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.
|Editor||Don Matthews, 33 Pomona Street, Pennant Hills. W3514|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales ex Subs.||Eileen Taylor|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|Illustrations by||Helen Barrett|
|Are You Above Average||Jack Gentle||4|
|Some People Can Be Lucky||Jim Brown||5|
|The Mid-Year Dance||by “Our Social Reporter”||8|
|Mt. Banks (King George) and Beyond - A Trilogy|
|Part I. Windy Day for a Baulker||Don Matthews||9|
|Part II. Mt. King George and Beyond (Reprint from 1939)||Marie B. Byles||12|
|Part III. Two Grose Valley Excursions (Reprint from 1940)||Edna Garrad||15|
|Hatswell's Tourist 62 Taxi Service||7|
There is a mountain gully brimmed with trees
So old, so grandly tall, that there
The giant tree-ferns clustering at their feet
Seem frail as maidenhair;
The sea-green moss is velvet underfoot,
I look through sea-green air
Upward to lace of leaves, and onwards still
To see a sheer stream drop
In silver curtains from the mountain top.
I'll stay and watch the flying rainbows swoop
About that waterfall
With a friend who answers thought -
Or nobody at all.
- Dorothea Mackellar.
|August 16th||Bill Beatty. 'Believe It or Not, in Australia!'|
|August 23rd||Change of Programme. See Notice Board for details.|
|August 30th||Mr. Dunne will speak on The S.M.A. Hydro Electric Scheme (film and lecture.)|
|June 30th||Only 45 members attended the Mid Year Dance, but had a wow of a time. Regrettably the small numbers mean a financial loss.|
|June 19th||Mr. Chaffer showed films of bird life from National Park, the Atherton Tableland and the Macquarie marshes. The colour photography was first class, with exciting close ups of bird life.|
|June 26th||Members slide night was a lively mixture. Of particular interest were Frank Leyden's Colo and Bungleboori gorges, and Alan Round's Ettrema and Danjera Creeks.|
New members John McCaffrey and John Colbran were welcomed at the July General Meeting.
Stuart Brooks can no longer be contacted at XB2000. Try JW4343.
Don't miss your copy of The 1961 Bushwalker now on sale. Price 3 shillings. (Published by the N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs.) This is the first of its kind since 1948 and, we hope, the first of a long line of successes…
We dips our lid to Editor Geof. Wagg (and to Federation and to the many contributors) for this fine production. 48 pages of anecdote, information, maps, photographs and line drawings.
Out of Character! Alex Theakston, so the dailies would have it, staggered back to Thredbo after a snowbound night spent in a 'bush shelter' on the Main Range. The description might suit a Snow Bunny, but it's hardly possible of our man of steel.
This year's BUSH WALKERS' BALL will be BIGGER than ever before!! BIGGER HALL! No more will you be turned away at the door! BIGGER BAND! This year a FIVE piece!!
Friday 15th September '61, 8.30 - 1.30 at Paddington town Hall.
21/-single - £2/2/-double
And, to Top All This!! A glorious trophy will be awarded for the best decorated table!!!
- Jack Gentle.
At a recent general meeting, one of our members of long standing and short stature bitterly complained that having passed the age of three and twenty years, most people were written off as old.
Nevertheless, in spite of the decay which is said to set in after that tender age, recent events have provided one or two pointers to the evolution of a new era of thought.
On a day walk led by an “Ernest” gentleman, said to be of French extraction, a particular ridge has to be climbed at its end. Of the party of 10 the average age of the only three who climbed the ridge was 50. Taro was a great help to our cause and Robert Pallin was keen to help the young!
At a working bee at Era the average age was said to be 40 with little Robin Godfrey of 5 years doing her part in furthering the cause of the youngsters.
Even the writer, on leading a recent trip to Splendour Rock - a jaunt that was rightly described by the Walks Secretary as easy - found that although a base camp was made, a particular group remained at camp, and the “old hands”, who numbered seven but whose average age was 40 sallied fourth, in spite of the heavy rain and spent a most enjoyable day.
May I conclude with a snippet from recent instructional first aid lecture:
Prospective (young lady): I believe that a suitable potion may be made by boiling wild cabbage leaves etc. etc. …
Lecturer (rather senior): I wouldn't know, I'm supposed to be a First Aid man, not a ruddy witch doctor.
Now test your skill: Answer one question only and win a prize:-
I am below average: 50 marks.
I am above average: 50 marks.
The winner receives free, one year's experience, 12 months from now.
A character who recently went over Niagara Falls in a steel and rubber barrel has been fined for not having a permit.
- Jim Brown.
A many years ago when my beard was sandy (and not sprinkled with grey), I was told of a newly affianced couple who were alleged to have walked hand in hand right down the Wingecarribee River from Joadja Creek to the Wollondilly. As I had not then been on the Wingecarribee I was not greatly impressed, and I can't understand why I remembered the rumour all these years. I now believe it to be apocryphal - at least vastly exaggerated - unless… well, unless they found it easier to keep upright by holding hands.
They are not the lucky people of the title of this tale: nor am I.
Apart from a mild venture on the Upper Wingecarribee (hereafter abbreviated to W'bee) in the winter of 1947 I knew as little about it as 95% of current Club members until August 1959, when I was recovering from a bout of 'flu, and the whole Wollondilly catchment was just getting over a minor flooding.
Actually, I didn't plan to do much W'bee that weekend, but when I came up the Wollondilly I found I couldn't cross the flooding outlet of the W'bee, so started tentatively to follow it upstream along its northern bank. When I finally scrambled out, six hours and four miles up, I ascribed the slow going to (a) weakness following my influenza (b) the height of the river which forbade crossing to easier going. In fact, while I acknowledged that the W'bee can be rough, I didn't step up the classification beyond rough.
During the following year I set down an official programme walk which read “Car to Joadja area, W'bee River, Wollondilly River, the Batteries, W'bee River” and claimed it to be 26 miles and rough. About a week before the scheduled date the junior part of our family was stricken down with mumps: having heard alarming tales of the disabling effect on adult victims, I reluctantly cancelled the trip: the half dozen or so potential starters, people like myself of moderate physical capacity, are the lucky people of the story, even though they don't appear any further.
Somewhere at the back of my mind was a lingering suspicion that the river really was Slow, hard going and to put it to the test, I went down again last March, on a weekend that was fine and cool and following a spell of pleasant, reasonably dry weather; I also curtailed the trip by about six miles, by driving the car on to the dead-end road which follows out along the spur between W'bee and Wollondilly and finally ends at Tugalong House. For better access to the Wollondilly I parked about 2 miles Short of Tugalong, close to the point I expected to emerge from the W'bee valley opposite Joadja Creek (you will find all this on the Mittagong military map if you want to track it down).
It was shortly after 8 a.m. on the Saturday when I upped pack and set out down the flank of Limestone Creek into the Wollondilly. My selection of ridges was a bum one, and I found myself dropping into Limestone Creek instead of tracing out one of the good spurs that goes direct to the river. However, in spite of rather slow going, I was on the Wollondilly at 9.45 a.m.
This was the first surprise. Knowing the Wollondilly below the W'bee Junction to be lovely easy going, mostly over grassy flats, it was a mild shock to find this bit of river a fair facsimile of parts of the Shoalhaven below Tallong. The river is fast, fairly turbulent, and the banks largely sand and rock - not what you would call hard walking but not the reposeful meadows of a few miles below. The two miles down to the junction of the W'bee took about an hour of steady going.
The W'bee showed its teeth almost immediately. I set off upstream on the south bank at 11 a.m. and in ten minutes was being pushed high up by a shelf of smooth, fissured rock dropping into an eddying pool. A quarter mile took half an hour.
Then it eased for a while, and though the going alternated from fair to infernal, I had progressed perhaps 2 1/2 or 3 miles by 2.30, with a brief lunch halt included. This part of the river is fairly spectacular, a granite gorge with walls that are never sheer, but always steep and rough, while progress is a variation between rock hopping and rock scrambling. The water (at this time stained faintly yellow from the cleared country higher up) flows quickly over bars and cascades, and I found no easy fords. Indeed, there was little to gain by fording for I knew, and could see, the opposite side, where I had floundered along almost two years before, was rougher and steeper.
I had a recollection of an intriguing place where the river is forced through a defile of granite only a few yards wide, plunging in two yellow-green cascades into a deep, quiet pool. The other time, the going improved above the falls, and the rock became, I think, quartzite, with possibly some volcanic intrusions I couldn't identify.
This point was reached and admired at 2.30 p.m. and with lifting of spirits I set out to find the “better going”. For a while it did improve and once for a hundred yards or so there was deep grass under a dense canopy of casuarina forest. Then, at the next bend, I ran into the worst stage of all - steep slopes ending in smooth rocky promontories, that plunged straight into fairly deep water. The trouble was, there was just enough selvidge immediately above water level to lure one on - then would come the blind corner where a deep yellow pool eddied below a small sheerdown, so that one either went back and climbed around - or sometimes stood in the uncertain water and groped around for unseen rocks at reasonable depth.
At one of these places I was caught fairly. Two footholds at water level, one of them on a rather rotten looking stump of wood, then smooth quartzite, with perhaps 20 feet of yellow water. I tested the depth tentatively, and couldn't bottom to the legs of my shorts. I went to turn back, and my pack caught against the rock - couldn't lean out far enough to free it. The stump of wood resolved it by breaking. Then I was standing on firm bottom in five feet of water, with the pack floating around my shoulders and holding my watch hand high I waded through, wrung myself out and went on. Twice I tried to cross, but my sounding stick bottomed in unseen holes at ten feet or more.
By 4.0 p.m., when I reached the limit of Previous travel on the far side, the going had improved to extremely slow and rough, the estimated pace about 3/4 mile an hour. Thinking to be out of the gorge that night, I by-passed two places where a tent might be pitched decently on good ground, and at last, only a mile or so downstream from Deep Creek, was obliged to stop on sand shortly after six o'clock. Camping was not going to be easy, there was a menace of rain in the air, and I couldn't afford to use up all the daylight before stopping. It was tantalizing to think that, if my estimate was correct, a little over half a mile more rough going would take me to the Elysian pastures of the middle W'bee.
I don't know when I've been quite so weary. When my meal was cooked, I felt too tired to be bothered eating, pushed some down, and crept thankfully into my sagging tent at 7.30. I daresay for toughened tigers the 7 hours of W'bee going would not be too strenuous: for me it was quite enough - almost too much.
In March it is light enough to get going soon after five o'clock. I've done so several times. It is the measure of my tiredness that I slept till 6 a.m., and didn't start until 7.0 a.m. that Sunday.
The going remained slow and heavy - rock hopping with only a few hundred yards of sand: at least, however, the sides of the valley were falling back, and about 7.30 I passed the remains of a fence coming down a very steep spur to the river.
Then - murder he cried! On past Deep Creek and still clawing up and down over rocks! This is where I had surmised that the gorge ended and the gracious open paddocks began. Came another corner, and I looked along yet another reach of rock and shadowy waters hurrying over a broken bed. Worse still, immediately ahead was one of the W'bee specials - a sheerdown about 80 or 100 feet high with no highway along the base.
So I must go up:. and having made the first 100 feet, and taken a good look at the next half mile, I decided to let the W'bee have its victory, and continue on up the spur. The fact that all spurs on this big bend of the river lead to Tugalong House made it an easy decision to reach.
Oh, the bliss to be able to put one foot in front of another - to stride along instead of having to judge each step! Halfway up the hill I could look over to my left and see the wide fields higher up the river: it couldn't have been much more than that half mile more rough gorge before the ground breaks into smiling pasture.
Tugalong House, astride the ridge top, came up at ten thirty, and it was a road bash to reach the car at 11.15._ I had only been away 27 hours in total, but had walked as well as I could for l5 1/2 of them.
Fifteen and a half hours is, I would say, quite as much as an average party puts in at real fair dinkum walking in full weekend. My reconnaissance was a curtailed version of the projected official trip - there's no doubt, some people can be lucky.
by “Our Social Reporter”.
At last January's Monthly Meeting, an encouraging number of members voted in favour of holding a Mid-Year Dance in June. Of course we know that June's temperature is quite different from January's, but the Mid-Year Dance, when it was held on Friday 30th June, didn't really deserve the cold shoulder it received from the majority of members.
The theme of the evening was “Come representing a sang” and some really ingenious representations of song titles turned up. The first prize went to Helen Barrett and George Gray in their bear skins, complete with picnic basket, portraying “The Teddy Bears' Picnic”. Substantial Teddy Bears, but a very fine effort! Alex Theakston's representation of “The Riff Song” and Jan Goodyear's “Baubles, Bangles and Beads” also secured the judge's approval.
The evening was, as usual, a social success, but financially it was one of the worst flops we've had. Into the “red” to the tune of £27, and that's a lot or “dough” to a club operating on a tight budget as this one does. The final count of heads was 45, although 49 tickets were sold (a couple of consciences must have pricked)… and the active (?) membership stands at 217! As far as could be seen, 2 or 3 prospective members out of the present total of 50 bothered to turn out. What do they expect to get out of the Club if they don't attend it's functions? While on the subject it is noteworthy that about 50% of the new members admitted since January have been conspicuous by their absence from most functions since becoming full members.
The net result is… no more Mid-Year Dances for a long time to come, and perhaps, a longer wait for our new duplicator, which is becoming an urgent necessity.
It is to be regretted that the Social Secretary is not getting the support she deserves, especially in view of the large amount of work, organisation and worry (whether the thing will be a success) which are inseparable from the running of this type of function under the prevailing conditions of very little support or enthusiasm.
On the brighter side, there is still time to make amends by attending the Federation's Annual Ball at the Paddington Town Hall on Friday 15th September, 1961. Order your tickets now, because last year the Ball was booked out.
George Caley was sent out by Sir Joseph Banks as his private collector of plants and settled in Parramatta in 1800. In November 1804, he travelled from Kurrajong, over Mt. Tomah, but instead of heading North West through the relatively easy country to what is now Bell, he turned South to Mt. Banks and reached the sheer cliffs of the Grose. His men refused to go further, and a possible crossing of the Mountains came to nothing.
Today a highway follows 'Bell's line of road' (after Archibald Bell in 1823). From it you can enjoy scenery of rugged grandeur without effort, but anyone with a spark of adventure in them should get off the bitumen and explore the fascinating country around Mt. Banks.
There are several ways into (or out from) the Grose Valley described in the following pages.
- Don Matthews.
“Well, George”, I said, “I think the best round trip would be down Pages Pass, camp just above Blue Gum, go down the Grose a mile if we go up Col Creek, or 4 miles if we go up Coal Mine Creek, and back along the rim ridge to Mt. Banks. Coal Mine Creek is O.K., we had another look at it a few weeks ago, but it it's a long time since I've been up the other one - I remember coming to a blank wall, and you climb a sort of rocky knob in the middle of the gully and then shin up a small tree growing at about 45 degrees to get onto a steeply sloping rib of rocks, a bit of a scramble you're up…” George wasn't listening.
“How about the scenery” he said, “Will I bring my camera”. “Sure”, I replied thinking of the wonderful rocky views. I could see that George was dreaming of a relaxing weekend in the sunshine, taking things easy. So was I if it came to that.
I parked the car just off the Bell road at midday, and got out. No one else did. “What's up”, I yelled “don't you want to go walking”. “Yes”, admitted Heather from the warmth, “but we're just waiting to see how long you can stay out there”. Just then the wind blew my balaclava off and by the time I'd retrieved it they'd taken heart and were crawling out into the windy sleet…
It was reasonably sheltered in the Page's Pass gully but we could hear the wind roaring overhead, and through the noise, the sound of white ants at work. There was, however, no suitably comfortable cave, so we pressed on around the corner into the gale. As we did, a tree branch hurtled westwards a hundred feet over our heads. Rugged, huh?
The track down to the Grose is shown on the Katoomba Military Map. We managed to follow it approximately through vines and prickles as it cut across the ridge and down to the Grose, and then followed the track on the South side for a few miles.
The campspot on the upstream fringe of Bluegum was comfortable and sheltered. We looked up at the stars and with more hope then faith predicted a fine calm Sunday.
Sure enough, the morning sun glowed golden on the cliffs of Lockley's. We stopped a mile or so downstream to review the position.
“There” I pointed “is the first easily accessible gully. At least, I think it's accessible but my memory could be a bit vague. I remember coming to a blank wall…” The party also looked blank and appeared not to be listening. Who could be bothered, sitting in this delightful sunshine. “This one would be a shorter route than Coal Mine Creek, wouldn't it” asked Helen, and the matter was settled.
The slopes on the East side ridge were the usual mixture of vines but not particularly difficult. Then, near the cliff line, we struck a thick patch of dead sally scrub. Possibly the West side ridge would be easier. At last the creek bed and a rest - time for the leader to ponder on the possibility of a retreat if need be. Then there was a crunch of hobnails from above, and Roger Rigby appeared with two mates. Yes, he confirmed nonchalantly, there's only one awkward place, and it'd be easier going up than coming down. Thus heartened we plodded on and up the creek bed.
And then we came to a blank wail, turned right, climbed a sort of rocky knob in the middle of the gully, and there was a small tree… But the rest did not follow easily.
George could be persuaded that this was the way and whizzed up without his pack in fine style. Meanwhile, Helen was tackling a vertical chimney to the left and was three-quarters of the way up. Then suddenly she was only half way up, sitting on the dirt slope eagerly embracing a frail looking palm tree which was the only thing between her and a 15 foot drop. George crossed to the top of the chimney with our slight rope and eventually Helen got up. The rest of the party meanwhile sat and shivered from cold. Then, tired of waiting, Tine shinned up the tree, hung over space for a while exploring the situation, and scrambled to the comparative comfort of the rock until George let down the rope for the sake of safety.
The rest of the party followed.
(It appears, from hobnail evidence, that Helen's chimney is the accepted way to rope down. However, the route described above is probably the easiest way up.)
The going was then straightforward; plod, plod, upwards into the deep saddle, turn West, and on to open heathland overlooking the Grose. The view, as from anywhere on these tops, was striking and extensive but the wind was still strong and cold, so we dropped Northwards to the creek for a quick lunch. Then following the ridge which runs towards the saddle of Mt. Banks we skirted the low cliff-line Northwards and climbed through a convenient gap into the saddle and on to the Trig. A quick survey of the old familiar landmarks, and then down the track into the freezing twilight.
(From The Sydney Bushwalker, December 1939.)
- Marie B. Byles.
The valleys radiating from Mt. King George on the East provide many charming camping spots most of them having flat green swamps in their upper parts, and good water and even caves below them.
At present (1939) a cattle track runs across the Eastern ridges of Mount King George. It is faint and often non-existent, but it may be followed with breaks over Mt. Catey, which, like King George, is basalt capped and therefore well wooded and well grassed. Beyond this the spur takes one over a bare grassy knob. Then the spur splits, the right hand branch culminating in a little conical treeless hill sheer above the Grose. The hill is also the culmination of a series of splendid views of the Grose Valley unsurpassed in grandeur and rivalled only by the view from Butterbox Point near Mount Hay.
There are two very deep cols on the spur, one before Mount Catey and one before what some maps call Mount Caley, and other maps do not name at all. Anyhow, it is the hump nearly opposite Mount Hay. From the opposite side of the Grose, that is, the Mount Hay side, both these cols appear to drop down into the Grose by gentle, green, sloping valleys. Our party (Peter Page, Ray Birt, Dorothy Hasluck, Edna Garrad, Ken Iredale and myself) tried both from the top but small, unpleasant sheer drops turned us back.
However, a week later Peter Page and Ken Iredale approached the col before Mount Caley from below and succeeded in getting up. This was possibly the route taken by Harry Whitehouse twenty or thirty years ago when he got off Mount King George into the Grose, but when Gordon Smith and party left the Blue Gum for an afternoon's ramble and by their non-return that afternoon made everyone think they were either lost or injured, they took the crack up the cliffs nearer to Blue Gum. The Mount Caley col is not an easy route, but if Peter carries out his threat of knocking in a few pitons it would then be possible for an average party and provide a good round trip from Blackheath via Blue Gum to Bell.
The possibilities of the Coal Mine col before Mount Catey are not so promising, but doubtless Dot English and the rock climbing section would get up somehow. This is a challenge I am throwing out to them but to no one else. (Note: provided you can find the right place, the ascent is fairly straightforward. See “Two Grose Valley Excursions” - Ed.)
The first time we went out to Mount Catey from our camp on the eastern slopes of Mount King George, we went out via the summit of Mount King George, and after some searching found that about the only easy way off its nose was right above the Grose Valley. By this route it took us all day to get to Mount Catey and back.
When we discovered the cattleman's track over the eastern slopes of Mount King George, the time was very much less and another party using this track, even if new to the district, should hardly take more than three and a half hours right out to the little knob at the very furthest end of the spur. Our own times were as follows:- Bell road to camp, 1/2 hour, camp to col before Caley, 1 hour, this col to col before Catey or Coal Mine col, 50 minutes, Coal Mine col to end of spur, 1 hour 10 minutes.
The chief place where, you may make mistakes because the track gets lost, is when it crosses the long, green treeless ridge running out east from Mount King George. You cannot mistake the ridge, and whether going or coming you should straight up and over it trusting to pick up the track on the other side. If coming from the Bell side, you cross the long, green swamp (on the far side of the spur) at its upper end, and pick up the track running down the right hand side of the swamp. Do not be misled into following any of the tracks which lead down or up the spurs, the latter on to Mount King George.
Still Four Weeks Of Winter!!
…. and you still have the chance to add a warm rugged raw-wool Norwegian jumper to your walking wardrobe. Just the thing for freezing frosts in the mountains and a great comfort when the westerlies thwart your passage home across Narrow Neck with the thermometer pushing 32°!
Very good value at £3.18.6 & £4.16.0 so don't miss out on these.
Something has arrived that we have chased for years although we chased as far as Wales - the lightest can-opener ever - 2½“ X ¾” and weighs less than ½ oz. - and the price is lightweight too - just 1/2d. each.
Just to top things off before we go, some more of those imported balaclavas which roll up into a beret have just arrived - yours for 21/-.
Good walking folks.
Skiing News at our Cooma shop.
Shopping Hours: Mondays Wednesday, Thursday 9 a.m. - 5.30 p.m. Tuesday closed all day. Saturday - 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday - 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Just to suit the folk who want to pick up and return hired gear.
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd. Lightweight Camp Gear
201 Castlereagh St Sydney BM2685
- Edna Garrad.
Slowly and somewhat reluctantly I wakened, and then gradually became aware of the beauty around me. The early morning light was filtering through the tall slender gums, lending them a mystic and placid loveliness. It was an atmosphere to inspire reverence and awe, and the only sound was the faint stirring of the leaves in the breeze and the twitterings of the birds. I was supremely content.
Suddenly I remembered. This was the day we were to climb Mount King George. I aroused my companions and we prepared and ate our breakfast with one eye on the changing light reflected from the sunrise. Finally at about 6 a.m. we set forth armed with a length of rope, cameras, and a supply of oranges. There were several parties camped in the Forest and they eyed our early start with assumed horror.
Ken and Colin, of course, are experienced climbers but - like most bushwalkers, I have done little climbing with ropes, and I was seething with excitement - and perhaps a little apprehension.
We took the first ridge on the left rising from the Grose below Blue Gum, and worked our way up. Well below the rock faces we entered the creek bed, are from then on were continually in and out of the creek. We found lots of friendly branches, tree trunks and roots to assist us in ascending to the different levels. The first time we used the rope was rather interesting. It was possible to reach the ledge above, but there were no holds. Subsequently we lassoed two trees and formed a kind of ladder in the middle. It was impossible to use either tree singly, as they were on each side of the portion we needed to climb, end to have used one or the other would have necessitated swinging over space. Once Ken was up, it was quite simple. There was one delightful spot where the rocks form a natural balcony with balustrade, from which you can look down to the river and realise the height you have made.
The most difficult portion is near the top. The creek bed divides into two chimneys, the one on the right being quite impossible, and the one on the left for some time did not look very hopeful. The rock forms a shallow type of chimney with practically no walls and flat at the back. However Ken got up, and having arrived, spent a considerable time studying the balance of the cliff before lowering the rope for Colin and me. It was dreadful. The thought of not making the top after having come so far was tragic. However, having studied the position carefully, Ken lowered the rope and I went up the chimney. I was a bit staggered when I saw the small rock - and more particularly the angle of the rock - to which the rope had been belayed. In these circumstances it is well to be aware of your own ignorance and have lots of faith in your leader; I decided cheerfully that “Ken knew best”. We found that the difficulty which had been concerning him was a nasty corner with a drop of sixty or seventy feet beneath. There was no danger while the rock held, but it was the kind of thin ledged rock that crumbles away. However this was successfully negotiated and then it was no distance to the top.
We had talked of this climb since Eight Hour-Weekend when with Marie, Peter and Ray, we had made a set camp at the back of Mount King George and explored the tops. Now, having made our objective, we were more contented than triumphant, and all walkers know the satisfaction of a feat accomplished.
It was a glorious morning - blue sky, fleecy clouds and a gentle breeze. There were mild flowers in abundance, and the perfume of the boronia floribunda was a continual delight. We continued along the cliff edge until we reached the col between King George and Mt. Cayley. We have previously tried to climb this creek and also the next, but without ropes and with the possibility of finding ourselves in a position where we could neither get down or ascend, and had given up the attempt. Later, however, Ray, Ken and Pete had made their way up from the bottom, so that we knew this gully was negotiable. Although this creek is interesting it is not as exciting as the first one. I preferred to use the rope on several occasions and would not care to go down without it. I have a horrible memory of Ken shinning up a tree with a drop of hundreds of feet beneath him. Half way down we came across a most extraordinary plant. It was like a giant christmas bell - about six times the size of a good sized bell, and with lots of flowers on the stem. Below the cliff faces we worked across to the right, down the ridge and back to Blue Gum for lunch - well satisfied with our morning's work.
Anniversary weekend we returned to the Grose, but camped about four miles below Blue Gum. Our objective this time was what we call the Coal Mine Gully, and no doubt you have all noticed the mine on the map and the zig zag track marked leading to it. I had tried to pick out the mine from below, above and across the valley, but without success. This was not remarkable as the mine entrance we found to be facing the creek bed and entering straight into the cliff side. The shaft only goes in about twenty odd feet. We held a council of war here, and decided that Ken and Dorothy would take the right hand side of the creek, Fred Svenson and Colin the left, and I would continue up the creek bed. My way proved simple and there were evidences of wallaby tracks and, we thought, signs that this route had been used by the prospectors. From the top we had previously decided that this gully would undoubtedly prove impossible, but were anxious to “give it a go”. It proved remarkably easy. Following up the creek bed there is an obvious way out to the right, and this gully can be recommended to anyone interested in a new way out of the Grose. There are well defined tracks leading to the Bell Road, but it would be best to discuss this portion with someone who has been there - unless you have plenty of time to spare. The going on the tracks is easy, and presumably they are used by cattle.
Leaving the creek bed, we climbed over Mt. Catey, across another knob and then reached a very green gully which we had observed from the other side of the Grose and had considered looked very promising. It proved to be the most beautiful of the four gullies we had climbed, being full of tree ferns and lower down we came to a delightful running stream which, after the murky Grose and other streams we have come to regard as usual this summer, was a real joy. We had lunch in a pleasant spot half way down, beside a pool and surrounded by tree ferns. The only snags in this descent were the lawyer vines and the thorns of the tree ferns. They were most unfriendly. There was no difficulty in climbing down to the river, and the rope was not required in either of these gullies. They are easily accessible to any walker. The last creek is roughly opposite the creek which forms the only way we know - yet - on to Mount Hay from the Grose.
Both these trips proved extremely interesting, and undoubtedly to explore new country, not knowing whether you will make it or have to turn back and retrace all the ground gained, is indeed the very spice of walking.
There are four negotiable ways on to the plateau.
1. The gully directly behind Blue Gum, shown on the map as Gordon Smith's route which is the most difficult. (See PART III.)
2. The gully about one mile below Blue Gum, described in PART I. (Col Creek on the map.)
3. The gully of Coal lane Creek, about 4 miles below Blue Gum (see PART III).
4. The gully beyond the flat top now known as Mt. Caley (PART III).
Can any reader give us up-to-date detail of Route One above, or of any other features of this area?
|August 20th||Waterfall - bus to Bola Creek - Uloola Falls - Waterfall. 9 miles. This will be a bit of a scramble with some thick going. Gaiters or slacks recommended. Traverses some unspoilt coastal brush in the Royal National Park. The leader doesn't often get into the Clubroom, but ring him at LB6495 (most evenings). 8.20 a.m. train Central Electric Station to Sutherland. change at Sutherland for rail motor to Waterfall. Tickets: Waterfall Return @ 5/9d. plus 2/- bus fare. Laps: Port Hacking Military or Tourist. Leader: Clem Hallstrom.|
|August 27th||Parramatta - bus to Kellyville (Showground Road) - Cattai Creek - Mason Trig. - Rouse Hill. 11 miles. This district is noted for the various species of Acacia which are usually in full bloom at this time of the year. Recommended for new members. 8.9 a.m. train Central Electric Station to Parramatta. 9.0 a.m. Rouse Hill bus from North side of Parramatta Station. Tickets: Parramatta Return @ 4/3d. plus about 3/8d. Return bus fares. Maps: Windsor Military or Hawkesbury River Tourist. Leader: David Ingram.|
|September 10||Hornsby - bus to Koala Bear Sanctuary (inspection) - Cowan Creek - The Sphinx - Turramurra North. 6 miles. An opportunity to inspect the Koala Bear Sanctuary in Kuringgai Chase and, perhaps, photograph some of the animals in a natural setting followed by a ramble through the surrounding area where the early wildflowers will be at their best. 8.10 a.m. train Central Electric Station - Hornsby via Bridge. 8.24 a.m. train Central Electric Station - Hornsby via Strathfield. 9.20 a.m. Bobbin Head Bus from Hornsby to the Sanctuary. Tickets: Hornsby Return @ about 5/- plus 3/- bus fares and inspection fee at Sanctuary. Map: Broken Bay Military. Leader: Brian Harvey.|
|August 14th||The Annual Meeting Of Central Region: Come and hear the Annual Report and help direct policy for 1961/62. Election of Committee and Officers. We need your help. Perhaps you can accept a place on the Committee or an office. Note the new rendezvous. Agriculture House, Ground Floor, 195 Macquarie Street. Opposite Parliament House. Feature for the Night: Members' Slides around the Reserves.|
|August 20th||Wildflower Ramble No. 1: Members to assemble East side of Pymble Station at 9.45 a.m. Those with cars will be asked to take train travellers from Pymble to the “Ramble Area”. Len Fall for details.|
|August 25th to September 11th||School holidays to the Lamington National Park, just over the Queensland Border. Len Fall is organising this camping trip. Please contact him without delay. Phone JA5959.|
The following is an extract from the Water Board Staff Bulletin 16/3/61: “…special arrangements have been made to protect stored water from pollution by hikers. The board will allow hiking through the catchment area OUTSIDE the two-mile zone from the top limit of stored water, provided permission is sought and granted… Blanket permission will be given to affiliated Bushwalking clubs and parties of Boy Scouts… No permission will be needed to hike on PROCLAIMED ROADS within the catchment area or within 2½ miles of the Wentworth Falls-Katoomba Railway, or the plateau of the Narrow Neck Peninsula. In a few sections such as… Burragorang Lookout… the two mile limit will be reduced a little…” Detail would in due course be shown on tourist maps, notices erected at appropriate points, etc.
Ninian Melville of the CMW has been appointed Field Organiser of the S & R Section. He would like all clubs to notify up-to-date contact men and club members who are able to participate in weekday and weekend searches. The section intends to hold a demonstration weekend later this year.
The Group Captain of the Sutherland Shire Bushfire Brigades, Mr. Watchorn, has asked Federation for the names, telephones and addresses of persons who could be called on in case of bushfires in the Royal National Park. Bushwalkers who are prepared to help if available when called on can give their names to their Federation Delegates or to the Honorary Secretary.