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.||Jess Martin|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|Production & Business Manager||Brian Harvey (JW1462)|
|Editorial - Mixture as Before||1|
|At the 25th Annual General Meeting||2|
|Officers Elected - 25th Annual General Meeting||4|
|The Kowmung the Easy Way||By the Antisocials Ken and Neil||5|
|Lamington via Running Creek - Part 2||Molly Gallard||9|
|Autumn Tour - The Caloola Club||11|
|The Swimming Carnival||“Dodo”||12|
|Report on the March Meeting of Federation||15|
|Scenic Motor Tours||3|
|Leica Photo Service||7|
|The Sanitarium Health Food Shop||11|
|Summer is Gone and Winter is on the Way - Paddy's Advertisement||17|
Since it has been your decision that we shall continue to edit, it is only fair that we should state what is in store for you. We could sum it up, broadly, by saying “the mixture as before”, provided, of course, you good contributors continue to make it possible.
In two directions, however, we would like to see improvement. There has been a dearth of gossip items, for instance. On almost every trip there are incidents which are funny, or silly, or just plain grim. How many of them are reported in the magazine? - precious few. From time to time we have been given a verbal account of some doings, and sometimes it has been possible to render it into written form. It is difficult for an outsider to re-create the mood of the time when the incident occurred, and on occasions we have had to abandon the attempt to translate it into a gossip par. These notes come far better from a witness of or participant in the incident. Also, the gossip paragraph is easy writing - all the extravagant language, the corny phrases and cliches which would pall in a longer article, are admirably suited. You can let your head go.
Another field which could easily be built up is the information section. It isn't necessary to do a long or difficult trip to gain valuable data of “routes, ways and means”. Relatively few members are familiar with the Red Ledge trail from Narrow Neck Peninsula to Megalong Valley, or Walford's route from the Grose to Mount Hay ridge, yet these ways can be described in a couple of succinct paragraphs. Arty writing or literary style aren't necessary, indeed undesirable.
Of course, no one person can be present on all walks, with eyes goggling and ears wagging at all times, and those who walk most actively are best furnished with both gossip and information. Every effort will be made to give a priority to gossip items, but information (which age does not wither) may have to be put into storage for a month or two. After all, the magazine was “in the red” last year, and apart from cheaper covers with (we hope) advertising on them, we want to keep the monthly issue to an average 18 and maximum 20 pages this year. In that way, and with your continued support, we should break even this year.
Friday, 13th March - a plaguey, ill-omened date, dangerously close to the notorious Ides of March - and some 70 S.B.W (over 90 a little later) assembled to hear the President welcome Sheila Binns to membership. More of her later. Three sets of minutes were read - the A.G.M. of 1952, the adjourned By-laws debate, and the ordinary February minutes, and then Bill Henley, after reciting the background of the Mandelberg Cup, presented the Swimming Carnival Awards (see elsewhere, this issue).
We adopted the Annual Report without any to-do, and the Annual Financial Statement was then taken as read. Kevin Ardill asked a question concerning the loss sustained on the 25th Birthday Celebrations, and Assistant Treasurer Gil Webb analysed the figures, establishing that we just hadn't sold enough tickets. Dormie briefly deplored the deficit, but Rene Browne said we would only have one Silver Anniversary, and we adopted the Statement.
Suspension of standing orders followed in rapid-fire sequence, to permit election of officers, to settle the method of voting and to fix annual subscription and entrance fee. There were some as thought we should step up the sub. to avoid a further deficit, but the meeting seemed happy with the argument that major costs were non-recurring, and decided that the sub remain at £1 for those over 21, 15/- for juniors, a concession rate of 30/- for the infamous “active married couples”, and 5/- entrance fee.
For scrutineers we had Wal Roots, Arnold Barrett, Tam Moppett, Don Frost and Ross Laird, and the elections began - see results below. There were alarming moments when it appeared that we may have to get by without Treasurer and Secretary, but Sheila Binns (see above) and Colin Putt were elected to these key jobs.
Correspondence and the customary reports passed without comment, and the By-laws (about By-laws) were ratified also without comment.
The President referred to a propelling pencil which had awaited an owner since December and, after cries of “auction it”, it was returned to the finder. Next we tried to find the dirty dog who had done in the roller shutter at the portal of Ingersoll Hall. No one broke down under interrogation, and the Shutter Mystery becomes the first unsolved crime of the year.
Tom Moppett in his conservation report spoke of the new billet of Reserves Officer created in the Lands Department, and the work of this officer in tallying the buildings in public reserves, including Era. It was also believed that the fate of the Era lands would be settled shortly. On the matter of bush fires, he (Tom) had attended the Bush Fire Committee in company with Paul Barnes. Discussion indicated that the Committee regarded a fireplace made of loose stones would be acceptable under the regulations. There was little sign of any solution to the fire control problem in reserves and parks.
In General Business, Bill Cosgrove argued that press and public were growing conservation minded, as evidenced by reports of illegal building on reserves, and he moved that we capitalise on the trend. Debate was held over until Tom Moppett had been re-elected Conservation Secretary, when he agreed in part, but suggested we should limit our direct agitation to cases of bushland parks. Some debate followed, and the motion was finally carried despite its rather indefinite terms of reference.
At this point some consternation as to whether the bus man at Richmond had his facts right, and Elsie and Roy Bruggy made a special mission out to a 'phone to be assured all was under control.
Tom Moppett, realising the meeting was starved for business, while elections must run their course, flung Werong into the gap. Emphasising that it was purely a test motion, since a special meeting must give assent, he moved that we express the opinion whether Werong was a suitable spot to purchase with the Era Fund. He gave particulars - about 200 acres, valuation about £700, likely to be submitted for sale shortly, and described the area and access. The proposition was greeted with mixed feelings, some thinking a resumption might be contrived, some arguing that it was a worthy extension of Garawarra, some questioning whether we could raise the extra cash over the £450 of the Era fund, and some plumping for remoter places. Finally the motion was carried by a slender majority.
We romped through the final phases of election and, with everything shipshape and in good trim (except the shutter), closed shop at 10.25 p.m. to the Presidential cry, “Let Us Re-Une”.
|vice Presidents||Allen Strom, Paul Barnes|
|Assistant Secretary||To be appointed.|
|Walks Secretary||Brian Anderson|
|Membership Secretary||Elsa McGregor|
|Social Secretary||Ross Laird|
|Conservation Secretary||Tom Moppett|
|Literary Editor||Jim Brown|
|committee||Allen Strom, Paul Barnes, Jeanne Golding, Kath Brown|
|Substitute Delegates||Tom Kenny-Royal, Brian Harvey|
|Magazine Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Parks & Playgrounds Delegate||Hilda Stoddart|
|Trustees||Maurice Berry, Wal Roots, Joe Turner|
|Hon. Solicitor||Colin Broad|
By the Antisocials Ken and Neil (Not a Stiff in the party).
Over the years articles appearing in The Sydney Bushwalker have gone into much detail concerning the Kowmung between Tuglow Falls (entering from Ginkin) and Church Creek. These articles give a detailed account of the conditions encountered but do not show how, with intelligent planning, it is possible to “do” the Kowmung pleasantly, easily and with comfort, in three to four days. We hope that this article will make your Kowmung trip a pleasant, as well as a memorable, experience.
The first Upper Kowmung trip recorded in the Magazine shows the walkers to be hardened bushmen (and women). Unprepared for swimming, the almost impenetrable bush, blackthorn and sheer rock faces made their day a torture. Night brought little relief because the inhospitable rocky campsites compelled uncomfortable sleep without the shelter of tents.
Later parties were more suitably equipped to cope with the conditions encountered. Many stretches of the river required to be swum. This they did, floating their packs in their groundsheets in the orthodox manner, but, where it was possible, the parties preferred to climb round the rocky pools.
Christmas 1952 saw us doing the Upper Kowmung the easy way. From “information received” we knew the type of country and were able to prepare gear that would minimise the difficulties and make the trip one that any average walkers, provided they can swim, can undertake without undue difficulty.
The Kowmung has much to offer in the way of variety from the walking point of view. The types of country which have to be traversed may be broadly classified under three headings, viz., walking, rock hopping and swimming. Let us now consider each of these in turn.
Parts of the Upper Kowmung are very pleasant from the straight walking angle. Long stretches of grassy river banks broken with areas of bracken and the familiar casuarinas are met between the lower end of the Morong Deep and the upper end of the last granite gorge, and also from this last gorge until the junction of the Kowmung with the Cox's River. Rate of progress on this type of terrain is generally good and can be improved by crossing the river when necessary, for easier going on the opposite bank.
In contrast with these grassy banks are those sections of the river which, although almost a gorge, do not exhibit the really steep sides of a true gorge. Here we have banks consisting of river worn boulders and long shelves of granite rocks. These shelves vary from river level to heights of up to twenty or more feet above the river itself. On this type of terrain it is possible to proceed at a fairly good rate, as there is very little obstruction from plant growth, etc. When an these sections of the river it is better to do a little elementary rock climbing, perhaps necessitating the lowering of packs, rather than go to a higher level and encounter dense undergrowth which will impede progress.
Finally, we come to those parts where grassy banks and even rock shelves cease to exist. Here we have the true gorge. These gorges are typified by smooth granite rock faces, rising almost perpendicular from water level to varying heights where they degenerate into very steep slopes, generally well covered in vegetation and mostly of the prickly variety.
The river itself in these sections is generally a series of fairly long, deep pools, connected by rapids or small waterfalls. On encountering gorges of this type the walker has the alternative of two courses of action. He can climb to a high level on to the steeply sloping sides and battle with the undergrowth of small trees, bushes etc. until he is able to drop back to the river level, or, he can take to the river and swim through these pools until he is able to return to dry land once more. Experience has shown us, and some of our predecessors that this latter course of action is the better in the long run. If the swimming is gone about in the right way it can be much less time consuming and far less arduous than climbing to heights of several hundreds of feet above river level.
At this stage, having explained the conditions that the walker is likely to encounter, we feel that we have something to offer in the way of information regarding equipment, etc. which we think will make the trip more pleasant and easier than would be expected.
One of the most essential requirements for a Kowmung trip is suitable footwear. Hobnail boots may be quite adequate for the section where grassy river banks predominate, but when the smooth granite rock is encountered and when swimming is necessary, they are worse than useless. We found that the most suitable type of footwear was either sandshoes with a good tread or sneakers with a Kromhyde sole. Both of these grip well on smooth rock surfaces even when the latter have a slope of up to 40 degrees. Furthermore, they both stand up long immersion in water and dry out fairly quickly.
When swimming is necessary it is advisable not to remove your shoes as you may have to walk for some distance before again entering the water: here once more sandshoes or sneakers being much lighter than boots make swimming much easier. A point of interest regarding sandshoes is to have a size larger than normally worn as the constant immersion in water tends to cause some shrinkage.
Another important aspect is the means of water proofing the pack for the swimming sections. We found that an inner bag made from oiled japara or other suitable waterproof material into which most of one's gear is placed and securely tied is the most satisfactory. Plastic tends to tear or be readily punctured and it is not advisable to make use of this. A frameless pack is better than a framed one, being much lighter. The inner waterproof bag saves the walker the trouble of wrapping a groundsheet around his pack in the conventional manner, also he need not remove the pack from his back but is ready to swim whenever necessary, the pack acting as a buoy supporting the swimmer.
One of the most important considerations of all is keeping the pack weight down. This is best done by carefully selected food items. Wherever possible light, but nourishing and sustaining meals would be in order. As members of the R.J. Terry Club we can recommend Terry's Meal for breakfast. For lunch, biscuits of the wheaten type are very satisfying with butter, cheese, honey and vegemite. The evening meal should be more filling than either breakfast or lunch, and we found that stew with a spaghetti and salami base pleasant to eat, followed by dried apples (stewed) and rice.
During the whole trip we never found ourselves at loss for a good camp site, wood and, of course, water, being plentiful. When the general nature of the terrain was rocky, isolated flat grassy patches present themselves as potential camping spots. Even in these rocky sections it is possible to find adequate sleeping room with the tent acting as a fly if it cannot be properly pitched.
We hope that this article will be of value to walkers contemplating the trip. A small party, not more than six, properly equipped in the manner we have outlined should cover the distance from Ginkin to Yerranderie in three to four days. Furthermore, the Silver Mines Hotel at Yerranderie still has a license and serves tolerable beer (there's no really bad beer) so a pleasant finale to your trip is assured. Well, don't think about it - start preparing now.
Molly Gallard and Bill Rodgers, who have announced their engagement.
“We ask”, said the President, “that reasonable quiet shall prevail at the Reunion during the small hours… Some folk have kiddies… not fair… awake all hours …” As he warmed to his subject, we saw tears of remorse form on the cheeks of some who were present at the 25th Anniversary Bush Party.
At some ungodly hour on the morning of Sunday, March 15th, the President awoke to the joyous cries of the kiddies who had been granted the benison of a peaceful night. The President blinked in the vague pre-dawn light… and was not happy.
Shades of the day when the Treasurer was copped travelling without a tram ticket!
As Messrs. Putt and Stitt effected repairs to the roller shutter (allegedly jammed by Club members), they were provided with entertainment by the antics of the gendarmes rounding up the toppers at the pub on the corner. It was all good clean fun until the Vice Squad also swooped on them…
Some smooth talking saved us from having to bail out our new Secretary.
were 143 folk all told. Four didn't arrive until the Sunday forenoon, by which time about half a dozen had decamped. Included in the tally was one Honorary Member (Roy Bennett) who arrived during the evening, despite the misdirections of the locals, and twenty-seven kiddies. Do these figures establish a record?
As a kind of paradox, the youngest at the Reunion was Younger. (Ian Robert, aged 5 months.)
Neville Carthorse has made a scathing criticism of the orchestra conducted by Grace Noble at the Reunion Campfire. “The tympany and percussion sections”, he states, “were extremely good, and the woodwinds were adequate… however, the strings were inaudible, and the whole tonal balance was destroyed”.
By Molly Gallard.
The following day was a rest day and we contented ourselves with just pottering around, looking for the remains of the Stinson airliner which crashed there in 1937. There's not much of it left now and the big tree which Bernard O'Reilly saw from Throakban giving him a clue to the position of the plane has fallen at last right across the graves of the four men that perished. I can only describe that part of the country as incredible.
We set of for Ratatat Camp at an easy pace so as to save Bill's foot. There was nothing but mist to see from Point Lookout which was very disappointing. Our track kept disappearing until we had to depend entirely on blaze marks and even these were not always reliable.
Our first view was at Throakban, a rather misty view of the beautiful Numinbah Valley and our first meeting with the leeches. So many stories have been written lately on the subject of leeches that I find it hard to improve an them, but I'm sure those leeches couldn't have been as bad as the ones we struck. However, with Ratatat so near we hurried on, arriving there within the hour, and made camp inside the hut there.
The following day was spent in washing our clothes and endeavouring to dry them on makeshift clothes lines but, although it didn't rain, mists hung around the tops of the trees all day, so eventually we had to finish the drying by the fire.
Ratatat is quite a pretty spot, with many lovely tree ferns and devoid of thick low scrub. The ground rises steeply all around giving complete shelter. The hut contained a small cupboard and cracked mirror and a piece of candle. At one end was a pile of mildewed blankets and sheep skins from which a rather curious odour arose. We made use of neither.
That evening,. by the fire, a huge yabby about a foot long crawled into the beam of my torch light. We shooed it away, but it came back later and started to climb on Colin's sleeping bag, but was hastily discouraged by a sharp whack with a boot, and we saw it no more. Although we saw no animals we heard them, and when we came to wash-up next morning we found our soap was missing. After scouting around the bank for a while Bill unearthed it, much smaller in size and edged all round with small teeth marks. Some animal had evidently heard about inner cleanliness. I must also mention the beautiful glow worms that shone at night from the steep banks all round. Just like being in Fairyland.
Our trip to Widgee the next day was a little disappointing for it was really too far for a day trip. We had to walk flat out all the time and we were not even rewarded by good views. To enable us to get back to camp before dark, we had to turn back before reaching the end of the ridge. Had we been able to, I feel sure there would have been a view worth seeing. Next time, we'll make a two-day trip of it.
As we set off next morning, I had a feeling of elation, for we were to arrive at O'Reilly's that afternoon, and that meant clean clothes, a grassy campsite, home-cooked meals and, of course, lots of people to tell our adventures to. At Echo Point we had our first good view of the Numinbah Valley and Mt. Warning. We could even see the sea and the white strip of sand at Byron Bay, and over all was beautiful blue sky which we hadn't seen for days because of the thick jungle roof. There were views such as that all along the track, which was leafy and shaded and led through huge patches of hemholtzia lilies like pink clouds. Even the jungle seemed more friendly.
We lunched at a waterhole a little way up the Bithongabel track where we met some people from the Guest House, who guessed who we were from the description given by Betty's mother, who was holidaying there also, and were assured of a welcoming committee - which proved quite correct for on arriving at 3 p.m. we were met by Mrs. Holdsworth and introduced to several members of the O'Reilly family and guests.
I think they must have thought we were on the verge of starvation for, on learning that we had been walking for nine days, we were immediately invited in for afternoon tea with Miss Molly O'Reilly. After much talk and numerous cups of tea and biscuits, we collected our clean clothes, which Mrs. Holdsworth had brought with her, and our boxes of provisions and started off down the hill to our camp site on Moran's Creek.
To the north was the most beautiful view I have ever seen. Ranges of mountains stretched as far as the eye could see and each one a different shade of misty blue and grey. The fading sun capped the higher mountains with a faint golden light and there, with its crooked head above every other mountain in the McPherson Range was Mt. Lindsay, and further east a more squat Mt. Barney. We found out later that the range far away on the horizon (the name of which I don't know) was over 100 miles away! Every afternoon of our week at O'Reilly's we used to wander up the hill to dinner a little bit early just so that we could sit for a while and admire that view and, incidentally, it was a good excuse for a rest, for it used to take us about 15 to 20 minutes to climb that hill.
The days at O'Reilly's were very pleasant, mainly warm and sunny. We did many of the well-known walks in the Reserve with every step a pleasure on those well-graded, wide, leafy tracks. Although Bill's foot was still troublesome, we were able to see many of the lovely waterfalls, Moran's, Box Log, Mirra, Echo, Elabana and Stairway, to name a few. We also hoped to see Lightning Falls, but the track down Black Canyon was blocked up, so the only way we could see the falls was by crawling on all fours (for safety's sake) to the top of the falls and peeping over. The wild life and vegetation we found fascinating too, especially the big, fat mullet lizards, the little birds that build in the low scrub; and the various colourful fungi. We saw several scrub turkey nests, huge mounds of leaves about six feet across and three to four feet high.
After dinner at night at the Guest House, we stayed to talk or sing around the piano, and sometimes there was dancing which we enjoyed in spite of sneakers and slacks. On New Year's Eve there was a super party and a splendid fireworks display and a bonfire on New Year's night.
Time went by too fast. Colin flew home an the Sunday and we had stayed too long at O'Reilly's to have time to go to Binna Burra as originally planned. It was Wednesday, and we had to be in Murwillumbah by Saturday mid-day. We consulted Rose O'Reilly to see if there was a quick way down one of the ridges into the Numinbah Valley. She was most helpful and directed us to a ridge which leads down from Echo Point at about the spot where the old border track runs into the new, and there were to follow the spur down on the Queensland side.
We left OfReilly's rather late on the Wednesday morning, for there were so many farewells to be bade. The weather had deteriorated and there were heavy mists and thick rain.
(In Part Three - Down to the Numinbah.)
May 23rd to June 3rd or 4th. A tour by the Caloola Track of 1,500 miles through Northern N.S.W.
Itinerary: Windsor - Putty - Singleton - Scone - Quirindi - Tamworth - Barraba - Bingara - Moree - Warialda - Inverell - Tingha - Elsmore - Emmaville - Torrington - Deepwater - Glen Innes - Kingsgate - Backwater - Guyra - Armidale - Walcha - Yarrowitch Wauehope - Pt. Macquarie - Comboyne - Wingham - Gloucester - Newcastle - Sydney.
Share of travel cost about £7.10. 0. Food supplied for about £4. Contact Allen Strom, 6 Coopernook Avenue Gymea Bay, WB 2520 - 28 - 29 for further particulars.
Well, we had the Swimming Carnival. Approximately 210 of our members were not present, but the 43 who were interested and active enough to make the pilgrimage to Lake Eckersley had a most enjoyable day. The weather gods were kind, the distance from Heathcote is well within the capabilities of even the weakest walker, so would someone please explain why the annual swimming carnival is avoided like the plague. I know some people would have very good and sufficient reasons for not being present, but it is most discouraging to the organisers of successive carnivals to find such apathy from the very people who decry the Club as being “dead”, “stagnant”, “not what it used to be”, etc.
Let's see what they missed. The day walkers arrived to find the over-night campers had been busy. The course was suitably staked oat, and the first event across the widest part was the Men's Championship. This provided a most exciting tussle, Bill Rodgers winning narrowly from Claude Hanes. Ruth Archer removed her light from under a bushel and cakewalked to victory in the Ladies' Championship. Ruth was also successful in the Breaststroke event, with Ross Laird showing a surprising turn of speed to win the Men's Breaststroke. I think Claude Haynes was second to Ross, but I feel Ross had been training on the quiet. An outstanding performance.
The novelty events were quite interesting. The peanut scramble. A large bag of peanuts was scattered on the water and at the word “go” about fifteen apes - pardon, competitors - went in hot (?) pursuit. Now, when collecting nuts in deep water quite a problem presents itself. At least one hand is needed to collect nuts, one is helpful in keeping afloat, and the mouth must be kept clear in case a shout is necessary to save oneself from a watery grave. The winner collected about 50 nuts. The same nuts were used again for the ladies' scramble… and am I embarrassed! Come to the next swimming carnival and see for yourself.
The Mandelberg Cup was the feature event, and as usual there were not enough lady partners for the male entrants. A Miss McGregor was a prospective starter, but a close investigation by the Stewards disclosed the person of our PresIdent, who was doing a bit of cheating with the aid of a very well padded towel. The short course was used for the event and Ron Parkes and Beryl Christiansen were the winners.
With enthusiasm running high, all available swimmers were divided into three teams for a relay race. As in the previous year this was a most popular event. The members of the winning team shall not be named, but let it be announced that Len Scotland proved the darkest of dark horses in a fine effort for the winning team. Ladies plunge went to Sheila Bins and the Underwater event once more to Tom Moppett. Malcolm McGregor was a place-getter, which gives rise to speculation. Does the office of President tend to strengthen the lungs? The calling for order at the meetings must have some effect on their wind power, and in future underwater swims I move all presidents and ex-presidents be handicapped accordingly.
That was our annual Swimming Carnival. Many thanks to the workers, Bill Henley, Bill Rodgers, Dave Ingram - well, why not include the whole 43? Its hard work for once-a-year swimmers to prevent themselves from being drowned. No one did. Amazing, what!
The official report of the Reunion has somehow got mislaid in the Easter-tide mailings, so, until it comes to hand, we submit the following “brief” report of doings.
The Reunion of 1953 (known as “The Great” Reunion) was uneventful if compared with the drowned Reunion of 1950. The Camp Fire was the outstanding feature, indeed, the only feature, but it was a camp fire par excellence. In the absence of vital statistics, we won't assert that the total attendance of 143 was a record, but it must be a contender for the belt.
Of course, the bus proprietor had catered for 80 and was dismayed to find only 55 customers, and Gil Webb had to effect a financial compromise: but otherwise everything went according to plan, and late Saturday found the encampment at the junction of Woods Creek and the Grose growing rapidly, and intense activity by the wood cutters on the hill. Technicians were rigging the spotlight. Elsewhere bush carpenters were erecting a kind of overgrown cooking tripod-and-crossbar. There were cloak-and-dagger men, whispering conspiratorially, and covertly eyeing the members-come-lately; there were under-cover women diving in and out of tents and conferring furtively.
The fire was away at 7.45, and the colony continued to troop in. The night was warm, and there was no need to accept the invitation to “draw nearer” to the noble Henley-on-Grose pattern fire. Paddy conducted the first round of community singing, which was enthusiastic if a little ragged; and then the acts commenced, and the singing was practically suspended until after supper. The entertainers almost fell over one another in their enthusiasm to present acts, yet it all went so smoothly that eleven o'clock saw the end of the arranged programme.
Ross Laird's songsters appeared in a bracket of ballads and part songs: Grace Noble conducted the orchestra and Scotty Malcolm recited the lines, and Paddy Pallin was the Big Boy Scout going to “The bhush me bhoys, the bhush”. Then Anice Duncan and two old airs an the recorder flute, and Scotty Malcolm back to his form of olden times with song and mime, the gang eagerly joining in the noises and gestures of the Lion Hunt.
The sad, sad story of the tramp who was going to “ride the rods” to Rockhampton “if his backside could last out” was played by Jack Wren with Bill Gillam and Bruce McInnes, and after a brief interlude of community singing, came the Presidential inauguration, with five past Presidents to re-invest Malcolm with the symbols of office. Malcolm uttered the hope that the new Club year would be an even happier one than that just past.
Taro tootled on the flute, and we embarked on two sketches with a search for a Miss Bushwalker. Of the bevy of “talent” inspected and measured (internally by a steel tape) by a body of judges, Miss Polly Stitt (with the voice of a crow, the face of a wallaby, the figure of a wombat and smell of a bandicoot) was unanimously chosen. Next the Club's tame cameramen photographed Miss Model of the year - carefully posing Betty Swain on the convenient log, and producing after much technical argument a completely scurrilous “print” which looked as though it had been torn from a magazine specialising in “art” (meaning the female form).
Dot Butler produced two sketches concerning an erring clergyman and a revitalised ancient (tut,tut, Dorothy… the censors, my girl!) and then the technicians produced the great tripod or gallows, and summoned the new members aside. Four demoniac forms, complete with tin horns and tails and red capes officiated at the initiation, which was a mite delayed while the contraption was erected before the shuddering clients. However, all were adequately initiated without noticeable bloodshed (some even without water shed).
Wal Roots psycho-analysed a troop of convincing “nuts”, with Neil Schafer as principal ratbag, Bob Chapman and team had a new version of “Much Walking in the Bush”, and mutiny followed, as past Treasurers and Secretaries demanded their own investiture and proceeded to award symbols to Colin Putt and Sheila Binns - among them a bludgeon to indicate that gentle persuasion was necessary in extracting subscriptions, and scales in the hope of balancing the budget: and a bolt “with a facsimile of a roller shutter” for the Secretary to remind him of his charge of Closing the Club room (and not fouling the shutter).
Straight from his investiture, Colin Putt led a haka, suitably ferocious in demeanour to have disturbed the youngest kiddies had they still been present - and Malcolm McGregor had one of his patter songs about the busy little bee (it might almost have been himself considering the number of lurks in which he was involved). And so to supper, very good coffee and cake and fraternising.
The show was over, and yet it wasn't. Singing groups remained around the main fire for hours afterwards, with a party of older hands gathered around Scotty Malcolm, who regaled us with Dolly Ballads and verse of A.P. Herbert: another group clustered about the President singing the part songs and the ballads which have lately been introduced to the Club. It was all very good-natured, with the groups entertaining alternately, and sometimes uniting on common ground. The drift to bed went on gradually.
In the manner of speaking, there ended the Reunion. Sunday was a quiet day, with none of the foolishness (but agreeable foolishness) with damper competitions, fire-lighting or billy boiling races which have enlivened other Reunion Sundays. People talked much, bathed considerably, talked more, and ate, and took the sun, and talked, and Woods Creek was a lovely place to be, with its smooth river, its nice trees, its many happy folk.
Quite suddenly, about four o'clock, there was no one left. True to walker tradition, there was exceedingly little evidence that almost 150 people had camped there. One might fairly quote that lovely little verse of Kath McKay's, which ends:
“Sufficient if we leave no hurt to mar
earth's face or man's; but only where we lived
may there be sunlight, and such sense of peace
that wanderers who come upon the place
must pause and say: “Someone was happy here”.
By Allen A. Strom.
The National Fitness Council notified the meeting of the 1953 Forum on March 17/19th. Paul Barnes and Allan Spratt were appointed to represent the Federation.
Reported that it had taken over the guardianship of the nesting sea birds and the seals on Montagu Island, 6 1/2 miles off Narooma.
Wrote suggesting that since the Bushwalking Movement had undertaken fire patrols in the National Park with some measure of success, individual bushwalkers might care to continue the good work by joining in the patrols organised by the Ranger Patrol for policing the Fauna and Wildflower Acts. Interested people should contact Mr. Ken Roberts at 3 Richmond Avenue, Cremorne.
Mr A.W. Dingeldei has been appointed to the Trust. this gives four bushwalker trustees out of seven.
Letters are being forwarded to the various States in an effort to discover opinion on this matter. The Secretary of Federation would like to know the address of the Western Australian body. Please contact Stan Cottier, 287 Forest Road, Kirrawee, if you can help.
The President of Federation has written to Bushfire Committee asking that copies of the Bulletins be forwarded to the Secretary of each affiliated Club.
This has been arranged for the weekend May 2nd and 3rd. Three parties will leave Waterfall on the Friday night and “get lost” west of waterfall and north of Woronora Dam. Search parties will assemble at 9.30 at Waterfall Station when the search organisation will be arranged. Police co-operation is thought possible. The rendezvous for the assembly of “found parties” and searchers will be Lake Eckersley and persons unable to take part in the search will be welcome to attend the “follow-up” work to be held at the Lake on Saturday night and Sunday. This will include a talk on First Aid and a general summary of the search. The organisers of the weekend would like to have volunteers for the “lost parties” and some indication of numbers for the Searchers and those attending the assembly after the search.
Several excellent pieces of propaganda engineered by the Search and Rescue have been broadcast over National and Commercial Radios. Newspaper notices will appear later as Easter draws closer.
Further investigation by the Committee has shown that Paddington Town Hall could be procured in the months of August and September on some Monday nights at a lower figure. The Convener of the Committee is to inspect the halls and to make a suitable booking.
The possibility of producing a special Bushwalker Christmas Card is to be investigated.
Quotes have been procured for the production of this magazine. However, we still need a Business Manager and an Editor. The Federation would be pleased to hear from any volunteers.
Did you hear how the newest member of the Motorised Section found trouble in jacking-up his car the other day? After expending much sweat he found his door handle locked under the rail of the fence. The fence got quite a lift out of it. The door handle was not improved.
On the Thursday before Easter Dorothy Hasluck came very close to joining those uninhibited souls who have pulled the communication cord of a train. At Tallong her carriage overran the platform and while she was going overboard the train resumed its journey, so Dorothy smartly clambered back into her compartment and looked for the alarm signal; but - horror - it was one of those gadgets trapped in a case where you must break the glass. Dorothy decided the gesture would be too dramatic, went on to Marulan and returned in the brake van of an up bound goods train.
On the weekend 28/29th March four members took part in a search for a bit of a Qantas Skymaster which had dropped off near Gosford. After some hours of probing in jungle stuff with visibility about 20 yards the authorities decided to let it stay where it was.
Summer is gone and Winter is on the way.
It has been a season of lush growth and many gaps left by drought or bush fire have been healed or at least covered up. Summer is over but I hardly expected to see in mid March a brave show of Crowea Saligna (or Eriostemon Crowei if you like it better that way). There it was in Davidson Park, not just one here and there, but masses of it. I'm still wondering if it is late for last season or early for next.
For those amphibian walkers who dabble in canoeing Paddy has good news. Five foot one piece oregon canoe paddles are available at 10/- each. They are disposal paddles so cannot be repeated. Just the shot for rough trips where the paddle is used as much for pushing off from rocks as for paddling. You can't afford to be without a spare paddle at such a price. Ten bob each, ladies and gents!
And for those misguided people the spaeliologists (who forsake their birth-right of sun and wind and clear blue Sky and poke around in subterranean darkness) Paddy has headlamp torches at 20/- and 17/6d (complete with batteries). The latter has an extra large battery. Normal walkers find these torches handy for inspecting the stew when cooking in the dark.
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St Sydney. M2678.