A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney. Box No.4476, G.P.O. Sydney.
|Co-Editors||Dot Butler, Boundary Road, Wahroonga (JW2208). Geoff Wagg, 19 Mary Street, Blacktown.|
|Business Manager||Alex Colley (XA1255).|
|Production||Alan Wilson (FY2047).|
|Sales and Subs||Jess Martin.|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey.|
|The Seven Good Joys of Our Monthly Meeting||1|
|Long Week-end On the Shoalhaven||Dot Butler||6|
|The Sydney Bushwalkers Annual Xmas Party||7|
|Federation Notes - October||Allen A. Strom||13|
|The Admiral's Madcap Marathon, 1954 Style||Frank Rigby||14|
|Kosciusko Invasion - Part 1||Ross Laird||18|
|Siedlecky's Taxi and Tourist Service||3|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop||5|
|Scenic Motor Tours||9|
|Leica Photo Service||11|
|Good News for Bushwalkers (Paddy's Advert.)||20|
The first good joy our Meeting had, it was the joy of One:
New membership to Alan, Neil, and Ailsa Cameron,
(The lass who skirls the pipes, good folk),
And happy may they be
With maps and packs and aching backs
To all Eternity.
The next good joy our Meeting had, it was the joy of Two:
Blue Mountains Shire has set aside a camp for me and you -
A site at Nellie's Glen, good folk,
And happy may ye be
With all amenities laid on
For all Eternity.
The next good joy our Meeting had, it was the joy of Three:
To thank the “Woman” newspaper for good publicity.
Two staff reporters came, good folk,
(And happy may they be),
Wrote up our walk, and heard us talk
To all Eternity.
The next good joy our Meeting, had, it was the joy of Four:
To Members of three kinds now add “Associates” to the score.
They're pleased to pay their way, good folk,
And happy may they be
Through cold and heat, with blistered feet,
To all Eternity.
The next good joy our Meeting had showed Federation's hand:
Most folk in favour of grog at their Reunions being banned.
“Against” that means, not “For” you mugs,
And happy may ye be
Through heat and drouth, with dust-parched mouth,
For all Eternity.
The next good joy our Meeting had, it was the joy of Six:
For five feet round your cooking fires remove all grass and sticks
All things, alive or dead, good folk,
(Including you and me;
Our time has not yet come to burn
For all Eternity.)
The next good joy our Meeting had, it was the joy of Seven:
If going on a weekend walk, due notice must be given.
The leaders can't read minds, good folk,
And happy will they be
To know before just what's the score
Of those they're going to see.
That amphibious operation known as the Rudolph Cup Race will be held at Audley, National Park, on 12th December. “Murder on the Main (Spanish, not Scott's) after lunch.
Skulduggery for all classes. No frogmen admitted.
“Yes”, said Alex, “I suppose I should write up Jim Brown's Hazlebrook - Mt. Hay trip for the Magazine, but it was indescribable!”
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.
The area surrounding the map at Central was its usual Friday night hive of activity as our group, 14 in all, assembled there soon after 9 p.m. in order to get the 9.50 train.
The train journey was in no way different from any other train journey undertaken by Bushwalkers. There was the usual amount of frivolity, very little seriousness, and very little sleep. We tumbled off the train at Scone in the very early hours of Saturday morning - the beginning of a trip which was to delight us one and all.
We waited impatiently for several hours till the bus at last made an appearance. Rucksacks were piled haphazardly on the roof with the usual bus driver care. The bus wasn't due to leave for another 45 minutes, so as hungry stomachs were crying in anguish we knocked up a cafe proprietor and begged him to feed us. He fed us to satisfaction in the short space of time that we had before our departure. Perhaps the most amusing thing that occurred in the cafe was when our thrifty member, Frank Rigby, brought out a large piece of steak from his pocket, all neatly bundled up, then with slight embarrassment, asked the gentleman would he cook it for him. Somehow steaks were mixed up, and satisfied grunts from John Thornthwaite told us he was enjoying Frank's lovely fresh steak. Frank slowly ate his meal but didn't enjoy it as the meat was tough - not like the steak that John was enjoying.
We hurried out of the cafe in time to catch the bus, and soon settled down for the long ride to Stewart's Brook. Proceeding along the dusty road, soon we were hemmed in on both sides by ascending ridges. Small farms littered some of the hillsides. Admiral Anderson would now and again cry out joyously, “Oh, a mighty shot for my Practica”. He was quickly subdued by other walkers who owned different makes of cameras.
The bus trip did not last as long as was expected. The first de-bussing occurred when we stopped at the beginning of an apparently solid-looking bridge. Our vehicle groaned to a halt and we were kindly asked to walk the bridge while the bus came over at its leisure. Towards the middle of the bridge a good shot was observed. Fifty per cent of the mob stopped and cameras were brought into action. The bus driver waited patiently while everyone tried to do justice to the scene, then we were on our way again penetrating further and further into the ranges.
The next halt was soon upon us, and we were told that the rest of the way would be by truck. This arrived an hour later, and all the parcels and rucksacks from the mail bus were transferred to the truck. Loading completed we all piled aboard, and off we went again. We must have covered nearly 3 miles when another halt was made, the driver explaining that he would be about 15 minutes. We once again waited patiently till he rejoined us, then we were on our way once more. The next 50 yards of the trip went quickly before we stopped and again changed trucks, but this time a bigger truck which the driver explained was better for crossing the creeks. The next four or five miles was a succession of opening and closing gates. This was done expertly and efficiently by Messrs. Bookluck and Adcock. The watch hands showed 2.30 p.m. when we finally disembarked from the truck, this being as far as we would go. We were practically at the base of the Barrington Tops.
A quick lunch, its peace broken by the traditional shout “Moving off in one minute!”, and our leader, Jim Hooper, speedily donned his pack and urged us onwards. Jim's idea was to try to get to the top near Barrington Trig, by nightfall, but darkness too soon descended upon us, and we were much short of the top when we pitched camp in a saddle just off the main ascent ridge.
The rumour had got around that John Thornthwaite had a transmitter and receiver in his rucksack. John explained that the idea was to establish a radio link between Sydney and Brisbane. He continued to explain that Carey's Peak (5,064 ft.) would make a good relay station because of its height and line of sight north and south. The transmitter and receiver combined in a small compact unit weighing approximately 16 lbs. with batteries and aerial.
Sunday morning John and myself left slightly earlier than the main party to make for Carey's Peak as quickly as possible. (Carey's Peak is on the opposite side of the Barrington Tops to Barrington Trig.)
We reached the Peak at 1 p.m. The gear was quickly set up and to our joy we could hear the amateurs calling. John's call sign was VK2ATO. He soon had the transmitter tuned and gave a call over the small microphone. To his great satisfaction the signal was heard by several amateurs. During the course of the afternoon contact was established with amateurs at Newcastle, Singleton, Wentworth Falls and Sydney.
By nightfall the main party showed up and told us what they had seen during the day. The chief points of interest were the Barrington River, which everyone said was very pretty and most kodachromatic. They also visited the crashed plane site. Later that night several of the party went up to the Peak to see the transmitter in operation. Our camp was in a saddle about 200 ft. below the Peak. The biting cold soon forced the station to close down for the night. When the shelter of the saddle was reached John once again started to transmit, and, believe it or not, contacted The Gib at Bowral (200 miles line of site). The power of this transmitter was about half of a watt, that is about one hundredth of the power needed to operate an ordinary electric globe. The performance was really amazing.
Monday morning was different from the usual run of Monday mornings - oh, yes, we were still in the bush and not fighting our way to work! The position was now that we had about eight miles of the “Corker” to go down off the Barringtons, then about four miles of flat walking to Barrington House where we were to catch our bus. Some of the party left at 9 a.m., whilst a few stayed to watch John say his last words on the air from Carey's Peak. We finally all got away by 10 a.m. and had a burn down the Corker with the Admiral and Beryl Christensen as pacemakers. For breakfast the Admiral had had a spoonful of Terry's, this being enough to give him the stamina that a pacemaker needs. I haven't yet persuaded Beryl to try Terry's, but the Admiral is gradually weakening.
The Corker was terminated by a most beautiful pool into which water cascaded from two or three directions, churning up the sparkling surface to a white foam. The party that left Carey's at 9 a.m. were sitting down having lunch when we arrived, footsore and weary. We once again had a quick lunch, having four miles to do in 1 1/2 hours before the bus left.
The walk to Barrington House from the bottom of the Corker is all rain forest, and it presented a beautiful scene. On the side of the tracks many native orchids were observed clinging to tree trunks and moss-covered rocks. Barrington House soon loomed up out of the forest. We all refreshed here and settled comfortably in the bus with a troop of boy scouts. I don't think they could quite make out what we were because we didn't have uniforms.
The ride to Maitland was exceptionally pretty as undulating country goes. Looking back we could see the Barrington Tops silhouetted against the setting sun. We arrived at Maitland to clamber on to a train to Newcastle where, after a meal, we boarded a fast train to Sydney, all of us wondering when we would see the enchanting Barrington Tops again.
Walkers done carry refrigerators, but there is no need to when they can take well-packaged, long-keeping, safely preserved vegetarian foods.
Ry-king crisp bread, Ry Vita, Krisp-o-Wheat and Wheat Flake biscuits - keep fresh on long trips.
Cashews, almonds and raisins, brazil nuts, glace apricots and dried fruit sweets in handy 4 and 8 oz. cellophane packets.
Nutmeat and Nutolene (tinned, safe-keeping meat substitutes). Also marmite and peanut butter.
The Sanitarium Health Food Shop.
13 Hunter Street, Sydney.
- Dot Butler.
There were 17 of us and no leader they told me, although Colin and Geof seemed to stand out in darker print than the rest, and we were to hire two or three cars to take us to the Endrick River for the holiday weekend. In the Club Roam on the preceding Wednesday night there was near panic when Colin announced he could only get one car. A frantic last-minute change of plans resulted in the location being altered to a more accessible place - Cedar Flat on the Shoalhaven, seven of us electing to go by car while the remaining ten would hitch to Marulan where they would assemble at the pub. Here Colin would pick them up in batches and relay them to the ridge above Cedar Flat where we would all be camped for the Friday night, and thence proceed down to the river next morning for breakfast.
As is usual in Colin's trips he arrived dead on time outside the Club Room at 6.30, despite traffic setbacks encountered on the way, and we set out for Route 31. It was a very matey sort of route - every so often we would pass people we knew, first Pat and Ian somewhere beyond Liverpool getting into a utility which had just pulled up for them. The occupants were four car salesmen returning from a successful deal, and they stopped at all the pubs to celebrate and insisted on shouting Pat and Ian on every occasion. Later they picked up two dead-beat young Air Force chaps who just fell into the back seat and collapsed on each other's shoulder and were asleep before they could tell the astounded driver where they wished to get out. (“Temporarily out of ardour”, commented Colin.)
The next couple we sped past with much shouting and tooting and waving goodbye were Garth and Snow standing under a street light and thumbing valiantly.
Now a familiar vehicle looms ahead like a circus tent on wheels. How right you are! It's the Caloola Club's bus packed to capacity. A hearty exchange of conversation as we passed and repassed several times, then we lost them as they headed towards Canberra.
Our vocal efforts were by this time in full swing and we sped along making as much din as the town brass band, and quite as musical. We went through everyone's repertoire, with special emphasis on “Old Paint”. This ditty is now so soaked into the old Dodge's upholstery that no amount of scrubbing will ever get it out. A persistent smell of burning, accompanied by swathes of white smoke clinging around our chassis like Gypsie Rose Lee's diaphanous veils around hers, brought us to an eventual halt to discover that the radiator had boiled dry. We filled her up from a roadside pond full of frogs and proceeded, aware now that the sign on the windscreen fill radiator daily meant exactly what it said.
We reached Marulan to find Ken Angel and Dawn already there. After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing on the dark unfamiliar roads by the limestone quarries we piled out at a likely camp spot and back went the car to pick up the hitchers. Two trips netted six bods, but of the other four there was no sign so we gave them up till morning. We had lit a fire to direct Colin back to our camp spot. This gave Dave the idea - on his arrival about 2 a.m. - that he would boil a billy and make some tea, but as there was no water the idea fell flat. “Just quietly, I'm hungry”, announced our ever-starving Snow in his plaintive voice. The sleeping camp stirred restlessly in mute disapproval. “Well be hungry”, said Colin, ”— just quietly!“ Snow took the reproof to heart and we heard no more talk.
Daylight revealed the fact that we were bedded down among a miscellany of rusty tins with red-backed spiders webbing in their dim recesses. “If there's a town rubbish dump you can trust the Bushwalkers to find it!” No breakfast till we hit the river, so while people packed up, back went the car to collect any further stragglers, but 7 a.m. revealed no more bods. Actually we passed Dick Hoffman and his mirror-image Bob both going and coming. They were in the local cemetery sharing the sacred ground with those who had drunk their cup a round or two before. Our two worthies were also dead to all effects till after 8 a.m. and so didn't see our car pass, and the spotter in the car was unable to make any distinction between who was what in the serried ranks of death. Don and Neil also were wiped off as a dead loss; as a matter of fact they didn't make Marulan till mid-day, so went on to Young (via Prune Vale!) for the weekend.
We locked the car and left her standing and all headed off for the ridge leading to Cedar Flat. On our second wrong ridge Snow was informed he had left his climbing rope back at the car. While he went to retrieve it we selected a third ridge which proved to be IT. Snow rejoined us and we didn't take more than half an hour to scoot down to the river, and then breakfast. By 10 a.m. we were ready to go places. Was it to be the Block-up, 6 miles each way, i.e. 12 miles? Or was it to be Bungonia Gorge, 4 or 5 miles return? The vote was cast in favour of the Block-up so off we set without packs - never mind about lunch, we've just had breakfast! We walked a hundred, maybe two hundred, yards to the bank of the river. What a mighty place for a swim! What a bon-O pool! What an utterly magnificent set-up to sabotage the proposed hot dry walk! Needless to say we got no further. On with the makeshift swim costumes and ah for a wonderful morning swimming and sunbaking on the sand.
Garth wanted a raft. The three engineers discussed the project but in the absence of a crosscut or axe his hopes looked like being blighted. However Garth had begun to feel that a raft was essential. While the rest of us sunbaked on a high rock he could be seen on the far bank pushing over and dragging a couple of dead trees into the river. Things began to look promising so in goes Putt, splash! to give assistance. They rowed them up river and worked off quite a lot of surplus energy.
After lunch, feeling that the S.B.W. is primarily a walking club, we all set out to Bungonia Gorge. We had much fun boulder hopping and scrambling over the huge chunks of limestone, and a tentative climb up part of the side walls. There was a small hole about 15 feet up a sheer wall which could have been an entrance to a cave, so employing the same tactics as the Tigers used on the first ascent of Carlon's Head, to wit, a pyramid of bodies 3 layers high up which the climber scrambles to reach the objective, we managed to get one lightweight bod up to the hole. Ian, being top man, was then given an ankle to hold and hauled up too. The support structure now thought it was time to relieve the strain on sunburnt shoulders so dismantled itself, leaving us stranded in this hole in the wall while they threatened to walk off. The milk of human kindness, however, had not completely dried up and they reformed the scaffolding and allowed us to slide down. Then back to camp, on the way discovering that Geof had sprained an ankle which caused a bad limp and a sad slowing down of his native friskiness.
After tea we all foregathered around a beautiful campfire. Pat and Ian were the last to arrive, bearing a large billy of fruit punch concocted by master hands and liberally laced with rum, also a huge fruit cake. Amazed at such liberality at a S.B.W. camp, we were about to put it down to just another delightful trait of these charming New Zealanders, when Ian said, “Oh, by the way, Pat and I have become engaged and this is to celebrate the announcement”. Did we celebrate with enthusiasm! There followed an evening of song and Maori haka, hesitant performers being urged to jog their memories by taking a swig from the rum bottle. This worked every time.
It was a glorious starry night, and despite pitched tents nearly everyone slept out under the sky. Not Dave though. He had knocked over the rum bottle in the tent and spilt half the contents on the ground. He retired to his rum-soaked couch and slept solidly in an atmosphere of alcohol fumes, regaling us in the morning with some talk about being an Antarctic petrel which vomits at anyone who approaches too close.
While preparing breakfast we were initiated into a prime New Zealand lurk for halting the rot in meat. You take your meat, which is beginning to suffer from B.O., and dip it in boiling water for a few minutes, and then rush it down and cool it rapidly in the river. Repeat every couple of days; this way it will keep for months. (All right! All right! Don't believe me; try it yourself!)
Today was to be spent caveing. Taking lunch, torches and rope we rock-hopped up the Gorge once again, then via a side creek to the Lookout. In the semi-civilized shambles of an “improved” beauty spot we found a bushwalker tent, erected (you're right again!) in the middle of a heap of rusty tins. In possession were two bearded gentlemen who when we had penetrated their disguises, were revealed as Hoffo and Bob. They had resurrected themselves the previous morning, walked out from their cemetery straight across country - a sad mistake - and had not yet recovered. They had located several of the caves shown on the map and led us off to see them. A depression in the ground with an 18” crack in it caused whoops of delight - they had stumbled across a new sink-hole. It smelt like… it smelt like… Have you ever smelt a dirty sardine tin which has been putrefying on a beach in the hot summer sun? Have you ever smelt cattle at the slaughter yard, drooling at the mouth and rolling their eyes upward to where death lurks, just between the horns? Have you ever smelt - well, never mind - Hoffo said it was the carbide. To me it smelt like fear.
We will now, health, danger, public ordinances and other circumstances notwithstanding, take you an a tour of this stink hole (sorry - sink hole!). Outside the sunlight dreamed atop the craggy slopes, the hillsides rang with birdsong, there was a faint whisper of leaf on leaf and the scent of eucalyptus drifted tantalisingly on the hot dry air as we crammed our ten troglodyte selves through the entrance and with the aid of fixed ropes, torches, acetylene lamps and Grace's enthusiasm began our perilous descent into the dank carcase of the earth. To those of us waiting our turn to descend, snatches of conversation came whispering eerily up from the void “We'll need a rope - someone pass down a rope - mind my lamp - do you think it'll go?” Tense minutes pass. From about two galleries down the cultured voice of Ian floats up, “I say Grace old girl, don't cone down yet - I'm in a devil of an awkward position just here!” One last look at the sunlight and at Don and Tine who have no pride and are not coming in, then I wriggle after Snow's disappearing rear, rather wishing I had a torch.
Colin had told us of testers at I.C.I. chemical works who crawl into the boilers through a narrow squeeze hole so that they may bang on the inside with an iron hammer and listen to the WHANG. Sometimes panic sets in and they are unable to get out. The technique then is to urge them to divest themselves of their clothes, what time you play a jet of cold water on them from a hose telling them it will shrink them sufficiently to enable them to squeeze out again. When they are sufficiently uncomfortable they come to accept as truth this asinine piece of reasoning and squeeze out again. But how, I ask you, is one to carry out such a procedure in a cave? The only thing is not to be behind a big bloke who is likely to get stuck. But if you're in front of him going, you're behind him on the return, so where does it get you? Oh well… press on, regardless!
About a hundred feet down in the pitch darkness we encountered (guess what?) blowflies!!! These polyphiloprogenitives, which feast upon putrefaction, what did they have down below to make them buzz so contentedly? (On second thoughts, don't tell me!)
After several hours, when we had used up all the 250 ft. of rope and wriggled through a narrow sewer for some 50 ft., it seemed to be time to retrace our footsteps. Half the party has disappeared on its way back and I would like to be with them, but Dave has found a string leading off into the void. Should one try to catch up with the others, or should one follow Dave? Dave has the torch, I'll stick with him. Grace and some other unidentified person is also with us. We wriggle for 30 ft. across a low-roofed cavern which eventually offers a neat black hole in the floor. Down this I prepare to go and get half way down a well without much in the way of foot or handholds. Suddenly the light swings away - Dave has gone to see what the others are up to. Dense pitch blackness washes over everything. A wail from the darkness “Snow, where's the light!” Then authoritatively, trying to still the quaver in the voice: “DAVE! COME BACK HERE WITH THAT LIGHT!” Dave returns wearing a faint grin. “What's up, Dotty?” he says. Eventually we get out. Ah, the miracle of sunlight. And isn't fresh air wonderful stuff. Caves! Ugh!
In the remaining daylight we dropped down the hot dry ridge to the river and so back to camp. A swim, followed by a meal of the deodorized steak and a gathering by the camp fire till 10 p.m., and then sleep. Kookaburras, whip birds and lyre birds woke us early next morning and the camp was soon astir. We hung a rope from a high branch of a red cedar tree and Colin and Garth demonstrated the intricacies of Prussic slings, used by mountaineers to get themselves out of crevasses they have fallen in - if they're very lucky. The boys then warmed up with field sports - shot putt, caber toss, discus hurling and so on. Tine and Don were meanwhile settling a little domestic difference. The devout couple was or were chasing each his better half round the blackthorn bushes with a full water bucket. Why did Geof barge in? He was sorry the moment he'd done it as he collected the contents of a water bucket over his head, followed at rapid intervals by the carbide waste from Snow's caveing lamp, somebody's coffee grounds, and the scrapings from someone else's porridge billy. “Now, hold it a minute”, said Snow. “I want a photo of that. Someone be ready with a billy of water to throw in his face just as I snap it. That was fine. Thanks Geof, old man. Now what about going away for a swim - you stink!”
A swim, did someone say? That's a great thought, and soon we were all down an the far bank. We brought a rope over, and selecting a likely-looking dead tree overhanging the river we kicked off all the surplus dead branches and made a swing. All the morning was spent on this. We tried it forwards, backwards and sideways, right way up and upside down, and in a wide circular sweep, terminating each swing with a crash into the water. When all the solo tricks were exhausted someone thought up doublers. This naturally made us think of the engaged couples, so Pat and Ian were urged into position both holding on to the stick, and launched into the deep. It was a mighty performance. Next it was Tine and Don's turn, but Tine refused to be bullied so we made do with the two heavyweights, Colin and Garth. Over the sand they came at a gallop - Colin, 18 hands high, 200 lbs. paddock weight, the Pride of the Pampas, with Garth on his back as it were. The swing's full momentum carried them well out over the river, and letting go simultaneously they plummeted towards the aqua, Garth crashing in no uncertain manner on Colin's sunburnt back. The party on the sand roared its appreciation. Ian was convulsed with laughter. “That was priceless”, he gasped, “now I've seen everything!” “By no means”, said Colin. “You never made a greater mistake, excuse yourself. That is the least of my injuries. Wait till I come out.” And sure enough, as Colin emerged Ian realised that he hadn't till now seen everything - Garth had neatly sheared off the whole seat of Colin's pants. A careful exit from the water, the wrapping of a wide multi-coloured scarf as a lap-lap, and modesty was served.
When hunger called we returned for lunch, then packed up and departed up the ridge carrying a couple of full water-buckets for the car. Colin drove the hitchers out to the road while the others walked on, then picked up the final load and so back along Route 31 in a steady stream of traffic. Later this thinned out so we could speed along singing, lights gleaming along the road, dark trees etched against the sky flitting past, and our thoughts dwelling softly on yet mother holiday of happy companionship and laughter.
Friday 10 December. R.S.L. Hall, Elizabeth St., Sydney.
Dancing 8 - 12 midnight. Dress optional.
Tickets 15/-. All liquid refreshments available right prices.
… Detach and Mail …
The Social Secretary, The Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476, G.P.O., Sydney.
Please send me … tickets for the Annual Christmas Party.
Full Postal Address …
Amount Enclosed £ : : d.
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.
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.
- Allen A. Strom.
Five Clubs submitted thirty five names for this Squad. The President of Federation has discussed arrangements with Mr. M.E. Messer, Chairman of The Bushfire Committee, and will hand on the names submitted to the Sutherland Shire Bushfire Brigade; it is contemplated that a Training School will now be organised.
There is no Convener for the Social Committee. If you are interested in a Ball you may care to undertake the job of Convenor… or use your influence to persuade one of your friends.
This will continue to take place on the Second Weekend Before Easter. Club Secretaries will be informed that the Federation requests no liquor to be consumed at the Reunion and that offenders may be asked to leave the campsite.
Mr. Peter Cameron of the C.M.W. was elected to this position.
The Lands Department will advise the Trustees (Wyong Shire Council) that no new quarry should be opened up.
The October Meeting of the Fauna Protection Panel agreed to recommend to the Minister that 30,000 acres of Crown Land in the Nadgee Area should be dedicated a Faunal Reserve.
There has recently been renewed activity to have legislation enacted on this matter. It is proposed that a Panel should be set up to administer the Act.
A recent visit to the area has shown that mining activities have moved no closer to the Gorge proper. A letter has been sent to the Trust of the Bungonia Caves asking whether they are prepared to make approaches to the Department of Mines. Overtures have also been made to the Commonwealth Tourist Authorities.
An interim report concerning a National Park in the area has been received from the Northern Parks and Playgrounds Movement. It is also known that a Forestry Officer working under a UNESCO Grant has recently completed a survey of the Tops.
- Frank Rigby.
You've probably been on one of the Admiral's trips - you know, the type that always manages to begin in utter confusion. Well, the Kanangra Walls - Cloudmaker - Tiwilla - Katoomba two-day madcap marathon was no exception. For instance, who cares if the “organised” transport to the Walls has gone astray somewhere and taxis are as scarce as hen's teeth? Apparently not the Admiral. “I was only kidding about this tiger trip, anyway” he says.
Picture the post office scene at Blackheath at 11 p.m. on that dark, chilly Friday night. Two undaunted stalwarts are on the blower, trying desperately to interest the reluctant taxi fraternity of Katoomba in our plight. The Admiral paces up and down the bridge outside wearing his famous vacant expression, while Yours Truly, with definite White Ant tendencies, squats in the gutter dreaming of a blissful, loafing weekend down at Blue Gum. The blower-operators have closed down amid oaths and curses - fortunately they have failed in their mad quest. Aha, all is now lost - we are resigned to a spine-bashing destiny. But wait! Fate has thwarted me once again - the wretched coach has just rolled up and the Admiral has pounced on its driver. Alas, it is Kanangra or bust now, and so we press on regardless. What does it matter if you have to push the lazy vehicle up the Porcupine? Why should you complain if you don't finally bag down until 2 a.m., are hauled out again at 5, and haven't slept in the interim because of hard planks and mopokes? The answers are unprintable.
The pre-dawn gloom, the feeble brain impulses inseparable from this absurd hour of the day, and the incombustible Kanangra wood all combine to make breakfast something of a struggle. However, the sun rose up into a cloudless, breathless sky, and with it the promise of a glorious day to come. This spurred our languid efforts to some extent, and so, despite all, the eight sleepless frames mooched out on to the Kanangra Tops in rather bedraggled fashion at something after seven. Our slow-revving, long-stroke leader, with whip as yet cunningly concealed, led the way, closely followed by Jim Hooper with new movie camera straining at the leash, trying to be compatible with Colin Putt who was flinging pointed curses at the wicked disease of photography which, according to Colin, seems to have stricken so many of our walkers with creeping paralysis. That man of stamina, Arne Jonsson, strode out with an enviable confidence reminiscent of those rare walkers who possess seemingly bottomless pits brimming over with energy. Next came prospective Ted Smith, showing admirable courage in tackling this trip, only his second with the Club, and then Yours Truly, alternating between suspicious glances at the mighty Cloudmaker ahead, and wistful daydreams of the tranquility and inertia of weekends spent at Blue Gum Forest or Euroka. A tried and tested tail comprised our pair fresh from New Zealand, lone femme Betty Swain, and try-anything-once Pete Stitt. All in all a mixed bag, I felt, but a bag from which some strange apparitions would inevitably appear. How prophetic and how true!
After a bit of jiggery-pokery in which the Admiral had us all at sea, we hit upon the cleft running from the Tops down to our ridge and then stepped it out along to Craft's Walls, where our first rest of “two minutes only, you peasants” fortunately degenerated into a quarter-hour photographic ramble. From then on, though, the whip was always handy, and potential white-antism was invariably nipped in the bud. This was serious business, I guessed, as the Admiral's face began to assume that strained expression of pseudo-responsibility only he can conjure. Up the High, over the High and Mighty, and then the Mighty - and what high and mighty panoramas were opening up on every side. The view back along the massive Kanangra Deep was particularly impressive. Ahead and above reared the Cloudmaker massif, and one by one we stormed and won its lesser bastions of Rip, Rack, Roar and Rumble, until at last the summit itself was ours just as the noonday hour approached. I must admit that the summit of Cloudmaker is somewhat uninspiring. After such a struggle, one might expect to be rewarded with, at the least, a view. However, it's one of those mountains that are undoubtedly good for the prestige. Looming up like a giant as it does from all horizons, to have traversed the mighty Cloudmaker is to have become a bushwalker tried and true - or so the tourists would have it, anyway. And so down to the Tiwilla Pass for lunch. Oh, what dastardly curses and ungentlemanly oaths flowed out into that pure mountain air when it was discovered that the staple lunch item, the so-and-so biscuits, had been completely omitted from the Admiral's food party lists. We are beginning to see the reason behind Brian's light-weight fanaticism - it's apparently because he can't help it.
The afternoon passed away pleasantly with the stroll across Tiwilla Plateau and down the Tiwilla Buttress to the Kowmung. I can thoroughly recommend the Buttress with its gently-sloping, open, easy-going ridge; besides, extra good time can be made on this section owing to the absence of kodachromatic material.
What happens when a party, nearing its evening campsite, splits into two equal factions and the “Leader” is relegated to the rearguard? Let me tell you. “Wait for us down at the Tiwilla Creek junction” warns our tiring Chieftain; and did that advance guard wait? Like merry hell they did! Cooee contact was eventually established and it appeared the erring ones had found a haven some half-mile upstream. “I'll show 'em who's bossing this outfit” and flinging down pack, our gallant crusader, with features contorted like those of a mad bull, pranced off in the best admiral's tradition to do battle with the renegades. What ensued we can only guess at, but, judging by our Leader's browbeaten, faltering return some fifteen minutes later, we knew that he had met his Waterloo. “After all, they had the tents half up and a couple of fires going. That could I do?” he wailed. The fact that the advance guard had hit upon an infinitely superior campsite to the Junction was, of course, merely incidental and insignificant in the Admiral's scheme of things.
Impromptu food-partying with Colin Putt can be fun. Odd and sundry ingredients from the tucker bags of several bods are combined in an unpremeditated fashion in Colin's communal billy, set over a roaring fire. Despite all the laws of science, the result is invariably a feast of both quality and quantity, especially the latter. After just such an orgy of eating, on top of some forty virtually sleepless hours, no threats were required to make us hit the hay like obedient five-year-olds. Even the Leader's grim forecast of a 6.30 start on the morrow failed to provoke the belligerent protests customary on more animated occasions.
From the moment Brian slowly and sorely raised his long frame from the good earth, I knew that the 6.30 start would prove to be a fallacy. After all, you can't light a fire with green logs in five minutes, can you Brian? No, it takes fully thirty. If you hadn't been the Leader I'd have accused you of deliberate White Anting with so much dry tinder around for the taking. Then, of course, Jim Hooper and Peter Stitt had somehow yet to have their eyelids raised, no easy task without a plug of gelignite. Ah yes, time there was a-plenty. And then it happened! The Admiral's billy of rice, prepared at great effort and cost, was sitting out on the open prairie in perfect repose while its contents cooled for eating. What could upset it? Why, nothing else save the Admiral's No.10 hoof! And where did the rice flow? Why, straight on top of the biggest meadow cake for miles around. And what was also inverted during the gourmet's prancing rage? Of course it was the full billy of milk intended for covering the first course. Yes Jim, you were right about the foreign flavour in your breakfast that Sunday morning.
After a series of false alarms, Anderson style, we finally hit the trail at 7.45. Sixteen miles behind us and twenty-seven ahead. Did I say twenty-seven? I sure did, and I mean every inch of it, with 3,000 feet upwards thrown in for good measure. The first part was unbelievably pleasant and exhilarating and we swung along in great style down the Kowmung to the Cox Junction, where an early lunch was started at something like 1100 hours. After supplying the no-biscuits party with free bread, they were too tight even to purchase a surplus tin of sardines from me to bolster their meagre rations. “Why should we pay”, they chorused, “when we can take by force?” Such are the animal instincts developed on these tiger trips - keep well away from them. I hid my sardines in the farthest corner of my pack and kept my distance…
Onwards, ever onwards! Up the steep end of the White Dog spur we plodded, with physical staminas slowly but surely on the wane. At Kelpie Hill, Brian, Peter and Betty decided to advance more leisurely, while the rest of us, with visions of the last train chortling off without us, started the long burn into Katoomba, a sweat-and-tears trek that I shall never forget. I was quite happy as far as Clear Hill, but with the level going and those high-powered steam engines Hooper, Jonsson and Putt alternately taking over the pacing, it was a constant struggle for little “chuffas” like me. From Glenraphael Swamp to the Falls Kiosk our train was truly express. Had we stopped once, I am quite certain that we wouldn't have moved again that day. By collapsing into a taxi at the Falls Kiosk we managed to steal time for a most welcome meal.
The hour had come when we must try desperately to somehow drive our tortured bodies to the station; and there followed such a circus act as the citizenry of Katoomba had never been treated to before. Rigor Mortis had set in en masse during our relaxation at the cafe and we had degenerated into a bunch of old crocks. Staggering, lurching, and creaking at every joint, our plight was indeed a sorry one, but not without its humorous side. I could honestly state that we did not radiate that “how to win members and influence people” effect at this stage of the marathon.
Having fallen in a heap on the platform, the burning question then was whether our gallant Leader's minority group would have the physical reserve necessary to turn up in time for the train; and staunch warriors that they proved to be, that they did just in the nick of time. Suffering much the same effects as we, they had just had time to grab some cakes and biscuits to keep body and soul together.
Nor was the position much improved at Central Station. As we lurched our several ways I'm sure that most of us made ourselves a secret promise that our next outing would be, shall we say, more in the order of a nice, soft, instructional weekend or a Sunday cakewalk. We had come, seen, and been conquered, but had lived to tell the tale. Three cheers for the Admiral and his crew of sturdy henchmen!
Before too many people start congratulating the Editor for the extremely valuable Index to Walks which has appeared in the two previous issues, we would hasten to point out that this lengthy piece of research is the work of your President, Jim Brown. We should have acknowledged it before.
- Ross Laird.
“Why, who's going, and when, and where?”
“Bert Whillier's going to Kosciusko with his son Richard for the school holidays and can take a party with him in his utility truck.”
“Gee, wouldn't it be mighty! I wonder if I can get time off from work - who else is going?”
“Well, Dot Butler just told me about it. She's getting the crowd together as Bert doesn't know many of the newer folk, so that means she's going and taking the children with her.” And so the message went around the Club, everyone keen to go but doubting whether they could get the time off from work.
Dot made a list in the first few weeks of all those hoping to go, and as time marched on so the list grew to alarming proportions. First nine, then twelve, seventeen, eighteen, twenty, then back to eighteen as some dropped out, and there it stayed till three weeks before it was time to leave when Ross Laird got last minute holidays and brought the number to nineteen. The altering numbers didn't worry Dot in her calculations of the huge quantity of food the crowd would need on this mammoth expedition as she merely increased or decreased as the case may be, but she soon did realise that the original idea of camping out was almost an impossibility, and so a mad search was made for accommodation. It was Jean Schoen, working with the Snowy Mountains Authority in Cooma, who came to the rescue by getting us the S.M.A. Ski Hut at Smiggins Holes for the nominal fee of 7/6d. per person per night, the only trouble being that S.B.W. would have to vacate the hut at weekends to allow the Ski Club members to use their own hut. Colin Putt's alpine tent was taken to meet this situation.
All arrangements were made. Bert was taking the truck with his boy Richard, Dot, Rona and Wendy Butler, and Robbie and Jimmy Brewster (Dot's nephews), together with all the food, mattresses for when we camped out which Dot had hired from the Christian Union Temperance Society, and all the privately owned skis and stocks, not to mention the extra goods and chattels which go towards making a holiday of this nature a little more comfortable. George Grey was taking Judy Wagg and Eric Adcock in his Austin; Pat Sullivan, Ian Wood, Garth Coulter and Bob Learmont were going down four days ahead of the rest of the party, and Jean Aird, Doug Dodds, Don Newis, David Brown and Ross Laird were to travel down on the Friday night express. Jean unfortunately was forced to pull out at the last minute, and thus we were reduced to eighteen in number. The first group, i.e. Pat and the N.Z. boys, left Sydney on Monday night's train and arrived at the S.M.A. hut Tuesday lunch time. Dot and Bert with the kids and gear left bright and early Thursday morning and arrived that night. George, Judy and Eric left Friday morning and bedded down that same night under the friendly portals of the hut. Friday night Don, Doug, David and Ross met beside the map of N.S.W. at Central with Mr. and Mrs. Laird, Yvonne Renwick, Melva Stocks, Jean and Grace Aird and Allen Wilson to farewell them - who was to know whether it might not be the last time they were to see them in one piece! It was at this stage that David told the crowd he had lost his train ticket! After a quick but vain trip to the Station Master's Office David purchased another ticker - ugh, the expense!
Central Station that night was literally besieged with skiers - they were everywhere! In every direction one could see the tips of skis extending over the heads of the milling crowds like a forest of tall Sally scrub. Whilst waiting to board the train we met David King and Bob Chapman who were off for a week in the Alpine Hut with a crowd from the University.
Everyone is familiar with the procedure of boarding a train on which one has one's seat booked. Your ticket undergoes a close inspection by the guard at the door of your particular carriage, it is then clipped and you pass through to search for your seat. Bob's crowd were boarding the train before us, but when Bob handed the already flustered Guard sixteen train tickets and sixteen reserved seat tickets the poor chap fled in dismay and thus the platform was cleared a lot quicker allowing the train to pull out from the station 22 minutes late on its run to Cooma. Many of the farewelling relatives and friends of our fellow travellers were startled by the sudden flashes of Allen Wilson's flash gun as he recorded that touching farewell.
The four boys sank back into their seats to discover that their travelling companions consisted of two female school-teachers from Y.H.A. off for a week's skiing at the Y.H.A. hostel, Kiandra, and a very stiff-faced gentleman who would have nothing whatever to do with the younger crowd in any way but sat and read his never-ending pile of periodicals well into the morning till one of the boys braved the consequences and turned off the lights. After a normal cramped, slow, all-night trip the train arrived at Cooma about ten minutes late with nothing more astounding happening than the Y.H.A. girls using the boy's washroom in rebellion against the long queue outside the girl's room, whilst four gallant S.B.W. boys stood guard and warned off unwary male passengers.
Dot had given the boys instructions not to stop at Cooma for breakfast but to leave by their previously booked taxi as soon as possible and so beat the bus crowd to the ski room at the Hotel Kosciusko. If she found an opportunity to collect their skis on the previous day she would ring their taxi-man and tell him so they could shoot straight through to Smiggins, but of course the boys were too excited to get these instructions straight. After farewelling the Y.H.A. girls in their Kiandra bus they piled into their car and started out, all feeling extremely hungry but hoping for a good meal upon arrival. Bogged down in wishful thinking, straight past the hotel site drove the boys, confident that their skis stocks and boots had been collected, only to discover upon arrival that it pays to listen to instructions.
(To be continued…)
Paddynews is always good news but this month we have something special. Those very necessary articles of camp gear - Sleeping Bags - are down. No pun intended. They're filled with down and down in price.
A 5'10“ Featherdown Sleeping Bag complete with cover costs now only £7.12.6d. This is a good featherdown and makes a warm cosy bag.
If you want the very best it costs £8.17. 6d. for a Superdown 5'10” bag and a few bob more for larger lengths.
Hooded and Zippered bags are of course also available.
Price lists of Paddy's gear are always available. Call for one or ring up and we'll send one by post - no charge of course.
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney. M2678.