SBW Walks Programs
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. Tel. XA1255|
|Production and Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Reporters||Jim Brown, Kath McKay|
|Sales and Subs||Shirley Evans|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey & Gladys Martin|
|Maps traced by||Jo Morris|
|Editorial - Saving our Wildflowers||1|
|Social Notes for December||Edna Stretton||3|
|At the November General Meeting||Jim Brown||4|
|Milford Sound - Winning Photograph of 1950||Arthur Gilroy||7|
|Books In Your Library||The Librarians||13|
|Thurat Spires And Big Misty||R.J. Meakins||14|
|Map Reading For Many||Jim Hooper||15|
|Hot Weekend||“The Missing Link”||17|
|Twenty Years Ago - Paddy's Advt.||18|
In the first Club minute book, under the date 22nd May, 1928, appears the following record:- Resolved “That we write to the Wildlife Conservation Society informing them that the S.B.W. will support [whatever action] they may take [in] the further protection of wild [illegible] er was, written to the Under Secretary [illegible] that staghorns, elkhorns, and [illegible] around the Gosford District, [illegible] be placed on the [illegible] extension of [illegible].
There were further activities along similar lines during the thirties, but it was not until 1944 that our efforts reached a climax. How, in that martial year, the attention of the public and the Legislature could be diverted to wild flowers is a wondrous thing, yet it was done, mainly through the efforts of Marie Byles, then Federation Secretary, and Rae Page. Some 60 copies of a petition for banning the sale of wildflowers were distributed and over 4,000 signatures obtained. The petition was presented to the Minister for Local Government by a deputation led by the President and Secretary of the Federation and supported by the Ku-ring-gai Chase Trust, the National Park Trust, the Rangers' League, the Garawarra Trust, the Killara Community Service Club, the Wild Life Preservation Society and the Blue Mountains Shire. Though the deputation did not succeed in having the sale of wildflowers banned, it did result in an amendment to the Wild Flowers and Native Plants Protection Act in 1945. This enabled the gazetting of a regulation in July 1945 requiring that growers should be licensed, that flowers should be bunched, and that labels should be affixed clearly indicating the name and address of the grower and the number of his license. The reason given for not banning sales was that it might deprive growers of their means of earning a living.
The five years since the regulations were made have provided an almost perfect testing period of their efficacy. During the war few people could get into the bush. By 1945 wildflowers were growing right alongside the roads. Then came a succession of excellent seasons and an almost complete absence of bush fires. The growth of wildflowers however, in all accessible parts, has been checked, and over large areas waratahs, native rose and other beautiful flowers have almost disappeared. The process has been accelerated by the lifting of petrol rationing, but the main damage is done, as is acknowledged by all authorities, by the professional pickers. Operating during the night and early morning, and using motor trucks, the pickers have played havoc with the abundant growth of flowers. The President of the Ku-ring-gai Chase Trust, Mr. C.C. Burnside, said recently that the thieving of wild flowers was more widespread than he had ever known in 23 years as a trustee. The thieving would continue, he said, until selling was prohibited.
On September 26th this year the matter was raised in Parliament. Again the main reason given by the Minister for Local Government for not banning sales was that growers might be deprived of their means of making a living. It was similar reasoning which led to the granting of licenses for the trapping of koalas and almost caused their extinction. Furthermore, if anybody is unable to earn a living when there are forty thousand jobs going begging it simply means that he won't work. If the growers are really keen horticulturalists they could readily use their land for garden flowers. If, however, it could be proved that special hardship would be caused, compensation would not be costly. There are only 250 registered growers. Few depend entirely on wildflowers for a living, and holdings are usually small and of little value.
Other reasons given by the Minister were “that the loss of flowers is due not so much to people picking them as to bushfires an the encroachment of settlement on open areas. Wildflowers could be transported across the border and sold there”. In other words, since picking for sale is only one of the causes of the destruction of wildflowers, there is no purpose in banning it. This is tantamount to arguing that since arson is only one of the causes of fires there should be no law against it. The progressive approach would be to do everything possible to control every cause of wildflower destruction. The most obvious cause, and the one most easily remedied, is the inducement offered to the unscrupulous, under the present law, to pick flowers anywhere and attach a label to them. It is very difficult to detect people gathering flowers in open country, and the only means of stopping them is to remove the market for flowers by banning their sale. Bushfires may be more difficult to prevent, but the main reason for their prevalence in the bushlands where wildflowers grow, is that usually nobody tries to stop them there unless they are near “property”. The spread of settlement need not mean the destruction of wildflowers, as may be seen in many parts of the North Shore. As to the export to other States, surely the police in other States would co-operate.
There is no insuperable difficulty in preserving our unique and beautiful wildflowers. But unless the simple and obvious steps we have indicated are taken many species will never be seen either by local residents or by tourists.
A final reminder about the Christmas Party!!
When? Tuesday, 12th December. Where? The Coronet, just up from Wynyard. There are Several people selling tickets - Betty Digiden, Gwen Jewell, Mary McGregor and myself. Those who wish to book a table, see me, or if unable to come to the Club, post me information. This time it is to be a really wonderful Christmas Party - for non-dancers as well as dancers.
Mr. Michael Sawtell will be at the Club on 15th December. Mr. Sawtell recently paid a visit to Central Australia and should have some interesting information for us.
Don't forget now! See you at the Party!!
- Edna Stretton, Social Secretary.
What make a good General Meeting? The November meeting had all the makings, including a large attendance, a healthy swag of new members to welcome, and lively debate, albeit on the part of the old faithfuls to a large degree. Yet your reporter didn't enjoy the latter part of it the least little bit, especially when he came to the end of his note-book, and was scratching around for odd half-pages to record both official minutes and the bones for this report. You have been warned if this summary of a long and interesting meeting is rather disjointed!
The President had been called away, and in the absence of both Vice Presidents, Allen Strom was elected Chairman for the meeting. At the peak attendance about 70 members were in evidence, and we welcomed in swift sequence Audrey and Valmai Brady, Elaine Prince, Mabel Hirst, Dulcie Jeanes, Jack Gentle, David King, George Spicer, John Edwards and John Wonham. Certainly the best aggregation of new members for over two years.
Hailing back to the minutes of the previous meeting, Committee reported on the case of the day test walk which went more or less leaderless. It had been considered that the leader had made an honest mistake, and so Committee had resolved to take no further action, but a warning was given that the failure of leaders to conduct their walks could result in the Walks Programme becoming worthless. A very serious view would be taken of future cases. Bill Gillam supported with a motion that the Club take a stern view of future instances, and this was carried.
In the correspondence was a note from the Hon. Solicitor enclosing the Valuer-General's estimate of the worth of Portion 7 at Era as at date of resumption to be £400. It was resolved that we protest to the Valuer General's Department against the valuation, which was only £50 above our 1943 purchase price, rather than wait upon the ultimate offer from the Lands Department, which would almost certainly echo the Valuer General's rating.
Passing over the formalities of the Social, Treasurer's and Federation reports, which drew little comment, we received a special report from Dorothy Lawry on the Annual Conference of the Forestry Advisory Council. Our delegates had attended the two “business” days of the meeting, and had seen both S.B.W. motions passed. Certain matters came to the notice of the conference, however, which affected the F.A.C. constitution, and it was proposed to refer these to a special meeting to be summoned in the New Year. Dorothy's report was received, and the meeting expressed its appreciation of our delegates' work by acclamation.
We considered then a number of questions arising from these deferred motions, so that our delegates to the projected special meeting could be instructed. We assented to the doctrine that the F.A.C. should be an active tree-planting organisation, not purely advisory in character: we were chary of a motion to add a subtitle “friends of the land” to the good old simple name “Forestry Advisory Council” - why, said someone, you could expand the Council's title to infinity if once you started that. We supported two motions which would expand the Executive and General bodies of the F.A.C., and although past-Treasurer Allan Hardie deplored it, we also agreed that the fees for Associate Members and Affiliated Organisations be increased.
The last matter for consideration was our attitude to Zoos: a motion before the F.A.C. had recommended abolition and replacement by free technicolour films of animal life. Betty Hall thought we should obtain some definition of Zoo - did that refer to all animal sanctuaries, to commercialised animal displays, and also large and well managed Zoos? Dorothy Lawry commented that she believed it was the loss of animal life caused through “export” of creatures to other climates which inspired the motion, and it was eventually resolved that we opposed the maintenance of zoos, and would prefer to see regeneration centres for rare native creatures.
Alex Colley brought up the matter of two holiday camps proposed for the Narrabeen Area - one on Deep Creek and one on Middle Harbour Creek. Years ago, he said, the Club had been interested in that area, which was still reasonably unspoiled. He foresaw holiday campers running around with their little hatchets would shortly change all that, and moved that we write to the Cumberland County Council protesting against the erection of the camps, and pointing to our previous efforts to have the district reserved as a primitive area.
Dorothy Lawry believed that we had never sought it as a primitive area, but as a recreational area. Had it been Crown land, she felt it would have been so reserved some years ago, but it was private property. There was a possibility that construction along new roads thereabouts would block access to the wilder parts. George Spicer in a maiden speech ventured the opinion that holiday camps may encourage people in the love of out-of-doors, so that they would seek the real bushland instead of near-backyards, but the Motion of opposition to the camps was carried.
Dormie raised the question of Yeola, which we had represented for reservation years ago. He moved that we ask Federation to approach the Minister for Lands with an enquiry whether a resumption in reasonable time was likely (carried). A second motion that the Hon. Solicitor be requested to investigate the title to a number of blocks and probable cost with a view to purchase was lost. Alex Colley opposed the second motion on the score that it wasn't fair to ask the Hon. Solicitor to do a job we could well do for ourselves, whilst Dorothy Lawry suggested that Yeola was rather distant for us to police it effectively.
Dormie responded that many parties visited Yeola and would report transgressions by timber cutters: some years ago he had obtained quite a deal of information on the values and ownership of land there, and this had been forwarded to the Conservation Bureau. Land prices had been very cheap then. Gil Webb and Kath Brown pointed to two flies in the ointment, first that we had no money until reimbursed for Era, and second that the damage had already been done. At this stage the motion was lost.
It was then decided to request Conservation Bureau to return Allan Hardie's data so that we should have the full facts for consideration. Even though the familiar camp site had been bull-dozed beyond recognition, the va1ley above Yeola contained one or the last stands of straight timber, and the place was certainly worth reservation, said the Yeolists, although a number of members seemed slightly disquieted at the notion of tying up hard cash in a place without the recognised camping place.
One final spasm remained to complete the evening - Era again. Much had appeared in newspapers pro and con the shacks, and it had been learned that the Minister for Lands would probably be dealing with the allocation of the resumed lands in the near future. We decided to ask Tom Herbert to interview the Minister and renew our arguments for the inclusion of Era with Garawarra, together with requests that additional hut building and cattle pasture there be prevented.
As the evening wound up, a certain dearth of applicants for the positions of Room Stewards was evident, but new member George Spicer presently volunteered, and was charged to find an accomplice (in which, I may add, he succeeded).
The long, discursive meeting closed (none too soon for your reporter who was inspecting the Chairman's collar for spare space) at 9.45 p.m.
Several comments have been made from time to time, upon the haste of certain members to return to Sydney early on Sunday evening so that they may enjoy a home cooked meal. There seems to be a new excuse to arrive home for 8 p.m. The B.B.C. Show “Much Binding in the Marsh” emanates from 2FC at that hour, and, judging by the amount of discussion about it on train trips and around camp fires, it is popular with a large section of the Club - or is it just a new approach?
Winning photograph of the.S.B.W. 1950 Exhibition.
by Arthur Gilroy
Mr. Max Dupain, who kindly acted as judge and critic at the exhibition, described this photograph as a landscape in the grand manner. It was a well balanced and dramatic composition with traditional leanings. Good judgment was shown in keeping the foreground dark, thus making the massive mountains recede in tone. This helped a suggestion of three dimensional quality. The photograph transmitted a feeling of awe to the spectator. The sky, he said, was, unfortunately, a failure. There was inadequate tone in the cloud areas: this could have been helped through by local reduction in the negative, particularly in the right hand area. No cloud at all would have been preferable, with the tone darkening out to the top of the print. The meaning of the photograph was clear; primarily a recording of New Zealand atmosphere.
contains several items of particular interest to Bush Walkers. It states that “The Movement and others concerned had hoped that the Era and Garie lands would be placed in the care of the Garawarra Park Trustees, who are capably administering their trust. 'Short cuts' by legislators lacking full knowledge or varying conditions can be as disastrous as they often prove to inexperienced hikers, and keen anxiety is felt lest the National Park Trust's 'developmental' policy be extended into the Garawarra lands..”
A great part of the Narrow Necks, Ruined Castle and Mount Solitary lands has been held under Mining Conditional Purchases, which have now been surrendered and is now available for reclassification. The Council of the City of Blue Mountains has requested the Lands Department to reserve about 2,000 acres. This constitutes the remainder of the area. (640 acres was reserved following representations by the S.B.W., the P. and P. Movement and other bodies).
The report also states that no less than 27 species of flora formerly common to the Hawkesbury Sandstone area are now extinct, and points to the danger that many more species may disappear unless the Government prohibits the sale of wildflowers. “The last two generations have played havoc with our native flowers”, it continues, “and their extinction would stand to the everlasting disgrace of the present generation. When they were plentiful and easily accessible, there was little thought of preserving them, and they were slaughtered wholesale, half a century ago one could gather wild flowers within 5 miles of the G.P.O. north or south. Today, except in a few specially protected spots, a journey of 50 miles must be taken to see these flowers growing in their natural habitat. Their rarity makes them precious, and it is only now that the danger can be fully realised now is the time for action. The great menaces to the native flora are bushfires and the professional flower pickers, and bushlovers are unanimously of the opinion that so long as the sale of flowers is permitted, the pickers will continue their depredations, which will result in the early extinction of the flowers. Heavy fines have not stopped them”.
The Forestry Advisory Conference Handbook quotes a letter from the Department of Lands to a Trustee of the Mark Morton Reserve assuring the Trustee that “so long as the Reserve remains under the control of the Trustees for the purposes for which the Crown has provided it, and the Trustees adhere to their refusal to permit the cutting of timber thereon, so long also will the timber be protected from exploitation”. The date of this letter is not quoted and we suspect it may be several years old. At the Conference the S.B.W. motion “that an assurance be sought from the Minister for Lands that the Mark Morton Primitive Reserve will be retained in a primitive condition” was deferred until the Assistant Forestry Commissioner, Mr. Brown, had addressed the Conference. Mr. Brown said that no area had not been dedicated as a Primitive Reserve. It was gazetted as a reserve for public recreation and the protection of flora and fauna. The Lands Department had an idea of amalgamating a number of reserves in that part of the country, and would consult with the Forestry Commission on the subject. He personally did not like parks and trusts, because they had neither the powers nor the finance to manage the areas efficiently. He would like the whole or the timbered Crown lands or N.S.W. to be under the Forestry Commission, which had the power and funds to manage them efficiently and protect them from fire.
There can be little doubt that Forestry Commission control of parks would mean “selective cutting”, nor that the Commission still wants to get into the Mark Morton Reserve. The position therefore requires careful watching by conservationists.
When our motion came before the conference it was enthusiastically supported by some delegates who had been to Barretts and had vivid recollections of the beauty of the trees. An amendment seeking to water down our motion was refused by our delegates and the motion was carried without dissent.
The S.B.W. motion “That the Minister for Lands be approached with a request that the recently resumed Era Lands be left in their natural state except for the planting of further trees” was carried by the Conference.
In a recent issue of the Auckland Weekly TNews (27/9/50) an article by G.M. Fowlds entitled “Reserve the Urewera” contains much that applies equally to Australia and its need to conserve primitive areas. The largest remaining forested area on the North Island, he states, is gradually being encroached into on all sides by the saw and fire.
Apart from the aesthetic viewpoint, Mr. Fowlds advances three good reasons why such thickly forested and unspoiled regions should be protected: (1) as forest cover for the sources of hydro-electric power; (2) as security for valuable farming areas, which suffer untold flood-damage where the up-country has been cleared and consequently eroded; and (3) as recreation reserves for an ever-increasing population.
“In Southland” says Mr. Fowlds, “438,000 acres of the Fiordland National Park have been exclusively reserved for a colony of the takahe (notornis) estimated to number not more than 100 birds. Is it too much to ask that 500,000 acres of the Urewera be reserved for the benefit of a million and a quarter North Island citizens? This would also at the same time provide a safe sanctuary for the fast disappearing native bird life.
Admittedly there are a number of valuable public domains and reserves scattered over the North Island, but a large compact area of unspoiled forest is required while there is still time to secure it”.
Thanks to the foresight of early surveyor generals, New Zealand still possesses, in spite of the fury of the “hack and burn” policy, a number of unspoiled tracts belonging to different state departments. “But”, says Mr. Fowlds, “remember that in the past hundred years, according to one authority, a handful of people in this Dominion slashed a forest area greater than was cleared by millions of people in Western Europe from the days of William the Conqueror to the present time!
What will another century of alleged progress in this direction reveal? Surely not all New Zealanders hate trees? ….. Unless Parliament in the near future proclaims adequate protection over largely untouched blocks like the Urewera, can anyone guarantee that all future Governments could resist the pressure of special interests who, for a fleeting profit, would desire to exploit the forest cover of this area, which man could not recreate in a thousand years, and leave it a series of slashed and eroded hillsides and valleys?”
Substitute Australian names for the New Zealand ones, and how well the cap fits. Here too it is true, as Mr. Fowlds remarks, that “the major portion of this mountain country is of such broken character that most of it is obviously unsuitable for successful farming, and its earmarking in this way (i.e. as a National Park) would not hurt but promote the national interest.
His final cry - “Are we not in the position of trustees of a valuable forest heritage, which after being in the possession of our Maori fellow-citizens for 600 years, was handed over practically intact? Look what we have done with it in a century - is echoed in our own conscience, with the added stigma that our heritage is older still - and that we have not the grace to rate its former trustees as “follow citizens”.
This scheme, started by the “Land” newspaper, has now been taken over by the Forestry Advisory Council. Collectors of seeds are advised to gather them just before the pods open. They should be taken from mature trees or shrubs and, if possible, after bees have been in the neighbourhood so that they will be fertile. The package should be marked with the name of the variety of tree and of the locality where collected. They should be sent to the Forestry Advisory Council, 17 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, C/- Mr. Creswell O'Reilly.
The Fauna Protection Panel received 109 reports on the whereabouts of Koalas and has established that Koalas exist in the areas shown on the map below. There appear to be some thousands of koalas still living in the State.
Mr. H.A. Lindsay sends an interesting description of the Adelaide Bush Walkers' campaign for a National Park. At present there is no large park handy to Adelaide, though there is a 2,000 acre picnic and sports ground so described at Belair. The A.B.W. surveyed a ninety-mile stretch of the Mt. Lofty Ranges and found that there was but one large area of virgin forest left, a 5,000 acre tract which had never been cut over or swept by fires, lying at Humbug Scrub, about 25 miles northeast of the city. (There is probably no such area anywhere in N.S.W. - Ed.) It was privately owned and valued at £18,000.
After some months of work the A.B.W. had a pledge of support from one of the leading newspapers, a plan to make the park a war memorial, and promises of donations of up to £500. They then called a meeting to which every society which had flora and fauna conservation as one of its declared objects was invited to send a representative. At the meeting various irrelevant objections were raised, the main theme of which was to leave it to the Government. The objectors were told that 80% of the great national parks in the world had come into existence not through any Government initiating the move, but because some private citizens fought a long and often costly battle to get it done (S.B.W. members will recognise the truth of this statement for N.S.W. at least.) Then a motion was moved that a trust be formed to get an option on the land with a view to raising funds for its purchase, but the motion lapsed for want of a seconder.
After this reverse the A.B.W. carried on the fight alone. The owner of Humbug Scrub died and an official party which later went up to purchase the land failed to obtain it.
The A.B.W. are now attempting to obtain a smaller area, and are placing their faith in a few business men rather than the learned societies.
The next Walks Programme (March to June) will have to be complete for the January Committee meeting. Christmas holidays and the Walks Secretary's holidays come during this month, which means that the programme will have to be completed during the next three weeks. But this should be ample time for all those willing walks leaders who have been inspired by the stimulating editorials recently published, to plan some fine walks. We have no doubt that, on reading this, they will reach for their maps and timetables, plan interesting and exciting walks, write them down with all details and spelling correct, and immediately convey them by hand or post to the Assistant Walks Secretary (Roy Bruggy). It is the winter programme, and we expect it to be a good one.
Congratulations and best wishes to Roy and Mary Braithwaite, who were married last month.
Discussing the number of Britishers who are coming to these shores and joining the Club, Gladys Martin cracked recently “We'll soon be able to call it the E.S. & A. (English, Scottish and Australian) Club”.
by The Librarians.
For those who find the gallant attempts on Mt. Everest fascinating, we can recommend a really fine book - “Everest 33” - by Hugh Ruttledge. The drama and bravery of exploration and mountaineering are shown by the vivid pen of one who, besides being the leader of the 1933 attempt on Everest, has spent many years amongst the Passes and Peaks of the Alps and the Himalayas. Mr. Ruttledge tells sensational episodes expertly and forcibly and a lively wit and humorous understanding of life combine to make this a delightful book.
Would you like to learn a bit more about mapping? We have some very interesting and instructive books, which can tell you all you wish to know.
Prospective members please take note! If you read some of the following books on mapping from your Library, we can guarantee that you will pass your mapping test with flying colours. Things like direction finding at night, orienting a map, plotting one's position, reading a map correctly can all be learnt from some of the many volumes at your disposal in the Club Library.
Here are some which are sure to be of interest to you:
This is a military publication, starts with elementary map reading and develops into more detail, should be very interesting for anyone who wishes to pursue the subject more extensively.
A book well worth while reading. The author treats everything from camp cooking and first-aid to map-reading and the history of lightweight gear. Mr. Kephart's obvious experience in woodcraft makes this a thoroughly intriguing book.
Similar to the No. 8 above but an older edition.
Will be held at Sydney University Hall on 4th May. There will be novelties, prizes and dancing till 1 a.m. Dress is optional.
By R.J. Meakins.
During a recent discussion on bushwalking events of the year my attention was drawn to an article by W. Gillam entitled “An Easter Pilgrimage” which appeared in the issue of “The Sydney Bushwalker” for May 1950. An appended note suggested that the ascent of the Thurat Spires by the author and party, described in this article, was the first to be made, and information to the contrary was invited.
Although it is probable that the route followed by this party is new there is a record of a previous traverse of the Thurat Spires by a different route. This trip is described by J.C. Barnard in “The Bushwalker Annual” for 1939.
My own introduction to the Spires was in November, 1947, in company with Rudy Lemberg, Alan Harper and Jack Mitchell, the latter being here on a short visit from England. On that occasion we made the ascent from the junction of Kanangra Crook and Danae's Brook and later I descended about a hundred feet down the farther side of the third spire to explore the possibility of getting on to Big Misty and completing the circuit back to Kanangra Walls. However, it appeared that any further descent would be very dangerous without a length of rope.
The following Easter I was with a party of six, with sufficient time in hand for a day in the region of “The Walls” before proceeding on our journey. A further exploration of the Spires seemed an excellent way of occupying the time and so a 50 foot length of rope was included in our equipment. Incidentally, it has formed a regular component of our equipment ever since then. Once again we approached the Spires by way of Smith's Pass and the slope leading down to the junction of Kanangra Creek and Danae's Brook. It was a late start, however, due to bad weather, and we did not reach the top of the third spire until about 2 p.m. There was also some delay due to camera enthusiasts, for this region is the photographer's paradise. After enjoying the view for a while, and perhaps hesitating a little before facing the unknown, we moved cautiously down the far side of the spire. This face is very steep and, because of loose rocks, each foothold has to be carefully tested. About half-way down there is a sheer drop on to a narrow ledge and here we established the rope, doubled around a friendly gum tree. As none of us had climbed much since childhood there was a pause here to allow for the screwing up of courage before taking to the rope and sliding over the edge. Doubts were soon overcome, however, and one after another we descended each man moving along the ledge to make room for the next, the last being required to gather in the rope. There followed some more very steep scrambling with rather loose hand and foot holds, then another short “roping down”, and finally we were on the saddle. There was still the long climb up Big Misty ahead of us, however, and we had no notion of what obstacles might be encountered. It turned out to be nothing more than a steep scramble and was actually one of the high lights of the trip because of the fine views which it provided.
From the top of Big Misty a few miles of easy walking brought us back to our camp at Kanangra Walls, where we feasted and settled down for the night, well satisfied with the day's exploit.
I was so impressed with this trip that later, in November, 1948, I repeated it in company with a visiting American mountaineer, Professor James Bonner, of the California Institute of Technology. He was delighted with the beauty of the region and took many photographs both in colour and in black and white. As he has had many years of rock-climbing experience his comment on the climb down from the third spire towards Big Misty may be of interest i.e. “It is easy, but dangerous, and a belaying rope should be used for almost the whole of the descent”.
By Jim Hooper.
Along the track no doubt you have seen a walker pause and examine his map. He may just give it a glance, or twenty minutes later he might still be there frowning himself into a lot of worry. What is map reading anyway? It is hoped that this series of articles will help, in a little measure, to an improved understanding of maps.
Many years ago someone told me C-A-T spelt one of those black furry things, and that it wasn't spelt with a “K”, which doesn't look like the letter “C” anyway. After a long time I learned to distinguish between the letters of the alphabet.
Map reading is like book reading because, first of all, you have to learn how to read. You can't settle down to a good book and enjoy its contents without knowing what ideas are conveyed by the letters, words and sentences. The more time you spend looking at each letter, the longer you'll take to read what is in front of you. As soon as you become accustomed to reading you will find yourself skimming over the letters to read whole words. Later on you skim over words to read whole sentences, and so on you go to get the full story.
Reading Maps is exactly the same in principle. You became thoroughly accustomed to the signs and symbols you have to read. Instead of working out the meaning of each symbol you will be astonished, after a while, to find that you are actually forming complete mental pictures of the area.
This was borne out recently by an unnamed person looking forward, with keen anticipation to his annual holidays. He was going up the North Coast. Off and on for weeks he studied his map. Arriving “on location” he had several days of quiet, then the place was swamped with tourists. Many were the questions they asked about the area. He answered most of these quite naturally and without much thought. Yarning with some “locals” one day he suddenly felt himself speak “out of turn” - at least he thought so! Describing a way over a plateau he casually asked what the hut up there was like. The locals looked at him and didn't know. He hadn't been there himself either. What had happened?
In studying the map with such keen anticipation Joe had simply made his impressions so strong that he didn't have to look at the map to know where the hut was located.
If you were asked to record the appearance of a stretch of land, how would you do it? Writing a description of the area might help but you would need lots of notepaper. Your subsequent reader would need plenty of time to work the notes out. Better still you could make a sketch, or oil-painting of the scene from a high hilltop. Taking a photograph is easier and more accurate but all these methods have a great disadvantage. The photos, etc., would only show ONE side of the valleys, hills and other features. Anyone walking through in the opposite direction would find your photos practically useless.
Grab yourself a “sky-hook” or hitch a hike in a helicopter. Way up there you'll change your outlook (if not air-sick) and get a BIRDSEYE VIEW of the area. Photographs will show the shape and all sides of hills and valleys with many other details. Creeks will be seen to wind their “downhill” way through valleys. Those black, square looking dots down below will be houses or huts. The whitish looking “sinew” sneaking up into the hills - see it? Over to the right a bit, just short sections of it making dashes through the timber? That's a track. You will probably be climbing that one next week.
A large percentage of our maps these days are compiled with the aid of aerial photographs - the “birdseye view”, A map then is s diagram, or plan, of an area of ground which, like an aerial photo, shows every worthwhile landmark in its correct proportion, or size, and its position in relation to other landmarks in the area.
When you have once got the idea into your head that a map is not a “page from the notebook of a madman's dream” you will have outmanoeuvred a big obstacle. (Some people scare too easily when asked to map read).
Sit quietly with a map of an area with which you are previously acquainted. Study the symbols printed on the bottom edge of the map, look for them, and compare them over the route you took when you last walked through the area. You will find some pleasure in doing that walk over again “on paper”. You will also find yourself recalling other little details. Who fell into the creek at so and so? John, or Jean, or someone, it was - took a beautiful header into the drink. How well does the map show that spot on the creek? These things you can easily decide for yourself and, after a little practice, the apparent maze of lines and symbols on the map don't appear to be complex to you any longer. Like letters of the alphabet, each symbol will convey a message to you and in your mind's eye you will be visualising the hills, roads, railways, tall mountains and all other things which make finding your way and the selection of campsites much easier, even at night.
by “The Missing Link”
This is a story sad with woe
Of a trip on the Cox not long ago.
Though walking was hampered by the heat
The swimming they say was hard to beat.
There were nine male members out on a spree,
Including a New Zealander named Lee,
Now this here Kiwi, so I hear,
Swims with his boots on - ain't that queer?
And there was Phyl out on his own
Left Bet at home there all alone
To do the work, and oh, my gosh
Phyl, what about the weekly wash?
Poor, poor Don with red raw nose
Not the only burnt spot I suppose,
Oh to have a skin so fair
Especially when upon a chair.
So the boys came home so burnt and sore
Muttering sadly, no more, no more,
Except young Bill, who said “All that
Didn't worry me with my little hat.”
But saddest of all was our friend Jim,
On arriving home Mum said to him,
“You're a bright spark, there's no mistake,
Taking the dog's horsemeat, instead of steak!”
Twentyfour years ago Paddy, recently arrived from England, wondered idly why no one catered for the needs of lightweight campers. (The word “Bushwalker” had not yet been invented.) Four years later, having been thrown on the labour market by that evolution of economic processes, known as the Depression, Paddy returned to his early idea of making gear for Bushwalkers.
There were only a few folks in those days who had the peculiar desire to emulate the snail by sallying forth with house and furniture on their back.
Paddy's friends were concerned that soon he would supply all the walkers there were with all the gear they wanted, and thus be out of business. However, after 20 years of ever expanding production the end is not yet in sight.
Paddy had had experience of camping in England and had fairly definite ideas on lightweight gear, but he consulted the local experts (members of the S.B.W. of course). They offered him sound advice and gave him ready support. This exchange of ideas has been a constant feature of the business and Paddy has through the years attempted to repay the debt by service over and above the supply of goods to the walking fraternity.
After about 12 months the business began to grow and Oliver Wulf joined the firm. He is still with Paddy and is in charge of the production side of the business. Many walkers know Oliver as a sort of “Deus ex Machine” who appears at rare intervals for consultation on some knotty problem.
The fact that promises of delivery made in the shop are almost invariably kept even in these difficult times is almost solely due to Oliver's organising ability and his uncompromising attitude to rash promises (!).
The business of “Paddy Pallin” and its manufacturing side “Paddymade Manufacturing Company” are now firmly established and known to walkers throughout Australia.
Paddy takes this opportunity to thank all bushwalkers for their support and trusts he can serve them for many years to come.
Paddy Pallin. Camp Gear For Walkers.
You know where it is.