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.
|Editor||Geof Wagg, 131 St. Georges Cres., Drummoyne. UW 3435 (B) 1-2 p.m.|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales & Subs||Jess Martin|
|Typed By||Grace Wagg|
|The Answer Is The Question||1|
|At Our April General Meeting||Geof Wagg||2|
|Magnificence In The Forest||“Mouldy”||3|
|Your Walking Guide||6|
|Signs Of Things To Come||Joan Walker||7|
|Greater Blue Mountains National Park Project||Myles J. Dunphy||9|
|What Happened On The Cast1e Trip||“Bullmoose”||12|
|Attention Please||“Blue Gum”||14|
|The Challenge||Geof Wagg||15|
|The Fed. (very) Reunion||“Taro”||16|
|Barrington Blues or Joan's Moans||Joan Walker||17|
|The Sanitarium Health Food Shop||3|
|Leica Photo Service||7|
|Hatswells Taxi & Tourist Service||9|
I Suppose almost everyone who climbs, especially when they're new or out of practice, at some time gets this feeling. It usually comes at the wrong moment, just before the most difficult or exposed part of a climb. You look down and the ground level seems to have receeded with a rush. All at once you get the feeling that you'd like to sit down on something large and flat and hang on with both hands, and how you envy those people down there so unconcernedly doing things that are perfectly safe.
“What am I doing here? Risking my life in a dirty, scrubby crack on the side of an insignificant chunk of rock! Where am I going? Up to the top just to come down again (if I'm lucky). What good does it do? What madness!!”
Once started on the climb, it's not so bad, and by the time you've pulled yourself up that last little pinch you've begun to feel as though you own the whole mountain. And then the summit, the view, the comradeship and abseiling down again in great swoops - sixty or a hundred feet.
Oh! Why do we climb?
Why do we eat?
With our brand new President in the chair and a comfortable number of members present, the April meeting got off to a good start by pinning the Flannel Flower Badge on Margaret Ryan. A Tipperary welcome to you Irish, and lang may y' lum reek. (Hmm, something wrong there.)
The next thing Margaret knew, she had been elected Assistant Secretary as well. It seems that about the only time our meetings can reach a rapid decision is when they have some innocent willing to do a job of work for them.
In the correspondence we received Dave Root's explanation of the Press interview which roused the interest of so many members. The facts appear to be that to gain publicity for other clubs of which he is a member, Dave allowed himself to be interviewed, and in the midst of a welter of descriptions of breath-taking feats on rock and snow, first ascents, etc., he chanced to let slip a mention of some ascents of the Harbour Bridge. Needless to says he (and his clubs) were almost as horrified as we to see the way in which the article was written up; and the S.B.W., whose spotless? name hadn't even been mentioned, must have come from the file of a previous occasion. Apparently the Clubs that David was representing find this type of publicity a stimulant to waning membership. It will be interesting to see what effect it has on our own.
After this the meeting really got down to business, and as we were wading through the reports, Ken Meadows' wife, who is new to all this, leaned across to Henry Gold (a fellow countryman) and whispered, “How long do those meetings last?”
“Oh, they never finish before ten o'clock” returned Henry with conviction borne of painful experience. Just to make him wrong, when the reports were concluded there was no general business, so the President was able to bring down the Bone at a little after nine. A jolly good meeting. Wish there were more the same!
Lady's three-pocket frame Rucksack - as new - £5/10/-.
See Bill Rodgers
Recently, I was returning from Tokyo to Sydney by air and learned that, if I came back via Bangkok, I could spend an additional £24 and fly to Siem Reap and back to Bangkok, and then on to Sydney. You can imagine my delight in learning this, for never have I been in a position to spend only £24 and see one of the greatest Wonders of the World.
Siem Reap is l 1/2 hours' flight by Royal Air Camboge from Bangkok, generally in an easterly direction. The Siam Reap Airport is quite a friendly affair. The three customs and Immigration officials checked one's papers and passports, another man collected the tickets out of Siam Reap, then passengers and officers all step in the only bus, the door of the air terminal is locked, and the whole party rattles off to Angkor. The Customs and Police officers are dropped just before the Hotel.
The Grand Hotel is rather a palatial two-storey affair, with tiled floors throughout, every room with its own bathroom, and downstairs the Dining Room, Lounge Rooms and Terraces all with their own special collection of small lizards clambering over the walls.
In each bathroom there was a large urn of water and on top of it a lid with a small, short-handled dipper. I cleaned my teeth in the tap water, and then realised I had probably caught some tropic germ, and that I should have used the water from the urn. However, it was too late. It also crossed my mind that perhaps, like Hong Kong, Angkor had a water shortage and at certain hours of the day it was cut off. Therefore, this could be used for flushing the toilets. It was not until two days later that I learnt that the Buddhists always wash in a squatting position and pour water over themselves, and so these urns were for the many Buddhist visitors to wash in their own traditional manner. I did not suffer any ill effects from brushing my teeth or drinking the water.
On arrival at the Hotel, the driver said, “Ten minutes before the first inspection”, so I quickly registered, took my only piece of luggage, my rucksack, up to my room, and came down, sat in the bus, and we did, in fact, move off in ten minutes.
Fifteen minutes later, along a good tarred road, we passed an immense sheet of water. It was the moat 200 yards wide around the building of Angkor Wat. In one portion, there was a great expanse of carmine-tipped lotus in full flower. Over another area, there was an equally large clump pure white lotus, holding their blooms up to the sun and recalling that poetic name for the Buddha, “Oh, thou jewel in the lotus blossom”. The Chinese look upon the lotus as being a symbol of purity and excellence because such a perfect and symmetrical thing of beauty can come from the dark mud of the lake.
On past this wonderful sight we drove to Angkor Thom. This is approached through the Victory Gate, on either side of which are a row of demons and also of gods. These great statues are supporting a stone ballustrade. Here is even a much larger moat that had once been filled with water. Inside was open park-like forests and there, set amongst the trees, was the Temple of the Compassionate Buddha. On the many towers were the heads of Buddha facing four ways, with the smile of compassion on his otherwise stern lips, the greying lichens on the immense features adding to the softness.
We entered onto a terrace, and there commenced reading the history carved in stone of the Khymer race which put this building up about 1,000 years ago. The carving is vigorously and clearly done, and shows the sort of food that was eaten, the method of cooking, etc. Fish were speared onto sticks, and about half a dozen roasted at a time over a glowing fire. Pigs were boiled whole in a cauldron. Monkeys and peacocks were in the trees. One alligator was even eating a man who had fallen overboard during a fight between two canoes. So scenes of domestic affairs and tribal histories are carved.
We went along corridors, some filled with a greenish moss on the walls, where a little moisture had seeped in, but most of them perfectly dry. We clambered up almost vertical steps onto the next level. Here the area was surrounded with a wide balcony, the rail again made of a stone cobra, the ends being decorated in the form of a seven-headed cobra with hood erect.
In the chapels at the four corners on this level, there had been Lingua stones. Those are of Bhramin origin, the first section being round, the second octagonal, and the lower section square. They were indicative of The Destroyer, Preserver, and Creator. An act of worship was to pour water over the sacred stone, and so there was a trough to catch the water and a channel to lead inside the temple. The third and topmost section of the building had another chapel, but it was empty.
Nearby was the Elephant Terrace, nearly a quarter of a mile long. Life-size elephants supported the ends, and the whole of the front section was carved with elephants in bas-relief facing towards each other. You can just imagine the richness of the effect when real elephants were also used during ceremonial processions. It was on this huge Terrace that King Jayavarman would hold court. The Girls of the Palace would come forth and, with their little fingers, would raise the curtain for the King to appear at the window. This relates Cambodian dancing, so formal and traditional; to the outward ritual of court procedure in the past.
We have a very excellent picture of the times in the writings of Ta-Kauan. He was an ambassador sent from the Emperor of Peking. He stayed in Angkor from 1296 to 1297. This was when the Cambodian Empire was still at the height of its splendour and some 80 years before its mysterious destruction. This document was discovered in the Imperial Archives in Peking, and was first published in Europe in 1902.
In another part is the Temple of Ta Prohm. This Temple is still covered with forests and great trees writhe and twist their trunks and roots in the most fantastic way. Most of the building is standing erect, but in other parts the stones have fallen to the ground and lay awaiting their turn to be re-erected. In this particular Temple there is an inscription stating that there were 12,600 workmen employed at the one time.
At the far end of this Temple, about one-third of a mile from its entrance, there is a huge rectangular lake, appearing to be 3/4-mile across. It has ceremonial steps leading down to it, on the top of which was once erected a light building. This great expanse of cool water would be most welcome in the hot Cambodian climate.
The next day I went to visit the tomb of Angkor Wat. This immense place covers over 29 acres in area, and the five towers are higher than any buildings in Sydney. An approach to it is made across a stone-flagged causeway 200 yards long. On each side, the cool waters reflect the lotus blooms.
First comes the main entrance with long colonnades on each side, that on the north having at the very end a special entrance cut for the elephants and carts. Behind the colonnade is a long frieze depicting historical incidents. This is carved from sandstone, and the sandstone is polished by hand. The whole design is executed with superb artistry. The insides of the pillars are decorated with a fine stone carving of rosettes, looking for all the world like a brocade or damask. In each column was a reserve about 15“ high and 8” wide with the figure of a Celestial Dancer. It seems the several hundred of these are all in traditional dance poses.
The main courtyard inside is decorated with two water gardens and two libraries. They are also built of stone, of superb proportions, and enriched with carvings. The second section of the Temple is carved on its four walls with murals depicting stories and legends, mainly of The Buddha. One of them is 150 yards long. Just think of the art school necessary to train so many skilled craftsmen.
The inner sanctum and their section of the Temple is approached by twelve very steep stone staircases, ascending up to the central tower. This was used only by the priests, and was not approached by the ordinary people.
At breakfast the following morning, a Vietnam friend and his sister were telling me of a visit they had made the night before by moonlight. When they came to the innermost temple, some local Buddhist monks were praying and chanting. Their local guides were frightened and ran back to the second section while they stayed for a quarter of an hour listening and drinking in the harmonies. They later returned to the second courtyard, and by previous arrangement, the Cambodian guides danced and sang with them for a couple of hours.
The city of Angkor, with its many temples, was covered and lost in forest until 1860, when the French and Cambodian Governments decided to clear them and make them available for the world to see. The job is not yet completed, and so it is for this reason that the wonders and glories of Angkor have not been known to the outside world. It is only since the airfield has been built that travel to Siem Reap has been so easy. Now, if anybody is going through Bangkok, they certainly should arrange to spend the extra £24 and as many days as possible to visit those wonderful and glorious relics of the past.
Just think folks, Edna Garrard will actually be in Cambodia seeing these very things on the 11th of May.
|45||Easy walk with tracks all the way. Extensive views of Wild Dogs etc. Walk particularly suitable for first walk in this area. Cost, 22/2.|
|46||Good test walk through interesting country, with river walking, rock hopping, track walking, etc. Cost - 24/9.|
|47||Rock hopping along creek, with patchy scrub to Galston Gorge. Cost - 6/1.|
|48||Pleasant test walk in South Coast area. Climb to Barren Grounds, then flat and downhill walking. Cost 31/6.|
|49||Easy walk through Lower Blue Mountains, creek walking most of the way. Cost - 15/5.|
|50||Standard National Park walk with good track. Cost - 7/8.|
|51||The “Three Peaks Trip”. This is the trip to find out if you are fit. (Too bad if you aren't - Ed.) Two 2,500 ft. ascents and long mileage make light packs essential. Cost - 54/9.|
|52||Pleasant test walk through Upper Grose Valley. Good track with medium grade out of valley. Cost - 24/9.|
|53||Interesting test walk in Georges River area. Track and river walking. Cost - 9/10.|
“Semak” Vitamiser in good order - makes cakes, extracts fruit juices, splits atoms, etc. See Thelma Phillips - FM5251 or B0666 ext. 342 (B)
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.
With this winter's programme we have tried to improve on the often inadequate R-M-E grading of trips. You will find after the mileage and usual R-MM-E term there are sometimes additional letters and numerals.
These letters first - may I explain what they stand for and how we have applied them:-
|R.H.||Rock hopping. Walking down a creek instead of a ridge is the usual way of R.H. You may be hopping from rock to rock in the creek, or perhaps wading through it for some distance.|
|R.S.||Rock scrambling. Up and over large boulders in a creek, or perhaps a small waterfall or a bit of a cliff line. This is NOT rock climbing. It is nothing that a helping hand and a calm approach shouldn't get you over - but if you hate heights, check with the leader of an R.S. trip as to what is involved.|
|S or TS||Scrub or thick scrub. Somewhere, where, without a track you have to make your way through ti-tree or some such growth, or perhaps a patch of “jungle” such as on the South Coast ridges. You may need “long-uns” for thick scrub, and try to get a big tough walker in front of you.|
|L.R.||Loose rock. A scree slope or ridge covered with broken rock. Just take it slowly and look out for that rolling stone.|
Bracketed numbers after these letters indicate the approximate mileage of each - not necessarily continuous - and figures in thousands are heights of major climbs not by tracks or well worn routes. For instance, we won't describe Grand Canyon on the programme, nor the way over Clear Hill. If you have reached there you will make it onto Narrow Neck.
Prospectives and new members note:- These signs do not necessarily mean that such a trip is harder or more difficult than another. Two or three miles of rock hopping in creeks you will probably take in your stride and scrub-bashing, though messy, is soon over and forgotten. Three thousand feet sounds an awfully long way, but take it steadily and you'll be O.K. We are trying to show something of the type of country you will be traversing and giving you a chance to be prepared for it. It is the final picture drawn by the terms rather than the individual sign that is important. Keep these symbols in perspective as something to help you, not as a deterrent to new walkers. The leader is the best source of information on a trip - he has planned it and knows what is involved. Ask his advice before deciding that a trip is too hard for you.
The Walking Guide in the magazine will describe all trips more fully, with details of fares, terrain and scenery, so please have a look at that too.
Now leaders and walkers, this system is far from perfect, it needs improving and I want your suggestions - constructive please, and preferably in writing. Also, if you have definite views on how your trips on the next programme should be annotated, well then let me know.
During the war there was compiled a handbook known as “The Raft Book” to assist those cast adrift at sea. Now by the same author we have a more comprehensive book dealing also with finding your way on land.
Here is a book that will inspire you to sharpen your senses of observation and deduction of the natural things around you. Can you, without any instruments or charts, tell the time by the stars, predict the state of the tides or the phase of the moon, or estimate distances with any accuracy?
This book is a mine of useful information. In it you will find chapters on birds, waves, wind, trees and many other things of interest to those who enjoy the bush.
Make use of your library.
Myles J. Dunphy
Following an interview kindly granted me by Dr. van Someren concerning the above-mentioned scheme, I received the following letter from the Secretary of the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board. Both it and my comments on this important subject are published here for the information of Sydney Bushwalkers.
18th December, 1956.
Further to the discussion which you had recently with the Board's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. van Someren, I forward herewith, as requested, a copy of a plan (No. W00023) showing within green edging the physical catchment area of the Warragamba Dam proclaimed on 8th July, 1955, (vide Government Gazette No. 66), and in red edging, the section proclaimed on 4th September, 1942 (Government Gazette No. 112). Both proclamations were made under the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Act 1924/54.
As explained by Dr. van Someren, the Board is by no means unsympathetic with your desire that the whole area be largely retained in its virgin state so that its scenic beauties will not be affected. In fact, it is in its own interests that the area should be disturbed as little as possible.
The Department of Land approached the Board some time ago in connection with the Blue Mountains National Park, and after due consideration was informed by letter on 17th August, 1954, that the Board was averse to such a park being set up at the time, as such action might prejudice the more comprehensive consideration that the whole catchment area would warrant at a later date. The Board feels that the creation of a National Park Trust (which it is assumed would be necessary if the proposal were adopted) would result in divided control, which would not make for smooth and efficient administration of the area. Moreover, it is essential that the Board should retain full control of the catchment, its primary objectives being the prevention of pollution, surface erosion, etc.
Increasing quantities of water are being brought into supply from the Warragamba River and much as the Board regrets the restriction, it has been necessary to prevent camping in the Burragorang Valley. This district has for years attracted a large number of people, especially in the summer, who have camped on or near the river tanks and used the river for bathing. Such practices can only bring about a potentially dangerous amount of pollution. However, the Board has all the necessary power for the development of the catchment as it may think expedient, and on giving consideration to just what use can be made of the area, consistent with the essential need to maintain proper control, due regard will be paid to the representations you have made on behalf of organised bush walking clubs. At this stage, however, I am afraid that I am unable to let you have any definite information in this respect.
A. R. Stafford, Secretary.
(1) Publication of the above letter has been delayed about fifteen months pending results of inquiries made in other directions, namely: the matters of Colong-Church Creek Reserve limestone-quarrying leases; timber-cutting within Reserve No. 67062 (96,000 acres, gazetted 15th October, 1937), specifically on South Boyd Heights and in Kanangra vicinity; the establishment of a State Forest in the Blue Labyrinth; and timber-cutting in another area of the Blue Labyrinth, but nearer to Woodford.
(2) The status of the undermentioned places and their present and future availability for bushwalkers and others, for scenery preservation, fauna and flora conservation, and general bushland recreation, are of outstanding importance:- Narrow Neck Peninsula, Kedumba and Cedar Valleys, Mt. Korrowall, Megalong and Galong Valleys, Big Bend of Cox's River, Low Gangerang, part of High Gangerang, Lower Kanangra Creek, Kanangra River, Mts. Cyclops and Paralyser, and most of Krungle-Bungle Range (Guouogang, Queahgong, etc.).
(3) Whereas the boundary of the Water Board's 'proclaimed' area precludes practically all the above-mentioned places being in the Greater Blue Mountains National Park (and in the Central Blue Mountains National Park now being officially designed) the possibility of commercial interests obtaining permission to operate within either or both areas of the Board is very real.
(4) It should be possible for the Crown lands and public reserves beyond the “proclaimed” area, but still within the “physical” catchment area, to be reserved or dedicated as a special Primitive Reserve, to save them from commercial exploitation, shooters and skin-getters. This step is imperative. These places are Jenolan, Tuglow, Upper and Middle Kowmung, Werong, Waterfall, Lannigans and other adjacent creeks, Bindook Highlands, Spring Range, South Boyd Plateau, Thurat and Kanangra Tops, Boyd Range and Christy's Creek, but minus Kanangaroo and Banshed State Forests. Parts of these lands are within Reserve No. 67062, for Preservation of Fauna and Flora (15/10/1937).
(5) The tract of land to be dedicated or gazetted as the Blue Mountains National Park includes only parts of the Central Blue Mountains, the chief feature being the canyon of the Grose (Grose River Valley). About half the Blue Labyrinth is included. The area within lines joining Springwood, Lower Grose River, Glenbrook and Springwood is not included. There is nothing southward of the railway from Wentworth Falls to about Blackheath, but the northern boundary extends to Mt. Wilson.
(6) It is acutely disappointing to realize that the famous scenic, mountainous tract of country, as seen southward from Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba and Medlow Bath, as far as Ti-willa, Cloudmaker, Marooba-Karoo, Cyclops and Guouogang, never can be part of the Blue Mountains National Park.
But if the Water Board eventually decides “to play ball” with the outdoors public to the extent of organizing this trust as a primitive area or reserve, and allows approved parties and persons a continuation of access and recreational use of it, than the value of this facility will be immense to the people who need it.
(7) The letter from the Board's Secretary indicates that the Board intends to take its own time to formulate a plan for the use of the area other than as a water catchment, that it has the power to develop it, also that it favours a land condition along the lines of what bushwalkers regard as a primitive area or natural park.
Myles J. Dunphy (18/3/58)
Three men, three very tired men. Their knees are stiffening now, and their battered feet can barely hobble up the main street of Katoomba. Where have they come from? From Hilltop, down Starlight's Trail, along the Nattai River and the Cox, then up Black Jerry's Ridge into Katoomba, all within forty-eight hours - the Hundred Miler has fallen!
How many times would it have been done before but for this thing or that? How many are glad, how many disappointed? Who knows? But be sure of this, that as many as have tried and failed will acknowledge the ability and the quality of these three men.
Johnny Manning - Mick Elphick - Freddie Worrell
Have you ever been on a trip that you've done before into easily accessible country, where the ridges are so familiar that they lose much of their mystery and enjoyment? Do you ever come home from one of these trips and on thinking back (except for the company, which is in lots of cases enough to make a trip memorable) ask yourself, “Where have we been?” We bashed up so and so creek, had lunch on the same spot as we had it on three other trips, burnt up the spur on to the main ridge and belted along into such and such a station without lifting our eyes from the track. Tired, exhausted and somehow cheated of a good trip because the country had lost its newness. There is none of the “Opeth isistherightbloodyridge” incentive, nor is there any “Owthellwillwegetupthere” urge to add lustre to the trip.
What's all this leading up to? The Easter trip from Sassafras to Drury's Farm via the Castle and Pidgeon House (or Cook's Pidgeon House as we were corrected). Our party of six members, some of whom had visited various parts along our proposed route, but none had yet been to the joining link between Mt. Renwick and the Castle and this was to be our objective - challenge - man against mountain and all that stuff.
We started walking a couple of miles past Sassafras (maybe this is where I should have started the article) and bashed it out along the road to the Vine's. The whole way is again accessible by car - in fact, we were passed by two a mile or so before the burnt out saw mill. The countryside, though burnt out recently, has made a remarkable recovery in as much as instead of pushing through great green fern branches, you now push through dirty, burnt black dittos.
As we plodded down the steep sides of the creek near the saw mill, we noticed a mixed party ahead, presumably from the cars, similarly plodding down the timber track, but one chap with a smallish pack seemed to be crawling on hands and knees at a remarkable rate. We didn't take much notice at first, bushwalkers being what they are they should crawl on all fours if they prefer it - there is nothing much to stop them (except stinging nettles on the navel) - but as he passed one large gumtree his actions sent me diving for my glasses, and to my relief I found it was a large alsation dog carrying his own gear. Well – the sights one sees.
We followed along the route that Colin putt so much time and energy into reconnoitring (and if you think that was weak, you're in for a shock) towards Mt. Renwick. This way consists mainly of a succession of burnt out “wombat parades” and swampy flats.
So, late on Saturday morning, we approached the which looks unclimable (rockclimbers excluded) except for a couple of possible ways. The first was a deep crack running right through, which we proceeded to follow, and ultimately showed us a likely way to the top. We could have climbed it but needed an Yvonne. (Get it? Heave on Renwich - cripes!)
We descended a watercourse to another burnt out gully, which, as they say in the West, “would tear the guts out of a kangaroo”. We turned to the right up another creek, pushing through more burnt out rubbish, to the strangest little valley you ever would see. It was (and I suppose it still is) only a couple of miles in diameter, nestled behind Mt. Renwick - more or less a saddle between it and the next hump. All around it were rocky crags, fin shaped ridges and eroded humps, some thirty feet, others three hundred feet, going back in layers to the tops. It was hard to keep your eyes in one spot. They seemed automatically to move from a miniature Mt. Olga to a miniature Breadknife then a miniature Ayres Rook - sort of one minute you're looking at one and the next at something else. This gully, though 97.3% rock, had trees growing out of every crack and watercourse available. Though most were bunt, a few found enough moisture and a firm footing in cracks high above our heads and these stood out white and ghostlike. We found water and shade beside a little rock cliff and settled in for lunch. Here we discussed our attempt to reach the Castle, which could only be two or three miles off and yet hadn't been seen. In most instances it is useless to climb up one side of the ridge or rock expecting to find a way down the other side, for it is a feature of this type of country that after struggling up a ridge or a rock on one side, you are met by a beautiful view and a perpendicular drop. Some (or all) of the party were worried about what lay ahead and the two cracks which ran through the high walls, though they appeared uninviting, seemed our only way. It was not without some thought that it was suggested as an alternative that we should return through Mt. Renwick and make our way to the Clyde by a known route should time run out.
So while Lynette Ryevitas, someone said, “Cut out the Bull there Mooset be a way through here samewhere”.
With the meal complete, the party was anxious to move off into it, (“it” being a large “?”) We climbed to a split in the walls and looked out at Talatering and the end of Byangee Walls, which were terrific, and welcome sights, but on looking down into the deep, narrow gully we began to wonder at our chances of getting through. There was a scene on this rooky step of a photographer madly taking shots on a fully exposed film, then trying once more to arrange the impatient figures in the foreground on reloading.
We went to look down crack number two, which appeared very scrubby and on pushing through a little way, a fair drop was evident. That reminds me of the bloke who thought a fair drop was a blonde young lady; so back to crack number one. At first this too was very scrubby, hit became burnt out lower down till suddenly, through the fallen timber, appeared the top a dryish waterfall. Imagining a sheer drop (a young lady in nylons) - some of these cracks will get me dropped - we approached the top with shaking hearts, but it was found to be quite accessible. We climbed down and circled around to the base of the cliff, and there appeared two very close cliffs with a low saddle between. Some of us decided it was the Castle, and to be Frank, barlow scrub, there was nothing to stop us sidling round to it. Don't be too hasty though, think of the after-Matth ews don't want to do what we Don at Glen Allen Creek. “By Colley, these Alex could be right though”, said the leader.
So at three-thirty we arrived at the saddle with much rejoicing. Leaving our packs behind, we climbed the Castle and really drank in the intoxicating panorama that lay before us.
We camped in the flat below the saddle and continued down Yaborough Creek next day to camp on the Clyde. Finally we burnt up the track to Drury's, only stopping to climb Pidgeon House and have lunch, arriving just as our transport appeared in the clearing.
Returning to Nowra, we enjoyed Tine cafe, over which we agreed it had been one trip in a hundred.
After reading Alex Colley's “Prospective Member' Night” in the April “Bushwalker”, I think two propsectives in particular rate a special mention. I refer to the two young females who joined the Easter trip to Barrington Tops.
From the time they met up with Snow Brown, Joan Walker and party, their enthusiasm to join the walkers was something to see, but being country girls, they did not know the rules. Our leaders patiently explained that each member (male or female) must carry their own gear and food for four days, and as these said females had neither pack nor food (nor parental permission) there was only one thing we could do - so we sent them home.
The party pressed forward and camped that night on the Barrington Tops many miles further on. Imagine our surprise next morning when the young ones walked wearily into our camp. this is the enthusiasm and fortitude we admire in our prospectives. Having neither sleeping bag, tent nor food, they had spent a very cold night in the open (sleeping we know not where) and were ravenous. Such devotion deserves rewarding, so they were duly fed, all the party making contributions to their meal, and as they were by now so far from home, there was no alternative but to take them along with us. From then on they behaved admirably, except for a few lapses when they raided various members' food supplies to appease their voracious young appetites.
Considering their youth, they travelled the long miles as though born to bushwalking, the rough patches troubling them not at all, and they showed great interest in the rain forests.
On reaching Barrington Guest House, the party decided the best thing to do was bring them to Sydney and care for them until their guardians could be informed and reclaim them.
It is my opinion that in this exceptional case the rules should be waived and these youngsters should not have to do two more prescribed walks (this one had been tough enough for a thorough initiation) or wait the usual months for admission.
At the next meeting I would like to see our President welcome them as members and pin our club badge on the collars of these “eager-beaver” bush walkers - a couple of female pups!
The Dalai Llama, a constant visitor at the Stitt mansion, has over the years had several painful encounters with Spike Stitt, the family's faithful tripe hounde. Of these, more at another time; enough to say that Spike's china choppers have left a deep impression (of respect).
Now Bob takes no chances. Before he speaks to anyone else, he shakes hands with Spikey, enquires after his health and tickles him where he's tickliest, just behind the fifth rib.
“I'm on the right side of Spike these days,” he says, “the outside!”
On the Friday night of the last weekend in May, under the light of a full moon, a group of walkers will step from the hire cars on to crunching gravel road at Kanangra Walls. The cold air will sting their nostrils with scents of night and frosts while across the shadowed valleys they will see the great glass moon send crystal moonbeams tinkling down the Spires and lay like silver dust sheets on the well known, well loved scene. With a joke or two they'll shrug their shoulders into weightless packs and, folding their arms with hands tucked in against the biting air, start off across the Tops to their first night's resting place, below Smith's Pass.
Before them lies The Challenge. The idea conceived in rashness that can't be set aside. It can't be done. It might be done. It COULD be done. IT WILL BE DONE!! If not this time, then the next or the next. If not by us, then by others.
Wake in the cold and dark and rise from your stoney bed to a tasteless breakfast. Walk, no fly, with feathered feet between the sally scrub just as the earliest sunbeam reaches out to touch the Tops. Leap Gabe's Gap and spurn the stones beneath your feet while the fire within drives you on and on. Snatch a mouthfull of water in Kanangra Creek, then start the weary toil of that steep, steep climb to Paraliser; feel the summit's breath upon your brow a moment, and with stumbling feet turn once more to the depths. Tired now, and glad to rest, you cook your foods but still the fire burns and as the sinking sun swings up the moon again, your feet are toiling upwards, stiff and sore, but upwards to the rocky shelf where you lay down.
Wake, another day. The dawn wind blows away your sleep as the night has swept away your weariness. Take your pack and climb again to meet the sun. Take that early morning view from Guouogang Trig, see how far you've come - see how far you have to go - and swing along the crumbling ridge - Qeahagong - Jenolan - the Cox. Half the day gone and a day's walk still ahead, but now there is no doubt. Don't feel the creek stones bruise your feet, don't let those steep climbs break your heart, nothing can stop you now. On the track, the goal within your grasp, feet no longer touch the ground - fly, fly, glide along - a friend before you, tread where he trod, a friend behind, let it drive you on. The last climb, but you see nothing; the last few steps, then all together step on to the bitumen road and shout, “HOORAY!! We did it!” Then go to sleep, for the last mile is the bitterest one of all.
Well, that's The Challenge. Johnny Manning is doing the same trip that weekend, only starting from Katoomba. Another club is doing our trip in reverse. We'll see them all along the way, and I hope we see you. The Challenge lies there for anyone, to take up at any time.
The battle is inside yourself.
Our congratulations to Betty and Phil Hall on the arrival of their latest babe. A son, I believe, and they're going to call him Geoffrey.
Once again legions of bushwalkers showed their capacity for missing worthwhile functions. These Fed. meet a ask for only a fraction of the year, and it seems that even that cannot be spared.
Era is perfection for a reunion. There is room aplenty for twenty thousand, but not that many came down. It's remote bushiness and closeness to the city makes it beyond; from Central to putting up tent involves only twenty minutes walking from the Game Lookout or even less from Garie. In point of travel trouble there is not the slightest excuse for skipping this meet.
Things happen at Feds. that don't at ordinary reunions, and when clubs come from afar, we locals should roll up to greet them. Hail Newcastle. The outlook was bleak on leaving the train at Waterfall, just a few S.B.W., not enough to stir a bus to action so we few went by hire car.
Era was a fine choice, it has everything - especially now. What a prelude is the look down from the Game; that ocean-lapped square mile just down there; wood and water in abundance and ours for the taking, every inch of it. No please, no permits, exactly as Captain Cook had it when he passed that way. Looked at squarely this is something remarkable in a bossed about welfare state.
Yes, the Game Lookout is a fine place to have a few minutes non-talky meditation. All that blue unchanging expanse and lush emerald undulations just below, even some white tents springing up like flowers. One can indeed proudly proclaim, “This is mine own country, deedless, but mine own for a weekend.”
And what finer approach could there be than the walk down Thelma Ridge, a rocky, twisting track with ever-widening glimpses of the carpets of blue and emerald, all through the leafy lattice of friendly trees. Thanks to recent rains, the camping inlets are a deep piled profusion of everything that grows. There are patches of green the limit of greeness, and just over there are patches of twice that. The creeks have voices that can be heard. No need to go up the gully for a billyfull. Every size, shape and colour of tent flecked the lush green slopes and all (I hope) captured in a Bob Duncan's film.
In spite of the alleged wood famine, enough logs were out and dragged in to make a fine big and steady fire, and this was not the only fire, for not far away down the slope two spitted lambs were roasting for hours just to top off the camp night.
With Paddy on deck everything went with a swing with quite a lot of last year's flavour in it - not too much evident organization. Again Ken Stewart gave us some fine songs awaking, alas, memories of the days when S.B.W.s could do this. One very fine item was by the Y.M. club. A dozen sat down in a circle and chanted to the click of bones - real abo. It recalled a great item by Frank Cramp which was given many years ago. So good this is, it should be repeated and taped for future use on a wider scale. It could be nearer the water at Era so that the pedal bass of the surf could be an unending background. A clubmate in the C.M.W. would be happy to do this.
There was another OS surprise. Late Saturday afternoon I was sitting by the Ashdown tent when suddenly, unmistakably, came the skirl of bagpipes - yes bagpipes. Jean Malcolm (nay Ashdown) was drousily peeling spuds. The pipes had an extraordinary effect on Jean, her eyes threw off the sleep and positively blazed, while the knife! How those spuds copped it. Only heaven knows how many McDonalds joined their ancestors in the next five minutes.
The pipes proved most popular, near or afar, and at the campfire they piped many a droning lay, including a slide into a dance tune, which lured a dozen imps into the open to give a wild and whooping display, hurling each other about like wind blown leaves. All very exciting, unexpected and really good fun. Came many more items, the closing speech, brakes off, and then something marvellous. The spitted lambs had been dissected, portioned and were served with bread slices to join the hot drinks.
And what a job it must have been to cart down all the piping to build the spit, and carry it back. Cheers for all the Trojans who plot and execute these happy diversions.
All this was backed up by weather perfection; Saturday night 70°, dropping but two overnight. Calm, still, starry night, peace and goodwill in abundance with ever the pipes leaping to life again. Once the piper gave us a Bach fugue in F double sharp minor, and the drones came into their own. Johan Sebastian would have applauded - STOP - there's something fishy about this, but let it pass.
Sunday again and still perfection - a day of dipping and lazing - and late afternoon the piper gave yet another fine turn, no more than marching half a dozen in single file to the beach and home. The blue and the dune, the green cupped valley, the haversacked file and the fading notes of the piper! Yes, Feds. are too good to miss, and Era cannot be beaten for these functions. We had it as much to ourselves as at Wood's Creek; not a stranger came by save a lone horseman and that too was a credit, for no landscape is complete without a horse, and some fine ones were down there decorating the sward with their free-flowing, unleathered gait.
And so to the car of the Paddy, and the walk around to Garie, just a track for grubs, not to be compared with the space travel of Thelma Ridge.
And here endeth a splendid weekend. Such piping! Such lambing! Such weather! We lucky people!
“I wart twentytwo reserved concession returns Maitland and twentytwo single extensions to Scone” said I to the ticket-seller. “And I want my lunch in five minutes” said the ticket-seller to me, shutting his window in my face. As I caught the glares of the rest of the queue I wondered just what the Admiral had let me in for.
By Good Friday dawn my fears had not been allayed. We started the trip in best White Ant tradition in Scone Hotel, where, having mislaid three of the party in the four hundred yards between station and pub, near thirty walkers snatched an hour's sleep on the floor, to be awakened at six with hot tea and buttered buns.
Perhaps this restored the party somewhat, so that as the bus sped to Stewarts Brook I could look around the mob, thirty in all - seven fellow travellers, a solo walker soon known as the “Tagger” and twentytwo S.B.W.s - prospectives, a member of two days standing, active and not so active walkers, and an “old-timer” revisiting - a good club cross-section.
The pleasant landscape passed by and the high places of the Woolooma Range drew our gaze until eventually Barrington itself was visible. Firm whipping-in moved the party half a mile up the brook for breakfast and then the pleasant preamble to the main business began as we wandered up the country road. Twentytwo walkers in groups of three and four scattered the landscape and the leaders began to wonder just how one stopped such a party in one place at one time. Lunch below Meehan's Peak probably provided the answer, though perhaps our eyes wore still blinded - it took another two days to convince us that you can't.
After lunch those who ate in the valley rejoined those who ate on the heights and that slow pull up to the trig began. A wonderful walk if only the ground would lie down a little. From the gum-clad ridge with its steep grass and bracken covered slopes we looked out on lightly timbered hills and valleys of the farmlands, haze and clouds softening the bare lines of grassy ridges. A turn of the track and to the south we saw those mysterious forests of this area with great trees and looping vines, and that jumble of untouched ridge and deep river valleys that spread out from Barrington.
Just before dusk as many of the party as possible crowded onto the Barrington Trig for the benefit of the photographers and were rewarded with a last view over the northern ridges.
A quiet camp on the river nearby - and a very tired party found the ground a much better resting place than N.S.W. train seats.
The plans for next day meant moving camp about five miles downstream. This was not the complete victory for White Ants that it would seem as we would degress on the way to Carey's Peak and the Plane Wreck. It was as we moved out onto the plains that a false note sounded - Taro's flute or Henry Gold's mouth-organ around a campfire I have enjoyed - but a full scale orchestra dogging our stops is too much Mr. Hooper! A transistor radio was almost consigned to the deepest creek by an angered mob, but was spared when its owner promised a Goon Show broadcast the next night.
Carey's Peak, indeed a place of many moods, was to us a clear and beautiful entrancer. From the long, low ridge leading down eventually to the Williams to the high summits of Mt. Royal the eye wandered; down the steep ridges into the Paterson and Allyn valleys, over rugged peaks and by cool rivers we could let our walker's spirit a roam, but a quick look at the nearer vegetation made the open plains of Barrington seem pleasant and most desirable. But why, with those rivers and peaks to stir one's soul must there be a plaque on this spot directing the viewer's eye to Newcastle, Singleton, Maitland and similar monstrosities of man?
Eventually when all the angles and foregrounds had been exploited by the photographers (and this trip drew too many - there should be a maximum number of cameras allowed on a trip) we reassembled on the plains and continued to the big pool for the night.
Recommending this campsite almost made me forgive Jim his radio - a wide bend of the river forms a deep and blue pool, mirroring the nearer trees, and, bordered by a level site, backed by gentle, tree-clad hills. Here we camped two nights, but that first evening should be remembered.
We gathered round the campfire after dinner and, beneath the full moon of Easter, sang and danced and talked. We heard of Max Gentle's first trip into the Gangerangs thirty years ago, then spoke of various exploits of the last twelve months; songs from chronic operas followed old traditional ballads, and the clear starry sky, patterned with racing clouds bore a moon such as city dwellers never see. The smoke from a dying fire crept along the river bank, out of the hollows rose soft white mists, the fire logs crumbled and the night grew cool as reluctantly at first we retired to our tents.
Sunday saw us rock-hopping down Barrington River where it begins to drop towards the valley. From a meandering stream it had become a quickly falling river - steep ridges of “jungle” rising from it, boulder strewn and full of small cascades and rapids. We sought some semi-mythical falls or whatever joys the river could show us. Alas, rock hopping is not everyone's delight and no restrictions could keep the party together. Necessity it was that gave us four distinct lunch spots that day, and as each group felt its limits had been reached, it turned for camp. The last group reached what would seem to be the beginning of the main drop in the river, and though returning without seeing around the corner was cruel blow, we felt we had seen enough to draw us back one day.
Across the ridges we returned to camp, dropping to the pool at dusk just as those already there lit their “pillar of fire” to guide our steps.
When I consider all I had heard and the little I had myself experienced before of Barrington weather, the four clear, fine days we enjoyed were certainly unusual. Not once, but twice could we enjoy a clear view from Carey's, and it was soft sunshine, not the silver of raindrops, that dappled the forest as we descended to the Williams. Though the timber track now leads almost to the heart of the Tops, and signs of tourists spread along the way, one can still forgot these in the grandeur of the forests. Giant figs, buttressed by stranglers of intricate tracery, the august gums that stretch to the sunlight, staghorns and delicate ferns, vines of every size weaving amongst the strange forest trees - not for one moment can one cease to rejoice in the beauty around. On my part, it was with sadness that I left the forest for the ordered grounds of Barrington House and the bus to Maitland.
The other weekend Frank Young, Henry Gold, Frank Rigby and George Grey spent their time dismembering and disemboweling the Land Rover in which they plan to make a circuit of Australia. Neither Henry nor Digby, it appears, are much accustomed to this kind of thing. In fact, Digby made the mistake of arriving in spotless white overalls just as the others had got their hands nice and dirty.
Henry and Digby then got busy dismantling the sump with guide book in one hand and a spanner in the other. From the book, '“Remove the speedometer cable' - do you think this is it?” “I don't know. What do you think” “I don't know. Well, off it comes.”
Of course they forgot to drain it first and when they unscrewed the plug it was “Hasten, Jason, bring a basin”. Then presently, “Bring another basin”. Anyway, all good clean fun.
Each year the tide ebbs and flows in Paddy's shop… during the summer it is the Bushwalkers' shop with a few skis in it but in the winter the ski gear comes in and takes a major place!!!
should come in and have a look at the colourful array of skis and all the what-have-you's which relate thereto.
1958 Price List of Ski Gear is now ready ring, write or call.
Paddy Pallin Pty Limited. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh Street, Sydney. Telephone BM 2685.