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. WJ3524|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales Subs.||Eileen Taylor|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|Social Notes||Pam Baker||2|
|At Our August Meeting||Alex Colley||3|
|Mt. Banks & Beyond - A Letter to the Editor||Roger Q. Rigby||4|
|The Long Weekend||5|
|Learn to Find Your Way||“Compass”||5|
|Amende Honorable||Jim Brown||6|
|S.B.W. London Brigade||News from Binnsie||10|
|A Weekend on the Cox||Fred Thynne||12|
|The S.B.W. Abroad||From Robert A. Duncan||15|
|Report On the Rope Involved in the Fatal Accident at the Three Sisters||16|
|Hatswell' s Taxi & Tourist Service||9|
“How do you spell 'nonchalantly'” asked my sternest critic in a tone which barely hid her disgust. (She was glancing through the August Magazine and had reached Page 10 where the pictures are.)
“Easy” I said, and got it right after only a few minor errors.
“Hmph”, she snorted, “and what does it mean?” I pretended not to hear.
“Non-chalant”, she continued, “without warmth, unexcited, unmoved. And look what you've got - Roger replying 'nonchantly'”.
“Oh, that”, I said “just means that it was spoken. Non-chant, not sung, get it?”
This explanation didn't go down too well so I beat it before any further mistakes were discovered.
Nonchalant is a useful word, though. In terms of our definition and with a slight stretch of the imagination, it could admirably describe walking during the last few months - the getting up in the dark, the wading of freezing streams, the bitter westerly winds.
Aid now it's Spring, a bit of warmth is creeping into the air, and the new Walks Programme is out. If you're keen on Wildflowers, or mad about waterfalls and rockhopping or just content to loaf along a river bank, you'll find something to suit. (Don't forget the Blue Gum Working Bee, and the S. & R. Demonstration.)
You can't be nonchalant about the Spring Walks Programme.
- Pam Baker.
|September 15th||Federation Ball - Bring out your glad rags and prepare for a night out. Place Paddington Town Hall. Time: 8 p.m. to 1 p.m.|
|September 20th||“Guiseppina”, a B.P. Film which won awards at the last Cannes Film Festival, will be shown; as well as “A Tribute to Fangio” (exciting film of car racing). There is a possibility of being able to show “A Ship Came to Antwerp” another award winner (Edinburgh '53).|
|September 27th||Free night - Come in and finalise arrangements for your trip on the long weekend.|
|October 4th||This is Committee Meeting night, but a First Aid Lecture will be given for Prospectives and members who would like to brush up on their technique.|
|October 18th||Mr. Charles Casperson will talk on C.J. Dennis of “The Sentimental Bloke” fame.|
|August 30th||Mr. Dunne of the S.M.A. spoke on the Snowy Scheme, using large maps and a colour film to illustrate the work being done. This was a very well presented and informative account of a fascinating subject.|
- Alex Colley.
Our meeting opened with an announcement from the President which met with unanimous approval - the engagement of George Gray and Helen Barrett. Apologies were received from Secretary David Ingram and Brian Harvey and a welcome was extended to new member Janet Walton.
In correspondence was a letter from the Hornsby division of the District Rifle Clubs Union expressing concern at the sudden appearance of parties of bushwalkers on the range when shoots were in progress. One such party, described as the Sydney Girls Light Brigade, had marched 800 yards up the range in the face of .303 rifle fire. Though this march might have been taken to indicate the stuff our modern girls are made of, or even as a mark of their confidence in the aim of the Hornsby marksmen, this was not the view of the riflemen, whose thoughts turned instead to section 89 of the Crimes Act, under which they could, but didn't want to, take action. A better solution, it was suggested, was to open up an overgrown track that led to Stewart Avenue and perhaps put up signs. Ben Esgate said he understood it was the responsibility of the Rifle Club to put up signs and hang out red flags, but it was decided to leave the matter to Federation.
The Treasurer's report contained good news and bad. Good news was that Jack Gentle had made an adequate case for our projector out of a suitcase and felt which had cost only £3.17.0 - less than half the cost of the usual cover. Bad news was that the loss on our mid-year dance was £27.0.5d. News which could be bad for some was that a list of the unfinancial was posted on the board, and those who paid would be crossed off. It was suggested that if the list was made prominent enough (perhaps by a flashing red light?) our financial position would improve.
Our Walks Secretary reported that, although two or three walks were cancelled in July and there were no reports on others, most walks had been well attended, in particular the Instructional led by Jack, Gentle (10 prospectives, 13 members). About 15 in all had attended Frank Young's combined walk with the Y.H.A.C.C. down Megalong way.
Federation report led to a discussion on the proposed Dingledei Memorial in Bouddi Park, which would be in the form of a stone hut, a water tank, and other amenities. Although the members who spoke were very appreciative of Mr. Dingledei's conservation work, most opposed the proposal on the grounds that it was a building in a natural park which would require a road and would be mainly for the benefit of motorists. The idea of a memorial to an individual bushwalker was also opposed and our delegates were instructed to vote against the proposal.
Jack Gentle told us that more names were needed for the list of volunteers for bush fire fighting in National Park. Members willing to help were asked to let Federation delegates have their addresses and 'phone numbers.
The President expressed our thanks to Jack Gentle for the projector and told us that in the end the case had cost us nothing at all because Frank Barlow had just presented a cheque for the cost of the materials (as he promised when the idea of “do-it-ourselves” was suggested).
Our meeting concluded with the election of Jack Wren, Ern French, Wilf Hilder and Alex Colley as room stewards and thanks to Audrey Kenway for assisting during David Ingram's absence.
I was very intrigued by Edna Garrad's description of Gordon Smith's Route, in your August issue.
It first impression was that here is one route the small but trusty band of 'Young Trailers' has not tried - But wait! In July 1960 we dragged a party of 11 'bods' over Mt. King George, with the sole intention of descending into the Grose via the chasm which you call Col Creek. Well, to put it mildly, we made a mistake.
Here is an extract from my Bushwalking Journal:
-“After a short sidetrack onto Mt. King George, where we had a most spectacular view of the Grose, we 'pressed on' along the rimrocks until about noon when we came across a stone cairn above a seemingly deep gully.
Thinking this was the way down (and blindly ignoring the fact that there is a Mountain Trails Club blaze on a tree which marks the Col Creek route), Ed, “Ramrod” and Your Truly shot down the initial slope followed by the 'pack'.
After an initial “recce” we lowered our packs over the first drop, and successfully conquered each drop as we came to them (none very difficult). The 'crack' became a deep ravine filled with tree-ferns and very damp moss.
We finally reached a drop of about 100' with no apparent way down, so we came to the belated decision that we were in the wrong “hole”.”
From memory, the way down is not very difficult, until the last part is reached; and here it seems the party mentioned in your article (Part Ill) got up on the Eastern side of the wall, where I think there is a deep chimney.
So it seems, we won't have to abseil this face - we've sworn to, ever since!
The thing which had us mystified was the stone cairn at the top on the saddle; who put it there? and was it to mark this 'crack'?
How about Hungerford's Track (Page's Pass) a few miles up the Grose from BIuegum as a negotiable route? I believe from Myles Dunphy that this route was the original means of entry into the Grose for horses and cattle, although this seems to be a matter of opinion.
I would be very keen to participate in a couple of weekend “recce's” with any S.B.W. interested, and we may be able to “damage the obscurity at some of these passes”.
(Sgd.) Roger Q. Rigby.
Member: Mountain Trails Club, Outward Bound Association. and Prospective S.B.W. Whacko!
(Editor's Note: Page's Pass was the access quoted, but not described in “Windy Day for a Baulker” (August 1961), and is the easiest of all passes into the Grose Valley - track all the way, but not always obvious unless you know it fairly well.)
All private transport, see leaders for details.
Grassy Gully - Thompson's Hut - Trail blazing Old Duffers Trail - Exploration of Ettrema Badlands - Barron Pass - Ettrema. 38 Miles Rough. Rugged country, Gorge scenery. A chance for exploration in an area not frequently traversed. Map: Mi1itary. Leader: Wilf Hilder.
Hilltop - Starlight's Trail - Nattai River - Blue Gum Creek - Couridjah. 38 Miles. Medium Walking - pleasant river scenery - swimming. Maps: Mittagong Military, Blue Mountains and Burragorang Tourist. Leader: Roy Craggs.
Putty Road - Culoul Range - Colo River. 19 Miles. Special trip far map reading practice (See “Learn to Find Your Way” by 'Compass'). A leisurely walk in rugged country with grand gorge scenery and panoramas of the North Blue Mountains. Maps; Mellong and St. Albans Military. Leader: Bob Godfrey. (Read Jim. Brown's “'Cross the Colo”, The S.B.W. June & July 1961.)
Prospectives and new members, can you use a map and compass in country you do not know? Everything cannot be learned on one instructional walk. You need practice to give you experience and confidence, to do your part in filling future walks programmes. A three day trip of 19 miles in the Colo area has been planned by Bob Godfrey to give you an opportunity to get this practice in using a map and compass. The trip will have easy, rough and medium parts, with thick scrub, river walking, open country, and no tracks.
The intention is to conduct frequent map conferences so that all who attend know where they are going and how. All those present will be asked to take an active part in these conferences. All this will take time, that is why 3 days are used to cover a mere 20 miles.
This walk and others planned for the future may be considered as advanced instructional walks designed as a follow up to the instructional walks the Club requires each prospective member to attend.
Remember new members are the future walking strength of the Club and if they do not learn to map read with confidence future walks programmes can only be a dreary round of the same old walks on the same well worn tracks.
We all know that programme trips that may have inexperienced new prospectives on them must go according to a well ordered plan, so it is not suggested that test walks be pathfinding trips.
But it is desirable that there be more small groups who are willing and able to explore so that well known places may be visited in different ways and new trips found.
This cannot happen unless new members take an interest and learn to map read.
Leaders should be asked to give prospectives information on how he is leading the trip and encourage any interest they show. Too many trips are led at a smart clip with never a map in sight, so that prospectives get the impression the leader is clairvoyant, and give up trying to understand how it's done and just follow.
We hope more people will learn to find their own way in the bush
If you have been saying for years that someone is all wrong and should know better, how do you make reparation when your confidence in your own judgement is shaken? Especially when the offended party is an organisation as large as the Army Survey Corps, and the critic a solitary walker.
Anyway, the facts are these. Something like nine years ago, in company with four other pioneers, I made a traverse of the Blue Labyrinth from West to East, from Waratah Trig, some 13 miles out along the Kings Tableland Road, via the divide between Warragamba River and the Erskine Creek, to Warragamba Dam, then just beginning to take shape as a retaining wall.
On the Sunday morning, assiduously following the ridge pattern shown on the map, we came to a place right on the junction of the uncontoured Jenolan military map and the contoured Liverpool sheet, where something was evidently amiss. Our ridge began to go down - then down some more - and even downwarder.
We checked thereabouts, and after a fine flurry of map and compass consultation, I announced (1) the map was wrong (2) we were on the watershed as indicated on the map (3) there was a creek shown as flowing into Ripple Creek (hence to the Warragamba) but which really cut through our “divide” and entered the Erskine (4) the correct watershed was a ridge, shown as a furry caterpillar on the Jenolan map, which sort of finished in mid air near the Eastern edge of the map.
The other, ignorant swabs all agreed, and except for some brief demur from Pete Stitt who thought we should go down, cross the “non existent” creek that severed our ridge and then up again, we also agreed to go round and follow this parallel ridge lying to the South.
Of course, this course more or less worked out, except that we did have to descend into a creek and climb out again. However I was convinced that we had only been a few hundred yards off course, and would have found a low saddle upstream a little way. Although, mark you, T couldn't actually descry this theoretical saddle as we climbed into and out of our creek.
The upshot of it all was that for year I have solemnly averred, in speech, in writing, and at Instructional weekends that, “military maps are usually very reliable, with one or two exceptions - one of them at the join of the Jenolan and Liverpool sheets –”
Then, late in May, having heard that the Bush Fire Fighting organisation had formed a Fire Trail along the Erskine-Warragamba divide, I decided to see what it was like.
It proved a surprisingly interesting trip, considering it was virtually all bush road. Moreover, relieved of the need to keep in touch with one's whereabouts by incessant reference to map and compass, it was possible to look around, and some sections of the way were quite spectacular, though not in the sense that beetling cliffs and yawning precipices catch the eye.
However, on Saturday afternoon, travelling west along the divide, I came to a place where the road drops acutely (about 1 in 4, I'd say, rather like the upper section of Kedumba Pass) alongside a cliff overlooking Erskine Creek, and at the bottom is a sign “Erskine Gap - put out your fire”.
I felt slightly abashed, having once sneered at a newspaper report that a party of soldiers marching from Bathurst camp to Ingleburn via “some of the roughest country in the State” had been cautioned to look out for a mysterious bush monster in the vicinity of Erskine Gap. At the time I had asked if Erskine Gap was anywhere near “Breakfast River” some 30 miles south of Katoomba where an overdue party had been reported.
Well, here was Erskine Gap - and a fine saddle it was too. The tops on either side must be 1600' above sea level and the gap, I supposed, scarcely 1000'. A very respectable gap.
The fire trail twisted around and crossed the top of Ripple Creek. Or was it the top of Ripple Creek - there was quite a fair flow of water for a dry year. Also, the trail was not going directly up the opposite side of the gap, but having crossed Ripple Creek was going up a spur just downstream from Erskine Gap. In fact, it might almost be the ridge we followed 9 years ago when we found our divide –
My thought processes suddenly ground to a standstill. It was just possible after all — when I climbed a bit higher I should know — don't come to a hasty decision —
Some three or four hundred feet up I stopped and looked around. The top of Ripple Creek, flowing into the Warragamba, was enclosed in the valley ahead of me: that was surely the valley we had spent so much time in circumnavigating on that September weekend years ago. It doesn't flow to the Erskine after all - and the map is right. It's just a mighty deep saddle, so steep that the Fire Trail goes the same way we did.
There. I've said it. (For he himself has said it, and its greatly to his credit.) The Army is vindicated and I am routed in confusion.
I don't think I'll go and have another look at that ridge on the Windsor map I've spoken about for ten years past. They may be right there also.
|October 6-7-8||Putty Road, Culoul Range, Colo River Exploration. 25 miles Rough. Leader: Colin Putt. Private Transport.|
|Dungalla Heights - Box Falls - Tuglow Hole - Trailer Mountain - Morong Falls. 25 Miles Very Rough. Leader: Ben Estate. Private Transport.|
|October 13-14-15||Barallier - Murruin Creek - Bindook Gorge Exploration. 25 miles Rough. Leader: Wilf Hilder. Private Transport.|
|September 17th||Wildflower Ramble No.2. Blue Mountains National Park, Glenbrook. If you are coming by road… from Railway Station turn east along road, skirting north side of the railway line, across overhead railway bridge, parking at end of road and await main body. Train travellers catch 8.20 a.m. ex Central, 8.32 a.m. ex Strathfield and proceed from Glenbrook as above, assembling at parking point at 10 a.m. Lunch will be taken at the Causeway, Glenbrook Creek at noon, and we will endeavour to provide guides for those who want to walk to either Euroka… a place of fine trees and grassy slopes… or the Red Hand Cave, where splendid aboriginal stencils may be seen. Return trains leave Glenbrook at 5.26 p.m. and 6.37 p.m. Leader: J. Gordon McKern, 166 Bridge Road, Wentworthville.|
|September 30 - October 1-2||Carrington Falls: At the head of the Kangaroo River near Robertson. If you are coming from Bowral, go through Robertson towards Macquarie Pass and Albion Park, to the Jamberoo and Carrington Falls turnoff. The turnoff to Carrington Falls from the Jamberoo Road is before the Kangaroo River crossing. If you are coming from Albion Park… come up the Macquarie Pass and the turnoff is before reaching Robertson. During the weekend, call over to the Barren Grounds Faunal Reserve at the top of the Jamberoo Mountain Pass. Take a walk around the Griffiths Trail. Also be sure to do a walk over to Gerringong Falls from Carrington Falls. A first-class spot!|
On August 16th Bill Beatty presented readings of queer happenings in the early history of Australia. A most unusual entertainment, which was well received by an absorbed audience.
…..“Holidays for this year are now a thing of the past, but it was a grand fortnight and left me many memories to carry forward until the next one comes around in 48 weeks time! This year the two “halves” were of vastly differing nature, six days of the first week were spent in London, and the whole of the second in the Lake District (what - again). In London I was staying with Don and Bev Read who have a cosy little flat in the Royal Borough of Kensington, in the less exclusive area of that elite borough. The first evening we went to see the Russian Circus at Wembley; it was quite different from the usual run of circuses, a large part consisted of human acrobats but where the animals were concerned there was none of this caging of the Lords of the Jungle which doesn't really appeal to me very much. There was just one large bear very carefully muzzled, but all the animals seemed to enjoy performing just as much as the audience enjoyed watching them.
On the Sunday we went out to Syon House at Brentford, the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, on the opposite side of the Thames to Kew Gardens. It is a place rich in history, especially Tudor history - Henry VIII's fifth wife being confined there just before her execution, and it was at Syon that Lady Jane Grey became “Queen” of England for ten brief days (poor soul).
Bev and Don were not on holiday during my stay, they still have that pleasure to come, so during the day I meandered round sightseeing, and met them in the evenings to hit the highlights. On the Monday my destination was the Tower of London, and I walked round there trying to take photos until my feet were nearly killing me - how silly to try and sightsee in fashionable shoes - so I ended up getting a ferry from Tower Pier back to Westminster Bridge and the tube station, it was an interesting little trip, with a guide who knew every nook and cranny on the river bank giving a running commentary over the tannoy system. That evening we met Dorothy and Ron Knightley for dinner at the Festival Hall Restaurant, and afterwards to a concert in that wonderful hall given by the London Philharmonic orchestra in aid of the United Nations Association Fund, very good, “bits” of Mozart, Beethoven, Britten and Elgar.
Next day I had another trip On the river, this time up to Hampton Court. It took much longer than anticipated, so that on arrival I didn't dare get lost in the Palace itself but spent the time in the gardens which were really beautiful (and very photogenic) before going back to get ready for the evening's outing. The next piece of entertainment was the new Rodgers and Hammerstein Musical “The Sound of Music” based on the true story of “The Trapp Family Singers”, very good indeed. All the artists were good, but it was particularly interesting to see Constance Shacklock in her first appearance in a musical.
On the Wednesday I had a marathon “bushwalk” through London - it just happened that way for though I'd meant to get buses from place to place there was always something in between to be seen. Started off from St. Paul's down Ludgate Hill and Fleet Street to the Law Courts at Temple Bar, then past Australia House along the Strand to Admiralty Arch and through into St. James's Park. “Admired” Buckingham Palace and up Constitution Hill to Hyde Park Corner, where I did get a bus to Marble Arch, there, to rest my barking dogs, a cup of coffee in Lyons Corner House, before going into Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, ending up at the Albert Hall by way of Peter Pan's statue and the fountains. That evening we went to a straight play “The Miracle Worker” at Wyndham's, excellent, a play to set you thinking, the story of the early years of Helen Keller and the beginning of her education by Anne Sullivan. Anna Massey, daughter of Raymond Massey, took the part of Anne Sullivan,. and there are no adjectives superlative enough to describe her performance, nor that of Janina Faye who played, or mimed, the part of the child Helen Keller.
After London, the Lakes, the usual hotel at the head of the Langdale Valley, for it is one which would be hard to better, situated as it is right at the foot of the Langdale Pikes, the ideal hotel for walking types, comfortable, good food and excellent company, though there were two elderly couples from the South of England right out of their element, who wanted to know what you did in the evenings - the answer staring them in the face, too tired after the day's walk to do anything but sit (in the bar) and talk. Before going up I'd sat down and worked out at “Walks Programme”, six walks for fine days, six walks for wet ones, perfectly planned, but the best laid plans… My sister and niece were up the first weekend, sometimes Pip is in a walking mood, sometimes not, and this time she was rather inclined towards the latter, not being helped by the weather which was dull and overcast, inclined to rain or drizzle. We went round to Thirlmere by car then set off to walk over High Tove to Watendlath but as we got to the cairn we could see mist swirling up out of the far valley and rain coming our way, with Pip not very keen to go down only to have to come up again, we just turned round then went back to the car and Langdale. Monday, according to plan, I set off for Keswick, over the Stake Pass, down Langstrath to Rosthwaite in Borrowdale, then via Watendlath to Derwentwater. In all I guess it was a distance of some 16 or 17 miles for me, but well over 20 for Cobber who did a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in the early part of the day, and we both arrived very wearily in Keswick, the dog worn out, my feet playing up badly. Found out afterwards I'd collected three blisters, entirely my own fault, not having gone far the first day I thought my socks mould do a second and save washing, the blisters I'm sure were a result of that and having to do a few miles road bash.
Tuesday I decided we'd better take life easy, so we went into Ambleside by bus and did a simple little walk up Wansfell Pike. It was a beautiful day, and a lovely walk up a “mountain” just over 1500 ft. from which you could see almost half the Lake District. That evening the weather broke, there was a most peculiar storm which blotted out all the valley in blackness, very weird indeed. Still suffering from the effects of the marathon to Keswick, and with the weather bad, on the Wednesday we had a wet splash up to Chapel Stile, the village in Langdale Valley, in the morning, and a trot up the Blea Tarn track in the afternoon, but by Thursday we were raring to go again. I joined up with another lass at the hotel for a walk to Waterhead, on Windermere, she was showing me a new way down the valley which avoided the road, a footpath on the far side of the stream. It was very pleasant, but we had fifteen minutes fun when we came to a 6 ft. wall with a six-barred gate padlocked, trying to get the dog through. The wall was too high for him to scramble over, and he couldn't jump the gate, so one on each side we tried to lift it a little to make roan for him to crawl under. It was like a little creek underneath and Cobber didn't want to get his undercarriage wet, finally Sally climbed over to make him realise he'd got to come, or be left, and one at each end of the gate we heaved and to our astonishment that time it lifted a good 12 inches, and his lordship cantered through. As we got to Windermere the weather really fined up, the sun was quite warm and bright, it was grand, and that evening in the bar everybody was laying plans for what they'd do the following day, expecting similar conditions, but oh no, we woke to a steady downpour. Again by bus to Ambleside, and we walked the 8 miles “home” in swimming conditions, along the side of Rydal Water and Grasmere (Loughrigg Terrace), then over Red Bank back into “THE” valley, soaked to the skin when we reached the hotel, and so ended the week. But it had all been good fun, on the whole I think the much maligned (weatherwise) Lake District, had fared better that week than many other parts of Britain, and certainly I'd not got wet so often as in the week with Bookie last year, maybe next, when I hope Eddie Stretton will be with me, will be better still.
There have been a few weekends away this year to brighten the normal, everyday routine of living. It began with New Year, when I went up to London to celebrate with Ron and Dorothy, we were joined by the Reads and Dorothy Brigden. We all were armed with colour slides - but no projector, so it was a good excuse for another weekend get together in February. I've found it quite feasible to get to London for weekends since discovering there's a train from Manchester at five minutes past midnight which lands me there in time for breakfast, a bit sleepy perhaps, but nevertheless it's worth the effort, and I hope to make use of that train a bit more often in the future.
At Easter we had an S.B.W. rendezvous in Derbyshire, Bev, Don and I stopped two nights each at Matlock Bath and Hartington Hall hostels; this year, for the first time, the place where I work gave us Easter Monday holiday too, and I was able to enjoy the full weekend away. Dorothy, Ron and the children were camping in the vicinity of the hostels in that wonderful invention, a Dormobile. We met up with them each morning after completing the hostel chores. Weatherwise it was a poor weekend, but otherwise excellent, we visited “stately homes of England”, old and interesting churches, and managed a short but muddy walk up Dovedale.
Two other weekends away have been spent cycling with Pip in the West Riding of Yorkshire, we take the bikes so far by train on the Friday night, to get us over the worst of the East Lanchashire mill towns and give us a good start for Saturday morning. Summer was late coming this year, and both those weekends were rather chilly, Whitsuntide weekend at the end of May even saw a few moments frozen rain, but apart from that conditions were not too bad for pushing bikes up and down hills.
Now I've come to a quiet spell, am not very keen on hostelling in August when the places are overrun by children on school holiday, but I'm going to visit my brother and family in Birmingham when we get our long weekend in September (in lieu of August Bank Holiday) and we are booked into the Old Dungeon Ghyll for a weekend at the end of October, being the first we could get with accommodation available for my sister and family and myself. After that I guess we settle down to the long winter nights by the fireside - and start planning for next year!”
John's alley skiing, Paddy goes next week and Jean is on our backs far an advertisement.
No inspiration. No time. Drat that 'phone.
See you on the snow, folks.
P.S. Nearly forgot. Big bargain sale. It has happened at last. Jumpers drastically reduced. Norwegian jumpers now £3.10.0. Many other bargains!!
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St, Sydney. BM 2685
- Fred Thynne.
Shortly after 10.30 p.m. on Friday night, 28th July, a taxi was speeding five members from Blackheath to a camp site at Map Reference Katoomba 149458. Despite an abundance of timber in the area, there was a distinct shortage of firewood and tent poles. However, these shortcomings were soon overcome and the normal procedure of tent erecting and cooking was soon on the way. Shortly before retiring for the night (or was it morning?) our leader ascertained that prospective members outnumbered members by three to two and that they were on their first Test Walk. This news affected his nerves so much that he promptly served for free to all an issue of “Fortegen”. This mixture had never failed him and he was taking no chances with this lot.
The morning dawned, as always - breakfast was soon over and Cox's River prepared to withstand an assault by the S.B.W. - and how! Within three-quarters of a mile from the start the party was halted for the necessity of the first of many crossings they were to undertake. The Leader seeing the hesitation and consternation on the faces of his men, plunged boldly and fearlessly to cross to the other Side and henceforth became immortalised like the Roman Standard Bearer in 55 B.C. The remainder followed without comment, but the writer knows at least one person guilty of mutinous mutterings in the process. For those persons interested in statistics there were to be thirteen such crossings, generally uneventful but every member had an exciting moment due to the current, slimy rocks or lack of acrobatic ability. Anon we became blasé and emphatically deny the rumour that snorkel apparatus was a must on the walk.
Our walk proceeded with frequent consultations to the topographical features: not a creek or hillock escaped our notice, never in the history of mankind, were there so many maps amongst so few… etc. etc. Approaching lunchtime we had just about dried out. We were short of our intended halt at Sandy Hook, rue to a little lateness in starting out, and our Leader thought it would be a good idea to have our meal with clean feet for he was off once again to the opposite shore of the Cox. It became a ritual - like a doctor's prescription - we always crossed the Cox directly before and directly after meals. After lunch we made efforts to make up for our lost time by short cutting Sandy Hook and were fortunate to encounter in quick succession a Black Wallaby and a young Red Fox. Meanwhile on the other side of the river the crows, from the noise they were making, were having a heated free for all. Query: 'Do dinkum Crows hold 'court' like their European cousins?'
Despite our efforts, the sun was sinking rapidly as we were nearing Chaplowe Creek, the going became awkward in the river bed and good camp sites became non-existent. It was a relief when the leader called it a day, waved his magic wand and in complete darkness produced a satisfactory place for the night. Meanwhile one of the sheep had wandered from the flock and while the shepherd was retrieving this stray, the others made camp. Soon a fire was going and our stomachs filled, the night air was pervaded with the aroma of toasted socks. The tribulations of the day were forgotten.
Shortly before starting out on our final stage of our journey a loud “Hallo” from the other side of the river found the party doing a “Doctor Livingstone I presume” act. The caller turned out to be “Ken” and we were very shortly joined by the other members on his walk. Their company was enjoyed to Megalong Creek where they left us to continue to their destination. So we said farewell to the Cox and headed for pleasant country walking en route to Devil's Hole. By this time our party was beginning to show signs of wear and tear. It was observed by the writer with smug satisfaction that the disadvantage of slacks for river crossing can be offset by their superiority over shorts in the battle against the Blackberry menace.
This most enjoyable trip with the best of bush companions terminated with a road bash to Katoomba Station. The weather had been perfect throughout and the river crossings certainly tend to elevate ordinary walks to the more memorable, with never a dull moment.
Greg Grennan Leader, Gordon Redman - Leader's Prop. Antony Queitzsch, Robert Pallin, Fred Thynne.
From Robert A. Duncan. High Altitude Observatory, University of Colorado. Boulder, Colorado.
July 28th… “I have been taking things quietly lately as I am still recovering from a severe nervous shock I received two weeks ago. I was walking along 28th Street when a lion jumped out at me. When I recovered consciousness it was trying to lick my face through the pickets of the fence, and was wagging it's tail fiercely. I then realised that it was really an enormous shaggy sandy-coloured dog which someone had pruned to look like a lion. They had given it an all-over shave except for leaving a mane and a tuft on the end of it's tail. I have written a complaint to the Police; such an encounter could prove fatal to an ordinary person without my nerves of steel.
Today I am sitting in my flat, writing letters, rushing to the refrigerator for nourishment every few minutes, and waiting for some people to pick me up and drive me to the Wind River Range, 300 miles to the North in Wyoming.
I am hoping they don't turn up; I don't want to take a week off now as I have just joined the University Choir. The mountains in Wyoming will be the same as the mountains here, and these people are about as athletic as farm yard ducks, and I don't think it will be the sort of trip I will enjoy.
However, I didn't think of all these things when they asked me to go and I said “Yes”, so if they arrive I will have to go.
Some people here expect me to know Australian songs and I can only think of 'God Save the Queen' (this is a palpable lie, Duncan, what about 'The Cat Came Back' and the one about the Snow Rooster? Ed.) 'If you could persuade Dot to get hold of some song books of some kind and send them, I would be very grateful.
June 30… The weather here now is hot, in the 90's with a thunderstorm every afternoon. These regular thunderstorms are a problem in the walking game. Nobody here likes being on the top of a peak in a storm as a couple of peanuts were killed this way last year. We always seem to be about two-thirds of the way up at about midday when the storms break, and so have to retreat. I keep jumping up on a rock and giving a speech about the importance of making really early starts, but I might just as well be talking to Pete Stitt or Snow Brown. the Hiking Club members are completely senseless and unorganisable.
Sometimes I sleep in too. Generally speaking, though, I have no complaints about the walking here! Just imagine being able to climb 14,000 feet peaks every weekend. The peaks aren't difficult in the main; about like Ruapehu.
The University here is on Summer schedule now, and work starts at 7 a.m.; which means that I must crawl out of the cot at 6 a.m. The pain and suffering which this entails beggars description. To get even a fraction of my required 12 hours sleep a day, I have to hit the hay at 9 p.m., and it's hardly dark then. If I lose sleep over the weekend, it's impossible to catch up on it.
Lectures (at the University Summer Session) are attended, bat it seems to be an excuse to have a good time. There are concerts, dances, folk-singing every night, swimming and organised walks and barbeques in the mountains every day and other amusements for people with other tastes.
Students come here from all over the States. Last week I went walking. We climbed Little Matterhorn on Saturday and Navajo on Sunday, cutting big bucket steps for the later use of an organised Summer Session hike.
(Prepared by Miss E. Hahn for distribution to Clubs.)
At the inquest the Coroner directed all climbers to take the neccesary notice of the professional evidence given. The vital points given were:
1. The only rope that should be used for climbing is that which conforms to B.S. 3104 standards. No.4 (1 3/8” circumference with 4200 lbs. breaking strain) is the only size that should be used for belaying a leader.
2. Rope should be subjected to a regular inspection and used for one season only. It should then be discarded for climbing purposes. In Britain, where this is practised, the climbing season is 4-5 months.
3. Nylon rope bought here in Australia is manufactured to British Admiralty Standards and Australian Navy Standards and one of the first processes in the manufacture according to these standards is to reduce the stretch or flexibility. The rope concerned in the accident was deemed not flexible enough.
4. The reported 51% of the original breaking strain of the fatal rope may yet prove a little 1ow as the rope sections tested to give this figure were all subjected to strain during the fall. Slack rope from the same length that was not concerned in the fall, when tested soon should give the reduced breaking strain through wear only over the period of use, as it was before the fall.
1. Availability. One firm in Australia makes this rope and only to firm orders. They require a 50% deposit on ordering and the product should be bought through the Melbourne University Mountaineering. Club, as in accordance with the S.B. 3104, each individual piece of rope must be tested for its whole length and returned if not up to standard. This firm will only make fairly large orders so by retaining one buyer (M.U.M.C.) these orders will be possible and the manufacture will be continuous. M.U.M.C. also have the knowledge, skill and equipment to test the rope after manufacture, whip and mark it (these things should be carried out by the buyer - M.U.M.C. in this case).
2. Features & Advantages. B.S. 3104 specifies a certain standard nylon, the features of manufacture, the minimum flexibility of 40%, a maximum and minimum number of turns per foot etc. It lays down the methods of testing and by whom it should be done. B.S. 3104 comes in four sizes - No.1, 5/6“; No.2, 7/8” (abseiling only), No.3, 1 1/4“ (bringing up a second man or for tension only), No.4, 1 3/8” (leader climbing and best able to take a shock load). B.S. 3104 is the only rope manufactured to climbing (mountaineering) standards. Therefore, there is really no question as to whether or not it should be used.
3. Authoritative Support. The Standards Association in Sydney have a book “Nylon Mountaineering Ropes - B.S. 3104, 1959” available for about 4/-. The Alpine Club, the British Mountaineering Council and all member clubs (most of the U.K.) and the Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme are advocating the use of B.S. 3104, No,4, emphatically and advertising it for all they are worth. So, the larger part and the more experienced sections of the mountaineering world, who developed the equipment and techniques we know of today, recommend its use and that only.
4. Nylon vs. Natural Fibre. This question always follows an accident where nylon rope is used. Had the accident occurred on a natural fibre rope the trend would be to turn to the synthetic rope. In correspondence with the British Mountaineering Council it is clear that the same signs of doubt are expressed after similar accidents in U.K. and Europe. It is the best climbers who fall as they are the ones who try the difficult routes. All the accidents are on nylon these days as the best climbers realise it is by far the superior product. The breaking strain of natural fibre is about half of an equivalent weight nylon rope. It has no flexibility in which to absorb a falling leader's kinetic energy. If a leader falls on natural fibre for any distance the rope would snap because of this. If not, the fallen leader would probably die from internal injuries in any case. Elasticity is a very major consideration. If ever a natural fibre rope becomes wet for any reason, it should be discarded for climbing as its reliability is extremely doubtful even when dried out properly. Water does not affect nylon.
For any enquiries about reduction of breaking strain over a long period, for prices, system or ordering, figures in theoretical leader falls, reference to the British Mountaineering Council's article “What Rope to Use?”, contact Miss E. Hahn at MW0522 Ex. 274 (B) or write to Mr. Peter J. Morgan, Hon. Secretary, Melbourne University Mountaineering Club, C/- Union House, University of Melbourne, Parkville, N.2, Victoria.
On August 23rd George Gray showed slides of Tasmania - The Reserve and Frenchman's, Christmas 1960. This was notable for the photography, the ad lib commentary from members of the party, and the fact that it was a record of the driest Tassy trip we're ever likely to hear of, with bushfire smoke obscuring the views, and NO MUD.
|September 17||Glenbrook - Glenbrook Creek - Oaks North Ridge - The Oaks, Glenbrook. 12 miles. Good man reading practice in this area. Could be scratchy in parts. Gaiters recommended. Maybe a few Waratahs in flower, too. 8.20 a.m. Lithgow train from Central Steam Station to Glenbrook. Tickets: Glenbrook Return at 13/9d. Map: Liverpool Military. Leader: Jim Brown.|
|September 24||Pymble - bus to St. Ives - Bungaroo - Middle Harbour Creek - Lindfield. 11 miles. A pleasant walk along the upper reaches of Middle Harbour where there are normally lots of wild flowers at this time of the year. 8.10 a.m. train Central Electric Station to Pymble via Bridge. 8.46 a.m. bus Pymble to St. Ives. Tickets: Pymble via Bridge at 4/3d. plus 1/- bus fare. Map: Sydney Military or any good Sydney Suburban Street Directory. Leader: Molly Rodgers.|
|October 8||Waterfall - Mt. Westmacott - Myuna Creek - Woronora Trig - Woronora River - Heathcote. 12 miles. A variation of the usual plod along Heathcote Creek. Instead the walk will take to the high country both at Mt. Westmacott and Woronora Trig. Should be some very attractive stands of wildflowers. 8.20 a.m. train Central Electric Station to Sutherland. CHANGE there for Rail Motor to Waterfall. Tickets: Waterfall Return at 5/9d. Map: Port Hacking Tourist or Camden Military. Leader: David Ingram.|
|October 15||Pymble bus to St. Ives (Warrimoo Road) - Cowan Creek - Bobbin Head - Berowra. 12 miles. Track walking all the way through Kuringai Chase. The area is noted for the excellent display of wildflowers. 9.10 a.m. train Central Electric Station to Pymble via Bridge. 9.46 a.m. bus Pymble to Warrimoo Road. Tickets: Berowra via Bridge at about 6/- plus 1/- bus fare. Map: Broken Bay Military. Leader: Thelma Giblett.|