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). Geof Wagg, 19 Mary Street, Blacktown.|
|Business Manager||Alex Colley (XAl255).|
|Sales & Subscriptions||Jess Martin|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey.|
|Production||Alan Wilson (FY2047).|
|The Merry Christmas Meeting||2|
|Christmas Party - 1954||“Bon-Oh”||3|
|Who'd Be a Baulker||“Mulga”||5|
|Seven In a Boat, and Hooper||Don Newis||6|
|Parks and Playgrounds Report||W.L. Hume||10|
|The 1954 Rudolph Cup||Dot Butler||12|
|Ten Months in Christchurch||Keith Renwick||14|
|Federation Notes - December||Allen A. Strom||16|
|Kosciusko Invasion - Part III.||Ross Laird||17|
|Scenic Motor Tours||3|
|Leica Photo Service||7|
|Siedlecky's Taxi and Tourist Service||9|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop||11|
At the Harvey's, 12 Mahratta Avenue, Warrawee.
Trains: 6.43 and 7.13 p.m. from Central connect with bus.
Tickets to Warrawee - Sanitarium Bus to Mahratta Ave.
Small charge for Supper. 'Phone: JW1462.
P.S. Bring mug, groundsheet, and song books.
The warm weather of November hatched out the biggest clutch of new members for a long time, and when our President finally got us into meeting order he promised us no less than 5. It eventuated however that only two had been able to come to the meeting, so we welcomed Shirley Dickson and Gordon Adam. After we had dealt with the minutes we found we could pin on yet another badge, this time to Neil Monteith.
Then with the correspondence came a threat to our peace on earth in the shape of a letter from Don Frost. When it came to matters arising Don rose and sternly announced that he wished to move a motion of censure on the leader and committee responsible for the cancellation of the function on Sunday, 6th December (the Kiddies' Christmas Treat). He also wanted to know why it had been cancelled as the weather at Otford had been fair enough and although the children were disappointed (no free eats) the 36 who did go enjoyed themselves.
In the awkward silence that followed while members shifted in their seats and studied their finger nails, Ken Meadows seconded the motion. Frank Rigby, eager for some meat for his keen analytical brain to work on, asked could we have the explanation. He wanted d'facts! The President told us that on the Sunday morning in question he rang Jack Gentle, who was both leader and committee to the affair, as it was raining where he was and he wondered what would happen. He too wanted d'facts. Jack hadn't heard from anyone by then but when Kath rang later several others had let him know they thought it was too wet. Next we heard Jack's story. He said that on that particular morning the weather on the harbour had been very foul, and that similar reports from suburbs north, west and south had led him to believe that conditions were generally unsuitable. He had, however, at his own expense, prepared and posted a circular to all members concerned, explaining things and saying that they would hold the Treat the following week in conjunction with the Rudolph Cup. To this he added deferentially “if the Admiral doesn't object”. The Admiral said it would be alright.
Dot Butler opined that Jack had done the right thing as she had had no intention of venturing out with six children with the weather as it was.
With all this the tension had visibly lessened and Brian Harvey pointed out that this was the season of goodwill and that he would like to see the motion withdrawn. In reply, Don very fairly said that he was quite willing to withdraw the motion but he felt that in future similar functions should not be cancelled. Ken unseconded the motion and the meeting heaved a sigh of relief and passed on to reports.
Then followed general business of which there was none except that the President announced that we had been invited by some innocent lapidaries, unaware of the bushwalkers' felonious nature, to view their display of gems. Fortunately for these people however the display ended at almost the same time as our meeting.
Thinking over my repertoire of adjectives, my mind recalls words like “colossal”, “salubrious”, “super”, and even “bon-oh”, but actually there is only one word that could possibly describe our Christmas Party, and with your permission I would like to say, “What a mighty show!” Yes, that's what you and I thought as we left the party, still too merry to realise that it was all over far another year, but of course everything must have an ending. It must have a beginning too. The beginning is simple enough; all you had to do was to hand your ticket to our doorman (usually called the Social Secretary) that is, if you had a ticket. If you didn't a hand magically appeared and without even blinking an eyelid Rosso was saying “15/- Thank you”. I had been told that if you walk in backwards they think you are coming out, but our Ross is too smart to fall for this form of trickery. The people inside were treated to quite a show of strong-arm tactics on the part of the doorman. Snow in particular making four or five attempts at invasion but each time being repelled most effectively. He finished up paying his l5/-.
From this simple beginning time naturally marched on, as time waits for no man, not even a Bushwalker. Most people (now I wouldn't say everyone) were becoming very merry and carefree at this stage, probably due to the unaccustomed effect of the stronger of the soft drinks or to Dot's fruit-cup, a brew of pawpaw, orange juice and cherry brandy so thick it wouldn't pour but had to be ejected by giving the bottle a smart smack on the rear end.
The feature of the night was the dancing, something Bushwalkers seem to excel at, never hesitating to put their best foot forward. There were the usual spills and smashes, typical of all the best gatherings such as Vice-Regal Balls and Bushwalker Dances. These bright interludes were not due to overcrowding so much as to the long strides and slides taken by some of the couples. In the middle of the floor we see the lengthy Anderson whose unique timing (“To Hell with the orchestra!”) had just caused Elsie to come to grief. As he stands surveying the wreckage of this fair craft Pat's voice rings out, “Don't you know the Admiral should always go down with his ship!”
There was a very good showing of older members who, if they weren't quite so boisterous as the younger fry, enjoyed themselves just as much meeting again the old friends of their walking days.
Supper seemed to infiltrate among the merrymakers daring the dancing, and between dances sausage rolls, fish patties, sandwiches and the works were consumed, being washed gently down by soft cool liquids.
During the evening our New Zealand friends, Ian and Garth, led a group in the performance of a Maori haka. It was truly good to hear, providing a wonderful atmosphere.
Did you see the boys “skoalling”? It was a contest for men of stamina. I won't say who put up the most excellent showing, making the more experienced drinkers hang their heads in shame at the newcomer's achievement.
Towards the end of the evening balloons seemed to show their contempt by making loud noises as they burst on people's heads and backs, whilst streamers fell under the onslaught of the dancing mass, to be trampled underfoot.
The refrain of “Auld Lang Syne” broke out on the hour of midnight and was sung with great gusto and feeling, the dancers joining hands in the traditional style and moving to the rhythm of this stirring tune. As the refrain gradually faded away our ex-President was heard to say “And a Merry Christmas to you all”, followed by the voices of several members saying “Here-here!” It was apparently time to go home, and I am sure there were 124 people who really enjoyed themselves at the S.B.W's 1954 Christmas Party. Here's hoping the next year's party doesn't take too long to arrive, if it's going to be as good as this year's. The whole thing can be summed up by Snow's classical remark: “The only thing wrong with our Christmas Party was that it ended too soon”.
Congratulations to those who didn't go on a recent private weekend along Korrowal Buttress with a party of senior members. They were seen hiring a taxi at Katoomba at 10 p.m. on Sunday after the walk to drive to Penrith rather than await a mail train at 2.30 a.m. on Monday morning. Such extravagance amongst senior Bushwalkers is to be deprecated. What made them so late? Are the years catching up with them?
“A long way off, in the fullness of time,
Small white cones, - heaps of lime -
Will show where Speleos have trod,
- A Speleo being an Atomic Age bod;
Who of free will, in a boiler suit,
Living on nuts and a little dried fruit,
Would enter a cavern and rant and rave
'Bout a dingy bole, a musty cave,
And slip and slither and tumble down
Covered in mud, to land on his crown -
Then gaze in wonder by acetylene light,
Though all around was as dark as night,
At the curious shapes of rod and shawl
Which hung from roof and grew from wall -
But back to the present, the time has come,
To describe the explorings, the deeds of some,
Who from our midst, adventurers bold
Have gone below. Let the tale be told.”
Those lines have been lying on my desk for months. They could have formed part of a proposed Revue, which fell through because the Prospective writers had enough an their hands, and anyhow you know how hard it is to get people to rehearse and so on. After the terrific introductory build up, uttered by a back stage sepulchral voice, there would be a loud splash and a Speleo would creep across stage holding his dripping seat and muttering:
“Brrr, my tale is told”.
The fact that the humour of this little act had to be laboriously explained to some of my acquaintances whom I had credited with imagination and a lively sense of fun hardly augured well for the proposed but now defunct Revue.
Then I thought I might use them as a prelude to an article on Caving (written by someone else, because I don't indulge in such daring feats myself), but none have come forward. I had the chance to go into a sink hole on the wrong end of a rope at Bungonia a few months ago, and had I raised the courage, my epic verse might well have preluded a scintillating article - “Mulga Plumbs the Depths” - instead of the more appropriate title at the head of this page.
I do aver, though, that caving has more appeal than dangling on a rope over cliff faces or climbing up something really frightening when you can easily stroll up the adjoining gully. Take that Bungonia mob, sitting on the boulders at the Gorge entrance, gazing longingly at the cliffs an the South side and figuring out the easiest route to a fissure which might have led to a cave system. Why, a fly couldn't climb up there without suffering from vertigo!
A Certain Party has ideas about rock climbing of the type daring enough to require rope. “There's nothing to it” so she tells me, “but of course if you don't like it just suffer in silence, I don't mind, really.” Anyhow, I bought a sixty-foot length of rope, and a book on how to climb mountains, fall off them and rescue injured people from crevasses, and if I can't woo her away from the sport by illustrating that it's not as easy as it looks, I can at least tie her to a handy tree while I sit peacefully in the sun and think how pleasant it is to be a Baulker.
- Don Newis.
Arriving at Turramurra Station on the dot of 6.30 as arranged I found Bev Price, Betty Swain, Peter Stitt and Neil Monteith all waiting for me. The taxi driver informed us that the other three, Brian Anderson, John Thornthwaite and Jim Hooper, had gone on and were waiting for us. We reached Bobbin Head… and also reached into our pockets to pay the taxi fare. As the boat, at first slowly then faster, drew away from the wharf many thoughts passed through our minds. “Here”, I thought, “ends all hope of a peaceful relaxing weekend; also, what did our cameraman, Mr. Hooper, and his partner in CRIME, Mr. Anderson, have in store for us?” With these thoughts to accompany us we proceeded along Cowan Creek.
The girls, who were feeling the hunger pains more than the rest of us, suggested that tea would not be out of place, so while they were preparing the food Mr. Hooper, who could not wait, said he must have a brew before his meal, to which all agreed. Had we known how many brews Jim can consume in a night we would have thrown the teapot overboard. Tea being finished the plates were stacked on the side of the sink to dry. Later, while we were passing another 30-footer, the wash encountered caused the boat to roll slightly, enough anyway to send six soup plates crashing to the floor whence only one was recovered in a condition fit to eat out of.
The Aldis lamp supplied by Jim was by this time attached to the power point and a powerful gleam of light probed into the blackness of the night. By the time wa reached the bridge we had had about 7 cups of tea. The person or persons who sat on the roof of the cabin holding the lamp and directing the helmsman where to go were in a continuous frozen stupour. Is it any wonder we nearly ran aground on numerous occasions! Fortunately they would wake in time to direct the boat from the other side.
Past Wiseman's Ferry, and the number of cups of tea ever rising. About 4 a.m. Una-Vogue guest house was sighted and we decided to drop anchor and get some sleep, but first a cup of tea, bringing the number of cups of tea up to 19 since Bobbin Head. All is calm and quiet - almost. Suddenly a hatch is thrown open and water cascades down on to peaceful Admiral Anderson. Like an enraged bull he stamps along the corridor uttering terrible oaths, heading towards the one who would interrupt his peaceful sleep. The culprit, who was only of short stature compared with the Admiral (was, in fact, the smallest male on the boat), retreated to the dingy. But was he safe there? No! That is why we see one young man with only one oar fast disappearing downstream. After mastering the art of rowing with one oar he again boards the boat, and taking the other oar goes rowing for about 1 1/2 hours at 4.30 in the morning - Ah! the sweet madness of Bushwalker stupidity. And now, slinking past the sleeping Anderson, etc., he resumes his position and leaves all his troubles behind in the peaceful oblivion of sleep.
About 8 a.m. all were awakened by the sound of the Admiral making preparations for breakfast. As there were now no soup plates and we were supposed to eat cornflakes, Brian thoughtfully filled the glass tumblers with cornflakes and lots of tinned fruit, and a more pleasant-looking meal was never seen. The only query was, how much of one's daily food requirement is obtained from one glassful of Kellogg's Corn Flakes? After nothing more serious than Betty falling down in the engine while the oil etc. was being checked, we eventually reached a stretch of the Colo River suitable for swimming. The tide was fast running in, and all our efforts to swim against the torrent were useless - we would have to cling to the dingy while it towed us on the return trip to the boat.
We grew tired of the battle against the tide and decided to return to Wiseman's Ferry and the Hawkesbury. On arriving at Wiseman's Ferry all except the smallest male adjourned to the house on the hill, leaving me in contact with them by walkie-talkie radio. After refilling operations (themselves with drinks and the boat with petrol) they shot a few scenes of the movie. I was only told about this, and do not feel that sufficient information was passed on to me to write about it. Coming down the hill John and Brian were horseplaying when suddenly one of their most prized possessions - a bottle of lager - fell from between Brian's fingers and smashed on the road, causing deep concern to all.
After all had again boarded the boat it was decided that we would go up the MacDonald River as far as possible for the night, and in the morning we would shoot some of the scenes for Mr. Hooper's movie film which we had been promising to do all the week-end. We found a suitable place to drop the anchor for the night and settled down after tea on the roof of the cabin to enjoy the quiet and solitude of the wonderful summer's night. I am finding I am lacking in adjectives to tell you how wondrous was the night. The feeling of companionship was very strong as we lay there in the stillness of the evening. I feel it is such nights that make the fraternity of Bushwalkers so complete for each and every one of us.
We adjourned to our bunks about 10 o'clock and were awake fairly early. On the return trip to the Hawkesbury we commenced to shoot for Jim's movie. When we came upon a suitable stretch of water long enough and deep enough for doing numerous turns in, John and Neil were put in the dingy and cast off with strict orders to pick up Brian when he was dislodged from the boat. Imagine a long peaceful stretch of water. Ahead, lying on the water, is a rowboat. A 30-ft. cruiser comes full-speed down the river. The smallest male sits on the bow of the cruiser reading a newspaper. The Admiral comes along and abuses me. (All who know the Admiral well will realise how well versed he is in this subject.) I then deftly push him overboard and all that can be heard is “Gee, it's sure going fast,” “Ain't it a lone: way to fall”, etc. etc. All I feel is satisfaction. After repeating the procedure, we then continue on to Wiseman's Ferry. On the way there scenes were shot indoors - one of a very low character stealing one of the remaining bottles and hiding it from the others. On arriving at Wiseman's the cameraman called for more action than had previously been wanted from us. The Admiral left the boat by way of the dingy to inspect the mainland, and after being towed through reeds feet higher than the person doing the towing, reached the land successfully. He then turned round, to see great columns of smoke issuing from the forward hatch. He frantically returned to his ship to find the main trouble was that Bev and Betty had two pipes which they were making futile attempts to smoke. After all had been recorded on celluloid we decided to make for Pittwater, which would be a hurried visit, then back to Bobbin Head. On the trip down the only event worth recording was the sinking of the dingy with first Brian, then Stitt, being sunk in it, and the loss of the frying pan in the process. Entering Broken Bay the swell made the boat roll and pitch, and sitting as far up in the bow as one can go was the Admiral like a small boy with a new toy enjoying the larger waves as the spray splashed over his face, etc. On entering the quiet waters of Pittwater the Admiral took the helm, and for the home run it was alternate helmsmen. Half way back half the script was washed into the sea. On once again. We entered Cowan Creek and preparations were made to leave the ship at Bobbin Head. Having successfully moored the boat by 6.45 we sat ourselves down near the telephone booth while Brian worked out how much we eached owed him. Oh my! What a complicated process! At 8.45 we caught a train bound for Sydney with Brian still mumbling about “John owes me 2/6d. and I owe him ,… etc. etc.”
It happens every so often. Edna Garrad had 27 starters for her Goondera Brook day walk last July. Then, after months of day walk doldrums, and right at the end of the walking season, Kevin Ardill got a bag of 17 (7 prospectives and 10 members) on his day walk along George's River. Maybe it was the cool bright day, or the fact that the excursion was the last test walk on the current programme. Maybe the fact that as Membership Secretary the leader inspired the confidence of the 4 lady Prospectives. Whatever the reason “turn up in force” was the order of the day — the force including Alex Colley and Max Gentle after many moons of comparative obscurity. The prospectives got a nice selection of members' names for their lists, everyone had a good gossip and an enjoyable day. Let's have more well attended day walks — it's fun for you and an encouragement to the leader.
Happy future to Vera Matasin Who has just been married.
Next Instructional will be held at North Era on February 26/27th.
- W.L. Hume.
The Movement is giving full support to the Hawkesbury Scenic Preservation Council in its campaign to prevent despoliation of the Hawkesbury River foreshores. The objective is to secure the active co-operation of the local population all interested organisations, and Government and Municipal authorities, for the preservation of the natural beauty of the Hawkesbury, which at present largely unspoiled. As the first step, efforts are being concentrated on the Warrah-Kariong National Park proposal.
Warringah Shire Council has been asked by the Movement to use every possible means to preserve the natural vegetation in the area lying between Barrenjoey Road [Pittwater Road] and the lagoon, and to see that every care is taken to avoid disturbance of the bird life in this vicinity. The Council has also been asked not to permit the construction of golf links or tennis courts in this section of the reserve.
The Movement is campaigning (in conjunction with the National Trust) for the preservation of the whole of the Crown land in the vicinity of North Head, Sydney Harbour. There is a strong demand in Manly for the subdivision of the Quarantine Ground into building allotments, which the Movement is strongly opposing. Appeals have been made to the Federal and State Governments, and to Manly Council, for retention of the whole of the land in the vicinity of North Head as a National Monument.
Strong protests have been made against the Government's plan to take 8 or 9 acres out of this park for a site for a new hospital. It was hoped to keep the Middle Head vicinity free from buildings, but as usual, sites are wanted for public buildings and they are to be taken out of a park. On this occasion it is doubly lamentable, because a naturally beautiful area of harbourside land is to be built upon.
The Movement tried hard to save this 130-acre area for playing fields, and when all else failed, it appealed to the Education Department to acquire the whole area for a schools' district playing field. At first (owing to strong local pressure) it was feared that the whole of the land would be built upon, but the Cumberland County Council finally decided to retain 45 acres for open space. In addition, the Education Department purchased 45 acres for sites for schools.
Efforts are being made by the Movement to induce the Education Department to acquire large areas, (especially in newly opened neighbourhoods) for district playing fields. At present the Department has no playing grounds, and has not deemed it necessary to provide them, but the Movement is well aware of the need, and hopes eventually to awaken the authorities to it.
An attempt is being made by the local R.S.L. to obtain a site in this park for a clubhouse. This is being opposed by the Movement as the park is very small, and is the only area available for public recreation in the township.
The C.C.C. invited the Movement to nominate one of its members to serve on this Committee. Mr. Charles H. Spark, retired Architect and Town Planner was submitted as the Movement's nominee, but in a ballot Mr. Spark was not elected to the Committee. However, the Movement has asked the County Council to extend the Committee so as to permit Mr. Spark's inclusion.
Proposals have been made recently for the National Opera House and the City Air Terminal buildings to be erected in this park, in addition to a swimming pool. The Movement has not objected to the last-named proposal, but it is making decided objections to any other building in the park.
Strong pressure is being exercised to have 5 acres taken out of Sydney Domain for a site for the National Opera House. The Domain is threatened also by plans for new Parliament Houses, the Lord Mayor's Garage Scheme, a new roadway to the Eastern Suburbs, and a 2-acre extension to the Art Gallery. Will there be any Domain left?
In view of the constant attempts to filch city park lands the Movement is urging that consideration be given by the authorities to the extension of the city into the slum areas. The need for sites for new public buildings is so pressing, that the parks are in danger all the time, as there are no large areas of vacant land available for building. Five-acre blocks simply cannot be found excepting at prohibitive cost. Consequently they must be taken from the parks unless the city is extended into the slum areas. It has become a question of which we want to keep - the parks or the slums. As a first step, the Movement has suggested the extension of the city into the Chippendale area lying between Central Railway Station and the Sydney University. A fine new cultural centre could be established there, with the National Opera House as the central feature, surrounded by attractively laid out grounds for car parking. Either the parks or the slums must go. We cannot do without parks, so the slums will have to go.
The Movement has asked the Government to consider the practicability of including the words “in perpetuity” in future dedications of park lands.
I might as well say right now that it rained. Of course it rained. The precedent has already been set - it always rains for the Rudolph Cup. But did this dampen the ardour of tie contestants? No! No! A thousand times definitely Nunno! If you came out prepared for a waterfight what does it matter if the heavens deluge you further with the heaviest cloudburst in their bag of tricks.
There were five boats all eager (?) to win the coveted trophy. Crews did a bit of shuffling round in pratice runs up and down the side creek. In the preliminary canter Snow and Hoffo showed such eagerness and mettle, standing up off the seat at each pull on the oars, that they were being backed is unbeatable favourites. “Let them go”, said Colin out of the corner of his mouth. “Let them keep it up. Let them wear themselves out before the race begins”.
There were dozens of boats hired by picnickers being rowed more or less expertly (but rather less than more) in zig-zag fashion up down and across the river, and among this motley throng a small launch putted its purposeful way with a uniformed officer of the water police standing up displaying his authority in the name of law and order on the waterways.
Dot had brought along a stirrup pump with a firing range of about 20 ft. This her young ingeniously fitted to the side of the boat so that a perpetual source of ammunition was available from the river. Many an expectant duck who approached the boat hoping for crumbs was sorely disappointed to receive nothing but a well directed jet of water.
The Admiral and his offsider Putt informed us that the programme was to consist of a waterfight with no holds barred, then lunch, after which the race would be run “clean”, i.e. no skulduggery. The race was to be rowed from about a mile up the side creek, first under the bridge being the winner, so we all set out for the starting point. There were various gallon tins and a large 5 gallon drum which were apportioned out to the boats. The generous donor, having cast her tins upon the water as the Good Book doth declare, received them back a thousandfold - or should I say their contents, after they had been filled with river water.
The last boat had arrived at the appointed starting place and we were just getting all steamed up for the water fight when a little diversion caught our eye. The police launch had come up our creek and caught one of the lads in the act of diving into the district's drinking water, despite the NO SWIMMING notices, He was not yet in the water but was having trouble explaining away the flippers already on his feet. “Where do you live?” asked the Arm of the Law. “Cronulla” muttered the culprit. “What part of Cronulla?” “Down by the waterfront”, says he with studied innocence. “That takes in a large area” growled the cop, but he didn't press for further details contenting himself with the warning that if he liked to put them in they would have to spend all night in clink as the court wouldn't meet till next day to consider the case. “I've fished fourteen corpses out of this river in my time”, was his parting shot, “and I don't plan to fish out a fifteenth”. Then he chugged off downstream out of sight.
A somewhat chastened boatload came rowing up to join the rest of us preparing lunch on the bank. “Keep away!” shouted the Admiral. “Don't come near us, you criminals. We don't eat with criminals!” Those were fighting words, and of course the criminals hurled back abuse. This became unbearable. “Let battle begin!” roared the Admiral, and everyone rushed to man their craft. What a battle royal ensued! It was as though twenty waterspouts had converged on this one spot of river. There's S now overboard making fierce assaults on oars and rowlocks, with some success too as the crews of crippled boats threaten or plead for the return of their oars. Someone tries to push out bungs but is beaten off with oars. Boarding parties leap into enemy boats and struggle to bodily throw the crew overboard. The young with no inhibitions are making merry with rotten duck eggs which, with great forsight, they had been reserving for a month beforehand. The first well-aimed one struck Colin on the hands just as he drew them up to his chest in a mighty stroke of the oars. Whew!! Seeing that we can still order the young around we banned the eggs, but not before most boats had collected a direct hit. After the eggs, no one seemed to care how much water was tipped over them till the stench was washed off. When everyone was exhausted the fight was called off without anyone being declared the winner, and we landed for lunch.
Here we see a typical Bushwalker scene; twenty or so bods lighting fires, preparing salads, opening tins. There's Dot with six lunches laid out for six young ones, there's Snow anticipating his cuppa, there's Colin standing peacefully among a heap of stones munching a bacon and egg pie, when without any warning a cloud burst above us and in a matter of seconds we were deluged with icy water plus all the trimmings - thunder, lightning, and wind. Some huddled under groundsheets, some under rock ledges, and some like wet hens just stood in the rain shaking their bedraggled feathers and ruefully surveying the sodden remains of their meal.
It lasted about a quarter of an hour, then cleared off. A fire was lit and we warmed Up a bit. Those Who had dry clothes put them on. Fifteen or so folk stood in a circle with arms on each other's shoulders talking as only Bushwalkers can. Ulysses Putt, like a restive warrior, was doing powerful turns and twists in his boat. The time had come for the big race. The five boats took up their positions across the river and When all were properly in line, which took some manoeuvering, the Admiral gave the starting signal and we were away.
I rather fear that the race was rigged. You see, the prize is to be something bigger and better than the Rudolph Cup - something in the nature of an Imperial Syphon - and people showed some reluctance to win this trophy and have it presented at a Club Meeting. I can honestly say, however, that our boat would have nothing to do with this plot. We rowed valiantly and honestly and were able to come last. While yet some way off the bridge we were surprised to see all the boats appeared to be lined up on this side, unwilling to proceed under. But by the time we got there Snow and Hoffo and their crew were being declared the winners and were being threatened with the prize. Reluctant heroes!
Letter from Keith Renwick.
“When I arrived in Christchurch last February I joined up with the Christchurch Tramping Club, and a very bright lot of bods I have found them. The first trip I went on was a day trip to Selwyn River and Selwyn Gorge on which 50 odd turned out. This was closely followed by a weekend trip up to Craigburn, which included carrying some gear up for the hut. On the Sunday we returned over the top of Mt. Hamilton to Castle Hill where we went through the Castle Hill cave - a river cave and the only limestone cave close to Christchurch.
A little later we went on a lunch and tramping trip to Banks Peninsular and Pigeon Bay, followed by a short day visit to Sumner Caves - volcanic caves in the outer suburbs an the way to Lyttleton by road. Then came Easter and up to Lake Sumner (just south of Lewis Pass and not the same place as where the caves are), up the Hurunui River to Harper's Pass and down the Teremakau to Otira.
The weekend following Easter I hitched down to Timaru where I met up with a chap, Des Grainger, with whom I had made arrangements to visit some caves, but unfortunately we didn't find much except a large Tomo and some Maori paintings.
Then came the first of the Railway hikes - trips arranged by the Railways for the people of Christchurch which proved very popular. The first one, to Kowi Bush west of Christchurch, boasted 560 bods. Next a Club trip out west in the Torelesse Ranges from Porter's Pass to Castle Hill with one of the best views ever; the centre half of the South Island was laid out like a map from Mt. Cook to the Kiakouras. Then there was another Rail hike to the Waikari district north of Christchurch on the way to Hanmer. Speaking of Hanmer, the following weekend was a long weekend so I went on a hitching trip up to Lewis Pass, Maruia Spring's, and back to Hanmer. Here I climbed up to Jack's Pass on the Seaward Kiakouras to look down on the Clarence River. Then came a weekend at Craigburn, skiing, without much success of course.
The Rail hike to end all rail hikes was to Cass, also on the west line but further up than last time. The “Staircase”, as the section of rail along the Waimakiriri is called, in daylight is spectacular. But we arrived at Cass to see 1,200 people disgorge from the two trains!
A day trip with the Club to Ashley State Forest was followed by a memorable trip up the Edwards River at Arthur's Pass where we spent most of the time floundering through 2 ft. of soft powder snow lying smoothly on top of sub-alpine scrub. Then another trip with the Club up to Mt. Blowhard which is near Mt. Oxford and Ashley Forest, all north west of Christchurch. Although only about 3,000 ft. up, it had a very good coating of snow. Frank Cooper had arrived in Christchurch by now from the west coast, and was on the Club trip to Arthur's Pass. The weather was crook but we managed to get from Temple Col on to Mt. Blimmit. Sunday was fine and clear and I went with another chap up on to the slopes of Mt. Aiken. Next trip was another easy Rail hike to Whitecliffs, south-west of Christchurch at the foot of the ranges near the Rakaia River. Up to Craigburn again for another ski weekend, unfortunately marred by two broken legs, not mine thank goodness.
Then came the Club trip up to the head of the Waimakariri River and Carrington Hut. On Saturday the weather was cloudy and we could not do much, but on Sunday it cleared so in the morning we went up to Harmen Pass, the first of the 3-pass trip. Frank and I came up to Arthur's Pass next weekend and we climbed the low peak of Rollerston on Saturday and on Sunday worked on the new Y.H.A. hostel the Clubs are building.
Then came one of the best trips of the lot. Frank and I caught the Friday night bus to Kiakoura and went up the Hapuka Gorge in the Seaward Kiakouras. With winter snow they were the nearest thing yet to the Himalayas in miniature. We hitched our way back on Sunday.
This was closely followed by a Club trip to the Rangitata, Clyde and Sinclair Rivers - impressive snow peaks, barren lands and miles of shingle beds. Then back to the Seaward Kiakouras, the Puki Puki valley and Mt. Te-As-Wekere, gained by Frank and Brian Harefield. Then followed enjoyable trips with some more C.T.C. bods to the Pukoteraki Ranges between Lake Sumner and the Waimak, and another day trip with the Club to Purau Valley and Banks Peninsula.
On Show weekend, another holiday weekend, five of us went up the Waimakairir River head again to Carrington Hut. From here Ava Hedge and myself climbed Mt. Murchison (7,873') and back to Carrington Hut.
And,finally, was the Club aquatics or river-crossing weekend to the Hawden, tributary of the Waimak, which finished up on the Sunday back at Castle Hill cave.
And so, regretfully, my stay in Christchurch draws to a close, but I'm now preparing for the Christmas trips and hope to be home about April. Frank Cooper (Sydney Catholic Bushwalkers) is well under way with his trips, and after a successful couple of weeks up the Waimak is now down in the Matukituki Valley out from Wanaka.
All the best for the New Year and the Club's trips. Good tramping.
- Allen A. Strom.
Resignation from the position of Vice-President has been received from Mr. Lyle Fleming who is returning to Western Australia.
Only the outer room and outbuildings will be left unlocked during the summer period. On application to the Canberra Tourist Bureau and payment of the required fee a key will be made available.
Will not be constructed because of the considerable expenditure involved. However, it is still thought desirable that protests should be lodged with the Blue Mountains City Council thus indicating a weight of opinion against such enterprises in the bushlands.
A combined Search Conference was held on November 18th at Lapstone. Services represented were Police Rescue, Police Radio, AMF Signals, RAAF S & R and the Federation S. & R. Problems arising from the Practice Search at Carlon's on September 19th were discussed and some methods of eliminating these arrived at. It is proposed to hold a combined Practice Search on the weekend March 4/5/6th, 1955, in the Policeman Range Area.
Is still urgently required. The important task for this job is to organise the Federation Ball or Dance, 1955. This function is the only important means of obtaining finance for Federation.
Has been carried out in the Avalon-Palm Beach Peninsula by the Fauna Protection Panel. It is estimated that there are about 160 animals in the area. They are threatened by closer settlement, dogs and traffic. On the other hand, the local residents are strongly opposed to removing the Koalas. Planting of trees and efforts to secure reserves are part of the work being undertaken by the local Fauna Protection Society.
Secretary of the Barrington Club reports that “some progress is being made in the Barrington Park Project”.
Gosford District Fauna and Flora Protection Society has decided to proceed with the organisation of a Conference for the establishment of a Kariong National Park. It is proposed to hold the Conference in Sydney early in February 1955 and on a Saturday afternoon.
Considerable pressure is being exerted upon the Government to have the Kangaroo exterminated in the Western Districts. An Open Season for twelve months has been recommended by the Fauna Protection Panel, at the end of Which time some attempt will be made to assess the effect of the season.
The Chief Secretary has supported the Panel's recommendation for the establishment of a Biological Unit for investigation into Faunal Matters.
The District Surveyor has completed his report on the proposal and will now submit details to interested Councils and Departments. Meanwhile it is reported that the Forestry Commission is seeking the establishment of a Thirty Five Square Mile National Forest in the Erskine Creek region.
The Department of Local Government is taking up with the Railway Authority the matter of carriage of Protected flora on trains, in order to clarify certain regulations that are difficult to police.
- Ross Laird.
The day after climbing Perisher the boys set out and climbed Back Perisher. En route they came across the new Cooma Ski Club hut with its pillar-box red exterior and pastel coloured interior. Here they were given a royal welcome and fed on biscuits by the tinful, asparagus sandwiches and numerous cups of tea and coffee. It was during this visit that “Miss Canberra” came into vision and all but snared one of the innocent lads. After a pleasant sojourn the boys went on to the top and after a round of photographs and a feast of the wonderful views they commenced what turned out to be one of the most eventful runs of the first week. Down past the Cooma Hut, over the ridge and into the next valley, down past the Snow Revellers hut, then the Ramblers Ski hut, along the creek and past the Telemark Hut, and so on to Piper's Gap. What a wonderful run after only four days in the snow country! It was during that same afternoon that David left the crowd and set out with gear to walk and ski up to Spencer's Creek and join others of the gang up there for the remainder of the week.
Wednesday dawned dull and chilly, and as muscles were tired from this unaccustomed sport the remaining 14 piled into Bert's truck and spent the day exploring Guthega Dam and all its surrounding buildings. Then on to Munyang, Island Bend, and so back through the Hotel site to Smiggins.
Thursday morning, 5 a.m. Excessive cold woke the sleeping multitude and so it was they were able to watch the beginning of what turned out to be a two and a half day blizzard. During that first morning Dot, Bert and Eric attempted to ski through to Spencer's Creek to visit the others, but were forced back soon after crossing Piper's Gap because of the terrific velocity of the wind. Friday morning most of the crowd braved the elements and climbed to the top of the ridge behind Smiggins. The snow was very soft and still falling, making climbing hard work and the run down rather slow. The afternoon was spent collecting firewood to replenish the fast diminishing pile at the back of the hut.
Saturday saw George, Don and Ross packing food up as far as Bett's Camp. There they left it with Tom Beven, a Y.M.C.A. Rambler now living in Cooma, then skied back to Smiggins in the dark, passing Dot, Bert and Richard who had driven the truck as far as Perisher Hut in order to carry the boys home. While waiting, the truck became frozen to the road, and it wasn't till some time after the boys arrived at the hut that the truck party came in - not before Ian and Garth had set out to see what had happened to them.
Came Sunday, and with its arrival the greater part of the gang left for home via Bert's truck. That hazardous trip must be narrated by someone who was on it. Meanwhile Judy, George, Don and Ross set out with gear and skis for Spencer's Creek, arriving there at 1 p.m. Up to the Chalet for their first visit, and then back to Bett's Camp to collect the food, leaving Judy to organise the room in the great empty barracks in which they were staying. During that second and last week the snow conditions were perfect - beautiful fine days with snow falls every night.
On Monday morning Ross and Don climbed Mt. Guthrie and were so thrilled with the run down that they insisted Judy and George accompany them that same afternoon. Tuesday was set down for the Australian Slalom Men's and Women's Championships. All that day was spent in watching how it should be done by the experts.
Mt. Stillwell was conquered on Wednesday morning, the afternoon being spent on the ski tow by the boys, while Judy retired to bed with extremely sore eyes. That afternoon proved to be slightly disastrous as Don did in his right knee, George his left toe, and Ross pulled a muscle in his back. Thursday morning everyone stayed in bed to recuperate for, apart from internal injuries, faces were by this time looking like cooked beetroot while lips were beginning to fester. That night the few of them, along with some Canberra Y.M.C.A. types also staying in the “palace”, went to the Chalet for the films. Friday was spent waiting for the snowmobile that didn't turn up to carry them down to Smiggins so they would be ready to leave for Cooma on the Saturday. All day was spent skiing close by the hut waiting - waiting - waiting. At 5 p.m., however, they procured a hitch in the Chalet truck from just above Bett's Camp down to Smiggin's, thus arriving back at the S.M.A. hut about 8 p.m.
So it was that on Saturday George, with his three passengers, turned the car towards Cooma and home, and said goodbye to Kosciusko for another year.
The drinking water tank at Couridjah Station has been removed. Parties making for that station should complete their washing and refreshing arrangements before leaving the last creek.
It all started over tent carrying. You know, dear Reader, how walkers quibble about such trifles. It was agreed that Ken would carry the tent the first day (about 4 miles up a gentle slope), the next 1 1/2 days would be my turn, then after lunch on the third day it would be Ken's turn again. This arrangement sounded to my benefit, naturally. The first flaw came on our second day out through a slight (100% approx.) miscalculation on the part of our intrepid leader, and I carried that tent twice the distance anticipated. On the third day I was about to hand it over after doing a marathon down the slopes of Barrington Tops when Ken shot through, as the saying goes, like a Bondi tram. In the train that night, after a few schooners, I forgave and forgot. But … what do we see at Central? Meadows, swaggering along the platform, carrying the portmanteau of an attractive girl in tight skirt and enticing sweater. Would you ? ? ? ?
Allen Strom's picture night on the Southern Alps almost looked like a preview to the Christmas Party, there were so many of the Club's older members Present. Amongst them we were pleased to see Stoddy, just back from El Alamein, Mouldy returned from Europe and the Moppetts back from their extended holiday in North Queensland.
After all the thought Jack Gentle put into the Children's Christmas Treat it was a miserable trick the weather man played on us, making the original day so threatening that practically only the Illawarra Line folk turned up, and the deferred date of the following Sunday gave us a severe cloud burst. Still people enjoyed themselves at whichever function they attended. Thanks Jack.
I counted about 60 Bushwalkers and friends around the huge Christmas Camp Fire at North Era. You are surprised that there was enough fire wood for a camp fire? Well, when one of our very newest members gets busy with an axe on a large fallen tree fire wood ceases to be a problem. Let me also say, unanimously backed by the whole crowd, that never before have I known such a wild, wonderful, magnificent surf as North Era turned on for Christmas 1954.
While we are on the subject of holiday celebrations let me mention the New Year get together at Lane Cove National Park, organised by Tom and Jean Moppett. About 25 of the Club's near foundation members arrived together with a dozen children, including babies Webb and Brown, complete with mosquito proofed sleeping baskets. Grownups got a year's accumulated gossip off their chests while the young disported in the foot deep paddling pool, and a good time was had by all.
Extract from “the Walker and His Friends” by Heinz Wolff (Melbourne Bushwalkers)
My pack is no longer the brand-new Paddy Pallin pack which I bought nearly four years ago. Canvas patches mark the spots where I gave it some rough treatment, and several new rivets in the frame bear testimony to the sufferings it has had to endure. But a pack is like a dog Who loves his master and protects him even after he has been beaten. That better service could I have expected of any person or thing than the one which my pack gave me on one memorable occasion on Howitt Plains? We had reached Macalister Springs at lunch time, pitched our tents and left most of our gear in them, and then went with empty packs to Howitt Hut. On the way back we lost our way in the mist, and when night fell, we decide to “stay put”. All we could do was to light a large fire and try to snatch some sleep lying next to it, and this is where my pack as well as some other “mute friends”, rendered yeoman service. I put my feet into the empty pack which kept them comfortably dry and warm. My boots served as a pillow, and I rolled my groundsheet around me as a protection from the slight drizzle. Thanks to these I spent a much less uncomfortable night than would otherwise have been the case.
The above extract is from an article in “Walk” Journal of Melbourne Bushwalkers, 1955. … Price 2/- … from Paddy.
You are invited to subscribe to “The Sydney Bushwalker” Monthly Magazine.
Annual subscription rates:
Posted to Address… 8/-d. (Including postage) Reserved in clubroom… 5/-d.
The Business Manager, “The Sydney Bushwalker” Magazine, C/o “Ingersoll Hall”, 256 Crown Street, Darlinghurst. (G.P.O. Box 4476,Sydney)
I enclose /-d. being Annual Subscription to your magazine for the twelve months February, 1955 to January, 1956 inclusive.
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