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.|
|Production and Business Manager||Brian Harvey (JW1462).|
|Sales and Subs||Jess Martin.|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey.|
|Editorial - Matters Fiscal||1|
|Announcements Extraordinary - Meeting Place||2|
|Announcements Extraordinary - Annual Re-union||2|
|Announcements Extraordinary - Postal Address||3|
|At the February General Meeting||3|
|Easter Walk, 1954||4|
|“Moving Around a Little”||5|
|Mud Slinging||“Cheddar Chopper”||8|
|Getting Wet At Eckersley||10|
|The Boys In Tasmania - Part I||Geoff Wagg||16|
|Federation Notes - February Meeting||Allen A. Strom||19|
|Leica Photo Service||5|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop||7|
|Scenic Motor Tours||9|
|Siedlecky's Taxi & Tourist Service||11|
|More Letter To Paddy||20|
This year the Club emerged on the right side of the ledger, despite the considerable number of unfinancial members removed from the books in October. At the close of the Club year on January 31st we had about £40 in current funds, apart from the several “Reserves” which have been maintained intact.
However, if we visualise the Club as a triumphant gladiator who has despatched the perennial wolf-at-the-door, emerging from the arena with a flourish and a confident smile, then we have been seeing too many film epics of Ancient Rome, a la Cecil B. de Mille. Our champion is out of breath, somewhat bruised and beaten, his blade is buckled, and he has only just gained the victory. Of the £40 held at the end of January, something like £20 has already gone for the purchase of a fresh stock of badges: the rent for January and February has to be met: certain sundries like postages and stationery will make a call on funds. By the time the new year's subscriptions become due and payable at the Annual General Meeting, we will be delving down to the bottom of the coffers.
Fortunately the Christmas Party was a financial success this time by which we mean that a profit of a few shillings was made! This was certainly due to the abolition of entertainment tax, and it was the first profitable function of this kind in years. By careful budgeting and because a good deal of advertising was secured the magazine made a profit of about £7, just sufficient to restore its deficit of the previous year.
What do we learn from all this? Well, that in a year when there were no exceptional demands on finances, we have just managed to break even. Certain Reserves have been set aside for specific purposes, but to draw upon these for our daily bread would be worse than improvident. It seems simple arithmetic that we can't afford to have expensive tastes on the basis of present income.
All recipients are requested to read the following with close attention…
Notice has been received from the Rationalist Association that on and after March 5th Ingersoll Hall will NOT be available to S.B.W. on Friday evenings. Rationalist Association has offered us tenancy of the hall on Wednesdav evenings in lieu.
However, for the Annual General Meeting to be held on Friday, March 12th, a special booking has been made for a hall on 2nd Floor, Y.M.C.A. Building, Liverpool Street, near the Park Theatre. The Annual General Meeting will, therefore, be held on the normal date, but at the new location, which is within five minutes walking time from Ingersoll Hall. Time of meeting will be 7.45 p.m. since hour of closure of Y.M.C.A. Hall is 10.30 p.m.
Pending further notice, all other meetings of the Club will be held at Ingersoll Hall on Wednesdays.
Will be held on March 13th-14th, on the Grose River at the junction of Woods Creek, the same location as in 1952 and 1953. Arrangements are being made for a 'bus to meet the 12.33 p.m. train from Sydney, returning to join a suitable train at Richmond on Sunday afternoon (either the 5.16 or 5.46 trains ex Richmond, arriving Sydney 7.11 or 7.28 respectively).
Please note that the Club now has a Postal Box Address - Box 4476 G.P.O. will find Sydney Bush Walkers wherever and whenever we may meet.
At the appointed hour of eight we were scarcely a quorum for the February General Meeting - many having absented themselves for a farewell to Brian Andersen and Ted Weavers on their way to Tasmania. At 8.10 we were about 25, and the meeting got under way, the numbers increasing to about 36 later in the evening. Heather Joyce was welcomed, minutes read and confirmed, and a question asked concerning booking of a hall for the next Christmas party. Answer not being immediately available, we went on to correspondence, containing advice from the P.M.G. concerning our new P.O. Box, and a letter to the “Herald” pointing out that an article on their magazine page concerning shooting of kangaroos “within 200 miles of Sydney” may lead people to believe this was permissible sport (?). We were advised that colour slides were again being shown at Paddy's shop each Thursday at 5.45 p.m.
At the end of the Federation report, Len Scotland asked whether the Parks and Playgrounds were known to have acted in cases of industrial waste flowing into pools and lakes in parklands, quoting the case of oil running into Centennial Park Lakes, also the removal of sand from Moore Park Golf Links. The President said he would refer these matters to the Parks and Playgrounds delegate.
Brian Harvey commented that there was yet no successor for training as Magazine Business Manager or Duplicator Operator, and behold, Allan Wilson promptly offered his services for the infernal machine, and was applauded. From this Alex Colley asked if any of the present officers had indicated that they would not be standing at the Annual General Meeting, and the President replied that we should probably need a new President, Secretary and Social Secretary. Was it appropriate that he followed this up with the comment that a new book “What Bird is That?” was being added to the Club Library?
Ken Meadows reminded us of the bygone Children's Christmas Treat, suspended several years ago because we suspected that the supply of under-privileged kiddies was not as before. He suggested that we re-introduce it as a day out for Members' children, at a place like Lilyvale. Support was given by Alex Colley (“he's prejudiced!” from the gathering), who said it would be a good way of bringing out some older members for a day together. Dot Butler, Kath Brown and Jean Harvey had remarks on the financial and catering angle, the latter suggesting that parents should supply foodstuffs independently, but the Club might care to Provide a Christmas tree. Finally these domestic points were left undetermined, but the main motion carried.
Dormie said he would like to see the old practice of a monthly social report reverted to, and after some informal discussion with the Chair, the matter was left in abeyance for the Annual Meeting. Whereupon the meeting closed at 8.38 p.m.
Of course, it was unthinkable that it should peter out just like that, and at 8.57 the President asked permission of members to re-open the meeting in order to welcome new member Grace Aird, who had joined in the farewell to the Tasmanian party. Grace was duly admitted, and at the same time the answer to the earlier question about the Christmas party became available, Ross Laird reporting that a booking had been made for Friday, December 10th.
This time we were really wound up, and we finished the meeting on this note at 9.0 p.m.
In the Club library we keep bound volumes of “The Sydney Bushwalker”. With the exception of a few missing issues, they provide complete coverage right back to No.1 in June, 1931, and contain a mine of valuable information about various parts of the country.
The problem has always been - how to locate the gen. about some particular area.
Now an index has been prepared: we're not going to claim that it solves all problems. The index has most of the shortcomings of such reference systems. The information which it indicates is sometimes fragmentary or incomplete, but at least it should be reasonably easy to trace articles dealing with particular regions.
At an early date we expect to publish this index as a part of or supplement to the magazine.
Mittagong - car to Wanganderry - Burnt Flat Creek - Wollondilly River - Millnigang Track - Bindook - Yerranderie - car to Camden.
Type - Medium. Milage: About 42. Fare: About £2 per head.
Notice re train times will be given in the April magazine and on Club notice board. Probably 5.10 or 5.21 train.
Please inform leader by April 2nd so that cars from Mittagong can be booked.
Jim Brown. 'Phone LM-2163 (business).
Norma and Eric Rowan - on the birth of a daughter.
Grace and John Noble - the birth of a son - Malcolm Hilary - on the 23rd February.
You press the button, we'll do the rest!
Finegrain Developing. Sparkling Prints. Perfect Enlargements. Your Rollfilms or Leica films deserve the best service.
Leica Photo Service.
31 Macquarie Place, Sydney, N.S.W.
In a letter posted on February 2nd at Half Moon Bay, Stewart Island, Keith Renwick records the doings of the Bushie contingent in New Zealand:
“I've forgotten exactly what I was up to in the last letter, so I'll outline briefly what we have done…
While in Auckland we joined up with the Alpine Sports Club, Auckland Tramping Club and N.Z. Speliological Society, and between July 7th and November 13th we went on:
3 trips to the Hunua Ranges, delightful and undulating rain forest country, on the western shore of the Thames River, which offers very pleasant walking trips.
2 trips to the Wataikeries, due west from Auckland.
A trip by car through Atiamuri, Orakii, Korako, Wairakei and Rotorua, also out to Mt. Tarawera.
Peter went with some of the spelios to Mangapu Cave, then joined us later at Waitomo. We went through these at great length, also investigating a few holes in the vicinity, one of which may be new and leads to an unexplored part of Rurakuri Cave. Also went to Aramui, Rarakuri and Waitomo Caves.
A Labour-Day weekend trip in October saw us with the A.S.C. at Ketatahi Springs on the northern slopes of Tongariro, from which we had a day trip traversing Central Crater, Red Crater, South Crater, climbed Ngaruahoo (7,515') and returned via Tongariro's highest point, 6,458', West and North Craters. Also visited Lake Rota Aira nearby.
Following the Waitomo Caves weekend we went on another spelio trip to Karamu Cave near Hamilton, camped the night underground, explored one unvisited part, then dug our way out through a narrow squeeze-way. After this we went around to and climbed down two 80-ft. holes of Karamu, Tomo and Tomac Tomo, the latter being very extensive, as is also Karamu Cave (about 4 or 5 miles of passages).
Visited Mortimer's Cave, an extensive volcanic blowhole in Auckland.
Went out to Rangitoto, an extinct volcanic island just off Auckland. Did a little cave-ing here too.
4 trips to Ruapehu with terrific skiing conditions and quite a bit of climbing practice in perfect weather.
On the way south we spent another week at Ruapehu in the A.T.C. Hut, and climbed Ruapehu via Ti Heu Heu Ridge, traversed the top to the lake and down the Whakapapa Glacier.
In Wellington we went out on a trip with Leigh Hart and the Hutt Valley Tramping Club from Otiki Forks to Waitawaiwai Hut and return, in the Tararuas. We then spent nearly another week in the Tauherenikall Valley of the Tararuas, moving around a little. Returning then to Wellington we caught the “Moari” on its second or third voyage to Christchurch, where we worked for a while, also acquiring an old 1930 Triumph motor bike and side car (between Peter, Betty and myself) which we loaded up with all our gear, leaving on Boxing Day for Dunedin. Peter and Betty then took the bike to Queenstown, while I made my way down through Gore to Te Anau to meet up with three Tasmanian girls who had done a number of trips with us in the North Island. They now joined us, together with another chap from Tasmania for a tramping trip in South Westland.
After a short visit to Te Anau Caves, we met at Lake Howden and went over via the Harris Saddle to Routburn, camped at Lake Harris one night and climbed a 6,247' peak next day - the view was terrific. Then returned along the south bank of the Routburn because the river was up and uncrossable. The three mile trip took five hours of scrambling - the track on the other side takes an hour. But no one seems to have heard of anyone coming down this side before.
At Glenorchy we met up with Peter, Betty, Pat Sullivan and Coral Monday for a nine-day trip up the Rees and down the Dart. Went up to have a look at Mt. Earnslaw (9,l65') but access to the top was blocked by two big bergschrunds. Returning to Glenorchy, via the Dart, we caught the boat to Queenstown and then all up to Wanaka, except Pat and Bruce (the Tasmanian) who had to return to work.
We then went up the West Matukituki and on one day set out to climb Mt. Tindall (8,116') on the north face, but had to return due to lack of time and approaching bad weather when about 50-ft. and 100 yards from the summit.
Were weatherbound for another five days while camping on Shovel Flat, but eventually got up French Ridge to the Bivvy in perfect weather, where four of us built and slept in a snow cave on the Quarterdeck under Mt. French - off which we saw one of the biggest avalanches we ever hope to see from a safe distance. Running low on time we had to leave the following day and made our way out to the end of the road and thence to Wanaka.
We had various odd bits of strife with the bike but eventually reached Invercargill via Kingston and Lumsden on January 26th, in good time to see the Queen on January 28-29th.
On the 30th we caught the boat to Stewart Island, where we have been lazing around the past couple of days, recovering from our past excursions and getting ready for future ones.
Good walking -
Keith and Peter.
It's holidays ahead!!! Easter!! Anzac weekend!! Prepare now…
Stoneless dates. Dried fruits in season. Figs. Raisins. Sultanas. Ryvita biscuits. Breakfast cereals. Terry's meal. Nuts - plain and salted cashews - peanuts. Crystallised pawpaw and pineapple. Apricot rolls. Fruit nougat. Glace fruits. Wheatflake and Vitaweat biscuits.
The Sanitarium Health Food Shop.
13 Hunter Street, Sydney.
By “Cheddar Chopper”.
These reports from a fairly reliable source just go to show why Tassie proves to be so popular for annual holidays.
To start it all, there were twenty-one well-wishers present on Christmas Eve to farewell our four members, David, Ross, Geoff and Frank.
The boys, walking in shorts, were welcomed to Waldheim by a fair dinkum blizzard on the day after Boxing Day. After deciding NOT to push through the elements for Windermere Hut, they immediately took off for the Dove Lake - Hansen's Peak area until frozen, icicle-encrusted legs sent them scurrying for the Picnic Hut and a fire.
The “Ooohs!” and “Ahhhs!”, freely interspersed “terrif”, “Bon-oh”, “Salubrious”, ” Grazel“, “Mighty!”, “The Most” and various other exclamations registering admiration for Cradle Mt. and Barn Bluff completely covered with snow were quite easily heard as far away as Windermere early next morning, so I'm told.
Leeches and the grim stories that go with them quick-smart put a stop to any ideas of camping out at Pelion Flats that the boys might have had, but I'm of the opinion that it must have been six of one or half a dozen of the other as to which was the worse, for there were thirty two walkers packed into Pelion Chalet that night.
Reports of bat-like creatures seen through mist and rain clinging at precarious angles on the rock faces of Pelion East were told by trampers passing through that area in late December. Could our groundsheet clad walkers be the solution?
Rumours have it that our Social Secretary excelled himself in his social duties even to the extent of some embarrassment in Ducane Hut on New Year's morn. Although of rather disbelieving nature, we are still open to conviction. (The Editor intervenes to record that he has heard something about another walker being tipped out of a sleeping bag by the Social Secretary. Unfortunately the Social Sec. forgot to count up to ten or ask “Are you decent?” first. This could be the incident vaguely alluded to by reporter “Cheddar Chopper”.)
Is it true that Geoff got the crowd “bushed” within fifteen yards of Ducane Hut on the south-bound track?
Warning to all members, prospectives and friends - never ask Frank to close a M & B tin for you. Frank screwed up a tin of quince jam on Barron Pass and it hasn't been opened yet.
Our reliable source informs us that Ross completely changed from travelling togs to walking gear quite nonchalantly on the Lyall Highway at the Frenchman's Cap turn-off. Ross, however, denies this most emphatically (natch!) and maintains that if it hadn't been for his good influence, graft and corruption would have reigned.
The breaking of camp was nearing completion and packs were about to be strained up on to worn and calloused backs at Lake Vera on the homeward trek from the Frenchman, when David missed his camera. After much systematic searching it was found that the last time it had been seen was on Barron Pass, so, whilst the other boys double-packed, “Snow” climbed back to the pass and found his photo-shooter reclining in the middle of the track.
Apparently some ten hectic minutes had been spent by Geoff, Frank and Ross trying to discourage a crowd of Y.H.A. members from joining them at lunch by telling them that lunch was finished when David from beside the fire on the other side of a large bush remarked in a voice loud enough for the whole of Port Arthur to hear, “Come and get it - the johnnie cakes are done!” Curses, foiled again!
Upon reaching Hobart, David and Frank decided to remove their blond and red beards respectively (or would respectfully be the word?) in an attempt to became civilised again. Later results proved to be rather funny when, upon marching into a hotel and asking for two beers and two lemonades, Ross and Geoff, who were still bearded, were given the alcohol, and to their disgust the two clean shavers were given the aerated waters.
If you are going places, contact Scenic Motor Tours, Railway Steps, Katoomba.
Daily tours by parlor coach to the world famous Jenolan Caves and all Blue Mountain sights.
Transport by coaches for parties of bushwalkers to Kanangra Walls, Ginkin or other suitable points by arrangement.
For all information, write to P.O. Box 60, Katoomba. Telephone 60, Katoomba.
Somehow, David Roots' telephone number was incorrectly recorded on a recent walks programme. One member, contacting the number shown and asking for David was greeted: “What? No!!! Not again!”
During recent weeks two parties have spent weekends getting wet at Lake Eckersley. The difference was that one party set out with intentions of getting wet - it was the Swimming Carnival; the other party was the Instructional Weekend, whereat wetting was (theoretically anyway) optional.
At first it appeared as though attendance at the Carnival would be so small that events could not be organised: in fact Eddie Stretton, who was the only member on the official Saturday afternoon train, became so alarmed at Heathcote that she consulted the walks programme to make sure the date was right, and was much relieved to find six others already camped on the Woronora. All in all, it wasn't until almost noon Sunday when there were sufficient folk to justify running the carnival, and it was past 2.30 before hungry competitors came to lunch. The final tally was 23 adults, including visitor Bob Grey (George's brother), one eight-year-old (Eric Christiansen), and infants Julie Frost and Robert McGregor. Naturally, a number of those present “spectated” only, but just enough swimmers were available to make the thing go with zest.
Kevin Ardill, in spite of a creaking back, won the Henley Trophy, with Gwen Frost in second place: in company with Beryl Christiansen, Kevin also won the Mandelberg Cup. The various events went to:
Actually Bob Grey was 'way in front in the Men's Breaststroke, but as a visitor, swimming out on the flank, he paused just short of the finishing line and gestured towards brother George.
Light entertainment, apart from the hilarious peanut scramble, came in the Underwater Swim, when Ken Meadows described an almost perfect circle, surfacing only a few feet from the bank to stare into the near faces of the spectators: and Beryl Christiansen turned on a splendid “ostrich” swim, with head submerged and precious little else.
We noted that the Presidential lungs, strengthened by shouting down opposition at General Meetings, again proved too much for other underwater swimmers. We also noted that Don Frost discovered an odd peanut in his swimming trunks two hours after the scramble.
The weekend was one of brilliant summer sunshine, and it seemed a pity there were so few to share in the sport.
Then, on the weekend of the cyclone, Brian Harvey's Instructional Weekend, with six members and two prospectives - also at Lake Eckersley. Rain commenced at 5.0 p.m. Saturday, and when the party pulled out at ll.30 on Sunday morning, both Woronora River and Heathcote Creek had flooded by two or three feet. Alex Colley delivered his campcraft lecture in the Harvey tent on Saturday night, but the first aid and mapping lectures were abandoned as the weather worsened on Sunday morning. Considering that the party survived about four inches of rain in their camp, that fires were lit on Sunday morning, that no one was washed out, it appears that the prospectives already had most of the clues on being out in adverse conditions.
Bushwalkers requiring transport from Blackheath, any hour, ring, write or call…
Siedlecky's Taxi and Tourist Service.
116 Station Street, Blackheath.
24 hour service.
Bushwalkers arriving at Blackheath late at night without transport booking can ring for car from Railway Station or call at above address - it's never too late!
'Phone Blackheath 81 or 146. Look for cars 3210 or TV270 or book at Mark Salon Radio Shop - opposite Station.
Case No.1: In the report of the November meeting we said: “After a few comments which contributed little to the debate, Alex Colley moved an amendment…” Oh fie! shame, blushes and confusion! Not you, Alex! If we speak disparagingly of the debate we never identify our victims! We should have said “After various people made comments etc.”
Case No.2: In the magazine for December it was recorded that “John White and a small party” had discovered another pass out of the Grose Valley. This was followed by a complaint from Bob Abernethy, who objected to being styled a “small party”. Well, the tragedy continued. We planned to report the protest in January, and then, in a diabolical moment, referred elsewhere to a “certain small party”. But, blow me down, the first paragraph was crowded out by lack of space, leaving only the other provocative comment. If anyone finds an editorial body foully murdered in Ingersoll Hall, Abernethy probably 'done it'.
Being a quiet, cultured type myself, I thought I could stand the company of Tine Koetsier and Frank Burt for a week or so, but Binns, Forsyth and Rigby? Well, I ask you!
Binnsey talked me into it. I didn't want to go really. I don't like walking with women. And food parties! Ugh! Oh, well, it was a chance to see some country now just a memory from one blizzard-bound Easter and to tread new ground, so I meekly consented.
Prize for the lightest pack went to Frank “Digby” Rigby, and the leanest had the heaviest. (“You get rid of the tins and the cucumber and the eight eggs, etc. in the first couple of day” said the organiser quite unperturbed by my anguish. She did agree, though, that a pound of salt was rather a lot. Maybe a quarter of a pound would do.)
Our plan of booking a First Class compartment “so that we can stretch out and get some sleep” was a dismal failure, so the afternoon of Boxing Day was spent at Kiandra Three Mile Camp sleeping off the effects. John “The Extrovert” Forsyth found it more difficult to sleep off the effects of a R.R.R. (Goulburn) meat pie, but he recovered after a few days on dry toast and vegemite soup. The lean one, either through sympathy or evil intent on the cook's part, followed suit some days later. In fact, about half an hour after refusing a repulsive mixture of prunes, dried apple, dried apricots and (probably) the remains of that morning's breakfast.
Sunday found us roadbashing toward Tumut Ponds and lunch was eaten on the Tumut a mile or so downstream from where we should have been. Obviously the road has been re-routed since the map was published. Anyhow “one spur's as good as another, even if it is leading west instead of south and you can see from the map how easy it is to land on the Round Mountain spur”. So, with these famous last words, onwards!
The stream at this point was crossed by a flying fox, and the obvious route ran up through a deserted hut camp on to a steep and fairly thickly wooded spur. At dusk that evening camp was pitched on the first level spot, a grassy clearing at the head of a small creek, just below the ridge top. Four hours scrub bash and still on a spur.
To regain our true course, the route lay due East through sauce scrub and a delightful species of prickly bush, which brought out the worst in Digby. Through a little sloping valley, and behold - a Trig! Then to a higher hill on the south side of an open saddle and there stood Round Mountain, about five miles distant as the crow flies, but best reached by a semi-circular route through a bewildering combination of saddle, ridge, valley and scrub, and about four hours distant.
This part of the trip is memorable for its effect on Digby if nothing else. Imagine the sight of a very white new canvas hat, skimming the top of the previously mentioned prickly bushes, a ripple in these latter as the body 'neath the hat cautiously probes its way through: the muffled, ungentlemanly curses directed at the leader-for-the-day, and the unmuffled ditto profanities at the bushes (prickly) and things in general.
Digby now firmly believes that freelancers (meaning the leader) get lost so often that they develop a liking for scrub and prickles, and leave the track whenever they can, to which the leader replies in this instance, “What track?”
Our hero was the self-elected leader for the next (easy) day and we followed him in faith, until four o'clock in the afternoon through open flower covered valleys under a blazing sun. While the leader and the Extrovert departed to scan the horizon from a vantage point, the Lean One, until now disinterested in map reading because of fatigue following a sleepless (gastric) night, looked at the map, drew some false conclusions, muttered (quite correctly) “Aw, about two miles west of where we should be” and went back to sleep. His opinion was confirmed on the return of the leader and by Frank Burt, who had been suspicious for some time, because the creeks were flowing the wrong way, but who was too much a gentleman to doubt the word of a seasoned S.B.W.
Twilight found us plodding to the Grey Mare huts. The upper one was overflowing with Newcastle B.W's, the lower one (a wreck) with birds, so we camped out in sight of the first snow drifts.
An hour's walking on Wednesday morning brought us opposite Valentine Falls, well worth the detour, and we saw the snow-dotted main range clearly for the first time. Lunch at Dicky Cooper and on to an early stop at White's River Hut, where the Newcastle crowd had again settled comfortably in what must be the best equipped and maintained hut in the area. We camped out and Digby discovered that the proprietary waterproofing compound of which he was so proud was, shall we say, rather hydrophilic.
With the ascent of Tate the scenery became grander and the snow more plentiful on a day which cleared early after night-long rain and morning gloom. It was here that we first crossed a snow drift, cautiously at first, but with increasing confidence as we found that it only looked hard. All except Digby, sneaker-clad, who ascended trembling in borrowed boots, then later realised that he'd left map and compass behind, and beat a swift retreat to the foot of the drift and sprinted up again, sneakers 'n all. After that, we couldn't keep him off the snow.
A human chain was formed to cross the Snowy above the Spencer's Creek junction, the Extrovert pioneering the way chosen by Digby, where surely neither man nor beast had crossed before.
As some hundredweight of food had been sent to the Chalet, we headed there via Spencer's Creek, managed a bath and tea and camped on the flats inside the Chalet grounds. The New Year was suitably welcomed and a windy and wet introduction it was. We struggled to the camp site above Foreman's with the comestibles on New Year's Day to join Edna Stretton and friend, and Frank and Tine toured the summit as they had to head for home the next day. The Terrible Three hitched down the range and back for reasons various, leaving Binns to a day of quiet and meditation.
Scene: Smiggins. The Extrovert had descended to the Hotel. Digby and the Lean One were basking in the sun outside the cafe when up drove a Landrover with a beautiful blonde seated in front next the driver. “I wouldn't be surprised”, says Digby, “if Forsyth was skulking in there behind that peach, it'd be just his form.' And who should leap forth, handsome and face wreathed in smiles - the hulk himself!
“They offered us a lift right up”, he said, “but I didn't think you'd want to go back yet”. This on a day when cars heading summit-wards were as scarce as charming, intelligent young ladies are in a bushwalking club.
Sight of the day: Digby, still in white (slightly grubby) hat, bowing to motorists and raising his lid, speaking the while in pure North Shore accents.
On Saturday an attempt to circuit Blue Lake, Albina and the Summit was thwarted by heavy mist, so a day of rest, except for the cook, was proclaimed. A road bash to the summit and back next day yielded two five-second glimpses of distant spurs, but is memorable only for the biting wind and all enveloping mist.
Monday dawned fine and clear and the Extrovert had returned home, leaving an ill-assorted threesome (two of them rather subdued) to head for the Summit via the Scenic Track. The finest scene was Albino, its western slope dotted with ice drifts, which stretched to the water's edge and broke off square, a blue-ish wall of ice against grey waters.
From ice-flanked Townsend, Geehi stood out as the only green valley in a succession stretching away north west. The Geehi road, even from that height, seemed more than just a jeep track as shown an the Ordnance Map, and it turned out later to be a recently graded bush highway.
We left Kosciusko trig. late in the afternoon and traversed the Wilkinson Valley. The track, always faint, faded altogether north of the Abbott Range, and we were left to negotiate a wall of low scrub (prickly) as best we could, before picking it up again. The Lean One chose a creek bed, Tiger Digby and Binns the undergrowth, and suffered accordingly.
From a camp on the first small creek and adjacent patch of level ground on Hannell's Spur, the panorama before us stretched from south of the Victorian Alps to Jagungal, Scammel's Ridge leading to the Dargals, and the Grey Mare massif temporarily put the Blue Mountain ridges to shame.
Hannell's is overgrown for the first few miles, not too hard to push through, easily negotiable if you keep to the track. Further down it clears, and approaches the cattle track of a decade past described by Elyne Mitchell in “Australia's Alps”.
The afternoon was spent lazing on the flats near Geehi Hut, a solid building of cemented river stones, iron roofed, and apparently frequently inhabited. A seven-foot wide vehicular suspension bridge crosses the Geehi here, and the road reaches Tom Grogin where, we were told, road workers' huts have been erected by the Snowy Mountains Authority. O, the glories of civilisation!
We followed the Geehi as far as Devil's Grip Gorge (some three or fair miles) to avoid road bashing, and enjoyed four crossings. At least, two of us enjoyed them (what's that, Sheila?). A mile up the Geehi Walls by road, and the prospect of the twelve or fifteen more into Khancoban was losing its appeal. Consequently the driver of an approaching Landrover was confronted with four appealing eyes (the third pair of eyes was lowered in shame), and provided transport to Back Creek, where we lunched.
Digby wished to prolong the lunch hour to two or three, but firm hands had him on the road just in time to appeal to the decency of another Landrover driver. Binns was again offered the front seat, but the lesser lights perched on the loaded trailer and acquired a thick layer of dust which was washed off in the Murray, where another early camp was pitched.
We visited Corryong, a few miles inside the Victorian border, to arrange transport to Albury on the Murray Valley Coach, and for fresh food, and spent the night by a creek near the local Butter Factory. This spot turned out to be the swimming hole for all Corryong and their children, but by now a lethargy had crept on us, and we cared not.
The 7.30 a.m. bus to Albury stopped at every mailbox on the road during a dusty and dull hundred-mile trip. Even Digby, who had been sitting in his corner singing (as only he can sing) popular ballads or something, overjoyed at the prospect of returning to civilisation and comfort, eventually sank back in apathy.
We were fortunate in finding three seats in a row on the slow train from Albury, but the little man from the last paragraph soon lost his when, in his temporary absence, despite belongings strewn on it as evidence of ownership, an old lady claimed it. Of course, he would have offered it to her anyway. The fact that two stout matrons with several children were later found by the ticket wallah to be travelling first class on second class tickets (while Digby stood) probably brought about the state of mind which caused him to empty a cup of hot tea on the Lean One's right leg. The latter did not flinch, suffered silently, and kept his seat. To this day my good friend swears it was an accident, but we know better, don't we?
And then at last, home, sweet home! Comfort! Food! Culture!
And I only have to see those queer creatures with whom I spent so many long days on Friday nights, and then only for a brief hour or so.
After some doubts whether the Boating Race for the Rudolph Cup would be held at all, the event took place at Audley, National Park, as planned. Three boat crews competed in the race, and Jim Smith and John Bookluck oared their way to a resounding victory. The trophy will be presented to them at the annual Meeting. It has not yet been determined whether any particular series of victories will result in retention of the trophy.
By Geoff Wagg.
This is a simple story, simply told for simple people.
It tells how Frank and David, Ross and Geoff went to Tasmania and what befell them.
We started on Christmas Eve, laden with supplies of Christmas cake, nuts and jelly-beans, and one large meat pudding, and energetically farewelled by families and friends. After fighting all night for a comfortable position, we finally went to sleep, lulled by the penetrating odour of bushwalkers' socks. We had our breakfast on the “Spirit” and voted it as decidedly Bon oh!; then, eventually reaching Melbourne, of course being Sydneysiders, remained unimpressed.
After Christmas dinner (nuts and jelly-beans) in Melbourne we caught our 'plane to Launceston and about half-way across got our first taste of true Tassie weather. However, it wasn't quite raining when we arrived in Launceston, so we trotted off to the traditional camping ground in Cataract Gorge. We had meat pudding for tea, and went early to bed, considering that we'd done and seen quite enough for one day.
Next morning we all wandered down and patronised their beaut. Olympic Swimming Pool, lathering ourselves energetically, then washing off the suds with a plunge in the icy water. We breakfasted off the seemingly everlasting meat pudding and proceeded on a flood of directions from various people in search of the railway station. It was that morning we saw the posters about the New Zealand train smash, and we scanned the pages anxiously, fearing to see a name we knew.
Finally we located the locomotive and, as we settled into a diminutive antique “boxie”, the sky, which had been a picture of misery, found it could restrain tears no longer and a light mist of rain began to fall. Our journey through to Railton we really enjoyed and mostly we just sat looking at country so typically what we'd hoped to see we could hardly believe it. The mist of rain even improved it, softening the horizons and bringing out the tones of green and the red soil. At Railton we changed to a rail motor which rattled and jolted on the narrow gauge apparently quite able to make the journey of its own accord, while the driver scarcely deigned to look up from the book in which he was writing.
Now our way lay mostly through planted forests of pine and beech, with an occasional level crossing where the driver would rouse himself so far as to sound the horn, then relapse back into his clerical preoccupation. At Sheffield we, perhaps misguidedly, parcelled our long trousers and posted them to Queenstown (Frank very reluctantly) after which we went in search of Mr. Winter and his 'bus, which was to take us to Waldheim.
Mr. Winter, however, had decided to delay our departure until the arrival of another crowd of walkers on the later train and, as this would reduce our fare, we readily agreed. While we waited he regaled us with tales about the twenty walkers he had taken out the evening before, and we beheld visions of ourselves queueing up to climb Barn Bluff. At last the rest arrived and after some further delays we started off for Waldheim.
The country soon became very dreary, being mostly drab stands of timber with occasional saw mills. Also it once more began to rain and the closer we got to the Reserve the heavier it grew. We arrived at Waldheim just on dusk and, as we stepped out an to the saturated ground the sound of running water came loudly to our ears. Drops, trickles, rivulets and streams, all combined in a symphony of wetness.
We collected our food which had been delivered to the Ranger, and moved into the shelter of the Picnic Hut, along with Mr. Winter's twenty-odd other walkers. That night marked the end of an era - we finished the meat pudding.
We slept under the table that night and were awakened early next morning by unfortunate walkers whose time was running out and who had to push on whatever the weather. In lying under a table while those above eat breakfast one not only has excellent opportunities to study bushwalkers' knobbly knees, but also, like Mr. Lazarus, to sample various breakfasts being partaken upstairs. As we lay dozing drifts of conversation came to us containing words like “raining”, “snowing”, “ice on the top track”, and so we decided that we could afford to spend a day at Waldheim.
When those moving off had gone we crawled out and stirred up the fire and, after breakfasting, decided on a sortie out into the weather. We set off along the south track, skirting Dove Lake, and climbing up on to Hanson's Peak we stood looking across to where Little Horn occasionally showed through the mist while the snow flakes drifted up to us out of the lake. Although the wind was very powerful, we thought we'd cross the saddle and go round the base of Little Horn, then back via Crater Lake, but as we moved on to the high saddle, we walked into a blast of horizontal sleet that stung our bare legs and sent us scuttling back under the lee side of Hanson's.
As we descended we took quite a buffeting from the rising wind and our groundsheets flapped and snapped round us like sails. At one stage we saw David, quite helpless, being propelled backwards with his groundsheet blown right up round his head, until he hove to in the prickly embrace of a Richea bush.
The following night was bitterly cold, and we shivered in our sleeping bags underneath the table. About four next morning we peered through the tiny window and the sight made all worth while. The blizzard was gone, the sky was clear, and the tops were covered with snow. Breakfast was bolted, packs hastily made up and then our feet were on the trail.
As we climbed towards Cradle, the snow grew thicker until it became a complete carpet of white, while the small lakes were frozen over. The view from Cradle Mountain was beautiful, the cloud effects spectacular and the panorama of snow-dappled peaks would have quickened the beat of any bushwalking heart. By the time we returned to the track and pushed on toward Barn Bluff the mow had become mushy, and the oozy combinations of ice and mud made far from pleasant walking. We pitched camp just after midday in the mouth of Fury Gorge and dined off two rather charred, diminutive dampers.
We climbed Barn Bluff that afternoon and by the time we returned the clouds were building up for a fresh onslaught. Next morning we broke camp quickly with misty rain pursuing us across the Gorge, and started off with all speed toward Pelion Hut. As the day wore on, the weather improved and our admirable resolution to hurry dissolved with the mist. Soon we were dawdling to the accompaniment of clicking shutters. Button grass and mud, button grass and mud, followed by Frog Hollow, which was exclusively mud. We squelched into Pelion Hut that evening after ten weary hours of mud-wallowing, only to find that it was completely packed and nobody was pleased to see us.
However, once outside again it became apparent that the leeches were delighted to see us and we in turn fulfilled a sadistic delight in plucking them off our socks and dropping them in the fire. Not caring to share our sleeping bags with a myriad leeches, we all moved inside to sleep on the floor. I, however, was fortunate enough to score a third share in a bunk.
Next morning the clouds were once more with us, but nevertheless everyone went around hopefully telling everyone that it would soon clear up. Just to prove them wrong, or possibly because we'd done a spot of washing and had it hanging out to dry, the rain set in about 10 o'clock. That day we had planned to climb Pelion East and Ossa and return to sleep in Pelion Hut. However, the view from Pelion East was so restricted by mist and rain we decided to leave Ossa till next day, hoping for better weather. After eating lunch disconsolately sitting under an overhang on the side of Pelion East, we headed back towards Pelion Hut along what I think must come close to being the sloppiest piece of track we traversed during the thole trip.
Our fourth day began very much like the previous one, with low cloud (or high mist), but this time no one risked a prophecy, so it consequently began to break about midday. We climbed Ossa and, while the photography on the way up was quite good, the topmost fifty feet of the mountain seemed to coincide with cloud level and, though it was breaking, getting a photo was very much “catch as catch can”. On top we discovered some very respectably-sized snow drifts so as we came down glissading was the order of the day. We would start off vertical but almost invariably cover the last fifty feet on the seats of our shorts.
(To be continued.)
Reports have it that one of the highlights of the Boating Weekend was the unusual precautions taken to prevent bush fires. Tea was cooked by primus in the boats, while sheltering from a shower under overhanging rock ledges.
Quote from Paddy Pallin's advertisement in the magazine of October, 1937:
“Shortly after I started making camp gear I told a friend that I was getting in touch with Sydney Bush Walkers. He said “S.B.W.? They're a pretty tough lot - won't buy anything if they can make it themselves.”
By Allen A. Strom.
Frazer Park: The Wyong Shire Council (as Trustees of “Frazer Park”) will take no action to prevent the removal of gravel from the Park.
The National Trust is concentrating on an effort to ensure retention of the natural beauties of the Hawkesbury River - Broken Bay Area. The Kariong Proposal is receiving first attention.
Australian Encyclopedia: The note on “Bushwalking” in this publication is being finalised by the President and Secretary of Federation.
Deewhy Lagoon: The National Trust reports that the Fauna Protection Panel is supporting efforts to preserve portion of Deewhy Lagoon in its natural condition.
Barren Grounds: The Federation has asked the Fauna Protection Panel to have 3,456 acres on the Barren Grounds gazetted as a Faunal Reserve.
Warrumbungles: The Department of Lands has notified the Federation that 14,000 acres have been reserved in the Warrumbungles in preparation for a National Park. The persons nominated by the Federation for inclusion on the Trust (Messrs. Pallin and McInnes) will be given full consideration.
The N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs is affiliated with the newly established N.S.W. Sports Federation whose objects are stated as: “to encourage general participation in sports involving physical exertion and to foster sports activities and the interests of those participating in such activities in New South Wales”.
It has been reported that the Victorian Federation of Walking Clubs is interested in establishing an Australian Federation.
Search and Rescue: The S & R will meet on the following dates at Paddy Pallin's at 5.30 p.m.: March 8th, May 10th, August 9th, November 8th. The meeting on March 8th is most important and Club contact Men are asked to attend with “up-to-date” check lists of S & R personnel. The S. & R. section is to contact the Victorian Police and S & R to establish liaisson and discuss methods used.
The S & R Section is giving consideration to undertaking search and rescue in cases of parties missing in caves.
Annual Camp will be held on April 3rd/4th at Euroka Clearing.
A report was made to Federation on an area of land lying along the coast between Disaster Bay and Cape Howe. Many interesting features concerning its Primitive nature and the presence of certain species of plants and animals. Proposed to investigate the area fully. Visits to Areas of importance would be nude as follows: Proposed Budderoo National Park: March 19/20/21st. The Kariong Peninsula Proposal: April 9/10/llth. 'Phone Allen A. Strom at WE 2528 for details.
Here's a letter from a New Australian residing at Tarraleah, Tasmania, that Paddy got the other day. Knowing of old the critical way in which Europeans look at rucksacks Paddy takes it as rare compliment. I leave it to Bushwalkers to say whether they like to be referred to as “Tramps”!
I've seen a beautiful rucksack carried by a tramp lately. When I asked him where I could buy such one I got your address. The rucksack has a leather-bottom, two big outside pockets and strips for blankets too.
I expect your offers, if you've this one or others in stock.”
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney. M2678.