A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney.
|Editor||Jim Brown, 103 Gipps St, Drummoyne|
|Sales & Subs.||Gladys Roberts|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|Production & Business Manager||Brian Harvey (JW1462).|
|Editorial - To the Polling Booths||1|
|At the January General Meeting||3|
|Queensland Holiday - Part II||Keith Renwick||6|
|Proposed Easter Trip - Invitation||3|
|Never the Twain||Jim Brown||9|
|Bush Fire Prevention in Victoria||13|
|The Barbecue||“Fed Up Freddie”||14|
|You Don't Have to be Dead to be Stiff||by Ross, Col and Pete||17|
|The Swimming Carnival||by “Nemo”||19|
|January Federation Notes||Kath Brown||20|
|Track and Trail||21|
|The Sanitarium Health Food Shop||3|
|Scenic Motor Tours||5|
|Leica Photo Service||9|
|Kurrajong Bus Service||16|
During the next few weeks most members of this Club will be eligible to vote at two elections. By pointing to the fact that we have no age qualification, no compulsion in the matter of voting, and only limited pre-selection (liable to upset on the night of our Annual General Meeting), we might argue that our elections are far the more democratic. However we do not intend to seek comparisons of a kind which would be quite futile.
The one significant difference between election of political figures and officers of a recreational club is the basis on which the electors proceed. Being most of us children in the game of politics, we usually vote for a party ticket, with little knowledge of the candidate we support, and equivalent regard for his personal worth and capacity. We have a far better chance of making a wise choice in our Club selection, unless we are so remote from the candidates or the trend of Club affairs that we cannot judge the responsibilities of the jobs and the fitness of the nominees.
There is always the risk, of course, that we may elect a well-liked figure on no better foundation than his or her popularity. This is not to say that a member who is popular is prone to fail on the job - rather the reverse, for such members are usually popular because of their interest in Club affairs. At the same time, we are more likely to obtain efficient officers if we consider the abilities and enthusiasm as well as the charm of the candidates.
Competition is usually strong for certain positions: others, such as Secretary and Treasurer are apt to be difficult to fill, and we anticipate the recently created job of Conservation Secretary will join these. Such vital jobs usually fall to people who have indicated in advance that they are willing to undertake them, and who are duly nominated and (also usually) elected unopposed. Volunteers of this kind often make exceedingly good officers, for they have taken into account the scope and nature of the job and are not dismayed at finding what is expected of them on taking over.
It is expected of retiring officers that they shall leave a fairly clean slate to the new committee member. A Treasurer's job is, of course, governed to some degree by the annual audit, but there are other billets where the work goes an and on, like a chapter without a full stop. For instance, a retiring Membership Secretary should be in a position to hand over all available data on current prospective members, and should advise the stage to which each application for membership has advanced. Under the new schedule for walks programmes, the retiring Walks Secretary should have completed the May to August programme, and the retiring Committee should have given its imprimatur at its last meeting. It will probably be up to the incoming Walks Secretary to see that the programme is published.
After you have elected your officers, treat them with the courtesy and tolerance you would wish in their position. If you believe a mistake has been made, or some matter overlooked, it is kinder to talk about it with the appropriate officer rather than produce it dramatically at a general meeting. You may have your facts wrong.
Remember, too, that though the prestige and glamour of office may be terrific (!) the remuneration is imperceptible. The would-be critic should first investigate his own attitude, and ask himself if he is fully supporting the committee, or treating it merely as a body of lackeys appointed to do his bidding.
Some years ago when we discovered dehydrated mutton we thought we had discovered an all-time low in provender. At the January holiday week-end we saw Gil Webb going fishing with dried worms (rather like brittle show laces, even to the little paper tube containing them). Fish around Burning Palms are more considerate of their insides than walkers, it appears, and the catch was nil.
The January Meeting is traditionally one of small attendances, but a fair average 60 members rolled up this time. New member Joan Cordell was welcomed, minutes were read, and Conservation Secretary Tom Moppett reported that he had carried our complaint concerning camp fires to the Scouting Movement. He had, however, chosen a bad time, as everyone there was obsessed with the Jamboree, but one of the junior officers had promised to have enquiry made and publicity in the scouting journal given to proper quenching of camp fires.
There were no bones to pick with the correspondence, and everything went swimmingly until the Assistant Treasurer misread “Social Excesses” in the monthly financial statement. He reported that the Barbecue had not been a Social Expense, however, but the small profit from it was in his keeping and would be delivered into the hands of the Treasurer “as soon as he saw the Treasurer's hands”.
No comment on the Federation Report and a “Nil Report” on the conservation front brought us suddenly to General Business. The President announced that a propelling pencil had been found in the Club Room after the Fun and Games Night (December 19th). He then proceeded to the monthly recital of the bush fire regulations. (Properly constructed fireplace or container approved… all right, you've heard it before.)
There were regrets to be expressed about the Walks Programme, said the President. Undue and unexpected delays bad attended its publication shortly before the holidays, which had added further complications. It was hoped the next programme would be printed on a durable card, and would be a better job than the present issue. Kevin Ardill enquired about a day walk which he had submitted for April, and which he considered would be test walk standard, but did not appear on the programme. The President replied that it had evidently been left off in the hurry of printing, but all possible publicity would be given it, and it would be deemed a programme walk.
We proceeded to nominate sites for the Annual Reunion. Euroka and Woods Creek secured the requisite number of “primary” votes, but Macquarie Fields, Werong and Moorabinda couldn't make the grade, and we suspect that the Hydro Majestic and Menangle were nominated with tongue-in-cheek. Put to the vote, Woods Creek romped home.
The President gave the customary reminder regarding the Annual General Meeting and the submission of constitutional amendments by the February Committee Meeting.
Frank Ashdown asked whether it was proposed to give members copies of the by-laws, and the President replied that the matter was in train, so that each new member, as well as those admitted since March 1952, should be furnished with the law.
The vacant position of Membership Secretary was filled by the election of Elsa McGregor, unopposed.
Don Frost asked if we would arrange a bus to take people to the Re-Union site in the same way as 1952, and a motion to this end was carried. Allan Hardie asked what was all this about Werong? Were club funds to be sunk in its purchase? The President reiterated the report of the Conservation Secretary, adding that we were merely watching developments at present.
Somewhat out of sequence it was decided to allow the vacancy for one only lady Committee member (vice Elsa McGregor) remain open rather than elect at February for one meeting only. Kevin Ardill suggested this was the time to organise something for the Swimming Carnival, and finally Molly Gallard and Bill Rodgers became joint organisers, with Kevin (as leader of the day walk to the site) also sitting in on the councils.
Dormie enlivened the ebbing moments of the meeting by urging us to have another bid to save Kurnell from the Caltex evil: Botany Bay Would be spoiled by the effluent, which should be diverted into the sea at least. Botany Bay was a perfectly safe bathing place even for “sucklings and babes in arms”, and this point should be hammered home, and the leaders of Government and Opposition requested to state their attitude. The President remarked that the matter had been very much under notice and appeared a lost cause, but Dormie insisted that election time was a good time to worry politicians.
Someone was so misguided to mumble about “Water Board” and Dormie made it very clear that it was the duty of the Maritime Services Board to prevent fouling of harbours - not the MWS & DB. It sounded like the same voice which said sadly “pouring oil on troubled waters”. Len Scotland sought to take the motion further, with a resolution that every member present write his local MP on the subject. Tom Moppett outlined the action taken by the deputation organised by the Forestry Advisory Council, and suggested the proper course may be to invite the anti-oil-refinery committee to intervene again. Dormie signified he was willing to translate his motion to this end, but as it was in his right of reply, the President held that his motion couldn't be varied: so, having lamented the fate of Botany Bay's personal and unique shark, and described the horrors of Lake Victoria “surrounded with oil tanks” after he had spent a day and a half travelling across Africa to reach it, the amendment and motion went to the lions and were thrown out.
Bill Cosgrove rounded the evening off with an exhortation to us to put our house in order. On the night of the Christmas Party, stacks of unextinguished “bumpers” were hurled to the floor as each dance started: he personally thought the Meeting Room was not a good fire risk, but the point was that we were creatures of habit, and perhaps we also tossed away our cigarette butts in the bush. Yet we criticised others for careless use of fire. He shook his head more in sorrow than anger, and thoughtfully we went our ways at a 9.30 p.m. closure.
Reported by a motorist who visited the pub at Upper Burragorang on Australia Day. “There were some of your crowd there - I recognised them by the flannel flower thing. I asked one tall, lean cove if he knew you - he did. Gee, you've got some solid little girls in that show… there was one that looked like a wrestler…”
By Keith Renwick.
After a night journey in the train, that night found us camped on the Barron River at Kuranda - the garden station - and the following day was spent in looking over the Barron Falls and Stony Creek Falls. The latter are really better than the first, as most of the water from the Barron Falls is diverted through pipes for a hydro-electric station.
The day following (Thursday) we caught the rail motor to Atherton and part-walked, part-hitched our way to Mingaburra. The country covered here was in direct contrast with the rest of the tablelands, mainly of open gum forest with long dry grass and dead corn fields - a terrific fire hazard. From Yungaburra south it changed to some of the greenest undulating hill country I've seen anywhere, and it is supposed to contain some of the richest dairy cattle country in Australia. The soil is that exceptionally rich red loam and the top soil in most places is of a depth of 30 or 40 feet.
At Yungaburra we stayed at a palatial mansion, with private room, running water, etc. - namely, the shed at the railway station. Using this as our base we spent the next day wandering around the two beautiful crater lakes, Eacham and Barrine. The lakes are about 5 miles apart, craters of extinct volcano about 300 or 400 feet deep and are jungle clad to the water's edge. We were also fortunate to see here a wild cassowary which ran across the path in front of us and stopped on the other side, close to the track.
The following day, Saturday, was the start of one of the main objects of the trip, the climbing of Bartle Frere (5,287-feet), the highest mountain in Queensland. Early in the morning we caught a train (at least that's what we were told it was) to Malanda, and a car out past Lamond's Hill to a clearing within 2 miles of the foot of the mountain. The road to this spot was in very good condition, having been repaired recently.
We set up a base camp and spent the afternoon reconnoitring around the various timber tracks to see which would be the most advantageous for our purpose. The next day dawned cloudy and ominous (at 5 a.m. we were up), but not having to pack, Ken and I were soon away and after about half an hour on a timber track we cut off this into the “scrub” (local term for jungle). We pushed and scrambled our way for about 200 yards when we came across a very old Army-cut track, which was a little easier and followed the saddle we wanted.
About this stage it started to rain and didn't stop until we got back to camp eleven hours later. Not having brought our groundsheets because they would have been torn pushing through the scrub, we just had to put up with getting wet through. The track took us as far as the foot of the main climb, but petered out in a creek which we crossed. We went straight up the other side and followed along the side of the creek for some distance, and passed some very beautiful falls and cascades. The climb itself was uneventful, not even a small snake being seen, but about halfway up we came to a cave formed by a huge pile of boulders roughly the size of those in Bungonia Gorge, but surmounted by an enormous granite “pebble” about 50 or 60-ft. in diameter, one of the biggest single rounded stones I have seen. Several other piles of rocks wee passed farther up, but none as big as this one. Some quite good views could possibly be obtained by scrambling up on to these rocks, and looking out over the tree tops, but it was far too misty when we were there.
We also found in various spots remnants of old army camps, with sticks laid out to make beds, piles of tins,. etc.
We stopped at the top for about a quarter of an hour, where we had a long delayed lunch and devoured half a pound of biscuits between us, and at half past two pushed off on the long trek home. To facilitate our return and allow us more time for climbing, we had blazed trees on the way up, and we were very glad to follow these on the return down, but even then progress was comparatively slow because we still had to push our way through the scrub. The mountain an its western face presents a more or less flat face with no very strongly defined ridges, and without the blaze marks we would have been very definitely “uphill” in picking out the narrow saddle at the bottom, which separates the headwaters of the Russell and Mulgrave Rivers by only a few hundred yards. If we had ended in either of these streams, which fall away very suddenly, it would have taken us till next day to get out. We were very glad when we hit camp and a curried meat stew and rice were provided by Alan Wilson.
The next day was spent in getting back to Malanda, in the course of which we called at a house occupied by a farmer, his wife and at the very least six daughters - they appeared to be everywhere. That same day we hitched a milk and local delivery lorry and spent our time unloading empty milk cans, bread, butter and mail all the way there. We were informed that one farmer along the route had 13 kids, all going to school!
Part of that night and the following morning we spent in travelling from Milla Milla to Ravenshoe, with the idea of going out to see the Tully Falls. This, however, would have proved an expensive proposition as there were no hitches and the local taxi driver wanted some fabulous sum for the 12 mile journey, so about midday we turned our backs on the idea reluctantly, and started hitching our way down the Palmerston highway to Innisfail. We found hitching up here very similar to Tasmania, the cars are few and far between, but those that do come along are very good and invariably stop to tell you why they can't pick you up. They are mostly local people going but a short way out to farms.
The following day at Innisfail was spent in admiring the city and its environs, which we thought were nicer than Cairns. The city is built along the banks of the Johnson River and parks line both banks. The nights we spent here we stayed at the local Camping and Parking Ground, which is one of the nicest I have seen, being situated on the banks of the river and covered with lush green grass (as are most of Innisfail parks) instead of the usual bare earth, and with small trees scattered here and there. It also had a laundry, showers, etc.
Thursday found us invading Paronella Park, about 11 miles south of Innisfail. It is a small park, built entirely by one man, JOse Paronella, a Spaniard, and its building occupied 20 years of hi lifetime. Apart from paths, outhouses and lunch sheds, a Spanish style “fort” occupies the centre, wherein meals are served and dances and the local picture shows are held. There were many varied and interesting things to be seen here and it was a day well spent.
This, however, marked the end of our trip up north for the next day we caught our train about midday for the return down the coast: and, in spite of what other people say, we had a very nice trip down. The carriage had a corridor down one side for half the length, then across the centre and down the other side. The compartments were designed for three people, which suited us very nicely, with seats-cum-bunks on one side and wash-basin and table on the other wall. They provided soap and changed the towels daily, and all this for 15/- extra on the train fare (2nd class). Generally speaking too, the railway staff are more courteous and helpful than they are in New South Wales. Refreshment rooms appeared to be on nearly every station we stopped at, and what's more they were open.
It took until 6.25 a.m. an Sunday to reach Brisbane, and 5 minutes late on a journey of 1,100 miles isn't too bad. After breakfast at the station we went out to my aunt's place, and were taken on a sight-seeing tour of Brisbane. Altogether we covered about 140 miles in a very comprehensive tour, which took in Mt. Coothna, Bartley's Hill, Crematorium Hill, north to Scarborough and other spots too numerous to mention. We had beautiful weather and much film was burned up.
We flew back to Sydney, which was really a picture seen from the air at night, a good end to a very enjoyable trip, one that I won't forget for a long time. One day I would like to return.
To join our Easter trip on the Shoalhaven River.
Programme: Friday - Long Pt. - Shoalhaven - Bungonia Ck.(visit Gorge). Saturday - Block Up - Tryer's Creek - Tallowal Creek. Sunday - Day walk to Touga Trig. Monday - Badgery's Crossing - Badgery's Lookout - Tallong.
Total Mileage: About 45 (includes 18 miles optional, without packs).
Type: Varies from easy to rough. Well within capacity of any member.
Fares: (Lower Income Group Trip): Tallong - 2nd Return - 24/-.
Trains: Probably 5.10 p.m. and 9.18 p.m. Seat booking advisable on 5.10 p.m. Check times two weeks before Easter.
Special Notes: No special motor transport - no special notice to join trip necessary.
Night camp on Thursday will be made near Tallong Station to accommodate those on late train. If river flooded, alternative trip starting Tallong will be organised.
Sluggards note - 8 a.m. starts each day.
Jim Brown. 'Phone LM2163 (Business).
By Jim Brown.
A crossing of the Blue Labyrinth west to east.
This story has one unusual aspect. The trip is to take place on the weekend 26/28th September, so we are commencing the tale before setting out. If we make an unholy mess of the trip, if we strike bad weather or illness intervenes, you will probably never read this. If you do, it will be the story of a walk from go to whoa.
I've been hankering to do a crossing of the Blue Labyrinth west to east for a couple of years. There are two ways to do it. You can start from any point on the western side, take a direct compass course and spend three or four days of extreme exertion, up and down, over and under. Or you may take a ridge - the only ridge which goes right across the Labyrinth - the watershed between the Erskine and the Warragamba.
Not being overly partial to sheer bullocking, I never contemplated the first course. The ridge we want starts at Waratah Trig on the King's Tableland road, and weaves a course, generally east and south, to the Nepean just below the Warragamba junction. Our project is to camp at Nott's Swamp, out from Wentworth Falls along the Tableland road, on Friday night, and then trace the ridge through from Waratah to Warragamba Dam.
Bill Rodgers and Jim Hooper appear to be lined up as co-starters, some other potentials (Kevin Ardill and Colin Ferguson) have fallen for various reasons. We have worked out an extract of bearings and distances using map and protractor. It begins like this:
|A (Waratah)||395165||133||1100 yds.|
and so on. The bearings are all pre-converted to magnetic, to save worry about the 10-deg. variation when sweating it out on the ground. As we commence each “leg”, with compass on our measured bearing, we will note the time, then estimate our speed and compute the time required to complete the leg. If we don't spot the connecting ridge as the time runs out we sit down and try to work it out.
There are 28 legs, ranging in length from 200 yards to 2,900 yards, and the total distance from Waratah Trig. to the Dam is 17 miles. We shall probably take from 9 to 12 hours actual walking over that stage, provided we make no serious errors. That doesn't sound impressive, but in the Labyrinth country you're doing quite well at 1 1/2 to 2 miles per hour. It means we should arrive Warragamba about midday Sunday, allowing half a day to retrieve mistakes. The Liverpool map shows a track over the last 3 or 4 miles of the ridge pattern. It may be there. Or it may not. Provisionally, we expect it to be completely grown over. We shall see.
It looks a good day for starting. A cool north-easterly wind, fairly clear sky. If it holds, conditions could be perfect. Number of starters slightly indefinite, as it's possible that the official Friday night walk will be diverted to the Labyrinth, through shortage of party. That news is a mixed bag. Once a party gets to be numerous it begins to lose its “reconnaissance” character. Personally I like three bodies for a preliminary canter in new ground - the party sticks together better. However, I daresay up to six will be sufficiently manageable.
(What follows is based on “dear diary”. The intention was to reproduce our notes exactly as written. Having looked them over, I feel it better to translate them into more readable prose.)
There are five of us on the jaunt finally. Bill Rodgers travelled with me in one car of the crowded 6.37 train: further down the train Jim Hooper and John Thornthwaite were together, while Peter Stitt was making his way to Wentworth Falls independently. Some confusion at the Falls, when John and Jim were dozing, and emerged through various windows. We found them stowing oddments into rucksacks as the train hauled away. Peter not in sight, so joined a taxi to Q.V. Homes, expecting to find him awaiting us. However, at Q.V. cries of alarm. “No Pedro! Where is Pedro?” A slight modification of plan, to camp about 1 1/2 miles past the Sanatorium so that Peter would have a reasonable chance of overtaking.
We found water in a hollow at about that distance, pitched the tents, and presently (about 11.15 p.m.) heard the crutch, crunch of large boots away up the road, and saw the flash of a torch. Peter joined us.
During the night a cold westerly breeze arose about 4 a.m. It's still blowing, and promises to keep the weather good. Should be away about 8 a.m.
Resting by a soak just short of Waratah Trig. Warm, clear and breezy. At Nott's Swamp Peter despatched a four-feet black snake, decapitated it, and is carrying the body in his water bucket. Some talk of “snake and onions” for dinner (for Peter). The country is so scorched by last year's fires, we feel it may be the Black Labyrinth we're about to cross.
At lunch. Peter is skinning the snake while we avert our eyes to eat. This is a turn-up! At Waratah Trig a well formed road swung off along our ridge. So surprising a development that we promptly got ourselves tangled up, and steamed off along a spur to the north. Intersected bearings on Harris and Waratah Trigs established oar mistake, so we're back to the road. Peter argues (logically) that such a defined and used roadway must go somewhere - probably right through to Warragamba Dam to save hauling timber around through the Blue Mountains. What a blow! Is it going to be a road-bash right through? Heaven forbid.
Things have clarified a little. We followed the road until about 2.30, passing various encampments (all either abandoned or deserted for the weekend) and sundry earth moving equipment. The road forked once, one arm running down toward the Erskine, and the other presently leaving the main ridge on the southern side. We appeared to be getting down on to Pocket Creek, so left the road, cut off up a ridge, and returned to the divide about half a mile west of the Euroka Trig turn off. Followed this east and south, and now on a great bare rock outcrop overlooking much of the mountains, with 2KA masts and the Carrington chimney in sight, also some of the walls of Burragorang and Green Wattle Creek; deep rifts on both sides of us. We shortly turn north. There have been blazes and marks along the ridge so far. There were no bush fires through here last summer so its clean, scratchy going.
Made camp about 5.10 p.m. on a saddle, about l 1/2 miles short of the edge of the Liverpool map. Water is a problem, scarce, and to be found in small rock pools a couple of hundred feet down. Markers have thinned out lately. Wild flowers are wonderful - waratahs , boronia (pinnata, I think), and the air scented with masses of one of the dilwynnias.
Looks like a tardy departure about 9 this morning. All slept in (well, more or less in) one tent last night because of limited space in the saddle. Fine, mild night, and a bright, clear morning. Weather is kind, if a little warm.
What a lovely old morning! We've proved beyond doubt that the eastern edge of the Jenolan map is hopelessly wrong hereabout. A fair-sized side creek, shown as flowing into Ripple Creek (and the Warragamba) actually joins the Erskine. The divide which is therefore shown north of the creek, goes to its south. We walked until 10.30, covering out 1 1/2 miles, found our ridge broke down, and after studying the spur next to the south from a distance, drew the correct conclusion, went right back past last night's camp, and around in a great semi-circle. We lost 2 1/2 hours. We believe we are now on the head of Ripple Creek, just on the Liverpool map, but can't confirm it until we get on a high point. An hour ago, I wouldn't have given us a chance of getting through tonight. Now, provided our assumption is correct, we may just make it, if that track over the last few miles really exists.
The great trouble is, we can't connect up the Jenolan and Liverpool maps to get a coherent picture, because the former is definitely wrong. It's been a dry old morning, and we're almost dehydrated.
There was no time last night to end the story. We climbed out of Ripple Creek, and found the country exactly as we hoped. Went through another saddle, up another knob - and that was just as it should be. With great relief, we turned along the ridge, bearing 107, and held to it for over an hour - about two miles of raspy going. Near the end of the leg we found a surveyor's mark, and, as we slewed into our next bearing, 139, picked up a blazed way and a cut track. It was 4.30 and we were still about 6 miles from Warragamba. At 5.30, quite suddenly, we came on to a rebuilt edition of the old trail, just where it should be a little beyond was a large clearing where logging had been done, and a rutted, tractor-trampled highway led us right through, four miles to Warragamba Dam site. It was 7.5 as we started out across the lofty suspension bridge which, to all intents and purposes, marked journey's end. West-east. The twain had met.
(NOTE: We were told at the Dam that the road we had followed from King's Tableland for about 4 miles does go all the way through. What course it follows we can't guess. It must negotiate the deep gorges of Pocket Creek, Gogongolly Creek and Ripple Creek at least. When someone drives through it, we shall be glad to learn what happens, but we advise a jeep or land-rover for the trip.)
Graham (“Mouldy”) Harrison has sent us a copy of a pamphlet produced by the Forests Commission of Victoria, and distributed to motorists, campers and the like in that State.
It is rather interesting as an example of the educative part of Victoria's bush-fire precautions, and is reproduced below:
Hill or Mountain, lake or river, a green woodland setting is the ideal retreat for a Summer Holiday.
Whether you propose camping, hiking, fishing, or just “having a day out” you will really enjoy the bush, where the clean air, the green and the quiet will give new life to mind and body for the months ahead.
As you go about the forests, absorbing the freshness and fascinated by the busyness of the birds and animals they shelter, you will come across notices warning of the danger of fire. These are to remind you that it is in your hands to keep the forests green - that a moment's absent-mindedness with a match, cigarette, camp-fire or pipe could destroy all the natural beauty which you seek to enjoy. Nothing would ruin your holiday more quickly than the worry, panic and perhaps even tragedy of a forest fire.
Constant care and discretion in the use of fire by each one of us will make it possible for our forests to remain green and flourishing, refuges of quiet and loveliness.
Keep Victoria Green and Growing.
Because our January Meeting report didn't mention the various people welcomed, we neglected to refer to John de Bavay of the Hobart Walking Club, who graced Ingersoll Hall with his presence. Quite a few of our people, embarking an walks in less-well-known parts of Tassy, have blessed the name of de Bavay.
By “Fed Up Freddie”.
The mere fact that everyone had more than sufficient to eat is enough to suggest that the event was a complete success. By motor chariot, by train, and by shanks pony, about 80 jawbones, accompanied by an equal number of expectant tummies had congregated for the feast.
Dumb Dora is reputed to have thought a barbecue was a line of men waiting for a haircut and I must confess I have not much more knowledge than this inoffensive lady. Still, as per instructions, I equip myself with plate, knife and fork, and clutching my five shilling in my hot little palm I head for the Wal Roots mansion. Our little party was slightly late, having stopped en route to collect a member and his wife. He assured us that it was only a hop skip and a jump over to Wal's. And talking of hops, well, you can't be early on every occasion, and it was close to Christmas, can't keep on saying no all one's life, here today and gone the day before sort of thing.
“The Barbecue”, hic
By “Fred up Feddie”.
How Wal acquired his residence in the heart of Kuring-gai Chase is beyond me. The bloke's got a bushwalking club all of his own. All the walking country you could wish for in his own backyard and if weather conditions are bad he can adjourn to the house for a hot meal and change of clothes. A flickering light down among the trees guided our feet and the quietness prevailing indicated that the doings had begun. Were we too late? Lamb No.1 was almost a memory and No.2 was saluting the carver, so joining the queue we got in for our cut. A lovely thick slice of lamb from Sam, a portion of potato from Bill, green peas and mint sauce - I said mint sauce - from some angel and silence reigned supreme, with one satisfied customer lining up for a second helping. Taking a good look at this bird I resolve never to be in a food party with him. A second helping! imposs, imposs, ridic, ridic.
The typical Bill Henley fire both illuminated and warmed the circle of sitters. Gil Webb endeavoured to encourage the songsters but honestly how can one sing through a mass of lamb and green peas. For the same reason I suppose there was a complete lack of skits and sketches. Rene Brown provided a surprise by singing of the pathetic experiences of Polly Perkins, late of Paddington Green. Bravo Rene! I noticed quite a large number of old members not seen for quite a long time. Ray Bean, very quiet I admit, but looking the same, and I began to think that if all the crowd turned up at the swimming carnival on February 14th at Lake Eckersley what an entertaining and socially successful day we could have. A free plug for the swimming carnival please Mr. Editor, but we didn't really get a chance to chat with many of our errant members and the carnival is the next event and there will be sunlight to illuminate their happy faces (we hope). The Barbecue - several of the younger lads climbing up a sheer rock face at the back of the assemblage gives rise to the suspicion that maybe the lambs - oh horror - acting the goat is O.K. with me, but as interior lining! Wal, you wouldn't treat an old pal like that. Still, the lads going up the rock face were remarkably sure footed. “The food you eat today walks and talks tomorrow”. I say bah. What rot.
By eleven quite a number were heading homewards and here this very obscure report of the Barbecue must end. Some camped the night, and were to go on a walk next day. Returning to the railway station would be quite a good enough walk and I fancy would be sufficient for most. A word of thanks to Wal Roots, Gil Webb and the other helpers. At least six hours work went into preparing the lambs. A most pleasant evening and here's hoping they feel disposed to repeat the dose next Christmas.
By “Wot Doctor”.
Saturday morning was about as dismal as you could wish, heavy cloud, drizzling to heavy rain, south to southeast winds rising to gale force at times, rather rough sea - say, this isn't a weather report - anyhow, it looked grim. When the morning walkabout began only two middle men of the tribe (young men 16-25; middle 25-35, etc.) were to be seen. These two jogged along the track (permanent) together till the Cronulla fishing grounds drew near when two other members, man and his lubra, joined in making a total of four. They launched their dugout and paddled across to Bundeena, in the rain, and then with their Paddy-Made loincloths pulled around them they set off down the coast for the ceremonial grounds at Era. Soon yam fella Clem said “No more water fallum down, cucumber skin all dry”, and he was right, the sky cleared, the sun bobbed in and out a bit and it was a joy to be on the track.
Marley care and went, then Little Marley, up the rise, out across the burnt tops, down to Wattamolla and off again to Curracurrang where they dropped their spears and sat down to a feed by the creek. After lunch they made their way farther south and coming out at Garie Head they saw that magnificent view right down the coast clear through to Saddle Back. They dropped down to the beach and came around to Era by the rocks.
Already quite a large number of lubras, young men, a piccaninny and older folks had gathered around, and several mia mia's were dotted around the grassy flats. Much tribal gossip was going on, and the current chief who had cone down the coast greeted his fellows.
The wind was still blowing from the south but the sky was clear as evening settled over the grounds. About thirty-five heads were counted as the little cooking fires came to life, and a fine batch of witchetty grubs were soon frizzling in the pans, the only mishap noted was that Bet Bet burnt some yams she was frying.
The camp fire was lighted after dark and the people from the different gunyahs gathered around. A few little songs were sung and then a mouldy old witch doctor, sorry - our senior Witch Doctor Mouldy, moved into the centre of the firelight. A hush settled over the gathering as he began to speak. He told of the old traditions of Era and of the many gatherings previous tribes had held there, then calling on assistant Witch Doctor Gilroy he pointed out that certain members were getting a little long in the tooth and as custom dictated the front teeth of these should be knocked out. His assistant started towards the chief and placing a foot firmly on his chest inserted his knocking out stick and with one wrench - he removed the chief's top plate - uproar - with determined stride the Witch Doctor set upon one of the young men but his seemed to be firmly stuck in, so undismayed he attacked the tribal scribe and lo, another top plate clattered to the ground - more uproar. “Wot, no blood”, said the Witch Doctor contemptuously.
The party settled down again and soon the songs began to flow but just then down the hill came four of the eligible young tribesmen who had spent the afternoon in town with a couple of gins. They joined in the singing but their's was not a long innings: it was one for none and soon all out.
The singing grew stronger as the night wore on and then softened as the numbers gradually thinned leaving only a few. As the smallest hour of the morning approached the chief set off for his shelter and soon all was quiet.
The sunlight care and people were seen moving off for an early swim, or to gather shellfish for breakfast. It seemed to be a continual stream moving to and from the sea depending on their rising times. Several other members of the tribe arrived during the morning and everyone enjoyed a beautiful day lazing, swimming or eating.
After lunch fella Stitt decided walking was too tough so he sent out two young women from his gunyah and waited for them to bring him a brumby. He mounted in due course but didn't seem to like the one they had brought so he dismounted almost immediately - clunk.
Well, there is not much more to report, but all people who attended, about 44, had a very comfortable and enjoyable weekend and here's to the next corroboree.
Train service between Richmond and Kurrajong has been suspended. David Ingram supplies following details re 'bus service:
Friday evening: Bus to Kurrajong and Heights meets 5.40 ex Central.
Saturday: Buses to Kurrajong and Heights meet 8.30 a.m., 11.26 a.m., 1.38 p.m. and 2.44 p.m. trains ex Central. Connection with 6.5 p.m. train to Kurrajong only.
Sunday morning: Bus to Kurrajong Heights meets 9.8 a.m. ex Central.
Sunday return: Buses leave Kurrajong Heights 1.5, 4.45 and 7.15 p.m., pass Kurrajong 1.30, 5.15 and 7.40 meeting trains arriving Sydney at 3.47, 7.28 and 9.49 p.m.
By Ross, Col and Pete.
Nobody really had any idea of what the Upper Kowmung could be like, and in spite of all the misinformation we had been given, we were most optimistic and almost expected fine weather.
Leaving the mighty metropolis of Gingkin, we travelled through cultivated country of the Tuglow to where she hurls herself into the Kowmung over a spectacular eighty-foot, two-stage fall. Whilst various unsociables were partaking of Christmas dinner and generally procrastinating, the rest of us amused ourselves by being repeatedly washed down the box-gorge at the foot of the falls at a great rate of knots.
Despite the “S” bends which were not shown on Rudolph's (see glossary) tourist map, the going at this stage and to within a few miles of Morong Falls was deceptively easy. Some members of the party wailed loudly at having left their cycles at home, and cries of “press on regardless to Katoomba” were heard during the halts taken for swimming. The camp site that night, just beyond the last outcrop of limestone rock on the Kowmung was almost superior to Blue Gum. A sociable tea was commenced - and then the rains came.
Although only one-third of the party slept in tents, everybody was almost dry next morning, the highlight of the night taking place at some unearthly hour when Betty was spied, vigourously towelling herself in the pouring rain, clad only in a speedo costume.
The next morning the sun shone, the going was still easy… then we came to the beginning of Morong Deep.
Now came our eagerly anticipated opportunity to float with our packs in the approved Sydney Bushwalker text-book manner. Tragedy ensued almost immediately, when Harry Roland's pack treacherously capsized, drowning £80 worth of photographic equipment, and nearly Harry as well. Meanwhile Bookie, having lost his way, was desperately towing a swiftly sinking pack upstream instead of down.
Two hours and two hundred yards later we cane across Col, who had wisely packed all his gear inside his waterproof sleeping bag, and had swum the river in the approved New Zealand style, with his pack on his back. We dried our sodden gear in the midst of a thunder storm - the text book was put aside for use after breakfast next morning.
Upon reaching Morong Falls for lunch, Bookie and Harry decided to pull out and follow Morong Creek back up to the Kanangra road, and from there make their way as quickly as possible back to civilisation.
We were now fairly into the redoubtable Morong Deep and, with a feeling of panic the party realised what was ahead of them for the next three days - or would it be six? At this stage Ben became exceedingly popular because of the extra five day's food he was carrying.
We soon realised it would be quicker to climb above the wall of the gorge - only 200-feet up in spite of what we had been told - than to swim.
Twenty minutes of indescribable scrub-bashing in the pouring rain got us around the mighty Morong. The rest of the day was a pleasant blend of swimming, rock-climbing and a little walking. We camped that night on a small grassy ledge beside the river, wondering if we had yet come to the horrible Morong Deep, of which we had heard such vivid descriptions. A sociable tea was commenced - and then the rains came. Sleeping without tents held few terrors for Bev, who rigged up an ingenious awning out of her groundsheet.
After disposing of the text book and the burning of Geoff Broadhead's pair of boots, we hobbled off painfully, our foot gear now being rather the worse for wear. Soon the walls closed in again and for the rest of that day, when not swimming, we crawled precariously along greasy rock ledges from which one could spit an awful long way down.
To celebrate our entry into the Moonah Loombah Straights, Bet sprained her ankle rather badly at a most inconvenient hour in the morning, ten o'clock, too early for lunch - curses! First aid was added to Bet's other troubles, and we swam on. Late that afternoon we climbed 1,100-feet over a great bluff to cut off a nasty-looking gorge and found to our delight we had left the granite behind and were in a wide open valley with grassy banks. While descending this bluff Gordon Adam showed us the fastest possible way of getting down a 20-ft rock slab, even if not the most comfortable. You could almost hear Rudolph's 6-inch trunk borer (see glossary) grinding its way into his posterier, and Brian Anderson remarked, “My God, man! Isn't there an easier way down?”
We camped that night by such a beautiful swimming hole that Geoff's sleeping bag went in for a dip on its own accord. A sociable tea was commenced - and then the rains came.
We strolled off next morning confident that our worries were over and all our gorges behind us. But by lunch time we had already spent three hours in the water. Perhaps this was just as well as our foot gear was in no condition for walking. Swift calculations led us to the conclusion that Church Creek was not 10 miles away - and then the “burn” began. Any leather or crepe that we had left fairly flew off, our velocity approaching that of the proverbial rocket, as we were swept down the longest gorge of the whole trip.
Very late that night we decided to camp, three miles short of Church Creek. We weren't dead, but were we stiff! Dinner was completed before midnight. We were up before five and a sociable breakfast commenced - and then the rains came. They came as they had never come before. They came to stay.
We stuffed the remains of our feet into the remains of our boots and plodded off. Church Creek and the track to Yerranderie were located without mishap, and the whole pack of cripples increased speed as their hopes of catching the 'bus increased.
The inhabitants of Yerranderie are used to seeing rare sights, but seldom as rare as this. Not a garment but had been attacked by Rudolph's 24-inch trunk borer (see glossary). Not a foot but needed a local anaesthetic. But we will do it again. Who's coming?
(List of party to reach Yerranderie on Monday, 29th December, 1952: Betty Swain (S.B.W.), Beverley Price (S.B,W.), Geoff Broadhead (Rucksack Club), Gordon Adam (St. George Bushwalkers), Colin Putt (S.B.W.), Peter Stitt (S.B.W.), Brian Anderson (S.B.W.), Ben Bishop (S.B.W.), Ross Laird (S.B.W.).)
Glossary: Rudolph: Six-inch trunk borer: 24-inch trunk borer: If you don't know what this is all about listen to “Take It From Here”.
We'll see you at the Carnival
You'll bring your trunks I hope.
There'll be lots and lots of water
But we're not providin' soap.
We'll give you entertainment,
Maybe a thrill or two
Surprise will leave you speechless
At what the champs can do.
We'll have a bit of freestyle
(Some styles are rather new)
But put your big straw hat on
Or you may get sunstroke too.
Sighted in the Club Room lately, after the proverbial extended absence -
Frank Leyden from three years sojourn in England, punctuated by climbing trips in Europe. Frank was immaculate in an “old countryish” sports coat which vaguely resembled a truncated version of the current female trend in slit skirts.
Allan Hardie, from an eight months' tour embracing the British Isles, large hunks of Italy, France and Scandinavia, not to mention a transit of South Africa and a flying call on India.
Beryl Christiansen who, as Beryl English, was an active walker several years ago, and is now proposing to return to the game.
Too bad they weren't on deck for the Barbecue so that we could pretend the fatted lamb was for their benefit.
By Kath Brown.
Miss J. Quinn (Bush Club) volunteered to act as Meeting Secretary until Miss G. Roberts (S.B.W.) is able to resume.
S & R is making enquiries into the recent River Canoe Club fatality on the Snowy River.
Katoomba Council is to be asked to display the “Hints for Safety” drawn up by S & R in prominent places to avoid tourists going astray on mountain walks.
Mr. Allen tendered his resignation as Convenor of the Ball Committee and as Asst. Information Officer as he is being transferred to Canberra. A vote of thanks to Mr. Allen for past work was carried by acclamation.
Nominations for this post are sought from affiliated Clubs.
Sutherland Council advises that no track to Marley has been laid out in plans of Bundeena. The Lands Department will be approached to ascertain if this information is correct, and if so Federation will endeavour to have a Right of Thoroughfare allowed.
Federation Re-Union will be held on 21st/22nd March at a site to be decided by the Camp Committee when three suggested sites have been inspected. These are Euroka Clearing, Long Angle Gully and the Hacking River, Otford.
Those of the Commandos who hadn't been ruined on the Kowmung, plus some who hadn't gone swimming, tried Splendour Rock on the weekend after New Year's Day. Our private eye in the party reports droughty conditions about Mouin, which frustrated them and sent them down on to Breakfast Creek. There the position righted itself with a generous downpour, and Commandos being what they are, all six spent the night in a one-nan tent.
Then there was the old-hand member who decided to struggle out for a camping trip on the Australia Day weekend. After protracted search he found his aluminium plate serving as a drinking dish in the family duck-yard.
After you've voted in the State Elections come along to the Swimming Carnival and make it a Preliminary Reunion. Trains leave Central for Heathcote at 12.32 and 1.24 (electric, change at Sutherland) and 2.0 p.m. steam train direct. On Sunday 8.44 a.m. electric train from Central to Heathcote (change at Sutherland). Kevin Ardill will conduct you to the spot.
Walkers who propose to set out from (or arrive back at) Talbingo may be lured into attempting the track (shown an the Northern Sheet of the Kosciusko Snow Lease Maps) which climbs up from Boonoo Hut on the Peak River, through a gap at 4.200-ft. just east of Mount Numbanange in the Peak Range, following down The Rings Creek, and out to Talbingo. An additional inducement is the place marked as “The Rings - Blackfellows' Borah Ground” on the upper part of Rings Creek. The Snow Lease Maps are usually reliable, both as far as topographical detail and trails, huts, fences, etc. are concerned. In this particular case, however, the track just does not exist.
The ascent from Boonoo on Peaks River is similar in severity of gradient, undergrowth and rocky footing to the Wild Dog Mountains. Before leaving the river determine which is the correct gap (it is easy to pick), and choose a ridge which leads up close beside the gap. At about 3,500-ft. the vegetation becomes sparse, but rough granite rocks make the going slow, and tree fells force one to detour. When approximately on a level with the gap, drop off the ridge and sidle towards the gap - avoiding the bed of Numbanange Creek which is thickly grown.
About half a mile beyond the gap we picked up a faint pad along Rings Creek, and followed this over some open country (without locating the Borah Ground). Presently the creek begins to descend and the trail enters scrub and timber again, eventually petering out against a fence (about 4 miles from the gap). A further half mile along the creek brings one to the Hut shown an the map, and one is inclined to look for a clear trail out from here. However, on heading up the hill, almost due west from the hut, we lost the track on the top of the first spur, descended into the head of a small valley, and climbed the spur on the opposite side. At this point we decided to pick up the main ridge, which is shown to have a fence following it through to Talbingo, and turned about north-west for half a mile through open stuff.
The fence, when we located it, was a tumble-down affair, and led through some very densely grown stuff over a granite knob, then down on a gently falling grade. The going here, for a space, was about as bad as any ridge-top country I have ever encountered. Presently, following the fence, we came to a wooden gate, and from this point picked up traces of the track we had mislaid earlier. The trail dropped rapidly toward the grassed valleys more than 2,000-ft. below, emerging an Jounama Creek about half a mile west of Talbingo village.
Travelling slowly the whole trip took us from 9 a.m. one day until 3 p.m. next day. Only a very strong party could do the whole stage in one day.
Especially this month. Do you remember that plastic proofed fabric Paddy had about 5 years ago? Very light yet very durable. It did not crack or scuff. It did not go hard in cold weather. It was just about the perfect cloth for a lightweight serviceable groundsheet. Well - hold your breath - It's on again!
Paddy has persuaded some plastic experts to reproduce the cloth and its the goods.
Those Bushwalkers who have not made its acquaintance will be pleased to know that this cloth comes in a pleasant greeny grey colour and should suit all those who seek a really good lightweight groundsheet.
6'6 x 3' Cape Groundsheet. Weight 11 ozs. Price £1.12. 0.
6'6 x 4' Cape Groundsheet. Weight 14 ozs. Price £2. 2. 0.
6'6 x 4' Cape Groundsheet plus hood. Weight 15 ozs. Price £2. 9. 0.
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St Sydney. M2678.