With Compliments from Brian G. Harvey
A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney.
|Editor||Alex Colley, 55 Kirribilli Avenue, Milson's Pt.|
|Production and Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Production Asst||Peter Price|
|Sales and Subs||Betty Hurley|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey, Joan Kirkby and Hilma Galliott|
|Editorial - Twenty-one Years of Good Fellowship||1|
|At Our Half Yearly General Meeting||2|
|Social Notes for October||3|
|Paradise at Pages||Kath McKay||4|
|Fire or Water - book review||5|
|Way Out in the Blue, Blue, Blue||“Dean and Amazed||6|
|The Bushman's Handbook - book review||9|
|Party Arrangements and Trains to Macquarie Fields||10|
|A Message from the President||11|
|Foundation Members of the Club||11|
|List of Presidents and Secretaries of the S.B.W.||12|
|How the Sydney Bush Walkers Began||Myles J. Dunphy||13|
|How It Began||Jack Debert||16|
|All the Fun of the Fair||“Taro”||20|
|My Early Contacts with the S.B.W.||Allan Hardie||23|
|How Blue Gum Forest Was Saved from the Axe||27|
|Our Magazine||Dorothy Lawry||28|
|The First Walk Down the Colo||Maxwell Gentle||31|
|The Tigers||Dot English||34|
|What Has Paddy Got? (Paddy's advt.)||10|
On Page 1 of our Minute Book it is recorded that on Friday, October 21st, 1927, some members of the Mountain Trails Club “constituted themselves an extra and separate walking body, with a membership of ten; drew up a draft constitution and conditions for future discussion by later members, and advertised the next meeting for Friday, November 11th. At the first meeting (October 21st), after a few routine preliminaries, it is recorded that “the meeting immediately drafted the Objects and Constitution as follows:-
Except for the addition of one more object - “To promote social activities amongst members” - those objects have stood. The draft constitution, however, is but a faint reflection of the present legal and grammatical masterpiece. Reading on through the minutes one is impressed by the careful and orderly progress made in the formation of the Club. The early members were enthusiastic, critical, and thorough, consequently their work has lasted.
It was a remarkable association they created. In the year 1927 comfort was at its peek. Films, radios, automobiles, cheap liquor and tobacco, and various proprietary drugs ensured that the joys of life could be absorbed in a sedentary position. Most people could buy or rent a house to shelter them from the weather. But the Bush Walkers chose to spend all the time they could exerting themselves mightily in the roughest of bush country, carrying large packs up great mountains, getting cold and wet, scratched and sunburnt, braving snakes, spiders, ants and the other horrors of the city dweller. Moreover they showed little respect for the conventions of the days when mixed walking parties were a novelty, and shorts uncommon. Walkers then were much more conspicuous than they are today, and, such is human nature that they could easily have been given a bad name. They realised too that people roaming the countryside incur the suspicion of farmers and graziers whose properties are often damaged by campers. And, most important of all, they had a cause - the conservation of the bushlands - which could prosper only if their reputation was good. They were therefore very careful to create a good impression, and to admit only those who would uphold those ideals.
There was a pioneering spirit in the early days of the Club. Walking was comparatively new, much of the walking country was little known and unmapped. Members were united in the zeal of innovation and came to know each other intimately. Nowadays this spirit is weaker. Walking is easier because ways are known and tracks are worn. We are still looked on as a bit odd, but most people have become used to seeing us with packs, shorts and hobnailed boots. The Club is larger, and it is impossible to be close friends with so many members.
But one great ideal of the founders stands. In the loose aggregation of people that constitute a big city there has been formed a small community of happy and healthy people with a strong common interest. Sociologists, governments, youth movements and all sorts of well-meaning bodies try to do just that - to bring people together in community life. They seldom succeed because the common interest can't be manufactured. The hardships and pleasures we experience together make for real friendship. Money cannot buy, nor canned entertainment replace, this precious thing.
The old members have handed on a wonderful organisation and tradition. The spirit they kindled, like the flickering glow of the camp fire, warms and unites us. But the Club is the people now active within it. They can make of it what they will. Its future depends on the core of members, both new and old, who work unselfishly for its welfare.
In the absence of the President and Vice-President, Mr. Roley Cotter was elected to the chair. About 45 members were present.
Three new members - Gil Webb, John Thorpe and David Roots - were welcomed.
In correspondence was a letter dated August 26th from the Federation Secretary, who stated that at the July meeting the S.B.W. motion on the opening of a fund for the purchase of the Narrow Necks lands had been deferred till the August meeting. At the August meeting “it was moved that matter be again deferred until further information was available. The President was loth to accept this motion and by way of resolving the matter it was moved by the writer 'That the scheme to acquire the Narrow Necks lands is impracticable at present'. The motion was duly seconded and carried with only your delegates dissenting”.
“It should not be thought that the ardent and visionary proposals of certain of your members are thought to be unworthy of support” the letter continued “but…. it might reasonably be argued that…. it is unlikely that any person other than walkers could wish to acquire this land…. Members of your Club, in their zeal and wisdom have, it is understood, launched tentative enquiry into purchase price, possibility of sale etc, thus, no doubt, giving to an owner - who can reasonably be supposed to have had no prospect of sale - hope and interest, which might otherwise never have arisen. The possibility could quite easily have occurred where the owner, in the absence of any sale offers, would have been pleased to give his land to the proposed National Park. There is also the possibility that…. the civic authorities might interest themselves in developing the area with roads, lookouts and concrete.” The letter then referred to the “bitter struggle to sell bushwalkers their own magazine, priced at only 1/6d.,” and the difficulty of raising a sum exceeding £400.
Myles Dunphy reported that he had recently attended a conference with the City of Blue Mountains Council on the subject of the Narrow Neck lands and the Greater Blue Mountains National Park. The Council, he said, was concerned about the ownership of the Narrow Neck lands, and, in reply to its representations to the Department of Lands, had received advice that the Department was prepared to furnish 50% of the purchase price of those lands if the Council would advance the remaining 50%.
Bushwalker representatives found the Council quite sympathetic, interested and in accord with many features of the Greater Blue Mountains National Park scheme. The Council controls the area from Bell to Emu Plains, and from the great bend of the Cox to Bell's line of road. Bushwalker representatives pointed out that their interest was in the primitive areas, not the “improved” parks in the built-up areas of the Council zone, and suggested that if the National Park were set aside the trustees should include bushwalkers and naturalists.
Myles Dunphy also reported that timber had been removed from the Blue Labyrinth. On a motion moved by Marie Byles it was resolved to ascertain from Mr. Whaite the area from which timber was being removed, and to inquire from the Secretary for Lands (a) whether permission had been given for its removal; and (b) what was being done with regard to the Greater Blue Mountains National Park. It was decided to write to the City of Blue Mountains Council enquiring whether it definitely proposed to resume the private lands on Narrow Neck and offering the Club's assistance in the project.
A report on the proposal to buy a new projector was received from Ira Butler. There were only about three makes available for less than £50 and these were not suitable for Club needs. The cheapest (about £17) did not cast a bright enough image for Club displays and in another type the carrier was not convenient for cardboard slides. More suitable machines would probably be available in this price range later. The Treasurer advised putting a limit of £30 on expenditure unless something really outstanding were obtainable, in which case we might go to £50. After some discussion it was resolved to ask the Photographic Section to consider the modification of the present projector, by purchase of, say, a lens of 4 inches focal length, plus a conversion slide carrier.
Next business was the election of office bearers. Roley Cotter was elected Vice-President and Laurie Raynor Federation delegate. Doreen Harris volunteered as substitute Federation Delegate.
Mr. Hardie's constitutional amendment was lost.
The mooting closed at 9.20 p.m.
On 15th October there will be the greatest social event in the history of the Club. Yes, it's the 21st Birthday Party at the Dungowan! Already excitement is tense, and I can promise you a really wonderful night, full of fun and surprises. The celebrations will be continued in the bush over the week-end, and for this function many people are working hard to give us something to be remembered.
On 29th October, Mr. A. Stone will entertain us with some overseas films, including some which are bound to delight snow revellers.
Edna Stretton, Social Secretary.
Note Particularly. On the 28th October (at 3 Bond Street, at 8 p.m.) Mr. A.R. Eade will pleased to give a lecture entitled “Afterwork on Prints”. We shall pleased to see all the usual faces and any other member of the Club who would care to attend.
By Kath McKay
Adam and Eve may have lived in a flat countryside, but Paradise, by common consent and long tradition, has always been situated upstairs.
Sb up the stairway to heaven we went, on a perfect mid-winter's day, leaving the blue sea behind us and journeying through rich farmlands to the battlements above - journeying, be it understood, not like the saints of old who
“climbed the steep ascent of heaven through peril, toil and pain” -
nor even like the gentleman who prayed (to quote him almost verbatim)
“O God to us may grace be given to follow in the train”.
Ah no, our transport was otherwise. Peter, as all men know, is Keeper of the Gate, but in this Paradise was no curmudgeon of a Peter, peering through the grill and demanding a certificate of fitness before admission. (Rather like an S.B.W. committee.) Keys he may have had, but I fancy they pertained to his fiery chariot, called by common folk a jeep. In this he swept through the gate and down the mountainside to one of the villages of the plain, gathered up his pilgrims' bag and baggage and wafted them to the heavenly heights with no exertion on their part whatsoever.
A wonderful Peter this, for though his halo was not visible, a Ray of sunshine always hovered about him, and often as he walked red-gold lightning darted to his side - lightning with four legs, a bushy-tail and an enchanting smile. In short 'twas Brillig, or, as some would say, a dog.
As we explored the celestial territory, unworthy doubts crept into our mind, for on the grassy slope, bless my soul, was a goat, munching rapidly and tirelessly; and beyond him a little she-goat doing the same. They paused only to look at us and cry: “Ka-a-th!” in quavering tones, and then resumed their eating. Could this be heaven? Surely heaven was reserved for sheep. Goats traditionally went elsewhere.
Again when we reached the holy spot where Peter dwelt, and saw Pinocchio, black, white and handsome, reclining at his ease before a blazing fire, fresh misgivings arose. The boon companion of Beelzebub, here? And did not Virginia Woolf quote the unimpeachable testimony of a bishop that cats do not go to heaven? Ah well, this must be a purer other, a diviner air, where even goats and cats and dogs were welcome.
So we settled down to enjoy ourselves, housed sumptuously in an army tent with boarded sides, armchairs, tables, beds, blankets galore, kerosene heater, primus, Aladdin lamp - in fact, all mod. cons. Here we lay snug o' nights, harkening to the little brook agurgling beneath the blackberry thicket, whence it emerged to run over some spouting, into a pool specially designed for ease in filling buckets. Here too we lay sluggardly o' morns, hearing the clear resonant call of lyre birds and currawongs, the jollification of jackasses - or, if you prefer it, the cachinnation of kookaburras. And when at least we summoned courage to poke our nose over the neat half-door, there was the sun sparkling on the frosty grass, deepening the blue folds of the hills and making a shining mirror of the distant lake.
Tender converse, like as not, floated up from the lane as Ray shepherded her precious goats to their day-nursery; and Bess, Brillig's plain little black wife, ran over to bid us good morning, humbly and ingratiatingly after the manner of her kind. For she was but a village bitch, brought home by Brillig in the largeness of his heart to bear him a son and a daughter; which she did, modestly enough, in a rabbit burrow.
There were days of calm sunshine and nights when the wind roared like strong surf over the cliff tops above. There were walks along the upland pastures with their deep grass and brakes of lillipilli trees, laden with berries cerise and plum coloured, mauve and white. There was the unforgettable picture of Peter, his army boots and khaki clothing giving the scene a parade ground flavour, as he strode towards the henhouse in the late afternoon, crying: “Come along girls!” to the squad of black and tan hens marching obediently in his wake. There was the goat house to be visited - a stout little two-roomed dwelling set in a secluded spot above the orchard enclosure. Here Buttercup had her apartment and Ben had his, festooned with fresh branches of lillipilli to provide a snack when they waked hungry in the dawn.
Then, carefully excluding the goats, there was the orchard itself to be inspected, a goodly stretch of hillside won inch by inch from the bracken by Ray's untiring hands. Infant trees gave promise of flower and fruit in years to come; and past the fence ran the Ben Ricketts Highway, constructed at enormous expense of toil and sweat, giving access by jeep to the orchard and to the potato field tucked, as it wore, in a tail pocket of the hills.
And in the most sheltered grove of all was the secret garden, with its low mossy wall built by hands unknown - such a place as a lone child might have had for a playground, or a harassed woman as a retreat from the humdrum chores of the farm. Here ferns and creepers made a green twilight, and in the rich leaf mould Ray had set rows of bulbs, where already the daffodil 'hailed far summer with his lifted spear'.
An enchanted place: but after all, was not this Paradise?
“Fire or Water”: In its title Miss Joacalyn Henderson's booklet poses a straight alternative. Cause No.1 of fires is described as “stock owners who wish to provide a fresh green pick for their stock, or who wish to move their stock easily through forest country”. Burning of the “scrub” is an old pastoral practice of which most city people seem quite ignorant. The results of this practice on our catchment areas, and on the Southern Alps in particular, are described and illustrated scientifically and accurately in this booklet. It appears to be written to convince the people who have the authority to take action to stop the destruction, and a great deal of the text is composed of quotations from the findings of experts. As such it loses a little of its interest for the general reader, but gains in authenticity. The arguments apply with equal force to any catchment, including, of course, the Warragamba catchment, which includes a great part of the proposed Greater Blue Mountains National Park. A booklet like this does more good than years of talking amongst ourselves.
There is a magazine missing from the library files. It is No. 149 - January 1947. Our librarian, Jessie Martin, would be pleased if anyone could supply a copy of this number.
By “Dazed and Amazed”.
You will all have read in the August issue of the trip across the Blue Labyrinth from Bimlow to Glenbrook by Jim Brown, Phil Hall and Ken Meadows. As you are also aware the walk was later programmed and took place on 17-19th September.
Friday 17th September was a windy showery day in the City and earned intending members of the party “you'll be sorry” looks from their workmates and others. It was a bit of a scramble to get through the Friday shoppers, who seemed to be all going in the opposite direction, in time to catch the 5.21 p.m. Camden train. Upon assembly at Camden there were six - prepared to do - or else! Jim Brown, Roy Braithwaite, Tom Kenny-Royal, Ray Moore, Don Read and your chronicler (who, incidently, does not write under the pen-name of “Moorschaum”). We had taken the precaution to warn fond friends and relatives not to enlist the assistance of Search and Rescue if we were a day or so overdue.
When we reached Bimlow the clouds were clearing fast and the valley was bathed in moonlight. Everything smelt fresh and clean after the rain. This beautiful valley should be visited more frequently before it is flooded by the rising waters of Warragamba Dam.
A brisk walk of about four miles brought us to a comfortable camp site under the casuarinas on the Cox . After a light supper, far tastier than the “Monterey” Friday night struggle, we hit the hay at 11.30 p.m.
We forded the Cox immediately after our start at 8.15 a.m. on Saturday and proceeded downstream to Gogongolly Gully, where a timber track took us fairly well up the hillside until the narrowest part of the creek was reached. A narrow rock hole and a couple of pools had to be negotiated hereabouts, then the going gradually improved, as the creek bed widened, and soon after 11 a.m. we reached the lid of a tin nailed on to a tree trunk by Ken Meadows to denote the turn off. Lunch was very welcome in this ferny grove.
Soon after 12.30 p.m. we commenced the 1,000' ascent. The going was steep, but no hand over hand climbing. From the top, the general direction was North and North West along fairly open ridges to Euroka Trig. A high mountain out Kanangra way was prominent, also the Main Range near Hampton. Mr. Harris and Waratah Trig, on King's Tableland, stood out amongst the ridges to the West, and “The Carrington” chimney at Katoomba was on the north-western skyline about 15 miles away. A few waratahs in full bloom grew close to the Trig. Looking down, Erskine Crook was about 1,200' below with several ridges running into it, but all ending with an almost sheer drop of about 300' at the bottom.
About 4 p.m. we began to descend a good ridge into the Creek until about 300' above the water. Roy Braithwaite scrambled over the drop, but in lowering his pack over one of the subsequent drops, ran out of string and the pack started to roll - only one egg for tea after that! The rest of us sidled around to the right and slid down amongst lawyer vines and Kennedyas to arrive all in one piece and to be greeted by Roy with a cup of tea. How we loved that tea!! We camped on a small sandy patch and bathed in a long clear pool.
We were away again at 8.15 a.m. on Sunday. The opposite bank of Erskine Creek looked formidable, but a study of the Liverpool Military sheet showed, right against the western border, a promising ridge, going north, about l 1/2 miles downstream. We decided to go and have a look. Erskine Creek is a lovely stream - pools and rapids like the Grose - and running strongly in spite of a dry winter. There were some fine trees in the creek - because it is too rough for timber getters to come in and destroy. It was mile an hour country, and, even so, we nearly missed the creek which marked the beginning of our ridge. We still had to go a few hundred yards downstream where the steep cliffs gave place to scrubby hillside. Up we went without any trouble until the very top, where a 15' climb was necessary to surmount a rock face.
Next we went north along the ridges. An unusual feature here was the thickly wooded and green aspect of many of the ridges - very little rock showing through. Apparently too far out and too rough to be hacked about by timbermen. There were lovely clumps of wildflowers in parts, particularly Boronia Pinnata and Stylidium (Trigger Plant). Careful compass reading was required here to avoid being sidetracked into one of the surrounding gullies. The deep gash that is Erskine Creek was most impressive in the midst of the comparatively flat-topped hills.
After this we went North-east and the burnt trees around The Wheel showed up on the skyline. Leucopogons (Whitebeards) and heath-like white flowers bloomed en masse, but they were prickly on the legs. We had lunch at 2.30 p.m. at The Wheel - the first water since leaving Erskine Creek.
On we went again at 3.40 p.m., travelling east to The Oaks, where a short rest was welcome. We began the final 5 miles to Glenbrook at 5.20 p.m. - no need to bustle as there was no train until 8 p.m. Pultoneas and Daviesias made a brave show of orange in the gathering dusk and Gompholobium (Golden Pea Bush) was plentiful. We were all glad to reach Glenbrook by 7.20 p.m. and freshen up before train time.
Tough country to be astray in, this area, but good for winter walking. In summer it is very hot and best avoided.
Readers will be intrigued to learn that a new method of direction finding has been evolved by three ladies, including two members of this Club. At least it is known that they departed on the first leg of an extended trip (involving some hitching) without maps, but furnished with an alarm clock. No doubt our Presidential navigator will be eager to know if the new technique rings the bell.
It was recorded in September's gossip column that Eric Rowen arrived at Killcare on an official trip sans torch, sans steak, sans Barden, and resolutely stayed put until those essentials appeared on the following launch. Further investigations reveal that Eric, in detailing his two deputy leaders, instructed them to ensure that prospectives moved 10 yards off the trail, and that the two deputies, with one other member and one prospective, speedily fell into the rear and lost contact. A little later the prospective leading the “official party” reported spider webs across the path. Undeterred, the deputies pressed on, until emerging near a cliff edge, they noted a grasping hand appear over the ledge, clutch desperately at a sapling. Approaching, the two acting leaders, together with one member and one prospective, watched with kindly interest and offered encouraging words as the remainder of the party scaled the cliffs from the water's edge. It will be seen that the deputies, with commendable zeal, carried out their captain's instructions. If the distance at times exceeded 10 yards, this must be attributed to the ardour of the prospective members concerned rather than any dereliction of duty by the deputy leaders.
One of the drawbacks in borrowing a sleeping bag was discovered recently by a prospective (female variety). People do have memory lapses but isn't it embarrassing to ask for the return of portion of one's undergear after the bag has been returned to the owner?
Kevin Ardill issues this warning to all men: If at any time you are unfortunate enough to tent with two prospectives named - so help me, I'm a cad - Molly and Pat, the following routine is suggested. First untie knots in sleeping socks and pyjamas. Second, remove rocks from under groundsheet. Third, do me a good turn and bounce rocks on the skulls of the aforementioned prospectives.
A now pretender to the custard crown has appeared, this time - just imagine it! - a woman no less! And, what's more, one of the prospective members had the temerity to complain of the difficulty of finding the custard among the lumps of the King's custard. Claude Haynes has suggested a straight out challenge and has offered his services as taster.
Rumour has it that several members are practicing diligently so they my acquit themselves with honour amongst the food, and drink, at the forthcoming 21st Birthday Party. A recent weekend house party at Stanwell Park, arranged purely for practice purposes, was a great success. A good “Orgury” for the party!
Early last month the Walks Secretary took a week's holiday. One would imagine that this great organiser, at whose whim so many parties venture forth on great expeditions, would plunge resolutely into uncharted mountain wastes. But no, he chose “Mountain View” guest house, Burragorang Valley, where he could recline in comfort, while meditating upon the exertions and sufferings of the many S.B.W. parties carrying out the programme he had planned.
It lay on the ground all shiny and clean
The like of this object had never been seen.
Across flooded rivers and ridges miles high
It had struggled and battled with many a sigh.
Tender hands have enclosed it, we've shouted with glee
When the old bloke produced it and made pints of tea.
It lay on the ground all shiny and clean,
This object of envy (the infuser, I mean).
The old bloke was packing, with cunning galore
When rabbits checked out, he is well to the fore.
The rest of the story is sad to relate
'Cause it doesn't bring credit to Eric - his mate.
This Eric's a big bloke, he leapt in the air
His eyes must be dazzled, he landed - guess where?
It lay on the ground, all shiny and clean
But it wasn't the shape that it ought to have been.
So when you see old bloke, don't seek cups of tea
With tact and no malice say “Have one on me”.
Glenbrook Creek Shot: Ken Meadows on a rock, surrounded by a bevy of beauty; taking a photograph - of a lizard.
Mr. H.A. Lindsay's' purpose in compiling “The Bushman's Handbook” is “to guide those who wish to gain that knowledge of the bush and its ways that should be the birthright of every Australian”. “The fundamentals of bushcraft”, he says, “should be taught in the schools”. It should be “part of adult education schemes”. It should “form the basis of Girl Guide and Boy Scout Training”. But it cannot be taught by talking - “you have got to go into the bush to learn its ways, with very little talking but a great deal of demonstration and practical work”.
Many of the methods he describes are harmless enough, but others involve the cutting of trees and the snaring of animals. And these are the most vital parts of the instruction since one could not survive without water, and native vegetable foods are wholly inadequate. If all the people that Mr. Lindsay seeks to instruct follow his advice there must be a large scale destruction of plants and animals.
It is a relief, therefore, to find that most of those bodies he seeks to convert have not responded. But, he says “There is one opening: in Australia there is a large and ever-growing body of men and women who are definitely interested in this type of study. They are the members of our bushwalking clubs. Sydney has thousands of them on the rolls of the Federation….” But why should they be interested? If N.S.W. bushwalkers went into the great open spaces of the inland and far north the knowledge might save lives. The fact is, however, that those areas are too hot, flat, dry and uninteresting for walking, which is done in the south-eastern coast and ranges. In this region there are very few places which are more than a day's walk from settlement, or a few hours from water. In fact, we cannot recall one instance of a walker's life being endangered by lack of food or water (except perhaps the time when Max Gentle was “perilously short of food” on Tiwilla Buttress). A good knowledge of map-reading and first aid can be acquired in much less time than a practical working knowledge of “bushcraft”. Even for the bushcraft expert it would be much safer, and only fair to the searchers, to go straight to the nearest settlement, rather than wait around scratching out grubs or hoping for an animal to walk into the snare.
There are some people for whom such knowledge is important - those whose occupation takes them far from the net-work of civilisation, and a few other adventurous spirits. But for the ordinary person, or even the bushwalker, the usefulness of such knowledge would be far outweighed by the damage caused during its acquisition.
To those who read Mr. Lindsay's exhortations to observe the bushwalker's code - not to destroy needlessly or wantonly kill harmless creatures - this may seem a hard conclusion. It is, particularly in view of his energetic conservation work in other directions. But the logic is inescapable. Destruction of trees and animals is not conservation.
Those organising parties for October 15th are requested to phone or write to Arthur Gilroy (43 Douglas Haig St., Oatley - phone M4407, extension 321 - business number) not later than 12th October. Arthur will arrange tables and advise re drinks.
Trains leave Central on Saturday at 5.42, 6.40, 8.27, 8.54, 10.30, 11.30, 12.20, 12.44, 1.29, 3.30, 4.30, 5.0 and 6.0. On Sunday morning they leave at 8.25, 9.30 and 10.8. Trains for Sydney on Sunday afternoon leave Macquarie Fields at 2.28, 3.33, 4.33, 5.3, 5.33 and 6.32.
In every issue lately there has been a report of someone getting hurt. This time Dennis Gittoes was the unlucky one - and how unlucky! He was seated on a tarpaulin which covered a lorry load of packs and skis, on his way from the Hotel Kosciusko to Smiggin's Holes, where he was to join the S.B.W. party bound for Bott's Camp. The wind caught the tarpaulin, a pack rolled, and Dennis fell off with the pack and the tarpaulin. He fell on his back and was taken to Cooma Hospital for an X-ray. This revealed that two vertebrae had been displaced, so his back - and front - had to be set in plaster. However this didn't prevent him from walking around, and a couple of weeks later he came home to Sydney in a railway sleeper. He was in the Club a couple of weeks ago and looked very well, though somewhat unbending. In no time he was working for the magazine.
Our very boat wishes to Gwen Roots, who has announced her engagement to Sam Myers.
We are pleased to report that Peggy Bransdon is walking quite normally again after her accident at Bank Holiday week-end, though it will be a little while before she can do any hard walks.
To Topographical Tigers. Mellong 1” Mile Military sheet now available. This map shows 1 house, 1 road and a heck of a lot of wild country.
U.S. Army Ponchos. Paddy has secured a supply of extra lightweight ones. They are a good cape. They button up into a good waterproof sleeping bag or two of them clip together to make an A tent which would shelter 4 persons.
Screw top jars. Plastic 8 oz. jars 2/6 each.
Paddy Pallin, Camp Gear For Walkers.
327 George Street, Sydney. Phone BX 3595.
This month we celebrate the twenty-first anniversary of the foundation of the Club, which took place at a meeting on 21st October, 1927.
Until then there was no mixed recreational walking club in Sydney. When the few enthusiasts of those days went walking the general public stared and even laughed at them. Today there are over twenty clubs and shorts and packs pass almost unnoticed on the streets. I feel that our Club can justly claim to have had a large share in bringing about this big increase in bushwalking as a recreation.
In the twenty-one years of our existence our membership has increased from 43 to nearly 300. But our influence has not been due so much to our numbers as to the strength of our walking activities, which has been a feature since the beginning, and to our efforts to preserve the bush. Our Walks programme now lists three walks practically every weekend, and there are many additional walks arranged by groups of members.
I feel further that the outstanding success of the Club as a club is due to the fine spirit developed amongst members during their walks. Right from the beginning members have taken a wide, rather than a narrow interest in the bush. They have not been content just to travel through the bush and look at it, but have had a real love of it, have come to know it in all its moods, have helped others to appreciate it, and have worked to preserve it. In other words we have not only enjoyed to the full our bushlands, but have thought of others and the future instead of merely selfishly and shortsightedly thinking of ourselves and the present.
Looking back I think that we can celebrate our Club's twenty-first birthday with pride and can look forward to many years of bushwalking. While we carry out our objects to the full so will the Sydney Bush Walkers remain strong.
Those include those who attended the meetings of 21st October, 1927 or the 11th November, 1927.
Those who attended the meeting of 21st 0ctober, 1927 were:
At the meeting of 21st October Roy D. Rudder, Lazarus Pura and Frederick McKenzie, though not present, were deemed qualified members as from this date because they had written in answer to the notice of meeting.
Those who are included by reason of their attendance at the first public meeting on November 11th, 1927 were:
In the opinion of Myles Dunphy, who was Acting-Secretary than, Jack Debert should be regarded as a foundation member because, although he was not present at either of these meetings he had attended the two previous Mountain Trails Club meetings and knew what was afoot, but was absent on business at Orange or Bathurst.
Including Jack Debert the number of foundation members was 43.
Until the meeting of 10th February, 1928 a Chairman was elected for each meeting. Chairmen up till that date were Alan Rigby (21/10/27), Eric Dickson (11/11/27), Roy Rudder (9/12/27) and Frank Duncan (13/1/28). Jack Debert was elected Chairman and later on President at the mooting of 10/2/28. The full list of Presidents and Secretaries is as follows:
|Debert, Jack||10/2/28 - 13/9/29||Dunphy, Myles*||21/10/27 - 11/11/27|
|Duncan, Frank||13/9/29 - 13/3/31||Kilpatrick, Charles||11/11/27 - 14/9/28|
|Chardon, Harold||13/3/31 - 8/4/32||Chardon, Harold||14/9/28 - 2/11/28|
|Ritson, Clifford||8/4/31 - 9/3/34||Kilpatrick, Charles||9/11/28 - 13/9/29|
|Herbert, Thomas||9/3/34 - 13/3/36||Debert, Jack||13/9/29 - 12/9/30|
|Roots, Walter||13/3/36 - 10/7/36||Chardon, Harold*||12/3/30 - 10/10/30|
|Berry, Maurice||10/7/36 - 10/3/39||Roots, Walter||10/10/30 - 8/3/35|
|Croker, Richard||10/3/39 - 14/3/41||Lawry, Dorothy||8/3/35 - 12/3/37|
|Colley, Alex||14/3/41 - 13/3/42||Croker, Richard||12/3/37 - 10/3/39|
|Lawry, Dorothy||13/3/42 - 10/3/44||Moppett, Thomas||10/3/39 - 6/9/40|
|Stead, David||10/3/44 - 9/3/45||Moppett, Joan||13/9/40 - 12/3/43|
|Garrad, Edna||9/3/45 - 8/3/46||Galliott, Hilma||12/3/43 - 14/3/44|
|Rose, Jack||8/3/46 - 14/3/47||Druce, Beverley||14/4/44 - 13/4/45|
|Moppett, Thomas||14/3/47 -||Galliott, Hilma||13/4/45 -|
(* Acting Secretary)
Compiled from the “Minutes” book of the Mountain Trails Club by Myles J. Dunphy. September, 1948.
For some years prior to 1927 the N.S.W. Tourist Bureau had directed all inquiries concerning walking tours to the honorary secretary of the Mountain Trails Club, with instructions to write direct to the inquirers. An inquirer might phrase his or her request in a few lines but the worthy secretary, having the interests of the recreation at heart, could not frame his informative answer in similar brief terms; often an adequate reply required four closely written pages and a sketch map, perhaps more. Sometimes neither acknowledgment nor thanks were received for efforts which used up a lot of precious time, and could only have been compiled by an experienced walker.
By 1926 this work had become a rather onerous duty for one person, but as the inquiries were addressed to the Club the matter was discussed by members, from time to time, in an attempt to discover how best to handle the snowballing situation in a helpful and not discouraging manner. One good result which ensued was that some of the enquiring walkers were invited to M.T.C. meetings to take part in discussions; a few were invited to become members and did so. A fair proportion of the enquiries were from women walkers; none of those was invited to the club but their needs were just as important as those of the men.
Amongst those who attended M.T.C. meetings were Lazarus Pura (elected 5/3/1926) Oscar Blanc, C. Witham, - Pogson, - Cullinane, E. Barry, H. Weeks, F. Rice (elected 16/3/28), Bert Rees, Jack Willoughby, T. Fuller, W. Williams, E. Pawley, - Withey, - Bailey, William Livingston (elected 16/3/28), Alf Gallagher (elected 16/3/28), W. Macqueen, Jack Debert, O.W. Jones, Vic. Thorsen, - Taylor, and A. Gray.
In the meantime certain correspondence had appeared in “The Sun” newspaper relative to the matter, as follows:-
(1) Walking Trips (“The Sun”, 2/8/27) -
“Mr J Debert to walking enthusiasts:
I should like to see in Sydney a “Hiker's” Club, where “hikers” could meet and discuss routes, places of interest, etc. so fill an a long-felt want for those who go on walking trips. Many walkers no doubt prefer to go with their own friends, or even alone, rather than be bothered with organising trips: but their information would be valuable to others. And so, I would suggest a free and easy meeting place for all those who “hit the trail”. Organised trips could be arranged for those who wished and, no doubt, the scheme would be one of mutual benefit. The club should, naturally, be open to lady members for one sees as many of the fair sex on the trail as men.”
(2) Hiking (“The Sun”, 4/8/1927)
“Miss Jess Scott writes:
I and several girl friends read with considerable interest the letter of Mr. J. Debert advocating the formation of a “Hiking” club. With the approach of Spring the beauties of the countryside seem to lift their voices appealingly to the 'hiker', calling him to view their unadorned splendour. With some friends I periodically go out on walking tours, and find it a very healthful and interesting pastime. It is one which, were it easier to get information re routes and conveniences for camping, would be unsurpassed.”
(3) Walking Tours (“The Sun”, 5/8/1927)
“Mr. Myles J. Dunphy (Secretary, Mountain Trails Club) writes;
The Mountain Trails Club of N.S.W. has specialised in walking and camping tours, and the preservation of native fauna and flora and beauty spots, for the past 14 years. Any interested visitors are welcome at the meetings held second Friday every month, 7.30 p.m., at Room 3, N.S.W. Sports Club Building, side entrance, 10 Hunter Street, Sydney. The club is an amateur exploring one; its members preferring rough country right away from settlement, and for that reason membership is by invitation only, and ladies are not eligible for membership, although on some easier trips they have been included in the parties, carrying their own packs, notably to Barrington Tops, Bulga and Comboyne Plateaux, Burragorang Valley, Yarrowitch, etc. Any information as to known routes and kit will be gladly given.”
The immediate result of those letters was that the seven men visitors called at the next M.T.C. meeting held on 13/8/27: Messrs. Pawley, Withey, Bailey, Macqueen, Livingstone, Gallagher and Debert, and O.W. Jones wrote applying for membership. A walk to Garie was arranged for 28th August.
At the next meeting, held on 9/9/27, the following visitor's attended: Messrs. Pawley, Livingston, Gallagher, Thorsen, Taylor, Debert, Gray and Macqueen. Another walk was arranged from Bundeena to Helensburgh for 18th September.
At the meeting held on 14/10/27 Messrs. Livingstone, Gray, Rice and Gallagher attended.
It became plain to the Trailers that the club should do something to help the unorganized male walkers without having to break its constitution. The question was: how far could the process of absorption be carried without changing the club's unique character? Its members would not damage their bush brotherhood.
A special meeting was called for 21st October, 1927. The motion: “That the club create probationary members” was argued at length, with the result that probationary membership was thought to be unsatisfactory. Members were in a quandary; they were animated by the desire to do something for the unattached walkers who expected assistance, but they could not admit ladies to membership, or any men who lacked the trailer instinct and bushmanship.
It was decided a better plan would be to form a separate walking club, distinct from the M.T.C., having its own management, but by name or symbol to show it was formed under the auspices of the M.T.C. – it was agreed that the M.T.C. could not do less than render a public service by forming a new walking club, with an easy constitution and easy conditions of membership, – with the definite object of being a recreational walkers' club, purely and simply, and open to members of both sexes –. Some members of the M.T.C. would be pleased to belong to such a free club.
Alan P. Rigby moved that “a new walking club be formed here and now”. The motion was seconded by L. Roy Davies and carried unanimously, the members present being M.L. Berry (chairman), L.R. Davies, A,J. Crandon, A.P. Rigby, E.A. Dickson, J. Gillespie, H.G. Peatfield, and M.J. Dunphy (hon. secretary).
It was resolved that three absent members who had written the secretary in support of the matter be deemed members of the new club; they were: R.D. Rudder, L.Pura, and F.McKenzie - in all eleven members.
Thereupon the M.T.C. meeting was declared closed by the chairman and the first meeting of the new walking club was declared open (21st October, 1927). A.P. Rigby was requested to act as chairman and M.J. Murphy was appointed acting secretary. On the suggestion of M.J. Murphy the name of the new club tentatively was declared to be “the Waratah Walking Club”, because of the M.T.C. badge emblem and the affiliation or association the M.T.C. considered desirable.
The objects and constitution of the new club were drawn up immediately, the date of next meeting decided, and it was arranged that notice of meeting should be inserted in “The Sun” newspaper.
The press notice for this meeting read as follows:
(4) New Walking Club (“The Sun”, 5/11/27)
“The Secretary of the Mountain Trails Club, N.S.W. (Mr. Myles J. Dunphy) writes:-
It should be a matter of interest to all recreation walkers in the State, that primarily through previous correspondence in “The Sun”, a new walking club was recently formed, under the auspices of the M.T.C., and affiliated with it. This action should fill a long-felt want. Membership is open to all walking enthusiasts of either sex over the age of 16 years.
All interested are invited to attend the next meeting, to be held Friday, November 11, at 7.30 p.m., Room 3, side entrance, N.S.W. Sports Club Building, 10 Hunter Street, when the constitution will be reviewed, the personnel listed, and further tours arranged.”
No meeting of the M.T.C. was held on 11th November. This allowed the interested M.T.C. members to attend this second meeting of “the Waratah Walking Club”. Many visitors turned up, including a number of ladies. Mr. Eric A. Dickson was elected acting Chairman. Mr. Charles G. Kilpatrick was elected hon. secretary. The meeting discussed the Objects, Constitution and Conditions of Membership, the Club's name, and annual subscription. A committee was elected to draw up a programme of a few walks. The club was not yet named “The Sydney Bush Walkers.”
Held on 8th. December, 1927.
As before, this meeting was held in the green-painted Long Room on the First Floor of the N.S.W. Sports Club Building, 10 Hunter Street, Sydney. Thirty-eight or more persons attended. At this meeting the name “The Bush Walkers” was chosen, then altered to “The Sydney Bush Walkers,” as recorded in the Minutes of the meeting.
Well, that is the way it began. R.D. Rudder and other M.T.C. members for a while were in favour of establishing a branch club of the M.T.C. From the club's point of view this idea at first appeared sound, but the autonomous club idea won out. The main idea was to start the new club off in the right direction, with the physical pleasure of walking controlled by an ideology wherein appreciation of outdoors, mutual aid, sociability, and the preservation of wild-life, flora, and the natural beauty of the country were all combined.
It is not generally realised that the Objects of the Sydney Bush Walkers are a simplified version of the Trailers' code. As it happened they fell into good hands, and through the S.B.W. and the N.S.W. Federation of Bush Walking Clubs the whole bushwalking movement has been more or less modelled on the same Australian bushland culture.
We in our day are too close to the bushwalking movement to see it in proper perspective; many of us will not live long enough to appreciate its real importance as a driving force which is a philosophy translated into action and works, a unique educating agency and a remarkable phase of national self-appraisement based on confidence. Nobody laughs at bushwalking. Nobody could laugh at youth controlled by a noble ideal.
The great results of bushwalking - how it affects the bushwalker and his environment - lie forward in the future. When trailers, bush-trackers, bush-landers and bush-walkers have ceased to exist as active social entities and propagandists, the tangible results of their social, constructive and long-sighted planning will everywhere remind people that those undesecrated parklands were secured as environment for living by clear-headed idealists who had both feet on the ground. It will be recorded of them that they delighted in the bushland environment in their own time, and all it had of flower, fur and feather, and went to no end of trouble to preserve it for the people of the future. Every reserve, every parkland, every tree and track preserved for the future will be a monument to the sanity of bushwalkers, their brother conservators, and the authorities who helped in the good work.
by Jack Debert
Sitting in a “preserved” seat on the “Chips”, brother belongs Australia's most exclusive train, “The Fish” - one holiday Friday evening, I saw a group of hefty bushwalkers setting off down the platform to look for seats in the 5.17 p.m. Mountains train.
They looked just like bushwalkers have looked for years; nobody looked twice at them as they went past. But my mind flashed back twenty-one years, and I wondered if the walkers of today realised that in that short space of time the bushwalker had passed from a curiosity to the crowd into just a crowd commonplace.
Let's go back… 1927…
King's Birthday week-end and I, a solitary walker, was doing the Bridle Track to Jenolan Caves. I thought a good deal about the formation of a walking club in Sydney. Shortly afterwards, returning from a week-end walk down the South Coast, I drafted a letter on the subject to the “Sun”, as the train rattled Sydney-wards. On August 1st, 1927 the letter was printed (see Myles Dunphy's article - Ed.)
It brought forth into print three other letters on the subject and to me a warmly friendly note from Frank Duncan. We decided to arrange a walk - Frances Ramsay, Dympna Cusack, Anice Duncan, Cec. Goldberg, Frank and I - and we made plans for a club and what it might do.
Then I attended a Mountain Trails Club monthly meeting, listened to what Myles Dunphy and his henchmen had to say, and put forward my own ideas. There I gained some supporters, among them Alan Rigby and Walter Macqueen.
I went on a walk with the Mountain Trails Club, but still felt we should form a different walking group. So after a discussion among those interested we decided to call a meeting, by advertisement, for the purpose of forming a new club. And in October, 1927 a mixed walking club began.
At a later meeting I was appointed Chairman because nobody else would accept the job - and by the same devious means became the club's first President.
Compared with the meetings all walking was easy. We spent hours on the selection of a club name. One of the biggest bones of contention was whether we should prefix “The” to our title. One strongly supported title was “The Bush walking Club of Sydney”.
Eventually, however, after a good deal of “To 'The' or not to 'The'ing” we decided by ballot on December 9, 1927, to be called “The Sydney Bush Walkers*”.
The law of debate was a knotty problem at those early meetings. We were a small group of individualists, young and enthusiastic. We commenced meetings early, finished late. It took about three meetings to finally select the beautiful badge, designed by Alan Rigby, that we all prize so highly. The competition was keen and I often wonder what happened to other excellent designs suggested.
But even more meetings were required to frame the constitution, and at one stage in the Club's early history members were to have blazers to wear. Try it out on some of the “oldsters”. Mention “Hookers No.2” or “Bottle Green”, note the grins and see if you can get them to tell you the story.
In the meantime we walked lots, talked much, had growing pains and had to look for larger club rooms. The social side developed rapidly. We had debates and talks on camping gear, meat eaters etc. Lectures and dances were organised and one way and another we had our fun from the start.
As I said before, the bushwalker of today is taken for granted by the crowd. But not in 1927… Male members who left home in shorts had to face derisive cries of “Yah, footballer!” and it took some courage in those far off days to return home to a select Harbour suburb on the church-goer's boat on Sunday night, with grubby shorts and a hefty pack.
But we had our problems too. Private parties became a bone of contention, for instance. Many members considered that private parties took members away from club walks. Actually it was never meant for members to attend official walks only. Besides, private parties showed enterprise in finding new walks.
There was no Paddy Pallin in those days - or, rather, he was not turning out lightweight camping gear for walkers. we spent a good deal of time - and argument - in making our own gear. There was always the rucksack v swag carrier discussion. Some of the gear was both weird and wonderful but gradually we made or found the most suitable equipment for our needs.
Healthy rivalry existed between the vegetarians and the meat eaters. The former said the meateaters had to eat more to make up for the weight of meat they carried. The latter, in retaliation, claimed the vegetarians continually picked at nuts and raisins and even ate food in the middle of the night. “Nut Meat” even became famous in club songs.
Eight Hour Week-end 1928 (as it was then called) saw the introduction of “Mandelberg” (Tom Herbert) into club ranks. Older members will recall how the name was earned, but for the younger ones…
A pawnbroker, by name Mandelberg, had a shop in Castlereagh Street where David Jones' Elizabeth Street store now stands. He earned fame by knocking down the scaffolding for D.J's new building with an axe as fast as the workmen could erect it. He refused to move out of his store and his goods were displayed by hanging outside on every available inch surrounding his windows.
Tom Herbert lost nothing in emulating this last trait of the famous pawnbroker - food, equipment, etc. hung from every possible, and a few impossible, points of his rucksack as he rattled his way down the Nattai!
The social side made rapid strides from the inception of the club. There were play-readings, lectures, concerts, dances, theatre parties, etc. To quite a number of members the club's activities were so extensive that it as almost impossible to have other interests. Again, this promoted more healthy criticism - between the walkers and the talkers.
Phrases like “leaders”, “whippers-in”, “incompatibility”, “co-tenting”, “Dorman Long”, “re-unions”, “censors”, all have a club history, which if time and paper rationing permitted, would be worth recalling. For some there was an early need; others, like Topsy, “jus' growed”.
Let's pick one or two at random.
“Whippers-in”. New and prospective walkers invariably “had walked all over the Blue Mountains”. But it was early found that bushwalking was slightly different. Many prospective members soon found themselves trailing wearily at the end of the party. Hence the psychological effect of having a seasoned and experienced walker at the rear of the party saved face, end also prevented the breaking up of many trips.
“Club censors”. This expression originated early in the Club's history when two members had the offrontery to be photographed on an official trip without shirts! It was a warm day, a rest was taken - and so was a photograph. In the club rooms the next Friday night it was a sensation. “It wasn't DONE”, “it wasn't cricket”… The photographer promised not to publicly exhibit the snaps. He may even have promised to burn the film. Was it any wonder that active healthy spirits formed a “Board of Censors”, which made its appearance at many future re-unions?
Old members v. new members early became a hardy annual. Talk of limiting membership whirled round many dying camp fires.
“Incompatibility”. What fun - and what trouble - that word caused. There was the case of the young girl who proved “somewhat incompatible” to some lady members of the club. The fact that she was not approved by the S.B.W. caused a great deal of trouble. There were threatened resignations, and much talking by the then President to smooth matters over.
Narrowmindedness of some club members always caused amusement. Much time was spent around camp fires and on walks criticising folks who did the same thing each week-end by going to races, football, golf, etc. Yet the enthusiastic walkers were just as guilty!
Older members may remember the Presidential Letter one overzealous President, upon his election, sent out to every member. The club was supposed to be “at the cross roads”. But the club survived. And tucked away in my archives there's a copy of that two-page letter still.
Another crisis was on the nude bathing problem. It was a tricky business, and one or two resignations took place.
There was even, once, a very serious move made for the club to issue efficiency badges for those smart enough to pass tests; leaders were to wear a special badge. Can you imagine how well we should all have looked in our “Hooker's No.2” blazers complete with flannel flower AND efficiency badges.
It may be of interest to many members of the Federation, as well as to club members, to know that some years before the Federation came into being, a number of delegates from the Mountain Trails and S.B.W. consumed copious cups of coffee in Mockbell's Cafe on two occasions to see if the time were ripe for the formation of the Federation.
Tucked away in the Debert archives are many interesting souvenirs, records, photographs of early S.B.W. days. Occasionally in a very full life time permits of a quick glimpse into the pages of the past. They are good to look back upon, and it's hard to realise some of them happened twenty-one years ago. But those interesting incidents are a job for a pen more able than mine.
I'll conclude with a reference to sayings that you might still hear in Bush Walker walls.
Those famous - or was it infamous - Bert Bros. (Her-Bert and Der-Bert) had one that cropped up with monotonous regularity.
“The club is not what it used to be” one Bert brother would say when things were not so rosy in club affairs. To which the other brother would reply “It never was”.
And another … “After all, this is a WALKING club”. Then there was “Those who talk and walk; those who talk and never walk, and those who neither talk nor walk”.
And when there's some contentious matter to discuss at a general meeting, and you see the crowd rolling up you may say “Oh, it's the same even today”.
Maybe there is nothing new under the sun after all.
And so, very many happy returns to you all, from one who learnt much from the Club and its members, and feels all the better for having been a Sydney Bush Walker.
* Name proposed by Maurie Berry - Ed.
By Taro (The Duke by Fluke).
Sydney was - is - and forever shall be, the finest starting point for any every kind of walking.
I had the good luck to catch the fever at a very early age - 4 to be precise - when I wandered from home one sunny Sunday afternoon - and was lost, and found - at the back of Mt. Rennie - only a mile away, but enough - I had seen the blue hills melting into distance.
In those happy early eighties we lived a stone's throw from Moore Park, unlimited immensity to young eyes.
At the south end Mt. Rennie ever beckoned - invitation to a much wider horizon. Right nearby was Mt. Steele, with a properly rigged flagpole fenced in, and now the flagpole has vanished - only the concrete base remains, inscribed 1870 - and even Mt. Rennie is no more! It was probably flattened right out to improve the golf course - remember - sport is the only god worshipped in Australia. No S.B.W. would waste time by slipping up there now for an eyeful. (It is on the right of Cleveland Street when you are going to Anzac Avenue.) Right 1n the foreground looking south - is the immense emerald saucer - dotted with figures - tiny - but slogging like hell - it would not be at butterflies - so what? Beyond is Kensington and a vast stretch of Botany Bay blue - beyond the blue all the slopes of Sutherland - come round again and you see all the close packed Illawarra suburbs - and over them the southern slopes where Jollore lies. Due west are all our old friends, beginning at Prospect 24 miles away and skylining at Gangerang and Katoomba. Then on to Kurrajang falling down Colo way, then all the hills district towards Hornsby, and the bridge colossal, joining two big city blocks. Curiously this same aspect may be had by looking down Pitt Street at the G.P.O. The east view begins with the tops of a magnificent cluster of old Moreton Bay figs right at your feet, thence on to Centennial Park and Waverley Heights. Stop - shame on me - I almost forgot to tell you there is a fine if distant view of Randwick racecourse buildings.
Go up this hill - any day of the year - Sunday is best (no smoke) and you will have it all to yourself. Millions rush by N.S.E.W. and all that fine panorama gapes for an admirer.
In my baby days it was just scrub and sandhills right to Botany Bay - same looking east to Waverley ridge. Centennial Park was yet to be and now the only evidence of its past is the fenced in bird sanctuary. Do you know it?
The cricket and agricultural grounds were very much smaller - bit by bit they nibbled and now extend to Centennial Park mad Moore Park Road, swallowing the old military rifle range with its quarry and swimming hole at the top end. On the south side Mt. Rennie fell away to a large swampy area - the rubbish tip for all Sydney for over half a century, but now, in a quiet brick building with a tall chimney, they incinerate the same old rubbish.
With so much virgin country so near, it was easy to get the gentle habit of bushwalking. Where now is Kensington was known as Geebung Flat, whoppers they were too. It was also the haunt of the biggest and goldenest beetles I've ever seen. The toll bar cottage was just about where all the tram crashes occur - something spooky about this. There was a stone drinking fountain at Cleveland Street corner. I believe it is still there with its date chiselled on the front.
A delightful creek ran through the flat, probably fed from the Centennial area. Many a Saturday we kids padded out there to boil the billy and fry the chips.
Geebung Flat was a great drill ground for the military. The volunteers - yes, I said volunteers - in bright red coats, blue straw and snowy helmets - marched out there, band and all, on many a Saturday afternoon.
Many a time we kids marched back with them - in front or the band. Yes, I said in front - authority did not mind a bit (imagine the trouble at Canberra if any kids tried it nowadays). On one very special day the soldiers killed a 5 foot snake, tied it to a bulrush stalk and yours truly had the honour of marching ahead with the trophy while the band did its FF best with Mr. Gounod's Soldiers' Chorus. By the time we reached Captain Cook Hotel at top and of Moore Park I felt the most important bloke in Australia - barefoot and all - when suddenly from the roadside dashed an angry figure - I was grabbed and drug home for a belting - yes, you've guessed right - it was Mum - on the lookout for the little wretch who would not stay home! Long, long ago a cove who knew this was going to happen wrote “sic transit gloria mundi”, though as a matter of fact it happened on a Saturdee.
Another marvellous turnout for bush-minded kids was a real wild west show brought from America by Dr. Carver, a glass ball sharp shooter. There were real cowboys, with their own horses! Envy me, you kids of all ages, I saw and even spoke to real live Injuns with their wives and kids and wigwams! An extremely large cowboy showed me how to hold, fold and throw a lasso. I haven't forgotten, and if any S.B.W. wants to know how just see me - no charge. All this happened at the bottom end of Moore Park against the zoo fence. To add a final touch of realism, A. & G., a firm of signwriters still in Sydney, did a huge painted cut-out of the Rocky Mountains. And while the raids and burning atockades and banging guns were on, there was the snow-topped range to prove it. Just the stuff Hollywood is still doing. Pity the poor celluloid inoculated kids of today - they have everything, bar the real thing!
We kids had another camping ground right at home in a paddock now housing the Black and White Cab Company. We had good roomy tents which cost exactly nothing. HOW? Simple. In those generous days chaff and cornbags could be had for the asking, especially by the super-askers. We unpicked them and re-made them into A tents, floors and all. Happy, happy, Saturdays. Of course the tents were not rainproof, but somehow we were always home when it rained - Mum saw to that, alas!
Sad to relate, Dad changed his job, and we moved over right next to Redfern Railway Station. The bush wandering gave way to the fascination of choo choos, not a bad exchange - I still love the iron horses.
Luck was still with me - Mum was parlaying with a storkie talkie, so I was sent to an aunt at Mosman Bay, enchantment for yours truly as it did not include school! It was just a bush road from the ferry to the house. Luck again - Unkie had a pash for what they called gypsy teas - they just cooked everything, packed, and about 5 p.m. ambled off to a cosy nook or beach to boil the billy and master the puddens. Heaven indeed! Balmoral Beach was the favourite and the track down from the main road was exactly like the (private) tracks we used have down to North Era. We generally had the whole beach to ourselves, often staying till after dark, then ho for a glorious moonlight walk home through scented bush! Cedar rowboats could be hired for a bob or two and Unkie took me miles round all the little coves and beaches which still abide at lovely Mosman.
School again, but not in Crown Street, where, from the top floor classroom I could see my blue hills to Gangerang any day. In due course I arrived at the stage of the first job - in the City. It was a fine excuse for lots more walking - most of the toilers walked to work, though there were cissies of course, who would snatch a lift. Plenty of two horse tabletop lorries trotted to town early every day, and lots of youngs and no so youngs would leap up and sit shoulder to shoulder, leaving some 40 legs dangling like a fringe all round. The drivers and the neddies never minded a bit - in those good old civilised days before the poison of progress.
Being then fairly affluent on 5/- per week, out of which I collected 6d., I saved and bought a stop watch - hold your breath - it cost me 7/6d. new!
After that every walk was a flat out, with one eye on the watch. Strange to relate, those distances are still there quite unaltered. If any of you feel inclined you may have a go at them. Leave the G.P.O. in George Street at peak hour and arrive at Orchard's Corner, Railway Square, and do it in 10 minutes (1 mile). I doubt whether our £5,000 electric trams make it in that time in 1948. Legs forever, hooray!
A favourite Sunday morning walk was from Railway Square, across Redfern, through Centennial and Waverley to Bondi Beach; and there was not a brick or a house in sight! Just sand and struggling scrub. The beach was tough, but easier than the scrub, then on top of the ridge was a hard road loading to the lighthouse. A look over the Gap, then back via Rose Bay and Darlinghurst in time for lunch. This was all about 1895-6.
A bigger walk was Parramatta and back (in 6 hours). The bush (Ramsay's Bush) began at the Plough Inn where Haberfield is, and where Liverpool Road meets Parramatta Road. There was not much in the way of houses on the right side of the road after that. The Bath Arms at Burwood was the next special spot - it had a water tap - also others - but not for me. The really wide open spaces began after leaving Homebush, next landmark being the old Newington College lodge gate, though the College was already moved to Stanmore. On one occasion I drove me a bit harder, taking the train hone. My diary records the time for every mile - 12, 13, 11, 12, 14, and so on for 2 3/4 hours - an average of 12.41 minutes per mile. Its all yours for the doing. It was a very lonely walk - only an odd sulky or two. Now any yard of it is as hasty as George Street, anytime. There was nothing to see until Auburn, where from the top of Gibbon's Hill the whole West opens out. But now, what a change! The thousands of trees have given way to housetops and factories. You must look West from St. Mary's hill to get what the Auburn view used to be. I little knew that I was to become wedded to Auburn and that mountainscape.
Another lonely and bushy walk was out to Maroubra, which was exactly as North Era is now, but quite shelterless save for one stony outcrop, which had a lonely drip, drip into a jam tin. The track on to La Perouse was real National Park stuff, I never crossed to Kurnell because no boats ran in those days. But I did get there - 40 years later.
About 1900 Mr. S. Hordern used to keep me in odd cash. I worked on the fourth floor of the factory and, once again, by inflexible fate, the blue to Gangerang was mine any clear day. Than I changed to a job at Clyde, which drove me to live at Auburn, where, after long seeking, I found the allotment which gave me my lifelong blue distance for keeps!
To get back to the track again - in 1900 we chaps had a regular Sunday walk to Bronte. We left about 6, going out through Centennial Park - dewy and lovely always - to Waverley tram terminus. Then, ho, for a wild dive, glide and slide, skiing down the sandy runways and tufty grass, and after that the champagne of Bronte baths! A play and a bask, then a walk back again to a late breakfast about 10 a.m. No one dreamed of tramming, it would have seemed ridiculous.
Then began a long spell of week-end camping at Little Coogee - fussily called Clovelly nowadays. Half a dozen pals would go out on Friday nights and stay till sunset on Sunday, often spending a whole 1/- at a drama or opera on Saturday night - then home to tentville and a cuppa, and perchance a swim! Plutos wallowing in luxury! We left all our goods in the 9×7 tent and in years never lost a thing. But now - not only the contents, but the tent itself would be pinched! Yes, I'll say progress is a mocker! The whole outfit - primus and all - no wood out there - was packed in a standing cupboard and stored at a nearby cottage. Think of this, you bureaucrat-bounced citizens! For years we erected that tent on a public reserve, and never asked permission from anyone, and were never interfered with. Today, if you wanted to put up a tent in your own backyard, some damned ordinance or tinpot councillor would forbid.
So there you are, brothers and sisters, we sonileiers had all the fun of the fair for nearly nix - poor in cash - bat rich in freedom.
By Allan Hardie.
David Stead's lecture in the Club room on the 20th August, 1948, tracing the evolution of species from the single-cell protoplasm, through cartilaginous fishes and strong-boned mammals to the cerebrated homo sapiens, reminded me that even bush-walking clubs had their stages of evolution. When I first came into contact with the S.B.W., this club was just emerging from its embryonic stage and entering on its cartilaginous epoch, inasmuch as visits to each other's home were relied on mere to hold the members together rather than regular meetings in a regular meeting place. This stage of development may be noticed today, if one observes the conduct of those clubs just newly becoming affiliated with the Federation. But our club, after twenty-one years' existence, has now assumed the proportions of a huge, joint-stock enterprise, a veritable factory turning out bushwalkers by the score, with its team of office-bearers doing their routine work with mathematical precision, and with its committee, like a board of directors, jealously scanning the credentials of prospective members, and making them do their pattern walks.
But that was not always so. When I joined S.B.W., they did not make you do any test walks: rather they solicited and inveigled you into the club. Moreover, there were so few that you were thrown together with the same persons, whenever you went out on an official walk. Hence the early club members got to know each other intimately: they knew each other's peculiarities and foibles, and they sang songs about each other.
It was on New Year's Eve, the 31st December, 1927, when I first met members of S.B.W. With my Scotch friend, I had walked over twenty-four miles that day from Bell to Bilpin (near Kurrajong Heights), and was feeling very tired as I prepared our camp for the night. Along the road came four walkers, two men and two women, all carrying packs. One of the men gave me a visiting card, and introduced himself to me as Mr. Charles Kilpatrick, telling me that he was the Honorary Secretary of a newly-formed club in Sydney, and invited me and my mate to join it. Then he began to unfold to me the wisdom they had gained by forming a club, which allowed them to pool their ideas. The straps of one's haversack need not hurt the shoulders, he explained, because a towel placed around the neck and under the straps would act as a pad. Nor need one have to put up with the torture of blistered feet: after letting out the water with a needle, a piece of sticking plaster placed over the blister would act as a new skin. I marvelled at this collective knowledge. Then one of the girls spoke of their having done a walk in the moonlight to Mount Wilson, and I was thrilled to the core with thoughts of romance. The other girl continued the conversation by speaking of an ingenious member of their party who had invented a shower bath, which he suspended from the bough of a tree, pouring hot water into it, and cleansing himself of his body odour to his heart's content. This resourceful person turned out to be none other than the evergreen Taro.
During 1928 I lost my walking companion, he having become a Sunday School teacher and obsessed with the idea that walking on the Sabbath was irreverent. So, forced to seek new company, I looked up the visiting card, rang up Mr. Kilpatrick, and attended my first meeting of the Club, then in premises above the Boy Scout Shop in George Street, toward the end of 1928. A visiting speaker had just given a discourse on the art of carrying equipment, which was followed by an “all in” and “free for all” discussion. Two schools of thought emerged, those in favour of the rucksack newly coming into vogue, and those championing the cause of the military haversack, while a third minority group, led by Myles Dunphy, waged a kind of guerrilla war with arguments for the swagman's way of bearing his burden.
Next came my first walk and camp with the Club. I say “with” because it was shown on the walks programme; but, as a matter of fact, it was a solo walk in the twilight from Lilyvale to Burning Palms. As I came down the ridge between Burning Palms and Era late on that Christmas Day in 1928, I could see only one fire at Burning Palms, and that belonged to the one and only camp there, that of the S.B.W. No shacks had been built then, because the depression that brought the shacks with it had not yet arrived. There were only two club-members in the camp, namely, Rene Brown and Maurice Berry, the latter (as he still does) dividing his loyalty between S.B.W. and the Mountain Trailers. He entertained me with the story of how Burning Palms came to got its name. The withered leaves underneath some cabbage-tree palms gave certain members of the Mountain Trails Club the impression of trees burning and yet never being consumed, just as Moses in antiquity was impressed by the burning bush that gave the Presbyterian Church its Latin slogan, “Noe Consumebatur”. On Boxing Day the S.B.W. Club turned up in full force.
My next walk was out to Bushwalker's Basin from Leumeah on the following Australia Day week-end. With furtive glances Frank Duncan observed my form over the four miles, and before the end of January I was a member of the Club.
Next Easter came my first really strenuous walk with the Club - from Blackheath along the Grose River to Richmond in the days when tracks had not properly been made. Only six persons (four men and two girls) turned up, so strenuous the trip promised to be, and the leadership was left to an eighteen-year old prospective (how the times have changed!), a ruddy-cheeked youth whose only topic of conversation was his description of solo walks to Kanangra Walls and Thurat Tops. In this way I met Max Gentle.
But what impressed me most of all in those early days were the house-warming parties, which found their place in the walks programme. At the Duncan's home at Castlecrag furniture would be unceremoniously shifted to the back-yard to make room for bushwalkers to dance and sleep; while the Austens would annually throw their home open at Concord, to synchronise with the Public Schools' Regatta. On one occasion the play, “The Warrior's Husband”, dealing with the ancient Amazons and Trojans, was enacted in their backyard to the accompaniment of barking from their neighbours' dogs. Another annual event was the rehearsal at Rene Brown's home at Artarmon on the Sunday before the entertainment in St. James' Hall. When the Club became too large for the Austen's home, the two-storey abode of the Roots family at Burwood was the next to be converted into a rendezvous on Regatta Day. Here a notable competition was once held: from childhood photographs displayed around the house you had to guess what members were represented. Two girls won, and for their prize they were allowed to have the first pick of the victuals for supper.
So the Club was kept together in the early days, the days of the tireless conservationists, the fruits of whose labours the present generation are now enjoying. When I hear the latter asking for a motor road along Narrow Neck, I wonder what the Club will be like twenty-one years from now.
By Tom Herbert.
Our Club now looks back over 21 years of its history, and not the least of the highlights is the Club's record in the sphere of conservation, and in that sphere “Operation Garawarra” must go on the record as one of the major victories of the bushwalking movement.
The Club, of course, does not claim all the credit for the victory, but it is justly proud of the part it played with kindred clubs and organisations in preserving for posterity a choice area of coastal bushland that will always be a joy of recreational walkers and campers.
The name Garawarra is a combination of Gara (Garie) and Illawarra, and was suitably chosen when bushwalkers started the agitation for the resumption of the Gara Estate and surrounding bushland, totalling in all 5,000 acres. The full objective was not achieved and at present the reserve consists of 1,465 acres adjoining the southern boundary of National Park, with the privately owned lands at North Era; Era, and the head of Black Gin Creek breaking a continuous reserve of glorious coastal scenery. Even the gem of the Reserve, Burning Palms beach, is somewhat tarnished by the presence of many unsightly shacks on the southern slope of the northern headland in the Gara Estate.
The first record we have of a bushwalker “discovering” Burning Palms is from Myles Dunphy, who, with the instinct of an explorer, followed southward the trail from “the Posts” just off the Garie Road in July 1913. Those who know Myles can imagine his ecstacy as he explored what was then a primitive paradise, apparently frequented only by occasional fishermen. Cabbage tree palms reared their heads on the terraced slopes that ended almost on the beach. Trees, vines and shrubs grew in tropical profusion and vandalism had not shown its ugly scars.
The name “Burning Palms” became attached to the place arising from a small incident. At night Myles set a light to some dead cabbage tree palm leaves and hoisted them aloft. The beacon was observed by some campers further north, who lit a flare in reply.
As time went on the need for protecting the place became of first rate urgency. Timber getters had become active, hunters with rifles and dogs were playing havoc, the wild flower glutton was reaping a harvest, and cattle roamed their wilful way.
Myles Dunphy, as Secretary of the Mountain Trails Club, one of the very few walking Clubs of the day, had his Club pressing hard for reservation, but all they could get from officialdom was a statement that reservation was not warranted. That was in 1925 and, temporarily balked, the members of the Mountain Trails Club, and the Bush Tracks Club did all they could in a voluntary capacity to patrol the area and stem the tide of vandalism.
In 1927 the Sydney Bush Walkers came into existence and some Mountain Trails Club members were actively associated with the new club, which was open to both sexes. Right at its birth the S.B.W. met its first conservation task and as the Club's membership grew so did the intensity for “Operation Garawarra”.
During the depression years of the early 1930's bushwalking became more and more popular, and those genuinely attracted to bushwalking as distinct from the passing vogue of “mystery hikes” formed new Clubs, which were immediately enlisted in the growing army for the battle of Garawarra.
An important step in the campaign was the formation in 1932 of the New South Wales Federation of Bush Walking Clubs, thus bringing together for combined action the whole bushwalking fraternity. The immediate and urgent objective was Garawarra.
Publicity in the press, printed handbills, deputations to Ministers of the Crown, and correspondence with all organisations likely to be sympathetic, roused more and more enthusiasm, and to cap it all the petition to The Minister for Lands was drawn up and nearly 5,000 signatures obtained.
The work of obtaining these signatures was immense, as large numbers of non-club walkers had to be contacted at Railway Stations and in the bush at week ends, and other people genuinely interested had to be sought out.
In due course the petition was presented to the Minister for Lands, the Hon. E.A. Buttenshaw, and the outcome was the dedication of 1,300 acres for public recreation on August 17, 1934. The new reserve was named Garawarra Park and there was a definite promise from the Minister that as long as he was Minister for Lands Garawarra would remain roadless, although it was not officially recognised as a primitive area.
On January 25th, 1935 seven trustees were appointed to control Garawarra Park. They were Messrs. H.W. Whiddon and W.F. Leighton Bailey, of the National Park Trust, E.J. Ryan and A.H. Fackender of the Bulli Shire Council, J.V. Turner and W.J.Roots of the N.S.W. Federation of Bush Walking Clubs, and G.P. Allman, Under Secretary for Lands.
Joe Turner and Wal Roots were two S.B.W, members who had done yeomen service in the fight for Garawarra, and it was fitting that they should be elected to act as Bushwalkers' representatives on the Trust.
Theo Atkinson (Rucksack Club) replaced Wal Roots when he resigned, and I replaced Joe Turner when he resigned.
The Bushwalkers' Trustees have had no easy task over the years as it must be said that as a minority they had to withstand strong pressure to allow permissive occupancies to remain on the Reserve, and also to fight strenuously against a determined move to have Garawarra added to National Park.
In the depression years and prior to the Park being dedicated many shacks and permanent camps were erected in the vicinity of Burning Palms, and one shack in the jungle south of Burning Palms had been built of trunks of palm trees. Horrible damage had been done to the natural landscape and despite stubborn resistence the unauthorised squatters were ejected from the Park.
A few well-conducted permanent campers who had been there for some years before the Park was dedicated were allowed to remain under permissive occupancy, and the revenue from their rentals helps to finance the Park administration, which depends chiefly on a small Government subsidy.
Small additions to the original grant have brought the total acreage to 1,465.
Garawarra has to some extent recovered from the blitz of the vandals of years ago, and for the last ten years a ranger has been paid to patrol the Park at week-ends.
What Garawarra could have been but for the efforts of Bushwalkers is vividly illustrated by the village of shacks and humpies that appal the eye on the adjoining Gara Estate.
In 1931 Mr. C. Hungerford, farmer, of Bilpin, obtained a Conditional Purchase Lease in the valley of the Grose River which included what is now Reserve 63,521. On the Eight-Hour Week-end he started to ringbark the trees on that flat, but, fortunately, a small party of bushwalkers was camping in the Blue Gum Forest that week-end. Some of them were members of the Mountain Trails Club and some belonged to The Sydney Bush Walkers. On hearing the chopping, they approached Mr. Hungerford, and succeeded in getting him to stop ringbarking and to agree to sell them his rights in the area for £130, provided it was paid by 31st December, 1931.
At that time there was no N.S.W. Federation of Bush Walking Clubs (it was formed in July, 1932) so, from the members of the Mountain Trails Club, the Sydney Bush Walkers and the Wild Like Preservation Society of Australia was formed the Blue Gum Forest Committee, viz:-
On 12th February, 1932, Miss Dorothy Lawry was elected to fill the vacancy on the Committee caused by Mr. Chardon's resignation.
The arrangement with Mr. Hungerford was confirmed at a meeting the Committee had with him in The Blue Gum Forest on 15th November, 1931, at which Mr. J.C. Lockley (“Redgum” of “The Sydney Morning Herald”) was present. On the way up Govett's Leap Creek on the return journey to Blackheath, Mr. Lockley commented on the great, rocky “pylon” an the left, which was later officially named “Lockley Pylon”. The “S.M.H.” gave valuable publicity to the purchase of The Blue Gum Forest by bushwaIkers and other nature lovers, and their gift of it to the community for a recreation reserve.
The Wild Life Preservation Society donated £25, bushwalkers and tree lovers gave £25, and Mr. W.J. Cleary lent the Committee £80 free of interest for two years, so Mr. Hungerford received his £150. The Blue Gum Forest Committee then arranged with the Lands Department for the dedication of the area as a Reserve for Public Recreation, and advised the Departmental officers of the surrounding areas that were suitable for reservation.
By further appeals and donations, as well as from the proceeds of various entertainments they arranged, the bushwalkers raised the £80 and on 1st December, 1933, repaid Mr. Cleary's loan.
By Dorothy Lawry.
The editor asked me to write an article on the birth of the magazine, and as I was at the meeting of the S.B.W. at which the suggestion was first made that we should have a Club Journal and then became one of its first Publishing Committee, I suppose I know as much about its birth as anyone now active in the Club. However, 1931 is quite a while ago so I refreshed my memory by browsing through some of the early issues. In No. 13, of Juno 1933, I found the following Editorial by Brenda White, which is to the point, so I quote it in full.
“When the Publishing Committee brought out the first issue of the “Bushwalker” in June, 1931, it was rather in the nature of an experiment. We thought it was high time a Club of our standing had some kind of a paper, either official or unofficial, in which the members could air their views (and talents) in prose and song. On putting the matter to a General Meeting, we got with rather a disappointingly lukewarm reception - the Club as a whole did not seem inclined to take up the suggestion, so it was ours for a private venture. Half a dozen enthusiasts banded together, threw in the nucleus of a working fund, and 'The Bushwalker' came into being, with Marj. Hill as Editor.
“We are greatly indebted, as are so many others, to Myles Dunphy for lots of the spade work - in fact, on looking through No. 1 we find that it was entirely written by Marj, Rene Browne, Taro and the ever obliging and capable Myles, who also made arrangements for the printing.
“Marj. said in her editorial: 'This first publication is brought forward with the hope of future continuous help and patronage of our members; and in this respect the Publishing Committee invites them to consider their various experiences in the light of common interest to fellow members, and to hand in clearly written accounts, in serious or humourous vein, together with personal items or jokes concerning members or walking. Constant features of future issues will be reports of social events and equipment section.' We did not know what kind of a reception our little one would get, but hoped for the best - and, as sometimes happens to optimists, we were not disappointed. So we gaily went our way, worrying long-suffering people for contributions, and really their cheerfulness under provocation is amazing, and will probably earn them a reward when they 'gather at the river' (not the Kowmung).
“At length we arrived at our little one's first birthday, which we celebrated in a fitting manner by issuing our First Annual Number. A few weeks later we a received a nasty jolt - a little pink paper made its appearance in Sydney - free, mark you - and it bore on its title page the legend - 'The Hiker and Bushwalker'. Seeing we had not registered that pet word of ours, 'Bushwalker', we could not prevent other people from using it, so we decided on the rechristening of our infant and legal adoption by the Club, and now on its second birthday we wish most sincerely to thank all those who have given their support, both literary and financial.”
And now, in October, 1948, we have come to the Club's 21st birthday celebrations and this special issue of “The Sydney Bushwalker”, the ordinary issue of September, 1948, having been No. 1.66. The publishing committees certainly have had the “continuous help and patronage of our members”! But the newer members may want to know more of the babyhood of our magazine…
The “half a dozen enthusiasts” who banded together and became the first Publishing Committee of “The Budhwalker” were :
Misses Marjorie Hill (Editor), Brenda White, Rene Browne and Dorothy Lawry, and Mr. Myles Dunphy.
To finance the journal we each threw in 10/ which was refunded to us by the Club when it adopted “The Sydney Bushwalker” as its official journal. No 8 of 1st August, 1932, was the first issue to carry the new name and the Club's blessing. In No. 10 the names of Marjorie Hill and Brenda White changed places and Brenda continued to edit “The Sydney Bushwalker” until the beginning of 1936, when she resigned in order to launch a magazine for the Coast & Mountain Walkers - “Into the Blue”. Under Brenda White's editorship it was, of course, a success from the start.
No. 23, of February 1935, was the last number to bear the names of the original Publishing Committee. From No. 24, April 1935, we miss Marjorie Hill and Rena Browne's names, but gain Marie Byles, Graham Harrison and Jack Debert.
The First Annual Number to which Brenda White referred in her editorial quoted above should not be confused with “The Bushwalker” annuals as we know them now. It was a duplicated number like all the rest of our Club magazines, with the exception of the three printed Annuals of “The Sydney Bush Walker” which the S.B.W. published in April, 1934, November, 1935, (instead of that October as planned) and November, 1936. In 1937 the first Annual published by the N.S.W. Federation of Bush Walking Clubs appeared, as “The Bush Walker” and the S.B.W. retired from that field.
Our Club magazine used to appear every second month, and usually sold at 1/ per copy, but every now and then we found we had a slight surplus in kitty and that the magazine was a page or so smaller than usual, so that issue would be sold at 9d a copy. This was how it was to the end of 1936, but, if you have a complete set of magazines you will find that, although there is no break in the numbers, there was no issue in April, 1934, nor in October or December, 1935. This was because the Publishing Committee was then busy getting out the printed “Annuals”. The 1936 issues appeared in January, March, May, July, September, but not November, again because of the “Annual”.
Under the editorship of Marie Byles, who had followed Brenda White, some changes were made in January, 1937 - A Sales Manager (Bill Mullins) was adopted and annual subscriptions for the magazine were instituted; and the magazine became a quarterly instead of a bimonthly publication.
The April, 1937, (No.33) issue was the first to carry a map; our first advertisement had appeared in No. 2, of April, 1931, and was that of Mr. F. A. Pallin of 93 Bent Street, Lindfield. It stated that “a card to the address below will bring me into the Club any Friday” so evidently our magazine is just a little bit older than Paddy's business.
Talking of No. 2, in the Social Notes there appeared the following:
“Mr. and Mrs. Roots are to be congratulated on the birth of a Son. We hope he will not put Gwynneth's nose out of joint too much”. And now Gwen and David are both members of the Club!
By 1937 Club members had become so used to their magazine that they did not appreciate its appearing only once every three months, so in October of that year appeared the last “quarterly”. And in December, l937, we saw for the first time “The Sydney Bushwalker” in its present form, cover and all. The S.B.W. had bought a duplicator; Bill Mullins and his assistants had undertaken to do the work of production; the journal had become a monthly, and it sold at 3d a copy!
In April, 1938, Marie Byles resigned the editorship as she was busy with preparations for her trip to Western China, and I was the editor for the next four years, but by that time the babyhood, and most of the growing pains, of our Club magazine had passed into history. And in the Club library, bound within the covers of those old issues of “The Sydney Bushwalker” you will find much Club and personal history, and many happy memories, any Friday evening that you care to browse there.
It was a thing of shining beauty that first tent. My cobber Dick and I had bought a dozen yards of aluminium painted Airship fabric - a remnant from the 1914-18 war. The tent was cut and laboriously fashioned on Mother's sewing machine. Its first trip was in Easter 1919 through the English Lakes per push bike. Shortly after that I got a job in London and before long I was at holts with the Matron of the Y.M.C.A. for hanging a newly oiled japara sheet on a line on the flat roof. I must day she had reason to be upset for the wind had unfortunately brought my precious sheet into contact with her precious washing.
In 1926 I arrived in Sydney and being a Boy Scout, I soon found my way to the Scout Headquarters and the Scout Shop. On enquiring after light weight camping gear, I was shown a 6×8 calico tent and fly at which I uttered the prescient remark that there was a wonderful opportunity for someone to start making light weight camping gear in Sydney.
The scene changes, we pass lightly over a couple of years spent in the bush and then back to the fleshpots of Sydney.
In October 1930 my wife and I set out for a canoe trip down the Shoalhaven. On the way out we had registered our votes in the State Election. At Marulan on the Sunday morning, we learned that Jack Lang had won the election. We had an eventful and enjoyable trip but on returning to the office I found that Jack Lang had so frightened the financial institutions with his talk of a Capital Levy and what not that my particular financial institution had decided it could dispense with the services of 20 or so clerks. I was included in that 20.
I remember to this day the feeling of relief I had as the news was broken to me. I hated pen pushing anyway. I had come all the way from England to dodge it and then landed back to it. And now I was free again. The future was dark and cloudy but I felt as though a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I know for certain that I would never return to an office job. Then came back to me my earlier thought about lightweight camping gear. Camping and the out-of-doors was a passion with me. I knew what was wanted and in a sort of way I knew how to make it.
The spare bedroom became the first Paddymade Workroom. A secondhand treadle machine the first piece of machinery. Soon I was doing well enough to warrant moving into the City and I rented a dingy room in George Street. I had hardly moved in before the Government Savings Bank suspended payment which immobilised all my tiny capital.
In the meantime my wife secured a job and helped to supplement my meagre earnings.
In 1931, Oliver Wulf, then a lad of 15, joined me and he has been my right hand man ever since. He is now doing the behind the scenes job of Factory Manager and is therefore seldom seen nowadays in the shop.
From the beginning the Sydney Bush Walkers showed a helpful interest in my enterprise and I must here record gratitude for the many kindnesses shown to me by members of the Club.
In a way the growth of the “Paddymade” business is a reversal of the usual law that Demand creates a Supply. In this case it was a question of Supply creates a Demand. Prior to my starting in business if a person wanted to go bushwalking he had to make his own gear. This naturally limited the number of walkers to those who were able to make their own outfit or persuade a friend to do it for them. When a supply of lightweight gear became available, more people were able to go walking.
As more and more people began to take to Bushwalking, it became necessary to explain the fundamental principles of the game and after persuasion from my friend Dick Graves, I wrote that little book which is known affectionately as the Bushwalkers' Bible. Here again bushwalking and canoeing friends assisted with contributions.
In 1932 the business was moved to larger premises at 312 George Street and in 1936 another move was made to the present address.
The war years interrupted the flow of materials and put lots of spanners in the works. Bushwalkers in common with the rest of the community were caught in the whirlpool of war and some alas never returned.
We still feel the effects of war and it may be years before the orderly flow of materials will be resumed, but bushwalking as a recreation is growing in strength from year to year. I feel very proud to serve the walking fraternity and to be able in some small measure to assist in the promotion of its welfare.
The river flats of the Hawkesbury, near the Colo junction, formed some of the first farm land in the colony of New South Wales. Local legend says that in those early days, a stranger entered the locality, his legs and arms bleeding and his skin torn to shreds by vines and jagged rocks. The man had walked down the Colo River.
Little is known of the early history of the Colo, except that it was considered as a possible railway route to the West, in the latter half of last century.
According to a writer in the Sydney Herald of 1878, “the Blue Mountains railway may have been a very fine thing to accomplish. The zig-zags, the huge climb, the wonderful gradients, and the snake-like curves have been the admiration of the unlearned, but they have been the wonder of the skilled engineer.
Since the published accounts of Mr. Townsend's remarkable explorations in the Colo Valley, it has been realised that a better and less costly route could have been found. There is an extra-ordinary difference between the existing zig-zag railway, and all other railways seen in Europe and elsewhere. In these latter cases, the lines invariably run up a valley on the one side, have their summit level on the watershed line and descend by a valley on the other side. On the Blue Mountains railway, the state of things is quite different. The summit level instead of being at Rydal, the true watershed line between the coast waters and the Murray tributaries, is at Clarence, many miles nearer Sydney. Instead then, of ascending 3000 foot in 75 miles, the line actually climbs 3000 feet in 30 miles, a most enormous difference”.
Referring to the Colo Valley proposal, he says “a practical route has actually been pointed out, just where one would be looked for, following up a valley, and rising 3000 feet in 100 miles. The proposal involves considerable tunnelling, in which respect it resembles those European lines, already mentioned. Let us have the survey made, as quickly as possible”.
Seven years later, in 1885, a railway route was surveyed up the Colo valley, and a pack horse-track constructed along the river.
It was in 1931 that the late Gordon Smith and I started from Capertee Railway Station, on a walk to Kurrajong via the Colo valley.
Daybreak found us walking along the roadway towards Glen Alice. It circled round the heads of Coco creek, and after passing under the shadow of spectacular sandstone walls, a more open countryside was reached over which were scattered numerous sheep stations. We had left the aptly termed Tower Mountain behind us, and were soon abreast of the Red Rocks on our right. The conical Tyan Peak appeared to the North, and it seemed to be the highest mountain in the district.
On reaching the Capertee River crossing, we left the Glen Alice road, and followed that sluggish river downstream. The river itself was a chain of water-holes, fringed with river oaks and occasional willows. Along the broad flats we passed acres of lucerne paddocks, and then decided to camp a night on the river bank downstream. Naturally, we felt very tired, having on that hot summer days walked 27 miles along a hard rocky road. We carried only 40 lb packs but had no sleep at all on the train journey of the previous night.
Walking down the Capertee river next morning the valley was reminiscent of Burragorang but here the cliffs rose higher and were much cleaner cut. An abandoned Oil Shale Mine was passed (it was later to become the site of Glen Davis) and soon we reached the junction of the Running Stream. Then a track was followed along the southern bank of the Capertee for a further 5 miles amid the rugged grandeur of mighty sandstone walls. From this point, known is Barne's Flat, a break was seen in the sandstone walls on the northern side of the valley. There was a basalt ridge leading up to it.
On the following morning this basalt ridge was chosen as our way of access to the higher sandstone tableland beyond, because we wanted to climb Mt. Uraterer, which lay in the same direction. Late that afternoon its summit was reached and we rested there to view the expansive cyclorama. In the foreground was a maze of wooded gullies and cliffs and crags. We considered the great outlook for some time. Nightfall found us with our tent under the quince trees there and within a few yards of an excellent spring.
Leaving Uraterer next day we found our way back to the Capertee river after some difficulty and reached our campsite there in the late afternoon.
Following the Capertee downstream, the bridle track hugged the southern bank, and saved us much time the next day.
Two miles before the Wolgan junction the track vanished and we plunged into the roughest walking that we had up till this time experienced. The banks were formed of heaped up boulders, overgrown with blackberry, lawyer vines, lantana and nettles. It was an enervating experience and after doing a mile and a half in four hours camp was made in the only spot where it was possible to lie down.
I suggested giving up the venture, but Gordon would not agree, so next morning we pushed on to the inflow of the Wolgan.
Below this point the river assumes the name of Colo and flows swiftly between huge boulders for one mile after which there is a mile long stretch of sandbank - a pleasant relief. Scrambling over boulders and bashing our way through lawyer vines then became the order of things, alternating with short stretches of sand bank. Frequent waist deep wading was necessary and on one occasion I became alarmed to see Gordon knee deep in quicksand.
The cliffs on either side now presented a more broken appearance and we saw gigantic sandstone caves at great heights above the river.
The Wollemi creek was soon flowing in from the north between towering cliffs, and we camped for the night on a sand bar, half a mile or so further down the Colo. Next day, on continuing down the river, the sandbanks vanished and we found that clambering over boulders was good for all round muscular development. The sandstone in places had a topping of ironstone which made it slippery.
The Colo river is in the form of long smooth pools, alternating with rapids where the water flows through barriers of rocks. Those barriers were usually the only practical crossing places. The going was frightfully rough and it seemed that around each bend the inevitable precipice rose sheer out of the water, compelling us to cross to the other side.
The monotony of rock hopping was broken by a rough passage through lawyer vines and blackberrv bushes. We were very disappointed in the fact that the blackberry was not in fruit. The pools teemed with porch and eels at this time and grilled fish provided a welcome addition to our menu.
At the close of the third day from Wollemi creek we reached the Wollangambe junction and we found that the most scenic parts of the Colo had been left behind. In most places the towering walls of sandstone rose almost from the water's edge, but in places a cliff face of more moderate height was seen from the foot of which descended a forest clad slope to the waters of the Colo.
Below the Wollangambe junction the old surveyors' pack horse track was located on a steep hillside on the southern side of the Colo. It strayed from the stream and for a great part of the way wriggled round the steep hillsides, hundreds of feet above. Bushes had overgrown the track and landslides obliterated large portions of it but we managed to follow it during the next two days down to Armstrong's orange orchard, just above Upper Colo. From this point a road led to Kurrajong. This was the completion of our 11 1/2 days walk from Capertee Railway Station via Mt. Uraterer and the Colo River.
The Tigers hunted as a pack for a brief three years. The name was given them by admiring rabbits after a marathon 70 mile trip from Wentworth Falls to Cloudmaker and back to Katoomba via Carlon's Head (before pitons), on Anzac week-end 1937, and they faded out by 1939 or 1940 as the war got under way and its members were scattered.
The leader was Gordon Smith, vocerifously assisted by Jack Debert. On the original trip there were these two, Hilma Galliott, Max Gentle (guide), Dave Stead, Bill McCosker, Len Scotland, Alex Colley and Dot English. On later trips there appeared a few additions in the shape of Jess Martin, Mary Stoddart, Bert Whillier, and later Tim Coffey, Irving Calnan and Bill Hall, and a few droppings-out occurred in the shape of Bill McCosker and Len Scotland, but these formed the nucleus of a gang who were off every week-end doing collosal feats, reports of which made the more tender Bushwalkers quail. Some of the trips which come back to mind are swimming the upper Kowmung, the first assault on Arathausa Canyon, the upper Cox after a bushfire (grim!), the Clyde, Shoalhaven, Wolgan and Capertee, the Grose in record time, in fact there was hardly a part on the Blue Mts. map that didn't see us one week-end or another.
Smithy's trips were always well organised. I can only remember one trip on which we missed the last train home from Katoomba, and that only by a few minutes because everyone's watch was wrong. Months of organising went on before our 3-month trip to New Zealand in 1937. Only three Tigers were able to get the time off. Our party of 8 spent a month motoring and sight-seeing in the North Island and two months walking and mountaineering in the South Islands and the whole trip, inclusive of fares from Sydney and hire of car, worked out at £30 for the three months. (That must cause a bit of hair-tearing among present-day members contemplating a New Zealand trip).
Smithy was a champion road-walker and held most of the long distance records for Australia. He wanted to establish a 24-hour record for Australia, and managed to persuade most of the Tigers to be in on it. The event took place around a 2-mile measured course in Centennial Park, from mid-day Saturday till mid-day Sunday. Smithy covered 114 miles, Jack did 100, and Dave Stead finished 3rd with 80. Others of us who wished to get away that night for a week-end bushwalk did 30, 40 and 50 miles before dashing off to Central for our train.
After this event some of the Tigers gave temporary allegiance to the Road Racing Club, and bushwalks were organised with a view to training for forthcoming racing events. One such walk I remember was from Katoomba to Picton one week-end - 82 miles. Most of the crowd departed by an early train, but Max Gentle, his brother Frank and myself couldn't get away till later. We ran the 14 miles from Wentworth Falls to Kill's Cottage in Burragorang and got there soon after dark.