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 JW1162.
|Editor||Don Matthews, 33 Pomona Street, Pennant Hills. WJ3514|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales & Subs.||Eileen Taylor|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|The Long Weekend||2|
|Special Walks Coming||3|
|At Our Extraordinary and Half-yearly General Meetings||Alex Colley||4|
|Letter to the Editor||Allen A. Strom||5|
|Blizzard Bound||Alex Theakston||6|
|A Week in the Rockies||Frank Digby||7|
|Federation's Annual Ball||“Social Reporter”||10|
|Charlie Pryde||B.G. Harvey||12|
|Kowmung Cavalcade - Part I.||14|
|Hatswell's Taxi & Tourist Service||9|
…..“And then the plateau - the cold official title is Kanangra Plateau; really it is a gorgeous table - set for a banquet - decked with a million flowers - the walls covered with pictures - the like may not be seen this side of the line.
We climbed around all its corners and nooks and scrubs and gullies. We were on it by night - by moonlight - to catch the star dust gleam of far away Sydney.
We were up before dawn, heard the first bird calls, matched for the tip of Old Sol's head to creep up and paint the steeples of Thurat in all colours. What a feast of mountains: Colong just across the street, Gangerang just across a ridge or two, saying “come up and see me”, Jellore - away south - yes - and behind it more landscape, for once it is not the sky line, Clear Hill! every twist and turn of it, Debert's Knob, Mouin, all the family here for a party, blue - sky and earth, with drifting fleecy clouds mottling the whole canvas. Ever changing lights and shadows and ever the carpet of flowers for foreground.”
(From 'Hail Kanangra', W. Tarr (“Taro”). The S.B.W., 1934.)
Don't miss these two talks!
|October 18th||Mr. Charles Casperson will speak on C.J. Dennis (of The Sentimental Bloke“) fame.|
|October 25th||Mr. L.G. Harrison (better known as “Mouldy” to S.B.W's) will give an illustrated talk on a visit to Russia. Mouldy usually sees everything on his trips and this should be a most entertaining evening.|
|September 15th||Federation Ball. See our Social Reporter's notes on page 10|
|September 20th||B.P. Films - an excellent selection of short films.|
Recently received and of interest to all thinking bushwalkers:
The Spring number of The National Parks Journal together with a reprint of “The Future of the Kosciusko Summit area: A report on a Proposed Primitive Area in the Kosciusko State Park”. (A reprint from the Aust. Journal of Science, June 1961.)
|Main Range||Alex Theakston led a party of six from Guthega to the Blue Lake, where an ice cave was dug for comfort, and climbed Twvnam on the Sunday. Exploration of Watson's Crags was prevented by fierce winds.|
|Colo||Bob Godfrey led 15 starters on a map reading expedition in the Angorawa Creek - Colo area.|
|Ettrema||Wilf Hilder and party of six explored the Ettrema badlands.|
|Kowmung||Ben Esgate, Snow Brown and party (6) went down Misery Ridge to the Kowmung, spent Sunday leisurely at the lower end of Morong Deep and returned by Landrigan's ridge.|
|Carrington - Barren Grounds||A dozen or so S.B.W's plus families attended the N.P.A. camp at Carrington Falls.|
|October 20-21-22||Fedreation Search & Rescue Demonstration weekend on the Colo. The location will be about 3 miles upstream from lower Portland. St. Alban's Military Map Reference 860690 (approx.). This is on private property and easily reached by road. Preferred route: From Windsor take the road to Wilberforce, then the left hand branch, which is the main road to Singleton via Putty. The turn off is to the right shortly before the descent to the Colo River. Good camping and swimming. Sandy river bank on camp side, high sandstone cliffs on the other side. See Notice Board for further details.|
|October 28-29||Blue Gum Working Bee. The purpose of the weekend is to cut through logs which are impeding the proper flow of water in the Grose and causing erosion, and to clean up the area generally. Bring a Shovel to dig rubbish pits. Train: 8.50 a.m. to Blackheath. Car to Perry's Lookdown, then steep 2000' descent to the Forest. Good camping. Leader: Jack Gentle. 'Phone XM6121. LA6041 (B.)|
|November 10-11||Lovetts Bay Area Working Bee. Track clearing from Lovett's Bay to Flagstaff Hill in co-operation with Kuringai Trust Ranger who will provide gear. For further details see Notice Board. Leader: John White. XW6526.|
|November 3-4-5||Kanangra Walls - Danae Brook - Kanangra Walls. “We were now imprisoned in our canyon, our only way out being down, as three sides were now sheer to overhanging and our gendarme loomed immediately behind and about 300' above us. The rock strata is at all times inclined out and away from the canyon floor, so that by sidling to our left to skirt a large waterfall of 90' we were forced higher and higher till a likely ledge with a favourable belay allowed us to descend into the creek. Here we used our full length of rope to descend vertically 120' to a spot where, after more sidling, along 'narrow' ledges with sparse vegetation, we could reach the creekbed, our quickest way of travel….”. If you like this sort of thing and know something of rope wok, this is for you. Starters are requested to bring a carabiner and string. Leader: David Brown.|
- Alex Colley.
Again our proceedings opened with the announcement of an engagement. This time the fortunate ones are Arnold Fleischmann and Gisela Koslowski. Having expressed our approval of this arrangement, we got down to the extraordinary business of investing the Era Fund, which amounted to just over £528. Our choice was restricted to Trustee securities - Government and Government guaranteed loans. Fred Kennedy suggested Special bonds, which had the great advantage of being redeemable in full at a month's notice. Frank Ashdown thought we should leave the money where it was, in the Savings Bank, because it would only earn some 2% more in bonds and would not be readily available if invested. But Frank Barlow pointed out that the additional interest would be about £47 over four years. Ray Kirkby said that although bonds might be the only immediate investment we could profitably make, it would be foolish to expect the interest to equal the increment in land values. Alex Colley agreed with this, and explained that the Committee which had considered the investment of Era funds had unanimously agreed that land was the thing to buy, but so far no suitable land had been found. It was no use saying that “they” meaning the Era Committee, the General Committee, or somebody else should look for land. It was up to every member to take an interest and look out for a suitable piece. A further difficulty which arose was that we could only invest multiples of £10 in special bonds. Pam Baker, however, offered to make up the difference. This making of donations to Club funds is becoming a habit, and a very good one too.
Amongst the advertising matter in correspondence was a letter from Mrs. Carlon telling us we were welcome to camp “amongst the paper barks and ti-tree” any time - there was no need to write, as we had before the walking trial.
In his walks report Wilf Hilder told us that poor weather had kept down attendances and the Bank Holiday Weekend Walk had been cancelled because of lack of starters. Most popular walk of the month was Jack Gentle's along the Georges River, attended by 18 prospectives and 1 member. We were alarmed to learn that there is an army minefield at Freer's Crossing. Most intriguing walk of the month was Molly Rodgers' Upper Middle Harbour day walk which took place “on the fringes of civilisation” and was accomplished with the aid of the Broken Bay Military Map and a map published by Shead's Estate Agency. When civilisation advances far enough to embrace even the Bush Walkers in its spread, we may see the estate agents themselves filling the blanks on the programme. Vince Aitken's walk to St. Helena and Clem Hallstrom's walk up Bola Creek were well attended. David Ingram's Cattai Creek Walk was curtailed due to rain, but that it went at all, “showed fighting spirit”.
The Treasurer's Report, read by John White, proved the success of putting up a list of the unfinancial. Subscriptions for the month were £30.5.0. If next to this list we displayed an ilIaminated scroll containing the names of donors, we might do even better.
Brian Harvey told us that the letter from the Hornsby Rifle Club, read at our last meeting and referred to Federation, had been referred here and there since until it completed the circle and came back to him - the original addressee. He was going to visit the range and see what could be done.
Wilf Hilder reported that the gates at Bindook were still locked (illegally) and that dingo traps had been set along that road, the Old Cedar Road, and the Cookem Highway. They were cunningly concealed in sand and were very dangerous to walkers.
At the conclusion of the meeting the President thanked Audrey Kenway for deputising as Assistant-Secretary at the Committee Meeting. Wilf Hilder, Gladys Roberts, David Ingram and Bill Rodgers were elected room stewards for the next month.
“3 Coopernook Avenue, Gymea Bay.
I read with much misgiving that the proposal to erect a Memorial Shelter to A.W. Dingeldei in the Bouddi Natural Park was opposed at the August Meeting of the Club because “it was a building in a natural park which would require a road and would be mainly for the benefit of motorists”.
A shelter surely is for those who would use it and the Bouddi Natural Park, despite its use of the rather redundant word “natural” is one of our National Parks including amongst its purposes “for public recreation”. In other words Bouddi is a public reserve belonging to all the community and not to a very small group of people who call themselves “bushwalkers”. I have no indication from the Report on the August Meeting how the proposed Memorial Shelter came to appear on the Club's Agenda - perhaps, because the Club was asked to assist the appeal for funds. I agree that the Club has a perfect right to say that the Shelter will not benefit bushwalkers even though I may doubt the truth of the statement, but I am certain that it is bad taste, ignorance and Sheer nonsense to oppose the erection because it would benefit another section of the community whose use of the Park is as legitimate as bushwalkers. Indeed, as a much larger section of the community, with a much more pressing need for outdoor experience, non-bushwalkars have a greater claim to places like Bouddi.
As one who has listened to bushwalkers beating the air about National Parks for more than a quarter of a century, I have gathered the impression that there is a strong and most erroneous belief amongst walkers that National Parks are specially created for the benefit of bushwalkers, alone. That is, the walkers hold this opinion whilst they want to “do over” one mountain after another. Then when they tire of this behaviour, most leave the rucksack and big boots to rot in the corner, and they couldn't care less about their “beloved bush”.
Let's get it quite straight Mr. Editor, this attitude of “bush for the bushwalker alone” has done more harm to the cause of Nature Conservation than all the land developers lumped into one corner. It has antagonised public opinion, it has left administration cold and cynical and it has allowed the years to roll by without achievement. We cannot afford to push the public out of their Parks; in fact, every person who visits a Park must be won to the cause of Nature Conservation not repulsed, chided, ridiculed as a “motorist” and sent away a champion of opposition because he hates the people who love the bush.
What kind of public opinion pressure can the bushwalkers wield with limited numbers, apathy in their own ranks and rancour in their approaches? In the last few years there has been a remarkable improvement in public attitude and in “opinion pressures”; but most of all, there has been a tremendous change on the administrative level - and why? Because administration now feel that the community as a whole want National Parks and Nature Reserves and they want to be able to use them.
The great need of course, is for sound management - careful planning so that the Parks are used without destruction of the essential assets for which thy were set apart. There is no single plan that answers this problem - every Park and every Reserve sets its own problem and to say no roads, no buildings (perhaps no tracks) is absolute nonsense. This is how you lose friends and influence people to hate you and what you stand for.
(Sgd.) Allen A. Strom.”
- Alex Theakston.
The plan was to ski from the chairlift top at Thredbo to Seaman's or Lake Albina huts on the Kosciusko main range. Ted Smith and I left Thredbo village at lunch time Saturday and climbed with skis and picks up and over the Ram's Head range and down onto the upper reaches of the Snowy River.
The weather, perfect up till now, began to close in with light winds and snow closing the visibility to a couple of hundred yards. At this stage we decided to turn back to Thredbo for the night, as this type of weather usually heralds several days of unpleasant conditions. As we slowly climbed back on to the Ram's Head range the visibility dropped progressively as the day ended. It was almost dark as we crested the ridge, and we could barely see the snow poles which were less than one hundred yards apart. We skied and stumbled slowly down into the valley, stumbling because we could not define the surface on which we were sliding. Following the snow poles became very difficult and when they led us into broken rocky country we left them and made our own way down.
were tired by now and moving downhill was very uncomfortable, so we decided to hole up under a large leaning slab of rock which we had found just above the tree line. After an hour of work, scraping a hollow beneath the boulder, leaning our skis against it then covering the skis with branches and lumps of snow, we had a fair windbreak with a small roof affording us protection from the wind-driven snow.
A fire was started with some difficulty and we cooked dinner and when the fire had sunk too deep to be of any use we climbed into our sleeping bags and lay down on ground sheets to keep off the snow. We fell asleep, and then at about 9 o'clock the same night we awoke; something was wrong: the wind was now much stronger and must have changed direction for we were covered with snow which was now blowing into our shelter. Naturally the snow melted as it settled on our warm sleeping bags and now they were very wet and continued to get, if possible, even wetter. To keep warm we tried to snuggle closer to each other but between us was a solid mass of snow, leaving us shivering alternately in our individual icy tombs.
The night grew longer, as we grew wetter, colder. Above us a grey black howling sky leered at us. There was one consolation, we could not be any worse off.
We counted the hours and sometime in the early morning the gale eased. At 6.45 Sunday morning the black grey above us began to be dark grey so I peeled the sodden white sleeping bag off me, put my boots on and ran down to a clump of trees and lit a fire over which we thawed out, had breakfast and even dried out a little.
Alter-stuffing our frosted sodden belongings into our packs we made our way towards Karella Hut at the top of the chair lift. We could not ski for about 18 inches of very soft snow had fallen overnight and the skis only sank down leaving us knee deep in snow. Very soon in between snow showers we found the hut where we dried our clothes out beside a gas fire whilst rearing our hosts clothing.
- Frank Digbv.
(Editorial Note: Frank and Joan are at present living in Edmonton, Canada. Address: Suite 9A, 14504 - 108th Avenue, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. They are seeing a good deal of the local countryside. Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, is about 50 miles west of Jasper, 280 miles from Edmonton.)
With light hearts and heavy packs, Joan and I turned our backs on civilisation and headed in towards Mt. Robson: not that we could see our quarry - naturally, we had landed the worst weather of the summer and the only time we saw Robson in all its magnificent 13,000 feet was the previous evening when we had arrived. Then the snow and ice covered summit had soared unbelievably into a serene blue sky but today the huge massif was again up to its old tricks, making its own dirty weather and hiding in the midst of it. Well, we had been given our glimpse, from here on we could use our imagination.
The trail into Berg Lake is mostly pleasant, but definitely exciting in spots. Who could remain unmoved at the sight of the raging torrent that is Robson River hurling itself in grand disorder over a succession of mighty falls. The very names might even stir the soul - Valley of a Thousand Falls, Emperor Falls, Falls of the Pool and White Falls - white indeed. As if to balance this grand show of the River, long flimsy curtains of finest lace trail their way down the cliffs on either side of the valley. Wherever the eye should roam, water in the most beautiful forms of motion dominates the scenery. We had to hasten out of this valley or we would have spent our whole vacation there.
Our first camp was near Berg Lakes with a view across to two glaciers tumbling down from high up on the North-west face of Robson - no gentleness in this ice, only the jagged and rugged grandeur born of tremendous and unpredictable forces. As we sipped our bedtime cocoa beside the campfire, the setting sun, suddenly released from the overcast, turned a horizontal band of rock and snow on the mountain above into a fiery corridor; the famous alpine glow, final act of the dying sun.
At Berg Lake we found a Chalet and a base camp for about thirty members of the Seattle Mountaineering Club, some of whom were attempting both Robson and Whitehorn. But much more important we found Robson Glacier. The snout of this glacier is a little Alpine wonderland in it self. The Robson River, here at its birthplace, gushes forth through a huge canyon of pure ice. Ice caverns, with depths of coldest blue and all manner of curious formations, range about the glacier foot. With the aid of cut steps in the first few yards it is quite easy to mount the glacier and quite safe to walk up its gentle slope when the ice is free of snow. Many crevasses scar the surface and one can only guess at the awful depths. The ice here is probably some hundreds of feet thick.
During our short stay in this area the swirling mists occasionally revealed the upper part of Robson, to give us tantalizing glimpses of great masses Of rock and ice towering thousands of feet above us. As one famous mountaineer has put it, “Robson is-one of the great mountains of the world, in every sense of the word”. In this mood, its defences certainly would repel all comers. To the west a lofty and challenging cone of a mountain played hide and seek with the clouds - that would be Whitehorn, the sharpest peak I have yet seen in the Rockies.
Packing five days food we set off one morning through the low Robson pass to the north. Using the north sheet of Jasper Park, we had plotted a fifty mile trail trip via Moose Pass, Moose River, Colonel Pass, Grant Pass, Centre Pass and the Miette Valley, returning to the Yellowhead road at Yellowhead Pass. It looked interesting on the map, to say the least, and now we were to test it in practice. In the late afternoon we reached Moose Pass, a pleasant spot above the timber, but unfortunately the mosquitoes would not allow us to enjoy it! Passing into the upper Moose Valley on the other side we seemed to enter a different world. The top part of this Valley, above the treeline, is the true Alpine meadow at its very best. A crystal-clear stream hurries down the slope, pausing every now and then to form the most beautiful little lakes. The valley bed and the slopes below the rock-line are a riot of colour for here the wild flowers reign supreme, isolated from the competition of the forest. Far, far down the valley, above the tops of the evergreens, the majestic peak of the Colonel, its slopes streaked with glaciers, reared up into the sky to complete the Alpine setting. As we ambled down the trail our thoughts automatically turned to making camp, for here was a place where a camp ought to be made, out of respect for the sheer beauty of the surroundings.
….Then we saw the bear!
How fitting the whole scene was as this big black animal browsed through the meadow; he was king of the valley and he belonged here, not in some foul cage in a zoo. However, I must admit these philosophies did not exactly occur to us at the time. Our only thoughts then were just what was going to happen when bear met humans. By the time we had meandered down the trail to where our friend had been he had moved further on and it looked as if we could slip by unnoticed. At this point, though, Old Bruin must have got a whiff of us because he abruptly turned in his tracks and charged towards us in a distinctly menacing manner. “Get out your plate, Joan, and bang it for all your worth”, I said; noise was to be our weapon. What with this terrible racket and my blood-curdling yells the bear just could not take it - he turned tail and disappeared across the grass slopes faster than a prize pacer. To say we felt a little easier inside is an understatement. Anyway, bears or no bears, we still made our camp and a better one you could not have found. After episode “Bear” we never grumbled at having to rope our food up in a tree at night and I noticed that Joan always went to bed with the now battered plate and a large spoon in a handy position.
The Moose Valley is one of those two-faced affairs one often finds in the mountains - above the tree line, beautiful and exhilarating but below that magical line, terrible in parts. We spent the best part of a day working our way ten miles down the alley, following a rough trail, (and very often no trail), through the timber, (both horizontal and vertical varieties), or perhaps slogging it out through the more open swampland. Rest stops were out of the question owing to the hordes of mosquitoes and march flies which immediately launch a violent offensive if one dares to halt. We saw some enormous bear tracks in this region and were thankful we did not meet the owners. Moose tracks were there by the seeming hundreds but no moose, although frequently we were glad of their trails through the thick bush, (but why do moose live bogs and swamps so much?). Finally, when we reckoned we were about opposite the Colonel Creek Valley we found ourselves in the unenviable position of having no alternative but to swim the Moose River. The river is fairly wide and deep at this stage of its life and of course we were on the wrong side. So stripping off, (ouch! the mossies!), and wrapping the packs in our groundsheets we launched ourselves into the cold wetness, packs floating nicely above our backs.
Having found the blazed trail that leads to Colonel Pass, we pressed on in the gathering gloom, looking anxiously for a campsite. However, none were forthcoming in the thick forest and into the bargain we lost the trail somewhere or other. After bashing it out for a while up the creek we settled in desperation for a small patch of flat shingle beside the stream, just big enough for one tent and a fire. All things considered it was a fine port in a storm but thank heavens there were no cloudbursts that night for our sleeping bodies rested a mere twelve inches above the water level. All in all it had been quite a day.
Next morning, in soupy weather, we located the trail and climbed to Colonel Pass, thence through another wonderful Alpine Valley at the tree line to Grant Pass. The map shows the trail as crossing a glacier at nigh on 9,000 feet on the side of Salient Mountain, but much to our relief this was a grave error on the part of the map maker. Actually, we sidled the mountain below the cliffs at about 7,000 ft. and then crossed the broad flower-studded meadows leading to Centre Pass on the Divide between B.C. and Alberta. Having completely lost the trail, if any, existed, over this stretch, we camped on a grassy shoulder some hundreds of feet above the Miette River, with fine views looking down the valley to Mount Fitzwilliam and across to Mt. Bridgland. This spot, although an ideal campsite, proved to be a serious rival to the Tonquin Valley in the size of its mosquito population; not even the rain would lay them low. It was with relief that we at last crawled into our tent behind that superb invention, mosquito netting, and gleefully watched the little monsters as they frustrated themselves to death on the outside.
The following day, our sixth out from the road, the rain really set in to make our plight without a trail somewhat miserable. In vain we sought the map trail on the Valley's west side but it exists on paper only, so we tried bashing it out through the thick scrub the Miette River. Not even the moose trails were of any help here and after an hour of this we were thoroughly browned off. Seeking a possible route above the tree line on the east side of the valley, we worked upwards and presently, miracle of miracles, we stumbled on a cut trail where no trail ought to be. God bless the trail wardens and to hell with the cartographers! Several hours and many wet boggy miles later, the welcome sight of the Yellowhead Road and civilisation was ours. A brief clean up in the Miette and we were on the road hitching, surprisingly with quick results. (I made Joan walk behind me.) As if in a dream, (legs had been our only means of transport for a week) , we were whisked back to our starting point near Mount Robson Coffee House and our patient auto.
We had plenty to remember about our week in the wilds since we had experienced just about everything except good weather. When the powers-that-be reprint the maps correctly, maybe we'll have another long lash at some of that terrific, out-of-the-way mountain terrain the Canadians own but have seldom trodden.
- “Social Reporter”.
On the Wednesday before the Ball “the Bushies” contingent numbered 16. An urgent message from Federation asked whether the number could be stepped up as the largest party booked to date was 2. The Social Secretary and her helpers got busy, and by 10.30 p.m. the S.B.W. party numbered 23. Not up to last year's total of 40 odd, but the absence of several regular dancers, who were skiing in the Alps, was noticeable.
The evening papers of the great day, Friday 15th September, announced that deliveries of beer to hotels had been suspended. This caused a minor flurry amongst those who like liquid refreshment at this type of social function. However, any such fears were groundless and refreshment was in moderate supply.
In recent years, the Club has not participated in the decorated table competition, but Pam Baker, Molly Rodgers, Edna Stretton and Co. decided that this year would be different. Bill Rodgers arrived with a fine model of a trig. semaphore complete with bullet holes, Arnold Fleischmann struggled in with two great lumps of rock, Molly Rodgers contributed a bag of river stones from the Grose and Edna Stretton gathered a bunch of grey Spider Flower and Fuschia Heath from her garden of native plants. The combined ingredients produced a pleasing result, even though not successful in winning a prize.
The large hall at Paddington Town Hall was engaged this year and was much more comfortable for dancing. Although the attendance may have been down a little on last year, an early estimate put the likely profit, which will go to Federation Funds, at about £60.
As usual, the ladies excelled themselves in their “party” dresses. In fact, one lass remarked that it was difficult to recognise familiar faces when their owners were not dressed in their customary bushwalking garb. During the Barn Dance, one member of our party was invited to “Come on, Mum!” , and another was told, “You waltz just like my dear old Dad!” (Sign of the times?) Amongst the members of the Club prominent on the dance floor were Bill and Molly Rodgers, Miriam Steenbohm, Pam Baker, Gisela Koslowski, Arnold Fleischmann, Irene Pridham, Eileen Taylor, Audrey Kenway, Pat Dalton, Yvonne Renwick, Dick Child, David Ingram, Reg Meakins, Jack Wren, Frank Young, Herman Kanters and Frank Roscka. Other dancers well known to members of the Club were Gordon Ballard, Ninian Melville (Sen.), and Dave Roots.
Of course the indefatiguable Colin Watson and Paul Driver (M. C.) from Federation were there to look after things. Thanks are due to them and their Committee for the work put into organising the function and for a very enjoyable evening. See you again next Ball, if not sooner.
Don't overlook the Club's Christmas Party on 8th December at the North Sydney Council Chambers. Come comfortably dressed - no formality. See Pam Baker for tickets and please let her know early how many will be in your party so that the caterers may be notified.
Two things were out about Molly Rodgers' recent stroll from St. Ives to Lindfield via Middle Harbour Creek. The first was the large area of attractive bushland, complete with wildflowers, so close to the City. Second was the number of Club officials who attended - namely, the President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary and the Assistant Social Secretary. In all there were 12 members and 3 prospective members.
A memo to prospective members. We know you're keen to do test walks, but why not have a really relaxing day in the bush, sometime? Watch the Walks Programme or seek advice from those “in the know” (Club officials) as to when these delightful excursions are to take place.
- B.G. Harvey.
Old hands will be sorry to hear that Charlie Pryde, whose happy 80th birthday we reported in our August issue, passed away on 20th September, after a very short illness.
Charlie joined the Club about 1930 and did many trips when there were few or no maps, and none of the gear as we know it today. A quiet and unassuming personality, he was for many years the official Club Historian, an office which lapsed when he relinquished it.
His daughter Betty (now in U.S.A.) later joined the S.B.W. and nothing gave them both greater pleasure than to have crowds of bushies at their home for social evenings. No doubt Charlie often looked back on those days with pleasant memories, as he did on the evenings in the more recent years when we entertained him with Kodachrome transparencies of the country in which he used to roam in his younger days.
Although he loved the Australian bush, I think his heart often strayed back to his native Ireland. He is a loss to both countries; and we extend our sympathy to his son and two daughters who survive him.
|October 22||Glenfield - Georges River - Long Point - Minto. 12 Miles. This walk will visit some attractive reaches of the Georges River to the north of Bushwalkers' Basin. The country is mainly unspoilt. 8.25 a.m. Goulburn train from Central Steam Station to Glenfield. Tickets: Minto Return at 6/9d. Map: Camden Military. Leader: David Ingram.|
|October 29||Waterfall - Uloola Falls - Audley. 8 Miles. An ideal gallop for new members: passes through the Western portion of the Royal National Park. There are two groups of aboriginal rock carvings adjacent to the track. 8.50 a.m. Cronulla train from Central Electric Station to Sutherland. Change there for rail motor to Waterfall. Tickets: Waterfall Return at 5/9d. Map: Pert Hacking Tourist or Military. Leader: Dick Child.|
|November 5||Glenbrook - Glenbrook Gorge - Nepean Lookout - Euroka Clearing - Glenbrook. 12 Miles. A rock hop down the Gorge followed by a scramble up to Nepean Lookout, then some scrubby sections to Euroka, an excellent camping spot. 8.20 a.m. Lithgow train from Central Steam Station to Glenbrook. Glenbrook Return at 13/9d. Map: Liverpool Military. Leader: Ern French.|
what would the bushwalker have owning to science?
|Terylene Tents 2 Man “A”||£12.2.3d.|
|Aluminium Billies||from 7/9d.|
|Aluminium Screw Top Containers||1/4d., 1/11d., 2/1-, 2/6d.|
|Unbreakable Plastic Torches||17/-.|
|Unbreakable Plastic Food Containers||2/8d., 2/lid 3/3d., 5/6d.|
|Plastic Bags||5d. and 6d.|
|Plastic Water Bottles||2/9d., 4/9d.|
|Baby Tin Opener -Army Style||1/2d.|
|Cenovis Lemon and Lime Powder||3/9d. per tin.|
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St Sydney. BM2685.
Since 1933, a good deal has been written about the Kowmung River Gorge between Tuglow Falls and Church Creek.
The main attractions in this stretch of river are Tuglow Falls, Morong Falls, Morong Deep and Rudder's Rift.
The present day technique of Kowmunging is to keep to the river all the way: that is, to walk or rock hop when possible and swim with waterproof pack on back when necessary. This is pleasant in good weather when the water is not too high, but can be difficult (and hazardous) with a strong flow during or shortly after rain. (e.g. The 1960 Christmas Kowmung trip was slowed considerably by high water and had to sidle in parts of the Deep, but members of the same party found the same stretches quite easy in February on Colin Putt's weekend Commando trip when the water was a foot or so lower.)
To follow the development of Kowmunging, we present a selection of impressions during 30 years, all previously recorded in The S.B.W.
To introduce the series, excerpts from…
- Ken Meadows & Neil Schafer. (The S.B.W. April 1953).
… “The first Upper Kowmung trip recorded in the magazine shows the walkers to be hardened bushmen (and women). Unprepared for swimming, the almost impenetrable bush, blackthorn and sheer rock faces made their day a torture. Night brought little relief because the inhospitable rocky campsites compelled uncomfortable sleep without the shelter of tents.
Later parties were more suitably equipped to cope with the conditions encountered. Many stretches of the river required to be swum. This they did, floating their packs in their groundsheets in the orthodox manner, but, where it was possible, the parties preferred to climb round the rocky pools.
Christmas 1952 saw us doing the Upper Kowmung the easy way. From “information received” we knew the type of country and were able to prepare gear that would minimise the difficulties and make the trip one that any average walkers, provided they can swim, can undertake without undue difficulty.
The Kowmung has much to offer in the way of variety from the walking point of view. The types of country which have to be traversed may be broadly classified under three headings, viz., walking, rock hopping and swimming. Let us now consider each of these in turn.
Parts of the Upper Kowmung are very pleasant from the straight walking angle. Long stretches of grassy river banks broken with areas of bracken and the familiar casuarinas are met between the lower end of the Morong Deep and the upper end of the last granite gorge, and also from this last gorge until the junction of the Kowmung with the Cox's River. Rate of progress on this type of terrain is generally good and can be improved by crossing the river when necessary, for easier going on the opposite bank.
In contrast with these grassy banks are those sections of the river which, although almost a gorge, do not exhibit the really steep sides of a true gorge. Here we have banks consisting of river worn boulders and long shelves of granite rocks. These shelves vary from river level to heights of up to twenty or more feet above the river itself. On this type of terrain it is possible to proceed at a fairly good rate, as there is very little obstruction from plant growth, etc. When on these sections of the river it is better to do a little elementary rock climbing, perhaps necessitating the lowering of packs, rather than go to a higher level and encounter dense undergrowth which will impede progress.
Finally, we come to those parts where grassy banks and even rock shelves cease to exist. Here we have the true gorge. These gorges are typified by smooth granite rock faces, rising almost perpendicularly from water level to varying heights where they degenerate into very steep slopes, generally well covered in vegetation and mostly of the prickly variety.
The river itself in these sections is generally a series of fairly long, deep pools, connected by rapids or small waterfalls. On encountering gorges of this type the walker has the alternative of two courses of action. He can climb to a high level on to the steeply sloping sides and battle with the undergrowth of small trees, bushes etc. until he is able to drop back to the river level, or, he can take to the river and swim through these pools until he is able to return to dry land once more. Experience has shown us, and some of our predecessors that this latter course of action is the better in the long run. If the swimming is gone about in the right way it can be much less time consuming and far less arduous than climbing to heights of several hundreds of feet above river level.
…One of the most essential requirements for a Kowmung trip is suitable footwear. Hobnail boots may be quite adequate for the section where grassy river banks predominate, but then the smooth granite rock is encountered and when swimming is necessary, they are worse than useless. We found that the most suitable type of footwear was either sandshoes with a good tread or sneakers with a Kromhyde sole. Both of these grip well on smooth rock surfaces even when the latter have a slope of up to 40 degrees. Furthermore, they both stand up well to long immersion in water and dry out fairly quickly.
When swimming is necessary it is advisable not to remove your shoes as you may have to walk for some distance before again entering the water: hence once more sandshoes or sneakers being much lighter than boots make swimming much easier. A point of interest regarding sandshoes is to have a size larger than normally worn as the constant immersion in water tends to cause some shrinkage.
Another important aspect is the means of water proofing the pack for the swimming sections. We found that an inner bag made from oiled japara or other suitable waterproof material into which most of one's gear is placed and securely tied is the most satisfactory. Plastic tends to tear or be readily punctured and it is not advisable to make use of this. A frameless pack is better than a framed one, being much lighter. The inner waterproof bag saves the walker the trouble of wrapping a groundsheet around his pack in the conventional manner, also he need not remove the pack from his back but is ready to swim whenever necessary, the pack acting as a buoy supporting the swimmer.
One of the most important considerations of all is keeping the pack weight down. This is best done by carefully selected food items. Wherever possible light, but nourishing and sustaining, meals would be in order.
….During the whole trip we never found ourselves at loss for a good camp site, wood and, of course, water, being plentiful. When the general nature of the terrain was rocky, isolated flat grassy patches present themselves as potential camping spots. Even in these rocky sections it is possible to find adequate sleeping room with the tent acting as a fly if it cannot be properly pitched.
And now with the Pioneer's…
- Harry Savage. (The S.B.W., February 1933).
Jenolan Caves to Yerranderie via Council Chambers Ck., the Hollanders, Tuglow and Upper Kowmung Rivers.
Three o'clock on the last day of October found us toiling up the road on the Oberon side of Jenolan Caves. On our backs were sixty pound packs containing food, home and home comforts for what we anticipated would be a ten days' walk.
At siX o'clock we were sitting by our fire at the old saw mill about three miles out from Jenolan. A typical mountain mist had clothed the gully in a blanket of white, and although but a few hundred yards off the road to civilisation one could almost imagine oneself alone in a world apart. As the rays of the setting sun struggled to reach us through the enveloping mist a score of Kookaburras took up residence in the trees above and took it in turns to laugh - presumably at us.
A daybreak start had been decided on, but day did not break in the normal sense of the word, it came in the shape of a waterfall and the rain held us up. Just before nine we set off hoping that the rain had not been enough to register a rise in the rivers.
Our objective and the main feature of the trip was to reach the foot of Morong Falls which fall a distance of fifteen hundred feet from the Boyd Plateau into the Kowmung River, and a rise would be fatal to our purpose if not to ourselves. Many have tried to reach the foot of these falls, which, owing to their inaccessibility, have become almost a legend among those who leave the beaten track, but owing to flood waters and the impassable state of the granite gorge into which they fell, the attempt has always been given up and a detour made.
After following the Kanangra Walls road along the Boyd Plateau for a distance of about half a mile, a cut was made off to the right into the head of Council Chambers Creek, and we were at the front door of the trackless country. The going at the start had been more or less easy; but gradually the undulating slopes merged into steep and almost precipitous sides, and lurch time found us in the Hollanders River which is formed by numerous creeks like the one we came down, all draining off the Boyd Plateau. At ten past three we came to the junction of Budthingeroo Creek with the Hollanders. A little further down a party of trout fishermen was met but they appeared to be having most indifferent luck.
At the next bend the last of the open spaces was left behind and the Hollanders canyon, a dismal, dank, precipitous place extending for about six miles was entered, the walls in most places sloping right down into the water leaving just a footway - sometimes.
That night the tent was pitched on a sloping shelf just above the river. I awoke about 2 a.m., feeling rather cold and upon a thorough investigation discovered that my head alone was in the tent and my feet just out of the river. We climbed out of the tent at six as the sun climbing over the steep ridge called the bushland to life and another day. It was a beautiful morning, not a cloud in the sky.
Setting off again the canyon was found to become steeper and rougher still, necessitating a great number of crossings, quite a few of them being extremely difficult. In all, twenty-three crossings were made on the Hollanders, and at eleven o'clock when we reached the granite gorge we were tired and worn. This gorge, which is virtually a rift through a granite mountain, made river walking absolutely impossible and a detour over Bull Ant Ridge was necessary, coming down on to the Tuglow about half a mile above the Falls. Lunch was eaten on the Tuglow River and then two rather weary walkers made their way downstream till one of the masterpieces of Nature - Tuglow Falls - was reached.
The river bends in an S curve through reddish granite, straightens out again and then plunges over the triple falls through a grey and white granite chasm, which appears to be carved from a solid block of stone by some mighty hand. Looking down through these wonderful falls, the Kowmung Valley could be seen far below, laid out like a distant green carpet. The next point was to get down into the valley of the Kowmung River which is formed by the merging of the two streams, the Hollanders and the Tuglow. After a terribly hard climb we reached the floor of the valley and made camp for the night.
Just after tea we were treated to one of the most picturesque sunsets I have ever seen. The dying sun worked around the hillside into the chasm that makes the Tuglow Falls, using this spot as if an outlet from the valley. There were just enough clouds to tinge the walls of the falls a rosy pink as the sun slowly sank in its granite picture frame, lighting the clouds higher and higher till it sank, leaving nothing but the roar of the falls, the murmur of the streams and the cool evening breeze.
Early morning found us out of bed and inspecting the falls of Tuglow and the lower end of the granite gorge of the Hollanders River. At ten o'clock our backs were turned to the campsite and a course set down the Kowmung River. The going was particularly hard owing to the young wattle and kanuka scrub which continually rebuffed, tore and beat us. Just before lunch we reached the Tuglow limestone outcrop situated on the second bend of the gridiron - splendid sight; a mighty lump of stone presenting a sheer face to the river. This outcrop is reputed to be honeycombed to the extreme and most dangerous. As we were most intent on the completion of our trip we admired this marvellous sight from a distance. The beginning of the granite gorge into which the river Morong falls was reached an hour or so after lunch. The river was absolutely impassable and we were forced high up on to a ridge on the right overlooking the river.
A bend in the river brought us down and me came off the ridge at a point which marks a wonderful example of the beauty of Nature's work. The river after boiling and bubbling through a myriad of small cascades, splits smoothly round an immense granite island in the middle of the river. Crossing, it was again necessary to take to the hillsides, but with no appreciable success as we were forced down a most sudden slide ankle deep in granite gravel to miss a sheer bluff.
From the divide between Horse Gully and Tuglow Hole Creeks our first view of Morong Falls was gained, the late sun making the big fall look like a silver thread on a brown tapestry. The walls of the Kowmung gorge, particularly on the eastern side are marvellous. One could not under any pretext call them beautiful, but they are grand, inspiring and immense, dropping in places for easily a thousand feet into the river and but a degree or two out of the perpendicular.
Tuglow Hole Creek is practically as much a gorge as the Kowmung and is like a Dore's illustration of “Dante's Inferno”. The walls are bare and barren, the creek small and moving with but a faint murmur. The frogs sang their discordant song, keeping time with the crickets and locusts, and the fire, which was of necessity small, threw only enough light to give the whole business a grotesque air.
The early morning sun found us up and at work again. While we agreed that it would be impossible to make the falls fully laden, there was just a chance that the way might be possible if one went empty handed and was prepared to take a chance. Immediately after breakfast we began the journey, carrying only the camera, axe and scaling rope. The camera was wrapped in oiled silk as we were intent on reaching the falls even if it entailed a swim. When only a few hundred yards down the Kowmung the walls closed right in and a sheer rock climb of several hundred feet was necessary to get over the pinch. The rope was extremely useful and practically essential. With steep granite cliffs above and below we started off around the hillside. The going was horribly tough and rough, to say nothing of being dangerous. The hillside, covered with loose stones and gravel, pitted with slide holes and watercourses, was almost perpendicular.
At a quarter to eleven a descent was made into the river down a steep, treacherous slide of loose gravel. This brought us out on to a stretch of shell pink granite several hundred feet long, over which the water played as it went ever onward to the sea. Continuing on downstream for a little way our eyes were suddenly confronted with the most welcome sight of the trip - the tail end of Morong Falls. The upper fall is not visible from the river and a climb of about four hundred feet had to be undertaken. It was hard work but well rewarded. Falling sheer for hundreds of feet in an immense bridal veil the water gathers again in a big granite basin; then down a series of steep deep cascades to halt, momentarily, in a long pink groove before continuing its course down the last twisted fall of about two hundred feet to swell the waters of the Kowmung River.
We diamond blazed a tree to the left of the big fall and felt mighty proud while doing so, for we believe ourselves to be the first to ever reach the foot of these marvellous Falls.
(To be continued)
Congratulations to Richard and Judy Redfern (Wagg) on the birth of a daughter.