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.
|Editor||Dot Butler, Boundary Road, Wahroonga. (JW2208)|
|Business Manager||Jack Gentle|
|Sales & Subs.||Jess Martin|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|Production||Alan Wilson (FY2047)|
|The Twenty-Seventh Annual General Meeting||2|
|List of Newly Elected Officers for 1955||6|
|Wet and Windy||Geof. Wagg||6|
|Treatment of Snake Bite||Ken Angel||11|
|Federation Notes - March||Allen A. Strom||14|
|The Annual Re-Union||“Digby”||15|
|Report from Parks and Playgrounds Movement March, 1955||Hilda Stoddart||18|
|Leica Photo Service||3|
|Siedlecky's Taxi & Tourist Service||5|
|The Sanitarium Health Food Shop||7|
|Scenic Motor Tours||9|
This is the beginning of a New Year for the Club, and therefore this issue of the Magazine is the first for the new year. As Editor I would like to take this opportunity of thanking the Editorial staff of the previous year who co-operated with all the precision of a well oiled machine in bringing out a first-class publication each month. Don't think I an patting myself on the back - the Editor's job is merely to collect what is given to her and pass it over to the workers to work on. Without the superior services of a stencil cutter, a duplicator operator and an assembly team the magazine just wouldn't be, despite all the interesting and valuable articles which continue to roll in to the Editor's hands. Which brings me to the main point of this Editorial: we are in need of someone to type the stencils for this year. The Meeting has generously voted up to £50 for the purchase of a typewriter adequate for the job of stencil- cutting, and now all we need is a typist or typists who will volunteer to do the job. It entails, as can be seen by studying a copy, the typing of 20 pages once a month - the three pages of advertisements involving less letterpress than the other pages. I would be very pleased to hear from anyone who has services or suggestions to offer.
Proceedings opened with presentation of awards won at the Annual Swimming Carnival, including the much coveted Henley Cup and Mandleberg Cup. A vote of thanks was moved and carried enthusiastically to Bill Henley for running the Carnival so successfully year after year.
The Report of the Annual General Meeting was taken as read. The minutes of the February General Meeting were read and signed as a correct record, and as there was no business arising therefrom we now carried on with consideration of the Annual Report. The President, in moving its adoption, pointed out that at the previous Annual Meeting there had been a note of regret at our declining membership, but this year has seen a slight increase in members. The position is reasonably satisfactory. Mr. McGregor, in seconding the motion, said he would like to compliment all members of the Club for their co-operation and assistance in making such a success of social and other functions throughout the year.
Alex moved that before adopting the Annual Report we consider changing the F to L in paragraph 2, page 2 (Conservation). This seemed quite a minor point to quibble about until it was pointed out that the National Park Bushfire Fighting Organisation was being referred to as the Bushfire Lighting Organisation - quite a serious error you will admit.
The Annual Financial Statement was taken as read. Then came suspension of standing orders to determine annual subscription and entrance fee and election of officers. It was voted that the annual subscription and entrance fee remain the same as for the previous year. Correspondence was read and received, and then came a further suspension of standing orders to allow the Club to deal with Mr.Brian Anderson's proposed amendment to the Constitution which aimed at decreasing the number of Committee members from 16 to 12 by deleting the two lady and two gentlemen representatives without portfolio.
In the absence of Admiral Anderson on Army affairs the matter was very ably put forward by Mr. Colin Putt, who stressed the unwieldiness of present Committee - no doubt everyone talks, and they may all talk at once, but there is no guarantee that they all talk on the same subject. Those up the far end of the table are too far removed from the centre of activity to be able to give their undivided attention. Mr. Putt maintained that we only stick to large committees from force of habit - that the Club, having passed its majority some 6 years ago, is settling down to conservative middle age. Actually he himself is a conservative (he owns a 1936 model car), but for the mental health of the Club it should be jolted out of its complacency.
The motion was seconded by Roy Bruggy who said that a smaller Committee would function more efficiently, and he said that when he had been a Committee member he had often had difficulty in keeping himself awake.
Contending that the majority of office-holders are men Dick Hoffman moved an amendment that we retain one lady member and liquidate the rest. There was someone forthcoming to second his motion.
Alex Colley, speaking against the motion, said there is no need to have all office bearers present at Committee meetings.
Don Frost (Against): Most office-holdersare male members. If we eliminate two females, Committee could consist of nothing but men.
Wal Roots (Against): The four members are in training as officers for the future.
Allen Hardy (Emphatically Against): It could so happen that we would have a Committee entirely of woman. A big Committee gives us more heads to divide up for sub-Committees. The four committeemen in question can also act as a brake on the office-holders who get obsessed with their own particular jobs. So don't reduce the number or you get closer to the danger of producing an oligarchy - a clique - a few working against the mass. The four committee members act as a liaison with the rank and file of the Club.
Malcolm McGregor (Against): (Colin, sorrowfully, “Et tu,Brute!”) Many hands make light work; there are more to help promote social activities.
Elsa McGregor (Against): The majority of office holders are usually elected unopposed, but there is generally competition for the job of Committee member, which proves that people want it.
Jack Gentle (Against): Old members are conservative, certainly, because they have learned the hard way.
Peter Stitt - not middle-aged and not conservative (FCR): Other speakers have said we need four live-wire members to keep things moving, but Roy Bruggy said that when he was on Committee he often needed a pin to keep himself awake, so it looks as though we need four extra members with pins to keep the four Committee members awake, so it would be better to abolish them altogether.
Colin, in his Right of Reply, pointed out that Don Frost was worried that it might consist entirely of women, but in either case he saw no cause for concern. Most speakers had misguidedly stressed the point that the four Committee members are young members in training, but actually these positions are often held by old members very much out of training.
The amendment, which had become the motion, was then put: “Those in favour?”. One voice, Dick Hoffman's, responded. (Voice from the audience: “You've lost your deposit, Hoffo!”)
The original motion was then put. It lost, 32 For / 35 Against, which when you come to consider the views that had been aired, was a surprisingly high number in favour of the motion.
When it came to General Business, it was moved by the Editor that the Club buy a second-hand typewriter, no exceeding The four members are in training £35, for typing stencils for the Magazine. Alex bumped the price up to £50. Colin suggested we appoint a Sub-committee to buy a typewriter, but Eric Rowen offered to act solo. He knows people in the trade, and if he sees the right person, at the right time, and in the right place, he may be able to get £10 off the price. So the matter was left in Eric's capable hands.
Kevin Ardill, as retiring Membership Secretary, gave a report on his efforts over the past year in the recruiting of new members. He wrote numerous letters to sporting bodies, but the response was nil. We got a lot of publicity from the article in “Woman” but we didn't get one member out of it. Most of our prospective members came because of recommendation by Paddy at his shop, or as friends of members. Visitors at our slide nights have been very much impressed and may yield us some new blood. We have 17 prospectives at the moment, and achieved 16 new members during the year.
For publicity purposes it was suggested that we offer to participate in the A.B.C. “Any Questions” Session. This takes place on a Wednesday night, which would suit us. The idea is that a panel of experts visit various clubs and the club members ask them questions. As Bushwalkers we could emphasise the Conservation point.
Allen Hardy pointed out that on Federation's list of Federated Clubs displayed in Paddy's Shop, our name is last on the list. We should, according to seniority, be second on the list, and he asked that we write to Federation to this effect.
Someone suggested that Mr. Hazleton, the man who was brought down in a 'plane in the Kanangra region, might be approached to give us a talk on his experience. This was passed on to the Social Secretary to act upon as she thought fit.
Ken Meadows then announced a few jobs for those attending the Re-Union. Bill Henley, who has now become an institution, will supervise the making of the camp fire.
At the termination of each Annual Meeting it has been customary for the President to cry “LET US RE-UNE!” but as we now meet on a Wednesday night and two days must elapse before that happy event, the President very correctly bid us adieu with the cry “TILL WE RE-UNE!”
|Vice Presidents||Malcolm mcGregor, Allen Strom|
|Membership Secretary||Grace Aird|
|Walks Secretary||Geof Wagg|
|Social Secretary||Heather Joyce|
|Conservation Secretary||Tom Moppett|
|Committee Members||Beverley Price, Jean Aird, George Grey, Paul Barnes|
|Federation Delegates||Paul Barnes, Allen Strom, Jeanne Golding, Tom Kenny Royal|
|Substitute Federation Delegates||Brian Harvey, David Ingram|
|Parks & Playgrounds Delegate||Hilda Stoddart|
|Trustees||Wal Roots, Maurice Berry, Joe Turner|
|Hon. Solicitor||Colin Broad|
|Magazine Business Manager||Jack Gentle|
- Geof Wagg.
“Now I don't get out often”, says Gawd, “but when I do I like to do some worthwhile trip.”
“That'll be O.K.” I thought, “the old wreck probably means something like Korrowal Buttress - Cedar Creek - Katoomba”. So I said “fair, I'm all in favour of worthwhile trips too.”
“Well” says Gawd, “have you ever been on Guouogang Buttress?” And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the first indication that the old gent was off his rocker. Because Guouogang Buttress means Guquogang, and Guouogang for two means you walk both ways because you can't afford a car out! I goggled and Gawd said, “Isn't that far enough?” and I gulped and said “Oh, it'll do, seeing you haven't been out since Easter”. And that was my first and worst mistake.
The second mistake we both made when we thought we'd catch the “Chips” from Strathfield where, of course, it doesn't stop. The train that we did catch wheezed into Katoomba about 10 o'clock and wouldn't have made it then if the Fireman and Guard hadn't pushed for the last half mile. Considering the lateness of the hour we decided to shout ourselves a taxi to the top of the Devil's Hole, and here we were again maliciously mislead by the taxi cad who put us out in the wrong spot. An old hound dog like Gawd isn't easily put off the scent though, and after snuffling the breeze for a moment he said “This way men” and we were off.
First stop (and last stop for that evening) was the shack at the top of Carlon's timber track and first there gets the sofa. We arrived together in a drift of light rain and attempted to make ourselves comfortable on the uneven floor of the hut. Haw! Yet had we been able to see but 18 short hours into the future how we would have savoured that comparative comfort.
Kookaburras wake early in those parts and they had us stirring about 4 a.m. to the intermittent patter of rain on the roof. “All right for youse guys to laugh” says Gawd and rolled himself into a fresh groove. At six it was light enough to see and we were packed and away in a few minutes, stealing past Carlon's in the grey light of early dawn with the rain-wet grass soaking our legs. Up the hill we puffed and down the other side to Carlon's Creek at a gallop, telling each other “Just what we need to work up an appetite” as we staggered in each stride. Breakfast in Breakfast Creek was a brief affair with Gawd eating “Bran Bricks” for that “freshly scoured out feeling”, then with a little effort we were on the Cox by nine. So far so good - the weather clearing and the party hearty.
Half a mile down the Cox we began our climb on that long, long ridge that leads up to Mt. Jenolan. Gawd, who was four months out of training, was beginning to feel the effort here and I waited for him on top of the first big hump, morosely regarding the once more gathering clouds. Of course we had no tent. Gawd came up presently and we continued climbing - the higher we climbed the lower dropped the clouds. Then came the mist. At first just a thin streamer drifting between the trees, then thicker and thicker until the great opaque clouds billowed up from the south-east reducing our world to fifty feet of tree-clad ridge before and behind, that vignetted itself into nothing. Fortunately it needs more than a mist to get you off that ridge once you're well and truly on it, and we progressed steadily. By half past eleven it had started to rain lightly and a low rumble of thunder echoed up from below. “Aha” we said “it's just a bit of a storm. It'll be all over in a few hours.” That was our third mistake.
On top of Mt. Jenolan, sitting on the cairn, we had an hour for lunch. We'd had a tiring morning so we made the most of this break and though the rain didn't actually stop it became so light that we were able to undo our groundsheets and give full attention to the rye bread and honey. As we set off from this spot the rain began to pick up again - not too heavy, not too light, but good steady soaking rain that seemed capable of going on for ever. “Do the garden good” said Gawd as he wrapped himself in his clammy groundsheet. (Of course this isn't really what Gawd said as he wrapped himself in his groundsheet - he was muttering old Irish expressions that would run our magazine foul of the Obscene Publications Act).
Down we went through the soaking sally bush an the side of Jenolan, then holding our groundsheets down in front to exclude as much of the mountain holly as possible we climbed the other side of the saddle to Quehagong. Mountain holly! In dry weather it can be bad enough as it scours and scratches at your bare legs, but in the rain it's infinitely worse. Not only does it prickle and scratch but it finds its springy, saturated way under your cape and up the legs of your shorts until it's wetter inside than out.
From the top of Quehagong we could just make out the beginning of the buttress running down to the Cox, and my mind followed this and crossed the Cox then lightly climbed Yellow Dog to the snug, dry cave at Mobbs Swamp then reluctantly turned to the wet, tentless discomfort that waited for us at Kanangaroo. “Well, this is our last chance of pulling out” I said hopefully. “Aw, might as well keep going now we've come this far” says Gawd; the sadist!
The Quehagong ridge is like a tightropewalk at any time, even with a view to comfort you, but when the void on either side is filled with blank faceless nothing it looks like the edge of the world. I think that if it had been left to me I'd have sat down and grumbled to myself but Gawd generously took the lead and received the full benefit of the dripping undergrowth, so we progressed. Sometimes we seemed to go down, sometimes up. Had we turned left or right? We couldn't be sure. But always there was that detached patch of rock and scrub through which we seemed to move - though it might almost have been travelling with us for all that we could tell. Then we ran out of ridge. The ground seemed to rise on our left so we went that way, fairly open at first, some sally scrub, and then wonder of wonders – the trig! It was just 3 o'clock but the weather was no inducement to linger. Still the rain beat down, coming in squalls with a penetrating, icy little wind, and the thunder grumbled in the mist about our heads.
Gawd immortalised our trip in the book on the summit with his ever-immaculate handwriting, and we were glad to be moving again. The dear old gent led the way, off in search of Guouogang Buttress as he'd been there in his youth and thought he could still remember. He took a compass bearing from the cairn and charged off over the edge. “Ye Gods is the ridge down there?” The mist swirled at our feet. It certainly didn't look like it. But there it was and he found it, though I cursed him every time I had to take my hands from under my arms where they were warm and haul out the compass.
Well, our feet were on the homeward road and though the thought of a comfortless night didn't exactly beckon there was the anticipation of a warm fire and food at Kanangaroo,. We felt quite cheerful and as if in tune with our optimism the mist parted and gave a view of Cyclops across the Kanangra River. It looked so close - Kanangaroo was in the bag. And that was our fourth mistake.
The buttress is a long ridge, long and narrow, and we followed it for a long time with never a twist or turn or saddle to give us any uneasiness, then it suddenly dropped and spread out and the ridge ran down over on the right. Of course Gawd and I didn't notice any of this but rambled straight on over the edge while it became steeper and steeper. Slowly the realisation filtered through the aura of our confidence - “We're off the ridge” said Gawd. “You're dead right” I agreed; but where were we? “Perhaps we've come to the end of the ridge where it curls round towards Kanangaroo”. “Yes, that must be it.” “Well, if we sidle round to the left we should get back on to the crest”.
So we sidled off in the wrong direction and that was our fifth and last mistake and a good thing too. We sidled for some time dropping slightly; no crest appeared so we consulted the compass and found that we were travelling almost back towards the mountain. The next thing to do was to go down - down - through the open trees and dripping undergrowth, then through the close growing wattle and small trees that mesh their branches above the six inches of loose surface soil, wet on top and dry beneath so that you sink in and churn up the dust to cling to the rain and sweat on your body as you crawl through, then finally in the dusk, on the ever-steepening slope where the faces of rock begin to show, you slide and scramble down through the raspberry thickets and the nettles, a slither and a jump and you're there. Gawd came dawn the last bit a different way, bringing with him a large piece of fire wood that he'd been holding on to and strained something in his leg in the process.
In the almost darkness we could maim out the spot in which we found ourselves. The rock walls on either side of us about twelve feet apart, the shingle under our feet and in the creek bed, haring down the banks and filling every cranny the most objectionable tangle of raspberry thicket, stinging tree and nettle that I have ever seen, the whole effect bound up and reinforced with miles of monkey rope.
What a sight to greet eyes accustomed at this time of night to see a green swath of lawn beside a smooth flowing stream. However Gawd was convinced that the Cox was just around the corner, so on we went. It was a reckless, helpless scramble, jumping down slippery rocks, braving the nettles and dodging the stinging trees. Soon it was pitch dark. By pale torch light we looked at the map and decided that we were on Guouogang Rivulet but goodness knows where. I think Gawd still wanted to try for the Cox where we could get a fire going but the torchlight had made the tangle around us seem worse and I was dog tired so I managed to convince the old boy that we'd done enough for one day. It wasn't a really bad spot to spend a night with a moss covered shelf above for shelter. So after a slice of rye bread and butter we lay us down to sleep optimistically putting an our wet clothes to dry them out!
It was seven o'clock when we lay down and we slept almost immediately for four hours of deep dreamless sleep, then-horrors-we woke. The groundsheet we had put over us obviously wasn't doing a very good job because I was wet. I'd never been so wet. Some places I was warm and wet - most places I was cold and wet but everywhere wet. And I couldn't stop shivering. Gawd's voice sounded almost unreal as he spoke through the black ink.
“Is your watch luminous Geof? I think mine says five o'clock.” Five o'clock! Could the torment be almost over? I put on the torch and looked at mine which only said five to twelve. Gawd groaned. How did the rest of the night pass - only minute by minute and wetter and wetter.
At last it really was five o'clock. At last we could pack our saturated sleeping bags. At last we could move freely away in the greyness of dawn. An hour saw us on the Cox, then what a meal we had! I ate two and a half pints of Fluffy Crumsies and Gawd consumed a pound of steak. After which we felt that we could scarcely stagger as far as Katoomba, and in fact we scarcely could.
That can be said of the rest of the trip? The long dull grind up Yellow Dog, trudging past Dingo and Warrigal, lunch at Kennel Flats, the frustration of Debert's Knob and the weary, weary haul up Taro's Ladder. Now I'd always held to the theory that if you got the body of a bushwalker up on to Narrow Neck and gave it a slight shove it would, if there was any life in it, finish up in Katoomba from force of habit.
Well that Sunday we proved it, and the kindly Mrs. Brown welcomed the two grizzly apparitions into her kitchen about six thirty and fed them an chick soup, then Snow dragged and pushed them to the station and that was about how it ended. Except that Gawd spent a week in bed with a strained sinew and, in case you're wondering, we both consider five mistakes are too many.
- Ken Angel.
The snakes which Bushwalkers are most likely to meet, listed in their order of danger to man, are:- (1) death adder, (2) tiger snake, (3) copperhead, (4) common brown snake, (5) red-bellied black snake. The tiger snake (probably) has caused the deaths of at least two walkers, both girls - one of them five or six years ago and the other just over twelve months ago - both of them in the Pelion area of The Reserve, Tasmania. In both cases the lives could probably have been saved but for failings in one case by the victim, and in the other case obviously by ignorance of the victim's companions. I hope, therefore, that this article will clear up any little points and prevent any repetition of fatalities.
First of all, when a person is bitten he or she has an extremely good chance of recovery if correct treatment is applied. Before any specific treatment of snake bite was known, records show that deaths were:- death adder 5 deaths from 10 bites; tiger snake, 18 in 45; brown snake, 6 in 70; black snake, 1 in 125. This, then, shows that a victim has a chance of recovery with no treatment whatsoever. However it is impossible to measure the amount of venom injected, due to such factors as thickness of clothing covering part, length of fangs, size of snake, part of body bitten, etc., so every bite is to be regarded as potentially fatal. From the above figures it is seen that 50% or more of persons bitten did not receive a fatal dose of venom, and probably in a large proportion of the fatal cases the amount injected was only just sufficient to kill.
The dominant component of the venoms of Australian snakes is a neurotoxin, particularly in tiger, death adder, copperhead, brown, taipan, feebly so in the case of the black. The symptoms are an inco-ordinate gait such as might be found in an Admiral after a Xmas party, an increased drowsiness, the pupils are dilated and fail to respond to light, speech is slurred and difficult. Limbs are weak, though not completely paralysed, respiration becomes slow, and coma and death supervene. As a rule a single lethal dose of tiger snake venom takes about 48 hours to kill a human being, but may kill in a matter of minutes if injected into a blood vessel or if a great quantity is injected.
The second action is peripheral circulatory failure due to the liberation of histamine and is markedly present in the venom of a black snake and copperhead, but all other species possess it to a lesser degree. Symptoms - skin is pale and sweats easily, extremities are cold, pulse rapid and thread, respiration rapid and shallow. The venom of the tiger, brown, black and taipan may cause clotting in the important veins.
General symptoms of snake bite are nausea, vomiting, faintness rapidly followed by drowsiness. Sometimes there is a pain in the chest or abdomen. These symptoms generally arise 15 minutes to 2 hours after the bite, though longer delay may occur if first aid has been given, or if the dose injected is sub or barely lethal. They may first occur when the ligature is first released.
The puncture marks may vary from one to four depending upon whether any reserce fangs are present or not. Bites from the young of common venomous species are almost as dangerous as from the fully grown, particularly to children, and cannot afford to be disregarded.
If the bite is on a limb a ligature must be placed between the heart and the bite, tight enough to completely stop the circulation. It is better placed over clothing to minimise bruising. This must be placed in position immediately after bite and left in that position for two hours, but at the end of the first half-hour, and subsequently every 10 minutes one may need to lift it for 30-40 seconds to let a little fresh blood enter the part. If anti-venene is available, the ligature should be removed as soon as a suitable quantity has been injected. The wound should then be washed to remove any venom lying on the surface, with any fluid available. Each of the puncture marks must then be incised to the depth of 1/4“. This operation must be made within the first few minutes after the bite and the blood removed by suction. This method con be used also on a bite to which a tornique could not be applied. Its value in both cases, however, is limited by the fact that one rarely knows the direction the fange took on entering the skin. Excision is more efficient than incision but also only within the first few minutes after the bite. It is, however, not likely to be often practised; it would require a great deal of courage to perform excision on oneself, and it is not without risk in unskilled hands. It consists of the removal of skin and subcutaneous tissues to a depth of 1/4” over an area of a little greater than one square inch surrounding and containing the puncture marks. Suction is then applied. Local venesection is very good if a person with very high medical knowledge is present in the party, but as normal walkers would not use this method (it necessitates the removal of 1 - 1 1/2 pints of blood and in the case of children transfusions may be necessary), I will not give any details of its use.
The patient should be made to rest. In particular, no walking should be allowed for increased circulatory rate will hasten absorption of the venom. Furthermore, rest is necessary for the nervous system. Alcohol should NOT be given. The best beverage as a stimulant is hot black coffee. The advantages of strychnine are doubtful. The patient should be kept warm and given plenty of fluid to combat shock. Morphine should not be used due to the dangers of respiratory failure. Finally, it is of the utmost importance that the patient should not become victim of his own fears.
In the last Tasmanian fatality (in the DuCane Hut) death occurred about 36 hours after the bite. Medical attention could have been summoned quite easily within that time, and anti-venene would almost certainly have saved her left despite the long delay (which would probably have been about 20 hours). As I stated previously, death from a tiger snake usually takes about 48 hours. It is only occasionally that we find ourselves in a spot where lightweight emergency two-way travel would take longer than this. If entering an area where such contact is impossible it is advisable, if possible, to obtain 6,000 units of tiger snake anti-venene (which at the moment is £12.8.0 but is on the free medical list) and learn how to give injections by both intravenous and intra-muscular routes. Even the serum has its drawbacks to anyone inadequately trained. Some people are violently allergic to the serum and it is therefore dangerous to administer it by the intravenous route. This allergy can only be detected by tests, so that anyone obtaining the serum should receive full medical instructions as to its use.
Condy's crystals has been wiped off snake-bite treatments as doing more harm than good and is only useful as an antiseptic wash. The crystals should NOT be rubbed into the cuts.
If possible identify the snake, but not at the expense of immediate treatment of the bite. Colour is not positive identification. The death adder has a short, stout body. It is brawn, red, or grey with darker crossbands. It has a broad, rough scaled head. The tail tapers off very sharply to a spine at the tip (which gave rise to the fallacy of a “sting in the tail”). It is nocturnal, burying itself in sand or leaves in the daytime, and generally doesn't strike until touched. It varies in length from 8“ to 2 1/2 feet.
The tiger snake possesses, except for two sea snakes found in the Coral Sea, the deadliest venom, drop for drop, of any snake in the world. It is broad-headed, 3 to 5 feet long with colour varying from light grey to dark green, orange, dark brown and black with sometimes darker transverse bands like a tiger.
The copperhead is a sluggish snake found usually in swampy country. It is yellow, brown, black or grey with an occasional blue and often yellow bellow, and has an average length of 3 to 4 feet.
The common brown is brown or grey in colour, very fast, striking higher than most snakes. It averages 5 to 6 feet, though I have seen one 7 feet 9 inches.
The black red-bellied snake needs no description, and the taipan is not likely to be met. It is, however, very similar to the King Brown, growing up to 10 feet with an extremely efficient biting apparatus with fangs up to 1/2” long, and is probably not of Australian but of Asiatic origin.
- Allen A. Strom.
The President of Federation has made an appointment to interview the President of the Water Board regarding walking parties in the Warragamba Catchment Area.
The Launceston Walking Club has decided to prepare campsites and erect huts in parts of Tasmania not so supplied by Government exigencies. The N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs has made a grant of ten pounds (£lO) to this work. Private individuals and clubs are invited to assist. Further information from Stan Cottier, Secretary of the N.S.W. Federation.
Walkers visiting this area at Easter are reminded that it would be advisable to seek permission before crossing this property.
The Department of Railways has informed Federation that a water tank is being erected at Couridjah Station in compliance with the wish of Federation.
Which has been arranged for March 18,19,20th has had to be postponed following the State-wide Floods. Dates now suggested are May 6,7,8th or May 20,21,22nd. A Practice search in co-operation with the Wireless Institute of Australia was held on Sunday, March 13th, in the Royal National Park. This practice was to test the use of wireless in searches.
The Kameruka Club gave notice that they intended to erect a plaque and form drinking holes on the soak near Mount Warrigal to the memory of R. Thomas, late President of the Club.
The Federation will accept nominations for one additional member on the Conservation Bureau.
Following upon a protest from the Secretary of The Heathcote Primitive Area Trust, the venue for the Annual Federation Camp, was changed from Morella Karong to Long Angle Gully, Warrimoo.
The Budderoo Section has been recently surveyed and reported upon by an officer of the Department of Lands. The report recommended that the natural conditions of the Crown Lands on the Plateau should not be disposed of or developed further; but opposition to a National Park was expressed as it was felt that this would bring destructive forces to the area. The Department appears to favour reservation for the Preservation of Flora and Fauna. This is important because it is known that there is a move to establish extensive dairying an the Plateau.
The Barren Grounds Section has been given a clean sheet by the Department of Mines and the matter new rests with a decision by the Department of Lands regarding the establishment of a Faunal Reserve.
Letters of protest were written to the Premier, the Minister for Lands and “The Sydney Morning Herald”. These letters made a special point of the fact that decisions of this kind were arrived at and negotiation finalised before a public announcement was made. It was recommended that a public enquiry should be held in each case of alienation from a National Park so that the general public may voice an opinion and hence influence legislation on the matter.
Following upon the decision of the Department of Lands not to acquiesce in the establishment of a Faunal Reserve over the Morton Primitive Reserve, an effort Will now be made to interest the Fauna Protection Panel in the Ettrena-Budawang Area as a Faunal Reserve.
Visits to Areas for which there are conservation plans, will be undertaken as follows -
April 15,16.17th: Kariong: West Patonga Area.
April 22 to 25th (Anzac Day Weekend): Budawang; Corang Creek.
If you want to interest your friends and relatives in our Conservation Projects we can help with Transport and Trips, propaganda leaflets and showing of colour transparencies. Ring UA2983.
Just what did happen to shatter the quiet tranquility of the Grose River banks an March 13th and 14th? For over twenty-four hours a sylvan setting was transformed into the Bushwalkers' equivalent of an ant-bed. From mid-day Saturday there mushroomed an ever-growing colony of bodies and tents, while the air was full of all that goes with them - the hum of all sorts of activity, the enticing smell of bush-cooked food, the chorus of a hundred campfire voices, the skulduggery on the river and the talk of old times and of times to come. Yes indeed, the S.B.W. Annual Reunion had hit Woods Creek again for the fourth year in succession. This time Mother Nature had been most bountiful; the “Big Wet” had bequeathed its legacy of greenness and the swollen river was just down everybody's alley. To cap it all the weather gods had come good just at the right time with two days of glorious sunshine, rare good fortune, surely, for 1955.
As the afternoon advanced it was interesting to watch the pattrn of the colony take shape - Bushwalkers en masse are undoubtedly a heterogeneous collection of beings, even at reunions. There were the family groups with their piccaninis, in a respectable suburban setting combining just the right amount of independence with their “reuning”; here and there amid the trees was the lone tent, its occupants seemingly determined on communing with Nature; but most intriguing were the “slums”, a vast array of congested tents, young sardine-packed bodies and paraphanalia ad infinitum, where life moved swiftly and sometimes uncertainly.
Meanwhile the building of the great campfire was taking place, as usual under the expert guidance of Bill Henley - it was good to see such a great number of volunteers venting their wrath on the campfire logs; organisers of sketches and items were busy recruiting partners in crime and rehearsing their lines; the principals of the Opera were making last-minute preparations, while a few stalwarts had already sojourned to the river for the annual bath. A mild panic developed when it was at last conceded that the overdue Wagg party would have to be written off as a dead loss. Fortunately for the nerves of the Opera Company the redoubtable Geoffrey and his party turned up in the nick of time, and with quite a plausible excuse at that!
With appetites temporarily satisfied by the usual enormous variety of Bushwalker specialties, reuners began to assemble at the campfire site for the big business of the Reunion. A rough count of heads revealed a total touching the 150 mark, including no fewer than 35 of the juvenile set. The huge pile of logs sprang up to a steady blaze as Wal Roots led the first lusty bout of singing, and whenever things looked like getting a bit quiet, Gil and Malcolm continued on with the good work at intervals throughout the night. Then came the highlight of the evening - the 1955 Opera, “Bobbies and Bushies”, a masterpiece Of S.B.W. ingenuity, written and arranged by those talented composers, Malcolm McGregor, Jim Brown, Don Mathews and Geof Wagg. A cast of ten had their audience rocking with laughter and brimful of admiration for a good forty minutes with their clever burlesque sketches of notable bushwalking events of the past years. Jim Brown and Kevin Ardill's “Dance of the Hours”, a humourous bit of playacting based on the innovation of army times for the Walks Programme, was a bright interlude. Oh, that the Admiral could have witnessed it!
Monsieur X, that mysterious and brilliant crystal-gazer from the East, silenced his questioners with some of the corniest answers we have ever heard. As always, Rene Browne obliged with two delightful little songs, and Ken Meadows came good with a couple of his inimitable stage jokes with just the right amount of drawing-room flavour. The last one, “A Lesson in Grammar” caused something of a riot. And then came the time for the initiations. About a dozen new members were subject to a confusing variety of ordeals, pirate fashion, at least one of which rebounded forcibly on the blood-thirsty villains who contrived it. Finally,the traditional impressive ceremony of investing the President, Jim Brown, with his insignia of office, took place, losing nothing of its significance although it is Jim's second year of office. About this time some odd-coloured flames started to leap from the campfire. A few people we know blamed the weird sight on a possible over-indulgence at the North Richmond hostelry earlier in the day, but the knowing ones realised it was just Colin Putt up to a bit of chemical jiggery-pokery. The campfire wound up with a few more songs, and soon everybody was making short work of the excellent brew of cocoa and fruit cake put on for young and old.
And after midnight? Well, it's a case of following your own inclinations, whatever they may be. A goodly number carried on the hilarity and song around the main fire, others drifted into little parties scattered here and there, while some more rational folk decided that the only sane place to pass the morning hours is inside a sleeping bag. Anyone still awake at 3 a.m., though, might have heard a mysterious splashing as several bods made their way half a mile up the flooded stream for a glorious drift down in the moonlight.
The morn dawned blue and warm, and many and varied were the first reactions after the night before (What's that again, Hoffo?). To regain some sort of equilibrium, most of the company made their way to the river for a dip after breakfast, and there was enacted such torture as would put the Dark Ages to shame. Along the sandy beach was a rather large and particularly defiling mud pool, an aftermath of the recent flooding. A band of young renegades (they must forever remain anonymous) decided that this heaven-sent gift was too precious to be ignored. Selecting their unfortunate victims one by one with a kind of perverted relish, the gang proceeded to literally “drag them through the mud”, and you can say that again! “You have to pay big dough for this treatment in a beauty salon”, could be heard the voice of Snow above the general melee. No one was spared in this terrible purge, not even the cunning Hoffman who had quietly slipped into the water some hundreds of yards upstream. However, everybody was gratified to see the torturers turn in upon themselves and so receive a dose of their own murky medicine. Some time later a bunch of these primitive-looking characters, aboriginally black from head to toes, was observed prowling the camp in search of fresh blood, and we believe that the President himself was saved only by hiding behind infant's skirts.
After these nerve-wracking experiences, it was most relaxing to return to camp and listen to the soothing notes from Taro's flute as they wafted through the trees. The remainder of the day was spent lazily in swimming, quaffing tea, diminishing the larder, and generally “reuning”, and of there were always the photographers, eagle-eyed as ever for “possibilities” and guinea pigs on whom to perform their experiments. The exodus was gradual and fairly quiet, and by 4 p.m. (sorry, 1600 hours) only the stragglers were left, that is, if you can call Geof Wagg, with only twenty minutes to catch the bus, a “straggler”. We guess he is secretly training for his jet-walk marathon.
An outsider, coming upon the scene at that hour, would have found it impossible to believe that a party of 150 people had camped on this spot, so little was the natural order disturbed. Hardly was there a mark of recent human occupation in evidence. This is, of course, as it should be, and although we are quite familiar with the campsite left unblemished, it is time we gave ourselves a small pat on the back for our behaviour.
Here's hoping that there will be many happy returns of a Reunion as enjoyable as this one proved to be.
- Hilda Stoddart.
Mr. Hume reports that the Minister for Lands has now received the District Surveyor's Report, and the Proposal for a Blue Mountains National Park will now be referred to local Councils, other Government Departments, etc. for their consideration.
The Forestry Department has been permitting timber cutting on the upper part of Erskine Creek, about 7 miles south of Hazelbrook, and it is claimed that great damage has resulted. The Department wishes to establish a State Forest in this locality with an area of about 35 square miles. This would mean a large slice would be taken out of the proposed Park and devoted to an alien purpose. The Blue Mountains Council has been influenced by statements of Forestry Department officers that they are fully determined to continue timber cutting in this area, and that, if a State Forest were established, it would be done under proper supervision, officers of the Department would be stationed permanently in the Forest, and full fire prevention measures would be taken.
The Movement considers that an area of 35 square miles is too large and suggests that 20 square miles should be the limit, and that the forest if proclaimed should not be allowed to encroach on the proposed area of the National Park. Organisations interested are asked to join in deputations to the Minister for Lands.
Miss Crommelin and the Gosford Fauna and Flora Protection Society convened a Conference on 12th February to consider a proposal for the allocation of land between Mooney Mooney Creek and Warrah Sanctuary and including Lion Island to form a National Botanic Garden and Arboretum, Native Fauna Reservation and Community Forest area. This would be for the Promotion of study of native fauna and flora and aboriginal relics. A strong body of members of the Hawkesbury Scenic Preservation Society attended the conference and urged the Fauna and Flora Protection Society to co-operate with them as they had already submitted a proposal to the Government. The total area sought is about 13,000 acres. A committee of five was set up by the Conference which includes Messrs. Guy Moore and Myles Dunphy and Mrs. Thistle Stead, to farther the objectives of the Conference.
This park has an area of 8 1/2 acres and the Blue Mountains City Council were inclined to grant a site in it for a Scouts Hall. However the Movement and many local Residents protested and the Council decided not to proceed with the request.
Ryde Council proposed to grant a site on this park for an Ex-Serviceman's Club House, but as a result of protests from resident and the P. & P.M. the scheme has been abandoned.
In reply to an enquiry from the Movement, Sutherland Shire Council states an area of 1 1/2 acres situated in the north western corner of the Park, adjacent to the railway line, has been gazetted as a site for a War Memorial Hall.
Between 8 and 9 acres have been allocated out of this park for a hospital site. The Movement protested but the scheme was approved by the Government, the Mosman Council and the Cumberland County Council.
The Movement is working with the National Trust for the preservation of all the Crown Land in the vicinity of North Head. Manly Council is being urged by local business men to induce the authorities to hand over a large area of this land for housing development. The Movement considers that far too much harbourside land has been alienated already and will do its best to prevent this land from being taken for any other use than as a park.
The Cumberland County Council has proposed that 2 acres of the Domain be used for the Opera House and proposes a 4 acre Civic Square when Sydney Hospital is demolished. Sydney Hospital cannot remain a Sydney Hospital if it is built at Randwick. There is already an Eastern Suburbs Hospital in Randwick built on a park and it needs two more acres. The Movement has told the Cumberland County Council that it is looked to to see that the parks are increased not diminished. The Lord Mayor wants 5 acres of the Domain for a parking station; the Art Gallery is to be doubled in size and a new roadway is planned through the Domain. What will be left? Where will the new Parliament House be built? Mr. Hume says “It is impossible to get large sites for new public buildings in the central city area unless they are taken from parks. The city must be extended before it bursts, but it must not be allowed to burst into the parks. The Movement has urged the authorities to replan 250 acres of Chippendale as a cultural centre with the Opera House as its central feature surrounded by adequate parking grounds. The Movement seems to be like a voice crying in the wilderness. Nevertheless we have succeeded up to the present in keeping the garages out of the parks. The whole thing resolves itself into a question of which we want to keep - the PARKS or the SLUMS.
Does anyone know of a flat or a house
For a loving young couple (both quiet as a mouse)
Self contained, we would hope - for a moderate fee -
If you hear about one would you please contact me?
We prefer around Strathfield or up Eastwood way,
Or the elegant North Shore - but what's that you say?
We sound mighty fussy, we're flying too high? -
No! If you've any offers, we'll give them a try.
- Don Matthews. JA2003.
Heather Joyce, our new Social Secretary, tried out her wings with the very successful Amateur Hour on 23rd March, hilariously compered by Malcolm McGregor. There was no dearth of items, all ably picked up by Frank Barr on a tape recorder. The playing back caused some horror and consternation, and much amusement.