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THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney.
No. 177 AUGUST 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 - Progress in Conservation||1|
|At Our July Meeting reported by Jim Brown||2|
|Social Notes for August||5|
|The Fence by Grace Noble||5|
|Our First Outing with a Prospective, by Two Forlorn Females||10|
|Could It Happen Now?||11|
|Federation Notes by Brian Harvey||12|
At our last general meeting one of our ex-Presidents said that “this Club has gone to sleep on conservation.” A year ago most conservationists would have agreed with this statement. What interest remained was being dissipated in dreary repetition and constant unrequited referrings to the Federation. But of late there has been a great improvement. At our last meeting half a dozen letters were received from government Departments and conservation bodies. Members could not fail to notice that all our letters - and we have written a lot lately - are receiving careful attention. In our latest issue it was announced that the two portions of privately owned land on Narrow Necks had been reserved. This is a direct result of our efforts. Now the Club has taken the lead in organising a deputation to the Under-Secretary for Lands for the reservation of the privately owned land at Era.
There are several good reasons why the S.B.W. is very effective medium for conservation work. It is well known to the authorities because its efforts have extended over a long period. Its members are more conscious than most of the devastation of flora and fauna wrought by fire, axe and gun. Unlike most of the people who go into the bush we go because we like the bush itself - not to get something for nothing or to kill something. We can draw on the knowledge and experience of a number of well informed people. Among the members present at our meetings it is not unusual to have the Secretaries of the National Parks and Primitive Areas Council, of the Wild Life Preservation Society and of the Forestry Advisory. Council, as well as others who are keen members of these and there associations (e g. the Parks and Playgrounds Movement).
Our meetings are more frequent and better attended than those of most other conservation bodies and regularly bring together a number of enthusiasts who might meet only on special occasions as members of other associations. There is probably no association keener on conservation or better constituted to further it than the S.B.W. This is not to say that we should act alone - the more help we can get from other bodies the better - but merely to point out that we could, and should, act in our own name when we are sure of our ground.
If we are to make progress we must rely largely on the knowledge and experience of some of the older members. This provides an opportunity for some who do not walk much now to play an active and useful part in Club affairs. But at the same time they must remember that conservation is not the whole purpose of the S.B.W. It is walking, social activities, photography etc that provide the main bonds of interest which bring us together. If the older members are to create and keep an interest in conservation they should think out carefully what they want, expound it concisely, and avoid repetition. And they have a duty to keep members informed as to what they are doing in conservation.
To the newer members, who may sometimes be bored with proceedings, we guarantee that if they take the trouble to follow what is going on and keep their eyes open in the bush, they will inevitably take a keen interest in it before long. They might reflect too, that if it were not for the continuing interest of the older members there would probably be no Club left by now. Something more than an interest in walking is necessary to keep the Club in being. An organisation devoted purely to the entertainment of its members isn't likely to last for long. But one with an unselfish purpose will last, if not forever, long enough to give them a life interest in its work.
As far as could be ascertained, the causes of fires on or adjoining State Forests in N.S.W. during the fire season 1944/5 were as follows:-
Burning off for grass 56%
Burning off for clearing 21%
Campers' fires 8%
Ignited from previous fires 7% Other causes 8%
from “Forest Fire Control Principles” by f,.H. Luke Dip. For.
Reported by Jim Brown
Most members took a dim view of the July General Meeting held by the light of three hurricane lamps and sundry intermittent flashlight beams. No doubt this accounted for the tendency to deal briefly with all but the most vital matters, which was perhaps as well, since it was past nine o'clock before the matters arising from correspondence had been disposed of.
Barbara Boman was welcomed to the Club, the handclaps of the fifty-odd members present echoing about the &irksome vault of Ingersoll Hall, and when the minutes had been dealt with, correspondence was read. Had there been no matters arising, I could now add that the meeting drew to a gloomy close at 10.15 p m. There were matters.
To take the simplest items first. Youth Hostels had advised that it had access to Winnstay at Kiandra, and would be able to make bookings (at 5 per week) for snow sports, with vacancies after 2nd September. There were letters from the Chief Secretary's Department and the Department of Local Government relating to the activities of the Bushcraft Association in the National Park. The Minister for Local Government had been in touch with “Home” Magazine which regretted any erroneous impressions created by its article, and intended to publish a further item to correct its apparent endorsement of such breaches of legislation.
Stemming from the same subject, a letter from Dick Graves of the Bushcraft Association was read: Mr. Graves was distressed at the strong views expressed in Brian Harvey's magazine article, and invited S.B.W. to send three inspectors to examine the activities of the Bushcraft people and report. Messrs. Harvey and Rayner would not be acceptable. It was resolved to take up Mr. Graves' offer, and Messrs. Hardie, Gittoes and Gillam were nominated.
We were informed that Allen Strom had been appointed to the newly created Fauna Protection Panel, but on the debit side our nominee to the Garawarra Trust had not been accepted, the two vacancies (caused by the retirement of the National Park representatives) having been filled by the National Park nominees.
Now came the piece de resistance, and what should it be but the dear old chestnut - resumption of Era lands. A report by the President outlined the course of a meeting of the Recreational Areas Committee of the National Fitness Association held on June 30th. S.B.W. delegates had expressed as our views:
(1) Era should be a primitive area for preservation of flora and fauna and for use by walkers and campers.
(2) No roads.
(3) No objection to hostel if not at Burning Palms or North Era,
(4) No objection to shacks remaining for a limited period,
(5) Best way of preserving area is to add to Garawarra park.
The Cumberland County Council representative stated that the Council was interested in reservation of the area and, if and when the County Plan was approved by Parliament, large sums of money would be voted for reservations. S.B.W. was the only body represented at the meeting which had any objection to resumption by National Fitness, and that was only on the score of our preference for addition to Garawarra. Mr. Gordon Young had informed the meeting that he would not go ahead with resumption of Era without the full approval of S.B.W., and asked that the Club investigate the possibility of the Lands Department resuming and adding to Garawarra, and advise him within approximately a month.
Discussing the report, it was questioned whether Era had now been classified as a rural area, in which case buildings could be constructed on each block of 2 acres, but concensus of opinion was that Era was still rated an open area. In view of the Cumberland County Council's interest, it was resolved that we write that body,indicating our views on preservation of Era.
Marie Byles urged that we make up our minds as soon as possible on our course of action, as National Fitness was keen to acquire lands at Narrabeen, and may proceed with that plan in lieu of Era if we hesitated unduly. Mr. Young would only take action to acquire Era if the whole of Era, including Portion 7, was to be embraced by the resumption.
Myles Dunphy expressed a less convinced attitude. He contended that addition to Garawarra was the most desirable course, as resumption by National Fitness may lead to Era becoming entirely a National Fitness concern, particularly if the trustees appointed were wholly from the Association. He urged that we make further bids to interest the Lands Department.
Allen Strom was inclined to agree with Marie Byles: whilst not enthusiastic on the subject of hostels at Era, he felt that it was the best deal possible, and in this Ruby Payne-Scott supported him. Wal Roots insisted that the area must be resumed, and would be resumed if we made sufficient fuss, but the main thing was to save Era for public recreation, and it would be a tragedy if it were alienated by National Fitness. To which Dormie said we were heating the air, and should not think of National Fitness as some private concern which might filch our camping areas from us. We must get the land resumed somehow, and unless we had some early information from the Lands Department, we should contact the Minister again. When we had the Lands Department's reply, we should know whet action to take.
Marie Byles, urging rapid action, said that Era would be an expensive resumption, whereas Garawarra being Crown land, had cost nothing. Three times the Lands Department had included Era in its estimates, and each time there had been no finance allotted. We shouldn't wait indefinitely. A motion that we support the resumption by the Minister for Education was “not now put”. Whereat Myles Dunphy proceeded to organise a meeting of bodies interested in Era and conservation to approach the Lands Department.
Having disposed of thorny Era, the meeting rapidly elected “Duoh” Drewell as Assistant Secretary, informed Dormie that the cases of prospectives hampered from doing test walks by transport restrictions would be considered individually and sympathetically, and left Ingersoll Hall to its cat and its shadows soon after 9.30 p m.
'Twas unfortunate that both Mr. Gruse and Ira Butler were unable to entertain us last month, but both gentlemen have promised to appear on our next programme.
Strikers in or out, we'll be holding the Novelty Quiz on 19th August. There have been many requests for this type of entertainment and we guarantee you a really bright night.
The Epidiascope Night on 26th should interest those photographers who don't make slides. There is no limit to the number and we would appreciate it if you could supply a little commentary.
Don't forget the Christmas Party - Wednesday, 14th December, as C.U.S.A.
By Grace Noble.
You hated fences. Fences of all kinds - ornate or prim, the delicate tracery of iron or solid massing of brick - above all, the unredeemed ug1iness of paling fences, dividing neighbours, shutting each little centre of life and activity in on itself, into a little box, each one afraid to share thoughts and feelings with his fellow creature.
You longed for the wide and empty loneliness of enormous and untroubled space - even interstellar space, vast and unpeopled, was not sufficiently untrammelled for your imagination. In one way you were lucky. As a student of geology, you could escape at least some of the usual limitations of being a girl; you could camp and wander alone. For this, the first time in your life, you could live in the spacious friendliness of the bush, dwell with ideas instead of people; for a space of time even have the illusion of perfect personal liberty.
The little township whose neighbouring rocks you were to investigate was left behind; by nightfall you were camped miles away, in a lonely little gorge, beside a clear, cold stream, oddly aloof in its sound. Ironbark shadowed the camping place; there were among them a few dead trees, with fantastically twisted limbs, stabbing sharply into the silver-blue of a winter sky, and creaking unexpectedly in the still air. The little white tent - a symbol of independence and isolation - was dwarfed more than ever when that first warming five of your own was lit. It was oneself against - or held within - a boundless universe.
A mood of high elation lighted your steps the next morning. The crisp yellowed grasses crackled with frost; you set out with a wild and ancient chant - I am the overlord of the hills and the high places, And it is the frozen breath of the mountains that I seize and make into words.
Everything was an excitement; the gold brocaded lustre of schists, the silken blue-grey sheen or phyllites, the brilliant green of watercress against vermilion walls of granite. There was a glorious wall-like mass of reddish-purple porphyry, studded with squarish creamy-white crystals; a most comical, ridiculous, gargantuan pudding of a rock, which you followed up hill and down dale for miles. It led across a railway cutting; a climb up a steep fifty-foot slope of gravel, you tackled gaily, and slid to the bottom in a cloud of dust, specimens, maps and instruments - to be picked up and dusted off by a crowd of highly amused workmen on a trolley.
You went up again and scrambled through the railway fence, in no way cast down by the incident. In this mood, even fences were endurable; after all, they were useful in checking directions, since most of them ran either north-south or east-west.
The cold was so exhilarating, and hunger became so compelling, that you ate your lunch hurriedly, well before noon - eager to be on, exploring and collecting - following an intricately winding creek along its narrow gorge, lured on in spite of the brevity of the winter day, to explore the next bend. The twisting creek seemed to hold a mocking spirit which was age-old; a part of the place itself. You felt that something wild and secret must have happened there, and given rise to a legend far back among the aborigines. As the sun went down there was an unearthly gleam of twice-reflected light from the grey and purple walls; these were now of massive limestone, with the contours and texture of an elephants hide. The spirit of the place continued to beckon you - and laughed when you stumbled into clear icy pool, fringed with brilliant red-brown and glowing green plants.
The light imperceptibly lessened, until at last you realised, with a slight shock, that it was quite dark. Perhaps not quite; the bush itself had a luminous quality, with ghost-white trunks helped by the glow of stars. But your torch with its bulb broken by the fall down the cutting was useless. It would be suicidal to retrace your steps down that gorge in the dark. It must be at least five miles in a direct line across country bock to camp: you hoped it would be over merely undulating ground with no unexpected creeks to cross. That didn't sound too bad; but you were already tired and cold, with forty pounds of laboriously-gathered specimens on your back; and as you tried to keep a constant direction, stumbling over boulder-strewn ground, a growing fear was mounting at the base of your brain. Useless to try to argue yourself out of it (that a night out doesn't matter anyway - you can always curl up in a groundsheet and sleep till morning). Somehow you feel a rising hostility in the bitter air and the dreary pattern of dead branches.
The panic grew, and befuddled your mind so completely that all sense of direction was lost; you gave up and simply let your feet, sensitive to every conformation of the ground in their soft soled, much worn shoes, carry you where they liked. Then, strangely, you realised that a foot can acquire a feeling, like an animals, for a track; you no longer stumbled quite so much, there was a narrow way between those viciously sharp chunks of rock; and you followed it numbly, hopelessly. The slight track appeared to veer suddenly to the left; you tripped over a root, and came down with a stinging blow across the cheek – wires. A wire fence, running north-south, almost certainly the main one which would lead you back to camp. It was the most welcome, friendly thing in the world - you nearly kissed those chill, taut wires. Amazingly, your pace quickened as you followed it closely, when before you could barely keep on your feet. In an incredibly brief time, the fence had led you back to a recognised corner of the creek you camped on, with the white tent gleaming just ahead. As you started a fire, you remembered suddenly your hatred of fences, and felt oddly shaken; then realised that your life would always be governed by an inexorable alternating rhythm; from an escape into purely mathematical and musical, chill and austere patterns swirling through unexplored spaces, back to the limitations and restrictions of your own mind and body.
One at least has taken to heart the recent circular which said “under any circumstances it should be possible to lead a walk somewhere”. That intrepid explorer and visionary, Arven Kedill, while sitting at home one week-end, felt moved with compassion for the less imaginative and wrote as follows: “Without transport the weekend walking is rather restricted and as I sit here I thought that perhaps we haven't explored the possibilities of interesting walks much closer to the city than our usual routes. Even when transport returns to normal we will have no dough for fares for some time. Looking ahead I visualise articles in the September magazine somewhat along these lines :-
The day dawned bright and sunny as days sometimes do, and at 9.30 a m. we had all assembled, It was Coley Rotter's day walk, and, by various means we had found our way to Macdonaldtown Station and I noticed several prospectives in our party of nineteen. Shortly after leaving Macdonaldtown our leader had us on a good track which led in the direction we wished to take. This was most fortunate as it allowed us to concentrate on the scenery which unfolded on either side of us. The morning passed rather uneventfully except that the camera fiends slowed our progress a little. Coley Rotter got a fine shot in color - pinks and greens predominating. We decided to lunch at Eveleigh and stopped at noon with good water in abundance. The prospectives were sent gathering coal and in no time the billies were boiling.
After a leisurely lunch we were away at 2 p m but lost our track and struck rather rough going. We were in sight of Redfern when we had a most exciting experience. We saw a train - in motion. Redfern saw our arrival about 4 p m. and thus ended an interesting and energetic trip.
There are no end of possibilities in this sort of thing, and looking a little further we see another report of a Saturday walk:-
The happy group outside Wynyard was not a miners' protest meeting, but merely the crowd on Saturday's walk. The leadership was in the capable hands of Gax Mental and Gax, displaying fine bushmanship, bypassed a chemist shop and led us by a short cut through to Wynyard Park. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and going through the park we observed a fine specimen of wild cat and several birds resembling pigeons. Nature lovers were very interested and we were a little behind schedule as we swung on to Bradfield Highway along to Pylon Lookout The fine weather enabled us to get a clear view of Circular Quay and taking compass bearings we soon passed through to Farm Cove. There we camped for the night, obtaining our water from a ducky little pond.
We moved off early on Sunday morning, passing Lady Macquarie's Chair, then on to Brown's Wharf and the jungle country of Woolloomooloo, A very hungry party lunched at the Domain tearoom and at 2 pm. we winded our way amongst the various meetings in the Domain. As it was a test walk the prospectives were sent to heckle the speakers. A battered and scratched set of prospectives rejoined the party about an hour later, one in a very bad state, having forgotten his gaiters and being hacked severely about the shins. First aid was administered and we were just leaving when down came the rain. Fortunately the Art Gallery was nearby and, as is the custom, we went in to shelter from the downpour. Our stay was short and we made good progress to Hyde Park, obtaining (thanks to the R.S.L.) a grand view of the War Memorial from the Archibald Memorial. We terminated the walk at Town Hall Station and the happy band dispersed after thanking Gax for an entertaining and inexpensive weekend.
There has been no report of the Friday night trip. It was also a test walk and as the leader intended to ignore traffic lights and traffic signals we are inclined to fear the worst. See Stop Press.
Conservationists are invited to contact the curator of the Botanical Gardens who will issue free, one trowel, one box of petunias, and directions where to dig. And don't forget to keep next weekend free. Remember the big Eastern Suburbs Railway working bee.
We wish to correct an impression that might have been created by the description in the recent article entitled “Last Trip” that lack of courage was the reason for Roley Cotter baulking on a steep bit of ridge over the Colo. The real reason was that his pack contained fragile components of one of the Bransdon puddings, and that alone was the reason for his ultra-cautious descent.
The Rowen-Barden wedding went off very nicely. At the end of the celebrations the bride was heard to remark “I notice the Bushwalkers ate everything on their table - not a crumb left”. Our reporter agreed and added “Like a swarm of locusts” To which the bride answered “Yes”.
Six Committee members and two prospectives turned up on the official walk to Willawarrin led by Peggy Bransdon. The two prospectives wanted to make it a test, but the terrain was a little restricted. An impromptu meeting was held and it was agreed that a test could be led in that country. So next morning all but the two sensible members of the Committee rose at or before dawn and soon after plunged into the undergrowth. By keeping off roads and tracks and going up and down like ants a suitable walk was led. Lunch was partaken at Hungry Beach and Homer Cotter's eyes were seen to acquire that yearning look. So after a hurried meal we sped on to the Basin, arriving in time to catch the 3 p m. boat. The prospectives were scraped from head to foot after their race through the prickles and have no hesitation in saying that sufficient blood was drawn to count it as a test.
The Club's dance was held despite the adverse industrial situation. Things were a little dim at first, but brightened considerably when Herb Morris' motor-bike was carried up the stairs and the light directed on to the dance floor. The orchestra provided original music with an almost barbaric flavour. This was, so it is believed, because though we only paid for three musicians, five turned up. They didn't all play at once though. The piano and drums were almost non-stop but one never knew when the spirit would move the saxophonist or the trumpeter. We certainly had our money's worth. Hollywood never put on a better show.
Won't it be just too too interesting when the lights go on and we know who has joined the Club!
By Two Forlorn Females
Our first outing with a prospective member took place a couple of weeks ago in the locality of Cowan. Our prospective member was a male and our reason for taking him was so we would not have to agree with Mr. Gillamis article “A Lady's Lament on not being kept warm”.
Most members know what it is like to go out with a prospective. The weekend is usually a repetition of thorns in sleeping bags and boot laces being knotted and, take it from me, we had all this and also our tent crashing down in the small hours of the morning. With one eye open I made an attempt to restore it to its original position but to no avail, it came down again and we had to crawl out from under the wreckage of a peaceful home. Also through the night, I awoke to hear a midnight conservation between my co-tent-era about all the trains and planes they could hear. I guarantee one hundred and thirty seven trains and planes passed through and over the bush that night, and was I tired by morning!
A hint to members. Take your boots with you to the wash basin for fear you may return and find your bootlaces and socks knotted.
Also take a one man tent with a picket fence all around it and an installed heater.
So I leave you with this thought. If you see a prospective ImaTing grey socks with red stripes, drop a pebble on his head for us. We know What sort of socks he'll be wearing because we knitted them.
Below is a copy of a leaflet used to obtain signatures to the 1933 petition which resulted in the reservation of Garawarra. Within a week 4,632 signatures were obtained.
WALKERS! HIKERS! PICNICKERS! YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE
The organised walking clubs are endeavouring to bring under the notice of the Authorities the fact that the whole of the Garaawarra district from the National Park to Bald Hill should have been set aside years ago for purposes of recreation and preservation of its remarkable scenic, forest, jungle and beach attractions. For many years the whole roadless district has been a welcome place where many hundreds of non-motoring outdoor people have found constant and congenial refuge from countless roads and resorts made unsuitable for their particular purposes.
The N.S.W. Federation of Bush Walking Clubs appeals to all pedestrians, outdoor people, particularly those who use this district, to unite in this walkers' community effort and make a speedy and definite attempt to save this walkers' paradise; not so much for themselves alone, but for the far greater needs of posterity.
You have seen the irremediable damage done to the forest at the new holding on Black Gin Creek and thereabout. The Burgh Track - used for 40 years by your people - is straddled by that property and your only range water supply has its source destroyed, and its waters are to be polluted by a cow-yard across its banks. Do you wish to save this fine forest reserve from further regrettable spoliation - this lovely bushland that many feel is better than anything in the National Park? If you care about it, add your signature without delay to the petition which is to be presented to the Honourable the Minister for Lands.
Look for the Federation's representatives at Waterfall, Helens-burgh, Lilyvale and Otford on Sundays and sign the petition there; or call any day at F.A. PALLIN'S Office, 312 George Street (over Hallam Ltd.) opposite Wynyard Station; or on Friday evenings at the rooms of the SYDNEY BUSH WALKERS, 3rd Floor, 5 Hamilton Street, Sydney.
HIKERS! THIS IS YOUR BUSINESS LEND YOUR AID OR LOSE YOUR BEAUTIFUL LANDS
By Brian Harvey.
Owing to power restrictions no meeting was held in June. The Annual General and July Monthly Meetings were held on Tuesday, 26th Ju1y, n the C9IvT.W. rooms..
ELECTION OF OFFICERS. Stan Cottier was re-elected President, with Paul Barnes and Frank Peters Senior and Junior Vice Presidents respectively. Bill Mann is the new Hon Secretary with Miss Jackson as his Hon. Assistant. Mr. Robinson holds the keys of the exchequer.
ANNUAL REPORT., A motion to omit the scathing preamble of the report was defeated. Home truths apparently touched some tender spots. The report will be duplicated and circulated.
BUSHWALKER ANNUAL Sub-committee reported that publication of No.12 Annual be shelved until next year. Costs made an issue economically undesirable. Deficit on last issue is about L65 as all the 1,500 copies were not sold, due to apathetic bushwalkers.
BOUDDI NATURAL PARK Working Bee set down for 27/8 August. Motor transport for 8/- return arranged. See Marie Byles for details.
BUSHCRAFT ASSOCIATION As no reply had been received to Federation's letter of 14 May asking whether the Association intended to adhere to the Federation Constitution or consider resigning, and in the absence of a delegate to speak for the Association, “contempt” for the Federation was upheld and a motion to suspend the affiliation of the Bushcraft Association was passed on the casting vote of the President. One S.B.W. delegate refrained from voting.
SEARCH AND RESCUE SECTION reported the last practice weekend was not a great success. The weather was most unkind however. Sectional meetings wi11 be held at Paddy's on Monday 15th and 29th August.
FORESTRY ADVISORY COUNCIL Annual Conference strongly supported our claim for resumption of Lots 17 and 15 of Narrow Neck Peninsula.
GARAWARRA PARK TRUST Mr. Theo Atkinson has intimated his willingness to withdraw from the Trust in favour a bushwalker more active in Federation activities He also anticipates going abroad.
ANNUAL REUNION will take place weekend 18/19th September at a venue to be decided. Suggestions for a suitable site are required.
UNIVERSITY CLUB RECISION MOTION to rescind the resolutions that the marathons had the disapproval of the Federation was lost with only one affirmative viz the mover.
NOTICES OF MOTION TO AMEND THE CONSTITUTION In effect these were 1.AFFILIATION ,Before any club submits an application for affiliation such club shall have been in existence for at least six months from election of officers. Furthermore, that such application shall not be considered, for a period s of two months after submission. And that no club shall be readmitted with a membership of less than 10. 2. OFFICERS. That the Officers of the Federation shall include an Hon. Minute Secretary in addition to the Hon. Assistant Secretary.
Mr. Caines Phillips advises that the Topographical Section of the River Canoe Club has now completed map no. 47 - Lachlan River - Cowra to Jemalong, including Jemalong Creek and a short section of the Be1ubula River.