly and the views all around were magnificent. We really felt we were in another world. The hotel “The Park” gave us a magnificent party on Christmas night and next day we went for a ride in a horse drawn sleigh complete with bells. Switzerland is a wonderful country. We long to go back in the summer”.
By Kath McKay.
Well, just ask the general public, and they will tell you that all Bushwalkers have a rat. Or, as one New Zealand tramper used to put it: Some say we're nomads and some say we're all mad.
But it was not a mental rat that I had in mind. I was thinking of a real one, with bright eyes, twiddly whiskers, inquisitive nose and a bootlace tail. I have met him often in the shubbery at Era and my provisions have suffered considerable depredations at his paws; but I bear him no malice on that account.
However, although we were old friends I was hardly prepared for the delicate compliment paid me when I made my one and only visit to Blue Gum. We arrived at Perry's on a damp chill night and bedded ourselves down in the scant shelter of the overhang. I removed my sodden socks and dragged on dry ones for the night. This point is important: otherwise I should not have mentioned such a low subject.
The more fragile articles of diet such as eggs, biscuits and tomatoes were as usual removed from my pack-pillow and assembled in a string bag. These details attended to, we addressed ourselves to slumber, my companions, as far as I could hear, meeting with some success.
Soon to the rhythmic snorts and the drip from the overhang was added another sound - a stealthy rustling of paper, proceeding from the locality of my onion bag. I twitched on my torch, and there was a small furry body disappearing into a cranny of the rock wall, and a gleam of bright eyes turned regretfully towards my larder.
Well well, I thought, this must be the doing of my friend Edward of Era. A bush rat would naturally have access to the bush telegraph, and he doubtless notified his cousin Rosa of my arrival. (Subsequent events convinced me of her femininity.) His wire probably ran: “Mug on the way. Easy pickings”.
As soon as the light was out, the rustlings began again, so realising that I might as well give in first as last, I sat up and extracted a wheatmeal biscuit from my store. I placed it by the vestibule of Rosa's flat and kept my torch on so that I could watch developments.
Presently she poked her head out, her radar equipment vibrating with excitement. She ran out, sniffed at the biscuit and took it up to carry it into the crevice. Alas, she got it sideways on and it stuck fast. Nothing daunted she climbed over it and after much tugging and pulling, managed to drag it out of sight into the passage.
I switched off the light and concentrated on keeping warm till morning. There were no more rustlings of paper, and I thought how simple a matter it was to satisfy the poor creature.
Dawn brought a gleam of sunlight, and we unlocked the bones from their overnight cramp and sat up to the cheerful business of breaking fast. When we came to pack up, I remembered my wet socks, draped over a stone. One was still there, but of the other, not a sign. I had told my companions of my nocturnal adventures with Rosa, and they said facetiously: Perhaps she took your sock. I treated the suggestion with the scorn it deserved, but after a minute inspection of the limited area of our bedroom floor, I peered into the crevice where Rosa had dragged her biscuit. Sure enough, there was the toe of my sock sticking out of a side alley.
I retrieved it gingerly and found it none the worse except for a large hole in the heel; but I could not swear that this was Rosa's work. I was sorry to deprive her of material for a lounge carpet, a blanket for the best bed and a shawl for the baby, but after all a sock is a sock, and I had only three pairs with me. The next time I visit Perry's I must throw in a few odds and ends of wool for Rosa's cradle.
Women's 50 yards freestyle: Val Downing and Barbara Spence (dead heat) 1; Kath Hardy 3.
Men's 50 yards freestyle: Bob Bright 1; Allan Wyborn 2; Bruce McInnes 3.
Open 100 yards freestyle: Barbara Spence 1; Bob Bright 2; Bruce McInnes 3.
Mandelberg Cup: (50 yards going and coming) Barbara Spence and Bruce McInnes (off 6 secs.) 1; Val Downing and Kevin Dean (off 4 secs.) 2; Kath Hardy arid Bob Bright (off scratch) 3.
By Brian Harvey.
Kosciusko Park Trust: The Federation's nominees failed to gain election, two graziers, apparently, being successful in their stead.
Kedumba Creek: Attention was drawn to the contaminated water and recommendations made that same be boiled before consumption. Federation will erect warning signs at foot of Kedumba Pass and Goat Track re state of creek.
Cumberland County Council: Chairman will deliver lecture at Council Auditorium on the “Green Belt” and will welcome walkers' views at conclusion of address. Date to be arranged. This should be of great interest as the Council require our views on the making of tracks in the “Green Belt”.
Search and Rescue Section: This important section is rehabilitating itself. Any member interested in this work should contact Kath Hardy. A practice weekend will be held soon.
Bushwalkers War Memorial: The bronze plaque was erected at Splendor Rock on 22nd February, and will be dedicated at dawn on Anzac Day, Sunday, 25th April. Would those Club members who are interested and who have not yet made their contribution please do so soon so that the Federation may be reimbursed. Brian Harvey will receive for the S.B.W.
Conservation Bureau: We learn with much satisfaction that some time ago the Government appointed a Committee of three, including the Surveyor General, to report upon some 3,000,000 acres of rough country extending from the Colo to south of Kanangra. The country in question was, with the exception of some pockets, too rough for rural pursuits, and consideration was to be given to its setting aside for what we hope will be primitive areas. We also are gratified to know that the Surveyor General is a keen lover of the bush and, through our Liason Officer, wished to convey his greetings to the federated members. It is apparent that the Government looks with favour upon the reservation of large tracts of unalienated land and its projects are in abeyance mainly owing to the Lands Department being engaged on more pressing work.
Wallaroos are distinguished from the large forest and plain-loving kangaroos by their comparatively short and stocky hind-limbs, adapted for supporting the heavy bodies while leaping amongst rocks, and the rather short and broad foot which have the soles roughened like those of rock wallabies to prevent slipping. (from Troughton “Furred Animals of Australia.”)
When all the arguments for and against have faded that which will remain in our memories will be the magnificent beards and whiskers of our red-shirted Comrades. There were no Doutch in anybody's mind that one at least of the beards was genuine.
The Government vigorously denounced our present-day arch-Capitalism and gave an indication of its wide general reading by quoting copiously from the Tribune and the Century, not to mention searing headlines from the Sydney dailies of the Depression years. They also made a spirited personal attack on the leader of the opposition, Mr. Hardie. Mr. Hardie retaliated by threatening that if the Government tried to besmirch his reputation as Club treasurer he would make an unpleasant disclosure, the truth of which would confound them utterly, AND THEY DID AND HE DID AND IT DID. (For the edification of those who weren't present, the leader of the Government claimed that he was about to disclose a huge Capitalist plot in that at the last Club election, after Mr. Hardy had been appointed Treasurer, one of his stooges then nominated him under his alias of “Dorman Long” for the position of Auditor. The opportunity for misappropriation of Club funds on a huge scale by a treasurer who audits his own accounts needs no stressing. Mr. Kirkby claimed that this plot was luckily foiled in time by the Commos, and so the Club's money was saved. Mr. Hardie, however, disclosed the fact that he had originally been asked to speak on the side of the Commos, which would have meant that the plot aforesaid would then have been dubbed a huge Communist plot. The logic of this proved irrefutable.)
The Opposition had hoped to get off easily by proving that Communism is not Right, it is Left, but as the Government in defining their terms said that right meant “morally right” the Opposition was obliged to make a very lengthy historical survey to prove that Capitalism has triumphed because Capitalism was right, and THE RIGHT SHALL PREVAIL.
At the close of the debate the audience was asked to show its opinion of the Government by acclamation. Those who were awake clapped. The noise woke up the others, and when they vaguely comprehended that the Chairman was asking them to applaud the Opposition they dutifully did so, and being a majority naturally they made a greater noise. The Oscar was accordingly given to the Opposition and Capitalism triumphed again. Who will deny that the destiny of Nations is governed by a very fickle fate?
A prize of £1: 1: 0 is being offered by the N.S.W. Federation of Bush Walking Clubs, on a competitive basis, for an approved design for a Federation Insignia. It is to be noted that this is not a button-hole badge, but something suitable for a letterhead etc. depicting bushwalking and, if possible, the ideals of conservation.
“Lovely tree” said my mate, as we stood regarding a forest giant.
“Yes” I replied “Reminds me of the Sydney Bush Walkers quite a lot. Active green limbs at the top and dead wood in the lower levels with the dry rot set in”.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the top represents our 220 Active Members and the dead wood our 61 Non-Active ones. You see, originally we inaugurated the Non-Active classification for members who were moved away from Sydney and therefore unable to take part in Club affairs, although still vitally interested in our organisation. However, the privilege has become abused somewhat and we find people today on the list who live in Sydney and never put in an appearance throughout the whole year. Three quarters of them are so disinterested they don't even subscribe to our monthly Magazine so that they could at least be informed on Club doings.”
“Do they pay the same annual subscription a the full member?”
“No, only half-a-crown as against 15/-. That is supposed to cover the cost of sending them an Annual Report and several reminders to pay up their Sub or be crossed off. Actually they are a drain on the Club's resources. To keep the Club Room open every Friday night - its always there for them - costs 4/9 a year per head in rent - not to mention all the other expenses, which in total are about 9/- a year.” “Looks like your Active Members carry all the burden.” “Yes indeed. Affiliation fees to the Federation of Bush Walking Clubs are based on the active membership numbers, yet the non-actives share in all gains made by the Federation. The Actives are continually dipping their hands in their pockets to raise funds for such functions as the Annual Kiddies Treat, play night and annual party for Federation Funds and Bushwalkers' War Memorial, not to mention various personal expenses as meals in town and 'phone calls. Into the bargain the Actives supply all the personnel for over 60 official positions in the Club in fact, keep it going. It is my opinion if the Non-Actives can't support the Club physically and mentally they should at least shoulder the burden financially. In 1946 we had 45, now its 61, nearly 1 in 4. Outside people remark what a large Club it is, but when you consider 21.4% of its members are dead wood well, its time we woke up to ourselves”. “Can't you do anything about it?” “we've tried, but arguments have usually been fogged up with sentimental sob stuff, and so we get nowhere. Anyway there is an Annual General Meeting in March so we'll see how it goes this year.”