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. WJ3514|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales & Subs.||Eileen Taylor|
|Typed by||Shirley Dean|
|Sydney Suburb||Kath McKay||2|
|At Our January Meeting||Alex Colley||4|
|A Night Ascent of Le Mont du Pont||T.B.B.||8|
|A Link with the Appalachian Mountains||10|
|Tribute to “Dormie”||11|
|Mid-Winter Night with a Wet Pack||Dorman Long||12|
|The Common||Ray Kirkby||17|
“However well known the peak, or the line of accent, no mountain story need ever repeat itself, or seem monotonous. Both mountain surface and mountain climber vary from year to year, even from day to day.”
Geoffrey Winthrop Young.
This applies equally to Bushwalking as we know it. For example, in recent issues we have shown the evolution of Kowmunging tactics (“Kowmung Cavalcade”). As techniques improve, the Kowmung trip becomes less an exhausting battle with Nature and more an exhilerating enjoyment of her beauties. (Those who haven't experienced the thrills and scenic delights of a “Swimming through the Kowmung” trip may not understand this).
Every trip through is different, depending on the level of the river, the weather, and the members of the parties, and a true Kowmunger will always find interest in reading someone else's account of his or her experiences. The obstacles - waterfalls, rock slides, canyons - all live in one's memory, and help to pinpoint the stage of the story.
There are still places to explore, if you want to pioneer and if you have the energy to go looking. There are still new experiences to be enjoyed in looking more closely at the old familiar places. Whatever course you take, there are stories and impressions waiting to be written and readers waiting to share your enjoyment.
Coming February 28th.
Colin Putt, leader of the 1961 New Zealand Alpine Club Expedition to New Guinea, will describe the party's adventures. In the words of the official report “The Expedition visited the Carstensz Mountains of Netherlands New Guinea (highest peak 16500 ft) in June and July 1961 with the objects of climbing the major peaks of this range and carrying out scientific work. Because of an acute shortage of suitable aircraft in the country at the time, the planned airdrop of food and equipment were not made, but the expedition, using native food and minimum equipment, covered a walking distance of approximately 200 miles through little known country, established a feasible route to and up the North wall of the range, climbed two minor peaks, carried out botanical, meteorological and topographic work, and made geological discoveries of theoretical and practical importance.
- Kath McKay
Towering above the hectic rash of houses
that daub the landscape with their rainbow hues
the pine tree, genus araucaria,
raises its iron green against the sky.
Planted by hands of settlers long ago,
it knew, as a young sapling, rolling hills
empty of habitation, golden grass
merging to sand dunes and the endless sea.
beside it dwelt the settler and his wife
in a slab hut, whitewashed fastidiously,
and the bright hearth where the iron kettle hung
was whitewashed too; the oil lamp, trimmed and clean,
stood ready for the dark. Outside, a cow,
a vegetable garden and some fowls
supplied the humble larder, and a horse,
not very rapid but reliable,
drew the spring cart on periodic trips
to city stores a dozen miles away.
Tanks caught the rain, and sometimes they were low -
oh yes, one always had a careful eye
on water, precious water. There were creeks,
but they were brackish hereabouts, the sea
being so close: though it was useful too,
because fish made a welcome change from fare
wholesome no doubt, but too predictable.
The years went by. Shacks cropped up here and there,
a road was made, and people from the town
began to drive - magnificent adventure! -
down to the virgin beach. The pine tree grew,
stretched out its arms above the settler's roof
and rung by rung soared darkly to the sky.
Piped water came, and electricity,
a store was built only a mile away,
but all was spacious still and light and free;
it came so gradually, the difference,
that no one was alarmed. “Quite civilised!”
they thought complacently; but like the tide
creeping in soundlessly, covering here
a rock and there a foot of shore, the change
flooded their lives; but then, unlike the sea,
it did not go away again.
who bought the innocent land and cut it up
in tidy little blocks (Desirable
Home Sites - Water and Electricity
Right at your Door) destroyed their way of life.
Houses sprang up, the roads were neatly paved,
swamps, one time starred with wildflowers - Christmas bells,
sprengelia, red callistemon - were drained
and barren earth appeared. Truck rattled in
and dumped their loads of rubbish, to reclaim
the sunken shore, and noisome odours soured
air once as fresh and salty as the sea.
“A Hundred Years of Progress” - thus a leaf
printed by Modern Enterprises, Inc. ….
Gone are the grasslands, gone the scanty bush
that once clung desperately to sheltered creeks;
the settlers died long since, the slab hut fell
in melancholy ruin and was burnt:
parts non-combustible were hauled away
to help fill-in the future promenade.
Only the pine remains, as legacy
from a past gone forever. Loftily
it looks now on a thriving seaside suburb:
buses and filling stations, fish and chips,
ice-creams, and idlers wandering aimlessly,
lulled by transistor radios, protected
from anything as strenuous as thought:
all, all are there. Another hundred years
of progress? What is progress? Who can tell?
But surely soon the pine will be cut down.
- Alex Colley.
At the commencement of the meeting the President told us the sad news that well-known Club identity Allan Hardie (“Dorman Long” to us all) had died at his office at 9 a.m. that morning. After referring to the many occasions when “Dormie” had enlivened debates in the clubroom with his original and unorthodox views, the President asked us to stand in silence in his memory.
Correspondence included a report on Narcissus and other Tasmanian huts which intending visitors would do well to study.
It was announced that Wilf Hilder had undertaken to be contact man for Federation's tracks and access committee.
There being no social activities since the last meeting there was no Social Report, but a report was received that Pam Baker was going to teach at Cooma and would have to resign in consequence. The President thanked Pam for the very good work she had done in organising some wonderful social activities.
Next we spent some time in the selection of a reunion camp site. Eric Adcock told us that Herman Kanters had invited us to use his 30 acre property next to the Ourimbah State Forest. It was 75 miles away by car and had a good camping area and plenty of firewood, but no swimming. It was decided, however, to go to the nearer place we all knew - Woods Creek. Choosing an alternate camp site (in case of floods) was not so easy. Burning Palms, Era and Euroka were nominated, and Euroka chosen. Thereupon Ron Knightly, foreseeing that if the Nepean were flooded, so would be Glenbrook Creek, nominated a tertiary camp site, and for this purpose, Burning Palms was chosen.
On a motion from Greg Grennan it was decided to ask Committee in consultation with the Magazine Business Manager, to consider the purchase of a new duplicating machine. With very little dissent it was decided to entrust Committee with the task, it being pointed out that we already had a donation of £50 for such a purpose and that a good machine was more useful than money in the bank.
In general business Frank Ashdown moved that the magazine be published every second month. His reason was that much of the space was being filled with material from old magazines. This material could be seen by members who looked up old magazines for themselves. Perhaps a smaller magazine would suffice. What did the editor think? The editor hadn't thought, and was somewhat stunned by the proposal, but, as his faculties recovered, he expressed the opinion that Frank was a “prophet of doom”. The reason that old articles were used was the lack of activities of members. As a result old articles were more entertaining. Jack Gentle said he found accounts of old trips very interesting and a help in planning of today's trips. It was up to present members to support the magazine. Wal Roots said that he could well remember that the magazine was going downhill fast in 1935. Wilf Hilder thought we were letting the editor down. He thought that monthly announcements and reports were a service to the Club. David Ingram pointed out that the magazine was one of our few activities that showed a profit. In reply to these remarks, Frank Ashdown said that we already had a collection of old magazines that members could refer to, and a big notice board for monthly announcements etc. The active members came in and used these facilities. The magazine was a non-glorified notice board and a collection of remnants of old articles. If members were not enthusiastic enough to support the magazine we could print a news sheet. The motion was defeated. (see Editor's comments below).
Wilf Hilder reported further water hazards at the beginning of the month. His walk to the Kowmung had been attended by 4 members and they had found the River dangerous to cross. Eileen Taylor's walk to Woolwash had been re-programmed. Jack Gentle's Heathcote-Waterfall walk had been attended by 8 members and they had enjoyed tea in the bush - a custom that could well be revived. The 10th Dec. was an active day, with 18 members and 20 children at the Kiddies Christmas Party organised by Clem Hallstrom, and 8 members and 1 prospective on Dick Child's Waterfall-Kangaroo Creek walk. Four parties had done portions of the Kowmung over the holidays and had been restricted by the high level of the river. The parties were led by Frank Leyden, Jack Wren, Colin Putt and Wilf Hilder.
Wilf then brought up the question of fire trails. He said that the present trails were just a beginning. A contract had been signed for a trail along the Gingera Range from Kanangra to Cedar Creek. The trail would run down the Kowmung to the Road at White Dog. There would also be a fire trail along to Cloudmaker to join the road up the Cox. Wilf moved that Federation be asked to protest to the Premier's Department. Frank Ashdown said that the Forestry Commission was responsible - many of its areas were devastated by fires. He didn't think the roads spoilt the country. Jack Wren thought we couldn't stop the roads, but that we could agitate that they be closed to the general public. Jim Brown referred to previous efforts to bring into being an effective fire fighting organisation. He thought we should first find out who was the body organising road construction. Gradients of 1 in 3 or 4 would make many roads inaccessible to ordinary motorists. The motion was then put and carried.
The President reminded us that election of club officers for the coming year would on be necessary. Anyone willing to stand who was unable to attend the annual general meeting could write to the Secretary to this effect.
Wa1 Roots informed us that bonds had been purchased out of Era fund money, as instructed by a previous general meeting.
After the election of Stuart Brooks, Ern French, Wilf Hilder, Eileen Taylor and Lola Wedlock as room stewards, the meeting, which had commenced late because of the previous committee meeting, closed at 10.20 p.m.
1. We are reminded of a contemporary but no longer active member who once said “I don't care what people say about me, so long as they say something”.
2. The old issues of the magazine are bound in yearly folders, each weighing about two and a half pounds. There are two sets, one held by the Editor, and one by the Custodian of Magazines (at their residences, because there's insufficient cupboard space in the Clubroom). Because of their historical value, these can only be read in the Clubroom and a wheelbarrow is needed for transport. Therefore “Old magazines” are not readily accessible.
3. This is an admirable opportunity for the Editor to attract a spot of sympathy with some verse originally found in a Bank Journal by Peter Page:-
The Editor knocked at the Pearly Gate,
His face looked worn and old;
He meekly asked the man of fate
For admission to the fold.
“What have you done;” asked Peter,
“To seek admission here?”
“Oh, I ran a monthly paper
For many and many a year”.
The gate swung open sharply
As Peter touched the bell
“Come in,” he said “and take your harp,
You've had enough of hell”.
Venue: Woods Creek.
Alternate Site: (1) Euroka, (2) Burning Palms.
Train Electric: 12.58 pm. ex North Sydney. 1.9 pm ex Central arriving Richmond 2.44 pm. Note: Change at Blacktown.
Transport Officer: Edna Stratton LJ9586.
Those travelling by train MUST contact transport officer so that cars can meet train. Last year considerable inconvenience was caused when walkers intending to come by train found other transport and cars returned from Richmond to camp site empty.
Entertainment and Competitions: Camp fire on Saturday night commencing 7.30 pm.
On Sunday: Damper competition (Flour, salt and water only). Boil the Billy.
For the Children: Sand Modelling. Hole Digging.
“I noticed in the current issued of the S.B.W. the report of the destruction of Narcissus Hut.
The week following the fire I was camped at Lake St. Clair, in charge of the Hydro Electric Commission pumping station, and had an opportunity to discuss the fire with the Assistant Ranger.
The Scenic Preservation Board had purchased material to rebuild Pine Valley hut which collapsed last winter, but this hut was found to be repairable, and has since been repaired. It is expected that the material will be used to rebuild the hut at Narcissus (2 huts were destroyed; the camp hut and the rangers hut). It is hoped to complete the work this summer and in the meantime a tent has been pitched on the site.
The fire apparently started from a cooking fire on a Saturday lunch time. Smoke was noticed at the pumping station during the afternoon and later a party reported it to the rangers who reached the spot after dark and found both huts destroyed and a small area of bush, and only the toilets left standing.
So far I have not learnt of any fires in the park although we noticed smoke to west of Mt Olympic yesterday, and a fire danger period has bean declared from tomorrow till the end of March.”
On 31st January - a daughter to Grace and Geoff Wagg. (This now makes one of each)
On 2nd February - a son to Margaret and Garth Coulter. (also now one of each).
Ina Weekes became Mrs. C. McPherson during January.
Helen Barrett (Membership Secretary) and George Gray (Treasurer) were married on 3rd February. The toasts, in true S.B.W. style, were short, witty and to the point (Paddy proposed the main toast). Overseas telegrams were received from the Rigby's (Canada) and from Bob Duncan (Boulder U.S.A.) There was the usual difficulty in recognising one's friend's clad in unaccustomed finery.
The 1962 Social Programme started well with Talks by Paul Driver (“Overseas”), John Freeland (“Ants”) and Mr. Casperson (“C.J. Dennis.”)
One of the most useful pieces of information from John Freeland was that bull-ants aren't likely to sting if you stand still and pretend to be a tree. This has been tried by a certain lady S.B.W. with complete success. Nevertheless we don't accept responsibility for other experimenters who may not be successful.
By The Brothers Boltschudt.
(Editor's Note: Most of our readers will have read of the Schmid Brothers, who climbed, amongst other things, the North Face of the Matterhorn. Recently we discovered a yellowing manuscript, its blue ink blackened with age. It claims to be the writing of the Brothers Boltschudt, who, we suppose are famous European climbers, and it describes a perilous Alpine ascent. What a tale of Adventure! What a battle against insupperable odds!)
Foreward: The Mont du Pont is an eternally frozen mountain of black ice rising straight from sea level. There are two ridge routes - the upper and the lower. In order to gain access to the upper route, two huge overhanging ice seracs must be by-passed. Exciting vertical chimney climbs are possible between these above two routes. The lower regions between North and South ends of the mountain are continually raked by fast-travelling horizontal missiles in the Chute. These missiles are all lethal. Gendarmes can present a serious problem to newcomers who approach it via the terraces.
A chill wind blew as we The Brothers Boltschudt, clad in the guise of normal people, hurried along the route to the terrace. Here we found ample supplies of quick-setting concrete. Being of uncontaminated principles, we decided unanimously against the use of concrete steps as an artificial climbing aid; our honour and good name was at stake! Our plan was simple. Once on the terrace, we would hurry past the Southern Pillars and between volleys of fast-travelling horizontal missiles, we would leap up onto the ramp, pendulum above the overhang, and quickly gain a safe height.
This movement went off without a hitch. Although at any moment we expected to face the unpleasant situation of negotiating a gendarme or an alternative swift retreat. This latter obstacle was our main concern. Its appearance would mean abandoning the Summit Attempt. Self preservation was top priority - as on all important expeditions! On the ramp our movements became sure and steady - one false step meant death or worse. There could not - there would not be a second attempt!
We did a delicate traverse to the other side of the ramp and commenced the vertical ascent to the 'flat-iron'. We had gained the top of the ridge. Here, the cold was unbearable. Our ice-picks were useless on this wicked-looking ice. Carefully we picked our way along the ridge - one false step would plunge us to the watery depths below. At last we stood on the top of the upper ridge. Success was almost ours! All that remained was the overhanging pinnacle.
I gazed down at my frozen fingers. Was it worth the sacrifice of these! I gritted my teeth, mortally fighting the cold. With a swift decisive movement I swallowed another P.K. and advanced. My companion anxiously watched as I made my may over the overhang. One finger, then two slowly made a grip on the needle-like holds. Then a slip! Momentarily I dangled over space, but the jolt caught my trusty pair of “Police & Firemans” and on the rebound I was catapulted to the top of the pinnacle. The traditional summit photograph was taken and my cup of joy flowed over as I gazed down upon the lights of the little village far below.
We were not to be daunted by the terms “extremists” or “miserable gymnasts” - our thoughts turned then to men like Harrer, Aufschnaiter. They, too had known similar moments. Suddenly my mind cleared as I gazed with pity at my dear companion. My own hands were living once more, but he was deliriously beating his fingers endeavouring to restore circulation. We had to get down immediately so I forcefully persuaded my companion to begin the descent.
The ramp was attempted in a startling glissade - again our ice picks were of no avail. Near the bottom of the ramp I gazed upwards at one of the vertical pillars of the ridge. Exhilarated, I shot upwards hand over hand - only for practice. My companion stood on the terrace, obviously mentally and physically unbalanced. I retraced by steps - comradeship before solo climbs…. Swinging on the icicles of the overhang on the return I caught my trousers. As I pendulumed upside down suspended by my F.J.'s, I experienced a nasty sensation.
A movement out of the corner of my eye gave me the impression I was swinging straight across to a gendarme. It as only our third valiant member who was holding the precious contents of the rucksacks against gale-face updrafts. “Ah cruel vision, how deceptive thou art in the cloak of night”.
A quick retreat across the Chute and I had joined my companions. An hour later we were sipping brew in a little known cafe. Intoxicated with success we fixed our steely gaze on the proprietor and thawed our frozen hands on the steaming jugs as we sang “The Mountaineering Song”.
“Mouldy” Harrison has recently heard from Betty Pryde, daughter of the late Charles Pryde and well known to many members.
“We belong to the Appalachian Mountain Club, which has headquarters in Boston, but confine our activities to the local chapter in Worcester. It is an extremely active club, although in Worcester we have a goodly number of “Old and Bold” who rather prefer to sit around and eat and reminisce over past excursions than actually get out to climb mountains. We have the wonderful White Mountains, and the Green Mountains, and also the lovely Berkshire Hills within a few hours drive so can have all the rough stuff we want, as well as the more leisurely trips. The club operates a series of huts, all through the mountains. Some of them are very fancy with hut boys doing fabulous things with cooking, and others are mere lean-to's where one takes one's own provisions and the lean-to's are merely shelters. But in our mountains they are more or less a necessity as we can have some extremes of weather very suddenly. I don't know if you are familiar with New England, but we think it is the loveliest area of the U.S.A. Of course, the winters are very long and cold, but they are just what the skiers want, and so there are innumerable ski resorts and runs within easy access of everyone. I tried my hand at the skiing, but concluded I had started much too late, and last Christmas I gave my skiis and poles away to a young girl who was longing to learn and hadn't the equipment. Dick used to be an excellent skier - was in an Olympic Team - and he is always being asked to help get the children started on the right track, after they received skiis from Santa Claus, and we have had some hilarious excursions out on small hills with “Mr. Heywood” showing about 14 giggling children how to snow-plow. Mrs Heywood goes along loaded down with cookies and hot cocoa and a good time is had by all. The city of Worcester is not too exciting but we have the wonderful advantage of having some lovely countryside round our edges, and within 10 minutes drive from our house we can be out in beautiful pine woods which seem as remote as the northern 1akes in Maine. We spend almost every waking minute outdoors in spring, summer and fall, and hibernate in the winter. We keep the car loaded with picnic equipment, stove, folding chairs, folding tables, eating equipment, etc. and every day finds us out on an expedition, even if it is just for an hour or two. All I have to do is throw in the food and we can get off. The country side is lovely and it takes the sting off the long winters.”
Betty's address is - 30 Saxon Road, Worcester 2, Massachusetts. U.S.A.
With the sudden death of Allan Hardie on 10th January 1962, the Club lost one of its most colourful members. He had a mind of his own and usually spoke it. His affectionate nickname, 'Dormie', referred to the numerous miscellaneous items he was wont to carry in his pack until it resembled a construction kit of Dorman Long and Co. Ltd, the builders of the Sydney Harbour bridge. He was Treasurer of the Club for a number of years and kept our accounts in meticulous order and our expenditure within bounds.
At the memorial service conducted at St. Stephen's Church, Macquarie St., the officiating clergyman paid tribute to his membership of St. Stephen's Choir, the Armed Forces between 1939-1945 and subsequently, with the Water Board R.S.L., and his work for the bushwalking movement. The service concluded with a moving Scottish lament played, in the absence of a set of bagpipes, on the organ.
“I like Allan” said Taro, after their first meeting tens of years ago, and not since then has that liking lessened. The 'Dormie' title was still to come. Like Laz. Pura he was the solitary type - I too have a leaning that way - we got on very well.
His conversation - never frivolous - embraced a wide range of topics; he certainly read other stuff than newsprint. His travel talk, with me, was always entertaining, more so than in the club shows, and in all the years we mixed, I cannot recall one word of malice or personal criticism. He always seemed to have something more interesting to say, and never, or never, a muddy joke.
One incident gives a very clear picture of the real Dormie, that not too many know. Often, with a few days in prospect he should carry his pack to the office, and go from there to the train. A few non-walking nuts on the staff, slipped into his pack some pounds of lead paper weights and how they watched the tug it took to lift the pack! However, Dormie battled on to the train and with plenty time in hand, decided to see why the pack seemed overweight. He found the lead - and even a grin, and did he toss it out of the window? NO, his inborn scottish integrity forbade such a deed. He got off at Berry and first job was to mail it back to the rightful owners - the M.W. & S. Board. Dormie was ever a man of valour and acquainted with loads.
Anyone wanting a good word picture of him should read the yarn below, from our magazine of 1.10.32; an account of some trouble on the Grose. And trouble it was for Dormie, but observe the nice shapely style of writing; the easy philosophy is something to remember.
And how many know he played the leading part in the creation of the Coronation Vista. On the Pacific Highway, many weeks went into the collection of signatures which had such a happy and enduring result. Let all who pull in for this truly grand view, remember our own Dormie was responsible for it.
Yes, I shall miss Dormie.
by “Dorman Long”.
When Robert Louis Stevenson set about the composition of his essay on “A Night among the Pines”, it was with purposes far different from those I have in mind now when I begin to describe the recent misadventure which befell me. Whereas that master of English fiction wished to imbue his readers with some of the glamour of romance attending a warm night spent beneath murmuring pine-trees, I hope, on the other hand, with all the altruistic fervour of which I am capable, to warn fellow walking-enthusiasts, lest they should, consciously or unconsciously, imitate my dreadful example.
It all happened on “Peter” Page's official trip last Bank Holiday weekend, from Hartley Vale along the Grose River to Blackheath (intended, but Mount Victoria, actually). And here I take the opportuniV of condemning the selection of the upper reaches of the Grose River for a pleasure-trip. If you are of so acetic a type of mind as to think that your daily peccadilloes demand some occasional, self-inflicted, personal chastisement, - if, that is to say, you wish to do yourself a “gross” injustice, - then you will tackle the portion of the Grose River we traversed in the right spirit. But for recreation it should certainly be tabooed from the programme of every self-respecting bush-walker.
There were three of us in our party, a young man whom I knew by the nickname of “Davey” being the third member. When we started out on the Sunday morning, having camped the night near Hartley Vale Station, our greatest trouble was in keeping to the track. No doubt, in the early days of the Colony, before the railway line over the Blue Mountains was laid, a regular track enabled setters to couple East with West. But since that time it has become overgrown with lawyer vines, brambles, and creepers of all descriptions. Had Dorothy Lawry and some of the other naturalists of the Club been with us, they would have been able to tell us the correct, botanical names; but, as it was, we found our vocabulary large enough to describe them the while they tore us to pieces. I differed from my companions in my attitude toward these monarchs of the wilds; they donned every stitch of clothing they had, in order to protect their flesh; I, on the contrary, with the blood of Scottish ancestry flowing through my veins, went with limbs bare, and preferred the via crucis (the way of physical pain) to the expense of new clothes afterwards. Somehow or other I for a while got ahead of my two mates, and, becoming tired of the ceaseless massacre, decided to try my luck on the river itself. Here we assembled, and prepared for lunch at three o'clock.
Epicureanism was the primary cause of my subsequent mishap. My Liking for fried sausages and onions for dinner is notorious amongst Club members. But never again. While I was engrossed in the task of imparting a uniform browness to the sausage skins, and an even degree of softness to the onions, “Peter” remarked that we had only about an hour and a half of sunlight left before dark, but I was too busy with my gustatory images to take much notice of the time. So perfect was my cooking that I felt like Dives, with my two friends each a Lazarus, sniffing at my sumptuous table. Then, when I was engaged in the process of consumption, the leader declared that “Davey” and he would move on, stating that he intended to camp at the junction with Creek Mount Victoria, and asking me to follow on within ten minutes. I replied that I would finish the day's journey even if I had to use my torch or lamp. Little did I dream that the river, to which I had turned for salvation from the thorns, was going to turn out so treacherous!
It must have been half an hour, after the conversation last referred to, before I had everything packed, and was ready to start again. This time I made it my policy to keep to the river, sometimes hopping from rock to rock, and at others wading through the water, with my boots and socks on. My feet were certainly chilled, but I took comfort from the thought that I had a dry pair of socks in my pack, and that a comfortable night's sleep would be assured me. For a while I made great progress, and became hopefull of soon regaining my comrades; but all of a sudden the river changed its tactics. Gigantic boulders began to confront me. To climb up one was only to find as steep a drop on the other side. Moreover, the fastly vanishing daylight brought “Peter's” warning anew to my ears. At length I came across a very narrow defile, to get through which with my pack on my back would be impossible. Accordingly took it off, lifted it up on to the rock in front of me, and then turned aside to examine the next corner for likely footholds. No sooner had I begun my investigation than I heard a dull, scraping sound, followed by a resounding splash; and, on looking up, my pack had disappeared from view. It had fallen into the river! Desperately I mounted a rock, from which I located the pack, floating in a rectangular basin of water, surrounded on all sides by precipitous crags. To recover it was going to present a problem. And yet I could not bear to sacrifice it because many pays would have to come and go before I replaced the lost equipment. Besides, abandonment would mean the frustration of all “Paddy” Pallin's efforts to convert a prototype into an up-to-date model; and, like some Gothic cathedral, that rucksack was still in a stage of transition. Accordingly I made my way to that corner of the basin nearest my pack. Readers can quite well imagine my anxiety, as I slid over the rock and held on to the top ledge, lest I should fall into the water and wet the sparse clothing left dry on me. That morning “Peter” had assessed the weight of of my pack at forty-six pounds. I shall leave to physicists the estimation of what it weighed after immersion. As it was, I had gradually to drag it up the steep incline; and, while in the act, my memory was serving up to me an anecdote my mother told me before I left home the previous day, about a young man who died in a fortnight through spraining the muscles of his heart during a camping trip. At last the pack was on the top ledge, when it was safely restored to my back. But now I felt as though I were a miniature Atlas, with the world suddenly hoisted on to my shoulders. In the last, remaining vestiges of twilight, I tried to continue my journey.
“Troubles come not singly, but in shoals”, Shakespeare once made one of his characters say. So I found in my case. The tremendous burden of my rucksack was rendering further walking an arduous ordeal. In fact, so uncertain was my balance that I was groping and crawling more than walking. As for climbing, that required a sustained, Herculean effort, and I was becoming more and more fatigued. To make matters worse, a thunder-storm came over, and I was forced to take refuge from the heavy rain beneath my waterproof sheeting, while I planned what I had best to do under the circumstances. Of course, it was not pitch-dark. There was but one course open to me, if I wished to avoid contracting a severe chill, and that was to keep on moving till I reached the others' camp, even though it took me all night. But when I found my torch, the feebleness of the light it gave reminded me that I had not renewed the battery. So I looked for matches, in order to light my small hurricane-lamp, but water had even penetrated the tin in which I kept them, and they were ruined. The rain having ceased, I proceeded; but, while the torch-light illumined my immediate footsteps, I could not tell where my more remote ones would lead me. Once, when I was about to step forth into an abyss, I realised the danger I was in. While I was thus on the verge of despair, I noticed a gleam ahead of me, as of a dying camp-fire. At first I thought it a mere hallucination, a chimera of my distorted fancy. But as I approached nearer, those glowing embers became realities to me: they were so wonderfully protected from the rain, too, being in a small cave, with a substantial heap of dry firewood neatly piled alongside. Needless to say, I decided to spend the night here.
first thought, as I commenced to convert the cinders into a blazing fire, was that “Peter” and “Davey”, having surmised the predicament I was in, had prepared the fire for me, and had then moved on, in order to complete the distance. With a heart full of thanks, I breathed beatitudes upon them, - yes, and upon our Bush Walkers' Club, too, seeing that it was an institution which could inculcate such divine foresight in its members. I did not worry about any tea that night, nor about cleansing my teeth. My sole concern was to get my belongings as dry as possible for the morrow. Later on I improvised a bed for myself, by means of the waterproof sheeting, with the wet tent drawn over me for a counterpane. In spite of the rain, I managed to doze off into a very brief sleep; but my slumbers were soon terminated with the sight of a brilliant reflection, visible through my tent. Lifting the counterpane, I noticed that my blanket, which I had placed close to the fire, was igniting at the corners. I jumped up, but my bare feet almost failed to support me, so numb with the cold they had become. Moreover, I was resolved to spend the rest of the night either sitting or standing beside the fire. Each time I felt myself going of to sleep, I would bring myself to with the recollection of the fate of my blanket. Towards dawn, I sank back from sheer exhaustion, and fell asleep, a modern Jacob, on a bed of stones.
As soon as day broke I hastily packed up - which was no easy task, considering that the textiles had swollen so much overnight as a result of their saturation. Nor did I worry about the lawyer-vines, or the rents they inflicted on my clothing; but I made a human tank of myself, and forged onwards with but one purpose in view, to make up the leeway of distance. Very welcome was the smoke I could see arising from “Peter's” camp near Creek Mount Victoria. But more welcome still was the breakfast they gave me on arrival, and the furnace they created helped all the more quickly to dry my accoutrement. However, my mind was soon disabused as to the “divine foresight” of “Peter”; for, when I mentioned to him the incident of the fire already prepared for me, his answer was that, although his nickname was “Peter” , he was not the Angel Gabriel. From then on we did not unduly bustle ourselves, but proceeded along Creek Mount Victoria, and finished up at Mount Victoria.
Thus concludes this chapter in my life's history. One thing stands out clear, - that I am somehow peculiarly gifted with a tutelary deity, an amicus certus in re incerta, who always comes to my assistance in my darkest adversity. In conclusion, if anything has been learnt from reading of my narrative, I shall be well pleased with the knowledge that I have achieved something toward the perfection of New South Wales bush walking.
A walker/fishing enthusiast has persuaded us that walkers in general should not pass up the chance, so often unwittingly passed by, to dangle a line and per chance add a succulent morsel to the morning or evening meal. In case you agree with him, we have a selection of suitable light fishing tackle to add more interest to some walks. Have a look next time you're in the shop.
A very special purchase enables us to offer solid fuel tablets at a give away price. A real lifesaver on wet trips. 1/9 per packet while they last. A price which cannot be repeated.
Large plastic bags:
Originally we bought these to store away winter clothing but some thoughtful customer pointed out how useful they would be for walkers and we now have them available at 2/6. Size 48” x 24“.
An improved model from the original, available again after a temporary shortage. All press studs heavily reinforced. Price - £7.10.0.
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney. BM2685.
Turramurra - bus to Bobbin Head - launch trip on Cowan Creek and tributaries.
These periodical cruises down Cowan Creek are already famous and comment seems superfluous. The scenery is grand. Brian will be back from holidays during the first week in February. Let him know early if you intend to go so that sufficient boats may be ordered.
8.10 a.m. train Central Electric Station to Turramurra via Bridge. 8.50 a.m. bus Turramurra - Bobbin Head.
Tickets: Turramurra return @ 4/3, plus return bus fare. Boat hiring charges extra.
Leader: Brian Harvey.
Map: Hawkesbury River Tourist or Broken Bay Military.
Church Point - launch to Lovett Bay - The Flagstaff - Topham Trig - America Bay - Soldiers Print - Longnose Point - Lovett Bay. 10 miles.
Could be scratchy in parts. Gaiters recommended. This is the first Club walk to use the track recently cleared by Club members between Lovett Bay and The Flagstaff. Lovely views of Pittwater and Broken Bay.
8.30 a.m. ferry to Manly. Or 8.45 a.m. Palm Beach bus from Wynyard. Change at Mona Vale. 9.12 a.m. bus Manly to Church Point, Route No. 157.
Tickets: Cash fares will amount to about 11/-.
Leader: Bill Rowlands.
Map: Broken Bay Military for preference.
Waterfall - Uloola Falls - Heathcote. 9 miles.
An ideal trip for new members traversing the South - Western portion of National Park. At least 2 sets of aboriginal carvings in the Uloola Falls area.
8.50 a.m. Cronulla train from Central Electric Station to Sutherland. Change at Sutherland for rail motor to Waterfall.
Tickets: Waterfall return @ 5/9.
Leader: Dick Child.
Map: Port Hacking Tourist.
As Jon Gossage is in New Zealand, Wilf Hilder is arranging a walk to replace that shown on the programme. See Wilf for details.
This month's prize for imaginative writing from the Dailies: Topic: (Toughening up exercise for the army). “Wild Bushland Mountains…. in the Great Dividing Range, 22 miles west of the Putty Road, a wilderness (the Range, that is, not the Putty Road) so crisscrossed by cliffs and ravines that a man's progress is slowed to a mile in five hours…. only shelter will be the caves in the mountains (i.e. overhangs) - if the numerous dingoes, wallabies and red-bellied black snakes that inhabit the district haven't beaten the troops to them.”
A few weeks ago I had a couple of hours to fill in one Sunday morning. As it was wild flower time I decided to seek some out and remembered having passed many a time a large area of bush near Roseville Bridge. This area seemed the nearest and likeliest for the short time available to me.
At the top of the hill above the bridge I made some enquiries. “Yes. That's a Reserve out there and if you take the first road to the right and so on and so on and so on and so on…. you come to the Common.”
I was excited at the prospect of seeing flowers but when I was directed to the Common - yes, Common - the adventure acquired for me an historical-romantic character.
After driving along a couple of suburban streets, I shot into an appalling rubbish dump though even here I could descry brilliant clumps of tetratheca between the mounds of rubbish. I got out of the dump as soon as possible and enquired from the first person as to the whereabouts of the Common. “That”, said my informant pointing where I had just been “is the Common”.
To recoil was my first reaction, but my time was limited and if I were to go travelling around looking for some unspoiled place I should probably finish up seeing nothing. The rubbish would extend only as far as vehicles could get in so parked the car and set off.
At, first the rubbish was so thick that few living things had a chance to grow - the most spectacular were the car parts and the cars, some almost whole. But I spied a magnificent red grevillea to which I hurried. The ground was wet and soggy as there had been recent rain but I was able to stand and admire the grevillea, foot dry on a roll of linoleum, not the best but quite serviceable.
Past the old chairs, the worn guttering, the decaying clothing, the path began to deteriorate and the surroundings to improve. Finally in a rocky section through wattles out in flower the rubbish ceased and I was able to enjoy boronias, grevilleas and stretches of suave casuarinas, most satisfying though no flowers brightened the greenness. Even through all this area there were frequent signs of upheaval where purveyors of flagging had been getting, perhaps stealing, their wares. However most of the scars had healed so that they were no longer offensive. Some remains were picturesque having the appearance of ruins of sandstone temples or miniature Stonehenges. Down in these half-dark gullies, the boronia ledifolia shone with individual brilliance.
It was time to climb back to the plateau and I knew that I was getting near civilization again when in the centre of a rock flanked by boronia, solitary, lay a chamber-pot - in good order, too. Worth salvaging.
The sun had warmed up and now the puddles and soggy rubbish gave off a putrid, steamy odour which disgusted - disgusted me? why? Millions of years ago on the steamy shores of a stagnant puddle, I am told that the first life began to begin. And, if the rocks of those times could think, they would equally have deprecated the revolting mess remaining from the ineffectual and unsuccessful efforts of matter to make itself into a living thing. And in such a place as this, perhaps we shall see the birth of a man more suited to these technological times, more in harmony with his surroundings.
If we shall travel through space, is not this cyclinderblock more durable than my capricious heart? The tibia and fibula are delicate, brittle travesties when the life force could incorporate these iron bedstead legs. No raucous voices can break the silence when fitted with these mufflers and the unnecessarily delicate mechanism of the eye will be replaced by this more serviceable glass. There will still be eyes of many different colours but in Australia brown eyes will predominate. No time will be wasted on hairdressers for these springs will give us unchanging permanent waves, the skin you'll love to touch will be sponge rubber and the lips, the lips you press….
A brief history of “The Sydney Bushwalker”.
June 1931, the first issue of “The Bushwalker” published as a private venture by Marjorie Hill (Editor), Brenda White, Rene Browne, Dorothy Lawry and Miles Dunphy, who each contributed 10/- as nucleus of a working fund. Published every two months. About 16-18 pages.
6th August 1932, adopted by the Club as “The Sydney Bushwalker”. A journal devoted to matters of interest to members of the Sydney Bushwalkers, Sydney, N.S.W. and continued every two months until January 1937. Some issues were missed when the “Annuals” were being printed.
January 1937, the first annual subscription. The magazine became a Quarterly.
December 1937, by popular demand appeared the first of “The Sydney Bushwalker” in its present form, printed on the Club duplicator, with a cover designed by Alan Rigby.
We haven't missed a month since then!
Yeola: (Upper Kangaroo River). Frank Leyden had 16 on his camping trip. The weekend was memorable for leeches and blackberries - plenty of both. A pleasant camp despite the rain.
Burning Plams: 27 at the camp led by Jack Gentle. Good swimming although fine on Monday only.
Carrington Falls: Motorised brigade camp. 8 plus visitors plus children. “Now we've seen everything”, writes our reporter, “a group of bushwalkers including two ex-presidents, sitting around the camp fires in canvas chairs under umbrellas!”
There were more SBW's camped down the hill at The Page's place.
We started this series with a summary of Kowmung methods which tell the prospective Kowmunger all he wants to know about the terrain and probable conditions.
Then to the impression the rugged gorges made on the first S.B.W. party in 1933; then the experiences of the first Swimming-through-trip in 1937. Paddy Pallin followed their example at Easter 1940.
Not much was heard of the Kowmung then until 1952, when the present day techniques were first tried. Since then every Xmas has its Kowmungers. There are the leisurely parties who take their time and enjoy the scenery (and the food) to the full. Alex Colley puts it neatly - April 1959. 'Slow trip down the Kowmung' - illustrated by Pam Baker. “We were now approaching the biggest gorge on the Kowmung - our food depot at Lannigan's Creek”.
Then there are the first lighthearted parties who combine a real love of nature with a certain amount of Athleticism. This is well documented by Carl Doherty in “Kowmung Capers! March 1960” - illustrated by Helen Barrett. “It was now decided to rope the packs to Mick, jump into the turbulence of the left fall and be carried out by its thrust, taking the pack, lowered by Mick as one swept by. Snow's masterful handling of the jumping is worth quoting. When Mick had the packs, Snow turned and said 'You go first, Helen,' and aside to us, 'We'll see if she comes up'. When she did come up Snow mumbled something about 'Better make certain' followed by 'You go next Evelyn', and as she broke the surface with all the grace of a porpoise he smiled and reported: 'It's quite safe. There are no snags, and I guess it doesn't matter who goes next.'”
Thi6 concludes our series on Kowmung Cavalcade, but, conversely, we hope that the series will never be concluded.
Every year has its Kowmungers. This year's parties should really have something to write about. It's never too late.
The National Parks Association of N.S.W. (Central Region) has advised that at the Extraordinary General Meeting on 28th November 1961, it was agreed that Group Membership will be discontinued.
The circular continues “Group Membership has failed to procure the large number of members, which it was designed to do; and, it does not nearly pay for the journals, bulletins and meetings, as well as capitation fees of 2/6 per head to State Council.
The matter was brought before the General Meeting at this time because of the imminent merging of the Caloola Club with the Central Region will mean more and larger Bulletins, more meetings and outings and the opportunity for all Association members to take part in coach trips.
'It is felt that the ordinary subscription of 15/- (£1 for married couples) is quite reasonable for what members receive from the Association, quite apart from the fact that the main objective of Membership is to support the work of the Association in order to achieve more and better National Parks.'
The present Group Memberships will continue until June 30, 1962, when the N.P.A. hopes that all Group Members will become fully financial members of the Association.
“Narcissus Hut has been replaced by four large tents with accommodation for about 30 people at a pinch. Pine Valley Hut has been repaired since winter snows flattened it and is now as good as ever. There is only room in Nichols Hut for about 4 people. A further hut has been built on the Lake St. Claire track about 4½ miles south of Narcissus. It has been named the Echo Point Hut. It is capable of holding about 6 or 8 people, but is by far and away the best hut in the Reserve.
For all your transport from Blackheath contact Hatswell's Taxi & Transport Service. Ring, write, wire or call any hour - day or night.
'Phone: Blackheath W459 of W151.
Booking office: 4 doors from the Gardners Inn Hotel (look for the neon sign).
Speedy 5 or 8 passenger cars available. Large or small parties catered for.
We will be pleased to quote trips or special parties on application.