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|
|At Our November Meeting||Alex Colley||2|
|But A Billy Can||Geof Wagg||3|
|S & R Report||Jim Hooper||6|
|Heading For a Fall||Geof Wagg||8|
|Easy Sunday Walk||Brian Harvey||13|
|Your Walking Guide||14|
|Letter From Tassie||14|
|Letter From Joan Walker||15|
|Leica Photo Service||5|
|The Sanitarium Health Food Shop||7|
|Hatswell's Taxi & Tourist Service||11|
|Going to Tassie At Christmas? (Paddy's advt.)||18|
Cold tinned pudding,
Hot tinned beer.
Ham and chicken (sausage) too,
Or perhaps a D.V. stew.
Bad luck that the sweets you brought were
Made unfit to eat by water.
So a nut we try to crack,
Place upon a rock and whack -
First blow, nothing: cursing louder -
Second blow, it's crushed to powder.
Still the dinner's not a failure -
Tastes like the Hotel Australia.
The meeting commenced with a welcome to two new members - Lyndsey Grey and Graham Cowell.
The reading of the minutes revealed a plot to arrange the clubroom furniture unconstitutionally. The motion covering the disposition of furniture was, according to Frank Ashdown, out of order because it had been seconded by an unfinancial member. Though at first reluctant to reveal who had told him the seconder was unfinancial, he later divulged that it was the Treasurer. As an alternative to replacing the furniture night by night back to the 8th October, Frank thought we should remove the motion and discuss it again. Brian Harvey, however, said it had now become a by-law, and couldn't be rescinded. Before the bush lawyers were able to enter the fray, Ken Meadows resolved the crisis by pointing out that, at the time the seconder had seconded the motion he had not been informed that he was unfinancial; therefore, since he had not received notification, he was not unfinancial. This, said the President, settled the matter, and ordered “no further discussion herewith”.
The meeting accepted with regret the resignation of Don Newis as Social Secretary. A change in the Technical College time-table made it impossible for Don to carry on.
There were no reports from any Club officers except the room stewards. Of the three room stewards appointed at the last meeting, one had turned up every night, one on four out of five nights, and the other not at all. On the second night of stewardship the caretaker had threatened homicide if any furniture was moved, but, at the same time, offered to arrange the furniture to suit the C1ub. Arising from this report it was resolved that the Rationalist Association be asked to clear the furniture from the space between the door and a line six feet beyond the pillars nearest the door every Wednesday, and to arrange chairs in the centre of the hall on the second and subsequent Wednesdays of the month.
Next we proceeded to elect a new Walks Secretary and a committee member. There were four nominations for Walks Secretary and three for committee member. Bill Rodgers was elected Walks Sec. and Irene Pridham committee member. Brian Harvey was elected Substitute Federation Delegate. Because Bill Rodgers was a committee member, his election as Walks Sec. leaves another vacancy to fill at the next meeting.
On a motion by Brian Harvey, the name of the Bill Henley Cup was changed to “Bill Henley Memorial Cup” and the cup is to be engraved as such.
The President announced that the Committee has decided to describe Committee nights as “free nights” on the Social Programme and hoped to restore these nights as nights when members could come in and talk, arrange trips, put on a few private slides, or enjoy themselves in other ways.
The expenditure of about £6 on equipment for the map cabinet was approved.
At the conclusion of the meeting David Ingram extended an invitation to any old members who hadn't arranged to join a group at the Christmas Party, to join his party.
For judging people's character
You don't need very much,
You don't need reams of handwriting
Or old tea leaves and such,
No crystal balls or playing cards
I tell you man to man
You don't need any blessed thing
Except a billy can.
Allow me to elaborate
And site a certain case
Involving certain characters
You wont find hard to place.
The scene - a morning campsite,
Preparing to make tracks,
The bods all have their heads down
And are jamming things in packs.
They pay no heed to what goes on
Behind their very backs.
Beside the cooling embers
Two billy cans are set.
On each the outer crust
Is hard as hobs and black as jet,
But inside one gleams shining
Clean and scoured and wet.
The other wretched billy,
Though identically designed,
Betrays its wretched owner's
Unhygienic turn of mind
With smears of meals of months ago
With which it's fully lined.
Now this dirty billy owner
Gets the picture at a glance
And as befits his character,
Start s scheming in advance.
So when the other's back is turned
He quickly takes his chance.
With furtive moves though casual,
So not to be suspected,
His grasping hand
Within the shining billy is reflected.
The other then, alone remains,
Uncleaned, unloved, neglected.
The billy's rightful owner
Quickly sees the size of things,
And yet no word of anger
To her gentle throat it brings.
Instead she takes the dirty one
And as she does, she sings -
Let's move this little scene along
About an hour or two.
It's lunchtime and the walkers
Have just stopped to make a brew.
So water soon is bubbling -
They are a happy crew.
Down by the creek a walker
With a sure and practised hand
Scours out a filthy billy
With the help of soap and sand.
But why she sings so merrily
Is hard to understand.
The billy snatcher though,
Is striving to conceal his ire
For nature's laws against his hand
Do seemingly conspire,
His billy wont hang straight,
But spills its contents in the fire.
The kind of strife he's having
It would make an angel curse
And every blessed thing he tries.
Just seems to make it worse;
The adjectives he's using
Would find no place in our verse.
At last at risk of scald and singe
He makes a close inspection
In order to determine
How the billy needs correction
To stop it turning halfway up
In any one direction.
Now billies are like humans
In that perfect ones are rare,
But most of them are quite O.K.
If treated with some care,
Yet now and then you'll strike the one
That drives you to despair.
Yes, the lugs that hold the handle
Are off centre quite a bit
And when its snatcher sees this -
Well, he nearly has a fit.
If there had been a roof above,
That's what he would have hit.
Then turning to philosophy
He says, “Ah what's the odds,
I should have known it was a trap,
Among these walking bods,
It's my own fault for knocking round
With such a pack of sods!”
And he loudly draws attention
To injustice; claims that they
Took advantage of his weakness,
Placed temptation in his way,
But the temptress simply sips her tea
And has no word to say.
So he suffered from that billy
For a year or maybe more
Till he found an opportunity
For evening the score
And switched the billy back on her;
The gentle maiden swore!
See then, a small inanimate
Thing like a billy, can
Go further than the human mind
To plumb the heart of man,
And show our faults or frailties -
But that's where I began.
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.
This demonstration proved a very successful and enjoyable weekend. A count of heads during the campfire on the Saturday night brought the total to eighty-five members. More members arrived on Sunday, along with a number of spectators, bringing the total up to the hundred mark.
Demonstrations covered all aspects of bushwalking and allied subjects. They included river crossings, cliff and rope-work, emergency signalling to aircraft, first aid, stretchermaking, resuscitation, use of walkie-talkie radios, safety in caving and the use of the aqualung. The two latter subjects were sponsored by the Sydney Spelio Society. Newer members admitted they had learnt a great deal from the weekend.
During the “cliff rescue” there appeared to be an argument on the edge of a cliff face. A body was seen to crash on to the rocks below. A stout-hearted bushwalker, age some three years, was greatly perturbed. His fears were only allayed when he was put on to the radio so that he could talk to those “terrible” people on the cliff face. They managed to assure him that the body was only a stuffed dummy.
A special recording of thanks is due to Mrs. Jones and Mr. Charles Jones for the use of such an excellent campsite on their property.
About this time last year, four bushwalkers were trapped in a bushfire and burnt to death. Leaders of walks are asked to check on any fires that are known to be burning in the areas adjacent to their proposed walks. They should do this before starting out. Note prevailing winds from weather reports and maps. If the fire danger is high it may be better to divert the walk to another area, or to at least keep it within short radius of rivers etc. in case of being caught out.
If, for special reasons, it becomes necessary to walk through a “touch and go” area, take the precaution of wearing strong boots and carrying long trousers and gaiters to wear as protection from initial burns.
Some burnt out areas can be extremely dangerous even after a month of cooling down. Last year a walker was making his way across flat open ground to a river. A fire had been through three weeks previously. The walker fell up to his hips into a pit made by a burnt out tree stump. Below what appeared to be cold ashes, the pit was full of burning embers.
Remember that the hot turbulent air in front of a bushfire rises and that the approaching fire will always race more rapidly uphill than downhill. Some fires shoot across from ridge-top to ridge-top, leaving the gully “safe” for perhaps a short while. This does not necessarily apply when the prevailing wind is blowing along the length of a gully.
Suddenly encountered bushfires are frightening. Stop, and deliberate rapidly on what you must do. Warn your party that they keep together. Nominate a strong walker as the “whipper-in”. He must help stragglers and keep a check on the numbers in the party. Be prepared to abandon your packs and gear the instant members show the slightest sign of slowing up. Take the surest and safest may out of the danger. Correct action can only be properly judged by the immediate circumstances. If caught by a fire on the side of a ridge, a short rush downhill through the flames may get you clear and save your life. Look out for cliffs.
Only you can judge. It can be unwise to try forcing a way through between fires. If any member receives burns on the way through, it may have the effect of slowing the whole party down. The party may then be placed in an even greater danger.
Don't take any unnecessary risks with bushfires. It is better to be overdue a day or so - and SAFE - rather than not get back at all.
Members interested are advised that very serious consideration should be given to certain safety precautions when organising for such trips. For interim information please contact Paul Driver (Rover Ramblers) JF.5232. A special bulletin will be circulated in due course.
Well I suppose it's Gold alright, but the glittering is coming from the diamond on his fiance's finger. Henry, just returned from the other side of Australia, is now engaged to Glennis Wallace, a fellow employee, and incidentally is looking very pleased with himself.
Even the pale sunlight seemed quite warm after the canyon's depths, so we spread ourselves on smooth rocks to dry and ate and ate while the cheerful fire blew smoke rings.
From the level platform where we lunched above the falls, a ridge grew steeply down on the true right, forming a cliff line boundary. Instead of merely fading at the bottom however, this ridge picked itself up in a great rocky bump, which lay like a protective arm encircling the foot of the falls. The waters of Jerrara, thus thwarted from their natural course, banked up into a large pool, the outlet feeding along parallel to Bungonia Creek for a short way before finding the gap and dropping down to the main stream.
After lunch it took us a little time to collect ourselves and we scarcely realised how the afternoon was stealing away. But then what of it? We couldn't exactly see where we were going, but clearly the hardest part must be behind and it wouldn't even be two miles down to the Gorge. Finally, with great display, I packed my things and started off, leaving Digby and Bones and some others mutinously sipping tea. Just before I passed from sight I heard a call and glancing back saw these two leering and waving various articles I had omitted to pack. I made an ignominious return and while I repacked, Digby and the last of the party moved off.
We crossed above the falls and thought of trying a traverse to the top of Bungonia Falls at about the same level a mere three hundred yards away, until we found how loose the scree was and decided we didn't have time. Instead, we dropped straight down, swinging by bushes on the loose stone slope, and scaring the daylights out of Joan, who was below us, with some inadvertantly rolled boulders.
The floor of the valley here is solid rock morn smooth with running water and either side the rock walls' sagging jagged strata seems to tell terrifying tales of upheaval. We trailed the stream flowing quietly in its rock bed for some hundred yards, down a couple of terraces, then lo and behold - another fall. Not a hard one, but with only two snaplinks in the party, it took time. We used both ropes together once again and managed the two drops in a single stage. While our backs were turned, the sun took its chance to sneak away over the cliff tops and leave us in the shadow of approaching night.
With new vigor we proceeded, delayed a little at first by an overhanging rock and a wall of tangled shrubbery, but once past this we made better time. Everything was still a jumble of gigantic boulders. Great pink terraces, grand enough for cathedral steps, towering columns and caverns floored with silt and decorated with driftwood. Nowhere to pitch a tent (except on rock). Soon these gave way to stuff on a smaller scale, with a first indication of rudimentary campsites screened by nettles on either side. Having drawn a little ahead, I left my pack and went on exploring for campsites in the fading light - some too steep, some too rocky, some too wet and “Ouch”, too many nettles. In desperation I settled for a mediocre spot with two sites on different levels and not much firewood, then hurried back to tell the others. I found the main group were just behind me, so after passing on the news, I retraced my steps to where I'd left the pack and as I swung it on - I saw him. Digby I mean, propped against a rock while Joan plied him with Aspros and sympathy. A twisted ankle, I learned, so I offered my crepe bandage, which was gamely declined.
“I think I can make it if it's not too far” he gritted. As we hobbled off I encouraged with, “It's not so far - see those trees there? That's the spot. The others will have a fire blazing by now.” Painfully we approached in dark and silence. We called and only echoes answered. I called again, adding a few bushwalking oaths, but the cliffs threw the words back in my face.
Damn me! I hooted and coo-ed and cursed and swore and never got a word in reply. Digby accepted my crepe bandage with a martyred air and, leaving him to Joan's ministrations, stormed off in search of the others. At the very next corner I found them after stumbling through a patch of midnight black scrub. They seemed quite innocent and amazed to see me dancing with fury. “Why didn't you answer me?!” I exploded. “Answer you? We didn't even hear you” they replied in hurt tones.
“Why didn't you camp back at the other corner?” I snarled.
“But this is a much better spot” they reasoned. “Why? Does it matter?”
Grace completed my defeat by having a fire blazing and water on the boil. “And I could have had the tent pitched too, only it was in your pack dear.” I decided that was enough for one night, resigned myself to being in the wrong and went back to shepherd Digby in.
I woke and my morning head felt fuzzy and full of cotton wool the way it always does after too much sleep. Outside, the wet sand was uncomfortable under my bare toes and the cold morning air discovered the gap between my shirt and shorts. Altogether it seemed the kind of day when things could go wrong. Not wishing to antagonise the party again, I softly whistled the Shepherd's Hymn from the final movement of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony while I filled the billies at the creek. After building up the fire with wood from the woodpile of the neighbouring tent and setting the billies on it, I repeated the tune with slightly increased volume. No one took the hint. Not a soul stirred. My billies fell down into the fire and spilled themselves.
As I walked down to fill the billies I gave the Shepherd's Hymn a full orchestration. I set them on the damp coals and, taking wood from the neighbouring woodpile, cracked it with tremendous force of expression, at the same time shouting parts of the Soldiers' Chorus from Faust. Subtlety was thrown to the winds for I could see it wasn't going to be my day.
A few preliminary groans issued from the Duncan-Snow Brown group. Barry, being still a prospective and keen, had got out of his flea bag and stood gazing vacantly at the woodpile while he scratched his head with one hand and his leg with the other.
Digby was delirious.
“Did anyone else hear those rocks falling during the night?” The general answer was “No”, with a minimum of interest.
“One came quite close”, continued Digby. “I heard it splash into the creek and thought 'Gosh that one nearly got Geof and Grace'.”
“Thanks for warning us, Dig”
Digby became slightly hysterical.
“Look, doesn't anyone believe I heard rocks crashing down!”
“As a matter of fact I heard some rumbling and splashing” said Bob.
“One friend!” cried Digby.
“But I thought it was Snow's stomach!” Bob concluded.
I fed Grace and presently she got up and helped me fold the tent. Digby was still in his sleeping bag occasionally muttering to Joan, “I did hear rocks falling”. Joan was stirring up some cracked corn and water in a billy, Snow and Bob were talking and Barry ate.
“What do you reckon we should do today?” asked Snow as Grace and I put our packs on.
“Aw, I thought we might go down and climb that pinnacle thing and then go up to Adam's lookout”.
“Wont be a sec.” said Barry. “Just another helping of porridge and some toast and coffee.”
“That's a good idea” said Snow. “Let's have some coffee. I'll get the water”.
Grace and I moved off, dogged by the fading sound of Digby's voice - “Should have more consideration for an injured member of the party”. As leisurely as the stream itself, now floating in wide pools, we meandered, glancing often up to our right for a sight of Adam's Lookout to give us our position. Soon we saw it far back, half hidden by the twisting ridges, but from the creek bed, like a monstrous marker, rose the black rock precipice of the pinnacle thing.
At the foot of a likely gully we left our packs and wandered down to look at the Bungonia Gorge (which hadn't changed much). We came back but no one had arrived so we sat on cold rocks and waited. Eventually we heard them up the creek, then we saw them tripping, yawning and yarning, sometimes slipping in the sludge of sand and mud that lubricates the stream edge.
“Hullo”, they said.
“Hullo” we said.
Joan said, “Would you like a barley sugar?” (She's a nice girl Joan).
Digby said, “Ooy, my ankle!”
Snow said, “Y' know Geof, Barry hasn't ever seen Bungonia Gorge.”
“No, I haven't”, said Barry.
Our second tour of Bungonia Gorge was more protracted than the first and when we returned to Digby, who had been resting his ankle, it was clear that we wouldn't be going up to Adam's and the pinnacle thing must wait for another day. Instead we took the gully nearest the Gorge, which is quite a short and reasonable route to Bungonia Lookout.
When we arrived at the top it was early for lunch, but no one felt it was TOO early. As a matter of fact, it began as a snack and gradually increased to become the real thing. We boiled billies for tea, than settled contentedly to eat and regard the view. In the background, from the corner of one's eye, Barry could be seen laboriously compounding one of those cold dessert mixtures. It took ages. Stirring, shaking, a long pause to study the directions. Barry is a most fastidious cook. Gradually preparations reached some kind of climax. The shaking ceased, the lid was removed and there lay a pint of pallid quivering pulp. With his eyes gleaming behind his spectacles, he seized his spoon and took an enormous mouthfull. Then, as we watched, his expression changed from joyous anticipation to one of loathing and disgust.
“Ug-g-ghe-r-r!” he said. “I couldn't eat that! Would anyone also like to try it?”
Unfortunately for Bob, while he was still framing his customary courteous thanks, the dessert was snatched and entirely devoured by Grace, Snow and myself.
“It makes me mad!” muttered the Dalai as he scraped at the faint traces remaining in the bowl. “I'm the recognised garbage contractor around here. I eat everyone's toast crusts and billy scrapings, I chew everyone's bacon rind and melon skins. But, when there's some really delectable bit of rubbish, I can't get near it. It makes me mad!”
This incident destroyed Bob's appetite entirely, so we who wanted to visit Adam's Lookout set off along the road, leaving the others (Joan and Digby) sipping tea. Chatting of this and that we passed the Adam's shelter shed and noted that someone had been shooting quantities of buckshot into the wall, fortunately and accidentally I suppose, missing the water tank.
Like Kanangra, the views from this ridge top never cease to be impressive. For over 250° your eye can range; from the deep cutting that hides Bungonia Creek, up the ravelling skein of Jerrara Falls, then over the bare bones of the earth where vegetation sinks back from the broken rock ribs that go hiccoughing down to the stream, a string of queer beads. Further off, the slot of Bungonia Gorge cleaves the limestone mountain, while at your foot the haggard spiney ridges jumble in together.
On the way back down the road we were surprised to meet Joan and Digby on the way in.
“Wait for you at the end of the road,” we said. So we waited. And we waited. After we had spent a considerable time there - waiting - we began to give vent to our feelings by throwing stones at a white ants nest. Something symbolic, I fancy. It was being brought to our minds, particularly to those who were relying on hitching home, that the afternoon was escaping and we still had a fair way to go. In fact, we had a long way to go. Heavens, this was getting serious. We must send out a search party - or possibly push off and leave a rear guard. I began to feel once more that it wasn't my day, then there they were. A few words of abuse soon put things right and we were on our way once more.
We followed a fence for half a mile, then cut cut across the rocky trough of Bungonia Creek before it drops. Just down the bank an autumn touched poplar glowed with a cold fire and made us think that this would be a trip better done in high summer and resolutions were passed to that effect.
The few miles back to the cars (through wild geraniums) fully occupied the remaining hours and we finally reached the highway in the chill of approaching dusk.
Somehow or other poor old Snow was the only one who finished up hitching home and this makes me think that perhaps I didn't have such a bad day after all and if anything did go wrong, I could be pretty sure that it was all Snow's fault.
Spikey Stitt, Stitt's faithful hound, has always been surrounded by bushwalking types, sipping tea and talking of mountains. Over the years this has fired his spirit of adventure so much that, after eating the high altitude bacon destined for Snow's Hanging Lake airdrop, he could contain himself no longer. On Saturday morning Mrs. Stitt awoke to find Spike sitting proudly on top of the chest of drawers in her bedroom - a first ascent. Spike confides that he next intends to tack1e the east face of the wardrobe.
At Audley on Sunday, 14th December, the 1958 Rudolph Cup will be contended for and this valuable trophy again palmed off on some “charlie”. Don't smile - it might be you!
Remember to bring your walking sticks, overcoats, chewing gum, water wings and binoculars. See C. Putt for transport.
By the way, the river here has always been a bit of a mystery to the Admiral, but this year he expects to got to the bottom of it.
Well, well, see you drown at Audley.
No miles - easy. It was just like that. The party assembled at Bobbin Head for the big cruise down Cowan Creek on Sunday, 16th November. Three motor boats loads with a total of 24 1/2 bods, and the weather a bit grey with a stiff south-easter. After rejection of a couple of boats, the flotilla was away.
After going about a hundred yards, one crew found they had left their lunch in the boot of a car and put in at the public wharf. On re-starting, someone abandoned the tiller and the boat shot up the wooden landing steps with the engine full ahead. A fisherman obligingly lifted the bow off, to the startled gaze of onlookers. The leader's boat (he cunningly picked it from the line-up while the engines were warming up) was a whizzer and, to allow the other two to catch up, made a series of circling movements and eventually transferred a heavyweight (name censored) from the slowest craft to his with the idea of evening-up the speeds. Morning tea was partaken in Smith's Creek, where the boats tied up together, much banter flying about. Frank Ashdown's boat refused to start (as usual) and was taken in tow, while another member, who was well-informed about Halverson Chapman-Pup launches, produced a full repair outfit and took the engine apart whilst in tow. Eventually Hallett's Beach was reached for lunch and a few of the party, daring the sharks, had a dip while others played with a beach-ball. The black-fellows' cave was inspected whilst two mechanically-apt gents fiddled with the recalcitrant engine. They found a leak in the petrol feed-pipe, which was restored with the aid of a Band-Aid. Johnson and Johnson may make a note of this for future advertisements. We can visualise the ad. - “One of the many uses, etc. etc.!” Much joy, and after a few false starts, all was wall. That is, until we were sight-seeing close in-shore at Cottage Rock, when a well-known sea captain's daughter, looking behind her whilst at the wheel, ran foul of a moored cruiser and took off a sizeable strip of paint while the bods on the cruiser stood agape. Pulling into a quiet cove for afternoon tea, the startled residents on the nearby shore came out to see what was going on. They were soon educated to the fact that 24 1/2 walkers can all talk at once and have a wonderful time with their mouths full and drinking long draughts from thermos flasks. It was a good day, no sunburn, and the lot for 10/6d. Watch the Walks Programme for the next eventful trip.
|130||S.B.W Christmas Party. This trip can be considered more of a trot than a walk and prospective starters must be in first-class condition. It is recommended that they have twenty-four hours uninterrupted sleep beforehand. The trip is notable for the interesting wild life that may be observed.|
|131||Woy Woy - Kilcare - Maitland Bay - Woy Woy. The author has never been in this area although it has always been my great ambition to do so, but unfortunately I will be unable to attend due to a prior engagement. It is the happy hunting ground of famous club members such as Eric Pegram, Eddie Stratton, Bob Abernathy and many others.|
|132||Rudolph Cup! Here is a cup that is everything a cup should be. It has got tradition and utility. It is run over a course of two miles on the Port Hacking River with a craw of six to each boat. No one need be afraid to enter.|
|133||Coalcliffe - Stanwell Tops - Otford - Burning Palms - Helensburg. A walk combining good swimming, walking and scenic views of the picturesque South Coast.|
|134||Leumeah - Bushwalkers' Basin - Minto. Just the trip for a hot weekend. Camping at Bushwalkers' Basin with swimming at your convenience. Monster fresh water lobsters may be caught to supplement your food.|
|135||Era - Christmas and New Year. Era is one of the premier Bushwalking Resorts of the near South Coast. It has two freshwater creeks, beautiful green camping turf, golden sands, snow-white surging surf and a complete absence of the other people. It would be difficult to find a more idyllic spot to spend Christmas.|
Hullow Mainland-type Walkers,
Come to tassie where the hills are twice as rough, the rivers six times as big, where there is real scrub and where it rains for 350 days each year (it snows for 15 days).
Really though, it's not too bad - either the rain isn't as wet as in N.S.W. or you just got used to it and ignore it.
Since I arrived I've hardly had time to even think till now - I doubt if I've seen Manning or Famous Higgins for more than two hours all told. Monday and Tuesday were spent on a grand tour of the various departments of the Hydro and Wednesday we loaded a lot of gear onto our International Ute and set sail for Cressy.
On Thursday we tootled up to the camp on the upper Mersey, admired their chopper (no walking up hills for those charlies), off loaded some gear, drank many cups of tea and coffee and then cut across to Sheffield via what is called “the bridle track”. I reckon we were the first non four-wheel drive to negotiate this track - it made Kanangra hill look weak.
The hotel we're staying at is rather good - my own room, can have as much as you like to eat great bowls of fresh cream on the dinner table, cup of tea in bed in the morning, Manager's daughter a Miss Australia quest entrant - wonderful.
We're now working at a place called the Devils Elbow on the Forth River. Here the river narrows down to about a hundred feet and races though a canyon of vertical and overhanging dolorite walls, which rise up about 300' before they start to gradually peel back on to the steep spurs.
To cross the river, you have to use a flying fox similar to the one going out to Frenchman's Cap. There are a few minor differences:
However, they are mighty when you get used to them - I spent an hour yesterday bouncing up and down in the cage trying to photograph the gorge - it was terrific.
Today it poured all morning and by 12.00 even I had to admit (grudgingly of course) that it was getting a bit too damp for comfort, so we had to give up for the day. This afternoon I went for a run up a hill behind Sheffield. During a brief lull in the sleety rain had a mighty view of town - Mt. Rowland in the background - whilst further west and south lay great tumbled mass of snow-covered ranges, probably near the Reserve. It was well worth the effort. Tomorrow I'll probably go up Rowland - to hell this weather!
All the best.
C/o C'wealth Health Laboratories, Cairns.
11th November, 1958.
Just a note to open communications with the “deep south”.
I've seen my flat - it's very pleasant with a lovely long 1iving room looking over the bay (and the mud flats, of course), quite a modern kitchen and the bathroom is about 12' square. You could swing a couple of cats in it.
I visited the person leaving the flat and found she once belonged to Launceston Walking Club and that the Secretary of the Cairns Club was bringing a friend around on Friday to show Tassie slides. Well, needles to say, I ended up there to see quite a good showing of Reserve and Frenchman, slides taken by a Brisbane Bushie living up here. There's a club meeting this Friday and I shall wander along. I have the impression the group consists mainly of “exiled” southern walkers making the best of the tropics.
Started work a week ago - a very pleasant lab. and co-workers. They have given me the T.B. work to do.
This town is alive with New Zealanders - mostly out of work. I'm staying at a Guest House till the flat is vacant and there are quite a few here. The landlady doesn't mind them running up a bill for a few weeks, except she enquires every two or three weeks if they have a job yet? I fear some of them can afford neither to stay nor move.
I haven't seen much of the area yet. I didn't get the machine till Thursday and spent most of Saturday trying to do a few minor repairs (like making the brakes work and tightening the steering).
Sunday I suppose I should have done the accepted thing and gone to Green Island, but instead did a round scooter trip to the Crystal Cascades, Lake Placid, Ellis Beach and back to Cairns. Boy! those roads. I felt like a half-set jelly by the time I reached the bitumen. The cascades have very little water at the moment, they tell me Tully Falls are dry and the Atherton badly needs rain. I shall postpone trips that way until after some rain falls.
I wish I had one of Dot Butler's little boys here to shin up coconut palms for me - it's most tantalising looking up at these unattainable heights and unattainable fruit. Perhaps the duralium ladder and an Indian Rope Trick Set would do instead.
I fear you would have been most amused by my arrival at Binna Burra on the way north. I chugged up that steep road not doing too badly till I just had to stop to look at Egg Rock and the valley. Well, the poor scooter jut couldn't get going then and after I'd got it moving a few times by running beside it while it was in first gear, I was very pleased to leave it about a quarter of a mile from the end and walk up. Got there about 10.30 and set out on Ship Stem Round trip. Halfway round, those nice grey clouds I could have enjoyed during the heat wave on the coast, decided to let go and I suffered a real tropical downpour. It was no good trying to dodge or outwait it, so I plodded through the forest and made the best of it. I did have a plastic jacket but I still looked rather drowned when I got back. Just the same, I enjoyed it and it was wonderful to really move again after three days on the scooter.
I was worried about the slippery red dust on the road for the descent so next day, after duly being overwhelmed by the breathtaking beauty on a faultless morning that awaits one at Binna Burra, I ran the scooter a mile down the road then walked up and carried my pack down. Probably unnecessary precautions, but certainly felt safer.
Well, that's all for now. Regards to everyone.
About this time of the year the magazine business gets fairly slow and in consequence there is considerable raking around the bottom of the barrel. In the process some old manuscripts came to light, both rejects from past club operas. Still in an emergency -
Tune: “The Grand Old Duke of York”
Oh we have a ladder slim
Made of strong Dur-ral-ee-im
For climbing into potholes and for climbing out of thim.
For when were up we're up, and when we're down we're down,
But when were only half-way up, we're neither up nor down.
Oh the need was very plain
For there is a lot of strain
In climbing into potholes and climbing out again.
For when we're up etc.
So we thought the club just might
Care to bear the burden slight
But when we asked for money – NO! they were much too tight.
For the “aye” our hands were up, for the “no” our hands were down,
But less than half the hands were up and more than half were down.
But one philanthropic guy
Sent a guinea for to buy
Five rungs; and our esteem of him cannot be put too high.
So when we're halfway up or halfway down we thinks
While passing thru, “This section was donated by Bob Binks”.
Tune: “The Song of the Flea” (Moussorgski)
I have a tale to tell of such a tribe of fleas,
Maussorgski sang of big ones, but they can't compare with these.
They live in our committee room, all hidden out of sight,
I fear they'll be committee's doom some sorry Friday night.
They lurk behind the pictures and underneath the chairs,
And many a hapless victim has perished in their lairs.
We've faced them with eviction, we've tried both force and tact,
But they with perfect diction, recite the Fair Rents Act.
If you would join Committee, the prospect's far from nice,
You're given without pity, a human sacrifice.
But if you are elected, just recollect this fate,
And if you life's protected, keep premiums up to date.
If you're going into the bad lands of S.W. Tassie you'll need a sturdy waterproof jacket. Paddy has some in yellow (good for colour shots) with detachable hoods. Double fastened front. Guaranteed stormproof - price £5. 5. 0. A couple of feet of plastic tube will cover your sleeping bag while packed and secure it from the penetrating damp. A supply of plastic bags and a few rubber bands will also help. Get them at Paddy's.
Lightweight primuses are available 53/6 each. Also lightweight metho stoves at 5/-.
For the motor camper - Ravia metho stoves at 65/-.
All good wishes to all good walkers from Paddy and his gang.
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney.