THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney.
No. 176 JULY 1949 Price 6d.
|Editor||Alex Colley, 55 Kirribilli Ave., Milson's Point|
|Production Asst||Bill Gillam|
|Sales and Subs||Helen Brook|
|Production and Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Editorial - The Increasing Unpopularity of Hikers|
|At Our June Meeting||2|
|The Outer Man, by Ray Kirkby||5|
|A Lady's Lament on Not Being Kept Warm by W. Gillam||7|
|Last Trip by Kevin Ardill||8|
|Old or Superfluous by W. Gillam||10|
|Gossip - Idle||11|
|Safety First in the Bush - “Burnt Off,” by Jim Brown||12|
|Social Notes for July||13|
Several times in these pages it has been pointed out that lost hikers have taken their place along with murders, nudity and the morals of film stars as one of the popular selling lines in the stock-in-trade of the journalist. One person lost in the bush is news, whereas the thousands seriously ill in hospital or the hundreds injured in car accidents are taken for granted. After each thrilling episode the general public, gathering the impression that hikers are always wandering round befogged, starving, and threatened by ravenous dingos, send their quota of indignant letters to the papers.
A few of these letters are written by responsible people and are amply justified by the hardships of the searchers. Thus the Mayor of Katoomba. Alderman Frank Walford, described the “Hyde Park bush-men” who “plunge blithely into the treacherous maze of Blue Mountains ridges and gorges. After describing the privations of the police and searchers he concludes “A motorist who endangers human life by reckless driving is subject to a penalty. Why should not the principle embrace those whose folly forces others to risk life and limb?” Mr. C.E. Coakes expressed very similar views and pointed out that “the number of lost hikers is increasing each year.” Many suggestions have been made for the blazing of trails, while one of the newspaper columnists suggested equipping hiking parties with walkie-talkies.
In other ways too the hiker is none too popular. On trains and in restaurants and other public places he is liable to be rowdy. Though there is no great harm in this, people don't like it. The farmer is filled with apprehension when he sees a mob of hairy-legged youths, armed with rifles, striding over his property. He knows they will not respect his fences, may leave gates open, may shoot his stock, won't put out their fires, will make a mess and leave it. They may get lost and then he will have to look for them. But, you may ask, what has this to do with the S.B.W.? Quite a lot. In the minds of the general public anybody with a pack is a hiker. Most of them have never heard of the Federation or other walking clubs. This means that every hiker is to them, a member of the S.B.W. In some areas farmers are already quite hostile to walkers. As more hikers get lost and as more damage is done they will become even more unpopular.
But the flannel flower badge can be our protection. In a lot of the walking country the residents know it and most of the old members can recount instances, of the high reputation the wearers of the badge enjoy, even in the most remote places. If we preserve its reputation it may, in the years to come, be our passport to a lot of walking country where hikers have been banned.
The President was in the chair, and there were about 80 members present. Two new members, Ann Evans and Noel Riley, were welcomed,
Doreen Harris's resignation from the office of Assistant Secretary was accepted with regret and notice was given that another Assistant Secretary would be appointed at the next meeting. In the meantime “Dutch” Drewell is carrying on.
A letter was received from the Sydney Morning Herald regretting that the article on the Bushcraft Society conveyed the impression that members of the Society were contravening the by-laws of the National Park. The letter stated that it was hoped shortly to publish an article on wild life protection in which opportunity would be taken to correct any misapprehension which may have been caused. A letter from the National Park Trust said that the matter of the Bushcraft Association's activities had already been before the Trustees and gave “every assurance” that measures would be taken to enforce the protection of all native flora and fauna.
Marie Byles wrote to say that she had heard from the Parks and Playgrounds Movement that the Lands Department had decided, subject to the concurrence of the Water Board being obtained, that the Valuer General be instructed to arrange the purchase of the two freehold portions on the Narrow Necks for L400 with a view to public recreation. The land was to be placed under the control of the Blue Mountains City Council.
News contained in a letter from the Blue Mountains City Council was not so good. The Council was not prepared to give an undertaking that the area should be left in its primitive condition. It was thought that the time might arrive when it would be desirable to have a drive-way constructed.
A letter was received from Mr. F.E. Peters, an S.U.B.W. delegate, objecting to the article entitled The Black Sheep of the Federation appearing in the May issue of the Magazine. It protested that the S.U.B.W. delegates were not the stonewall tacticians of the Federation because they had only given three notices of recision of motions, one of which was given and withdrawn at the meeting of 19th April. Mr, Brian Harvey, the writer of the article, said that there was no mention in the Federation minutes of the withdrawal of this motion. It had not been withdrawn until after the meeting had concluded. At the time he wrote the article the S.U.B.W. had initiated three recision motions, two of them at the meeting of April 19th
The President then read the letters written to the Minister for Lands and the Director of the National Fitness Council about the Era land. Following this he made a report on an interview he had had with Mr. Gordon Young, the Director of the National Fitness Movement. Most of the information he obtained was already known to Club members, except it appeared that the Federation had written to the National Fitness Council in July 1947 agreeing to the resumption of the land by National Fitness. About 4,000 was available for the resumption of all the blocks. The land would be vested in the National Fitness Trust which had been formed under the Lands Act. There would also be a local advisory committee of interested bodies. A meeting of interested bodies would be held on June 24th to discuss the resumption. Mr. Young said that some of the sub-standard shacks would have to go. The remainder would probably have to be leased from National Fitness and would probably disappear in time, as no transfers would be permitted. The National Fitness Council would in due course erect a hostel and superintendant's residence together. These could also be combined with a surf boat shed. The position of these buildings had not yet been considered, but Little Garie had been discarded as a possible site. Mr, Young said that National Fitness was against a road into the area and that the hostel etc. would be built without a road (he did not say how). Cost was against building a road. However he was not in favour of the Trust committing itself for all time to no roads and it would be up to the Local Committee to recommend any change. It would not be possib1e to transfer the area to Garrawarra, though perhaps the portion North of the Burgh Ridge might be transferred. It would be best to allow National Fitness to resume it all (including Lot 7) and then perhaps transfer a portion to Garawarra.
After this report Marie Byles said she was unable to represent the Club on the special committee and AIex Colley was elected in her place. Later in the meeting Marie Byles moved that If Lands Department doesn't resume the land we support National Fitness. She pointed out that the question had been thoroughly thrashed out in the Recreational Areas sub-committee of the National Fitness Movement and that if she had not pushed it at every single meeting it would not have been taken up. A most enthusiastic letter had been received from the Federation heartily endorsing National Fitness. The discussion followed the same lines as previously and there was no disagreement with the motion.
The next subject for discussion was whether members should follow the Federation's lead and contribute to “Life and Fishing”. Allen Hardie thought that we should not try to restrain the impulses of members to write anything they liked. Jack Wren thought it reached a section of the public that we were against. Herb Morris said that the one aim of such publications was to reap in a profit. It catered only for hunting and fishing interests. These people would not buy the magazine if articles appeared against their way of thinking. Gil Webb said we might run articles in on shooting with a camera. Dorothy Lawry pointed out that articles on shooting with a camera would merely indicate where the best shooting was to be had with a gun. Kevin Ardill said that if we really publicised the sort of places we went to nobody would ever want to follow. It was decided that the S.B.W. were in favour of contributing articles to “Outdoors and Fishing”.
The President then called for volunteers for Room Stewards for the ensuing month. All except one of the eighty were quite happy to leave this work to the President and the Secretary or other Committee members. The one who volunteered was as usual, one of those who already carries out several tasks for the Club.
It was decided to book a long table at the A.C. Cafe (Wingello House, Angel Place) on Friday nights so that Club members could dine together.
The meeting closed at 8.45 p m.
THE FORESTRY ADVISORY COUNCIL ANNUAL CONFERENCE will be held on July 20th 21st and 22nd. On the first day it will open at 10 a.m. and on the other days at 9 a m. It will take place on the 10th floor of the Rural Bank Building. Most of the current matters of conservation which have been discussed by the S.B.W. are on the agenda.
By Ray Kirkby.
The scene was a common one enough. It was a conventional drawing room in which sane normal people were talking, They eventually got on to bushwalking and, instead of the usual good humoured tolerance in such circumstances, I sensed, I thought, ever so little disapproval. At last one said “But how do you wash? I couldn't bear to be dirty”
“But how do you wash?” It was somewhat staggering when a question you have possibly never consciously thought of and the answer to which you regard as rather axiomatic is suddenly posed to you. And the questioner cannot be blamed for his ignorance which is perhaps only a degree worse than that of the walker when he begins his infant career, For all of us walkers are constantly learning “tricks” up to the time we retire from walking - some people think retirement is the trump of trumps.
Here I shall interpolate some remarks which I did not make in the drawing room for fear that my already doubtful audience would think, “thought so”. Some eminent and scientific people have expressed grave doubts about the desirability of the comparatively modern craze for washing and cleanliness. And though I do appreciate being in a warm pair of pyjamas in a clean, warm state of body I do think that many moderns are neurotically afraid of a bit of good, clean dirt and good, honest sweat. Therefore I shall risk people saying “Ah, we knew he would find some rationalisation”, in adding that I find getting really dirty very satisfying on occasions. It also makes one's cleanliness more satisfying. When you are coming home from a weekend walk and feeling a little grubby, there is no more delightful prospect than soaking in a hot bath.
In walking and camping in Australia one has to keep constantly in mind the question of water, it is one of the ever-present problems. Unhappy the leader who fails to provide his party at night with water to drink. But I am not thinking now of water to drink in which respect we are lucky in Australia in so far as most water can be drunk in places in which we are likely to camp. If you can arrange to camp beside a purling brook you have no excuse for not taking soap and towel to the bank and plunging straight in. This, however, is an idealistic picture, for many of our creeks are lacking in pools and so shallow that one would have to lie on one's back like a beetle to be covered.
Sometimes water is so scarce that even this expedient is not possible and then resort has to be made to the sponging method. This method, when performed with hot water in front of a hot fire can be really delicious especially when the fire is the centre of a small warm universe beyond which the demons of cold are clamouring, But being forced to numerous sponges is wearisome and fussy and one begins to long for an honest plunge in the water.
Once on a trip we went for four days without sufficient water to do anything but sponge and on the fifth day I cajoled the party along by the promise of a swim (at midday, too, in the warmth of the northern sun) in the Teviot. Over the last rise we could see the line of casuarinas which indicated the river's course but what did we find? Only dry bed and water-worn stones. Though the country was experiencing a bad drought it did not seem possible that the Teviot would dry up, but it is one of those streams which is likely to disappear for some distance and then re-appear. We obtained some water for lunch from a neighbouring house the owner of which said that the river flowed quite well a few miles upstream.
When looking at the volume of water running a few miles higher up we found it hard to believe that it was the same stream by which we had lunched. We eagerly sought the deepest pool where trees on the edge of the tropical forest provided a mottled screen. The little pools made of water-smoothed rocks were clean and, between the rocks, strained the pink rootlets which bound the soil and kept the water clear. Quickly we had soaped and scrubbed ourselves and, while we immersed to wash ourselves quite clean, the soap was slipped into a natural container in the gnarled trunk of a tree tenaciously clinging to the bank. A quick look around and you espy a convenient bath-mat - a smooth, dry stone on which you can stand to dry yourself and put on your boots. The stone must be close to the water and close to the bank so that each foot can be washed on the sole before being dried and put straight into your soak. Then you must be in jumping distance of the bank. You balance on one foot as you dry the other, then reverse, and only when you are back into warm clothing can you find time to smile an expressive smile of satisfaction.
A fantastic picture comes to mind. In the centre is a hut and around tower snow-clad mountains. In front of the hut a youth is standing, in a kerosene tin, from which steam is rising like a fog. For a moment I cannot remember the reason for this open air bathing then it comes to me. It is still very cold weather and we know that there is nobody in this part of the country but ourselves. Ted's system was to heat numerous billies of water, pour them into the kerosene tin in which he stood to scrub himself clean. Then he employed me to throw the tin of water over him. One cannot, naturally, convert a hut into a shower recess.
I recall now that Ted had his bath first and that I really had no intention of following suit but, after witnessing and participating in it, I found it irresistible. Having filled the kerosene tin, I undressed in front of the fire and dashed out in the icy cold to my hot bath. Unfortunately it was too hot for me to stand in and I had to dash back to the fire and wait for it to cool. I remember that I had several fruitless journeys before I was able to get into the water. It may have been very hot but, on the other hand, most walkers would have noticed that after using only cold water for a while, they cannot get into water as hot as usual.
Bathrooms in houses are becoming more and more sumptuous. If you can get tiles for your room, you can soak in a green bath, which will eventually be forthcoming, in water deliciously hot if there is enough fuel to heat it. But have you ever added to this the delight of taking tea in your bath? 1 discovered this ultimate pleasure in Queensland. The weather was so hot that drinking tea, even when you were in the open and lightly clad, was too heating. So, as the water in the river was quite warm, there was nothing so pleasant as sitting in your green flanked bath and sipping tea.
Long experience has taught me that you may sponge yourself out of a billy, you may bathe at noon instead of the conventional morning hour, you may drink tea in a pool while you soak, but you have no reason for having to bear being dirty.
By W. Gillam
You said you'd keep me warm; it is not true.
Those few poor calories are not enough for me.
An extra sweater and a pair of gloves for you
A lambskin jacket stretched from neck to knee.
Warmth flies like water from a hill
And these poor bones are left to chatter
They twist and curve and cry and catch a chill
And groan and moan at that cold matter.
Like gods together, careless of mankind,
On beds of down some be reclined;
Dreaming, when winter numbs the brain,
These Lotus-Eaters oblivious to pain.
Some twist and turn and groan and sleepless,
Oh pity them. Of these am I.
By Kevin Ardill.
Sure its my last trip and if I had any sense the one before would have been the last. Anyhow better late than never and if you'll excuse a few interruptions, while I dig for thorns and splinters, I'11 tell the bally story.
It all happened on King's Birthday weekend, which normal people regard and are content to spend as a holiday weekend. Not being particularly normal I am located on Windsor Railway Station on Friday evening and am soon joined by what should have been a party of fourteen other zealots. After several counts I acquaint myself with the fact that there are fifteen others, said problem being explained when see the beaming face of Mrs, Gentle's little boy Max. Some bloke doesn't get a brick wall built, but who cares, sixteen is just a nice party.
The animals went into the Ark - pardon, like true ladies (5) and gentlemen, all climbed daintily into the back of the lorry and it must have warmed the hearts of bystanders to hear our unselfish efforts to pass the best seats on to our comrades. Quite by accident of come I find myself between two fair damsels and am preparing to entertain with witty comment when our motor comes to life and I digest about four coupons worth of petrol fumes. Away through Richmond, through Bilpin and almost through a muddy patch on the road to Mt. Tootle. Eleven strong walkers were clustered around the truck but I swear I pushed the muddy vehicle cut by myself, A hurried council of war and then sixteen ex-passengers watched the tail light disappear from view in the direction of home and sanity.
We camped beside the road near a trickling clear stream. Morning light showed how fortunate had been our choice and at 8 am we moved along the road to Mt. Tootie. Quite a fine selection there, and a pleasant word or two with a damsel in gumboots. Warnings of thick country ahead were dismissed, rather airily I thought, by the explanation that we were “experienced”. A couple of days later the statement would certainly have been correct. Shortly after we were on Little Tootie, and if you have a St. Albans map, you will see a ridge that extends from Little Tootie to the junction of Blacksmith's Creek and the Colo River.
Our first real taste of the country came on The Big Hill, since renamed The Big Bash. Unfortunately I was in front and walked into the densest portion of scrub west of the Abattoirs, type “bloodylia aufulia”. It was ten feet high and made sally gum look like maiden hair fern. My pride, plus the weight of fifteen walkers behind, kept me going and when we emerged into daylight we felt like someone who has last attended the funeral of a bad mother-in-law.
We munched the lunch at a small creek which probably sourced at the spring shown on map. A rather restful interlude, the quiet o the bushland, broken only by mutterings of anguish from Roy, Noel and Betty. It transpired that the food party was complete except for sausages, bread and a few other odds and ends. In the midst of a mental calculation, on what should be a safe camping distance from the hungry ones, the timekeeper announced,the resumption of our wanderings.
Quite an uneventful afternoon, with majestic views of mountain ranges and glimpses of sandstone cliffs enclosing Wollangambe Creek and the Colo River. A halt was called at 4 pm and scouts descended to seek water and a camp site for the night. Plenty of water but, having objections to sleeping in a standing position, we decided to push on. Five o'clock, and with the shadows creeping on, we were fortunate enough to find an ideal spot, the only drawback appeared to be lack of water. One party returned with eight buckets of the necessary and after hearing of the location of the water we decided to make the supply do breakfast too. We crawled into our cots in quite a happy mood.
With the promise of a perfect day we moved off next morn. Ten minutes walking disclosed a trifling error. We were on a spur of the main ridge but twenty minutes later found us again on the straight and narrow. Imagine beetling along the Mt. Solitary knife edge for a couple of hours and you have a fairly accurate description of our progress. However it was excellent training for what was to come. At 11 a m. we gazed down at the junction of Blacksmith Creek and the Colo. I'll admit, as ridges go, our selection wouldn't have won a prize, but why the darn thing just stopped in mid air - I mean there should be a law agin it. A spot of sidling was indicated and, believe you me, I am not the best of sidlers. Len Fall picked what he regarded as a likely route and started the descent. The only reason I follow is because I don't know how to return to Tootie and, when I glance behind and see Cotter with his hair standing on end, I am not encouraged. About two weeks later (my watch said thirty minutes) sixteen nerve cases were lapping the cool waters of the creek. I blush to admit the fact but this was the spot where most of us had our one and only bath.
Our original plan was to climb the ridge ahead and come down on Tootie Creek, but somehow or other we had had ridges and decided to bash cut the four miles along the Col. Max remembered a surveyor's track that was in use in 1885 and the remnants of this track preyed most helpful. If anyone is crazy enough to follow our route, the track is located about 30 feet above the south bank of the Colo and continues at varying heights till it fades away opposite Hungryway Creek, The track wasn't the only thing that faded. Gladys had hurt her knee and I wasn't walking toe well, and suddenly I was aware I was no longer with a party. The leading bunch swore that it would have been impossible to miss their trail but Gladys and myself found ourselves bashing through what is best described as typical Celo going. Head high bracken, lawyer vine, sword grass, holes, rocks, vines and creepers make up the Colo cocktail and its only my indomitable spirit that keeps me going. Much to my surprise we camped at Tootie Creek and our promised camp fire was noticeable by its absence. Claude did his best to stir up a chorus, but the first song was the last and the few diehards went to bed.
Monday morn and on our merry way up Tootie Creek. After a short distance along the creek we ascended the ridge to the east. One or two of the party had traversed this ridge to Condor Trig with Luke Priddle several year ago on his notorious trip, and the section was accomplished without incident. If ever you go that way don't be surprised to find thornless mountain holly. We collected all the thorns - handfuls. From Condor Trig we could glimpse Mountain Lagoon, and dropping down the ridge arrived at 1 p m. and were more than pleased to see our conveyance standing patiently. We had lunch and then headed for Parramatta. A very interesting trip with enjoyable views from the back of the truck, of motor cyclists endeavouring to add to the weekend death roll.
I was home and in a hot bath by six o'clock, which goes to show that if your transport is dependable, the weather is kind, the company is good and you have the constitution of an ox, the best place to spend a holiday weekend is at a decent guest house somewhere.
By W. Gillam.
There was, as usual, a great babel of tongues in the Club, but tonight the rabble was making more of a babel than even the oldest member had ever heard. For tonight was the night of the annual auction sale and like fishwives everyone had gathered to sell what they could and talk, talk, talk.
The auctioneer was already vainly calling for attention, and making a dickens of a row with a billy lid, which someone had bought hoping that the owner of the billy might have tired of smoked tea and would be glad to buy it back. Lot No.1 proved to be a tent and sleeping bag offered on the account of R. Cotter. He denied all rumours that it was the tent which had given rise to the popular song “His Sleeping Bag Really Get Wet”. The fact remains, however, that it was unsold at the end of the sale.
After such a poor start the auctioneer wondered whether the next lot would suffer the same fate, It proved to be a real museum piece, an axe of the type used by our pioneers and carried through summer's sun and winter's wet. The owner, Mr, Hardie, was very reluctant, naturally, to part with such a treasure but as he pointed out, it had a left-handed handle which he unfortunately could no longer use.
This appeal brought tears of sympathy from the crowd. It was finally knocked down for eighteen pence to our conservation expert. Later the C.E. created a disturbance by swinging the object wildly in a demonstration of what he would do if he met a certain person. He was finally pacified and led docilely off to coffee.
The blood of the buyers was really up by now and many bid recklessly: a very battered tea infuser went for sixpence. This may seem rather extravagant but the owner pointed out that it had been used for both the ball and base in a baseball game, trod on by some of the largest members and still retained its perfect shape.
Clem was offering for sale a pair of swimming trunks (pre-war, never been used) and a shiny frying pan which some dotting but misinformed relative had given him years ago. Max Gentle was offering his pack explaining that he had found a bigger and better one. He had offered the old one GC the Coal Board for use as a scoop, telling them it would held a truck and a half of coal. The Coal Beard had thanked him for his generous off or but they really didn't know what to do with the half truckful, and such a system might get the miners' backs up. Max was now offering it as a suitable playground for twins, or perhaps triplets.
Mosquito tents were offered in prodigious numbers. In the poor light it was easy enough for the sellers to hold their hands over the larger holes, or explain them away as the entrance, or exit of the dormant walkers. One hopeful character even exhibited what looked suspiciously like a camouflage net. He maintains however that the mosquitoes he met at Friar's Alp were quite foiled by it. Such was the spirit of the crowd that this was knocked down for two shillings.
Towards the close of the evening there was a nasty scene when a prospective claimed he had been sold a pup, or, more precisely, two right boots. The would be confidence trickster was quickly apprehended, and rather sheepishly admitted that he was puzzled by the fact that before leaving home he had noticed two left boots in the cupboard. Poor old Arthur. Let it be said to his credit, however, that he offered to bring in the right boot that he had left at home - or should it be the left boot?
We thought the lead bonus was something the miners at Broken Hill enjoyed until we spotted Roy Bruggy hauling about four pounds of the stuff, from his pack on Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. Roy smartly jettisoned the excess load but Sunday morn a similar block of lead was produced by the same bloke from the same pack. The interesting question is whether there were two blocks of the stuff, cr if someone replaced the original.
We know it was a little cold on the holiday weekend but one party took extraordinary precautions to ward off colds. It could have been cough medicine or cold tea but the sniffs we got made us determined to guard our health on future trips.
Rather a curious experience one recent weekend. Saw a walker bound for Faulconbridge who looked exactly like Alex Colley. Couldn't be him because he had about twelve glamorous girls from the Y.W.C.A. with him. 'Twas whispered that this bloke was interested only in map reading tuition, but as we bashed along with a party of hirsute males our thoughts were wandering elsewhere. Can you imagine twelve girls clustered around one bloke and one map? (Mr. Ardill's imagination was equal to it. He had to be pushed off the train at Springwood to go with the “official”. He looked a bit green round the gills too, but it might have been only indigestion. - Ed.)
Pyjama pants are regarded in most circles as night attire, so when walkers are sighted in daylight with Pyjamas and packs up there is a certain amount of conjecture. Were they sleepwalking or was the Colo making its usual impression on the legs? Peg Bransden might supply the answer.
We hope that when the Assistant-Treasurer's arm comes out of tho plaster of Paris it does not remain set in that semi-extended position, with the palm upwards.
By Jim Brown.
Do you know our old friend, Dennis the Menace (not to be confused with Dennis the Gittoes)? Dennis is the big muscular cove with legs as tireless as a locomotives connecting rods and more wind than all the sodium bicarb in this world could disperse. Mind you, he's not a bad bushwalker. He ardently believes in “burn, bash and burn” - even applies it to the weaker walkers and prospectives who chance on his trips.
It was Dennis who charged up Lockley's Pylon one warmish October morning, leaving his party spread out over the landscape, halted for two minutes at the top, and whizzed off towards the Pinnacles with his pal Ruthless Rufas, long before the last wilting, toiling climber had made the first five hundred feet of the mountain. It was Dennis who led the notorious walk up the Nattai from Burragorang to Starlight's Track - remember the show? The party was extended over some ten miles of the river, some of the less wary turned up Martin's Creek, and finally retreated and finished up - back where they started at Burragorang.
Well, Mister, are you a Dennis the Menace? You know, even if the S.B.W. isn't. exactly canvassing for new members, I cant believe we're practicing membership control by burning off. Not good conservation, you know.
Being burned off is not particularly funny when it does happen. Of course, it does happen. Two cases come to mind - the prospective member of another club who undertook a tough walk in the Wild Dog Mountains several summers back, collapsed and died from heat-stroke: and the veteran member of this Club, one of the most ardent of walkers who over reached himself on a walk (solo, I believe) in the Blue Mountains in summer, and has been unhappily aware of the effects ever since. On at least one solo trip a good many years ago, I was infernally close to it myself.
The only counsel I can offer to weaker and inexperienced walkers is that they check up on the leader before undertaking any difficult trip, especially in hot weather. There are leaders who can make a reasonably easy trip into an ordeal. In reverse, leaders should find out what they can about members of their party before taking a trip over rugged ground. I know it's a great temptation to make a “good trip” by having plenty of starters, by encouraging all and sundry to come but, leader, are you willing to stay with the stragglers and nurse them along if the trip proves too rough for them? You know, that's your place when people begin to flag. Never mind the big-muscled racehorses of your party - if they're too impatient to stick with you and help you, then to the devil with them. If they fire ahead and get lost, theirs is the fault. If you lose your weaker members, if you over-walk them, you're the villain.
Well, for several months past in the magazine I've been preaching Safety First until I must sound a veritable Calamity Howler or a dear old Granny Caution, afraid of the least hazard. That, I hope, is bunkum, because I consider the fun of the walking game comes from finding your way through country that's new to you. - no matter how many others have trodden it before. Perhaps it is slightly more thrilling if it's almost entirely unknown. Well, in quite a few years of foot-slogging, I've not been noticeably overdue or thoroughly lost or seriously injured yet. Off my track? Slightly late? - of course, a score of times: Kings Birthday weekend on an official trip was my latest.
And just like yours truly I daresay you'll go off the track sometimes, or get cut about a bit, or over-reach yourself, and there are no positive cures or correctives. The best one can do is to be as handy as possible with map and compass, knew something of first aid, be careful to adjust speed to suit the weak walkers - and pray that the mists don't get you on a high, broken ridge. Quite a standard to aim for, all told - but worth while for Safety First in the Bush.
A brilliant July programme begins on the 15th with films, both in Technicolour and black and white, presented by Mr. Walter Gruse, who is already known to members as a skilful photographer. This time three films, featuring Australian fauna, Olympic snow sports and Tasmania will be shown.
Another photographer whose excellent work is known to us all is. Mr. Ira Butler, who will show us his film featuring the Grose Valley. on 22nd July.
There will be a “gala” dance on the 29th - “gala” because there will be plenty of novelty dances and supper, and this time there will be no charge. Hope you enjoy the sandwiches and coffee.
Our Christmas Party this year will be at CUSA en Wednesday 14th December. Tickets at a later date.
The S.B.W. photographers take the palm for dogged determination. How it was organised is still to be told, but somehow photographers, spectators, and our judge and Commentator, groped their way through Sydney's gloom to the Ingersoll Hall. A wonderful gallery of photographs was exhibited. Even more remarkable was the display of lamps - from the humble hurricane lantern to the radiant petrol burner. These were supplemented by the numerous torches. There were as many photographs and as many people present as ever before.
The judge - Mr. Eade from the Photographic Society - congratulated members both on the numbers and the high quality of the exhibits. The technique was excellent and it had been a very hard job to select the winning prints. He had judged them from the standpoint of pictorial and general interest. He had not paid attention to topographical or personal details which, however interesting to members, might not be so to others. By the light of two petrol lamps Mr. Eade then displayed and commented on thirty of the photographs. He said, however, that he could easily have overlooked some good prints because of the bad light. He placed the first four photographs as follows :-
1. “Clinton Valley” (New Zealand) by Laurie Rayner,
2. “Mystic Morn” by Wal Roots.
3. “Tree study” by Jack Thorpe.
4. “On Guthrie” by Frank Duncan.
Members will recall the Committee's decision that, instead of donating a prize, it would pay for a full page reproduction of the winning photograph in the magazine and half-page reproduction for the second and third photographs. By using magazine funds in addition it will be possible to give each photograph full page reproduction. Should power restrictions be lifted by the middle of the month it may be possible to include the winning print in the August issue, the second print in September, and the third in October. Using its own funds the magazine could not afford to publish more than two or three photographs in a year, but we would be very pleased if any photographer would donate half the cost of a block, about 25/-. The magazine could afford the other 25/-. Should any of the exhibitors feel generous enough to do this they would deserve the thanks of readers.
Many of the photographs selected by Mr. Eade would probably reproduce even better than the winners. Probably the best photographs for reproduction would be the sharply defined ones with high contrasts, as some of the tonal quality is usually lost in printing. There was a time, when the S.B.W. published an Annual, when all the blocks were donated by members. We can't afford an Annual now, but why not revive this practice in the monthly magazine?
At the end of the exhibition the President thanked Mr. Eade for his very helpful criticisms and suggestions. They should certainly be invaluable to our ardent photographers. Dorothy Lawry revived the suggestion that we should have an exhibition in town later, and no doubt the Committee will consider this suggestion. Everyone was sorry that full justice could not be done to such a pleasing display.