A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, c/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown Street, Sydney. Box No. 4476, G.P.O. Sydney. 'Phone: JW 1462.
|At Our Annual General Meeting||Alex Colley||3|
|Officers Elected for 1958||5|
|Reunion 1958||Dot Butler||5|
|In Tasmania's South West (Part 2)||Frank Rigby||7|
|Norbert Carlon||Brian Harvey||12|
|The Evolution of White Ants||“Bullmoose”||13|
|Prospective Members' Night||Alex Colley||16|
|Letter from Kaputar Trust||17|
|Letter from Arthur Peters||17|
|The Mandelberg Cup||Brian Harvey||18|
|Your Walking Guide||19|
|Leica Photo Service||9|
|The Sanitarium Health Food Shop||11|
|Hatswells Taxi & Tourist Service||13|
What is Life?
To this, Ogden Nash answers -
“Life is stepping down a step or sitting on a chair
And it isn't there”
In a word, disillusionment, but that's not the way I've found it. How could it be? My life is bushwalking, and bushwalking taken at its fullest contains all the elements of life. Not the dwarfed, synthetic existence of the confirmed city dweller, suffocated by his comforts, but the rich pulsating life of one who knows the joy of a summit achieved by his own effort or the pure refreshing chill of a mountain stream.
We, who know these things, are very fortunate for they are our refuge from the backbiting hypocrisy of nationalism, religion and politics, and indeed all the other heavily publicised avenues of our sensation-seeking times. Yes, these places are our escape - to reality! Their sounds or silence, supreme beauty or inspiring grandeur, and our experiences there, bring colour and meaning into our lives to such an extent that I think for us they are Life.
Life and then the People.
Ah yes, the people. When I came to this club about five years ago, my first sensation was a strange one, hard to describe. It was, more than anything, a feeling of coming home - a spiritual unity. I knew that these were my kind of people and I was happier than ever before. Now that I've read more, and spoken to more people, and thought a bit about it, I realise that it goes much further than just our club or the Federation or even the other bushwalkers of Australia. This spirit of kinship and understanding cuts through the puny bounds of national prejudice to unite people of like mind throughout the world.
While there are mountains, there will be people who go to them to revive their humanity and for that long too, there will be a part of the community that keeps its sense of proportion. Let the world be glad.
From this you might gather that I think bushwalking is a good thing. I do. It's the BEST thing I know! I'm glad to be where I am with the job I have and I hope to make a good job of it.
One hundred and fifty bushwalkers means a lot of fun, especially with Era as a background to their antics, so you will understand why this reunion was such a success. Thanks to the efforts of Paul and his minions, the fire was a very fine flame, and the barbeque would have excited the gastric juices of Mr. C. Hallstrom.
The presence of a set of bagpipes and operator was greeted with mingled cheers and groans, but added to the fun of the fire, which was considerable, with good entertainment for all.
Sunday was a delightful day, fine and clear, and even though the surf was inclined to be boisterous with a strong pull in the direction of out, everyone was happy. There was one rescue, prompt and painless, effected by the South Era Lifesavers, when a young feller (not S.B.W.) was drifting off in the direction of New Zealand and didn't think he could get back. All in ail, Era proved a popular choice and was in fine condition for our benefit.
Our club's representation was:-
(Watt No dogs?)
Roneod copies of the current opera “The Return of the Admiral” are available from Kath Brown - price 6d.
The meeting commenced at 8.15 with the President in the chair and over 60 members present. Our first act was the sad one of standing in memory of our Honorary Member, Norbert Carlon. Fond memories of his hospitality at the farm homestead will long be cherished by all those bushwalkers who have called in over the last 35 years or more.
Two new members, Bob O'Hara and Peter Cummings, were welcomed to the Club.
Prizes 'won' at the Annual Swimming Carnival, which was well attended this year after being spoilt by heavy rain for the past three years, were presented by the President. The Mandelburg Cup - a handsome aluminium receptacle presented by President Tom Herbert in 1933 - was won by Mary Walton and John Scott. The Henley Cup, looking resplendent in a new coating of electroplate, and awarded for the best all round performance, was won by Georgina Langley, who came first in the Ladies' Open, the Ladies' Breast Stroke and the Long Plunge. Eric Pegram won the Mens' Open and Long Plunge and Michael Elphick the Mens' Breast Stroke. Eric Adcock and Lynette Barber were the best submarine swimmers.
In correspondence attention was drawn to “A Bushwalkers' Guide to Tasmania” which lists huts and other useful information. This inspired Kevin Ardill to offer anyone interested a map of the Port Davey area, and a wit to ask “Is it covered with bloodstains?”. Most of the rest of the correspondence was to, or about, David Roots' exercises on the Harbour Bridge, as described in the “Sun”. The “Sun” was informed that neither David, nor his wife, were members of the Club as he was reported to have said. The North Sydney police were informed likewise, and lastly David was written to and asked to refrain from using the Club name in press statements.
After the adoption of the Annual Report, the Club's finances were gone over. Jim Brown said that the profit of £11/8/10 made him a bad prophet (pun). We had, however, “had a year on the cheap” partly because of the influx of new members. Our social activities had also shown a surplus - usually they showed a loss of £20 or £30, and in one black year, £70. Jack Gentle then explained the loss of £26/6/4 on the magazine. Materials cost had risen by £17 and postage by £2. Cash sales were £3 up and subscriptions down £8. A bad debt carried forward from year to year had been written off. Jack appealed to members to pay by annual subscription and said he was confident that a little more support, together with the increase in price and advertising rates, would restore the magazine assets. Bill Cosgrove asked what comprised the item of £36/18/1 Sundry Expenses. Jim explained that it was partly due to our generosity and was able to recall £5 to the Blue Mountains Bush Fire Relief Fund and some subscriptions to other organizations.
This brought us to the “determination of the annual subscription”. Claude Haynes moved that it remain the same. The advice of the Treasurer was sought and he pointed out that in 1952, when the last substantial rise occurred, we lost 46 members and the following year 42, as compared with a usual loss of 12 to 20 members. He said that perhaps two-thirds of our income came from members who, though they paid full active rate, in fact did little walking. They were easily lost by stiffer rates. Bill Cosgrove said that a small deficit could easily be covered from accumulated funds, and counselled “waiting till it happened” before raising fees. Laurie Rayner and Ray Kirkby thought that a higher subscription would put us in a better position to look for improved Club rooms. Frank Ashdown thought we could use the “Clubroom acquisition reserve” of £115 if we needed more for better rooms. Allan Hardie said that, in effect, we now paid £1/13/- a year (including 13/- for the magazine) whereas the Youth Hostel Association provided a free magazine for the fee of £1 a year. (Interjection - “The Government pays the rest”) The Kaloola Club fee was only 10/-. If we wanted new Clubrooms, then the place to find them was in the Qantas Building because it was on the site originally chosen for “Sir Joseph Banks House”, where we had hoped to find rooms. Colin Putt, carrying a nautical analogy introduced by a previous speaker a bit further, said that it was not “steering close to the wind”, but wild steering that wall the trouble. The officers met one week and the crew the next. If we refrained from handouts to other organizations we would be a lot better off. Claude Haynes said in his reply that we were not a profit-making organization and if we needed more money a 2/- levy would bring it in. The motion was carried.
Between these debates the election of Club Officers proceeded. When it came to the position of Literary Editor, several nominees declined, including our now Editor, who later requested permission to “undecline”. This original essay in literature ensured his immediate election.
In the Social Report our Social Secretary tendered hearty thanks to Dr. Bob Binks for his very informative lecture on first aid.
The Walks Secretary then described a system of symbols to replace the terms “rough, medium and easy” on our Walks Programme. The new symbols will graphically describe the obstacles to be encountered, and enable us to anticipate our exertions.
At the conclusion of the meeting Jess Martin thanked all those who had helped her during the year with the duplicating work. As her present helpers wouldn't be able to come as regularly as last year she would be pleased to hear of others who could come.
The meeting closed at 10.30 p.m., when “Let us Reune!” was the cry, as it has been for so many years.
For those new members and prospective members who have done little or no walking in the Blue Mountains, the walk of 16/17/18 May to be led by Brian Harvey has been specially placed on the forthcoming Walks Programme to give them the opportunity to view the main walking country. There'll be plenty of time for photos, absorbing the scenery and having the peaks and ranges named. 6.26 p.m. train, tickets to Katoomba. Clothes not required for actual walking can be cloaked at station. Nellie's Glen will be descended on Friday night (about 1500') - camping about 11.15 p.m. Good track on Saturday - about 11 miles camp at Glenalan Crossing. Climb of about 1500' first pop on Sunday, then fairly level walk about 11 miles into Katoomba. Excellent scenery on Sunday. Hot showers at Katoomba Camping Reserve. Bus to A.B.C. Cafe for tea. Total mileage about 27, but not a Test Walk. Five meals to be carried. Fares about 24/6d. An easy bash for the older members wishing to stretch their legs!! Brian Harvey - JW1462, business BU1611.
|Vice Presidents||Brian Harvey and Tom Moppett|
|Walks Secretary||Joan Walker|
|Membership Secretary||Edna Stretten|
|Social Secretary||Don Newis|
|Conservation Secretary||Tom Moppett|
|Committee Members||Lynnette Baler, Heather Joyce, Bill Rodgers, John White|
|Federation Delegates||Len Fall ©, Peter Stitt © Dave Brown, Paul Barnes|
|Trustees||Wal Roots, Joe Turner, Maurice Berry|
|Magazine Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Parks & Playgrounds Delegate||Mrs. H. Stoddart|
|Honorary Auditor||Nan Bourke|
|Honorary Solicitor||Colin Broad|
© To sit on Committee
A week before the event half a dozen pre-Reunion workers spent a drizzly weekend at Woods Creek constructing a bridge over the creek, checking up on logs for the campfire, etc., etc., so that when the crowd turned up 150 strong on a beautiful fine Saturday, everything was in readiness - well, not quite everything, because during the past week a flood had washed away the foot way of the bridge leaving only the handrail, but the creek was low so it sufficed.
A few keen types had arrived on the Friday night and welcomed the first Saturday arrivals from a fully-loaded Puttmobile. By lunch-time the pattern of the camp was taking shape - the usual isolationists in remote bosky dells, and the gregarious slum dwellers in their abdulled terrace apartments, except that this year they decided to advance a step up the social ladder and refer to their compound as a “housing settlement”.
Lunch disposed of, what do we see? The very young, pursued by vigilant dads and mums, scattering in the direction of the river and the lovely black mud; the Opera addicts getting into small groups to flex their vocal cords; the fire-builders constructing a professional campfire, for the first time in many years without the supervision of Bill Henley who was unfortunately having a spell in bed. The usual round of re-uning took place, and great was the joy of old-timers to see the happy faces of Ray and Peter Page at a reunion after so many years.
Soon after seven the campfire call went out and shadowy figures with torches began to converge at the site and settle in. A round of singing, then the new President, Jack Gentle, was welcomed in with the usual ceremony - not so many ex-Presidents as last year though. Next item - something we have come to regard as a regular annual feature - THE OPERA. This year's composition by the Crown Street composers went by the name of “The Return of the Admiral”, and many were the laughs it produced. The star part was taken by the Admiral in person, who has never taken a lesson in acting in his whole life but that makes no difference. Why should it? The strength of the C.S. Composers was this year reduced by the absence of Malcolm ncGreger, so our thanks for a wonderful effort must go to the rest of the team who must have worked extra hard to produce this latest masterpiece. Despite the fact that the personell for the mock Trial of Perspectives was only recruited at ten minutes notice, the initiation was painlessly effected, though no one thought to check up on the party given the job of 'constructing 30 feet of track along the true left bank of the river' as a penalty for having stolen a section of the leader's track on a previous Test Walk. By the time the prospective had been summarily dealt with by the 'hanging judge' it was time for supper. The crowd lined up with their mugs and soon the swilling of cocoa and the munching of biscuits made music on the air. You might think this was the end of the evening, but if so you would undoubtedly be very new to the Club; actually by now the participants had got their second wind and a new bout of entertainment started - small individual groups this time, here Opera, there Gilbert and Sullivan, somewhere among a small group the sound of Taro's flute, Irish songs and loud laughter from a moonshiney tent somewhere beyond the fireshine. Here is a small group of young ones being persuaded to go down to the river for a midnight swim. They went too - at least they returned with a good tale and their hair wet. By 2 a.m., as a pale frail sliver of moon tried timidly to emerge from engulfing clouds, all was quiet; everyone had retired to the tents or lay still around the camp fire when sleep had overtaken them.
It was late breakfast for everyone next morning, than while the more active ones betook themselves upstream with rubber dingy and inflated Li-Lo to spend the time swimming and lazing on the warm rocks, others who remained at the camp occupied themselves with gossip and snoozing. The highlight of the morning was a half hour recital of songs by Peter Page, accompanied by Taro's flute, which brought back many a memory of old times to those who remembered Peter's singing of long ago.
By midday the wanderers returned for lunch, then came a great letting down of tents and packing up, and one by one parties began moving off to the cars. Before long the campsite was deserted, the only indication of its recent occupation by 150 people being a flattening down of the tall grass where the tents had been.
And so ended Re-union 1958. See you all again in '59.
The tiny aircraft which had brought our party into Lake Pedder skimmed down the rain-pattered beach, circled out over the water and buzzed us a final farewell as it roared over our heads and set course for Hobart. I watched it disappear in a grey ocean of murky clouds and just then an intense, but rather wonderful, feeling of isolation and remoteness crept upon me. As I looked at the faces around me, I felt sure that these thoughts were not mine alone. This sensation is not new to bushwalkers who delight in leaving civilization far behind, but I had never experienced it quite so forcefully. Perhaps it was the sudden and overwhelming contrast in our surroundings; perhaps it was the strange and unfamiliar scenery, with rugged mountains seeming to ring us in on every side. I could not help but think of “Lost Horizon” with its Shangri-La, because here, surely, perfect peace of mind and soul could be bought for a song.
The Aero Club has a permanent camp at Lake Pedder, for which all bushwalkers are truly thankful. Two big 14' X 11' heavyweight tents are pitched among the trees just beyond the beach embankment. Thus they are comfortably sheltered from the strong west and south-west winds which blow almost interminably across the Lake. As the weather was anything but pleasant, we lost no time in settling ourselves in one of those roomy shelters. Next the food boxes were attacked and what looked like a miniature supermarket was soon spread out in a three foot wide strip down one side of the tent. What a mountainous heap of grub; would we ever eat it all in ten days? Joan was doing some brisk mental calculations, but Arthur merely rubbed his great hollow gleefully and flashed us his famous “just watch me” smile. According to Arthur, food can never exist in excess - it is just against all the laws of supply and demand. But I for one, anyway, was mighty-glad we were base-camping at Pedder for three days before we had to hump the left-overs on our backs!
Talking of base-camping reminds me that I Should tell you something of our projected plan of action for the trip. Not counting our arrival day, my idea was to stay put at Pedder for three days and then trek to Mt. Anne (one day). About two days could profitably be spent around the Armes and then we would have three days left to walk out to Maydena. Perhaps we could temper our laze at the lake with just enough activity to keep the inevitable base camp lassitude at bay; but all our plans, of course, depended on our old friend, the weather, which would have the final say. So far it had not been kind to us, but who knew what the New Year might usher in? Yes, it was New Year's Eve, we vaguely recollected; not that this mattered one iota in a place where days are unknown by names and dates, but only remembered in terms of weather and mountains, experiences and moods. For us it was not really New Year's Eve, but the exciting Day We Had Arrived. There was not the slightest incentive to string along with the world at large and celebrate such an artificial occasion. How the environment moulds the philosophy in such short order!
As soon as the rain had eased, I could not wait to have a better look at what we had come so far to see. From the sandy embankment atop the beach I drank it all in, bit by bit. I will always feel that the written word will never do justice to this superb creation of Nature's engineering. The colour picture perhaps can go a little further, but even this is far from adequate. For Lake Pedder, with its mountains, cannot really be described - it must be experienced. It is a lake of a thousand moods, constantly changing its character with the changing elements and the hour of the day. However in a mundane sort of way, I will try to give you some idea of our surroundings. Before me, the lake, roughly about two miles square, stretched out to the westward. The prevailing westerly winds have formed a beautiful firm beach of fine white quartzite sand along the entire eastern shore. Actually this sand, which has the same composition as the adjacent mountains, has a slight but definite overtone of pink colouration - the effect under classical sunsets surely can be imagined! The beach will vary in width from zero to four hundred yards or more depending on the season; so quick is this change that a casual glance can pick a difference from morning to afternoon. This sandy bed extends under the entire surface of the lake so that the water is always clean and clear. However, do not imagine it is colourless - far from it! The extract from the button grass plains has stained the lake water to a reddish-brown, or port wine as Arthur would say. Herein lies another fascinating aspect of this remarkable stretch of water, particularly when the sun is low.
Beautiful as the lake is in itself, there is no chance of its being relegated to just another lake, even by the unimaginative. The setting sees to that. Around the southern and western shores curves the mighty Frankland Range, an impressive backdrop of quartzite mountain peaks, as though set purposely in their place by the hand of some Master Artist. How inviting to the explorer are these mountains when naked and revealed, and yet how mysterious and forbidding when clothed in swirling mists and rain squalls. During our short stay at Pedder we rarely saw their summits in the clear - we longed to challenge them but it was not to be the feeling that we have missed much and have experienced this lake in so few of her moods will surely draw us back again - perhaps this is as it should be. Skirting the northern shore are more mountains, smaller, more isolated and less impressive than the Franklands, but providing, I feel, a very welcome contrast. To the north-west, far beyond the valley of the Serpentine River which drains Lake Pedder, looms the rugged landscape that stretches away to Frenchman's Cap. Turning round, I was just in time to catch the stately summit of Mt. Anne, ten miles to the east, ablaze in a rare patch of late afternoon sunlight. Would we over stand up there and look out to Pedder? Only time would tell. Closer at hand, over the tripod which dangled our cooking billies, Mt. Solitary with its dragon-back ridge completed this fantastic circle of mountains. Starting virtually at the camp-site and stretching away to the foothills of Anne and Solitary, the button grass plains suggested an innocence that I knew was all too false; these plains looked so flat and easy, so inviting to saunter across, and yet they were one vast impossible bog. How simple it would be to underestimate this country.
A daccling yellow shape suddenly interrupted my meditations - it was Henry parading in his brand new Yak Jacket. Henry's parka had been found wanting in the Reserve and he had been forced to buy the first thing he could lay his hands on in Hobart, hence the giddy colour. Just to look at him meant two things - you squinted from the glare and then burst out into rollicking laughter. Maybe it was this reaction that sent our Henry wading out into the lake. At any rate, there he was, with long pants rolled up, gingerly feeling his way out into the cold red water. Silhouetted against the evening twilight of the western sky, he resembled some huge fantastic yellow bird from another world, discovering Earth's water for the first time. I called the others and we all stood there on the beach, doubled up with mirth. But Henry kept on advancing three hundred, four hundred yards out. Would he never stop? Suppose we had sent him off for ever? “Come back, Henry” we shouted, “We didn't really mean it”. The only answer was a bloodcurdling yell which echoed back from across the lake. Finally the whole comic episode in that weird, unearthly twilight setting of lake and mountains seemed to merge completely with the world of fantasy, and once again we could not control ourselves, laughing at probably we know not what. But if only Henry could have seen himself - to the observer it was an incomparable tonic.
The following morning we were up early (to beat the B.C. Lassitude) and as the weather had improved we decided to climb Mt. Solitary before. Solitary seemed to be in the middle of everything and should give us a find overall picture of this part of the Sou'-West. I surveyed the plains in a bee-line with the highest summit - this would be a short cut and as they looked pretty dry, I felt sure they would “go”. So off we set. Half an hour later a dirty, sadder but much wiser party returned to camp to follow the more circuitous but accepted route through the Solitary - Franklands Gap. After that little episode, we developed an even healthier respect for the B.G. Plains. To cut a long trek short, we finally settled for one of the lesser summits, and only reached this goal by the time we ought to have been lunching back at camp. I made a mental note there and then to add 50% on to estimated times in dealing with this country - the going can be really slow. Our reward was an excellent view on almost every side, but we kept turning southward, for right across the southern horizon stretched the tantalising serrated skyline of the Arthurs. They would have to wait for another year for we had our hands more than full. As we relaxed, the unmistakable drone of a light aircraft fell upon our ears. We strained our eyes - yes, look, there it is, winging along the valley towards the lake. It was losing height but surely it's not — yes, it must be — it's going to land on the beach. What next? Perhaps we would have visitors when we returned…
However, not a soul remained when that plane flew on - perhaps even then as I ran up the beach those same tourists were admiring the precipices of Federation Peak or looking at the Southern Ocean from the strip at Cox's Bight. For a fleeting moment I felt very earthbound and immobile, but then I remembered the twilight on the lake and our evening campfire and the freedom of the great outdoors, and I felt sorry for the tourists couped up in their stuffy hotels in the middle of Hobart. Just as I was regaining some sense of that isolation I spoke about previously, our sanctuary was again invaded. There we wore on the beach, the four of us hushwalkers, making photographic hay with a large patch of sunshine. I recall I had “the picture of the year” or something lined up in the viewfinder and was just about to close the deal when I was startled by a terrific roar from behind. I almost dropped the camera and ran as the Aero Club Cessna came hurtling down the beach towards me. Blimey Charlie! You never knew when somebody was going to suddenly drop in for afternoon tea. A couple of minutes later an Auster followed suit. Before the amazement had died on our faces, we deemed to be surrounded by sight-seers dressed in Sunday towing clothes and obviously thinking funny things about our beards and sanity. I could hardly believe this was the same beach, the beach that at times seemed to brink the very edge of the world. Except for some irrefutable tyre marks on the sand, I could easily have convinced myself later on that it had all been a crazy dream.
The next two days at Pedder allowed us just a modicum of exploration and almost an overdose of spine-bashing. No, it was not the White Ants this time. The inclement weather was mostly to blame for this delightful situation. Occasionally a blue patch of sky would show up and we would gear up and set off to climb in the Franklands much against the advice of our chief Jonah, Mr. H. Gold, who was always predicting that more “dirt” would soon come sweeping in over the mountains. To make matters worse, he was invariably right and we could have dunked him in the lake for it. So we contented ourselves with strolls around the shore until the last afternoon, when, desperate because of the time that was running out, Joan and I managed to get up into the lower Franklands without being beclouded. All in all, it was a happy carefree stay at Pedder, enlivened by Arthur's lusty ballads and full of good fun and fellowship of the best type that all bushwalkers know. We could not have asked for more than this.
The morning of departure came upon us with a startling difference. For the first time in three days the wind had dropped - the stillness of the air seemed out of place. Someone peeped over the embankment to see — not the Lake Pedder that we knew but a giant glassy mirror which faithfully reflected every contour of the lovely peaks behind it, peaks which now stood out clearcut and serene against the morning sky. But we could not linger - there were new fields we must try to conquer waiting across the plains. We loaded six days' equipment into heavy bulging packs, took a long wistful look across the lake and plodded up the track towards Mt. Anne and our next adventure.
( To be concluded )
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.
Of a finer texture than Nut Meat. Spreads like butter - is particularly tasty in sandwiches with Marmite.
Nutoline yields about 3.25 calories per gram - a a good source of energy - and protein - for the Bushwalker!!
Include Nutoline in your next Food List - use as a spread or serve like Nut Meat in a variety of ways. Call at our shop and obtain a Recipe Leaflet on the preparation of meatless meals.
13 Hunter Street, Sydney. BW1725.
No-one, I fancy, but a good strong piece of manilla rope is a different matter entirely. Not that there'll be much hanging around done (especially if the water's cold) even to admire the views, which are something out of the ordinary.
The object of the trip is to enter the little canyon on Jerrara Creek just as it drops toward the edge of the inner sanctum of Bungonia Gorge and proceed by rope, rock and water to the creek level some three or four hundred feet below. The rock here seems to be very sound with sufficient holds, so it should be good clean fun and quite exciting even if we don't reach the bottom.
Waterproof packs would be a wise precaution and some experience at ropework is essential.
Marulan - Jerrara Falls - Bungonia Creek - Bungonia Gorge - Marulan.
Any questions? See Geof Wagg.
Henry Gold has for sale 1 pair of suede climbing boots with moulded rubber souls (Espadrilles). Size about 6 1/2. Only worn once.
Brian G. Harvey
It is with deep regret that we record the death of our Honorary Member, Norbert Carlon, in his 75th year.
Norbert's homestead, situated at the extreme western end of the Black Dog Track, was on the only route from Megalong to the Wild Dog Mountains or to the Cox River via Breakfast Creek, and as a result he was probably the best known non-bushwalker in the bushwalking fraternity. The walkers first came into contact with him about 35 years ago - before the formation of the S.B.W. - when the Mountain Trails club members were blazing and mapping the routes over which we now walk with careless stride. It is of great interest to know that Norbert's father is credited with being the first white man to traverse the series of ridges (later known as the Black Dog Track) when he was shown the route by the Burragorang aborigines, which they knew as a short cut from that valley to Megalong (then known as Medlow - hence Medlow Gap) and that was about 102 years ago! Norbert was born and reared in Burragorang, and, like his father, was essentially a cattle-man.
I first met Norbert at the Megalong Post Office on 13th March, 1936, when he was collecting stores and the mail. The picture is indelibly stamped on my mind of him sitting bolt upright on his horse, his bright blue eyes twinkling, and a cheery word for the two lads who were en route on their first Cox trip. He still had the same cheery word and twinkle on the last occasion - my thirtieth - as I passed through Green Gully last October.
Over that 35 years, the visitors would number thousands and the Club visitors' books, kept in the living rooms would testify to this. Often when I stayed with the family, walkers would arrive after dark, wet through and shivering, to be received into his home with that typical hospitality of the bush-dwellers. They would gather round the hearth in the main room, hang their wet garments in the capacious chimney, and boil their billies on the roaring fire. Norbert revelled in the happy yarns which invariably followed as we gathered in a great semi-circle before the blaze and discussed our trips and every other subject in the encyclopaedia. It is in this setting that many will recall him, with the red glow of the fire lighting up the merry faces around the room.
Our own Club's regard for him, both as a man and for the many kindnesses he has shown our members, his ever-ready help in times of need and his open hospitality, was so high that many years age we elected him to Honorary Membership, along with Mrs. Carlon.
For many, a long association has been broken, but Norbert's spirit will live on in Green Gully where he had dwelt for over 40 years. To Mrs. Carlon, Bernadette and Bert, we extend our sincere sympathies, and can assure them that they have many friends, indeed more than they know, who share in their bereavement.
Somewhere around about the Reunion fire somewhere around about supper time, Don and Tine Matthews mislaid their torch. Description (of torch):- Black, bicycle type (with glass knocked out), plain but with sentimental value. Would all finders please see Don.
I suppose there have always been white ants in the club, from (or soon after) its foundation, but as I recall, the older type had a much more delicate approach than their present-day counterpart. This approach consisting of a softer and a somehow nicer undermining of a leader's trip. Like the trip where the whole party (that is except the leader) had agreed with one unnamed scoundrel that it would be far better to cut the day's hot ridge walk short and have a couple of hours swimming and loafing down the river, but there was no open mutiny, nothing so undiplomatic. One of the fairer sex, well known for her fair looks and bewitching smile, volunteered to put our cause to the leader. So as the walk progressed she drew level with the leader and after asking a few indirect questions, complimented him on his bush sense and regard for the comfort of the party. Then a few questions about the river and swimming holes, till at the next rest he offered “What about cutting down the next ridge for a swim?” How much nicer for all concerned than what is so often heard nowadays as a leader starts slugging up a ridge, confident that the party is at his heels, to hear someone call “Come back yuh slob, we're having a swim”.
At one time a member (and a prospective member more so) timidly approached a leader and asked for permission to join a walk and it was quite common to be told that a trip would be too hard for him. Nowadays, the leader (poor degenerate) has to canvas for starters and beg for someone to go on his trip. While he grovels on the floor of the clubroom pleading, a few may decide “Yes, we may come”. The leader brightens a little and elaborates on the natural wonders and scenic beauty of the country only to be cut short by the inevitable “How hard is it?” (They all know it's a pretty tough trip) so on explaining the trip he adds “Well we could cut this off and we don't have to climb that”.
Where has the pride of leadership gone? Where is the spirit of “That's the trip and we're going to do it”? What's happened to the old call “onward regardless”? It's amazing really the number of excuses that can be found for making a trip easier, going somewhere else or not doing a trip at all, without even leaving the clubroom. Can we no longer find reward in doing something we set out to do.
At one time, for a trip to be cancelled was an insult and if a trip went other than programme, the leader was asked to explain why to the committee. Cancelled walks were regarded as a serious matter for we are, above all, a walking club and the Walks Programme is the essential backbone of the Club. However, we are getting very near other clubs whose Walks Secretary takes a list of members and a list of walks - does a shuffle - and hey presto, a Walks Programme. Needless to say, few of these trips go, and needless to say, its a third rate club.
The white ants' activities are not limited to trips alone, nor do they like the truth being revealed about themselves as they pour out their subtle propaganda in all directions. In an article entitled “Bushwalking Terms”, a definition appears and I quote -
“White Ants - super intelligent insects, who lay in wait for bushwalkers and force them to turn back to civilisation.”
What a lie! What a low descipable twist by the ex-Editor! The submitted definition was -
“White Ants - low insects whose one objective is rettin'”.
A complete reversal, this, bushwalkers, is nothing but a case of a definition of a “W.A.” being “WA-ed” by a very “W.B.A.” Oh I hate them!
Since they have had an opera dedicated to their infamous deeds and they spoke so confidently in the debate “Are White Ants Gnawing at the Club's Foundation” (personally I think they have long past stopped gnawing at the Club's foundations and have moved into the ceiling joists), they've developed from an underground disorganized group offering seemingly helpful suggestions, and have emerged outright aggressors, ready to undermine our democratic rights. Oh, if only I had some of those phrases Mr. Menzies uses.
Now that the white ant has quit his underground existence and comes forth showing himself, he can no longer be regarded as such, and a new name such as the “rebels” or the “mutineers” should be adopted.
Evolution moves steadily on - new faces, new ideas, new expressions. Looking back, we've had other groups such as “The Burgers”, “The Tigers”, “Paddy's Old Brigade”, “The Orang-Outangs”, “The Oxo Boys”, to mention a few. Now we have the “White Ants” and “The Rebels”. What of the future - shall there come a group of “Bodgie Walkers” or what about the “Liberace Lovelys”.
Who can say? But so long as these things are kept in their place and we can laugh at their various ventures while keeping our walking spirit thriving, there's no harm done. What I'm getting at, the poet puts so much better -
“They on the heights are not the souls who never erred nor went astray,
Who trod unswerved toward their goal along a sweet rose scented way.
Nay, they who stand where first comes dawn,
Are they who stumbled but went on.”
A suitable post-script to this article was provided by a Sunday Newspaper:-
“Russia claims one third of the worlds bee population.
Australia would have more white ants!”
Is there no stopping these bee white ants!
To commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the unveiling of the Bushwalkers' War Memorial at Splendour Rock, Mt. Dingo, the N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs has arranged for a Sunrise Service to be held on Saturday, 26th April, 1958, at Splendour Rock. A fitting Order of Service has been drawn up, and a wreath will be laid. The Order of Service is being printed and copies will be available beforehand and at the ceremony. Many of the Federated Clubs have made their Anzac Weekend Official Walks coincide with the occasion, and this Club's Official Walk is being led by Brian Harvey, who conceived the idea of placing the bronze remembrance tablet at its location.
Subject to any variation the Railway Department may make, the Official Party will depart by the 6.26 p.m. train on Thursday night, 24th April, tickets to Blackheath. There will be car transport to Mitchell's Creek (Megalong Post Office) that night. Camp will be made on Friday night on or close to Mt. Dingo. Water will probably be available on Merri-Merrigal Plateau, but may have to be carried up the previous evening. A report on the availability of water will be made over the previous weekend, and the party advised accordingly. The trip is a Test Walk and on the Saturday will continue down the Blue Dog Range to junction of Breakfast Greek and Cox River. Thence upstream and back to Katoomba via Six Foot Track and the Devil's Hole. Those not wishing to complete the trip may return to Katoomba via Clear Hill and Narrow Neck.
Telephones: Private JW1462. Business BU1611.
It is unfortunate that the time element does not permit the Service to be held on Anzac Day, but a request is made that anyone unable to be present at the Service may pay their respects by visiting the Rock during the weekend in memory of those bushwalkers who fell in World War II.
“Their Splendour Shall Never Fade”
Our first prospective members' night was not an organised affair - it was not meant to be - and I think it would become a function instead of a get-together if it were. On the whole it seemed to achieve its purpose, and most of those I have spoken to think it went well. Nevertheless, we can learn quite a lot from the experiment and make the next one a lot better.
Firstly, I think it should have more publicity. Mid-January - after the Christmas break - was not the best time. The night could be publicised in the magazine and prospective members advised of it. Any who were a bit diffident about “breaking the ice”, and those who have never been walking, should be encouraged to come in then.
Secondly, it could be better attended. I have a suspicion that a slide night would have brought more into the Club room, and, if we want more members, it's up to everyone to make an effort to get in that night. What's more, I believe those who did come in enjoyed themselves because they met new people and had time to talk to their old friends. It was not unlike the “free nights” we used to have.
Thirdly, I noticed a tendency for groups of cronies to stick together instead of seeking out the prospectives and talking to them. Everyone should keep firmly in mind that the prospectives come first on that night.
It was a good idea for the Club officers to say a few words explaining their function. Our organization must be a bit of a mystery to the newcomers and everyone could go out of their way to explain it to them.
Lastly, I think prospective members' night should be a prelude to the instructional walk on the following Saturday. Prospectives could be fully briefed on what to take, where to get gear, how to pack, what to wear, etc. It might even be possible to give one of the lectures in the club room on that night - say about 7.30. This would enable more walking and less talking on the instructional. I would like to see leaders (and members) on instructional walks pull out their maps near the railway and start right in on map-reading instruction. They could help prospectives pitch their tents, light their fires etc., and might even get the prospectives to share their food lists and tents. All this could be arranged on prospective members' night. If this were followed by a walk not far short of test standard, with plenty of instruction en route, the prospectives would be learning at first hand.
If we do these things, not only on special occasions, bat on other nights and other walks, I don't think we need worry about members. I doubt whether we have ever attracted so many prospectives, and it's mainly up to us whether they become members.
Just in case some member may feel concerned, we hasten to assure the Club that the “bone” which was used by the “President” in the opera at the Reunion Camp, definitely was not the same bone which has been handed down from President to President since 1934 and which has become the Insignia of Office of our Club leader.
A letter with a crest of haze blue peaks for decoration brings this invitation from Guy Hunt, Secretary of the Mount Kaputar Trust:
The Kaputar Trust invites you to visit the Trust area in the Nandewar Range.
About New Year three members of the Brisbane Bushwalkers Club spent three days in the Trust area and were very impressed with the beauty of the Nandewars and the fine 360 degrees view from the top of Mt. Kaputar. Numerous peaks are over 4,000 ft., while Kaputar is 5,008 ft.
The best time is really in autumn or spring, for then the heat haze over the plains has gone and the views are at their best. Winter is also a good time, but the temperature falls very low. Snow falls on the Range at times, but only infrequently - there was no snow last winter.
There is an excellent road from Narrabri to Coryah Gap (3,900 ft.) about 29 miles. From the Gap there is a jeep track to within 100 ft. of the top of Kaputar. However, it is not advisable to use a car on this track unless the clearance exceeds 8 inches, though a number of cars have made the trip. The walk from the Gap to Kaputar is about 2 1/2 miles, nearby is a permanent spring - a good place to pitch camp, in the centre of the highest area of the Range.
Should you decide to have a look at the beauties of the Nandewar, I would be happy to help if you write to or call at 14 Balonno St., Narrabri.
For anyone interested, a further description of the country will be found in Alan Wyborn's article in “Bushwalker 1946”, available in the clubroom for 2/6. The rail fare to Narrabri is a bit below £4.
Here are a few farewell lines from that irrepressible Kiwi, Arthur Peters:-
“Just a note to say goodbye to all the bods in S.B.W. and to thank them for the mighty trips and fun we had together. Also to demand that anyone with a trip to the “Shakey Isles” drops me a note and/or contacts me when they are in Christchurch.
The address is: 87 Buckley's Road, Linwood, Christchurch.
or: C/ The Christchurch Tramping Club, G.P.O. Box 1948.
and all possible assistance will be given. Hoping to hear from and see some of you,”
Brian G. Harvey
No doubt many new members, and a few not-so-new, were somewhat curious as to the origin of the Mandelberg Cup which was presented at the Annual General Meeting to this year's joint-winners - John Scott and Mary Walton. The “cup” is actually an aluminium dipper and is competed for at each Swimming Carnival, being held jointly for one year and returned for presentation at the close of the twelve months. The particular race is a relay in which one gent and one lady form a team, the names being drawn from a hat and the race handicapped by the organizers on the spot as best as can be judged from performances in events held earlier in the day. It is quite likely that the “cup” cost only 2/6d. but the engraving over the years, on present-day standards, is worth about £8/9/- ! Apart from the original engraving when it was presented to the Club by Tom Herbert in 1931, there are 21 pairs of names.
Where David Jones' Elizabeth Street store stands, there used to be a row of old-fashioned shops and amongst these was a pawn-broker's establishment owned by one, Mandelberg. As was the custom in those days, Mr. Mandelberg displayed his wares by hanging them outside on hooks around the shop-window and the door, like a veritable Christmas-tree.
It so happened that our old member, Thomas Ambrose Herbert, in the days before the advent of rucksacks, had secured for himself the old-style too-small military pack, with the result that there dangled therefrom such oddments as his billy, frying-pan, mug and other bushwalker's paraphenalia which wouldn't go inside. And so he was christened “Mr. Mandelberg” after the famous shop and we believe he was known by that name for many years. Apart from the interest created by the origin of the cup, it also indirectly serves to demonstrate the evolution in bushwalking packing methods, so that today, anything dangling outside one's rucksack, beyond a wet water-bucket, is frowned upon.
At Reunion camp - one sleeping bag cover. All claimants please see Dot Butler, and on giving a detailed description as to colour, weight, texture, smell, age, state of repair, any special signs or monograms, and other identifying marks of any description whatsoever, one of you might be lucky enough to get it back. Failing anyone putting in a claim, she will keep it herself.
This is a walk for those who like to got off the beaten track. About half of it is not beaten at all and the symbols on the Walks Programme are inadequate to describe it. On the Friday night we go down the coal mine track and about half a mile beyond the landslide (about 3 1/2 miles altogether). The walk up Solitary and down into Cedar Creek is rough, but there is no rock climbing. It will take most of Sunday morning to cover about 5 miles of Cedar Creek. Some, if not all of this country has been burnt, but judging by our Reunion campsite, it may look all right again now. The distant views of Burragorang and the Southern Blue Mountains will be as beautiful as over.
Alex Colley (Leader)
|35||A good walk with varied interests, combining thrilling scenery, abseiling and possibly some necessary swimming. A waterproof pack advisable.|
|36||Instructional Weekend to be held at Eureka. Track all the way. Good camping with a short walk to Nepean River for swimming etc. Cost - 12/3d.|
|37||A good opportunity to visit some country often inaccessible. Varied walk through open timber with patchy scrub. Possibly rock-climbing and exploration from a base camp. Private transport should keep costs down.|
|38||Main purpose of this trip is to attend a service at the Bushwalker's War Memorial at Splendour Rock. Traditional bushwalking country providing excellent views of Wild Dog Mountains etc. Return via Cox River along good walking track. Cost - 22/6d.|
|1||Rock-hopping and-rock-scrambling down Mumbedah Ck. Waterfalls and pleasant pools on creek. First trip from this Club for some years. Galong cuts through granite walls and is one of the prettiest creeks in the mountains. Walk would be accepted as a Test Walk. Cost - 50/-d. approximately.|
|2||Pleasant Test Walk following river for main part.|
|3||Test Walk. Medium undulating tracks. Coast and bush scenery. Cost - 7/-d. approximately.|
|4||Solitary with a difference. Medium walking to mountain. Korowall Buttress rougher with some scrambling. Good outlook over Cox Valley. Rock-hopping in Cedar Creek. Ascent by Scenic Railway. Torch needed for Friday night walking. Walk would be accepted as a Test Walk. Cost - 23/-d.|
|5||Pleasant country. Visit Carrington and Gerringong Falls. Fine views over coastal strip from rim of Barren Grounds. Walking mostly flat or downhill.|
Saturday & Sunday - 3rd & 4th May
Colo Vale - Mt. Flora - Nattai River - Starlight's Trail - Hilltop (24 miles & medium). 9.33 a.m. train (change at Picton). Tickets to Colo Vale.
Jim Brown - B0543 Ext. 299 (B)
|Ten Years Under the Earth||Norbert Casteret|
|Forest Trees of Australia|
Paddy is pleased to report that he has a new range of foods which will save the poor Bushwalker from the dreadful prospect of endlessly “eating plates of nothing else but Goo Goo Goo.”
Now the up-to-date Bushwalker can have plates of Chicken Goo, Fish Goo, Tomato Goo and other flavours in place of Plain Goo.
1/2 oz. of chicken extract makes one pint of chicken stock.
1/2 oz. of fish extract makes one pint of fish stock and 2 ozs. of tomato concentrate makes one pint of tomato puree.
At present available in 1 lb. tins as follows:-
|Tomato and vegetable concentrate||13. 3d|
|Pea concentrate||10. 0|
|Fish concentrate||15. 8|
|Chicken concentrate||20. 6|
|Tomato Chicken||12. 9|
Also useful in the home. Smaller packs will be available soon.
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St, Sydney