A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalker, The N.S.W. Nurses' Association Rooms “Northcote Building,” Reiby Place, Sydney.
Box No. 4476, G.P.O. Sydney. 'Phone 843985.
|Editor||Bill Gillam, Old Bush Rd., Engadine. 5208423.|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, Coral Tree Rd., Carlingford.|
|At Our January Meeting||W.G.||2|
|The Kosciusko State Park||6|
|Letter to the Editor||12|
|Cascading the Lower Kowmung||D. Rostron||13|
|Mountain Equipment Co.||5|
Political correspondents, if one reads the newspapers, exercise more influence than most people addicted to words. At the drop of a cigar ash they can present the intrigues of the latest coup in Central Africa or the consequences on American aid when a tin miner in Bolivia has an upset stomach. Whether they write for the New York Times or the S.B.W. they do descend to the level of mortals and go on holidays with their families. It was this fact that caused me to assume the mantle of Walter Lippman and James Brown and arrive with sharp pencil and virgin notebook to record the January meeting.
At 8.15 p.m. the President arose from his chair to count the house. Having agreed the count at 31 in the room and four or five in the anti-chamber or Noises-off he declared the meeting open and asked the Social Secretary representing the Secretary to read the minutes. The bulk of the Minutes was devoted to the trust deed concerning the use of our recently acquired ice axes and crampons. This appeared to have been drawn up by our Treasurer in his most cautious mood after reading the troubles of H.G. Palmer and delinquent debts. The only thing overlooked was an extradition treaty to recover the goods from foreign lands.
The correspondence was read; from Peter and Rae Page expressing thanks at their election as Honorary Members; from the dual Minister (for Lands and Mines) replying to our inquiries of coal mining in the Royal National Park. The Blue Mountains National Park Trust advised that the fallen branches from the snowfall were no longer a possible fire danger and to leave the remaining wood to warm ourselves in the winter.
The Treasurer came on. Economics and accounting, fascinating as theoretical exercises, are dismal disciplines after the wonders of Christmas. Once again we had an excess of expenditure over receipts; the order of magnitude being one months rent and a sum of five guineas which was the nett cost to the club of its copies of the Bushwalker Annual. This was a warning it seemed that soon we must face fiscal responsibility.
There was neither walking or federating to report. The Social Secretary forecast that we would enjoy Alan Rigby on Centralia and the Burtons on Samoa in the coming month. The Noises-off were very quiet. The President cleared his throat. We were into general business.
Where would we Re-une?
Automatically Woods Creek was nominated. Tentatively Macarthur's Flat was proposed. Members were called to physical activity. Self-appointed tellers counted the hands. The results were disputed.
Another vote. Different and still disputed. Another vote. Agreement on the voting at least. Shades of the Rum Rebellion. Macarthur had won. Having seized the initiative the rebels elaborated on the beauties of the Nattai and Macarthur's Flat; its pleasant pools, abundant wood, the sense of a new frontier. They minimised the possible difficulties - there was really only less than a mile to walk from where the cars would be parked, one train a day when most people would in any event go to Woods Creek by car, a spokesman assured us that “elderly people” who had been to Woods Creek would get to Macarthur's. The revolt was a successful one but would it be accomplished? The President warned us that fire regulations may stop us and we have to seek, possibly, permission to camp. Mick Elfick already revealed as a Macarthur man, promised to find out.
On the basis that we would and could go to the Nattai, Ian Dillon was Presidentially appointed Organiser, Barbara Edwards and Ruth Constable as Supper organisers and Bill Gillam as Transport Organiser. Pertinent duties were explained. For the specialist position of Builder of the Ladies Toilet we stuck to tradition and called on Jack Perry who also would be the area cleaner-upper.
The matter of entertainment was stood over. One could feel the tension fall from the meeting and slink down the stairs. Our Treasurer joined the revolution, moving the Keynesian proposition that we should spend our way out of financial difficulty; to wit moving that ten pounds be spent on entertaining the children. Betty Farquar offered to do the spending. There was-nothing further to do, at the moment, for the reunion.
David Ingram waved the Walks Secretary's betting boards, reminding us that confirmation date for the Walks Programme was, as ever, almost upon us. Gladys Roberts had heard of a proposal for aerodrome on the Northside and was reassured that the matter had been mentioned in Federation. The refusal of the Kuringai Chase Trust to lop trees in the approach path had deterred would-be users and effectively stopped the proposal.
Circulars and Magazines were noted together with a list of financial members of the Launceston Walking Club. Once more the meeting hushed as our President in his most sombre mood declared that a double dissolution was imminent and we would or should start thinking who we wanted for our officers in the next year. Before we took the long view we despatched the short necessity of appointing room stewards and heard who was going where in the very near future and adjourned at 8.55 p.m.
Over coffee while the shadow ministry was being assessed and discussed I brooded on the closeness of the vote. Was mine the fifteenth, deciding vote. Was this the best way to decide the venue? The best time to decide? Was the demographic nature of the club changing with more little children to be carried and more “elderly people”? Is the reunion for members who see each other every week or those who we only see once a year. I watched the sugar sink through the froth of the third coffee. My night of political reporting was over.
During October I went down to Victoria to do a Pioneer “Roof Top Tour”, reasoning that if a sprained ankle prevents you walking you can still have the joy of being amongst mountains.
It was a great success. We had glorious views of the King, Ovens and Kiewa River Valleys (so green after drought stricken N.S.W.) with their tidy farms and preponderance of leafy English trees. With a backdrop of the mountains, still streaked with snow, blue skies and photogenic clouds what more could anyone ask?
The trip lasted four days and we stayed overnight at Bright, Mount Beauty and Omeo. Bright of course is a well known tourist centre. My favourite recollection is of the park, in the early morning, with the sun rays slanting through the lovely trees, and the swift running stream.
Mount Beauty was a surprise. When I was last there it was a very raw construction centre for the S.E.C. Now with its man-made lake and the trees planted by the Commission growing to maturity, it is quite delightful.
The outstanding feature at Omeo was a “local” with a pet Wombat. It followed him around like a dog. Sleeps on the foot of his bed and shares his beer and stout!
I was delighted to be on Mount Buffalo. I had seen it from so many trig stations in the Victorian Alps and it was good to be there looking back on to the impressive mountains.
We had a picnic lunch at Rocky Valley and I was interested to see the colourful buildings of the Falls Creek Ski Village, looking rather stark in Summer but no doubt attractive when surrounded by snow. A I looked at the dammed waters in Rockey Valley I thought of our walks in Rocky and Pretty Valleys - then criss-crossed with tiny clear streams, and the mosses starred with tiny alpine flowers. Mount Hotham was a thrill. When last there the overall impression was one of desolation due to the legacy of the dreadful 1939 fires - stark black tree trunks everywhere. In the meantime other trees have grown up. Whilst the other bus passengers drank their beer at the Callet, I dashed up to the Trig and the views were magnificent. Still patches of snow with a few folk practicing their ski turns and quite a lot of snow on Fainter and Feathertop. My mind went back to our arrival at Hotham in a howling gale at dusk. (The party comprised Marion and Harry Ellis, Dorothy Hasluck and myself). How gratefully we took shelter in a roadmens hut! On the following days we had explored Fainter and Feathertop, strolling amongst the lovely snow daisies. I thought of several delightful campsites on the edge of the Bogong High Plains and some “odd bods” with whom we shared huts. Of Mount Bogong where we had a snow storm and how superior we felt snug in our tents to the many men crowded into the nearby Cleve Cole hut. They were most S.E.C. workers, inexperienced walkers, without tents, who apparently were often mislaid and arrived at the hut at all hours of the night and early morning. Good luck to them - they tried!
I remembered that as we came off Bogong it rained, and the rain continued all day. The thought of camping the night was rather a horror but Harry - who put a lot of research into planning trips - had seen an old but marked on a map and was determined to find it. He did! The walls were lined with linoleum, which I found unusual, and the ends of the pitched roof were open - the apertures being almost completely covered with spider webs. Somehow we got a fire going and as we ate our dinner - the ground outside awash with inches of water - that hut was heaven!
Maybe these recollections sound a little nostalgic, but how very fortunate are we bushwalkers with our tremendous fund of (mostly) happy and always interesting memories.
See January issue of The Sydney Bushwalker.
Myles J. Dunphy.
I have asked the Editor for the favour of “follow-up” space in connection with the above article, not to cause trouble but to protect my veracity as a Sydney Bush Walker and member of the Royal Australian Historical Society. As briefly as possible this is what I wish to state:
The following notes cover most of the factual subject matter omitted or altered from the original article “A”.
|Page 1. Heading||The authors should have been noted as Balder U. Byles and Myles J. Dunphy.|
|Page 5. par 2||After 1914 read: In that year the Mountain Trails Club of N.S.W. was founded in Sydney and consisted of a small band of hardy young men who loved the bushland for its own sake, and carried their camping swags happily on extended expeditions into rugged country. Their maxim was: “You were not the first over the trail; leave the pleasant places along the way just as pleasant for those who follow you”. This bush brotherhood is still in existence. This Club founded the recreation of camping-walking in roadless rugged country in New South Wales.|
|Page 6. after par. 3||The names of a few of the many helpful colleagues in the movement, should be recorded for historical interest: M.L. Berry: A.P. Rigby: H.J. Chardon: C.G. Kilpatrick: H.A. Colton: H. Freeman: J. Perrott: W.J. Roots: R. Savage: Miss M.B. Byles: Miss D. Lawry: T.B. Atkinson: T. Herbert:. J.V. Turner: W. Holesgrove: T.W. Moppett: A. Colley and many others. Both N.P.P.A, Council and N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs owed much to the personal views of and influence of Surveyor-General H.B. Mathews: Dr. C.E.W. Bean: W.J. Hume: J.G. Lockley: W.J. Cleary: R.F. Bennett: P.J. Hurley: W. Trinick: J.D. Tipper and other front-line conservators, all of whom were glad to assist in impressing the authorities with the need for action along the lines indicated in the several schemes.|
|Page 6. par. 4||For 1944 read 1941.|
|Page 7. line 1||Read: trampled underfoot in the battles of the giants.|
|Page 7. between lines 3 and 4||Read: Mr W.J. Muir, a school-teacher formerly of Cooma, in 1939 wrote a grade thesis entitled “The Murray Valley as a potential national park”. This analytical, well-illustrated work, after being duly appraised, was lost in the archives of the Department of Education. However, Muir's idea and supporting studies were remembered by Gordon Young, director of National Fitness Council. In 1943 he brought them to the notice of the Minister for Education, Mr. C.R. Evatt; and then to the Premier, Mr. W.J. McKell. By this time other organisations and individuals, including the Government Tourist Bureau (H.J. Lamble, director) and Miss Elyne Mitchell, had published matter extolling the Snowy Mountains for public recreation.|
|Page 7. Par 2||Read: Dated 14th June, 1943, the N.P.P.A. Council's Scheme was lodged with the Under Secretary for Lands; Hon. W.J. McKell: Hon. C.R. Evatt; Under Secretary, Department of Lands, Melbourne; River Murray Commission, Department of Interior, Canberra; Soil Conservation Service, N.S.W.; Rural Reconstruction Board, at Premier's Department, Sydney; Parks and Playgrounds Movement, Sydney; N.S.W. Federation of Bush- walking Clubs; State Rivers and Water Supply Commission, Melbourne.|
|Page 7||Between two last paragraphs: Earlier researchers by N.P.P.A. Council had shown that, with exception of the old Snowy Mountains Chase, 1906, and Trefle Park, and a few minor reserves, until Council's scheme for a large parkland appeared, there seemed to have been no previous attempt to reserve a large representative area of the Snowy Mountains.|
|Page 8. par. 2 Line 5.||After erosion read: The Schedule of Snow Leases and Permissive Occupancies, with regulations and instructions to tenderers, was issued as a Supplement to Govt. Gazette No. 99 of 3rd September, 1943. Special condition (18) gave bona fide pleasure seekers free access into and use of the whole area of leases and occupancies. This was a promising beginning.|
|Page 8. par 3.||Read: The scientific societies objected to aspects of the proposed State Park. The snow leases matter led Royal Zoological Society (N.L. Roberts. pres: A.F.B. Hull, hon. secretary) to discuss it with other societies and scientists: The Naturalists Society: Rangers League; Parks and Playgrounds Movement: N.P.P.A. Council; Wild Life Preservation Society; Linnean Society; Ornithologists Union; Prof. W.R. Brown; R.H.Anderson; C.W. Moore; A.E. Watson; W.L. Hume; A.S. Le Souef; C.K. Allen; A.A. Strom; etc. The R.Z. Society had been writing to the Premier since Feb. 1943, about fauna and flora conservation in Snowy Mts., voicing opinion of their society and other scientific societies. In letters to the Premier, dated 30th Nov. and 17th Dec. 1943, it was suggested, inter alia, that an area one tenth of the total, 1,400,000 acres should be marked as “Strict Natural Reserve”, completely exempted from any sort of tenure.|
|Page 8. par 4||Read: Special Committee instead of Select Committee appointed to meet them: Messrs. Barrier, Allen and Lamble. A.F.D. Hull and others said they failed to see how leased grazing areas could constitute parkland. The societies wanted one-tenth of the total area made a proper reserve for conservation. Act No.14, 1944 (Kosciusko State Park) was assented to on April 19, 1944. Section 5, clause 3 stated: “The Trust may retain as a primitive area such part of the Kosciusko State Park (not exceeding one-tenth of the area of that Park) as it may think fit.” Section 13 stated: “Subject to the regulations, land within the Kosciusko State Park shall be available to the public for the purpose of riding, hiking, camping, snow sports, and any other form of recreation, and the public shall have free access to and over all roads and tracks, and to all fishing streams within the park,” etc.|
|Page 8. par. 6 line 3||Read: locks and weirs on Murray River. Read: and expansion of irrigation areas a long way from the Snowy Mountains all depended upon the Burrenjuck Reservoir watershed, and the controlled flows from the Snowy Mountains, and adjacent highland catchments in Victoria. and continue: The newly formed Commonwealth Forestry and Timber Bureau brought the matter under discussion at the Empire Forestry Conference in 1928: this led to the first erosion survey of the highland catchments of the two States.|
|Page 9. par. 1. line 5||Read: Mr. Tully, Minister for Lands, brought down the Bill which established Kosciusko State Park and elected a Trust to manage it (Act No. 14 of 1944).|
|Page 9. par 2. line 3||Read: as planned catchments for combined irrigation and hydro-electric power generation (in 1947 the Premier's Conference had led to a new series of investigations). In July, 1949, “The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Power Act” was passed by Commonwealth Government; and in Aug. 1949, the “Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority” was established. The final “Report of Commonwealth and States Snowy River Committee”, 1950, described the scheme. Now the plan for action was building up rapidly and was becoming known to the conservation societies and general public. The S.M.H.A. lost no time in getting down to work.|
|Page 9. line 3||Read: However there is no room for complacency on the part of any of the authorities, on the score of the ultimate use of scenic wilderness. Realisation of its real value has increased, etc.|
It as been a dry summer!
But are you game to bet it will be a dry autumn.
Anyone knows autumn is the best weather for good walking trips and you will be best prepared for autumn showers with a “Kiwi” oil skin parker from Paddy's. Made to specifications demanded by many walkers these dark navy jackets are a practical and popular addition to your major basic equipment.
All sizes £8.12.6 ($17.25) featuring a two way zip and special storm cuffs.
Special reproofing oil available for these jackets at 5/6 (55c) a bottle.
Buy your gear at the Bushwalkers Shop.
Paddy Pallin Pty.Ltd.,
First Floor, 109a Bathurst St., Sydney. 262685.
“Having recently been seconded to the Department of Lands in order to assist with the National Parks Organisation I am responsible for collecting and writing up information concerning all our existing and future National Parks.
At the moment I am looking for four photographs each one specially selected to convey the real spirit of bushwaiking in sandstone country. A suitable photograph might show two, or perhaps a small party, of bushwalkers, lithesome and gay and in action: not eating, camping or picnicing, but actually walking and enjoying it: without heavy packs throwing the body out of balance, but perfect physical specimens that would have warmed the heart of a Greek sculptor.
I am offering a prize of one dollar each for four such photos. A glossy print of each photo, bearing on the back the name and address of the sender and the location at which it was taken, should be sent to me at Room 116, Lands Department. The negatives of the winning photos will be required, on loan, at a later date. The origin of the photos will be suitably acknowledged when they are reproduced.
Like everything else concerned with National Parks at the present this is urgent and I would like to have the photos as soon as possible.
Perhaps you could give this suitable publicity in The Sydney Bushwalker?
Baldur U. Byles, Room 116, Lands Department, Sydney.”
The most intrepid of the Tasmanian Christmas S.B.W. even hired a light air craft to look at the S.W. area - doing it in style.
Having been on a hilarious trip down the Morong Deep twelve months previously with Geoff Wagg I decided to repeat same as soon as the water temperature was high enough. However in my ignorance of the date of the Christmas Party I programmed the trip for the same weekend so that from 5 probable starters two of us met on Friday night. Ross, Jerry and Ian (in training for New Zealand) were going on a trip somewhere in the area but stated they may join us if the weather was too hot for hard walking.
As Roger Lockwood and I drove out along Kanangra Road in the mist and rain with temperatures in the low 30s it seemed that we would be doing the hard waking with Ross and Co. instead of some pleasant cascading down the Kowmung. After waiting half an hour at Budthingaroo the hard walking trio arrived and it was agreed to spend the night at Kanangra Cave. Next morning, rudely awakened by one of our keen types at 5.15 a.m. visibility was about 100 yards with light drizzle so our dreams of Morong Deep were banished. Ross started raving about Cambage Spire, through the Bulga Denis Canyon, up Ti-Willa Buttress over Cloudmaker and back to Kanangra. Roger I not having been out for some months felt the Cave for the weekend a better prospect and more in keeping with our standard of fitness. However salesman Why-Wazzi-Heborn soon had us packed and disappearing off into the mist.
Then the fun started - everyone knew where to turn for the ridge to Cambage Spire but each spur we tried petered out into the depths of a creek after a few hundred yards - this despite three maps, two compasses and five experts. After trying four spurs and wasting an hour the white ants set in with mumbles of that “large dry cave back at Kanangra being more pleasant than running around in the rain”. Unfortunately the white ants were in the minority.
Jerry started talking about an easy days walk down Gingra Ridge, follow the Kowmung to the Cox and then upstream to Kanangaroo - only 26 miles. Roger and I nearly collapsed on the spot at this suggestion but like fools tagged along. Two hours later on the Kowmung it had stopped raining and the mist had lifted somewhat so life wasn't too bad even though Ian had forced us to run all the way along the Gingra Ridge. After morning lunch with the flies we sauntered off downstream - myself still with thoughts of the Morong Deep.
After passing one or two rapids I could resist the temptation no longer and with very little Persuasion Jerry, Ross and Ian were in the river too. After a short cascade it was agreed this was a more pleasant method of progress and back we went to our packs to commence waterproofing operations. Jerry and Roger had left their plastic bags in the cars so were forced to walk. My plastic bags were relics from last year's trip and might just as well have been left in the car also considering the amount of water they let in.
However we were off - on the second rapid Ross did battle with a submerged tree and surfaced minus the seat of his swimming trunks (he claims he almost lost his buttocks too). This was his only item of clothing for the lower half of the body so that when we subsequently encountered the female of the species he was walking backwards everywhere.
We were in and out the river like yo-yos - cascading the faster sections and walking the long pools and all agreed this was the most pleasant method of progress in the lower Kowmung. Ian had some reservations though after being caught in a rapid with his body downstream from his foot which was wedged behind a large rock. He was finally extricated a little the worse for wear. In the Lower Canyon with its rock hopping and tree climbing we were hardly out of the water making good time as we reached the junction with the Cox only 10 minutes behind Jerry after about 3 hours of travel. (Downstream river trips forever!)
At afternoon lunch I inspected the damage and squeezed out at least 10 lbs of water from my sleeping bag and other items. The others fared somewhat better, Ross enjoying a prison meal of biscuits and water, premixed.
We cascaders found the final stretch upstream to Kanangaroo very wearing, so after only an hour we were back in the water with the excuse that it was necessary to check the water depths in the rapids for Don Finch's proposed li-lo trip. Without packs it was found we floated somewhat lower in the water. All nearly met with disaster on a submerged rock and promptly left the water in agony.
Some hours later we dragged ourselves into Kanangaroo to find the hut already occupied by Foxa Butler and Co., allegedly in training for New Zealand also. They had just managed the hard walk from White Dog to Kanangaroo that day finding progress up the river very tiring and necessitating an occasional swim to recover. With Ross walking back wards everywhere we managed to get a large fire going and began the long drying out process. That night with no tent we all congregated in the vicinity of the hut planning to crowd in and spend a sleepless night in case it rained.
After a dry night we were awakened by the flies (millions of them) when they discovered that sleeping bags were occupied by humans. We endeavoured to convince the other party that the walk back up to Kanangra would be far more pleasant but they were determined to make amends for their sins of the previous day and return to Katoomba via Yellow Dog. In bright sunshine (at last) we set off up Kanangra River. Shortly after the junction with the Creek we came across an interesting pool encircled by suitable rocks (about 12 feet) and led by Squadron Loader Sinzig bombing commenced. After tiring of this diversion we made further progress upstream but half an hour later there was a larger pool with cliffs of 20 feet. Jerry maintained that this was the last pool of any size but we hardly needed this form of persuasion to continue dive bombing.
Time for frivolity over we pushed on and finally reached the foot of Murdering Gully where the last scraps of food were dug out of packs and devoured. After lunch we wandered further upstream to view the lower sections of Kanangra Falls - an impressive sight with a fair volume of water running over the two lower falls into deep pools. The water temperature was much lower than further downstream but this did not deter Jerry from breaking the ice.
After returning to the packs we were about to leave when Rover Scouts from the Wentworthville group appeared from Kalang Creek following the accident involving one of their party half way down Kalang Falls. We accompanied them up Murdering Gully and then left to ring Search and Rescue from Jenolan Caves.
Many of our members are interested in lapidiary and they should feel pleased about our night on February 16. Mr. Taylor of the Lapidiary Club of N.S.W. will be with us to instruct us on the type of stone to collect and, more important, where to find them.
Bring along your slides on February 23. Let the members see what you did over the Christmas hols. Don't be bashful. This is not the night of the photographic competition so your masterpieces are not required.
The Public Service Board has advised that it is not prepared to allow leave similar to that granted to bushfire fighters when members of the Service are called out on Search and Rescue or Police Searches. Any application for Special Leave will receive consideration in the light of the prevailing circumstances.
A volunteer is required to check gear out when a search is being organised and to ensure its safe return at the conclusion of the event.
Regarding Federation's nomination of Wilf Hilder and Stan Cottier for the Trust, the Secretary has advised that no further nominations will be considered until the National Parks Act becomes law.
In view of the increased use by visitors of the Nepean River area, it is proposed to build several wharves and to appoint a ranger to patrol the area by boat. A road has been made from The Ironbarks (near Euroka) to Mt. Portal. A walking track from Mt. Wilson to Wallangambie Creek is proposed.
The Hobnails Club advised that the upper reaches of the canyon are blocked by fallen timber following the heavy snowfall last July. Intending walkers arc warned of possible delay.
A further issue is to be prepared for printing about November 1966. The price may be slightly higher.
A volunteer is required as Acting Secretary from May to August during the absence of Federation's Secretary on leave.
The Ball is planned for next September. A Committee is to be elected and is asking for suggestions for a suitable hall to accommodate 300.
Will take place on March 26-27, 1966. A committee of management has been elected and requests suggestions for a suitable site.
Suggested by Paddy Pallin will be held. Ideas for the organisation of the function will be considered by a Committee which has been elected.
Federation has applied for membership.
4,800 acres has been set aside for the Mt. Warning State Park to include Mt. Warning and The Sisters. A committee is to study the question of reservations in the Myall Lakes District. A National Park at Abercrombie Caves has been proposed. A reserve of 55,000 acres has been suggested in the Macquarie Marshes.