THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, The N.S.W. Nurses' Association Rooms, “Northcote Building”, Reiby Place, Sydney, Box No.4476 G.P.O., Sydney. Phone JW1462.
307 JULY 1960 Price 1/-
|Editor||Don Matthews, 33 Pomona Street, Pennant Hills. WJ3514|
|Sales & Subs.||Eileen Taylor|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Social Forecast - Pam Baker||2|
|At Our June Meeting - Alex Colley||3|
|Night On A Bald Mountain - Athol Atwood||3|
|Bushwalker Barbecue - Dot Butler||5|
|Hatswell's Taxi & Tourist Service (Advertisement)||7|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop (Advertisement)||9|
|Mt. Jellore - “Mulga”||9|
|Just Beyond the Bulldozers - Alex Colley||10|
|The Social Past||12|
|Your Walking Guide - Day Walks - David Ingram||14|
|Cradle Mountain - Lair St.Clair Reserve - Roy Craggs||16|
We sink to sleep; and the silence spreads
Night sounds, and silvery shafts of moonlight
Slanting through the trees, add magic to the night;
Fast-driving clouds, hiding the moon; the grey
Coldness of dawn; bird-calls greeting day;
Wind; and sunshine; deep pools in creeks;
Lapstones and long, steep ridges, crowned with peaks;
The range-filled view; and trailing smoke of a train:
All these have brought me joy, and will again
Whenever I escape, by secret thought,
Or with my rucksack, from the city. There's naught
Can keep me from them while I've strength to walk!
Yet I leave them, join in the fuss and talk,
Fight the old fight for bread, enslaved by goods,
And insatiate appetites, timid moods.
Oh, why do I yield, when out there, freedom waits,
And all that's left of leisure, that creates
O! dear, green Earth: O! mountains, deep within
Your hearts the bushland keep: May we who win
To peace, and living Beauty, there enshrined,
Guard them, and thee, forever, from mankind:
Extract from The Bushwalker, by D. Lawry.
JULY 19TH Theatre Party.“Ben Hur” in wonderful Cinemascope complete with stereophonic sound, chariot races, love, hate, brutality and all that stuff. I will arrange a dinner party for those interested.
JULY 20TH Jim Brown and Malcolm MacGregor are busily thinking up skits, songs and dance routines for this night's entertainment
JULY 27TH I need slides, quickly, for the Non-Scenic Slide Competition. Only six slides per person please.
Cold weather, but fine for a change.
Three official trips were well attended.
Roy Craggs had 9 on his Tiwilla-Kowmung walk. Jack Gentle led 15 down the Cox's via Cullenbenbong and up Galong Creek. Overheard while travelling with shadows in front:- “Thank goodness my pack is still wider than I am” (from a lady, of course). Quite a sight to see motor cars on the Cox at the foot of Black Jerry's Ridge, five in all. How many next holiday? Galong Creek is still as pleasant to walk: along even leading 15 up its cascades and waterfalls.
Additions to Green Gully: Bert Carlon's new house has reached floor level. An uneventful holiday weekend. Pleasant walking, organised company. Good steady walking on the last day. No broken bones, and a reunion of 37 S.B.W.s at the A.B. Cafe for tea.
Bob Duncan led 11 on the Annual “Let's Get Lost on the Wolgan” walk and failed miserably by having everyone home in good time and condition.
One new member, Arnold Fleishmarm, was welcomed by the President,
A letter from the Sydney Adventists requested information on how to form a walking Club. On Frank Ashdown's motion, it was decided to ask the Adventists to send representatives to our General meetings and social evenings, also to send them a Walks Programme.
There was somewhat a shortage of reports, but the Walks Secretary had one to inform us that 103 started on walks in May, also 33 prospectives and 12 visitors. The Federation barbecue accounted for 60 of the starters.
The most trying experience of the month was that of the gent who locked his pants, with keys, in the boot of his car and was left clad in long woollen underwear. However by removing the back seat the garment, was retrieved from the boot, and decorum restored.
The Social Secretary promised us something seldom attempted in the ordinary run of reports. Henceforth events will be reported before they take place, instead of afterwards.
At the end of the meeting Ron Knightley told us that he was leaving in three weeks for England, where he would be watching Australia's interests in the laying of a new cable. He would be away for a year or more and this meant, that at the July meeting we would have to elect a new president. Jack Gentle, last year's President, extended Ron our best wishes for a very happy trip.
The meeting ended after a quarter of an hour. Nobody disagreed about anything.
(with apologies to Mussorgski) Athol Atwood.
By early Saturday morning two carloads of shock troops had, after many losses (at least one car) managed to rendezvous on the perimeter of the impregnable forest out from Milton. With great resourcefulness and route plotting of the highest order the cars sped through the unknown, bodily pushing a D7 Bulldozer to one side to allow for rapid movement. The cars ultimately failed and the troops rapidly upped packs and strode manfully and womanfully forth into the great unknown. Progressing up the Clyde Valley the scene of the campaign revealed itself - the running up of Byangee Walls, the climbing of Mt. Tallaterang, and the assault of the Castle.
General headquarters were established on the Clyde homestead flat, and great was the examination through binoculars of the first and last objectives, and many a cunning plan was evolved for the rapid accomplishment of operation “Cazna”. The group, exceptionally well fortified in the inner man; sallied forth at 11.30 in two parties, one to reconnoitre the east end of the wall and the other the west. By 12.45 both parties, after braving mountain torrents, scree slopes and liquid refreshment bars, met in clandestine surroundings at the foot of the wall by the Castle saddle.
Suddenly the assault was on, and all the troops rushed up and over the top by 3 p m. without losses or casualties. This greatly disappointed an eagle which had hopefully circled all the while. On top many shots were fired until finally the enemy (i e. the scenery) succumbed. A ritual war dance on an aboriginal bora ground headed by Geoff and orchestrated on the didjeridoo by Dot completed the ceremonies. By 4 p m. most of the blooded troops found themselves at the east end of the wall, but as no parachutes had been brought, all made a strategic retreat to the west and slipped and slithered through the iron curtain to reach the foot of it by dark at 6.30 p m. Dot and Geoff formed an advance guard to 'burn off' and get a beacon fire lit for the troops to guide them back to camp. They galloped off into the darkness, never to be seen or heard of. The balance formed a caterpillar with a head of Garth and a tail of George and a body of 30-36-30 proportions. Sidling along the talus slopes, undercarriages were repeatedly end sometimes forcibly lowered. Several times the head stopped while the body concertinaed on the edge of a 100 ft. chasm - well 50 ft. - alright then 10 ft. At times like these the torch flicked on and it advanced yet again. The stars were crystal clear, and could be used for astro-navigation or astrologically to predict our course. The caterpillar belied its name and moved fast through stumps and logs, bush lawyer, bottle brush, bracken and stunted gums. By 9 p m. the animal was at “Riverview” Drive-in Restaurant, where a delectable supper of half a biscuit, one eighth of an orange and a pint of Adam's Ale was served by Maitre d'hotel Coulter. For a small extra cost Car1 was prepared to serve tadpoles a la Parisienne fresh from the dewpools of Byangee plateau.
The caterpillar circled the ridges and then slithered down the valley to find itself at a familiar stream crossing. Under torchlight the body rapidly convulsed its way across the clearings and glades. No fire could be seen at headquarters, nor could any aroma of a soup kitchen be detected - only a shout from the advance party “Mind the barbed wire in the bracken:” At 10.29 p m. a blaze broke the night's blackness, and at 10.30 p.m. the caterpillar reached camp and rapidly disintegrated so that each portion might devour some food. At midnight a deathly silence prevailed and this was shattered only at dawn by the cawing of the great Australian vulture as wheeled over the blood splattered legs of its prey. The timely arrival of Bill Keatas kept the vultures at bay till 9 o'clock when life was restored.
This was to be to be day for an attack on Tallaterang, but were the troops loath to get on their feet! By 10 a m. Geoff and Bill made a rocket-assisted takeoff from headquarters to select the assault route, leaving Dot to crack the whip, which she did unmercifully, to raise the previous day's ardour, enthusiasm and zip of her troops. She at length prevailed end by 11.40 the tail-end Charlies were on their way to meet up with their leader, leaving me in blissful peace and quiet to snooze and sunbake and eat and write up my memoirs on the back of an AllBran packet whilethey drove their tortured. flesh on a second day's orgy of climbing up Tallaterang. But someone else must tell you of that, for I was not there.
Jane and Colin Putt - another son. Judy Wagg and Richard Redfern, who recently announced their engagement. And to Joan Walker and Frank Rigby who were married on June llth
Our young boys had just turned eleven and we were having a mid-week birthday camp at Glenbrook Creek to celebrate. By Friday night all the food was finished, except for a pound of sausages, and I suggested that perhaps we had better return home.
“Why should we?” said Rona, “The Bushwalkers are coming to Euroka Clearing for a weekend Barbecue. There'll be plenty of food - there's 60 of them.”
So we ate our sausages for breakfast on Saturday morning, vacated our beautiful big sleeping cave on the Glenbrook Creek track, and hied us off to Euroka, relying on Providence for our next day's meals. I left it to Rona to study the map and get us there, and the whole process was remarkably simple - we just walked straight there in less than an hour. “All this talk about people getting list in the Blue Labyrinth must be so much hot air” said I.
The only person there when we arrived was Ernie French, collecting firewood for the barbecue fire. Myself and young scattered off to explore the clearing. We bounded round its borders, and played hidings, following each other's trodden tracks through the long gold grass, and lay basking in the warm winter sun till the S.B.W's should turn up. From a vantage point up on the grassy hillside we watched them arrive, in small groups, in larger groups, in ones and twos. Here comes our leader, Helen, announcing to the world at large that she has lost all her Prospectives on the way. “I just turned my back for a minute and they were gone. But there's no need to worry” (reassuringly)… “I've lost the President too - he is with them”. Another voluble lot strode in, the last “temporarily bush” member of that party turning up eventually, like a sad postscript, half an hour later. The President told me (and I quote him verbatim) “Over 60 people came and at least 45 of them got lost on the way!” as each new batch stragled in we asked them “Who was it lost you?” Sometimes it was Helen's fault, or Don's fault, or some other hazy leader, and of course there were those who said it was all Snow's fault. But nobody lost Duncan - that rugged individualist lost himself. He had set out at a wicked pace some ten minutes after Helen and party, spent quite a bit of time doing the Grand Tour of the Blue Labyrinth, but when he didn't find Euroka he returned to Glenbrook and started out again, to arrive at last 4 hours after Helen.
What would the Club do without Jack Wren? Who else possesses such remarkable know-how when it comes to erecting the scaffolding and spitting 50 or 60 lbs. of sheep carcases at an optimum distance from the fire so they will cook but not char? It was a very complicated mass of sticks and stays and struts and guys holding up the meat, and all credit goes to Jack that none of it fell in the fire.
Our attention was temporarily diverted from the barbecue by some nearby tent-erecting operations. We were reminded of an axiom propounded by Ray Kirkby in an article on Bushwalking Geometry: “Often a campsite has position but no magnitude”.
The tent was being pitched on a miniature cleared space on a bracken-covered slope. Still, perhaps it was warmer there.
Back at the fire, those of us who had no evening meal stood around, eyeing the splendid horror of the two spitted beasts and wondering how we could get the idea easily into the President's mind that that it was high time the feast began. But when we found that the President was putting the onus of ringing the dinner-bell on to Helen everything became plain sailing and the hungry-gutted ones easily persuaded her to summon the chef. In his chef's cap, looking just the boy for the job, Bill Keatas got to work. His butcher's blood was up and he carved off great take-it-or-leave it slabs for the waiting plates. There were rolls to accompany the meat, but someone forgot to bring the salt. Without it the meat was somewhat limpid and unexpected in its taste, but the mob accepted it as a saint accepts Heaven's will, without complaint. Also, I think, the razor-keen carving knife deftly brandished by the chef acted as a moral deterrent to any would-be complainer.
When the keenest pangs of hunger were allayed one found time to raise one's eyes above stomach-level and take in one's companions. And a very fire sight it was: All grease and gravey and champing jaws. A girl from England was answering a boy at her side: “No, she was sorry; she had never been to a barbecue.” She spoke apologetically - it seemed such a waste to have had one's life with no barbecues in it. Eventually people could eat no more and the remains of the second beast were left to go on cooking slowly for breakfast.
Now the camp fire was lit, and at this radiating centre of warmth and light everyone converged. Someone set off sparklers which squandered, their light handsomely against a background of bonfire and bushes. Here comes Frank Young with bangers - a major menace to man's peace on earth. Flatten him, someone! Frank gives a guileless smile, all innocence, like a cat with the canary's tail feathers still sticking out of his jaws.
There followed a fine sing-song in the secret clearing, walled in by a circle of trees, and then people drifted off to their tents leaving various bodies sleeping by the fire under a star-chequered sky till dawn.
In the early hours of Sunday morning a small group of undertakers stood surveying the sad fly-blown remnant of carcass on the spit. No one would possibly eat it except Bushwalkers who are the bravest people on earth but a bit tone-deaf in their taste apparatus. At the moment, however, no one was hungry, so a large hole was dug and the remains were semi-privately interred. Later I heard a frugal housewife wailing that two perfectly good shoulders at 12/6d. each had been wasted, and the knowing nothing about it. However, despite this lost opportunity, when the hat was passed round and a collection made, Federation funds benefited to the extent of L5. 6. 0 from the barbecue.
After breakfast the prospectives were all summoned up to a sunny spot for an instructional on Map Reading, with Snow Brown as instructor. When all the earnest young prospectives had settled down in a circle around their learned Teacher a solemn voice was heard: “Before we begin let us have a two-minute silence while we think of all those who have gone on Snow's trips and not returned”. The prospectives looked a bit startled. So did Snow but before he could say anything another voice continued “After we have prayed for those who didn't return, let us pray also for those who did”. Snow has some wonderfully loyal friends.
After the map-reading was finished the President announced that it would soon be time to judge the damper-making competition, but as no one had brought flour except himself he rather guessed and fancied that he would have the pleasure of awarding first prize to himself, and as first prize happened to be the Prize-winning damper he was already in possession of it and he hoped no one would question the award. Nobody did, because it was not clear to anyone just how to set about it.
The next entertainment, on the programme was to be a boomerang throwing contest. Ron produced a number of small airy-fairy plywood toys and people tried out their prowess. The target was a tree stump about two feet high, but no matter how well the boomerang was aimed at this it always flew up into the air before reaching it.
You need a higher target“, quoth I, and then regretted having made the suggestion because the only way to get a higher target was to make someone stand on top of the log, and this privilege was graciously given to the person who had made the suggestion. It was a perilous predicament, standing on the teetering log, my foundations being gnawed at by termites, with boomerangs whizzing at me from all angles. I felt like a fraction being reduced to its lowest terms and was happy to vacate my post to Helen, under whose extra two stone it promptly collapsed.
But every happy day must come to its close, and now it was time to pack up and depart, On the way up to the track we passed a giant angophera, the most glorious tree for miles around - and it had been ringbarked - a scandal of vandalism so complete that it ceased to have meaning. “It could only have been done from sheer vindictiveness” said the Dalai. It made all ones sensibilities bend over and moan. “See what I've done!” crowed the idiot voice of Vandalism, and ravaged Beauty hid her face in her hands and wept.
22-23-24th July Walk No.28 - Leader Bob Duncan - Map: Mittagong Military- “Mulga”.
From the high parts of Sydney you can see the Gib at Bowral, and to the right a little, the conical peak of Mt. Jellore.
Rounded conical hills are a feature around Mittagong. The basalt cappings have weathered to a rich soil and so have been cleared by past settlers. These hills are in striking contrast to the starkness of Jellore, an old volcanic plug which rises abruptly from the general land level. The Southern face has slopes of 60 degrees and rises precipitously from Jellore Creek for 1000' to a height of 2730'. The easiest route to the summit is up the grassy south spur and into a small saddle between Jellore and the prominent S.W. ridge. There a track winds to the top. From a rock ledge on the Northern side a glorious panorama opens out over the Wollondilly and the Yerranderie Peaks to the familiar landmarks of the Blue Mountains, from Mt. Banks to Thurat.
Jellore Creek is roughish but not difficult (one mile an hour scrambling). The Nattal is fairly easy walking. Close to the junction is Russell's Needle - worth a try at climbing.
Another way out: Blatch's Pass was overgrown years ago, but the route can be followed to the gap in the cliff line of Flat Top Mountain. From Jellore, the way can be plotted. Start at a point 1200 yards below the Jellore Creek junction (the Burragorang-Blue Mountains Tourist Map does not give an accurate indication of the Pass).
The bizarre figure clad in long woollens woke up on the chill Saturday morning at Yalwal, to find that his long trousers and George's pack were securely locked in the car boot. The car keys were in his trousers pocket. The would be mechanics of the party were assured of the impregnability of the vehicle boot from all approaches. So, after borrowing a pair of pants and starting the car by a well-known trick, back into Nowra to a garage where a mechanic swiftly detached the rear seat and obtained the key. Back to Yalwal.
And would you believe it the bizarre figure put his long trousers containing the key in the boot and …. Just then Snow's foot shot out and saved the day as the lid came thumping down: as we said, it was all Snow's fault.
He should have put his foot in it the first time?
For those who wart to try a new way into Blue Gum, or for motoring types who would like to revisit an old haunt on a day trip, Page's Pass, off the Bell road, is still in good condition to the foot of the cliff line - a few spots where you have to look for it but on the whole easily negotiable.
It was on the Saturday morning of heat wave week that Frank Leyden, Bill Cosgrove and I set out from Jamberoo for Nadgee. It was a cool and pleasant day, and those who like motoring would have enjoyed the trip. For us it was something to put up with for the sake of a week at Nadgee, and we were pleased when, some 250 miles down the coast, the subdivider's notices at last thinned out. We arrived at Eden as the sun went down, and proceeded past the cemetery to a spot where Bill and Frank had camped a few years before. Of course it was a caravan park now, but easily evaded. We simply drove a few hundred yards further, down on to the beach to the grassy shore of a beautiful lagoon with a background of mountains, and not a caravan in sight.
Next day, thanks to good navigation by Frank, we drove straight to the turnoff from the Disaster Bay Road to Nadgee, which you would never pick with the naked eye from a car. There was nothing difficult about driving along the track, except that there were a lot of scratchy bushes and our Land Rover was too shiny. This held us up quite a bit, but we didn't much want to carry our week's packs an extra five miles, so we persevered to the Merrika River. Here the crossing is very rough, and though just within the capacity of a Land Rover, the stage had been reached when it was easier to walk. In the afternoon we set off along the old road for Wally Newton's Beach. We had to climb nearly a thousand feet before we crossed the range and saw below us one of the few remaining unspoiled stretches of the N.S.W. coast. It didn't take us long to find a beautiful open grassy campsite by a small lagoon behind the beach.
Next day was spent on a short trip up the coast and back to camp and then we set off far Cape Howe. As we went south there was less tiziaber on the headlands, and in the last few miles it was just open heath country. The cool weather stayed with us - usually between about 60” and 70“ and cold enough at night to appreciate the warmth of a sleeping bag. There was always a breeze, either from the W.S.W. or from the North East. It is not unlikely that these are the prevailing winds down there, and blowing from the sea back and forth across the South East corner of the continent, they may keep it almost permanently cool. There are mountains nearly 2000 feet high a few miles inland, but there is nothing to break the wind for several miles around Cape Howe itself.
The geology of the country too is quite different to our Sydney coast. The rock along the seashore is about the same texture as sand stone, but is harder, is of reddish brown colour and looks as if it has been subjected to heat. Inland there is granite. Fresh water is easy to find, and, unlike the dark sluggish water further north, often flows in clear streamlets almost like in parts of the Blue Mountains. Before long a green backed parrot whirred away from near our feet - the ground parrot in one of its last retreats. We saw a couple of marsupials - a delicate grey colour - a bit small for kangaroos, too lightly built to be Wallaroos. Then we came across a reptilian track - a snake surely - not goanna country. But a few yards further there was the maker of the track - an almost black goanna. Even the flowers were different - the most common being a red epacris -'epacris imprassa' I believe.
We camped behind a large lake named Salt Lake on which were a number of black swans and other water birds. Not the best of campsites, but within a couple of hours of Cape Howe. Next day we set off towards some sandhills beyond which, we thought,lay the Cape. After some three miles over the heathland we came to a beach at the Southern end of which wag a sandhill some 50 feet high. There was something very peculiar about that sandhill. It was resting on a platform of rocks which reached a few feet above the water. We set off round the rocks end, as we came round a corner, I saw a few yards in front a limp brown furry object which I at first took to be a dead horse. No, it wasn't, it was a dead seal. “Look: Bill” yells Alex, “a dead seal:” Whereupon the corpse rears up and starts lumbering into the water to be followed by three of its mates which started up from nearby crevices. The beasties were about 9 feet long, must have weighed about half a ton, and were, I believe, sea lions. I thought they belonged to the Antarctic and wondered what they were doing there, but we soon found out.
Another couple of hundred yards and we started round the sandhill. As we did a freezing wind bearing light rain and stinging sand hit us and the Coast started to bear away to the South West. Then it was borne upon us that this was Cape Howe - the South-east corner of our Continent - just a sandhill. Round the corner on a boulder strewn strand between the sea and the sandhills the broken off, rusted bow of a wreck pointed skywards.
We went a little way along the coast, covering our faces against the driving rain and stinging sand, then started inland to climb one of the sand hills. It was just like the slopes of Kosciusko in a blizzard. We struggled to the top and looked down the coast to the low outline of Gabo Island with its lighthouse, than down into one of the gullies. Here I found that what I had suspected was true. The sandhills were not natural to the country. In the valley the sand was darkened by soil. There were dead stumps of trees and shrubs, and a thin growth of reeds, the last remnants of vegetative cover. Thereupon I conceived a theory which I shall hold until someone can disprove it. It is that sand extends along the coast for some distance to the South West. This country, like all other bush country, has been burnt regularly. Vegetative cover is now too thin to hold the sand. That wind blowing unchecked along the coastline tales the sand with it right to Cape Howe, after which it could blow only into the sea.
We were glad to cross the border again and come out of the cold hills to the warm sunny beach to the north in sunny New south Wales. Our short venture over the Victorian border merely confirmed my opinion of that State.
That night we found a good campsite at Nadgee Inlet - one of the most scenic spots on the trip, and another day's walk took us to Merrika, Creek. From there we drove to Disaster Bay and walked down the coast to another unspoiled inlet - the mouth of the Merrika River - and camped in a delightful spot behind an old timber loading platform.
By the next night we were back at Jamberoo, and after a morning collecting blackberries, arrived home again on the Sunday night.
Yes, we can thoroughly recommend a trip to Nadgee, provided you have a full week to do it, or, alternatively, you love motoring. It is still almost primitive. We saw nobody during the five days we spent along the coast south of Merrika. But its too good to stay like that. The bull-dozers will soon “open it up”. So, if you want to see the last bit of natural coast, go soon.
The Social Past
The two talks for June were top notchers and drew full houses.
On 15th June Mr. J.G. Polisoniszoke on Snakes and Spiders. Certain of the audience were disappointed (because live snakes don't like the cold weather and wouldn't be in it), but at least as many preferred the pickled variety which could be safely studied in their glass jars. A live funnel web spider was exercised on the executive table but fortunately did not run amok. A number of old wive's tales were dispelled, and we were glad to hear Mr. Polison affirm that snakes should be left alone (when in the bush, at any rate).
Professor Taylor talked about 'The Geology of some of our walking country” on the 29th. This birds'-eye-view of Sydneyside, illustrated, with slides of block diagrams and maps, was a delightful blend of wit and wisdom. Those with a thirst for knowledge of their surroundings should study the Professor's Sydneyside Scenery“ and follow up the refererences given. A copy of the geological history of Cox's River (F.A. Craft: Proceedings of the Linnean Society 1928) is held in the Club Library.
Someone was heard to ask for information on the Clyde River area. This is covered by F.A, Craft in the “Physiography of the Shoalhaven River Valley”, Linnean Society N.S.W. Proceedings Vol.56 1931
pp. 99-132 Tallong Bungonia
243-261 Nerrimunga Creek
261-265 Bulee Ridge
412-430 Nerriga (includes plates showing views from Endrick and Corang trigs.)
About 70 energetic Bushies attended the mid year party at North Sydney Council Chambers. A certain Beatnik influence was noticeable in some of the costumes, and although on the surface the disguise was effective, the weare enthusiasm and bounce gave them away.
A record 160 Club members, friends and neighbours gathered at the Harvey's residence on July 2nd to give the Knightley's a rousing farewell.
24TH JULY Wahroonga Spring Gully - The Sphinx - Cowan Creek- Bobbin Head - Mt. Kuringai Stn. 12 miles. 8.40 a m. train Central Electric Station to Wahroonga via Bridge. Tickets to Mt. KURINGAI via BRIDGE. Return. A pleasant ramble through the Western portion of Kuringai Chase. Ideal for new members not familiar with the area. Mainly track walking. Map: Broken Bay Military Hawkesbury River Tourist Leader: Irene Pridham.
31ST JULY Waterfall - Mt. Westmacott - Myuna Creek - Heathcote Creek - Scouter's Mountain Heathcote. 13 miles. 8.20 a m. Cronulla train from Central Electric Station to Sutherland. CHANGE AT SUTHERLAND for rail motor to WATERF1LL. Tickets to WATERFALL Return. Definitely a test walk. Gaiters recommended for the Scouter 's Mountain section. Suitable for new members who have already done some walks. Plenty of ups and downs. Very pleasant along Myuna and Heathcote Creeks. Map: Camden Military Port Hacking Tourist Leader: Jean Wilson.
7TH AUGUST Pymble - bus to St. Ives (Warrimoo Road) - Cowan Creek - Roach Trig - St. Ives. 7 miles. NOTE ALTERED TRAIN TIME. 9.10 train from Central Electric Station to Pymble via Bridge. Tickets: Return to Pymble via Bridge. Scratchy in parts. May be some early wild flowers about and plenty of time to study them. Map: Broken Bay Military Leader: Pam Baker
14TH AUGUST Parramatta - bus to Rouse Hill - Cattai Creek - Cataract Creek - Vineyard Station. 14 miles. NOTE: TRAIN LINE ALTERED. 8.27 a m. Liverpool train from Central Electric Station to GRANVILLE. CHANGE AT GRANVILLE for Parramatta, where CHANGE to Rouse Hill bus (Route No.200) leaving from the Northern side of Parramatta Station at 9.12 a m. 14TH AUGUST TICKETS: Return to Vineyard (Richmond Line). Take care that Station Assistants do not give you a ticket, to Wynyard. This walk starts where 1ast year's excursion into the Cattai Creek area finished. It should be wattle time: ask those who went last year. A long walk but not very strenuous. Map Windsor Military Hawkesbury River Tourist Leader: David Ingram
29-30-31JULY 1ST AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY
Katoomba Megalong Creek - Cox's River Junction - Breakfast Creek - Glen Alan Canyon.
First class river and creek scenery - extensive panoramas on the last day. Down Nellie's Glen on the Friday night - camp near the old Pub site. Rockhop down Megalong. Gorge (alternative the easy six foot track) - spectacular drop over granite boulders, then through a narrow cleft to the Cox's junction. Pleasant, scrambling and river bank walking along Cox's. Camp at Galong Creek. Through the Grand Bluffs past Harry's River junction to Breakfast Creek. Some rock hopping to Glen Alan gorge. Climb easily around a series of waterfalls set in quartzite gorge. Camp near Glen Alan crossing. Early last day out via Taro's Ladder and Narrow Neck.
Maps: Myles Dunphy's Map of the Gangerangs
Katoomba and Jenolan Military Blue Mountains Tourist.
Leader: Brian Harvey.
29-30-31 JULY Katoomba Megalong Creek - Galong Creek - Carlon's Head - atoomba This trip was planned to be run in conjunction -with the Holiday Weekend Walk, but as the “Official” leader is now in England, a substitute Leader is required. The return to Katoomba from Carlon's could be altered to via Nellie's Glen or Devil's Hole in lieu of Carlon's Head and Narrow Neck, if so desired.
Wolgen Valley - Annie Rowan's Creek - Old Coach Road - Wolgan. Private transport - fair dirt road from Lid sdale through the spectacular Wolgan Gap to the old shale treatment town of Newnes. Inspect the ruins of the works and.township. Track walk down the Wolgan to Annie Rowan's Creek. Some scrambling to the tops and across to the old railway track, through the Glowworm tunnel and down the cutting to Newnes.
Leader: Lyndsey Gray.
Leaders who will give the Editor details of their forthcoming trips about five or six weeks before they are due, and follow up with any news worth reporting immediately after.
Last year a friend from Camden, “Smithy” as he prefers to be known, read an article in a magazine about a party of girls mho walked through the Cradle Mountain Lake St. Clair Reserve in Tasmania. Smithy reckoned if they could do it then so could he. I agreed to go with him and to organise a party, food and transport. To get a party together I placed a notice on the Club Notice Board; in a short time I received several enquiries. I turned up with two people who said “for sure” and one or two “maybe”.
Meanwhile I was gathering as much information as I could from around the Club. Advice and suggestions ranged many and varied, most of these I found very helpful. Opinions on the conditions in Tasmania for weather and walking went, from easy, moderate, rough, terrible to abominable, but everyone agreed it was a worthwhile trip.
Time for departure drew near, and our party had dwindled back to two, Smithy and I. However, a bare week before we left I was talking to a prospective member of the Club who expressed his desire to accompany us. He had been introduced to me as Hans. I enquired of Hans if he had had any walking experience, and he informed me that he was a member of the Austrian Alpine Club and thrust a rather impressive membership card under my nose, so I welcomed Hens Lamellhofer into our little group.
We travelled to Melbourne by train, a very uncomfortable trip in comparison with the seats on the new ferry the Princess of Tasmania”, which sails from Melbourne to Devonport. The sea was smooth so I could fully enjoy the excellent food and very choice selection of refreshment.
To travel from Devonport to Waldheim by train and bus took almost a full day. Here we met the Ranger, Franz Eselbook, who looks after the Chalet “Waldheim”. Franz is quite a chap. Dressed in his national dress, complete with beard and pipe, he bounds out of the Chalet and says Velcome to Valdheim“. Perhaps I should mention that Waldheim means “Home in the Woods and that's just what it is; virgin bush runs practically to the doorstep. Franz is an Austrian also, and a member of the Austrian Alpine Club, so he and Hans were very happy to meet. Adolf Wiendorfer, also an Austrian, pioneered a lot of this area years ago.
That evening we met Tom. Tom is a wombat who appears to have adopted Franz. Smith tried to be friendly with Tom but our worthy wombat had other ideas. With a snort, sneeze, cough and a wheeze Tom lowered his hard head and charged. Our little band decided to retreat very fast in the face of superior armament. The next day, Wednesday, broke bright and sunny. We set out with high spirits to climb Marion's Lookout via Crater Lake, which lies in an extinct volcano. No sooner did we get halfway up Marion's Lookout when rain and fog set upon us. We hadn't seen Cradle Mountain up close yet. At Kitchen Hut I observed a creature hopping around in the scrub. I nominated the animal as a wallaby, then changed my nomination to an eagle, and once more to a crow. Unfortunately for me the creature turned out to be a black magpie. The boys classified this “new species” as “Crowus Craggins”, later to become known to everyone we met, much to my disgust, as “Cragg's Crow”.
At the new Waterfall Hut we lunched. This new hut has a corrugated iron roof, the iron having been flown in by helicopter. There is sleeping accommodation for eight, and water is obtained from a small creek just at the back of the hut. After lunch we continued amid vast amounts of rain and mud to Windermere Hut. This hut has modern conveniences, cross ventilation far one.
Thursday was extremely cold and bleak so we holed up by the fireplace all day. It stopped raining about teatime and a large black possum came inside the hut to polish off the scraps. He was a beauty, ate from our hands and allowed us to pat him. The black possum is a lovely animal with thick, soft black fur and a cute pink nose. He soon became tired of us, and perhaps our Rivita biscuits and left us,
I awoke early Friday morning and asked Hans the time 5.30 a m. Food being foremost in my mind I lit the fire and began to prepare breakfast. The meal was half cooked then Hans leant over his bunk laughing like one a screw or two loose, and informed me that the tine was only 4.40 am! I was very upset by this; getting up that early is against my principles. at the boys were soon out of bed when I put the bacon on the fire. We got off to an early start in fine but cold weather.
On the way to Pelion Hut we were in the heart of the mountain country, and many of the Mountains had snow on them. By now we had experienced our first button grass plains; this grass grows in lumps up to about three feet high and the mud between the lumps caused us to try and walk on top of the grass. This is O.K. until one slips and falls in the mud, much to the delight of his companions. We arrived at Pelion Hut with a full issue of leeches.
We were very interested in the fossils to be found in abundance in the bed of the creek near the hut. There are some very fine specimens, mainly of seashells, but size and weight of the stone prevented us from carrying as much as we would have liked to.
At Pelion I created the first successful damper of my damper cooking career. We actually ate it all, except of course the half inch of charcoal on the bottom. The possums managed to polish this off, but because they live in a sanctuary and are protected, I doubt that I should have fed them that indigestible substance.
On Saturday morning we sallied forth with great ideas about climbing Mt. Ossa. We reached Pelion Gap where the track to Ossa is located, our enthusiasm slightly dampened by steep grades on parts of the track from Pelion Hut, and leaving our packs at the main track set off towards Ossa. On the side of Ossa itself, Smithy and I began to complain bitterly of mountains and the mental condition of those people Who climb mountains. Hans looked at us with amazement, and informed us Ossa is a “pimple” furthermore, he had climbed the MATTERHORN. With this information on hand we shut up and continued climbing.
We arrived at Ducane Hut late in the afternoon and decided to examine the Visitor's Book while daylight prevailed. This book had the first entry I had seen so far, a party had placed an entry in 1956. Hans had been sufficiently unwary to display his artistic ability, and thereby found himself with the job of sketching our respective Club badges into the books. But I noticed that these great flashes of inspiration grew smaller day by day.
Wood was our major problem at Ducane. There was plenty of it handy, all very big, all very wet and the axe from the hut had seen far better days. This time we were saved by Smithy who let slip that he used to go logging down the Abercrombie years ago. In the twinkle Smithy found himself with an axe in his hand and, kicking himself mentally, he went off to do the honours.
There is an entry in the Visitor's Book stating (very proudly) that 29 Boy Scouts camped in the hut on the way through. That really makes sardines look sick because the hut is only made to accommodate eight. Hans and I would sign the books and follow up with our respective Club names, but Smithy reckoned he wasn't going to take a backseat just because he wasn't in a club so he signed in as a “Freelance Adventurer”
The possums gave us a really good going over that night. They romped with gay abandon all over the wooden shingle roof. One adventurous soul climbed in the chimney and gave us whack inside. Due to our friends and a sleepless night we had a late start on Sunday, leaving Ducane at 11 a m. We proceeded towards Windy Ridge Hut, but spent sometime on a side track to see the Dalton and Ferguson waterfalls. These we agreed were of interest, but nothing out of the box. After lunching at Windy Ridge we pressed on to Pine Valley.
Snakes were very prevalent in this area; we saw several but they proved reluctant to pose for the cameras and suddenly it dawned on me why the boys let me walk in front all the time. I almost trod on a tiger snake and dug my heels in hard. Hans banged into my pack with his head and bounced right back, and the result was a string of adjectives in four languages. Very colourful indeed.
At the bottom of Pine Valley there are two tracks to the hut, one through the forest and one over the plains which extend right up to the hut, a little over a mile distant. We took the track over the plains right smack into the best mudpie that side of the Black Stump. Well bedecked with mud and feeling very upset we ended up at Pine Valley Hut to find it occupied by four Tasmanians. This party had been two days ahead of us but had spent the intervening time climbing the mountains in the area of Pine Valley. When we found out that they all worked at a chocolate factory we enquired if there was indeed a full glass and a half of rich full cream milk in each block. They guaranteed that there was, but would not indicate the size of the glass.
The Tasmanians pushed on to Narcissus Hut early next morning. We climbed the Ducane Range which rises close to the Pine Valley Hut. From the top we had a wonderful view of Pine Valley below us, mountains ranging on both sides and Lake St. Clair in the background like a silver blue gem set in blue and green velvet mountains. On the other side of the range lay a series of small lakes and tarns amid the greatest jumble of basalt I've ever seen. This area is known as the Labyrinth. We thoroughly enjoyed the view from here, which we consider is much better than from Mt. Ossa. Going back down the range to the hut the track lost us, and we found out something about Tassie scrub. It's no joke to become mislocated even for an hour or two down there.
After lunching at the hut we trudged once again through our mud pie. The boys insisted that the view would be better from the plains. I pointed out that the view wasn't worth tuppence with one's face in the mud. The previous three days had been fine, the track had been drying nicely (except in the button grass), but halfway to Narcissus Hut a thunderstorm dropped by for a social call. The track turned to mire under the deluge of rain and we seemed to slip every few feet. We arrived at Narcissus Hut liberally caked with mud once more. Both our morale and our opinion of Tasmania were at an all time low. The Hut is situated at the north end of Lake St.Clair and was much to our liking. It consists of two large rooms each with a fireplace and beds for eight.
(To be continued.)