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. 'Phone: JW 1462.
|Editor||Dot Butler, Boundary Rd., Wahroonga (JW2208).|
|Business Manager||Jack Gentle.|
|Sales and Subs||Jess Martin.|
|Typed by||Dot Butler.|
|At our General Meeting, February||Alex Colley||1|
|Notes from the Conservation Secretary||Tom Moppett||4|
|Letter from England||Ross Laird||6|
|Notice re Annual Reunion||7|
|Down Channel Seven||8|
|Seven weeks in New Zealand, Part One||Dot Butler||9|
|Map - The Nandewars (Illustrating article in Feb. issue)||Tom Moppett||16|
|Federation Report, February 1957||Allen A. Strom||17|
|Report of S.B.W. Ski-Hut Committee||18|
|Hattswell's Taxi & Tourist Service||3|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop||5|
|Leica Photo Service||7|
|Siedlecky's Taxi and Tourist Service||7|
|“Keep up to Date” (Paddy's Advt.)||20|
- A.G. Colley
The President was in the Chair and there were over 50 members present.
Two new members, Lynette Baber and Ernest Munns were welcomed into the Club.
The Conservation Secretary reported that the Dept. of Lands was “considering” the limestone leases at Colong Caves. Federation was supporting a move by the Newcastle National Parks Assn. to have the valley of the Upper Williams River declared a National Park. The road between the Allyn and Williams Rivers had been stopped by the intervention of the Conservation Dept.
The Treasurer, on request, gave a short pre-view of the results of the Club's financial year. The cash balance of £135 was approximately £50 higher than a year ago. Outgoings for next year would be higher because this year's expenses included only a half year's rental at the increased rate. Funds were higher by reason of the sales of “Chronic Operas” and a donation of £10 towards the ski hut. In a full year we might anticipate that income and expenditure would hardly balance even if we had no unusual expenses and bought no new equipment.
The Ski-Hut Committee submitted a report on the result of the questionnaire to members and the estimated minimum cost of a hut (See page 18.). Peter Stitt said that, since the report was written, another £115 had been promised towards the hut. He told of an interview with the Trust's Architect which gave hope that the paper requirements of the Trust might be relaxed if plans of a well designed hut were submitted. Colin Putt said he hoped to acquire a seven ton truck and that, by using it instead of hiring transport, he thought that transport costs could be cut from £130 to less than £50. Several of our members with an interest in other huts then expressed their opinions. Dick Hoffman said that he couldn't see how a hut could be erected for £957. The C.S.I.R.O. hut, with an area of 9 squares, had cost over £3,000 and was only half finished. The foundations alone had cost £450. The Snow Revellers hut had cost over £6,000 and was three-quarters finished (Interjection by Claude Haynes “Cut it out - it's finished”). He thought a guarantee of £2,000 to £3,000 was necessary before commencing a hut. It was necessary to decide on the method of heating - wood, coke, or fuel oil. Kerosene (interjection - “That stinks!”) cost half as much for cartage as solid fuels. Claude said that the hut next door to the Snow Revellers cost only £650. It was the smallest on the range and the Trust had ordered its demolition.
Malcolm McGregor said that a saving of 1 1/2 squares (as implied by Peter Stitt) was negligible since the amount of materials required did not decrease proportionately to the size of the hut. The equipment needed would be practically the same for a smaller hut.
David Roots said that the U.A.C. hut had cost £2,400. It contained an expensive stove, Dunlopillo mattresses, a donkey engine for electricity, double septic systems and four shower recesses. All the labour had been voluntary.
Paddy Pallin drew attention to the sale of building materials by the S.M.A. Paddy's remarks ended the discussion on the hut.
The President then extended a welcome back to Leon Blumer, on a short holiday home from Europe and Canada. He also announced that the Club Secretary, Walks Sec. and the Membership Sec. were not standing for re-election. Members were asked to devote some thought to the need for Secretaries before the Annual Meeting next month.
The Social Sec. raised the question of whether or not to hold a black-and-white photo. exhibition. Jim Brown moved and Edna Garrad seconded that we hold it as usual on the second Club night in June. Frank Ashdown opposed it because the people who voted for the motion were mostly non-exhibitors. Heather thought last year's exhibition was “very representative of members”. The motion was carried.
Frank Ashdown complained that his pants had gone red from sitting on the chrome left on the Ingersoll Hall seats and moved that we write to the Rationalist Association about it. Edna Garrad feelingly seconded the motion without going into detail. Carried.
At the conclusion of the meeting Colin Putt asked for volunteers to dig a hole 6 ft. wide and 6 ft. deep at the Re-Union site. A well-attended Re-Union is anticipated.
For all your transport problems contact Hattswell's Taxi and Tourist Service. Ring, write, wire or call any hour, day or night.
Telephone: Blackheath 129 or 249. Booking Office - 4 doors from Gardner's Inn Hote1 (look for the neon sign.)
Speedy 5 or 8 passenger cars available. Large or small parties catered for.
We will be pleased to quote other trips or special parties on application.
The President again makes an appeal through these pages to Walks Leaders to write up particulars of their Official Walk in the magazine appearing in the month prior to their walk. Particulars should cover the interesting aspects, such as the nature of the scenery to be expected - whether mountain panorama, pleasant river banks or beaches, how far to walk on Friday night, where it is expected to camp, any swimming, and, very important, the fares. There are quite a few new members, as well as prospectives, who have never, for example, been walking in the Blue Mountains, and to whom names of places on a coldly official Walks Programme mean nothing; nor do they know how much they will have to lay out to get to, say, Kanangra. At times a walk described as “Medium” is only so described because it keeps to tracks, but this gives no indication - the track, for instance, from Blue Gum Forest climbs about 2,000 ft.! There is no surer way of discouraging newcomers than by misleading them, or by failing to render an advance appreciation of the trip to be undertaken. On the other hand, the advertisement so given may save cancelling a walk through lack of starters, which unfortunately has been the case in the recent past, thereby causing bitter disappointment to the leader and a disinclination to offer as a future leader.
A glance at the Saturday “Herald” should convince one that “It pays to advertise.” And your advertisement is free. Try it!!
- Tom Moppett.
On 16th Feb. an enthusiastic and representative meeting formed The National Parks Association of New South Wales.
The meeting was held at the W.E.A. Building, Phillip St., and about 80 were present.
Messages of goodwill were received from the National Parks Associations of U.S.A., Queensland, and Victoria, the National Parks Service, U.S.A., and the Hunter-Manning National Parks Association.
The Association is to operate under a short temporary Constitution while a permanent one is being drafted - the drafting is to be completed by 30th June, 1957.
Subscriptions are 15/- (£1 for married couples).
Officers elected were:-
State Councillors: Messrs. C.R. Ockenden, Paddy Pallin, Myles Dunphy, Allen Strom, Tom Moppett.
A visit to Gloucester Tops is being planned for Easter. The Caloola coach is going for those without private transport.
The Central Region President, Guy Moore, was elected to represent the Association on the forthcoming deputation to the Minister for Lands concerning a National Parks Act.
It is hoped that Bushwalkers will strongly support the Association by becoming members, as do the Brisbane Bushwalkers the Queensland National Parks Association. The support of Club members would be particularly valuable because of their special knowledge of parks and reserves.
You have heard already the wonderful news that the Minister for Lands has approved the reservation of 28,000 acres at Nadgee, the extreme south-eastern corner of N.S.W., as a Faunal Reserve. Look it up on page 38 of Yarrawonda No. 11. A holiday visit there would be well worth while.
There are some copies left for anyone who should want them or wish to send or have them sent to interested friends, relatives, acquaintenances, etc.
A note from the President of the C.M.W. reads - “We are using Yarrawonda so consistently for reference purposes that I think you may expect a little more financial assistance towards publication costs from the C.M.W. in the near future. This is one of the objectives of an evening to be held at my place in February. Won't be much, perhaps, but each bit counts when you face the costs of producing anything like 'Wanda.
We announce with pleasure the arrival of three more young ladies to swell the S.B.W. ranks at some future date:-
To Gill and Jean Webb, a daughter. No wonder Jean said she would be otherwise engaged when I invited her to come mountaineering in N.Z.
To the Deans, a daughter. Kevin, Shirley and Penelope Ann (6 lbs. 13 ozs.) are all three doing well.
Roy and Elsie Bruggie are also the proud possessors of a daughter.
Mr. Ross Laird,
Correspondents, please note: Flat 6, 57 Netherhall Gardens
Hello there, S.B.W's,
It has just struck me that at present, to my knowledge, there are twelve of our members scattered to the four winds. There's Yvonne and Dot probably in Queensland, Joan, Marj, Keith and Frank on the Nullabor Plain, Dot, George, Snow and Don in N.Z., and Don and I over here. Surely there is a party in Tassie? Anyway, on with the news.
The most prominant thing on my mind at present is the temperature. Sat. it was 42 degrees, Sunday 39, Monday 37, to-day 31. You may gather that it's pretty cold. Nevertheless we've had wonderful weather to date so I can't possibly complain. It's been snowing all day to-day but it hasn't been lying. This is the first lot since our great fall over the Xmas period. Yes, we were lucky enough to have a White Christmas, the first in London for 26 years.
Have been giving the theatres a terrific bashing of late. Have seen Carmen, starring Muriel Smith the American Negress at Covent Gardens, also The Magic Flute and have tickets for Jenufa. In Ballet we've seen Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, The Firebird, Sylvia and Les Pateneaus all by Saddler's Wells. Have also seen every G.& S. so far in this season. The seats are so wonderfully priced that you just can't stay away - they're just half the price of the cinema.
Have just got back another box of slides, and believe it or not, London can be very beautiful in the winter with her wonderful tracery of branches to add lighting effects.
Plans are well and truly on the way for a terrific trip starting early May straight after I return from a 3-weeks walking trip in the Lakes District. The big trip is by car, and from London we plan to go via Belgium, Holland and Luxemburg, through the Black Forest into Switzerland, down into Italy to Genoa and the Riviera, then on through Rome to Naples, back through Florence to Venice, across into Jugoslavia via Balzana and Cartina, up into Austria to Vienna, down to Innsbruch, up into Germany as far as Hanover then into Berlin, back again to Hanover and up into Denmark, Sweeden and Norway, across to Scotland and Ireland, and back to Edinburgh for the Festival in early September. Don and I then plan to leave the rest of the party and go off to France and finish up in Spain if possible for the winter. It should be rather a fabulous trip and with luck I'll burn Kodachrome all the way.
Must go now, but keep up the good work in the Magazine as I just about devour each copy yard by yard. I expect to read about everyone's holiday trip.
You press the button, we'll do the rest!
Finegrain Developing. Sparkling Prints. Perfect Enlargements. Your Rollfilms or Leica films deserve the best service.
Leica Photo Service.
31 Macquarie Place, Sydney, N.S.W.
In contrast to previous years, the Reunion may be attended by Prospective Members, as well as the non-member husbands or wives of members or past members. Members children under 16 are welcome. It is necessary to get permission of the Committee to invite visitors or members children over 16.
Every year it seem to be the same old team who do all the work in obtaining logs for the camp fire. It's not easy work, felling standing dead timber, cutting it into 6/7-ft. lengths with axe or cross-cut saw and then dragging it down to the site; and every year we have to go further afield as naturally the nearest trees are used first. The President therefore asks as many able-bodied male members as possible to hop in and do their bit. The ladies, too, can assist by gathering a big stack of light and heavy sticks and dead leaves so that Bill Henley can have the makings of yet another successful fire.
This year we are going to experiment with a wind-break up hill from the fire so that there won't be the usual draught to chill the kidneys and everyone will be able to foregather in a solid phalanx which will assist in the singing, make it easier to see the entertainers, and help the overworked M.C.
Naturally there is a new “opera”, but we appeal to members to get together and make up their own little “lurks” and not rely upon a few to do all the entertainment as has been the recent trend. Neither will a few solo items go amiss - a song or a mouth-organ recital, for instance.
Trains to Richmond (change at Blacktown):
Sat. 8.7 a.m., 9.1, 10.14, 11.6, 11.45, 12.34 p.m., 1.14, thence every hour.
Sun. 7.14 a.m., thence every hour.
Return from Richmond. Sun. 8.58 a.m., thence every hour.
A bus will connect with the 12.34 p.m. train from Sydney (about 2.26 at Richmond.) A bus will also take passengers for the 4.58 p.m. train from Richmond on Sunday afternoon, arriving Sydney 6.44 p.m.
Our New Membership Drive received a boost when our President received an invitation on 5th February to appear on T.V. that night, on Station ATN, in the feature “On 7 at 7”, when various people are interviewed during a half-hour session to speak on topical subjects. Four Sunday-hikers had been marooned in the Royal National Park on the previous Sunday night, turning up at Heathcote at 10.30 a.m. on the Monday, and the Station considered it was a good opportunity to have a few hints put over the air to advise people how not to get mislaid but arrive home on schedule.
The interviewer, Mr. Howard Craven, seemed more keen to obtain facts about the S.B.W., with the result that we got a terrific build-up in free publicity, while the Federation of Bush Walking Clubs, its Search & Rescue Section, and Paddy Pallin all came in for their “chop.”
Pessimistic club members have since pointed out that people who own T.V. sets probably can afford cars and therefore wouldn't be interested in putting one foot after another with their home on their back, whilst between 7 and 7.30 p.m. the pubs would have been closed and the frequenters there would have missed out on the session!!
We hope it did reach a section of the public who will respond, and that the President's words and facial image will not keep on for ever racing through outer space at the estimated speed of 186,000 miles per second.
Our most recent member, Ernest Munns, has announced that he and Jan Rudder (a prospective) are engaged.
Bushwalkers requiring transport from Blackheath, any hour, ring, write or call…
Siedlecky's Taxi and Tourist Service.
116 Station Street, Blackheath.
24 hour service.
Bushwalkers arriving at Blackheath late at night without transport booking can ring for car from Railway Station or call at above address - it's never too late!
'Phone Blackheath 81, or Sydney No. LU3563 after hours, or MA3467.
Look for T.C.3210 or Packhard T.V.270.
- Dot Butler.
About 15 members of the New Zealand Alpine Club, (including myself) now resident in Australia, decided that it would be a worthy idea if we were to form a section of the Club in Australia, with the object of forming an Advisory Service for Climbers, or in other words, we wish to let intending visitors to New Zealand know that there is a body of experienced mountaineers in Australia ready and willing to give them whatever help and information they might require in planning climbing holidays in the N.Z. Alpine regions. We accordingly asked for and obtained permission from the parent Club to form an Australian Section. This is now an established fact. We hope, eventually, to make regular annual trips at Christmas to the N.Z. Alps, so that novice climbers will have the benefit of starting their career with experienced mountaineers, and so avoid the pitfalls and dangers which beset their way in this entirely new terrain.
To set the ball rolling, I took over a party this Christmas (1956), the idea being to spend one week in the North Island and five or six weeks in the South Island, seeing as much as possible of the country's scenic beauties - not only its mountains, but its valleys and lakes and fjords as well, and incidentally its rural areas and towns as we passed through them.
The party comprised George Grey, Dave Brown, Don Newis and myself. It cost approximately £150 each for 7 weeks, more than half of that being eaten up by the 'plane fare.
This First Instalment deals with our doings in the North Island.
A quarter to midnight outside the Rose Bay Flying Base. A small crowd of Bushwalkers is milling about, cars and motor bikes adding more. Pete with his plaster leg is crouching on the kerbstone whacking last-minute tricouni nails into Donnie's boots. Geoffo and Grace, admiring a pine tree lit up like a Christmas tree, follow that line of thought and hope we get a decent Christmas dinner when we hit Garth's place at Dunedin on Christmas Day. The Dalai Lama is telling us that our flying boat is a derelict old crate which has been off the run for years, and has only been resurrected as a hopeless gesture by QANTAS to try to cope with the Olympic crowds and it will undoubtedly crash into North Head when it tries to take off, but Good-bye and it's been nice to have known us….. and isn't Snow lucky to have gone by boat. A couple of flying boat crew go aboard wearing wading boots. We eye them apprehensively. “That's because you have to wade the last 50 miles,” says Nobby. “A nautical mile is a bit more than a land mile, but that shouldn't worry Bushwalkers.” The craft is due to depart at one minute to midnight. Our packs and ice-axes have already gone into its hold. We take a last look at the faces of our friends standing under the stars in the soft summer night, then we follow the gum-booted crew through a double wire-netted fence and step aboard. We are off.
The take-off was out of this world, with great walls of green flying water and silver bubbles tearing past the windows - all flashing, and sparkling in the moonlight. The myriad lights of Sydney below - then the quiet steady flight - blue ocean, blue sky, and on one side the moon and on the other two stars. We flew well above the clouds, floating below like feathers out of a sleeping bag.
We felt wide awake. Suddenly George said, “We have to put our watches on two hours. It's not half past 12, it's half past 2” - and immediately we felt so sleepy we could have gone off at the drop of a hat.
A shortage of rugs and pillows. I bagged one of each and settled down on the floor for 5 or 6 hours intermittent snoozing. George used his jumper for a pillow and dozed off in his seat. Donnie disconsolately did the rounds of the aircraft and finally returned triumphant with a pillow which he had deftly extracted from under an old lady's head while she slept. (Donnie says she had three and he felt justified in taking one that had fallen loose. That's his tale.) And so nine hours passed by.
We at last passed over the first N.Z. land - densely wooded rugged hills fringed with a silver lace of waves, and dozens of islands dotting the sea. And then Wellington flying boat terminal. We came to a halt a little way out in the Bay and could see the landing stage swarming with spectators - it was two years since a flying boat was here and it was consequently something of an event - it even made headlines in the newspaper next day.
A member of the crew came through and sprayed us all with insecticide which made us cough. We had barely got our breath back when H.M.S. Customs arrived in a little launch and two officials came aboard, one carrying a huge black spray with a cylinder a foot long, and we were all sprayed again for good measure. Then we got into a little launch and landed and went through another lot of Custom's officials and declared our gin, whisky and other alcoholic beverages, our cigars, washing machines and piece goods. We also had to swear we were not bringing into the country any viruses, fungi, bacteria or microbes. “No,” we said. “Snow went by boat.”
Betty and Pete were at the wharf to welcome us, a highly animated duo amongst the quiet, restrained local folk. Pete had his motor-bike and drove packs and passengers up one at a time to their flat just above the Bay. Betty turned on a wonderful meal for her guests. Pete borrowed the parents' car and the afternoon was devoted to sight-seeing Wellington. We spent the night at the house of an Alpine Club friend who would be joining us for the last fortnight at Mt. Cook. Bed by midnight, planning to be away early next morning to catch the bus to Rotorua where we were to meet up with Snow.
Owing to a slight misinterpretation of the time-table we got to the bus depot to receive an unpleasant shock.
“Three tickets to Rotorua by the next bus,” said I, passing our money across the counter.
“The next bus is tomorrow at 8 a.m.” said the gent behind the counter. “To-day's bus left 25 minutes ago.” Consternation!!
We raced outside and looked at maps and indicators and departure times of other buses and made a snap decision to catch the Wanganui bus which would take us as far as Bulls, 100 miles on our way, and we'd trust to luck and hitching for the other 250 miles. We convinced George, who was tetering on the brink of uncertainty, rushed in and bought tickets and hurled ourselves and gear into the bus with barely two microseconds to spare.
An uneventful journey through green rolling country dotted with white newly shorn sheep and jet black cattle and calves, with chatty helpful travelling companions and an expensively dressed American couple who read the newspaper all the way from Wellington to Bulls. Here the driver put us off, and with a kindly hope for our future welfare pointed out the road to Rotorua and went on his way. We walked ten or twelve steps to the footpath and looked speculatively at a semi-trailer just passing when a Hillman whirled up to a full stop and a young chap leapt out and asked could he give us a lift anywhere? He was going to Auckland and could fit at least two in. We convinced him that he could easily fit three in by squeezing Donnie in the back seat among his samples (he was a commercial traveller), so we loaded the packs in the boot and Don and the ice axes in the back seat and George and I in the front with Brett, the driver, and away he sped at 60-70 miles an hour, which speed he maintained all the way to within 33 miles of Rotorua which was the parting of the ways. We had a wonderful viewing of all the rural country and pine forests and rolling hills and deep river gorges, and Brett took us off on a loop road to view some spectacular Falls in the rain. It had stopped raining when he dropped us off with a cheery farewell at 4.30, and we set off down the road munching the marmite and honey sandwiches we had brought for lunch and wondering about the 33 miles that lay between us and a waiting Snow.
About a mile and a half along the road Don, who had advocated the principle of spreading the bait and had lagged behind, managed to bag a large empty truck, “I don't generally pick up hikers,” said the driver, “but seein' that there's only one of yez…. get in.” Donnie got in. “There's a couple of my mates on ahead,” said crafty Donnie as the truck moved off. “Oh,” said the driver…. Of course he picked us up too and we rattled the 30 odd miles into Rotorua just as a torrential downpour deluged the place.
We debated whether to look for Snow in the hot baths, which was to be the meeting place if we arrived by day, or at the Municipal camping ground, which was to be the night rendezvous. We bought some food and ate while the rain belted down and the gutters rose 18” deep in a matter of minutes. Then the street lights came on and we decided it was night, so we got a taxi a couple of miles to the camping ground and started our search for Snow. Under a huge pine tree we at last spotted the yellow tent with pack and ice axe inside, but no Snow.
We adjourned to the kitchen shed and cooked up a whopping bully-beef-sweet-corn-tomato-potato-powder stew on the hot plates provided (one penny in the slot did the job), dried out out pants by passing them over another hot plate, then presuming Snow had found himself some cushy hideout for the night we bedded down on the benches and concrete floor of the kitchen, put out the light, and prepared for sleep, hoping the caretaker wouldn't arrive and evict us into the rain and outer darkness.
Five minutes later a cautious head peered in the door - a match was struck revealing naught else but the welcome face of Snow me lad, so we leapt up and all sat on the bench while we got his news. Gradually the uneasy feeling crept over us that there was “something rotten in the state of Denmark”, but were reassured when Snow invited us to smell his hair. Phew!!! He had spent the day while waiting for us swimming in the hot thermal baths and was deeply saturated and impregnated with the highly scented waters (and do I mean “high!!”). His hair positively reeked of sulphuretted hydrogen.
Snow persuaded us out to sleep in his tent, and when we woke in the morning the rain had gone and the sun was shining. We set out to view the sights of the thermal district. Snow didn't think it was worth while taking a parka but I managed to convince him. We went to the Maori Reserve of Whakarewarewa where Snow had done an escorted tour the previous day. He acted as guide for us, but we refused to pay him the demanded fee and had to keep a close eye on him in case he pushed us into a bubbling mud pool to teach us a lesson.
In the same thermal belt as Rotorua is Wakatani, where there is a great undertaking which harnesses power from subterranean steam. It issues forth in great roaring vents - the noise can be heard miles away like the roaring of the sea in a storm. This project has drawn off the steam from Rotorua, and consequently things are less spectacular now than when I last saw them - the geysers don't gush so high and things generally have the appearance of a spent force. We looked at what was offering in the way of steaming mounds and bubbling mud pools where gobs of mud leap like startled frogs over the surface and land back in the mud with a plop, plop, plop and boiling swishing steaming holes of water which fascinated Snow. After a couple of hours down came the rain. We had a hurried viewing of Maori huts and meeting and eating and storage houses of carved wood, then we decided there was no future in plodding round in the rain so headed for the hot thermal baths. They are beautifully got up - well kept with polished wood floors and marble statues and pictures on the walls in the entrance vestibule - just like an expensive hospital or sanitarium.
By 12 o'clock we had to drag ourselves reluctantly out, and while I bought our provisions for our 3-day sojourn at Tongariro National Park, the boys dashed back to the camping ground to dismantle the tent and pack up and bring all the gear down to the bus depot as our bus left at 1.30. By 1.20 the boys had not appeared and I was getting a bit apprehensive about our catching the bus. We had not yet purchased our tickets and I couldn't do anything about it as we had left the map back at camp and I couldn't remember the name of the place where we wanted to be put off. The ticket man tried to be helpful by reading off the names of the places along the route but they were all unpronounceable and unintelligible to me. At 1.25 a taxi roared to a halt in the rain and out piled bods and packs and ice axes. We grabbed out the nap and rushed inside and pointed out the spot where we were going. The man just looked blank. Apparently he'd never had anyone for there, and anyway it was just a spot on the map and had no name. He went inside and conferred with someone else, and time ticked on. At 1.29 he emerged and told George to go and hold the bus and he did things about tickets, then with a last minute dash we stacked gear and selves aboard and were away.
We stopped off for afternoon tea at a little farm where there were numbers of friendly dogs, and various cats guarded by a golden cocker spaniel, and venison hanging up in an outdoor meatsafes, and a tiny baby spotted little Bambi deer sitting in a hideout of branches.
On our way again. We had converse with the driver who advised us against getting off where we planned as the Ketataihai hut is now merely four corner posts and a sheet of flapping corrugated iron, so as it was raining we went on to the track to Mangatapopo hut. We were glad we did. By the time we were put off it was 6 p.m. Our packs were heavy, and all except sensible George were having trouble with new or borrowed boots. We did the 6 miles of track and reached the hut in the dark about 8.30 and found two young Auckland lads in occupation. They had a fire going and we were soon comfortable and snug and cooked up a meal and then to bed by 10, planning to be up and away by 7 a.m, to climb Ngauruhoe and perhaps Tongariro next day. The boys, Jim and Graham, decided to come with us.
At 3.30 I awoke to see a beautiful full moon in a clear sky and got so enthused that I couldn't go to sleep again for excitement so got up and lit the fire and cooked the porridge and sausages. It was then 4 o'clock and beginning to get light. The Auckland boys woke and automatically got up and prepared breakfast, but our mob slept on. At last Donnie opened a half-conscious eye and asked the time.
“Time to get up,” said I. “You're supposed to be having your breakfast by 6 o'clock, not snoring in your bag.”
George, who takes nothing on trust, checked up on his watch, “It's only 4 o'clock!” he said in horrified tones. Snow groaned and turned over on his other side and dynamite wouldn't have shifted him, so I got back into bed again while they made up their minds. The Auckland boys didn't look exactly happy either. They ate up their breakfast in silence and got back into bed too. After an hour or so of intermittent urging our lot turned out for breakfast at the disgusting hour of 5 a.m. and we were on our way by 6. A triumph of engineering, but don't expect me ever to be able to repeat it; the strain was too much.
We headed for Ngauruhoe, the active volcano, fuming away into the clear morning sky. It took us three hours to get to the top, first up a tussocky gully, then over rocky outcrops and over lava flows, and finally up a thousand feet or so of coke heap where we scrabbled for a foothold in the loose scoria and pummice and sulphur-yellow lava chunks, for every two steps upwards slipping back one. It was a terrific effort to non-acclimatised Aussies, and we laboured considerably. (So, as a matter of fact, did the Auckland boys.)
A couple of hundred feet from the summit the murky fume began to drift over us, sulphurous and noxious. The bus driver had told us that it was too dangerous to climb the mountain in its present state of activity. “The wind might change and blow that smoke in your direction. One whiff and you're out like a light!” So I kept my eye on the party, waiting to see them one by one fall unconscious and hurtle down the slope. But no, and we eventually staggered up on to the rim and looked in. Great clouds of smoke and steam were whirling about, at times clearing off a bit to disclose the hissing vents in the walls from which the steam and smoke issued. George wandered off around the rim with his camera at the ready and faded out like a wraith into the murk. Snow and I and the others threw rocks into the crater which made the whole rim structure echo and ring with a loose hollow vibration. Then we rolled ourselves up in our parkas and tried to sleep on the hotted-up scoria in an atmosphere of irritating sulphur fumes. George did not return. We were beginning to concoct a cablegram of condolence to his home folk when we saw him again through a rift in the fume, on the far side of the crater. If the various kodachromes come out as intrepid as they looked they'll make your hair stand on end.
After about an hour Jim took off back to the base of the coke heap for lunch and we were soon following. As we ate lunch at midday down in the saddle between Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, debating whether or not to climb the latter, down came the rain and made up our minds for us. We accordingly returned to the hut at full speed.
An early tea, then we pushed off on the 6-mile walk to the Chateau. Very pleasant it was walking in the now fine moonlit evening, over tussock plains and through beech forests, and then the lit-up Chateau buildings in the distance. We had a search round for the motor camp in the dark, and after a bit of a hunt up the road we finally settled in about 10 p.m.
Away next morning about 8 for Ruapahu. A 4 1/2 mile slog up a rocky road brought us to the base of the mountain. We found the chair lift just starting up. The young Swiss custodian was a bit chary of letting us go on it unescorted and said we would have to walk as his mate was not about to keep an eye on our landing, but we managed to persuade him, and great was his relief when we rang back from the other end and reported our safe arrival without being chair-bound and carried round the bull ring and crushed to a pulp in the process.
Over a small rise was the next chair lift - much more spectacular then the first, which took us up over rocky gullies and waterfalls and extensive snowfields to a height of 7.300 ft. “This is the way to climb mountains!” crowed our degenerate mob. It had been a beautiful fine morning, but now the mists began to sweep over and we set off on the final thousand feet of slope without much visibility. A long plod over soft snowfields and at last we came to the crater lake lying below us with whisps of steam wafting over the yellow water like disembodied ghosts. The mists had cleared, and out came the cameras. In case they changed their minds about going down to the lake, while they took pictures I kicked my way down a steep slope, then slid down to the water, and on looking back I could see three small figures at last following. At the steep slide George worked out a unique system of descent, that is, on the back, head first, with the parka acting as a toboggin and using the ice axe as a brake when necessary. It looked mighty!
It wasn't long before we were all in for a swim. The temperature of the water was distinctly high, but not too hot for comfort, but it must have been 50% pure acid and stung our cuts and scratches fiercely. You could put your feet down and touch hot rock, and your hand out and touch great chunks of ice and snow faces. Then we struggled into our clothes and plodded up the snowfields again. When the downward slope commenced we got on our backs, following George's example, and choofed off like a steam-train into the mist. It was mighty! We got down in time to catch the lower chair lift to the bottom, and then plugged off down the road to the camp. Next morning we caught the bus, as usual with barely a micro-second to spare, and so back to Wellington. Thus ended our sojourn in the North Island. The next morning, with peeling faces and blistered heels we caught the “Hinemoa” for Christchurch in the South Island… but we'll tell you all about that in the next issue.
[ Map of the Nundewars ]
- Allen A. Strom
Following upon a call for assistance in the search along the Williams Range (Barrington area), arrangements were made for a party to leave almost immediately for Barrington House to join in the work.
A profit of about £39 was made on the Ball.
An advertisement in the “Herald” on Saturday, Jan. 12th had brought 24 replies, all of which were answered. It was decided to forward the names and addresses of all who replied to the affiliated clubs so that some idea of the success of this publicity work could be estimated. Two more advertisements will be placed in the “Herald” to take advantage of the coming Easter period.
This will be held on April 6/7th. Peter Cartwright will act as Convenor for the Reunion Committee. One delegate is requested from each Club to add to the Committee. It will meet at the Rooms of the Big Sister Movement, Penfold Place, on the first Thursday in March (March 7th) to decide on a suitable spot for the Reunion and other matters. A Campfire Leader is also required.
Mr. Paddy Pallin has undertaken to supply a plan for Track Marking in the Lady Davidson Park. When this has been supplied the Federation will seek permission and assistance from the Trust of the Park (the Kuring-gai and Waringah Shire Councils) to mark and lay out these tracks. It was suggested that Clubs might like to adopt certain areas in order that the work will be carried out.
This organisation was launched on Feb. 16th at a meeting called by the Federation. Congratulatory letters were received from a number of local bodies and some interstate and overseas organisations. The new Association will organise field activities to National Parks of to-day and tomorrow, foster the better and more efficient use of the National Parks and watch over the welfare of the National Parks. Membership is invited: 15/-, or £1 for married couples. Enquiries re membership to Allen M. Fox, 92 Yathong Rd., Caringbah. (Phone: LB7304).
Is organising a Photographic Competition. Provision is made for the following prize list for photographs taken within the National Park:-
Colour Transparency: 1st Prize: £75. Five consolation prizes of £5.
Black and White Print: 1st Prize: £25. Five consolation prizes of £5.
Entry details will soon be available from the Secty. of the Trust, Shire Clerk, Coonabarabran.
Arrangements are being completed for a deputation to wait on the Minister for Lands to ask for a National Parks Act that will define a National Park, give them security, finance and a Service directed by a Constituted Authority.
To date (11th Feb.) 17 replies have been received to the questionnaire sent out in December. Fifteen members have said they would donate £10 and five have said they would donate sums totalling £115, making a total of £265 in prospect, from both donations and loans. Seven are prepared to spend Easter working on the huts eight to spend Christmas and/or New Year, and eight to go up at other times. Five are prepared to act as hut officials, five to act on the building committee, and thirteen to do maintenance work should the hut be built. Several have offered transport. One member has offered to do a fortnight's work, or in lieu, donate a fortnight's pay. Paddy Pallin had offered to handle the bookings, gratis. Ken Angle says that many members of the Newcastle Technical and University College Bushwalking Club would probably be interested in subscribing.
Ex-President Dorothy Lawry writes from Auckland offering a donation when the hut is started and saying she is all in favour of the project. She quotes John Hunter (an old member of our Club, now in Auckland) as saying that his Club, the Alpine Sports' Club, was in the doldrums until it undertook to build a hut on Mount Ruapehus 200 miles away. Since then it has gone from strength to strength. “It will be the young and active members,” Dorothy writes, “who will be doing the works and enjoying the results of their work, and I do not think that we older members should veto the idea and discourage them. Rather we should do our part by helping to raise the necessary money.”
Club Trustee Joe Turner does not support the proposal because only a small proportion of Club members are interested in ski-ing. He thinks there are other projects needing our urgent support which would benefit all bushwalkers. He is concerned about hut revenue, letting, repairs and vandalism. Also he has found promises of labour unreliable. However Joe says he is “one of those persons who believe in majority rule, and, if the Club in its wisdom believes in the scheme” he will make a loan towards it.
At the January General Meeting the Sub-Committee was asked to prepare an estimate of the cost of a hut designed to fulfil the minimum requirements of the Kosciusko State Park Trust. The main stipulations of the Trust are: Area 6 squares (minimum) with adequate storage space; a septic tank; foundations of natural stone properly constructed in random rubble; walls of stone or timber. At a meeting held on Jan. 22nd the Sub-Committee determined the minimum cost of a building conforming to these requirements, and containing the bare essentials of furniture and fittings, as £957/14/9.
Cost and weight of a hut conforming to minimum requirements of Kosciusko State Park Trust - based on Sydney prices - exclusive of labour.
|£ s d||Tons. Cwt.|
|4 c.yds. sand at 7/6||1 10 -||4 -|
|25 bags cement at £12/5/9 a ton||15 7 9||1 1|
|7 bags lime at 7/6||2 13 6||- 5|
|2100 super ft. hardwood at £8/14/6||172 14 6||- 5|
|750 super ft. hardwood flooring at £9/3/6||68 16 3||1 17|
|1350 super ft. weatherboard at £8/l7/6||119 16 3||3 7|
|2100 super ft. Masonite lining at £3/-/3||63 5 3||1 3|
|46 10-ft. sheets roofing iron at 26/6||60 19 -||- 8|
|400 ft. oregon cover strip 2“ x 1/2” at 42/-||8 8 -|
|200 ft. quad at 33-||3 6 -|
|architraves and jambs||10 - -|
|Fibro for eaves||5 - -|
|Sisalcraft - 1 roll||5 - -||- 1|
|300 ft. 3/4“ galv. water pipe at 132/7||19 17 9||- 5|
|30 4” stoneware pipes at 4/6||6 15 -||- 4|
|1 external door||2 - -|
|2 internal doors||7 2 -||- 1|
|Windows||15 - -||- 2|
|Sink bowl for basin||18 - -|
|1-cwt. nails at 1/3 lb.||7 10 -||- 1|
|Roofing nails||1 10 -|
|30 in. porcelain enamel sink||6 18 9|
|flashing||5 - -|
|“Canberra” fuel stove||31 3 9||- 3|
|6 1/2 galls. paint (exterior only)||15 - -||- 1|
|Locks, hinges, catches, etc.||6 - -|
|60 c.ft. (space) internal shelving, supboards &c.||20 - -||- 2|
|Materials for bunks||20 - -||- 4|
|2 stools and table||10 - -||- 2|
|1 pressure lamp||7 - -|
|2 ordinary lamps||3 - -|
|Cooking utensils||5 - -|
|Tools (axe, shovel, etc.)||8 - -|
|Application fee||3 3 -|
|3 taps||4 - -|
|Septic tank||56 - -|
|Contingencies, breakages, etc.||30 - -|
|Cartage||130 - -|
|Sundry weight not elsewhere included||- 10|
|TOTAL||£957 14 9||15 17|
The events for Mch. 20 and 27 have been reversed, as under:- (Dave Brown, Don Newis)
Mch.20 New Zealand Mountaineering -(Dot Butler, George Grey)
Mch.27 Colour Slides - George Dibley.
Magazine finances this year showed a small profit, a clear indication that we are paying our way in face of rising costs. Thanks go to all our supporters for their efforts.
Drop into Paddy's any time and see what is new.
A few of our latest items:-
Milk Powder in Packet form. 4 oz. 10d.
Aluminium screw-top Containers - The first since 1940. 5“ x 3” (more sizes to follow). 2/6 ea.
A good variety of plastic containers from 1/2 pt. to 1 gall., in polyethelene pliable plastic. Good for all sorts of liquids. 3/11 to 19/-.
Quart size tins of Shellite for your 'chuffa' stove. 3/9 tin.
Clinkers, just arrived and going quickly. 2/6 doz.
“Vibram” rubber soles and heels, imported from Italy. 25/6 set.
Good walking, folk.
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney. Phone: BM2685.