A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney.
|Editor||Alex Colley, 55 Kirribilli Ave., Milson's Point|
|Production and Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales and Subs||Shirley Evans|
|Production Asst||Bill Gillam|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey & Shirley King|
|Editorial - The Walks Programme||1|
|At the June General Meeting||2|
|Addition to the Library||Jess Martin||5|
|Winter Journey||Kath Brown||6|
|Wambling Down the Kowmung||Dorothy Hasluck||9|
|Euroka Stockade||Kevin Ardill||11|
|Letter to the Editor - Frank Leydon from Switzerland||15|
|Letter to the Editor - Mysterious Katoomba||Brian Harvey||17|
|Letter to the Editor - One Captain to a Ship: One Leader to a Walk||Ernie French||17|
|Column 8 1/2||Kevin Ardill||19|
|After the Deluge - What? Paddy's advt.||21|
The winter walks programme is to hand. It foreshadows great exertions. On it there are 49 walks - 49 expeditions into those allegedly dangerous and precipitous regions which the press describes as “the roughest country in N.S.W.” The total distance covered in the 49 walks will be 917 miles. If ten people go on each walk they will cover, individually, 9,170 miles, while their train travels will aggregate enough passenger miles to encircle the globe. They will consume half a ton of foodstuffs. Their output of energy in climbing will be sufficient to raise 24 elephants to the top of Mount Everest. Space does not permit an estimate of the number of words incidental to these activities.
The master-mind behind the programme is the Walks Secretary. Of the 49 leaders he approaches, only a few will take a pencil and immediately place on the programme a good walk complete with details. Many will dither for some time, or leave it to him to fill in details. He must try to get a good distribution of test walks, provide for the young and the old, the energetic and the lazy; and choose reliable leaders. Then there is checking, typing, proof-reading and many other incidentals. His job is complex, difficult and almost continuous, and the least he can expect from the people who are going to enjoy the walks is their co-operation. If he doesn't get it nobody could blame him for carrying out his threat of “no walks no walks programme”, or emulating his predecessors in office by hurrying off to a distant destination.
We are at a loss to define the peculiar charm of a General Meeting at Ingersoll Hall on an evening of downpour (at the end of a week of deluge), but there was a healthy roll-up of about 60 for the June General Meeting. We even had two new members, Rita Edwards and Bob Chapman, and perhaps because of the recent dearth of new talent the meeting accorded them the most vociferous welcome of recent times.
Stemming from that part of the May minutes which recorded an allegation that a Committee member had refused to lead an official walk on the next programme, a report of Committee's investigation was read: the member alluded to, Jack Wren, had made his identity known, and claimed that his jocular comment in declining to lead a walk had been misinterpreted. Committee considered that this was undoubtedly the case, and it was pointed out in the report that, although it was desirable Committee members play a very active part in Club affairs, there were occasions when other commitments prevented them from leading official trips. At the present time, a Committee comprising 6 per cent of active strength supplied about 20 per cent of walks leaders. Alex Colley said he was sorry Jack Wren had not mentioned his pre-occupation at an earlier stage. He believed that all members, whether on committee or not, should be willing to lead walks if they were capable of leading and were not prevented from doing so by family or occupational ties. Disinclination was no excuse. Committee's report was adopted.
Federation Bulletin contained a report that the Mark Morton Primitive Reserve had not been dedicated, and that the Forestry Department was considering exploiting the timber in the area. Enquiries ascertained that Federation had not resolved on any action, and that lack of surveyors had apparently precluded the definition of the boundaries of the Reserve. Later in the meeting it was resolved to communicate with the Forestry Advisory Council, transmitting the Conservation Bureau's information, and asking if they had any further information.
A recommendation from the Committee that the Club Room be closed on the Friday when the following Monday was a public holiday was adopted. Supporting the motion, the Treasurer said about six members had been present an the Friday of King's Birthday Week-end, including two Committee members who appeared only to close the room. Someone commented “A financial flop!”
The President announced that the time had arrived for a decision on compensation for Era Resumption. He stated that he had enquired into prices for similar sales near Jamberoo, and based his considerations on recent appreciation of land values, and a comparison with the estimated value for Portion 1. It appeared that £650 was a reasonable figure for our claim. Fred Kennedy moved that we submit a claim for that amount, and the motion was carried. Dormie enquired if we had heard from the Minister for Lands in response to our tentative offer to forego compensation under certain conditions, and was advised “acknowledgment only received”.
Walks Secretary Don Frost proved stiff-necked when he rose to speak of walks and walks programmes. With head held askew and many scarves about his suffering isthmus, he complained of the difficulty of securing walks and leaders for the programme, and of the lack of originality amongst walks, which induced members to go on private trips, so white-anting the official activities. Asst. Walks Secretary, Roy Bruggy, leapt to the aid of his General, and urged potential leaders to give a little thought to their walks and provide mileages, train times and the other details which made compilation of a programme an onerous job.
The necessity of providing Test walks on the summer programme was questioned, and Gil Webb extended the idea with the suggestion that easy camping trips could cover all three official walks on summer week-ends, with successive parties on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday all making their way to say, Era.
Rebellious Bill Gillam would not blame anyone for failing to put a walk on the programme. Several week-ends ago he had provided what he considered an interesting and original trip, which lapsed for lack of starters. The same week-end an easy jaunt to Euroka produced almost 30 members. (“Personality of the leader” said the ubiquitous voice from the rear.)
Don Frost rose again. He had not gone on Mr. Gillam's trip, he agreed (I can't speak any louder, you'll have to listen harder). He had gone to Euroka himself. Here, apart from his rigid neck, he would have reached up to his greatest stature. It proved, he contended, that Saturday afternoon walks were the best attended on the programme, but the hardest to secure. On the current programme, only one of the 1 1/2 day walks (Jim Hooper's) had shown originality.
Dormie felt that the programme, as a matter of tradition, and for the welfare of the prospectives, should be filled as far as possible. The old walks were still new to new members and should continue to appear. Hang the prospectives, said Bill Gillam; why sweat and strain with test walks in the summer to provide 15 per cent of the club strength with a programme?
All this time, there had been no motion before the chair, of course: but what the Hell? It was all good clean fun, anyway.
Don Frost argued that it wasn't necessary to go far afield for new trips. You could ring the changes on old places by new approaches. A previous map reconnaissance would reveal endless possibilities, and make an interesting programme. Jack Wren suggested that if members converted private trips into Club walks by submitting them to the Walks Secretary much of the difficulty would be overcome.
Harking back to the difference of opinion on providing test walks for prospectives, Kath Brown considered the newcomers should be given consideration. The most active part of a walker's career was often the first two or three years, and during this time they contributed much to the walking enterprise of the Club. This activity should be encouraged by a complete programme. Jim Hooper thought campcraft and mapreading trips could perhaps replace some of the test walks for summer months.
Since he could not be accused of getting away from the subject (there being no official subject) Alex Colley drew attention to a “breach of the code of ethics” on the official King's Birthday trip when a member and two prospectives became detached from the party for three days. Dormie, speaking for the strays, said that an arrow scratched in the track by non-walkers had misled them. Said Bill Gillam, “A study of astrology, signs and portents should be included in prospective members training”.
Reverting to the walks programme, Brian Harvey suggested useful publicity for walks could be given in the magazine, and this was endorsed by the editor, who said he did his best to encourage leaders to give advance details of their walks.
Allen Strom considered that the Walks Secretary might prepare much of the programme himself, spacing his trips for region, mileage and severity, and then securing leaders. No, no, no, said Don Frost, that “would strain my mental capacity”. He could work out four or five fairly novel walks - but not a complete programme.
Don's subaltern spoke again to sound the cease fire with a plea for co-operation with the Walks team. Preparation of the programme was always a wrestle against the calendar, and properly planned walks made it much easier for the Walks Secretary.
Dormie now rose to quote recent news items that New Australians were ruthlessly shooting native creatures and despoiling protected plants. He moved that we approach the Federation to have the Minister for Immigration notify newcomers to the country that our flora and fauna were mostly protected. Kath Brown said she had heard similar instruction being broadcast in special radio programmes for New Australians recently, and Dormie's motion was carried.
As the meeting ebbed away Sydney's 50th inch of rain for the year fell, and it was decided that the Christmas Party should be held a reasonable period before December 25th - not the preceding Friday.
Surprisingly, considering all that had been said, the meeting wound up at a couple of minutes before nine p.m.
By Jess Martin.
A fascinating book for all who are interested in trees.
The Author, a trained forester, has travelled extensively and describes the forests of the World in vivid word pictures which are enhanced by the liberal number of beautiful photographic plates.
The chapters on forest destruction and soil erosion, and the devastation which follows thoughtless use and wholesale destruction of forests, emphasize the need for greater interest in wise conservation of existing forests and re-forestation of denuded areas. A little of this latter work is described.
This is a book all members should find enjoyable reading.
By Kath Brown.
“To Newnes or not to Newnes” - that was the subject of debate at Blackheath station at 10 p.m. on the cold, wintry Friday night of King's Birthday Week-end. The protagonists were the fifteen bushwalkers who comprised the official S.B.W. party and the taxi-driver and offsider who had undertaken to take them 30 miles or so out to the State Forests on the first stage of their trip.
The roads out that way, said the taxi-driver, were bad, he doubted if he could get them through. The bushwalker leader assured him that the Forestry Department, contacted that day by phone, had declared the roads clear. Why not go to Kanangra? suggested the taxi-driver - he already had one half-empty car going that way. No, replied the bushwalkers firmly, Newnes or nothing.
Eventually it was decided to go as far as possible along the Newnes road, and the fifteen walkers and their respective packs were squeezed in or attached precariously outside the two cars, and at length, at 11.30 to be precise, off we went.
The roads were country roads, but not bad, one detour and a couple of slightly muddy spots were negotiated and final]y the fifteen bodies (and packs) were deposited on a bleak roadside, no one quite knew where, but with pine trees offering shelter on one side and a small swamp promising water on the other.
The night's adventures had not yet finished, however. A little later, as the tents were going up under the pines, an anguished cry was passed along. “The cars are stuck in mud just up the road!” So for another half hour the walkers toiled, and at last the big car was freed and the taxi-driver went on his homeward way, but the offsider was stuck fast and had to wait till morning when help in the shape of the Forester's truck was available to pull him out. He had a cold night but the leader provided him with breakfast and he collected a couple of fares from the Forestry Camp to take back to town next day, so was not unduly downcast. The taxi-driver no doubt returned home bitterly pleased that his worst fears had been realised.
Next morning dawned dull and cold, with frost whitening the dead logs round the swamp. The carpet of pine needles under the trees formed a soft bed, but the sleepy bushwalkers, who had not turned in till 2.30 a.m. found that pine twigs did not burn as easily as they expected, in fact they had to go looking for dead gum to re-inforce the smoky little fires. With daylight our position had been located, and as the leader thought he ought to see the car safely out of its bog, a deputy leader was appointed and at last the first instalment of the party was ready to move off. With a clear track ahead it was felt no one could go astray.
The way lay first along a country road, then for a few miles along the old Newnes railway to Dean's Siding, at which point we were to turn on to the old coach road which ran along a ridge and then twisted its way down the mountainside to the valley of the Wolgan River, and eventually to the old mining township, now practically deserted, of Newnes. The old railway also came to Newnes, but by a much more devious route. This first day's march was about 15 miles, and roughly half-way we ran off the map, as the Newnes district is not yet covered by military maps.
The going was easy and we made good time, so that despite our late start we had seven miles behind us when we stopped for lunch. The party caught up in dribs and drabs and soon we were all assembled. All? No, three were missing. Two members and one prospective had somehow vanished en route. After some discussion it was decided that they had probably kept along the railway instead of turning off on to the old coach road, and later we found this was so.
The cliffs of the Wolgan valley are superb. Knobbly sandstone crags above sheer reddish-gold walls, falling away some 1,500 feet to a narrow green valley. The ease with which the old road brought us through this barrier was amazing. The surveying of this road and the railway route was a great job. In no time we were down and finding a precarious way over the Wolgan River by means of two slippery fallen trees.
Three more miles along a valley road and we reached Newnes, now just a few sleepy deserted buildings where once a prosperous township of 2,000 people was established. The hotel, however, is still occupied and the proprietor offered us the use of the old store as shelter for the night. With rain clouds brewing up half the party took advantage of this kindly thought, but the others, with bushwalker independence, put up their tents on a grassy patch by a little side stream and braved the elements.
Rain fell steadily for about an hour, and we sat in our tents wondering whether we had been too independent. But when the rain ceased and we sat round our cosy campfires eating our dinners with the little stream gurgling nearby and the friendly mountains looming around us, we felt glad we were out in the clean freshness of the bush.
A visit to the old shale-mining works, a mile downstream from our camp, was the first item on the morning's programme, and so interesting did we find them that it was hard to tear ourselves away, although with another 15 miles to walk out of the valley we dare not leave too late. The rusty railway engines were particularly fascinating, massive brutes with their wheels grouped in four sets of bogies so that they could negotiate the sharp bends.
We followed the old railway on our climb out of the valley, but did not see the lovely views promised, because rain set in as we ate our lunch at the foot of the c1imb and from then on visibility was limited to near-at-hand scenery.
Our missing three had still not turned up, but we had news of them from a farm in the valley, which reported that three men had arrived at dusk the previous night, camped near their property, and intended leaving the Valley by the Wolgan Gap for Lithgow. So all seemed well with them, and though they had missed seeing Newnes we felt sure we would collect them safely at Lithgow.
The old railway skirted the foot of the cliffs and then wound up a narrow gorge. Here ferns and bushe8 looked lovely but made wet going. Then we were in the first tunnel, a long, dark, winding one, whose roof and walls were festooned with glow-worms, making quite a fairyland.
The grade of the railway line, about 1 in 14, was a steep one for trains but an easy one for bushwalkers, and before long we found we had reached the tops, passing through a second tunnel and seeing some fine timber in the gullies en route. It was still raining and now we could feel a strong cold wind from the south, so we began to think longingly of fire and dinner. Our leader had been given permission for us to use a cottage at the 15-Mile Pine Forest, and though we were still four miles away when dusk fell, in view of the inclemency of the weather we decided to push on, though we were beginning to feel tired and three of the party had developed blisters.
As we plodded on though the gathering gloom the railway track could be dimly seen, then back to the country road and with torches out, and hands and feet getting colder every minute, we watched for the turn-off to the cottage. What a relief to be inside away from the bleak, wet coldness, though there are certain difficulties to cope with when seven people, averaging two cooking utensils apiece, are all trying to cook on one small smoky fire. Fortunately there was a fuel stove as well as a fireplace, or some of us may have gone supperless to bed. At last, tired, fed and warm, we lay in our sleeping bags and listened to the wind howling outside as we fell asleep. The recorded temperature at Mt. Victoria that day was 34 degrees and light snow had fallen, so it was not surprising that we had found it cold.
Monday, the last day of the holiday week-end, was our “getting home” day. Transport at the beginning of the trip was a big enough strain on our finances, and we intended to walk out to Lithgow on the final day. Another road-bash of 14 miles, but as it was a country road through bush and pine forests, and new country to most of us, no one minded.
The weather was again cold and rainy, and we swung along at a steady pace, glad of our warm clothing and our waterproof capes and hoods. A quick lunch in the shelter of the pines, and then on again, too cold to stop any longer than necessary.
And so at last into Lithgow approaching down a long gully to find this industrial city nestling in a beautiful mountain valley. A city whose front may be shabby but whose back door looks on the everlasting hills.
But the bushwalkers main thoughts now were for food, train and home, and after a quick meal in a cafe, and a re-union on the station with the three missing members who had reached Lithgow ahead of us, we soon found ourselves sitting drowsily in our homeward-bound train feeling glad, very glad, that despite the wet and the cold of the later part of the trip, the question “To Newnes or not to Newnes” had been settled in the affirmative.
by Dorothy Hasluck.
In view of the weather's past record - very black - and I don't think I will have any dissenters on this question - we (Edna Garrad, Jess Martin and I) turned down an exploration trip to the Hollander Creek and Upper Kowmung and decided on an easy wamble down the Kowmung from Kanangra. Not taking any chances we settled ourselves in the cave for the first night. Do I hear cries of “Pansy”? Hearing voices I sallied forth to find Roley (a friend of Peter Page's), his son, and Frank Craft and his son, bound for a trip via the Boyd Range to Yerranderie and then back to Carlon's. They, being of sterner stuff, were camped on the creek. The morning dawning bright and clear we all tore ourselves from our beds to see the sunrise from the tops and were certainly rewarded for our efforts. The dark ridge of the mountains was tinged with pink along its length, and poised above a gap was a pink cloud of such ethereal texture as to appear unreal, the valley filled with soft downy mist. In a few minutes up popped King Sol in all his golden effulgence, completing a picture of grandeur and majesty.
The other party having left early, we went off to see the Falls, which were absolutely at their best - a tremendous volume of water tumbling over in a spectacular leap. Our plan for next morning being to walk over the Gangerang, we decided to rise before the crack of dawn. As Edna made a mistake in the time we rose at 4 a.m. instead of 5, and had to wait till it became light. By the time we reached Gabes Gap the weather was breaking - apparently two fine days being the limit - so we returned, as also did the other party, having found the scrub pushing terrific on the Boyd Range.
The next day we all left for the Kowmung. Some one had made an “H” of stones by the ridge before Hughes, which was most confusing to those not knowing the route. A wet night was looming as we reached the River and a struggle ensued to get the fire going, everything being so saturated. Wherever there was good wood, there were also good nettles - thousands of a fine healthy brand which were to become worse as we proceeded. My only consolation was that we were probably being inoculated against rheumatic conditions, as one of Rolfe's drivers had told me that when his arthritis affected his hands so badly that he was unable to drive, he would go out and grasp a lot of nettles and then he was right again.
Next morning I had a solid hour's struggle with the fire, but as struggle was to be our lot, instead of a nice easy trek, it was just as well to get used to it early. The weather gods, however, did relent, and from then on it was fine, which was a miracle as we heard afterwards that it had been wet everywhere else. But, to return to our tussle with nature, when we weren't struggling through seas of outsize nettles and stinking roger because the crossings were impossible, we were scaling equally impossible cliffs, one of which confronted us just as it was time to camp. Girding up our loins and expecting the worst on the other side - as it was a very inhospitable part of the River - we ascended, and kept on ascending, till I began to think we would be camping on the cliff; but at last a way down loomed and led us to a perfect campsite… no nettles. Piles of driftwood tangled up in the trunks of trees made progress very slow in places, and the depth and rush of the water made every crossing a hazardous progression of jamming one foot between rocks before daring to move the other. If it had not been for the weight of my companions on either side I would never have made it. I am not now in favour of their reducing. I shall henceforth ignore all such advertisements. Situations alter one's opinions!
After the Junction we crossed to the other side of the Cox as we were afraid we might not be able to negotiate the Kanangra. This necessitated a bad ford before which our hearts quailed, so once more we turned to the cliffs. Up and up we climbed, slipping and sliding on the steep sides, there seeming no way over. At last in desperation we tried what looked like a wallaby track only to find cliffs dropping to formidable depths everywhere we looked and rising hundreds of feet above us, so we turned tail and once more faced the ford, which now did not look quite as bad, thus proving that everything is relative.
To provide a little relaxation for us after our efforts, two young wallabies had a boxing match whilst older ones looked on. They made a charming picture as they did not discover our presence for quite a while.
Our last obstacle was “Sheila's folly” so named after a former trip from Yerranderie when in trying to save time we climbed over the face of this buttress to find we had to jump down about 8 feet. Sheila (Garrad) threw her pack, which promptly rolled into the Cox, followed by its owner diving after it, only to find she could have waded!
To the tinkling chimes of bellbirds we commenced our wade up Breakfast Creek. On this homeward lap ideas of comfort began to form in my mind and I was considering asking Mrs. Carlon if we might stay the night. On broaching this “sissy” idea to Edna she said “I had already decided that myself”.
Next day, thinking that all our struggles were over, three poor deluded souls set forth with Roley in a car, which skidded and bumped over what passed as a road but was now a sea of mud. First we had to pull another motorist out of a ditch, then we got bogged ourselves, and all had to get out in the quagmire and push. Every now and again as we hung over the abyss as the car skidded to the edge, all our previous hazards faded into insignificance. Still we did finally get the train.
by Kevin Ardill.
You know how these yarns start. Someone had a photo that caused a certain amount of merriment. There were references to a crowd having a cracker weekend and David Ingram even remarked that on some trips everything seemed to go off with a bang. With twenty-seven satisfied customers buzzing around the clubroom it wasn't long before the editor was demanding an account of the doings. Never having described a circus before I find it a little difficult to know just where to begin.
I suppose the ringmaster should be introduced first, so - meet Irene Jeanes. Then the performers, twenty-four in number, all bound for Euroka, strictly official and clearly marked “Easy” on the programme. The walk to Euroka was interesting but not exciting. The camp spot was cushioned with thick grass and quite a normal looking crowd began setting up tents and cooking. Irene and sister Dulcie came back from their creek bath looking quite pink and glowing, but it transpired that the colour was caused by the intrusion of two youths into their bathroom.
Tea was rather a satisfactory affair and we were invited over to the camp fire to enjoy a few crackers that Irene had brought along. You've got to be polite to lady leaders but I must admit that the prospect of a couple of sparklers and a packet of crackers seemed a weak form of entertainment. I'm getting a bit ancient see, and when someone hurled a couple of crackers near my tent I joined the party to make a short speech on the dangers of indiscriminate throwing of bungers. I made the speech feelingly and finally appealed for the safety of my little wigwam, and I'm sure I saw a tear steal down the cheek of Jack Perry. I'm seeing signs of co-operation from the audience when I also sight someone holding a rocket. Did someone once describe a rocket as “a thing of beauty and a joy forever”? Probably not, but if you have a match and a bottle you can do things with a rocket. Len Fall found it, that bottle seemed rather a fresh specimen to me. It was a slashing rocket enjoyed by all except the bloke who had to race away and drag the burning fragments off his tent. But what's a tent between mates - and when Irene produced a pile of fireworks that would supply Woolworth's for a week, well, it was every tent for itself.
After a few initial shocks the nervous system began to get used to explosions and sparks and I even was emboldened enough to grasp the safe end of a sparkler. I suppose the show lasted an hour and if rockets weren't roaring into the night, then there were showers of multi-coloured lights and sparks cascading everywhere. One rocket was minus a wick and a bloke who considered himself an expert on rockets seemed determined to let the thing off. He squatted by the rocket lighting match after match, until, as a last resort, he picked up the stock and blew on the glowing head. Oh boy! was he an expert on rockets. With a rush of air and sparks that enveloped the expert, the rocket shot off amongst the trees, leaving behind at least a couple of burnt fingers belonging to the startled expert. The camp fire was then the centre of attraction and Don Frost gets my vote as a builder of fires. We sang all the songs we knew and some that most of us half knew, and when the fire burnt down Jim Hooper demonstrated a novel method of collecting wood. I only saw him do it once, but the idea seemed to butt the trunk of a tree with his head and thereby dislodge the loose branches from the top. Very effective.
Sitting still for an hour seemed to be the limit for the younger members of the group and when three latecomers arrived they decided to play cops and robbers. The idea was to pick two sides, the robbers to secrete themselves around the area and after a short time the cops set out in pursuit. There's a lot of space at Euroka, there was also a nip in the air, and plenty of wet grass, and the cops soon returned to the warmth of the camp fire. A few smart robbers soon followed but its marvellous the time some took to decide that squatting in the wet bush was “a bid on der nose”.
The last of the outlaws wandered in just as I was headed for bed and you'd think the others would have similar ideas. You'll have to think again because there is an old wheelbarrow and who do you think found it? The boys were polite though and the ladies were the first passengers. A wheelbarrow ride sounds very romantic but unfortunately there were hidden logs in the grass. They are hidden no longer, and I'll bet the girls could chart every one of them. I went to sleep while the thud of bodies striking the wet turf and the call of “next please” echoed in the frosty air.
Next morning the sun shining across the tent presaged a fine day and four of us decided to go for an exploration walk. Our plan was changed by the still active spirits around us. Eric Lewis found a ladder and with another youth and Irene and Dulcie in attendance leaned it against a tall tree and climbed into the branches. And then some humorist took the ladder away. I think Don Frost had a hand in it but when he seemed to be headed for Glenbrook with the ladder a certain amount of panic was perceived in the group perched twenty feet above the ground. When the ladder was returned the three bearers seemed unable to agree where to replace it, with the result that the ladder circled the tree numerous times before the arborists returned to terra firma. Then someone noticed a prospective disappear into the tumbledown shed and thoughtfully pelted a couple of rocks on to the tin roof. One white haired prospective shot back into the sunlight, but when his nerves returned to normal he carried on his labours with a sheet of roofing iron and pieces of wood. While he laboured Eric Lewis had Irene pick-a-back and challenged all comers to a duel. The players soon lost interest in this sport and we were in time to see the launching of the iron canoe. I think the S.B.W. can claim the honour of the first canoeing of Euroka Creek. With several holes in the iron it was quite a feat to keep the craft afloat for any time and canoeists were conspicuous by their wet pants.
After lunch David Ingram, Len Fall, Molly Gallard and myself left Eureka on our delayed exploration trip, and the account of the Eureka week-end concludes at this point. I believe some of the old members used to enjoy cracker parties and now I know the appeal. I'm sure I didn't record half of the antics that went on but I remember enough to have a quiet grin at the memory. Those who were fortunate enough to be present saw a display of spirit that augers well for the future of the younger members of the Club. Sound like an old man, don't I, but this old man had a whale of a time and if the Club doesn't have the next re-union at Euroka someone should explode a couple of bungers in the Clubroom.
Though invitations to our Club room dance on June 23rd were extended to several other clubs few of their members came along. But our own members - probably hoping to see some new faces - attended in strength. After their initial disappointment they made the best of it and appeared to enjoy themselves thoroughly.
At the dance the Treasurer, having won a competition by emitting a note lasting 41 seconds, lost no time in capitalising his success land popularity. He immediately appealed for subscriptions and was soon on a nice new note - a green one 6“ x 3”.
The month of July will bring two interesting events on the social programme. First, on 21st, Professor Macdonald of the Sydney University will entertain us with slides and commentary on Kosciusko. Reports on the work to be presented are very favourable indeed and we can all look forward to a most interesting night.
Secondly, on 28th, Allen Strom will give a lecture - “A Plan for Nature Protection”. We all know how interested Allen is in this subject since he is the official representative of the S.B.W. on the Fauna Protection Panel. Allen's previous lecture on the geology of the country in which we walk, was enthusiastically received and many requests have been made for Allen to speak to us again. Those requests have been granted.
Congratulations and Good Wishes to Bob and Billie Bright, who were married in New Guinea. Billy has taken over a hairdressing business up there.
(Frank's letter describes climbs in the High Silvretta (Austrian Voralberg). As most of the places described are not on any of the maps we could discover this part of the letter is not reproduced. The map below shows the Silvretta and some of the places he describes in Switzerland.)
“At Sass Fee I joined a British Colonel friend and we started out with a Swiss party and 2 guides for the “Haute Route”, ski-mountaineering tour over some of the highest mountains and passes in the Alps. From Sass Fee at 6,000 feet we climbed to Britannia Hut at 10,000 feet, set in the middle of very spectacular mountains and deep valleys and glaciers. Next day the 13 of us roped in 3 sections and climbed for 4 hours up through the crevassed glacier to the high Adler Pass, 12,700 feet. Here we left skis and cut steps up through the crevassed glacier to the summit of the Strahlhorn, 14,000 feet. We almost looked down on the Matterhorn from here which was just to the north-west of us. To the south we looked over the Italian lakes.
Strahlhorn is my highest climb so far, although I have been to more spectacular places. From Adler Pass the snow was too steep to ski so we made steps and roped down. Then we skied to the Findelu glacier, climbed to the saddle between Cimi di jazzi and Stockhorn, and skied down by the seracs of the Gorner glacier under the great ice cliffs of Monte Rosa. We stayed at Monte Rosa Hut, and next day went to Theodulpass and skied nearly three quarters of the way around the majestic Matterhorn, which is closed and inaccessible in winter. Then up the Zmutt Glacier to Schonbuhl hut, where we slept right under the great rock. Next day up past Dent D'Herens over Col de Valpalline where we had grand views of Dent Blanche. But the weather here smote us and we wandered much on the Haut Glacier de Tza de Tzan till we found Col du Mt. Brule which we had to climb over, then more crevasse roping, Col de'Eveque, Arolla glacier and Vignettes Hut in exhaustion at 7 p.m. Next day we went on to Pass de Chevres where we climbed down a vertical 300 feet cliff on iron ladders with the pack swaying about and the skis swinging around one's neck. On to Hut Valde Dix. Through next day over Mont Fort Rosablanche, an exhausting climb where we dragged packs, skis and bodies up terribly steep slopes where a slip was unthinkable, and on to Le Chable bus railway out.
I spent a week in Zermatt on the Gornergrat with my Colonel friend, then spent another week in Saas Fee where there was a group of very high mountains including the Dom about 15,000 feet or so, highest wholly in Switzerland. Here I did some solo trips to huts including the Monte Moro Pass, one of the famous viewpoints in the Alps. Then I went to Sion, Les Hauderes and Arolla to join the second “Haute Route” ski tour. It took me 2 days to get to Vignettes hut because of bad weather. Here I met the party and we climbed (also a terrific climb) Pigne d'Arolla, and skied down to the Chamrion Hut. Next day up over Col de Fenetre by the Grand Combin and down Ollement Valley to Aosta in Italy. We took a car to Courmayeur, through some of the loveliest scenery I have seen, right up to the Italian side of Mont Blanc, the great south ridges of which are probably the greatest mountain faces in the whole of the Alps. Next day we took the 4,000 feet Teleferique to Col de Geant and skied over the passes and glaciers to Col du Midi, where we stayed in the hut at 11,900 feet on the Aiguille du midi overlooking Chamonix 8,500 feet below the greatest vertical rock cliffs I have seen. The Aiguilles on Mont Blanc around Chamonix are the most spectacular I have ever seen. Next morning we were up at 3.30 to do the summit of Mt. Blanc (16,000 feet). We had the crampons, as it is mostly a crampon climbing, and had paid the guide, but he would not go as the weather was pretty wicked and the air is so thin for the last 4,000 feet that it takes a long time - it is unthinkable unless the weather is quite fair. So we skied down 7,000 feet of Vallee Blanche and Mer de Glace. I have never had such a ski run. Crevasses, seracs, a terrifying place. From Chamonix I went to Interlaken, Lauterbrunn (a lovely place) and Murren and am now parked up on Jungfrau in a pub at Jungfraujoch, at 11,400 feet.”
The mysterious surveyors' marks observed on the week-end of 27-28th May, were, I believe, relating to the route of a proposed pipe line to convey water from the Fish River to Katoomba. The water will have to be raised to the top of the Main Divide, thence will flow, probably down Mini Mini Range, crossing the Cox by a bridge, and across Lower Megalong to the Megalong Post Office and along the Nellie's Glen track as far as the hotel-site. Powerful pumps will send the stream up on to the plateau in the vicinity of Devil's Hole and then on to the Katoomba reservoir.
I understand that with the expansion of the reticulated water supply right down the line to Glenbrook, the combined resources of the Katoomba Reservoir and Medlow Bath are insufficient to meet requirements should a dry spell ever again occur. The Katoomba catchment is pitifully small in any case, while the Fish River is of a fairly permanent source. The line, as far as I can see, will run through alienated land for the most part, and will not detract from any real primitive areas. It will, however, add a more civilised touch to the Megalong telephone line route.
On the other side of the picture, a good high-pressure water supply down the line may be the means of preventing the spread of a potentially disastrous bush fire. Most of these fires have occurred in the settled areas (mostly due to carelessness of householders and passing motorists) and we may be thankful if our already bush-fire smitten land is saved from further destruction.
As regards the Catalina floating in the pool in Katoomba, I have absolutely no information and cannot endeavour to explain that mystery.
- Brian Harvey.”
As certain misconceptions have arisen concerning the official King's Birthday Walk to Newnes, I pen the following in an attempt to correct them, and to dispel any imaginary incidents which the feather-brain of gossip may invent. I have already been approached in the Clubroom with the remark “I hear you got lost and had to come home!”
Two members and one prospective were separated from the main party from early Saturday morning till late Monday afternoon. The manner of separation was as follows: The leader, having to go for assistance for a bogged taxi, appointed a deputy to take charge until he could rejoin the party. He did not inform me of this, nor did I hear the deputy's announcement of starting time, if one was made. Having gone down the road to the scene of the towing operation, I returned to find that the deputy had departed with half the party.
Being advised by the leader, who had now returned to the camp, to go on, a party of six set off, leaving the leader and one prospective to complete their packing. “We will catch you up” was the parting remark. After about a mile or so, three of the party left the other three. At this stage there were four sections to the party! We had a Captain at the bow, another in the stern, and, as might have been expected, what happened amidships was nobody's business.
At lunch time it was apparent that we were pursuing a different course to that taken by the deputy leader, but as we were on the old rail track to Newnes, we determined to follow it rather than leave it in search of the other parties.
Late that afternoon, an incident occurred which may interest those who found mention of this affair so amusing at the last general meeting. The two members halted for a few minutes, and the prospective walked on along the track. The prospective was ahead of them. They were walking faster than he was. They would catch him up. How obvious! We walked for an hour without sight of him, and descended at last to the farmhouse on the banks of the Wolgan. No news either of the main party, or of the prospective. We crossed the Wolgan, on to the Newnes Road, and debated whether to camp or push on to Newnes.
At this stage not one single member of the entire party knew the whereabouts of that prospective. Fortunately this did not cause any worry, to whoever was leading the party at that time of the day. Not having seen either the prospective or the two members since early morning, he did not know that the prospective was missing. Some little time later the prospective appeared, coming not from in front of us but from behind! He explained that when he went ahead of us he decided to investigate an interesting little gorge and cascade close by. He left his pack to one side of the track, where we failed to notice it. The further we went the further we left him behind. We decided to camp and await the return of the main party next morning.
I frankly confess to a disinclination to rejoin a party in which lack of cohesion appeared to be a marked characteristic. As the party had not appeared by 10.30 a.m. next day, (they arrived at 12 p.m. I am told) we set out to walk thru' the pleasant Wolgan Valley; camping that night on a good sheltered spot at the foot of the Wolgan Gap.
The final day saw us through the Gap and on to Lyndale, the scene of open cut coal mining, and so to Lithgow. At no time were we “lost” and as for coming home, that being our usual custom, deserves no comment. It was a pleasant and interesting walk marred to some extent by that bugbear of all leaders, the split party.
Let us have one captain to a ship, and one leader to a walk,
- Ernie French.”
by Kevin Ardill.
Did you read the pathetic plea by the Editor in the last months rag - eh - mag. As a direct result Column 8 1/2 has been resurrected, my only fear being that the author may require the same treatment in the near future.
David Ingram receives mention in this column by his feat in eliminating all comers in the first train home competition. He was on the 2.15 p.m. train and headed for home one Sunday recently. Before you start quoting comparable efforts kindly note that the following day was King's Birthday and the walk was not scheduled to finish till the Monday evening. A certain amount of mist and rain on the Barren Grounds was responsible for the early return of David and party.
He started out on Dibley's walk, was hot upon the trail,
But he couldn't read his program and he went to Lilyvale.
He scrutinised the passengers but not a one was known
So he wandered out to Burning Palms and had a day - ALONE.
We sympathised with this bloke upon his lonely day
And even wondered quietly just how he found his way
To catch the bus to Waterfall and how the day was spent
But not too much was offered by this cagy foxy gent.
A few weeks later in the bush we heard two fair ones talk
Of how they went to Lilyvale and missed George Dibley's walk.
They met a bloke named x …. and I think it should be known,
The three went out to Burning Palms and had a day - ALONE.
If you have a spare fourty four gallon drum about you might lend it to Len Fall. All in a good cause you know. Len started off at Euroka with a steamed ginger pudding in a 1 1/2 pint billy. Connoisseurs described it as the best ever and on subsequent walks so many customers have been promised a piece of the next creation, that Len is talking about taking a kerosene tin along with him. Just look for Len with a circle of fair ones round him and you'll know what's cooking!
If you haven's seen the effect of sneakers on wet slippery rocks you haven't seen anything yet. Down Fitzgerald Creek went a party of S.B.W. Two prospectives (feminine) had the sneakers, had the creek, and also had hold of the various males. Not since moonlight excursions on the harbour have I seen such an orgy hand holding. Someone suggested that the girls wore sneakers on purpose but I'm sure Pat and Joyce were just the victims of circumstance.
Present on the same walk was Jim Smith, a member of Hobart Walking Club. Jim was one of the party that walked from Recherche Bay to Port Davey and then followed us up to Geeveston on our Xmas Tassie trip. He had some fine photos and we hope to see him along on a scratchy trip so he can leave some skin on our bush to make for what their bauera did to us.
Brian G. Harvey.
Formal acknowledgement was received of Federation's protest over the proposed amalgamation of National and Garrawarra Park Trusts. The matter was placed before the Minister for Lands on his return to Sydney.
Were represented by their Mr. Watson who is at present living in Sydney. He described some of his Club's conservation work such as the planting of gums and the introduction of Mallee chicks to Thistle Island.
It was resolved to write to the Minister for Tourist Activities drawing attention to the despoilation of another beauty spot. Detailed first hand information of the exact location of the quarry would be appreciated.
The Bushcraft Association delegate stated that a very dirty camp had been left at Rennix's Gap over King's Birthday Weekend in the vicinity of the green hut. It appears that a party who reached there in a yellow truck was responsible. Any S.B.W. who knows anything about the matter is requested to pass on the information to the delegates.
Advice has been received that the Sydney County Council engaged an engineer to report on those resources. It appears good quality coal has been located below Evan's Head adjacent areas. A letter has been written to the S.C.C. requesting particulars.
Information has been received that an approach was made to the appropriate authorities that the flying-foxes be not locked as they provided emergency river crossings when river in flood. Owing to the vandalism previously experienced the request could not be granted.
Has requested affiliation and is being investigated in accordance with the new admission requirements.
Who applied for affiliation in February, have not yet been supplied necessary information for their application to be considered.
Had two “alerts” after the holiday weekend but all seem to have arrived back safely on the Tuesday.
Of Federation will be held in July. Nominations will be accepted for all official positions whether the nominee is an officia1 delegate or not. As the largest club I would like to see a few starters this year as all the work is being left to other clubs. Perhaps a few of our perennial critics of the Federation will offer their services to perform the miracles they expect of others.
Congratulations to Bob and Mary Eastoe on the birth of their baby daughter.
We may disagree on politics and many other things but we're all agreed that we've had enough rain for a long time. Those of us interested in the snow are watching the weather reports and anxiously awaiting snow on the Alps.
In the meantime you can always drop in on Paddy and have a look at his ski gear. His range is bigger, better and brighter than ever. Come and have a look.
There are some magnificent solid hickory skis from Norway £14 a pair.
For those whose pockets aren't so deep there are skis from £6.0.0. a pair.
Cane stock, cost £2.0.0. Aluminium stock £3.17.6.
If you want to make your own Paddy can supply cane sticks at 3/- each.
Greasy wool socks and mitts range from 10/- and 12/- a pair and slashing Selbu mitts at 18/- a pair.
Norwegian Lettner rapid edges 24/- a set.
Spare tips for that ski tour will be 12/- each.
There are stocks of waxes and bindings and bits and pieces.
If you are interested and cannot call then ask for a price list and it will be sent pronto.
Paddy Pallin, Gear for Skiers (sorry Walkers).
'Phone BX 3595. 327 George Street, Sydney.
Ski Year Book 1950 now available - Price 5/-.
N.B. Prices of imported stuff are subject to slight variation up or down. Paddy hasn't had time to work out all the prices yet.