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|
|Reporters||Jim Brown, Kath McKay|
|Sales and Subs||Shirley Evans|
|Production Asst||Bill Gillam|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|Editorial - Conservation Again||1|
|At the July General Meeting||2|
|The Forbidden Months||Ray Kirkby||3|
|Norfolk Island and Bushwalking||Marie B. Byles||6|
|How Dry We Are||Jim Brown, drawing by Mary McGregor||7|
|Signs and Portents||“Meerschaum”||10|
|Kamera Kapers||Brian G. Harvey||12|
|Era Working Bee||Jack Wren||12|
|Fashion Notes||drawing by Ron Parkes||13|
|Letter to the Editor from Leader, King's Birthday Weekend Trip||13|
|A Plan for Nature Protection||lecture by Allen Strom||14|
|Federation Notes||Brian G. Harvey||17|
|Let There Be Light - Paddy's Advt.||19|
Since the Era resumption there has been a noticeable lack of initiative in conservation work. There have been several opportunities for members to do good works, but they haven't taken them. Not long ago, for instance, a number of members on a walk in Kuring-gai Chase saw evidence of recent timber stealing, but none of them thought to report it to the Trust. Quite a few have seen the limestone quarry near Bungonia Gorge, but nobody thought anything should be done about it. Then there was the Federation's report that some of our members were with a truck party that left an unsightly mess outside a hut at Kosciusko. If the Club does nothing about this allegation, then the Code of Ethics, and our delegates' fight to make Clubs enforce decent standards of conduct, becomes just so much hooey.
There are a number of people capable of doing useful conservation work, and many who will come in when things get started. Working bees, for instance, have usually been well attended - though there weren't so many at the last one. Several people were willing to give substantial help in raising funds for Era. And some of our members do useful work outside the Club. But the initiative for our projects and protests comes from just two or three people. One at least of these people is getting rather tired of the thankless task of trying to get things moving.
A good opportunity to discuss our next moves in conservation will be presented at our half yearly meeting in September. This usually attracts some of the older members, who could do a lot of useful work and put us on the right track. A discussion on conservation might well be placed on the agenda for the meeting.
By Jim Brown.
Vice President Arthur Gilroy took the chair for the July Meeting, which was sparsely attended by about 45 members, the majority of whom maintained a melancholy silence throughout. Perhaps it was the continued dreary weather, or maybe members had exhausted their repertoire on the lively debate in June, but it fell to the usual speakers to say what little there was.
Correspondence contained a letter from the Federation, complaining of untidy campsites left by a party near Rennix Gap at Kosciusko over King's Birthday Week-end, and alleging that several Sydney Bush Walkers had been included in the party. Alex Colley moved that we write to the Federation to enquire if they could furnish the names of our members concerned, but the motion lapsed for want of a seconder. Dormie then tried his luck and succeeded with a motion that we advise the Federation we were endeavouring to determine which S.B.W. members were involved, since the meeting seemed unable to offer any information on the incident.
Mention of the Federation's Annual Meeting and election of office bearers brought enquiry whether any of our members were prepared to accept jobs in the Council: Brian Harvey pointed out that the nominations for billets in Federation were not limited to delegates from the Clubs. Nothing concrete emerged from the discussion.
Some small consternation followed a motion by Alex Colley that the Walks Secretary, who was already noting the numbers attending official trips, should report on the walks which were not led in the current programme, as he felt some leaders approached the matter in an irresponsible manner and even cancelled walks. Kevin Ardill sought to move an amendment to find that there was yet no seconder for the motion: he promptly seconded - to discover that he could not move his amendment.
Arthur Gilroy pointed out that Kevin could speak in support, and Kevin seized the opportunity to observe that he considered we should also know why such walks were not led. As both mover and seconder concurred on this point it was added to the motion.
Dormie spoke of Era again. He pointed out that there had been alterations in the Cabinet, and that the post of Minister for Lands had changed hands. He thought it was an opportune time to place our case regarding Era, its amalgamation with Garawarra and the preservation of Garawarra as an independent Trust, before the new Minister. He pointed out that there was evidence that shack building was still going on at Era on the resumed lands, and that some one might even commence building on Portion 7, and moved that we communicate this to the Minister, with a request that a policy for the government of Era be framed at an early date. This motion, after being amended to include reference to shack building, was carried.
In a surprisingly genial atmosphere Bobs Chapman and Bull were elected Room Stewards for the next two months, and “there being no further business” the meeting closed at 8.55 p.m.
By Ray Kirkby.
A recent writer in his “Guide to Tasmania” emphasised that you should not walk there before the end of November or after late March. That is very true indeed but much pleasure comes from doing what one should not. However, the dictum started me thinking of a few jaunts I have made in the forbidden months. Even as I commenced to write, I remembered that a friend and I once set out to get to Wellington Falls from Hobart one Sunday after a heavy fall of snow. All went merry, comparatively speaking, until we began to ascend the North West Bay River, rock hopping on the snow-covered stones. It was not long before my companion landed waist-deep in the frozen water and I was sufficiently sympathetic to agree that we had better retreat. That night war was declared which determines the month as September. I am prepared, in this instance, to admit that we left a warm bed, that we would go back to one and that we had a few rums on the return trip in front of the fire at the Fern Tree Hotel.
There was one day which needs no diary to recall to my mind. We were ski-ing at Lake Fenton and late Saturday afternoon I had the misfortune to break a ski and there were no spares. Nothing daunted, I announced that on the morrow I would walk to Lake Belcher. I have three vivid memories of scenes and events of the day - three only.
The first is of ploughing across Wombat Moor in the teeth of a biting Winter wind in snow up to my knees looking for the track to the lake. I hoped - and I think it proved so - that as soon as the track began to drop a little into the valley it would be distinguishable by the volume of water running on it and washing away the snow.
The second picture is of a small patch of trees which must have been burnt just before the Winter. The trees were unharmed but leafless and on their blackened twiggy branches the snow was lightly lying. There were only two colours - black and white.
I have arrived, in the third scene, at the outlet to the lake. There is nothing visible but water, snow, mud and button grass and the eye is able to travel a little way through the sleet up the mountain sides into the murk. It is lunchtime so I do the best I can with my bread and butter and tin of pork and beans. To sit down is, of course, out of the question, and even standing time is limited by the penetrating cold. The butter I had to abandon, as it was unspreadable, so that desolate place was little brightened by bread and frozen pork and beans.
Another chap and I decided to walk through the Reserve commencing early in October. We both had good excuses - he was just about to go into the Air Force and I was just about to return to Sydney. We spent the weekend at the beginning - October holiday weekend - ski-ing on Mt. Rufus with a party which took our skis back to Hobart and left us at Lake St. Clair. The following day we set out to climb Mt. Hugel, a quite ridiculous idea, for there was no track from Hugel Lakes up and at the Lakes, several thousand feet below the summit, the snow was knee deep. We plunged up the mountainside for quite a long way and anyone knowing the Tasmanian bush even without snow will know what that means. Finally snow storms broke over us and forced us to the belief that it was not worth the effort. (Only now do I realise how idiotic this attempt in newly fallen snow was.)
The following day we made the wearying trek around Lake St. Clair with very heavy packs, stopping half-way to make a little diversion up Mt. Olympus. Once again we did not get far on account of deep snow and storms as soon as we got any distance up. Torrential rain during the next day was our saviour though we did not realise it at the time. For it washed away most of the newly fallen snow and left only the hard snow of the Winter. We chose this delightful day to visit Lake Marion and reached our destination. I cannot now remember the miseries endured but I do remember the sullen, threatening waters of the lake and an occasional glimpse of the fierce, snow spattered, black rocks of the Guardians towering above. We were so wet that we just walked fully-clad through all streams encountered.
From that day onward, we reaped our rewards. Climbing Ossa was exhilarating. We picked a continuous snow slope on which walking was now easy as the snow was fairly hard. The slopes at times were so steep that steps had to be kicked. One final hanging gulley led to a portal between large rocks to the top where gentle curves of snow covered the monoliths between which in Summer yawn great gulfs. Visibility was perfect with heavy white mantles emphasising the surrounding peaks. Who would avoid October in the Reserve? This was one of the most pleasant climbs I have had with firm snow to walk up from the base to the summit.
The commanding Darn Bluff is known to all who have been in the Reserve or seen a Tasmanian tourist booklet. Up Barn Bluff we toiled after a night of sago snow and, on the way back, took to our usual method of descent - sitting on our ground sheets, we tobogganned down all the snow slopes. Ted started off but soon heard frantic cries from him telling me to desist. I gained his side, then Ted told me how the combination of precipitous slope and icy surface had almost landed him at the bottom too soon. His white face was sufficient confirmation for me so we took the top slopes very gingerly and on foot.
By a curious contrast, the very next day, we found the snow on Cradle Mountain in such a rotten state through melting that it would have been extremely dangerous to walk over it. I have a photo of the mountain taken that day, many days after any rain, in which you can clearly see half a dozen huge waterfalls cascading down the side coming from the melting snow.
I do not advocate walking in Tasmania in the dead of Winter but for those who would like the possibility of greater adventure and beauty, I think a walk where huts are available is likely to offer more than walking in mid Summer when there might not be a skerrick of snow. However, as is well known, mid Summer walking can be quite difficult, so walking in earlier months could be limited to a struggle from hut to hut. It depends an your luck! If you are thinking of walking in the unauthorised months, first seek expert advice and an independent opinion of your walking ability and endurance, else do not allow your wraiths to haunt me.
There was a big attendance at the Club Room to see the slides of Kosciusko taken by Professor Macdonald and Mr. Swinson. The trip was arranged to include views of most of the high lights of the Kosciusko-Khancoban-Geehi area. Some of us had been there and enjoyed seeing favourite haunts, while those who had not been will know something about it when planning their trips. Probably nobody had seen all the unusual views presented. Maps of the route, and Mr. Swinson's entertaining commentary, made the trip and the slides into a continuous and interesting narrative.
We hope that some of the inarticulate S.B.W. photographers will note and at least try to copy.
By Marie B. Byles.
Just before I left for Norfolk Island I met another bushwalker also planning to go there. So in spite of the expense others will probably follow. It takes about the same time to reach this island as to reach Jamberoo. It costs about 14/- for Jamberoo and £40 for Norfolk. But it is worth it. It has the same lovely grass and jungle as Jamberoo, but Jamberoo is the despair of the photographer, while at Norfolk Island a picture awaits you whichever way you point the camera. Tall symmetrical Norfolk Island pines raise from the green grassy lawn short-cropped by the cows and horses; and cling precariously from the cliffs where a turquoise sea breaks in white waves on black rocks; little farms nestle among the trees and the jungle; eighty miles of dirt-roads bordered by the close-cropped grass offer delightful walking, but there is plenty of virgin jungle for those who like the rough stuff and patches of lantana for the really tough ones; the island does not breed mosquitoes (anyhow between April and October), sandflies, leeches or ticks, and you lie in your tent on a balmy night, too warm for a sleeping bag, and no mosquitoes break your slumber. It is like a lovely park land from another world, with none of the pests belonging to the world we know.
There are delightful camping spots everywhere, but few streams, and water - as well as permission to camp - should be got from a neighbouring farmhouse. There is none of the agony of firelighting in the similarly beautiful bush of New Zealand; the wild tobacco-wood lights up as easily as cigarettes in a non-smoker! The people are gentle, and kind, and the wild birds remarkably tame.
It is difficult to avoid hitch-hiking because everyone offers you a lift. We were picked up by the Administrator in his car on the way down to Kingston, the civic centre, where the ruins of the former convict settlement are happily passing into decay and oblivion. The ghosts of those days of horror have long since been laid to rest by the happiness of the Islanders, who are descended, not from the convicts, but from the Mutineers of the “Bounty”, and their de facto Tahitian wives. They speak a language of their own, but also English. There are Mainlanders, as well as Islanders, but they are intruders, so to speak.
The only defect of Norfolk Island is that their inhabitants are no better farmers than most, and in a land which ought to be flowing with milk and honey (but which cannot import as easily as other countries which pursue bad farming methods) there seems to be a perennial food-shortage. You can count on fruit all the year round (much of which grows wild) and vegetables in the spring. But do not count on the milk or the honey, let alone the eggs, butter and cream. The friend who entertained me supplied me with all these things, but she planned months ahead to do so.
But there are always sweet potatoes, kumeras, and what does food matter when you have the fascination of a tropic isle, without the disadvantages of the tropics, a lovely park-land to roam in with your camera and an historical background to ponder over? It is the only land near Australia, I know, with the charm of a foreign country and the fascination of an historical one.
By Jim Brown.
Sydney's average annual rainfall for many years was 46 inches. Last year it was almost 60 inches. This year, up to the date of writing (July 21st) 63 inches have fallen, with almost half the year still to go. Your guess is to good as mine for 1951…
So, wake up to yourselves! What was good enough for our fathers is NOT good enough for us (quotation from somebody). We are still expected to use the same rucksacks, sleep in the same kind of sleeping bags on similar groundsheets, shelter in identical tents - use all the same type of equipment as the distinguished founders of our Club. That may have been all right for 46-inch-a-year walkers. It is NOT, I say again NOT, good enough for us. Walkers! Rise in your legions and force vested interests to give us a fair go! Demand better conditions for Walkers!
Take the old, passe, outmoded groundsheet. You are supposed to sleep on it - with or without an underbody of bracken laboriously hewed with a puny knife, or strips of bark painstakingly and individually collected in the forest. “What comfort does it give you? None! What protection from the flooding ground did it afford at your last Reunion? Negligible! It is high time we replaced groundsheets with a collapsible rubber dinghy of the type used by airmen during the last war. This would be at once a soft couch for weary limbs and would, under prevailing weather conditions, swiftly become water-borne, adding the soothing motion of the tide to your care-unravelling sleep. And you, my walker friend, would sleep warm and dry.
Of course, special tents would be needed. After all, if the water (and your raft-bed) continued to rise, you would presently come into contact with the roof and as everyone knows, this induces leakages. Your tent must rise too, and this opens two possibilities:
In the case of (1) an anchor will be necessary if you wish to remain with the party in accordance with the Code of Ethics. Era and similar recognised camping spots should be furnished with buoys.
Of course, some sort of groundsheet will still be necessary for those occasions when it is fine enough to travel per foot, and since all walking equipment should be dual-purpose, this should be adaptable as a sail for your rubber dinghy. Well, a sail demands a mast, you say. Of course! But you have your telescopic, aluminium-alloy tent poles, and your special jury-rig adjustment for your dinghy. Also, you have special lightweight Paddymade blades which may be attached to your tent pole-mast for use as paddles when the wind is not in your favour. The same blades may also be used as entrenching tools if it ever becomes fine enough to camp on firm ground.
The era of the hobnail is past, of course. With delicate rubber boats they will be outlawed, but there seems to be a future for the “flipper” contrivance as used by Frog Men in the last war.
Similarly our outlook on cooking fires must change; research was carried out as early as New Year week-end at Birdie Creek, on floating fires, and whilst only moderate success was encountered, it was established that the blackfellow's type fire can be adapted to modern conditions. A more stable and less porous platform than that used at Birdie will be required, and preferably the fireplace should be moored to the tent or others may use your carefully nurtured blaze as it floats past (another breach of the Code of Ethics). It seems certain, however, that the day of the billyhook is gone - after all, the tripod type fire is so prone to capsize in any sort of swell, and looks very silly when afloat anyway.
Cooking equipment will also undergo a sea-change in order to obviate the risk of foundering, flooding or drifting overnight. Two courses seem possible, either:
Some years ago Paddy promised to incorporate war time discoveries in his equipment. This is his opportunity. I have yet to work out applications of FIDO and PLUTO for walkers' equipment, but as both dealt with inclement and fluid conditions, I feel some adaptation can be found.
I have also to evolve some method of carrying all this gear when the dinghy is not in use and it must be transported on back. Pack animals appear to be useless as there would not be room even for mules on the rafts. Apart from which, there are a few conventions which must remain. Perhaps one of the tent poles could be used as a kind of reinforcement for the walker's backbone to hold him erect under his colossal load. The trailing end of the pole should have a boss to fit two or three different attachments - a small wheel for dry conditions, a miniature ski for snow work, and a variety of float or toboggan for water and mud. There is a flaw in this suggestion, for if the telescopic tent-pole cum paddle cum mast cum artificial backbone should suddenly fold up while being used as a spine brace, the unfortunate walker would be borne down and perhaps crushed or drowned under his burden.
Some arrangement will have to be reached with the Railways and hire car owners to enlarge carriage doorways and reinforce luggage racks and carriers, but then, if present conditions continue, there will be no trains and roads will be closed most of the time.
It is apparent from the foregoing that the Walking Movement has a battle ahead - first to convince the die-hards who would water down our conditions that such reforms are vitally necessary, then to design and produce the up-to-date gear outlined above. I am aware that I am raising the standard of revolt, that I may place myself outside the pale with those wet types, the conservatives. They shall be liquidated.
Walkers! Now is the hour. Strike for your welfare and comfort in the stormy days ahead. Your emblem the water lily - your slogan - “How dry we are!”
There was a large whitewash mark right round the Hall?
What was it? What did it mean? Was it Art? If so, why just the one band?
It certainly wasn't part of the new interior decorating, too rigid and inflexible. The modern fancy is for elastic vertical stripes, not large continuous swathes. If it was only up and down a bit with a few red ochred handprints and a few feathers it might be a decor motif for “Corroboree”. But, Ballet in the suburbs? Unheard of!
The photographers didn't approve of it either. It was too startling and didn't shade in correctly. No tonal gradation. How would one bring out the detail in the shadows with that highlight blazing right across them. Then, if one actually wanted the highlight, of course the shadows must go, for such a band couldn't be held back while the shadows came up. Someone suggested a fortieth at a fiftieth but this was met with little comment, and what comment there was, was purely derisory. The O.P. (oldest photographer) remembered viewing (I think viewing was the correct term) a negative which a friend of his once had. On further reflection he remembered it had something to do with the shutter.
A member, possibly with contacts in the County Council, suggested it might be blackout preparation. He pointed out that if you came in at the door, which most of us do, the white line led to all the important places, committee room, library cupboard and so on back to the door. Perhaps the Rationalists were rationalising at last.
More ominous was the interpretation from the Map and Mind Reader. He had noted while on the Wollondilly similar marks and research had shown the valley was to be flooded to that depth. The Rationalists might have calculated that if it rained again… well, who knows, perhaps the line might not be high enough.
A stray dog wandered in, saw the line was too high, and wandered out again.
General opinion was that the situation had alarming possibilities. Some were for referring it to the Committee, others for putting it in the hands of the Honorary Solicitor. Expert opinion was definitely necessary; perhaps a working bee could right matters before they went further - look what happened with that log at Bluegum.
At that moment the only person benefiting was the Honorary Treasurer. He had managed to collect a few threepences from strange types who would thrust that coin into his hand at the door and whisper “Where's the white line, mate? They tell me there's a bottle of beer at the end of it”. Ono such character had a much garbled account of how a Main Roads Board line-painter (mechanical) had gone berserk and rushed round the walls till he fell out an open window.
And to think I'm the only one who knows the true story. For I put it up the day Roley was overdue on a walk. But I'm not telling anyone, I'm still enjoying the joke and am thinking of writing a play about it for the next reunion.
If there's one thing that makes a Bushwalker prick up his ears it's mention of new country. Scratches and bruises are manfully suffered and even exhibited with pride in some cases (and places). A scratchy bit of ridge assumes such glamour that at the fifth or sixth telling it is portrayed as a cross between the Garden of Eden, and Wynyard in the rush period.
Well, here's news of a bit of unexplored territory, practically at our front door, you might say. If you don't say it, we will, and if you are a member of the Lower Income Group you will enthuse over this new country. The best of good company always to hand, bush flowers that can be admired all the year round and dry conditions guaranteed.
The entertainment is so good that we can't keep it to ourselves any longer, so if you're interested in fields afresh come and join us some Friday evening. Tariff is moderate and we even proffer directions how to find this place. When you enter the clubroom turn right and follow your nose. If you lose the way just ask anyone for the whereabouts of the S.B.W. Library. They most likely won't be able to tell you, but that indomitable bushwalking spirit of yours should overcome this difficulty.
There is an attractive collection of books for your choice and as well as the adventure of exploring this new country you will have the pleasure of restoring animation to the co-librarians - Vera Matasin and Margaret Stoddart.
By Brian G. Harvey.
Now that the Photographic Section is hidden in mists of the rather hazy past and none of our many well-informed photographic genii, deeply versed in the mechanics and chemistry of photography, appear inclined to share their knowledge with their follow members, I thought a few short notes on my own more recent experiences might be of value to those struggling for good pictures.
Equipped with a “Zeiss” fitted with a 4.5 “Tessar” lens, I was struck by my failure to obtain sharp negatives of such easy subjects as the suburban cottage presents, especially when a tripod is used, and every precaution taken to ensure correct focussing.
The inside lens, fixed in place by screws, seemed intact, and no maladjustment was apparent in the spool arrangement.
On examination by a commercial camera repairer, my attention was drawn to the large amount of “play” which was demonstrated in the folding mechanism of sliding rods. The camera was purchased in 1937 or 1938, and it was surprising to suddenly realise how much wear could have taken place since them.
The whole front was tightened up, the lens checked for focus in relation to the scale, giving an “as new” job, bar a few missing areas of lacquer from the casing.
To those enthusiasts who find similar “soft” images when they expected a masterpiece, perhaps these few notes may be of some help in assisting them to display something out of the box in our next exhibition.
By Jack Wren.
On the 7th July, 1950 36 more trees were planted at Era. For a club of our size the turn up of works was really remarkable! On the Saturday they turned up hour after hour, until I counted the grand total of nine. Most, though not quite all, the party worked hard and long.
Twelve trees were planted in individual guards around the campsite, and the other twenty-four within the enclosure. The trees were:
Christian Dior and other famous French Fashion Houses are modelling their latest styles on the fashions of the 1920's, but the really well-dressed Bushwalker goes back to the 1860's.
The elegant creation shown in the accompanying sketch was modelled by Mary McGregor in the Burragorang Valley recently and was made up in a delicate shade of Khaki in the finest quality drill.
A Sign of the times - surreptitious bottles of kerosene which appear on nearly all recent official walks to ensure a respectable cooking fire.
Reply to “One captain to a ship: one leader to a walk”.
I will begin my reply by asking what the Captain, who is also the leader of a walk, must do when the ship (taxi) is sinking in a sea of mud. Does he desert the ship, or, as an alternative, appoint a deputy leader for the walk while the ship is salvaged? I chose the first course. I happened to know the Forest foreman and was therefore in a much better position to get help than an unknown taxi driver.
But to proceed, I appointed a deputy leader to lead the party on while I went for assistance. I admit a slight liability for not notifying a few of the party but I was anxious to get help and I naturally thought that the word would be quickly passed around.
“I then went to get the forestry truck. When I returned I found that the rest of the party had packed and half had already left with the deputy leader, but half a dozen remained behind to watch the “fun” of the taxi being hauled out of the bog. I am not able to see how half the party could be left entirely ignorant of the deputy leader's departure. After the taxi had been rescued, I returned to the camp site to begin my packing. The rest of the party who had packed while I was getting help were ready to leave. I instructed them to follow a 'phone line that runs down to Newnes via the Old Coach. Road. On this road there are a number of deceiving turnoffs and this is the only sure thing to follow unless you know the road well.
“This party of six then left. Three only did not rejoin the main party. This means that three followed my instructions, three did not. When I had finished my packing I also left. I rejoined the rest at lunch time to find that two members and one prospective were missing. I almost immediately knew what had happened to them, they had neglected to watch the 'phone line and had continued on down the old railway line towards Newnes.
“The rest of the party including myself proceeded with the walk as stated on the programme. I later discovered from the three who had “deviated” that on Saturday night they knew that they were not much more than an hour's easy walk from the rest of the party who were at Newnes. They did not try to rejoin us.
“To quote from the subject article “I frankly confess to a disinclination to regain a party in which lack of cohesion appeared to be a marked characteristic”. I think that the “deviationists” were the ones who had gone astray, not the main party. I also think that this is an attitude that should not be tolerated in the club. If the leader must separate from the rest of the party through circumstances beyond his control, it would make everything much easier for him and the rest of his party if all the members of that party followed his instructions.
- The Leader, Official Trip, King's Birthday Weekend.”
In his lecture to the Club on last Friday, Allen Strom stressed from the beginning that he was going to take us far beyond the bounds of conservation as it is usually understood by bushwalkers. “The preservation of wild country”, he said, “is but part of the problem, and whi1st we might be happy to have a Blue Mountains National Park, or a Kosciusko State Park, we will still be far from retaining the Australia we know. Every plant and animal habitat - mountain plain or jungle forest - has its contribution to make in relative natural inhabitants, and it is a very limited outlook that is satisfied with large tracts of mountainous walking country that satisfy our desire for physical exertion”.
The greatest menace to any policy of nature protection was the increasing world population; the rate of increase being 50,000 persons a day. This resulted in a greater demand on the renewable and non-renewable nature resources of the world, particularly in the few remaining unexploited territories. Evidences of a drive beyond capacity could be seen in the conditions that gave rise to the appalling wastage of the Tennessee Valley, the loss in production in Argentina, the reduced fertility and productivity of our own soils, and the use of our timber resources at a rate that is at least three times greater than our ability to replace them. Increasing population meant further inroads into virgin country as the old lands became unable to support their own population. More homes were required. This meant more timber, bigger cities, improved transport, and loss of isolation. Closer settlement brought an urgent clash with our wild life in the back-country. There was a constant war between domestic and native animals in their demand for sustenance. Bigger cities were trampling out the wild things from around them, the fate of our National Park and the Kuring-gai Chase were examples that improved transport left no land as a safe wildlife sanctuary. The existence of Australia's native plants and animals hung delicately on a balance that had been built up over thousands of years of isolation. The balance was upset by the advance of the white man, by the animals he introduced (such as rabbits, foxes, dogs and cats), and by the careless use of fire.
Any scheme that attempted to give adequate protection to our natural resources required an international understanding on the ability of our land to meet the demands thrust upon it. The urgency for birth control in the lands where increasing population was beyond the bounds of food supply must be realised. There must also be an international effort towards a better understanding of nature protection - an appreciation that the features that comprise any land are the possession of no race- in particular. A pooling of world knowledge would stimulate backward governments, while without a spread of preservation consciousness throughout the world, we could never hope to bring enlightenment to the land hungry eyes of the multitudes. A world survey was needed to determine productive capacity in each country and what population the world could carry.
In Australia a land usage survey was both a possibility and a necessity. Such a survey would provide a basis for estimating which land were suitable for rural pursuits, primitive areas, industrialisation, urban living, etc. Within the primitive lands our concern for the wild things would be uppermost. Some of these lands would be designed to protect the headwaters of our streams, some as forest reserves, some as anti-erosion bands, some for pleasure grounds. Flora and fauna reserves would need to be large self-contained areas, containing possibly millions of acres, wherein the ecological balance was complete. They would need to be well-serviced and well policed. Exotic animals, bushfires and indiscriminate access by the public would have to be rigidly controlled. These reserves would be a national possession and not the plaything of an inconsiderate population. Outside these areas, animals and plants of economic importance would be given protection.
To make our primitive lands effective the land usage survey would have to include an assessment of our stocks of native animals. The Koala survey demonstrated that we had very little idea of where, or to what extent, our native animals exist.
There was lack of uniformity in the attitude of our States, and often State political boundaries cut across wild life habitats. The southern boundary of the Kosciusko State Park, for instance, did not mark any geographical difference between the Park and the land to the South. A Commonwealth Co-ordinating body was necessary for increasing knowledge, securing co-operation, stimulating interest, and motivating education for preservation consciousness. Natural History Clubs, Bushwalking Clubs, and similar organisations that served to bring the public, particularly the adolescent, into contact with the bushlands, should be encouraged not only to continue their activities, but to experiment in membership training in the problems of nature protection. From an innate interest in the wild there might arise a desire to protect and understand. Technical Colleges might make facilities available for this work. The innate desire of the primary school child for knowledge of nature provided a golden opportunity to fix a desire for nature protection, but the path was via the teacher. Camps and tours should be arranged for senior secondary school pupils, Teachers' College students, and University students, so as to teach them preservation and show them national attempts to protect nature.
The whole plat for nature protection could be summarised as follows:
(1) Stabilising our own and the world's population at a figure which allows for the use of the renewable natural resources at a rate less than the maximum safety limit; such limit to be the rate of natural regeneration.
(2) The establishment of an effective international body that will serve to expedite (1), to disseminate accurate knowledge on the true value of the resources of the various countries, and generally act as a storehouse of knowledge on matters of nature protection.
(3) The establishment of a Commonwealth Co-ordinating Body whose function would be:
(a) To organise a land usage survey and biological investigation leading, inter alia, to the establishment of numerous large primitive areas, representing various plant and animal ecological groups, designed to satisfy the triple needs of nature protection - economic, scientific and cultural.
(b) To co-ordinate State policies and thus largely eliminate artificial political boundaries from nature protection administration.
( c ) To foster education for preservation consciousness.
Some progress had already been made along these lines. Birth control is at least discussed. U.N.E.S.C.O. has sponsored an International Union for the Protection of Nature. At home the C.S.1.R.O. has set up a wild life section whose first task is the elimination of the rabbit. Victoria has established a reserve of 138,000 acres in the Mallee country.
The stage was set for the development of the plan, but the power to give it actuality was lacking.
The wide interest which Allen's lecture aroused was shown by the range of questions he was asked at the end - questions on Australia's population potential, the extension of irrigation, alkalinity in irrigated soils, the use of trace elements in increasing soil fertility, the Koala sanctuary, the Tennessee Valley, and many others. Claude Haynes thought that what was wanted was more people with more guns to shoot more pests, while Bill Cosgrove despaired of any progress under the present form of government. In all a stimulating evening's cogitation, which puts our ideas on conservation in political, economic and biological perspective.
by Brian G. Harvey
Was held on 18th July and the following Officers were elected:- President: Mr. Paul Barnes, Senior Vice-President: Mr. Frank Peters, Junior Vice-President: Mr. Allen Strom, Hon. Secretary: Mr. Stan Cattier, Hon Asst. Soc. Miss Elaine Jackson, Hon. Treasurer: Miss Jeanne Golding.
The Financial Report indicated a small deficit of £18 due mainly to printing expenses. The loss on the publication of no. 11 “Bushwalker” has been reduced to £5. Trust Funds stand at: Garawarra £39, Garawarra Fence £7, Maitland Bay £32, Search and Rescue £43, Conservation Bureau £130.
The Annual Report did not contain any record of outstanding conservational achievements. The Information Bureau deeply deplored the lack of information supplied to it concerning new country traversed, changes in transport facilities, etc.
About 25 delegates out of a possible 40 odd were present, demonstrating the lack of interest displayed by some of the affiliated clubs.
Opened with Mr. Paul Barnes in the Chair.
Disclosed timber-thieving had occurred and that the hut at Maitland Bay was burnt down. The shelter shed and water-tank had been repaired during the year. A Working Bee will be held on October 28/29 to remedy track erosion.
Federation will approach the Minister for immigration , with a view to acquainting New Australians of our fauna and flora [illegible].
Is being prepared by the Department of the Interior for overseas distribution. Mr. Stan Cottier is acting on behalf of Federation in technical advisory capacity.
Was requested to draw up a code of Safety First rules on lines similar to the Code of Ethics.
Was mooted and clubs were asked to submit their views and report back. It was suggested that a “dress optional” cabaret-style dance be held in some large city ballroom, like in the good old days of yore.
Was assured of Federation's and Clubs' support in the suppression of wild-flower picking, and any move to ban the sale of wild flowers in entirety, in response to an appeal in the “Herald” by the President of the Chase. Rangers please note.
The Sydney County Council responded with information that they did not intend to proceed with mining projects in Govett's Leap and other locations.
A suggestion was made in the Annual Report that this congregation should be resurrected to iron out and discuss contentious bushwalking matters. The last Conference was attended by about 12 walkers. Clubs are requested to instruct delegates.
Mr. Stan Cottier, 287 Forest Rd., Kirrawee. Phone FJ1642 (between 8 and 4.15 weekdays.) Stan to be congratulated and thanked for his untiring interest in the Federation.
Frank Leyden is now staying near Chelmsford (30 miles north-east of London). After climbing several more mountains in Switzerland he went on to Tirano, in Italy, where the first person he met was a timber-getter who had worked in the Cobar mines. Frank was most impressed by the “inexhaustible treasures of art, sculpture, architecture” etc. He found Rome most impressive of all. Then he spent a week in Paris, where he saw most of the famous landmarks. He has collected 1,000 negatives and kodachromes (Social Sec. please note.)
Congratulations and best wishes to Mary Macdonald and Roy Braithwaite, who have announced their engagement.
We are glad to hear that Kevin Ardill has recovered from the indigestion which assailed him after his self-contained trip with with Jim Brown. It just goes to show that it pays to take a good cook.
Paddy is not suggesting that you go all pansy and buy pressure lamps to dispel the murky darkness in your week-end jaunts into the bush. Nevertheless maybe even bushwalkers are inconvenienced by the blackness which descends on our homes from time to time, and if their thoughts run to purchasing a pressure lamp maybe a glance over Paddy's stock would be worth while.
Australian Aladdin lamps £5/9/9
English Tilley lamps £4/10/-
Italian Solex lamps:
N.B. Paddy still has Camp Gear For Walkers.
327 George St., Sydney. Phone BX 3595.