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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 and Business Manager||Brian Harvey (JW1462)|
|Editorial Editorial - A Plan for the High Places||1|
|At the Half-Yearly General Meeting||3|
|“Lost “||John BookIuck||6|
|Where Are Our Wandering Boys?||7|
|Have You Ever Been Smitten?||Brian G. Harvey||9|
|Bracken Be My Bed||Jim Brown||11|
|If (With a Diff)||Mudyard (Angelface) Stripling||13|
|Club Corroboree Mark II||Damalja Ingregown||14|
|Social Notes - October||17|
|If You Are Going to Tassie…||18|
|Federation Notes - September||19|
|Leica Photo Service||3|
|The Sanitarium Health Food Shop||5|
|Scenic Motor Tours||9|
|Siedlecky's Taxi and Tourist Service||11|
|Thanks Mr. Fadden - Paddy's Advertisement||20|
Sydney walkers are fortunate in having close at hand such excellent country as the Blue Mountains, the Illawarra Ranges, the Southern Highlands and the Broken Bay area. Because of our climate, however, these districts are not entirely suitable for hot weather walking, and naturally enough the urge is to find higher, cooler places for trips during long annual holidays in the summer. For this purpose it would be difficult to better the alpine parts of New South Wales and Victoria, with the agreeable summer climate, attractive scenery and wild flowers, and admirable camping.
In the last part of his “Report on the National Parks of Victoria”, published in the September issue, Allen Strom points to the many virtues of a large alpine park. There is no reason why we should not have an Australian version of the Appalachian Trail which runs for some hundreds of miles through the mountains of the eastern States of the U.S.A., with access points at frequent intervals. To a large degree this already exists. Stock routes and tracks in from the high country behind Canberra across to Kiandra: many walkers have travelled between there and Mt. Kosciusko, and south past Cascade Creek to the Pilot, and over the border to 0meo. Farther south-west, in Victoria, there is fine alpine country embracing the Feathertop-Bogong-Hotham tops, and beyond that the Mt. Howitt - Mt. Speculation terrain.
Certain sections of the alpine highlands and the rivers flowing from them have been spoiled from the walker's viewpoint by the operations of the Snowy Mountains project - notably the valley of the Geehi below Kosciusko itself. In Victoria the Kiewa scheme has put access roads on to the Bogong High Plains. Though we may regret the “loss” to us of these lovely places which were relatively undeveloped until recent years, there is still a huge expanse of wonderful alpine country which is almost completely untouched: it is still possible to walk for a week through these ranges without meeting another human being.
What is needed, it seems, is a coherent plan for the future usage of these high plains: it is certain that such a vast area, with a potential for hydro-electric power, agistment, irrigation projects - and timber! - will not be set aside as a primitive area or even a recreation reserve, and to seek such an end, however desirable it may be to our minds, would clearly be futile. Such a plan should provide for reasonable use by stock, and should specify which areas may be employed for engineering development as catchment and power generation regions, and which should be reserved for recreational purposes or for protection of the flora and fauna peculiar to our tableland Alps. The recreational aspect should take into account the usage by skiers and trout fishermen.
There seems a notorious reluctance on the part of Governments to commit themselves to plans of this kind: a broad policy covering future development of the Blue Mountains region has been envisaged in the proposed Blue Mountains National Park, but there is no evidence that anything is being done to implement the plan as a whole. The problems of deciding a grand policy covering the Alps region are far more complex, because they require co-operation between two States in the first place.
Because the alpine areas are situated at some distance from the cities there is a tendency to overlook them in overall planning for future usage and development, but if one bears in mind the importance of the streams which rise there, the need for thoughtful and balanced usage is plain.
Contact - Patricia Arnot, 7 Rosebery Street, Mosman.
The combatants were there in goodly number (about 80) for the Half-Yearly Meeting and, in the quiet moments before Don Mathews and Peter Antoniades were summoned to receive their cognizance of membership, you could almost hear the blades being sharpened. We accepted the notice of meeting as read, and galloped through the two sets of minutes - the last time the poor old grey matter will have to grope back into distant memories to confirm the minutes.
Thus to correspondence and Kevin Ardill's query about the delay in getting our refund from the Coronet Restaurant of a deposit made “lang syne”: it was a long story, said the President, one that would be involved in the telling, but at last we held the £10 in our coffers. The reports (Treasurer's and Federation) produced no argument, but several appeals were made for support for the Federation Ball. We ratified an extension to a by-law, authorising the Conservation Secretary to obtain favourable publicity without awaiting the sanction of a General Meeting, and so came to the battle royal of the night. Of course, it was one of the perennial blisters - proposed change of Club meeting night.
Jim Brown formally moved a change of night to Thursday, saying that this would eliminate the clash between social and walking fixtures, permit last minute planning for Friday trips, and give a better deal to Club officers. The first challenge came from Betty Sisley, who considered it would mean another late night in the week, while people going on Friday trips would probably stay home to pack. Dormie followed, referring to a previous bid to introduce Thursday meetings about ten years ago: by closing the Club room on Friday of public holiday week-ends we already had opportunity for ambitious trips, and only “walking maniacs” would want to set out each Friday evening. He had some proxy votes….
…. Well the proxy votes were disallowed. Frank Ashdown said no one suggested going out each Friday, but it made it easy if you wanted to. Don Frost asked if the Motion conflicted with Constitution or By-laws, and some time was spent by the President, Tom Moppett and Brian Harvey in explaining that the meeting night was nowhere defined, and that the notice of motion in this case was intended only to give members a chance to consider the proposal. Frank Rigby then pointed the number Of Friday night walks which failed because of social counter attractions, and Sheila Binns, with the Treasurer's eye to expenditure, contributed the point that Thursday Meetings would cut out the several nights each year when we paid to keep the Club Room closed. Friday, she pointed out, was a favoured night for other social events, too.
Bill Henley was against the motion, arguing that members liked to foregather when the week's work was done and talk of trips past and to come in a leisured social atmosphere. Kevin Ardill didn't accept this, asking how many old members one would note discussing trips with younger hands - precious few. One need not have a late night on Thursday, he said: no Club function called for a late outing, in fact, very few justified it. Rene Brown said she opposed the proposal perhaps on sentimental grounds - but also because it could mean four evenings in each week given over to walking interests. Frank Barr remarked other Clubs seemed able to manage quite well on nights other than Friday.
Frank Young wondered, if we were to re-arrange our social activities to take place on a Thursday, would the people to benefit bother to come in, and Ron Basman commented that we seemed to have two groups: the walkers and the after-walk talkers. That was our aim? Opposition to the motion came from Frank Leyden, who considered the walkers would go to the bush anyway, while some people may not be able to contribute to social events on Thursdays. David Roots believed Friday was the ideal night for a walkers' Club to meet, and another club to which he belonged had decided against Friday only because it was already the property of S.B.W. Jack Wren commented that we were essentially a walking club, and that our workers deserved more than average consideration.
At this stage a gag motion was lost, and we heard Paul Barnes comment that the vote would probably reflect the personal preference of each member - Thursday would suit him, for instance. Bill Gillam was against a change, and to his mind objects 1 and 5 of the Constitution were the most important: we were a gregarious crew and liked our Friday night meetings. He compared two other clubs (which meet on Thursday and Friday respectively) to the disadvantage of the Thursday meeting body. Betty Hail suggested that such comparisons were not conducive to good relations with the other clubs.
Gil Webb opposed the motion, with thoughts of its effects on people working overtime or attending Technical classes - both activities being on a reduced scale on Friday: and Peter Antoniades suggested splitting the difference with 2 nights Thursday and 2 Friday in each month. In reply, Jim Brown claimed that the alleged previous trial was by no means a “trial”, and indicated only that a majority of members in 1945 preferred Friday. He believed that a Thursday would actually promote social activity. Thence the matter went to the vote, and thence into the limbo of lost motions.
Regrets were expressed by Len Fall that an excellent lecture by Allen Strom in recent times had not evoked the customary vote of thanks. After some discussion it was agreed, on an amendment of Alex Colley, to write Allen regretting the oversight. To a point in Len's comments concerning a noisy audience, Maurice Berry advocated purchase of an address system so that the speaker cold shout down ill-mannered competition.
With a final dash of comments on miscellaneous reminders, announcements and appeals, we rolled to a stand advanced hour of 9.35 p.m.
By John Bookluck.
…… one only compass, vicinity Canon's Head. Reward - finders keeps…”
How, when, where and why?
The story opens on the track to Carlon's Farm. I am by myself. It is dark, it is windy and, to add to my misery, il pleut. Comfortably camped is little Miss Matasin and her clan. Pinned on my pack is my compass. It is not the compass of the Ancient Mariner, but of my prospective days. For years it has spent a harboured life in a shelf of my lowboy, where it always points West. (Prospectives note that this does not give you the right to follow suit.)
Now the compass has passed away peacefully - over Carlon's Head. I feel it is the effect of the supernatural. Do you ever get the feeling that something will happen? To me it seemed bound to happen. Either I lost the compass or got lost.
One beauty of this compass was its attraction for me, and not the magnetic lines of force. It always pointed in the direction one wanted. It had an infinite number of north points, varying from true north to south in a clockwise direction. It befell that I needed its assistance - you know, at one of those moments when one is not quite sure - and I called on it. Standing with compass in hand, as an angel in prayer, the magic light of its needle bade me follow. Again the rain washed my face - not that it needed it, and the wind lifted my groundsheet. There is a saying that he who travels alone travels fastest (with the fear of the devil close at heels).
Well, I did reach camp. Jack was just beginning a succulent steak, while Ron (vegetarian) and Vera (part vegetarian) were indulging in a cup of pea water. I stood there in hope of a feed. Visions came to me of a year ago under similar circumstances where I was greeted with a plate of salad with a candle wrapped in a lettuce leaf. I nearly lost a tooth. Tonight I would gladly have lost one. Nothing happened.
But something happened in the morning early on the track. We met Frankie Barr and Co., with my friend Meadows and tie. It Is a bushwalker's privilege not to wash. But the wearing of a tie (neck) from Friday to Sunday night is unforgiveable. Bushwalkers! Where is our pride? Are we to stand for this?
Then came Carlon's Head - a remarkable experience. Up that rugged mountain led by Vera (John Hunter) Matasin, Hilary Perry and Tensing (Dim Sim) Parkes, followed closely by the Abominable Snowman, went we plucky walkers. As I ascended, the chains rattled - so did my bones in reply, with a slightly more resonant tone. Where could one look? On looking up… the clouds were racing madly ahead, whilst Vera clung desperately to the ropes and chains, swaying. I got dizzy. On looking down to those green hungry depths I got dizzy. It was into those green depths my compass was seen to plunge, whilst I went heavenward bound close at the heels of my leader.
Here was the crisis and the supernatural. Gazing blankly across the glorious valley to the distant horizon I pondered my fate. Vera, Ron and Jack had just signed the log book “Everest next”.
Various oddments of news from and about S.B.W. abroad and afield.
Keith Renwick, writing from 19th Ethel Street, Sandringham, Auckland, on 29th August (this just missed the last magazine):
“Sorry I'm so late with this, but as you will see, we have both been pretty flat out, what with trips at the weekends and overtime during the week to pay for the trip at the weekend. Peter now has a rather good job testing electric motors for vacuum cleaners.
Of the trips, we have been twice to the Hunua ranges on the western shore of the Thames. They are hills 2,000 to 3,000 feet high, in rich red volcanic soil, covered with heavy rain and beech forest. Thousands of tree ferns and other similar types of bush. Looks grim from the open cleared areas, but once you get in under the trees it is too dark for much undergrowth. Very pleasant walking, but nearly all on tracks, and extensive use is made of huts. Very little camping out is done by comparison with Australia.
Also went on a car trip to Orakai, Korakia, Wairaki and Rotorua thermal areas one weekend with three Tasmanians. An exceptionally interesting weekend, but rather disconcerting to have pools of boiling mud bubbling merrily beside the road and tracks. The highlight of the trip was a short scenic flight in a baby Auster over the Rotorua area, which cost 15/- for about 15-20 minutes. A worthwhile investment, particularly for Peter, who engaged the pilot in much converSation on such things as engine revs, petrol consumption, angle of flaps, etc.
Two other really good weekends were had down at Ruapehu National Park, skiing and climbing - climbing mainly. We both have our own ice axes and crampons by now and are in the process of making huge parkas. What climbing we did is only practice so far: in cutting thousands of steps up every slope in sight, then falling, slipping, sliding and jumping off to go slithering down the slope at great rate and braking with the ice axes. Also spent one Sunday afternoon taking falls on a rope. We were sore for most of the week after that, but it's good practice.
Another great sport is glissading, both standing and sitting, and both with and without ice axes. One can achieve quite some speed at this, particularly with slightly icy conditions and rubber soled boots!
That, so far, has been about the extent of our activities, but many more trips are planned and, boy! are we having a good time. Have also joined the New Zealand Speliological Society so maybe on some of their trips shortly.”
We have heard that one of the searchers who actually picked up the lost hikers on Mt. Donna Buang near the end of August was one Bill Horton. Now, we know that our Bill Horton was stationed in Melbourne on his return from England last year, and we know he once did some walking with Melbourne Bush Walkers, so it seems a reasonable deduction that our identification is correct. We may have confirmation at a later date.
Marie Byles mailed us the clipping from the Melbourne “Age” (date of 22/8/53) which contained the following:
“Two Victorians and a patrol officer have climbed the two main peaks of Mt. Wilheim, the highest mountain in Papua and New Guinea.
Mt. Wilhelm, which rises above the Bismarck ranges about 70 miles south west of Madang, has six peaks. The two main peaks rise to 15,400 feet and 14,900 feet. The others average 14,500 feet.
The Victorians are Mr. N.M. Semple of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, and Mr. L.T. Rayner, architect, of the Department of Public Vorks, Victoria. Patrol Officer A.M. Keogh accompanied them with police boys and carriers. A short radio message received at District Services Headquarters in Pt. Moresby said the party had successfully climbed the two main peaks after operating from a base camp at 13,570 feet.
The party left Chimbu territory headquarters, Kundiawa, and arrived at Kerowagi on July 29. From Kerowagi they started their climb. The three white men left their police boys and bearers at the base camp while they climbed both peaks.
It is believed they are now attempting to climb the 13,600 feet peak of Mt. Giluwe, which overshadows the Government station of Mendi, in the practically uncontrolled portion of the southern highlands. The Administration gave Semple and Rayner permission to enter restricted territory. Recently two patrol officers were dug in on a hillside for four days when Mendi natives launched an attack.
Messrs. Semple and Rayner climbed Mt. Wilhelm to take scientific notes of native arts and crafts and to obtain geological specimens and photographs of particular formations.
Mt. Wilhelm was climbed in 1938-39 by the late Mr. L.G. Viall and Mr. Ian F. Downs.
A recent walk made its Saturday night camp at Dillons, remarking on its arrival at the tattered appearance of the turf in the camping spot used for the 25th Birthday Reunion. All became clear when several of the party spent the darkest hours in chasing some hundredweights of prowling bacon away from their tents. Apart from dirtied plates and pannikins (and the pig which was almost herded into Dormie's tent) no harm was done.
By Brian G. Harvey.
This definitely is not a resume of the signs and symptoms displayed by some young men, mooning around the Clubroom, when they have been “struck” by the desirable characteristics in certain of the young ladies whom Fortune has guided through the portals of “Ingersoll Hall”. Or of others who have been “struck” by food fads (not to be mis-read foot pads) or by the violent walking shirts as keenly sought by the Kodachrome addicts.
We refer to that phenomenon which we call Lightning, and which the Ancient Greeks concluded to be the fiery darts of the Storm God Zeus hurled from the skies at his enemies.
Lightning is the high-speed flow of electric current between charges which have accumulated in thunderclouds and/or in the earth. This flow occurs between cloud or earth: or between cloud and cloud. The exact process in which a cloud builds up electrical charges to such a magnitude as to produce a lightning stroke is not known, but it does appear that upward currents of hot air carry particles of moisture from the earth's surface and it is in the turbulence of the tiny water drops that the charge is generated. The charge is gradually built up within the cloud, and though the cloud remains in electrical balance; i.e. equal parts of positive and negative electricity are present, the base usually becomes predominantly charged, either negatively or positively. Simultaneously due to the latter's magnetic field, the earth underneath the cloud likewise is charged with the opposite polarity to that of the base of the cloud. If the base is negative, the earth charge is positive. The converse holds good. And so the charge moves along in the earth, keeping pace with the charge in the sky above. The theory is that the dynamic centre of the earth-charge surges up each successive prominent landscape feature: buildings, steeples, trees, persons, and so on. Before the actual lightning stroke, a “leader” stroke - invisible to the eye - proceeds from the positive charge to the negative charge, or vice versa. It as though someone had attached an invisible wire to a terminal at the base of the cloud with the other end to a terminal on the top of a prominent landscape feature below. As soon as the “leader” makes contact with its opposite number, the flash we call lightning occurs and the main charge follows the path of the “leader” (or the invisible wire).
The point I want to make is - don't be the prominent figure on the landscape when that big black thunderous cloud passes overhead. In other words, don't be the earth terminal. This could easily occur in an open paddock, whilst standing on the cairn of a trig. station, an open scrubby area like the Barren Lands or even swimming on the open beach. Similarly, it can be dangerous to be near a prominent object, e.g. a tree, horse or fence, especially a wire one. If caught in the open, it is best to lie down in a depression, even if only a shallow one. The rucksack, with its steel frame and various metal contents, e.g. tent pegs, tins, camera, tripod, cutlery, is an added attraction to the lightning stroke, and should be temporarily discarded. A party should dump rucksacks as scattered as possible to avoid concentrated metal and so reduce attraction. If unable to avoid being near trees, select a thicket or a tree shorter than its neighbours, under which to shelter - heavy rain invariably accompanies lightning.
First-aid treatment for a person apparently struck dead by lightning is the same as for those apparently drowned - resuscitation by artificial respiration. Lightning can cause temporary paralysis, hence it is necessary to assist the patient to breathe. Burns may be present, but they are secondary to artificial respiration, and can be treated when the patient recovers stable breathing. Then the usual shock treatment must he observed by keeping the patient warm, keeping the head low and raising the legs. When conscious, give hot sweet drinks - no alcohol. As consciousness returns, pain from burns will become more acute. Minor burns may be smeared with vaseline, the more severe covered with lint soaked with strong black tea to relieve the discomfort. A.P. C's could be given later to reduce pain.
Having saved another life, it is interesting to note there are an estimated 44,000 thunderstorms every day over the face of the globe with 100 lightning strokes every second. The worst area is Java, but fortunately the more numerous are cloud-to-cloud strokes and casualties are few, and damage rare.
Records show that of the capital cities of Australia, lightning storms on the average have occurred on the following number of days in a year:- Brisbane 73, Sydney 43, Adelaide 24, Perth 23, Melbourne 16 and Hobart 8.
By Jim Brown.
A few week-ends ago, while gathering a heap of bracken in my groundsheet to keep the cold out and the ageing bones from too firma terra, I remembered a General Meeting of many years ago when the club was hashing over the old matter of someone destroying native vegetation and who should we write to. One bold member arose and suggested that we ought to put our own house in order first, and cease this nefarious practice of cutting bracken fern for our beds. Well, no one stood up to challenge this particular spasm. As I remember, they battened on to some other provocative remark, and no one told the speaker that bracken was a curse, a blight, an exotic, and only a couple of shades less noxious than blackberry, lantana and the rabbit.
Having recalled this, I also remembered another discourse on bracken. A well-informed botanist, member of another Club which rather specialises in that sort of knowledge, once commented in my hearing that he agreed bracken was a pest that had swallowed up thousands of acres of good farming land and was one of the farmers's bugaboos, BUT, he added, it had served one useful purpose. In many places slopes had been cleared not wisely, but only too thoroughly, and only bracken held the soil together and prevented erosion.
Well, while we're being sympathetic towards bracken fern, Paddy's little handbook on campcraft gives it at least two boosts, one as bedding, and the other (on page 34 of my edition) as a bush food. It reads: Bracken Tips - tips just curled above the ground are edible. Boil (infringement of copyright acknowledged). Our own magazine applauds bracken in the issue of January, 1941. (Quote) “Bites from bull dog ants - to cure instantly, crush the leaf of the common bracken fern and apply the juice to the sting. We remember hearing in New Zealand that the new uncurled fronds, crushed and rubbed on mosquito bites, would take away the sting” (unquote).
On this bedding problem, personally I prefer strips of bark shed by trees as an underbody. It doesn't squash down so, and retains some spring right through the night. Of course, bark strips with a layer of softer bracken on top is luxury itself.
There's one drawback about gathering the fern, especially if it is left to dusk. Bracken has a deplorable habit of forming a protective cover about nettles or to snuggle happily beside the wild raspberry, and so often have I crept back to the shadowy tent with a sheet full of bracken and tingling, prickled fingers. And, on the debit side too, is the sheer nastiness of ploughing through acres of tall fern, especially if your shins are already scraped and raw from contact with hakea (which rakea) and like abominations. The tallest bracken I have ever seen was on the Nattai a few miles above McArthur's Flat - seven feet as I live and breathe - ruddy bracken trees they were.
Now, a little research. Ferns, I gather, belong generally to a grouping called Pteridophyta, and bracken rejoices in the name of Ipteridium aquilinum. Ferns, it appears, have a reproductive process rather like mosses. They don't flower or seed, of course, but the underside of the leaf grows a rusty-looking fuzz which contains a huge number of spores, and these are borne afar by winds. Many ferns, apparently, can only reproduce in moist circumstances - hence the fern gullies - but our old pal the bracken can put out a kind of underground stem and thrive quite well in reasonably dry circumstances.
Bracken, evidently, is a pretty universal kind of growth. Our old friend “Road to the Isles” sings of “bracken for awink on Mother's knee” and certainly there are frequent references in literature dealing with the temperate and tropical zones of Earth. Perhaps someone can tell me without doubt if bracken is indigenous to Australia - or a carefully nurtured importation like blackberry and rabbits?
One thing I know. Whether we approve bracken fern or not, after a night on a hotel bed at Mansfield at the end of our holiday trip last summer - a hotel bed, I say, where the poor old mattress had been battered into submission, so that we rose several times during the night to shake the lumps and hollows out of it - after that, I shall not complain unduly when bracken is my bed.
At a recent Committee Meeting a member was debating whether to endure a hard chair or to use a particularly frowsy cushion - a veritable flea-trap. Quoth Colin Putt:- “Well, the hard chair will be with you for the duration of the meeting only …”
Mudyard (Angelface) Stripling.
If you can walk the “Neck” in total darkness
Or hurtle down Kedumba late at night,
And only grin when head o'er heels you stumble
And your pack then hits your head with all its might –
If you have patience when, as leader of the party,
After warning all “There's half an hour to go”,
You find some character still intent on breakfast
At just the time the mob is right to “blow” –
If you can stand the talk of “what exposure”?
“O - phooey, I would call that much too slow!”
When all the time you're bursting to get moving
Away from the wind and all the blooming snow –
If you can keep quite calm when Stitt's invention
In spite of all just would refuse to act
Is forced on you with: “Hold this for a minute
While I see what the detonator lacked” –
If you can bash Barr's ear till he begs mercy,
And bounce back worser puns than Betty Swain,
And cover up your ears in early morning
When our secretary lets off language so profane –
If you can survive “Terry's Meal” for breakfast
With Rinso in your stew to make it right…
Watch Elsie Bruggy burn her husband's billy…
Stand Price and Swain's mouth organs half the night –
If you will croon a tune which makes us sleepy
Then come and bring us coffee as we nod.
Instead of “Is Everybody Happy?” at four-thirty. … (Oh! how I hate that bod!)…
If you can stand your own with these requirements
Wish to see the world and have some fun.
Then come and join the good old Sydney Bushies.
'Cos man, oh man, we sure could use you, son.
Thinking to do the decent thing by Ken Angel, in the fastnesses of Newcastle, Brian Anderson sent a telegram during the week before Labour Day Weekend: “I'll arrange food Meet Kosciusko Express”. The worthy sentiments became corrupted en route and Ken received “Ill. Arrange food Meet Kosciusko Express”. Full of fraternal sympathy he turned up with piles of provender. The final blow was that the Cooma/Canberra Mail didn't convey passengers to Tallong, and there was a trifle of agitation before all were met on the relief train.
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By Damalja Ingregown.
It was held on August 22/23rd on the nameless creek which flows between Roach Trig and Cowan Trig. It was a double-barrelled affair, with a morning party from Mt. Kuring-gai led by the President, and an afternoon party (more correctly, parties) coming in from Terrey Hills with David Ingram in general control. This report is mostly about the manner of getting to the site, and for the moment we will be concerned with the morning party, numbering ten at Mt. Kuring-gai. The weather, unpleasant the previous night, was improving, and a large afternoon contingent was expected.
So, down to Cowan Creek, and per Woodnutt's launch to the far shore, across a small creek and up the slopes. We were passing through superb eriostemon and boronia (two kinds): the climb was made in slow time and once, when we sheltered briefly from a flurry of rain, one member continued up the ridge. We didn't sight him at the top, but the massed dillwynnias, the huge grey and pink spider flowers and the creeping hardenbergia claimed our attention, and we gladly assumed he had “gone before”.
For perhaps half an hour we moved steadily towards Cowan Trig, when a distant “coo” halted us. It seemed to come from the creek below and behind on our right. We called back, heard no answer and went on. A couple of hundred yards further, as we enthused over a fine boronia serrulata, we heard the cries again, still in the same region. We decided to let the missing man overtake us, and walked over to the rim rocks of the ridge, calling frequently and receiving periodical replies.
Quite suddenly from below came a hoarse, urgent “Coo!” and, from our startled glance, it was plain the McGregor and I drew the same conclusion. Trouble! Down there was our missing man, with at least a sprained ankle, if not a broken leg and fractured skull. Down we went with a rapidity which gives me occasional nightmares still, bouncing off the rocks, caroming off fallen trees, until we saw… Petty Sisley and Frank Young scrambling up to join us. They had caught the train an hour behind us.
As we joined forces an the top of the spur, the cause of the alarm wandered in from Cowan Trig: he had been to the camp spot, wearied of waiting for us, and returned.
A “dry lunch” hastily eaten on the ridge top restored the nervous system a trifle, so we proceeded through more magnificent bush flowers, including a very tree of five corners - this time with a properly appointed rearguard to intercept any stragglers or deviationists. Past Cowan Trig and down to the camp site, relieved to have made it before the afternoon party.
Presently came a drawn-out cry from the Roach Trig side, and we came to our feet to welcome David and about nine more of the afternoon party. The leader, with grave mien, advanced on the President to say, with evident understatement, “I'm sorry, Malcolm, but I've lost about 25 people”.
(Here David Ingram takes over the tale).
There were two suitable buses from Chatswood to Terrey Hills available for the second party travelling to the Corroboree, leaving at 12.36 and 1.15 p.m. The first bus landed about 25 at Terrey Hills at about 1.30 p.m. After sundry re-organisation, we set off for a brisk mile. It was then time for me to return to Terrey Hills to meet the second bus. With a description of the route to Roach Trig, and an annotated map, the remaining 24 were despatched on their way north-west.
The second bus brought another 8 or 9 enthusiasts and we were soon hot on the trail of the earlier contingent. Even so, we had time to admire the couple of hundred waratah buds growing close to the track. When we reached the foot track leading to Roach Trig it was obvious that no 24 Corroborators had passed that way, as the damp sandy track was undisturbed. However, the other party had maps, compasses and several experienced walkers, so we pressed on to Roach Trig. A short distance west of the Trig we could hear Malcolm and his early morning party, who were soon located at about 3.20 p.m. at an excellent Corroboree Ground.
Chief Corroborator McGregor was obviously disappointed at our small number and the absence of the S.B.W. Singers. His mouth dropped still further when I announced that there were 24 or so would-be revellers who were obviously, by now, not in that part of Kuring-gai Chase where they were expected.
Immediately a miniature search and rescue was organised by the Chief Corroborator. He made for Cowan Trig while I made for Roach Trig (there is only a mile between the two points). At the Trig I left a note on a sheet of newspaper under a stone in case the missing party should arrive. Then I set out along the track over which we had come out. Soon I could hear faint shouts away to the South, which became fainter as I hurried towards them. At last the sounds seemed a little nearer, and, above the sound of the wind, which was fairly strong, appeared to be coming from a swamp at the head of a creek south of Cowan Trig. Then the voices ceased for a few minutes until I received an answering call to mine quite close at hand. As I stumbled out of the bush, the party came into sight, straggling along the foot track which would eventually lead them to Roach Trig.
Their adventure, as retold, has a fairly familiar ring. Turned off on to a ridge before arrival at the foot track, with subsequent wanderings to and fro along the ridge in efforts to locate the rather elusive beginning of the foot track. Now all was plain sailing and we were soon united with the Chief Corroborator, who had made a round trip from Cowan Trig to Roach Trig, disturbing a couple of wild flower thieves as he did so. The first, or last, party finally reached the chosen spot at about 4.30 p.m.
(And Malcolm McGraor reports on the Case of the Bearded Thief).
Now, with the odd thirty walkers “lost” we decided to go look for them. David went back via Roach Trig, and Don Mathews came with me up the Cowan Trig Ridge, the plan being a pincers movement. On Cowan ridge we looked around for a while, and then headed for the track, as arranged.
We plodded through the flowers for a little while, when suddenly a head with beard attached popped out of the bushes about 50 yards away. Who else would have such fungus but Neil Schafer, so “Oi!” was shouted. The beard looked up and then, before our amazed gaze, it turned and fled together with a second body who had been hidden from view.
They tore through the bush as if devils were after them, and when we came up to their starting point, a huge bunch of eriostamon was found scattered all around. Flower thieves in the act, and if it hadn't been for that beard we might have been able to roast the pair of them on the spit - just as enemies were dealt with at by-gone corroborees.
(And to finish the tale).
Strangely enough, there doesn't seem so much to tell about the rest of the weekend. It went much too smoothly, was only too pleasant to have a real story to it. The late arrivals were into the corroboree site just before a brief rain squall, but from that hour the weather was very kind. The total tally of heads was 47 (but you won't get that by adding up the various parties - there must have been one or two stowaways).
The campfire was eminently successful, good singing, a few yarns and sketches, the verse of the Hand Lotion, and went on till past midnight. Sunday morning we prowled for a couple of hours amongst glorious wildflowers past Roach Trig, and we made our way out in the afternoon. David Ingram's car did yeoman service in shifting some of the kiddies: several peeled off to catch a bus from Terrey Hills, but about 33 corroborators completed the walk out to Cowan Creek above tidal influence, and up to the Sphinx, where the whole crew joined a seemingly full 'bus (no maximum number of standees here!). The trip ended at Turramurra about 5.15 p.m.
Despite the absence of tribal rites, and although the initiation of the young men (and lubras) was withheld for the dark hours of the Annual General Meeting, we can no longer doubt that the Corroboree, Club-style, fills a real need. There must be more of 'em.
by Enid Hallstrom.
Far more wonderful is Nature
Than the work of human hands.
For there you bloom in glorious beauty
Among the rocks or on the sands.
Each petal fashioned in perfect lines
And tinted as only Nature designs.
To man your beauty seems more fair
Than the flowers grown by his care.
It is alleged, from a usually reliable source, that Yvonne Renwick has now traversed Mt. Solitary on four occasions in about two years. Any records involved?
We have five Friday nights this months but unfortunately (or should it be, fortunately) the first one, on the weekend of the 2nd, is Six-Hour Weekend and consequently the Club is closed.
On the 23rd we have another Members' Slide Night. These nights have proved themselves to be exceedingly popular and, with the results of the recent Colour Slide Exhibition still fresh in our memories, we are all on the lookout for next year's winners.
On 30th October the night is to be given over to play reading. This is the first try at this type of entertainment for many years, so it will be much of an experiment. If anyone has had any experience at this type of thing, or has any ideas, will you please let me know.
Are you all saving the pennies for the Christmas party to be held on December 4th in the R.S.L. Hall, Elizabeth Street, City? Tickets will be 15/- each and quite a few people will be pleased to note that all drinks will be available on the night at the Bar at the ordinary prices.
- Ross Laird, Social Secretary.
On the Search weekend in June, the S & R team spent one night in Katoomba Court House, when Neil Schafer played the role of the prisoner at the bar. Uncharitable souls are now suggesting that this is why he didn't lead his walk in September, having learned that his party would consist of four “Johns” and one “Bobby”.
Which reminds one of a certain counsel-of-war between S & R and the Police Rescue officers, concerning a Practice weekend, when one of the S & R representatives (urging the utmost realism) said we didn't want a “big game of Bobbies and Bushies”.
During September Kevin Ardill led the first official half-day walk in the Club's history. His only apparent starter, a visitor, was keen to see a historic building at Campbelltown, so a morning walk was done, Kevin and the visitor parting company at one-thirty p.m. at Minto station and going in opposite directions: on the other hand, Jack Gentle missed the official train, followed on the next, and solo-d over the ground of the walk: he was most mystified that he failed to make contact.
Mouldy Harrison has reminded us of that little verse by Ogden Nash -
I think that I shall never see
A Bill board lovely as a tree
In fact, unless the billboards fall
I shall probably never see a tree at all.
Paddy's wildflower walk an 13th September was a great success. Apparently he had promised to lead a walk for the Bush Club, who programmed their outing for the same date as ours. S.B.W. party arrived at Mt. Kuring-gai at 9.15 a.m. and the Bush Club at about 10 a.m. When we joined forces on Cowan Creek, there were 33 wildflower enthusiasts present. It speaks well for the leader and sub-leaders that nobody got misplaced in the dense scrub over portion of the trip. In fact the day was over too quickly and the unexpected joint walk with the Bush Club members a pleasant surprise.
Why take food on a walk when Yvonne Renwick is going? Her jacket has been saturated by dozens of folk with numerous ingredients (accidentally, of course). Even a sleeve, if properly stewed, should satisfy the weekend needs of a small party. It may be served in a variety of ways and demonstrates how to get a feed “off the cuff”.
The Bush Fire Committee has recommended the further localising of total prohibitions on the lighting of fires in the open air (says the September Bulletin). Last year, total prohibitions were based on Weather Forecast Districts. Experience has shown that these were too large. This summer it is proposed to confine the total prohibitions to climatic districts, of which there are 17 in the State, compared with 8 weather forecast districts.
Prohibitions will be imposed only when the fire danger rating given by the Weather Bureau is “extreme” and will be limited to short periods not exceeding 72 hours unless it becomes necessary to renew the prohibition.
The following data, culled from “The Waysider”, magazine of the Catholic Walking Club, may interest you :-
It was reported that the Ball held on September 14th was a very successful night socially. About 175 People attended which might just be sufficient to pay for running costs. The matter of choosing a Monday night for a Ball was discussed and it was decided to ask Mr. John Cotter to endeavour to make a booking for a Friday or Saturday night in 1954. Paddington Town Hall would be preferred.
Are still desired by the Asst. Information Officers, c/- Paddy Pallin. Keep them coming in.
Reports were made concerning the Warrumbungle Mountains, the Barren Grounds, Bouddi Natural Park, the Kariong Peninsula Area and Frazer Park. The Secretary said that Messrs. Pallin and McInnes would be recommended to the Lands Department for inclusion on the Trust of the proposed Warrumbungle National Park. A further note would be sent to the Department concerning the Kariong Peninsula Area.
Allen Strom was appointed Secretary of the Bureau.
The 1953-54 Roster for Bushfire Patrols by the N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs is now being arranged and persons wishing to take part in these patrols should contact the Federation President, Paul H. Barnes, without delay.
A conference between the Chairman of the Bushfire Committee, Mr. M.E. Messer, Ranger Patrol, W.L.P.S.A., the Federation and any other interested bodies, will be held at the Big Sister Room, Scott's Chambers, Hosking Place, on Thursday, October 1st, at 6 p.m. Amongst other matters, patrols in National and Garawarra Parks and Kuring-gai Chase will be discussed.
Response to the appeal for material and photos for this publication, has been most disappointing. A special appeal is made to the Sydney Bushwalkers to contact Ron Wardrop, 77 Hudson Street, Hurstville (LU4648) without delay.
Myles Dunphy has produced a new map - scale two inches to the mile - of the area from Mt. Solitary south to Kanangra Walls, and from the Guouogang/Queahgong Tops east to include Scott's Main Range. He has used the rivers as shown on the Jenolan Military Survey, but has given the ridges and other features in accordance with bushwalking field notes - as many of us know, the Jenolan survey is far from perfect in this respect. Also a great deal of track data not recorded on the Jenolan Survey is contained in the new map. Obtainable from Paddy at 6/- a sheet.
Roy Bruggy's walk on the weekend of 28/29th November has been gazetted as an additional Instructional Weekend - further particulars later.
Casting all political considerations aside the old boy's not too bad after all! He did his stuff and halved the sales tax on sleeping bags and rucksacks. Luckily about the same time the price of down was reduced and below you will see the pleasing result. Here are a few samples of the reduction in the prices of sleeping bags.
|Old Price||New Price|
|5'10” Featherdown||£10. 0. 0||£7.15. 6|
|6' 2“ Featherdown||£10. 0. 6||£8. 2. 6|
|5'10” Superdown||£12. 8. 0||£9. 6. 9|
|6' 2“ Superdown||£13. 3. 0||£9.16. 9|
And rucksacks too :-
|Old Price||New Price|
|Tramper (3 pkt. frame rucksack)||£6. 9. 6||£5.11. 6|
|Bushwalker (4 pkt. frame rucksack)||£7.14. 6||£6.13. 0|
Similar reductions on all rucksacks.
Thanks Artie - you're not a bad bloke after all.
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St Sydney. M2678.
The Control of Morton's 45. 000 acres may soon pass into the hands of the Forestry Commission and from then on who can tell? Even now the sawmillers are waiting for the word to start on the tall gums of the south western corner.
Will you allow yet another of the sanctuaries to be destroyed without an effort to show that Progress must not mean interference with natural wilderness everywhere?
At the present time, the Morton Primitive Area is controlled by a Trust of public-spirited citizens. This Trust has resisted all efforts to date, to allow the sawmiller access. They rightly contend that some of the valleys of the Kangaroo River System should remain untouched for the enjoyment of people, now and in the future. The taking of timber leads to an undesirable interference with plant and animal habitats with consequent loss. This opinion is held by the Forestry Authority in Queensland and they have left some areas completely untouched except for walking tracks. Excellent examples of the work of the Queenslanders are to be seen in the Lamington and Cunningham's Gap National Parks.
Now the N.S.W. Forestry Commission says that Morton Primitive Area is at present wasteland… the Trust has no money to develop the area and whole reserve is seldom used. We agree that the Trust has no money… neither has many another Trust that controls a public parkland; this is a criticism of the Government's policy towards National Parks generally. That nobody ever visits the area can be answered by Bushwalkers and lovers of the out-of-doors very aptly. The area is very well known to us and its primitive beauty prompts many of us to protest against the timber getter and the destroyer. Give the Trust sufficient money to lay down tracks and advertise, and we will soon have an area as popular as Lamington National Park.
The Forestry Commission wants the area declared a Flora Reserve, a type of reserve defined in the Forestry Act, 1916-1949, Section 25A, pp 17-18. If the area was declared a Flora Reserve, the Forestry Commission would take over control and only an Act of Parliament could revoke the declaration. Then a detailed scheme of the operations which it is proposed to undertake on or in relation to the flora reserve must be approved by the Minister. This scheme then becomes the working plan and no variation is permitted without Ministerial approval. Although the Act says that the object of a Flora Reserve is the preservation of Flora, a license may be issued (Section 26) for the taking of timber and timber products. The Forestry Commission will let in the sawmiller and may quite conceivably, restrict the access of recreational users.
We want Morton Primitive Area dedicated so that only an Act of Parliament can revoke its untouched nature. You are personally, requested to let the Ministers for Lands and Conservation, the Forestry Commission, and you local Member Of Parliament know that this is you opinion too. Tell them we want the Area used in the same manner as the Lamington National Park, Queensland!
Issued by The Caloola Club, 31 Byron St., Croydon. UA 2983.