A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney.
Subscriptions July, 1948 to Jan., 1949 2/11.
|Editor||Alex Colley, 55 Kirribilli Av., Milson's Pt.|
|Production and Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Production Asst||Peter Price|
|Sales and Subs||Betty Hurley|
|Editorial - How to Spend £60||1|
|At Our May Meeting||2|
|By Govett's Leap Creek||Helen Brooks||4|
|Lavender and Old Accounts||Ray Kirkby||4|
|Wet Week-End||Kevin Ardill||7|
|Photographic Section, Photographic Exhibition, The Green Belt, Official King's Birthday WeekEnd Walk, First Aid||9|
|Twenty First Birthday Celebrations||11|
|The Federation||Marie Byles||12|
|The Federation Public Relations Committee||B. Harvey||15|
|Federation Notes||Brian Harvey||16|
|What Can a Little Chap Do?||Ray Kirkby||17|
|Around The Campfire (Paddy's Advt.)||18|
There were two schools of thought at our last monthly meeting. One wanted to celebrate our twenty-first birthday by having a good time. The other wanted to leave some permanent and useful memento of the event. Why not do both? A twenty-first birthday party celebrates the “coming of age” of an individual. Couldn't we show that the Club too has “come of age” by doing something worthy of its twenty-one years?
Here, for your consideration, is a suggestion. How about producing a printed booklet devoted to the Club's conservation ideals? The emphasis of the publication would be on the artistic rather than the propaganda side. About half or more of the space could be devoted to photographic “masterpieces.” Most of these would show the beauty of the bushlands, and some, by contrast, the damage caused by exploitation. We believe there is enough literary, photographic and scientific talent in the Club to produce a first class publication. Those who couldn't help in production could subscribe in cash. We suggest that at least £60 would be required, apart from sales proceeds. The amount should be raised by unsolicited subscription from Club members (as were most of the Era funds). We could be proud of such a memento at our 50th birthday, when our dreams might well have become reality, mainly because we had set them out plainly for all to see.
If anyone else thinks this way, and is willing to contribute cash, articles or photographs, please get in touch with the Editor. If there is sufficient spontaneous response the suggestion is worth following up. If not, you will hear no more of it.
The President was in the chair and there were about 60 members present.
One new member, Allan Stien, was welcomed.
The first discussion of the evening was about Ray Kirkby's proposal to form a photographic section. Nobody had much to say till Eric Rowen emerged from behind a pillar. The President asked was he at the meeting, to which he replied he was, and thereupon commenced to make a speech in which he called for the opinions of the “real photographers”. This loosened tongues and a long debate ensued on the questions of when to meet and who was to pay for the section. It was eventually resolved that the section be formed and that it meet in a room at 3 Bond Street on the fourth Thursday of each month. Immediately after this the ubiquitous Mr. Rowen appeared from behind another pillar to make an announcement about the photographic exhibition (see social notes, also page 9).
Soon after this Arthur Gilroy summarised the proposals of the 21st Birthday Committee and moved that the Club vote £60 from accumulated funds to subsidise the proposed party, pay for supper at the bush celebrations, buy a cake, and subsidise the magazine. Arthur pointed out that we had a lot of money in consolidated revenue doing no useful work - why not have a party with it? Roley Cotter supported this view. We should spend our money, he said - if we didn't someone else would in the near future. Such a celebration might only take place three times in a hundred years. Ruby Payne-Scott calculated that if, as suggested, we subsidised the party to the extent of £20 and provided 20 free tickets, there would be £12:10: 0 left to subsidise the tickets bought by members. A reduction of price from 8/6d. to 7/6d. would be about as much as possible. Anyone who could pay 7/6d. wouldn't be kept away by the extra 1/.- And what would we charge outsiders? The accumulation of £60 represented quite a lot of effort. John Johnson thought it was foolish to bust up our money on having a good time - it was like giving money to children to bust up on lollies and ice-cream. He moved an amendment that the amount be £30. Marie Byles said that the description “Sydney Belly Worshippers” was apt. We should make our birthday celebrations worthy and leave something of permanent value. Centenary Park resulted from Sydney's centenary celebrations. Let people pay for their own parties. We could easily spend £60 on Era or the Narrow Necks. Laurie Rayner suggested that the Club get itself a present such as a movie projector or a new cupboard instead of throwing money away on a good spree. Audrey Chaplin was for a good time while we were still alive. Ray Kirkby said that a birthday party was a party and there was every justification for a party. When we wanted money for Era we could probably get it. If we spent money now and wanted more later we would only “sock” ourselves. Subscriptions had been raised so that we could provide free entertainment in the Club room. Dorothy Lawry said that we would all get more than 15/- worth. Members spend more than that in two weekends and never think of it. During the discussion someone moved “the gag”. Bill Hall objected that most people didn't know what “the gag” meant, to which the President replied that when a person moved that “the motion be now put” he meant it to be now put. Soon after this however the flow of verbiage ceased and John Johnson's amendment in favour of £30 was put and carried, so that this was the amount voted.
The meeting closed at 10 p.m., and members went home clutching their pocket books and purses.
25th June. Yes folks, that's the date of our stupendous Photographic Exhibition. We are determined to make this the best we have had, so bring in your prints to either Eric Rowen or Roley Cotter by 7.30 p.m. and they will do the rest. An added attraction this year is an award for the best effort.
We have an excellent programme for the next four months. One of the highlights is a slide night on 27th August when members will be invited to show their masterpieces. So bear the date in mind photographers, 27th August.
If you are interested to know about the 2,050 mile Appalachian Trail read Jean Stephenson's article in the Bulletin of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club for January 1948 (now in Library). Another item of interest from the same publication is that the P.A.T.C. celebrated its twentieth birthday by a dinner last November. This means that it will celebrate its twenty-first birthday in November this year.
Can It Happen Here? As the years begin to wear upon the older Club members, and as more and more days were spent in the office and more and more nights on inner-spring mattresses, it became apparent that the ground was growing harder.“ - Albert H. Jackman in the January P.A.T.C. Bulletin.
I opened my eyes to the gentle touch.
Of the sun's warm fingers, threading their way
Through a host of dark green leaves, kissing
The faces of some, turning others aside,
Till they reached my slumbering cheek;
and such was the silence and the stillness that I lay
For a while, drinking this draught of peace.
Then a breeze stirred the treetops down the side
Of the slope, pointing the way to the stream,
And I left my couch for the leaf-strewn track,
And there the sunbeams dances before me,
Beckoning, and nodding their smiling heads,
And I followed as one who is lost in.a dream,
Gazing with joy at the tall, straight trees
Whose branches mingled overhead,
And the ferns leaning gently out of their beds
To touch with their soft and delicate arms
The darker hued sward, and the rocks that were clothed
In raiments of moss, on which the creepers
Wove their patterns; and the Spirit of Green
Who by his immortal freshness embalms
The soul of man, dwelt in that place;
While there, by my side, were the clear, quiet pools
Of Govett's Leap Creek, which broke yet its calms,
As a smile breaks over a face serene,
With the gentle laughter of its sparkling falls.
It was a fragile fairyland,
It was a symphony in green.
- Helen Brooks
By Ray Kirkby
Recently I came across some old accounts. These, you would fondly imagine, should bring to my mind age-long hours of dull poring over duller ledgers and these, you would expect, I should hasten to destroy to obliterate the saddening evidence of wasted time. For accounts are universally considered to be the poorest fare and accountants to be addlepated, humourless fellows who do not take on a more interesting occupation because they are incapable of rising to anything more imaginative. Yet let me remind you that our own Treasurer has done much to raise accounts to the level of the arts. By a skilful mingling of trivial details, by a surprising modulation from pianissimo to fortissimo with more f's than I have time to type, by a dramatic presentation and by cross references between accounts and any one of the arts and sciences he has made his work Of the liveliest interest.
These accounts of mine brought back poignant memories of days full of drama. Each debit, consisting of but a few words has, indeed its own story to tell; each credit rivals its fellow debit like instrument answering instrument in an orchestral piece and, with the closing off of the ledger, the curtain comes down on a play in which the players have been thrilled to have had a part.
Let me begin at the first act. Perhaps I should say, let me give you the information generally given you in the programme.
We had became tired, Frank and I, of travelling in slow, overcrowded trains to the beach so, this particular weekend, we decided to hitch. I fancy, too, by looking over the accounts, that we had not bothered to make any or many preparations in the way of food. I should also add that, for reasons which will after appear, there are three accounts one, entitled “Joint Account”, one entitled “Frank” and one “Ray”.
The first entry is prosaic and appears as “Brisbane. To meat and apples 4/1d.” The next entry, however, shows that we are on our way, for “Holland Park. To tram fares 8d.” means that we have boarded a tram for the outskirts of the city on the Southport side, and soon we shall be at the mercy of the motorist and the action of the play will, we hope, commence to move faster.
The next entry “Logan River. To toll 1/-” proves to me the old saying that most of the best pleasures cost nothing - for this entry indicates that, without the necessity for a debit in the ledger, we have received a lift for quite a distance but, being gentlemen at heart, we have paid the toll over the Logan River for our altruistic driver. I remember now that we were driven as far as Southport but turned a deaf ear to the blandishments of that village and set off to walk the mile or so to Surfers' Paradise where one can surf. Of course, we did not have to walk far.
Once one is in these dens of vice and iniquity, money just runs away like water. Not content with placing the snares already mentioned before the young and inexperienced, every effort is made to fleece the unsuspecting of his gold. Though we searched that beach for a quiet spot where the police and public would not be unduly excited, we failed and so there appears the telling entry “To entrance to dressing sheds, 4d.”
Now, in succession, are numerous entries for food purchased at various villages which indicate a number of short lifts punctuated by judicious shopping in order not to make any shopkeeper inordinately rich. The last such entry “Tugun. To bread, bananas 9d.” shows that we have reached our Nirvana for the weekend.
The homeward trip was very quiet for a while but at length a utility hove in sight and stopped for the hopeful thumb. And whom do you think it was? The Governor? No. The Secretary to the Department of Mines? No. No less than the chap who had brought us to Southport on the way down. Which only goes to show, I would say with due modesty, that he was not tired of us yet.
Here I shall have to digress to bravely tell a little secret. Hitching is not always unadulterated fun. Sometimes the waits are long, sometimes maddening, sometimes sickening when a 40 mile road walk seems the only alternative. At those times we used to amuse ourselves by having little bets on all sorts of things such as how far the next lift would take us, how long before we should arrive at a particular place, or, perhaps, the colour of the next lift. On this occasion I remember that I had bet that we would arrive in Southport before a certain time and we had defined the finishing line as the centre of the bridge over the Nerang River. The time was fast running out and my sixpence seemed in jeopardy when this lift renewed my hopes. But reference to the time and the mile posts was most disheartening for our driver would have to be a fast driver indeed. We flew along that road and many lightning calculations were done on the speedometer speed. Minutes only would decide the destination of that sixpence and minutes only did, as we crossed the line with several to spare. Who won? In my individual account you will see a credit entry “By bet won from Frank 6d.” I was very lucky with my bets that weekend.
Our driver regretted that he had to remain in Southport for an hour or two but said that if we cared to meet him on a certain corner he would take us to Brisbane later. (Do we look particularly indigent or are we social successes?) But we were impatient, we. We said that we would prefer to go on but added, with a touch of caution, that should he see us static on the road later on we should appreciate a lift.
Now happened the event which changed the whole character of the weekend. We were walking along the esplanade when I, with my own little eyes, found five shillings and sixpence and immediately in my pulsating breast rose the thought that perhaps I might make a profit on the weekend. Why not? Better men than I have robbed widows and orphans and gone to Heaven.
A quick calculation over the fruit cake which we bought, entered in the accounts and ate in a shelter shed, convinced me that every threepence counted. Naturally I boasted. A weekend at the beach and a profit to boot. Who but a saint would not boast?
You could not believe that money and envy of a friend's fame could make so much difference. As I legitimately boasted, black malignancy was breeding in the heart of my so-called friend. At last his wicked heart could hold it no longer and he muttered between his teeth, “I'll stop you - I'll charge you for the tin of peaches” which had been presented to him by his father and mother who had brought them from Melbourne. To that I answered with hauteur “Charge them then - I don't care”. So thinking of the largest amount he could think of, he priced them at 1/5d. which I, this time with noble resignation, entered as “Black Market. To tin peaches 1/5d.” I shall leave it to my readers to decide whether this was the action of a gentleman and hitcher.
Having-calculated the joint account and passed half of it to each individual account and having debited and credited the bets I was, ladies and gentlemen, believe it or not, ladies and gentlemen, just, ladies and gentlemen, making a tiny profit.
Why then did I look so downcast, so despairing? Because nobody would give us a lift and in no time our faithful friend would be arriving which meant, I feared, paying a toll and converting a credit into a debit balance. Even had I wished to turn cad and pretend that I had only cheques with me (which I could scarcely do on account of my earlier attitude of Christian fortitude over the peaches) Frank would have gleefully paid the toll knowing that I was “up” for half.
The sands had just about run out when a jeep rocketted past. It was going so fast that it took fully a quarter of a mile to stop. I jumped into that jeep of “Yanks” with alacrity not because, like so many of the Brisbane girls, I was “Yank-happy”, but because - military vehicles did not pay tolls.
By Kevin Ardill.
Well here I am, lying on my bed of pain and for want of something better to do I'll tell you about last weekend. Last weekend was that particular one when the eastern coast was deluged, towns were flooded and whole areas inundated. In addition, a major catastrophe occurred. I got a bad back, and that's the reason I'm now lying on the aforementioned pallet of pain. I hear a polite “How did it happen” and, while the interjector is biting pieces out of his tongue, I'll take an hour or two off from gritting my teeth and tell you the story.
Roley Cotter is programmed to lead a walk from Wentworth Falls to Woodford, and being a keen bloke he decided to go up a couple of weeks ahead and scout for suitable camp sites and water. The exploration party consisted of five and we left Sydney in rather doubtful weather conditions. All went well until we reached Valley Heights. I had managed to separate myself from the party and was comfortably seated amidst a bevy of beauty bound for holidays at Katoamba. I have reached the stage where I am calling several peaches by their christian names and am retailing information about Katoomba like nobody's business (I've been there once). One of the audience happened to glance out the window and when we looked we could see enough mist and rain to satisfy the greediest. Spirits were raised, however, when I explained about the south east wind, rising barometer, depressions near Tasmania, and supressions in Canberra, and there wasn't a more popular bloke on the train when I assured them it would be fine on the morrow. Wentworth Falls came all too soon and as I stepped out on the platform did I perceive a tear filled eye, hear the half-stifled sigh? Why ask me? I dunno, I was looking for a taxi.
Being first off the train gave us the priority for the taxi and we only had to wait half an hour while the driver did three trips to somewhere or other, and then we were on our merry way. After twelve shillings worth of thrills our driver deposited us near the Sanatorium and a couple of miles along a very moist road brought us to a large cave. Ignoring my pleas to be allowed to camp out Roley and Peggy dragged me into the rocky shelter and it was then I felt the first twinges along the spine. Forgetting the pain I set about preparing the evening meal. Peter had contrived to get a fire going, the only drawback being the smoke. One practically needed radar to find the flame and it was only by using Cotter's head as a landmark that we found our way through the smoke at all. The night passed rather quickly, considering my aching back and a noisy mouse that nibbled at the remnants of Len Fall's pudding.
When there was sufficient light to see the thick mist and pouring rain, and while Len reverently buried the body of the mouse, we debated if we should go through to Woodford. Finally I was overruled and we decided to return to Wentworth Falls, so we left our packs and had a look over a few ridges. A decent future camp site was discovered and we didn't have to look far for running water. My only fear is that the amount of running water may, later in the day, have deposited our camp site a couple of miles downstream. The way my back is I won't be on the official walk, so who cares.
Believe it or not we boiled the billy for lunch in the cave. Being practically an eyewitness I assure you that two billies of water were boiled on nothing more than dense smoke. Ripley please note. After lunch five pink-eyed walkers headed for home. My back was worse and only my indomnitable spirit kept me going. I must admit I faltered when Roley stated his intention of returning the following Saturday to get color films of autumn tinted trees. Doesn't it make you feel proud to be British? All I could think of was hot drinks, A.P.C. powders, and any other place except the mountains. Two hours on the Railway Station where I nearly got warm and then a standing seat in the train with my throbbing back pressed against every projection in the carriage.
I see a query in your eye. Your back you say? I almost forgot to mention I had an aching back the whole weekend. But that's me all over. I suffer in silence.
Jess Martin, now Club Librarian, and her assistant, Christa Calnan, have been busy indexing the books in the library. There is a lot of good reading there, of which more later. All the publications reviewed in the magazine go to the library.
This group had its first meeting on Thursday, 28th May. Many problems as to what the group wanted to do and hoped to accomplish were well and truly thrashed out. Finally it was decided to continue with meetings once a month as suggested. The twenty or so people present were mostly very enthusiastic as to the outcome of the section. Ira Butler was asked to give a talk at the next meeting on “The Exposure of Film,” and Roley Cotter was entrusted with the task of preparing a suggested programme for the next month. All members of the Club who might be interested are invited to the meeting at 3 Bond Street at 8 p.m. sharp on the 24th June. - Ray Kirkby.
At the Club exhibition on June 25th the best print will be judged by Mr. Keast Burke, editor of the A.P.R. magazine. At the same time Mr. Burke will select on behalf of Kodaks a number of prints which will be given a window showing in the 16 branches of Kodaks throughout Australia.
The usual bushwalker apathy shown by the general body of walkers was ably demonstrated by the poor attendance at the lecture given for our benefit by the Cumberland County Council on Tuesday night, 25th May, when the master plan for the Cumberland County was discussed. The audience was mainly composed of the Federation Council delegates plus the normal few interested people. It is disappointing to learn that the “Green Belt” is neither a park, reserve or primitive area, but merely an area wherein small subdivisions of land will not be permitted, no lot to be less than two and a half acres, which will, of course, provide “greenness” by virtue of paddocks and uncleared patches. It is not intended to create tracks therein. However, what interested walkers were the areas reserved as “National Parks” - whatever that may mean. These parks will be administered as thought fit by the municipal or shire councils in whose administrations the “parks” fall, and it will be on these spaces the Federation will have to concentrate to see that a better policy than that followed by the National Park Trust will obtain. Many details have yet to be worked out but the clubs should get busy with queries and bring them before Federation so that a policy may be formulated. - Brian Harvey.
Allan Hardie advises that this walk will start from Engadine and not Sutherland as per walks programme. The train leaves at 8.20 p.m. The Old Illawarra road was made by convicts, and Eckersley Post Office is a link with the State's bushranging past. Moreover, this road commands fine views of the Blue Mountains. This is a walk for the lower income group.
Did you hear about the chap who is noted for his first aid lectures on Instructional Walks? On a recent walk, while rushing to the aid of a blistered foot, he punctured his pate on a protruding piece of tree. What happened to the blistered foot we don't know, but there is no question that several of the gentler sex had a hand in smoothing plaster on his bloody head.
On Max Gentle's Easter trip, five of the party explored a few ridges that weren't on the program. It happened this way. There were nine green bottles - no that's wrong. There were nine walkers on a ridge. Mix up a chap with a new camera, three girls posing on a rock, a bit of by-passing on a scrubby ridge, and then you had three girls and two boys gazing at the stars instead of their dinner plates. All ended happily however, and the prodigal returned to the fold shortly before bed tine. Anyone interested in buying a nearly new camera could contact Claude Haynes.
Max nearly ended his walking career on his recent day walk. Returning on the train from Heathcote, he gave up his seat to a lady who entrained at Engadine. The lady observed to a crowded carriage that Max was a gentleman and was her idea of a perfect husband. Max injudiciously admitted he was single, whereupon the lady turned out to be a widow, and it was only the quick wit of a fellow walker, who assured her that Max had a wife and seven kids, that saved the name of Gentle from the non-active list.
Packs bulging with fruit, Jenny Felshow, Stan Madden and Eric Pegram went west at Easter. It pains us to report this, but, on the second day out, the fourth member of the food party (not a grass-eater) cooked up some bacon. We make no rash assertions, but one vego was heard to say “I've never tasted bacon cooked this way” Dormie's fiery speech at last year's debate may have penetrated at last.
A pathetic sight was witnessed by a number of walkers recently. A fellow member had been talked into bringing along an all-fruit lunch, and, when he sought company to eat the uninspiring stuff, he made the mistake of choosing the chap who recommended the fruit. After all its not playing the game to devour two large chops before a convert - or should we say an ex-convert?
Shirley King put on a 29 mile day and half test walk a couple of weeks ago. Result: ten rugged he-men turn up - no girls.
Phil Hall, long bereft of female company on tough walks, is putting an easy walk on the next programme. Girls, we're telling you!
At the Club room party on May 28th (which, incidentally, was a great success) members had to guess the subjects of a number of cartoons. But there was no need to guess who was the gentleman taking his snake out of his billy, nor the identity of the two parrots arguing beak to beak about camp sites and food lists, nor the gentleman behind the censored picture of Era beach, nor the small quadruped carrying the large pack.
Our congratulations to: Roy Davies, who is engaged to Kathleen Cawthorn, Secretary of the Launceston Walking Club, and to Ray Dargan, who is engaged to Verna Watkins. Ray now has a farm near Yeola.
The fun and games begin on Friday, 15th October, 1948, and continue - (non-stop, if you have the constitution for it) - until Sunday, 17th October, 1948.
The first half of the PARTY takes the form of a DANCE!
WHEN? Friday night, 15th October, 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
WHERE? The “DUNGOWAN” - Martin Place, Sydney.
There will be dancing, games, items, a floor show and supper. As is fitting for such an occasion there will be a colossal, stupendous BIRTHDAY CAKE, complete with CANDLES 'n' everything!
If you want to bring your own Home Brew or someone else's, then its up to you!
Dress is to be informal, but not too informal, please!
How do you go about getting in on all this? Well, for this portion of the programme there is a limited number of INVITATION CARDS available. Admission to the Dance is by Card only and this must be obtained beforehand. To avoid disappointment may we suggest early application to any of the following members:-
End of Part One - Part Two will follow immediately, or as soon as you have recovered!
Yes, you've guessed, it's ANOTHER PARTY - this time a Bush Party - A Week-end in the great, open spaces. A sort of super RE-UNION. Campfire Concert. Campfire Supper. Queue up for hot dogs, cake and cocoa! Meet your old friends and make new ones. Bring along your pals from other clubs.
It commences as soon as you can drag yourself, and your pack, into the bush on Saturday, 16th October, 1948. The Place? Macquarie Fields (third station past Liverpool), same location as our last Reunion Camp. Keep in touch with the above for finer details later.
As this is the ONLY time we will ever be TWENTY-ONE we would like to see as many members and ex-members as possible at our celebrations, so if YOU know any ex-members who have lost touch let them know the above good news and tell them we would like to see them along to help us make it a COMING OF AGE party to be remembered.
The Editor -
For some time past I have listened to so much adverse criticism of the Federation by the “Opposition” that I was beginning to think that no “Government” existed, and no doubt other new members of the Club have had the same feeling; however, recently it struck me that it was about time I found out if all this criticism was justified. I therefore approached Miss M. Byles and asked her to let me have a summary of the Federation's activities since its inception. Below is a copy of this summary and I think that you will be impressed by some of the achievements of this organisation, whose work is entirely voluntary. I impress that the only incentive to the officers and committee to carry out the tasks before them is the love of the bush. I ask you as a member of this Club, and I appeal to those N.S.W. Clubs receiving a copy of this article, to make a renewed effort to rekindle the spirit of federation. There is the motto “United we stand, divided we fall”, and this may well be borne in mind if we are desirous of achieving some of the objectives federation can-give us in the future years.
As one glances through the Annual Reports and Bushwalker Annuals of the Federation of Bushwalking Clubs since its beginning in 1932, the question presents itself as to how it is that very ordinary people, who talk and talk - often about irrevalances - can accomplish so much. It is the same question that presents itself when we see a splendid new kindergarten or baby health centre and visualise the ordinariness of the people who raised the money, bought the land and got it built.
The answer is of course that these very ordinary people cooperated with each other, and that it was the co-operation which got things done. That was why the Federation was formed. That is why it has sought to work with other conservation bodies. Indeed, as one reads of the achievements of the Federation, one finds it is seldom possible to allocate the credit to the Federation alone, for it usually helped or got help from other bodies. Nor of course is it possible to allocate the credit to any one club or individual. Occasionally one club is mentioned, as the C.M.W. which made the wells at Corawall swamp, or the Bush Club which tramped over and mapped the recreational areas required in the Kuringai Municipality and submitted at that Council's request to the Cumberland County Council, or the S.B.W. which acquired portion 7 at Era. But usually it is not one club alone, nor the Federation alone, and perhaps the best feature of the Federation's annual reports is the absence of the claiming of credit for anything achieved.
It has been that attitude, coupled with persistent hard work, which has won for the Federation the respect of both public departments and other conservation bodies. During the time I was Secretary, I could not help a little glow of pride, when I found government departments coming to visit me, instead of vice versa, or when I 'phoned them, or other conservation bodies, always meeting a hearty understanding at the other end of the line, or happening to stand at the counter in the Lands Department and overhearing a man in search of a water frontage for a fishing shack being told that all that area was pencilled in for public recreation, and that he hadn't a hope - “these bushwalkers you know”!
How different from the days when the Federation was first started by “a lot of crazy hikers”, of whose views nobody took any notice except to ridicule. But after years of co-operation and patient efforts the bushwalking movement has now a power and authority entirely out of proportion to its numbers.
What are some of the things that these annual reports and bushwalkers annuals tell about? To tell them all would take too much space, but let us glance through these documents together: in 1935 we read “Garrawarra last year; Bouddi Park this year; what next?” Narrow Necks and Grose Valley, was the answer, to be kept in their present primitive state for all time. A little later the Federation arranged a deputation to the Minister to place before him a list of all the areas within fifty or a hundred miles of Sydney which should be retained for recreation or preservation of fauna and flora. This resulted in all those pencilled marks which effectively prevent the weekend shack-searcher from buying up the choicest spots. It also followed up the work of the N.P.P.A. and resulted in the earmarking of the whole Blue Mountains area as a prospective recreational area.
As a result of that same deputation Heathcote Creek Area was reserved.
Of course the Federation was not the only body who urged these things, and it had wonderful help from Mr. Barry, the late district Surveyor, who helped us bring about the complete change of attitude in the Lands Department from what it was twenty year ago. Do you realise that the Lands Department was established to dispose of lands and that now it has a large section devoted to preserving them, to retaining and acquiring parks, and that if you go there incognito, as likely as not it will not be you who deliver the lecture of the need for more parklands, but the officer you have come to see? Do you realise, too, that if the officer knows you are a representative of the bushwalking movement you at once become an honoured visitor?
However, let us return to those annual reports. Here are some further examples of the Federation work. Fast train to Lilyvale restored: broadcasting appeals for protection of native fauna and flora; appearance before the Land Board with the result that 140 acres adjacent to Garawarra were added to it; much use made of the Search and Rescue Section's services; work of the Information Bureau; sympathetic consideration of the making of tracks when roads had taken previous track away; gradual elimination of shacks from Garawarra and National Park; working bees in Bouddi Natural Park, Blue Gum Forest, and Garawarra; petition for the amendment of the Wild Flowers Protection Act, supported by other conservation bodies and leading eventually to the amendment of the Act; reservation by the Forestry Department of Coricudgy as a primitive area, so that it will not be exploited by timber millers; close co-operation with the Bush Fires Advisory Committee; a better understanding between the Boy Scouts Association and the bushwalking movement; representations which led to the restriction of military firing over National Park; investigation of the Warragamba Dam project, and liaison with the Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board re the erosion on the catchment area; addition of various flowers and trees to the protected list; 980 acres near Duckhole added to Kuringai Chase; the acquisition of a lease of St. Helena for the protection of the native fauna and flora; donation of £10 to the Garawarra Trust at a time when it was unfinancial; the development of an understanding with the Forestry Department which now for the first time began to understand and appreciate the bushwalkers' angle on conservation; information supplied at the request of the Blue Mountains Shire as to tracks which should be made or remade or allowed to fall out of use; representations about adding West Head to Kuringai Chase - a lease at a nominal rental was finally obtained.
Not all the Federation's work has been successful but success ought not to be the criterion by which our efforts are judged. Very often people who lay the foundations do not see the finished task. Wilberforce, who started the movement for the abolition of slavery, had the unusual good fortune to hear on his death bed of its success. Reformers are not usually so lucky. The Federation has been fortunate in that even within its short history it has seen the fruit of its work in many cases. But it is the solid work of gradually changing public opinion which matters most in the long run, and we must work irrespective of whether we see the results, and irrespective of whether we or someone else will get the credit of putting on the final coping stone. None of the conservation bodies begrudged to the Federation the honour of getting the Wild Flower Act amended, and similarly the Federation will not begrudge to the Rangers League the honour of now getting it further amended as it hopes to do. Neither could have achieved anything without the work of numerous other bodies in past years, many of which have now passed into oblivion.
We are passing through an age of discord, a discord which the divorce lists show has reached down into our very home life. It would be surprising if the bushwalking movement had altogether escaped the infection. But we can keep ourselves healthy and so be less likely to catch the germ. We keep healthy by refusing to discredit even the feeblest efforts to help forward the work of the Federation, by refusing to throw mud ourselves, whatever others may do, and of course by giving our work, as well as our good words. The preservation of Mark Morton Primitive Area, and the purchase of the private lands and preservation of Narrow Necks as a primitive area for all time - these are the two major tasks at present. You can help.
For the benefit of those interested in the Federation I feel a few words may be written about this committee, which was established by the March meeting of Federation Council. Unfortunately no notice of motion of such a major step was given, and it was sprung upon the meeting, which adopted it for better or worse. Unfortunately it was for worse, as it resulted in the immediate resignation of our very capable and enthusiastic Federation Hon. Secretary.
A committee of four was appointed to carry out the four-point P.R.C. constitution which is dealt with hereunder:-
”(a) Handle all matters that are of a controversial nature and affecting outside bodies“.
Practically everything handled by the Federation is controversial, therefore 90% of the correspondence and matters brought to notice would merely be referred to the committee, who would deal with it as considered fit and report their probably irrevocable actions to the next meeting of the Council, who would be merely figureheads.
”(b) Conciliate by direct negotiations with any other body or members of the public.“
This would probably entail personal visits on innumerable people. As a general rule bushwalkers have to work during the day and few contacts are possible. How could any one of the committee have the knowledge to act on what he may consider the best approach?
”© To be in a position to answer any matters which may arise through the Press and require immediate replies“.
I doubt if there is any bushwalker, or group of four bushwalkers, alive who are so well informed on all matters concerning walking (conservation, knowledge of all reserves or likely reserves, all rivers, creeks or mountains, or of overdue parties etc.) that the Press could be given an immediate and correct answer.
”(d) Act as an arbitrary body in disputes between clubs“.
Is any club likely to feel bound by the findings of the “big four”? In any case there have been no disputes between clubs as far as I know, and in any case they need not be aired in Federation.
These are only a few thoughts which have come to my mind and many more criticisms could be found did time and space permit, but I hope I have shown the utter futility of the continuance of such a committee as constituted. It is small wonder the Secretary resigned when all he had to do in the event of an enquiry was to give the enquirer four telephone numbers (if 'phone contact was possible) and addresses, and tell him to take his pick. To be in accord, the committee would have to maintain constant two-way wireless telephony to keep abreast of events. They would have to meet about twice a week to consider action and then find someone to type their correspondence. Imagine the length of the report which would be made to the monthly meeting of the Council on all their doings and the number of questions which would be asked as to the whys and wherefores!!
The S.B.W. has given notice to rescind the motion adopted at the March meeting whereby this impossible committee (which fortunately for them have had their functions suspended) was established, and we hope we will have the support of others in the matter at the June meeting.
Wattamolla-Bundeena Road. It is gratifying to learn that the National Park Trust disapproves the construction of the road.
Signposts in the Wild Dog Ranges. The erection of metal directive signs on trees throughout the Dogs have been brought to the notice of Federation. Simultaneously the Hon. Secretary anonymously received separately the halves of a sign (apparently from Medlow Gap). Enquiries are in hand as to the persons responsible for their erection and subsequent destruction of the one posted to the Federation.
Amendment to Constitution. The Proposed amendment permitting Associate Members the right to vote was lost.
Shooting on Cox River. The C.M.W. reported the apprehension on the Cox at the foot of the Brindle Dog on Anzac Day, Sunday 25th April, of a shooting party composed in part of members of an affiliated club, who are Rover Scouts as well, in contravention of the ethics of bushwalking, and the laws concerning the discharge of firearms on the Sabbath and in a proclaimed Wild Life Sanctuary. Official explanation from culprit club has been requested.
Commonwealth Federation. Following conversations with interstate clubs, Mr. Salmon reported strong desire was felt for a Federal body. A sub-committee of three has been elected as liaison and to assimilate ideas from other States and report later.
Search and Rescue Fund was created and clubs will be levied with 6d. per head per active member to inaugurate the fund, from which searchers' fares will be met - if necessary.
Health Week Exhibition. It was thought better not to enter a display at the Town Hall, if invited, as considered money could be better spent in other ways such as conservation propaganda. Delegates are to seek instruction from their clubs on this matter.
All walkers are reminded of the combined Federation-National Trust Film night at shell Theatrette, at 8 p.m. on Thursday 17th June. Cost approximately 2/6d. Book at Paddy's or with Ron Campagnoni - 'phone Ryde 313.
I can remember receiving a book when I was very young in which the following question was asked in rhyme -
“What can a little chap do,
For his country and for you,
What can a little chap do?”
Then followed suggestions as to what he could do and I fear that some were dictated by the exigencies of the rhyme such as -
“He can fight for the right,
He can keep his heart bright …”
and so on.
When thinking over the pleasant problem of Era recently (as a good committee-man should think) I decided that a useful contribution might be to let people know of the things they might do. I have advisedly written “things” as it is splendidly unspecific, for, as will afterwards appear, people could do a lot by merely thinking and noting.
I wish to make clear that I am not speaking with the authority of the Era Committee and that I might be extremely embarrassed if, next Friday night, you brought into the Clubroom all the articles I mention. Having heard most of the suggestions put forward for Era I have noted down a lot of things and people who might be necessary or even helpful. However, having read this list of suggestions and found that you can help in some way, why not approach the Committee and let them know? If you do not know whom to contact, you can always worry the President.
At this very moment we may still be worried by inability to get wire to put around our tree-corral. Do you know where we can get some wire - barbed or plain, galvanised or ungalvanised? Think hard. Have you thought into every corner of the spare shed? Have you ticked off your relations one by one?
Now, as regards trees, you never know how many we might want, perhaps native, perhaps exotic. You all know the magnificent silky-oak, for example. It might well happen that we might want lots of silky oaks to plant and around your tree at home there are lots of young ones easily transplantable. What, then, is your line of action? You let the Committee know and guard those trees with your life until they are required. If you have any young trees or shrubs which you, yourself, do not want, please let us have first pick!
I heard one bird whisper that a row of willows lining the watercourse in the swamp would be ideal for helping to dry the swamp and defining the creek. Should the committee decide in favour of this idea we shall need willows which will grow easily from quite large branches. With a large branch we avoid several infant years in the tree's life and have a sizeable tree almost immediately. Any ideas friend?
One noble person told me that she could donate plenty of oleanders. As the committee has not considered oleanders I cannot say whether they will be welcomed. It may be that Era, moonlight and oleanders will be too severe a test for young, romantic blood, but those oleanders are being guarded in reserve for the present.
We might want to dig a well later on. That friend of yours who is an expert on wells must be cajoled into tendering advice. Indeed, you could arrange a pleasant weekend for him at Era so that he can disseminate his knowledge on the spot.
I think by now you have the idea - there only remains for you to go through your personalty, realty and that of all your relations and friends.
Some of the happiest memories of camping trips are centred round the camp fire. The sight of numerous small fires gleaming fitfully in the dusk, a drift of smoke; figures moving amongst the tiny tents and the restrained hubbub of a small encampment, these sights and sounds never fail to strike a nostalgic chord in me and remind me of other camps enjoyed in years gone by. Then one wanders round the camp exchanging a word here and there with intent figures squatting near the fires juggling with billies and frying pans in the preparation of meals, spartan in their frugality or so unbelievably complicated that one wonders how the food and utensils were ever carried in a rucksak.
Then as one party after another reaches comfortable satiety, a fire built up by more energetic members of the party leaps up and soon a drift begins to this new centre of activity and so yet another camp fire begins.
What a pity these so often come to naught from bright beginnings for lack of a leader. Singing is traditionally a part of walking and camping and it is therefore a pity that more walkers who diligently seek to perfect themselves in map reading, nature lore and general bushcraft do not also study the art of camp fire singing. In the next of these yarns I will deal with this subject in the hope that if I cannot enlighten folks I will at least arouse discussion and maybe a little argument.
Orders taken for a limited number of tents on Monday 7th June. Phone orders accepted after 10 a.m. only.
Paddy has a large range of skis, edges, bindings, waxes, stocks, mitts, etc. Come in and have a look.
Paddy Pallin. Camp Gear For Walkers.
327 George St., Sydney. Phone BX3595.
It is curious (or is it?) how little we Bushwalkers know about the mountain towns. We generally arrive in the dead of night, snatch a hurried supper if we are fortunate enough to find a restaurant open and immediately make tracks to get as far away as we can from the town for our first night's camp. Or else we are whisked away buried three deep under a pile of bodies and rucksacks in some grieviously overloaded car. Having completed our walk, we arrive back at the same or another mountain town and generally dive into the last compartment of a Sydney-bound train as it leaves the platform.
These thoughts occurred to me while staying for a week at Blackheath. Although I had passed through the town on numerous occasions, I had only once before seen the town in daylight and then only from a car speeding to Megalong. Now I am a reformed man! I have hiked to Hat Hill. I have gadded to Govett's Leap, wandered round Wall's Ledge and perambulated the perilous Porters Pass. Believe me folks, I quite enjoyed it and I can recommend a little more attention to the lesser known tourist walks round the cliff faces - especially those overlooking the Kanimbla Valley.
What has Paddy got?
Well truth to tell I've almost lost touch but if you call in sometime, will be happy to show you.
But a reminder!
October week-end is drawing near. Don't please leave your repair jobs till the last minute. Things are still a little difficult. See you all again folks.
Phone: BX 3595.
Paddy Pallin, Camp Gear For Walkers.
327 George Street, Sydney.