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Christmas Party 10th December
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, GPO, Sydney. Phone 843985.
Editor - Frank Rigby, Unit 5 52 Market St., Randwick.
Business Manager - Bill Burke, Coral Tree Dr., Carlingford 8711207.
Typist - Shirley Dean, 30 Hannah St., Beecroft.
Sales & Subscriptions - Neville Page, 22 Hayward St., Kingsford 343536.
383 November, 1966 Price 10c.
|The October general meeting||J.Brown||2|
|Sleeping in the bush||Jess Martin||5|
|One more month||Observer||6|
|SBW crossword||Phil Butt||8|
|Not what they used to be||J.Brown||10|
|Thirty years ago||12|
|My most memorable trip||Jess Martin||13|
|Park shanty towns must go||Minister||15|
With no new members to welcome - the first blank we've drawn for quite a while - we were able to plunge straight into business, and no doubt would have been through to correspondence in record time if Frank Ashdown had not requested a correction to the minutes. He had said at the September meeting that the Club had heard Joan's maiden speech and he didn't want his comment changed. After protracted negotiation he had his way.
In correspondence we found that Cosmorama Press intended to publish a booklet on hiking, and was prepared to pay for material published, preferably about day walks. There were sundry enquiries about memberships, a letter from Helen Gray on the proposal to devote Crown land near Epping to a bowling club, thanks expressed to Mrs Page for her work on the production of the Walks Programme and to Warwick Deacock whose property in Kangaroo Valley is the alternative Reunion site. There were the NPA Christmas Cards, and Ed. Stretton later accepted the post of custodian. Wilf Hilder will establish contact with the people publishing the hiking book.
After a false start on the August figures, Treasurer Gordon Redmond presented a financial report showing $327 in the current account at the end of September, and Don Finch read the walks report, including a fairly full statement about Phil Butt's exploratory walk in the Mt. Cameron - Tambo Limb - Pommel Hill country and an account of Dot Butler's Watsons Crags Snow Instructional on the October Holiday weekend, attended by a total of almost 50 people from various Clubs.
Of the more orthodox walks, it was recorded that Gladys Roberts day walk along Cowan Creek on 18th September had a total attendance of 19, Margaret Dogstram led 10 members and 6 prospectives in the Gibraltar Rocks part of Megalong on September 16/18 and John Holley with a party of 12 visited the Red Hand Cave area on 25th September.
Phil Butt presented a Federation Report - details already published in the October edition of the magazine, and there was a lengthy Parks and Playgrounds Movement Report, referring mainly to bids to alienate portions of Crown Land for various organised sporting activities. The Epping Bowling Club got another mention, there had been objection to the mining of limestone in the Colong area, and there was a report of the establishment of a golf course near Heathcote in Royal National Park.
There were people to elect to sundry vacancies, with Betty Farquhar taking over the Membership portfolio, and Muriel Goldstein as Federation Delegate, to sit on Committee. Joan Rigby and Ron Knightley undertook substitute delegating.
At the outset of General Business, Frank Ashdown wanted to know why a non-member's engagement rated an entry in the social column of the magazine. This was justified on the grounds of ex-membership and being well and favourably known to many members.
Your reporter then no doubt infuriated those people who regard meeting procedure as for the birds by a long-winded recital, but you maybe assured that, having got it out of the system, he will have little to say on the subject for a long while.
Alex Colley drew attention to the magazine articles on manpower for bushfire fighting, and suggested that, after people had a chance to digest it, he would seek volunteers.
Now we were up to the proposals for the Christmas Party, with the President urging us to stop shilly-shallying and make up our minds as the sands were running out. Ruth said there appeared to be three alternatives - (a) a hall at Eastwood that was available for hire at a low rate (b) an invitation from Helen and George Gray to again use their grounds and (c) a suggestion to hire a ferry for about four hours at a charge of $76.
Information forthcoming indicated that the Eastwood Hall may already be booked throughout December, and Dot Butler suggested that, if the Gray's offer were accepted, a portable dance floor be not hired this time. The ferry would probably be a large launch capable of carrying between 60 and 120 people who could be put ashore for a while on a Harbour island - supper would be an extra arrangement.
Joan Rigby moved acceptance of the Gray's offer and it met with general agreement. Some discussion between Friday nighters and Saturday nighters followed, the choice finally falling on Saturday 10th December. If rain threatened, awnings could be hired. Joan and Frank Rigby and Dot Butler were appointed to conspire with the Social Secretary, who would have the usual power to co-opt.
The President's plea for support for the difficult summer walks programme produced a motion to restore the Swimming Carnival in February. January was mentioned as an alternative, but passed over because so many people are away during school holidays. It was mentioned that Nan Bourke would be willing to organise the swimming events and Owen Marks accepted leadership of the associated walk.
Ron Knightley said he had been considering the situation disclosed at last month's meeting, whereby people representing more than one Club at Federation still had only one vote and suggested our delegates seek a change of policy. It was put forward that this would have no relevance to SBW in view of the recent constitutional amendment, and for a time there seemed some confusion over the issue, but the air was cleared and the resolution carried.
A further proposal by Ron had to do with camping facilities at Sawpit Creek; his resolution that we write the Kosciusko State Park Trust, commending them on the work done there, but suggesting an extension of washroom and toilet facilities was carried.
The North Epping Bowling Club project, referred to several times earlier, now got an airing. 70 had already put the Parks and Playgrounds people on the scent, but it was now agreed that we also protest to the local council, especially as some reports indicated that, in addition to the 2.5 acres mentioned, there seemed a possibility of elaborate Club Houses being constructed on Crown land.
With Jack Gentles reminder that John Holley was now an Assistant Treasurer and had his pencil sharpened to collect outstanding subs, the evening came to an end.
| Everyone is invited to the Christmas Party
to be held at Helen and George Gray's house
209 Halton Road,
Epping. 86-6263 on
Saturday, 10th December, 1966. Bring
The children and have a barbecue
before the evening festivities
“You sleep out-not on the ground! Aren't you scared of snakes, spiders, falling trees, catching cold and other (unimaginable) horrors? You cannot enjoy sleeping like that.” All my bushwalking life this reaction has been met.
Of course, when I first bushwalked I did not sleep. We each had a blanket and ground sheet and sang and talked around the fire until we could keep awake no longer. Then we dozed, in our blankets, near the fire and when the cold became unbearable in the early hours, someone put more wood on and, once more warm, we slept a little longer. As the Sydney sandstone area abounds in rocky overhangs, we soon learned to make ourselves more comfortable, with plenty of bark and bracken on the cave floor and were much warmer, particularly with a fire built in front of the cave.
On my first Easter trip a member of the party erected his tent for us and laughed heartily next morning at we four girls sleeping with our heads on the downward slope.
Then we acquired sleeping bags and tent (bless Paddy Pallin) and our nights were warmer and much more comfortable.
Since that time I have acquired the gift of being able to sleep in many strange places. My very conventional mother would have been horrified if she had known I slept on the floor or seats of railway waiting rooms, shelter sheds at lookouts, bus waiting sheds in country towns and in sundry county parks but I did not believe in worrying Mother. Two girls in the Club, when planning together a week's holiday trip across country from Katoomba to Kanangra Walls were told by one mother to send a telegram when they arrived and to sleep near a farmhouse each night!
Sleeping in the bush has its own peculiar joys; the warm sleeping bag and cosy tent after relaxing in good company by a bright fire; listening drowsily to the sound of flowing water; the songs of birds in the early dawn, the crackle of the breakfast fire and lyrebird choruses and sunsets in the evening; perhaps the bark of a fox or the howl of a dingo on a clear frosty night when the sky is brilliant with stars; and the knowledge that one has a full day before one to enjoy the clear, crisp air filled with the scent of the bush, before returning to the city.
Even the nights when mishaps occur are enjoyable in retrospect. It has rained all day and the fire is difficult to start then smokes. Or the ground is hard and resists attempts to insert tent pegs, there is no bracken or bark for a bed, or the only flattish ground is covered with stones then one of the party snores loudly. A strong wind rises and before the guy-ropes can be adjusted a tent pole snaps and a sleepy person has to emerge from the warmth and re-erect the tent, probably with ribald words of advice from the snugly ensconced. Perhaps a cloudburst occurs a distance away and the first sign is a sensation of floating and dampness, with a small stream running through under the tent.
The uninitiated cannot appreciate how comfortable and enjoyable it is to sleep in the bush, and look most unbelieving when informed that one sleeps soundest and most restfully when camped in the bush.
Population Explosion. Two babies have just arrived; Peter and Dot Stitt have contributed a boy - there seems to be some doubt about its name but we think it's Geoffrey; Henry and Glenys Gold a girl named Tanya. We suppose Henry will now spend his nights “walking the floor over you” instead of producing masterpieces in the darkroom.
Stan Madden says that the parents can expect no better than his own experience with babies, which he describes as “just an alimentary canal with a loud noise at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.
March of Progress in Royal National Park? The P.M.G. has approved plans to provide telephones in the National Park area, including Marley, Wattamolla, Garie, North Era, Burning Palms, Boora Ridge, Garrawarra Farm and Greys Farm. The cost about $50,000.
Another news item tells us that the Park staff spend three days each week cleaning up litter left behind by weekend visitors.
Congratulations to Bob and Lindsey Hawkins on the arrival of their son John. Lindsey was a bushwalker who married one of the rock-climbers, many of the members will remember her as Lindsey Gray.
2. Rug nee elk is a Southern island. (9)
8. An insect with one before a hundred caper. (5)
10. & 15d. Rise the rests in Katoomba, (5,7)
12. & 23a. On the Commons. (3,3)
13. Pick no llama contains a rise. (5)
14. Additional. (5)
15. Does a chesty cutter use this? (6)
16. A journal shortened tart bird. (6)
19. Scarcely sufficient for half a dance in a holy man. (5)
21. To follow, an upset sun in ease. (5)
23. See 12a.
24. To summon an approval in the day before. (5)
26. Four is the first that's not. (5)
27. Glen Grain (anagram). (9)
1. Tea with a torturing device should be scrubless. (5)
2. An army pack? (3)
3. An altered crow with no direction is a bird. (3)
4. Rum pie for a referee. (6)
5. His wife is salty. (3)
6. Green orange has a conjunction. (3)
7. Letter with the preposition back. (5)
9. See 20d.
11. Curse with an endless gong is six sided. (7)
15. See 10a.
17. A night relaxation on a mountain. (8)
18. Fag for an addict. (6)
20 & 9d. Supra (5,2,5)
22. Hamlet talked of them, David and rockclimbers use one. (5)
25. A headless reel is fishy. (3)
26. In the beginning of the famour Macadonian letter. (3)
South West Tasmania. The Federation decided to lend its support to a movement directed at requesting the Tasmanian Government to promulgate an overall master plan for the hydro-electric development from rivers in South West Tasmania, before any work be proceeded with, in order to preserve scenery and primitive areas.
Tianjarra Fire Range. Advice from the Army indicated that artillery practice is still taking place in this area, particularly on week days. The army has been requested to give as much prior notice as possible of firings so that the Federation may have more time to advise clubs. Known information on danger dates is available at Paddy Pallin's shop.
Clyde-Budawang area. The Conservation Bureau reported that the holders of permissive occupancies are objecting to proposals that National Parks be established in the area as this would abolish existing grazing leases. The Coast & Mountain Walkers Club is preparing new maps with an accompanying booklet on information in relation thereto. Those will shortly be available.
Colong area. New caves are reported to have been discovered in the Colong Area which strengthens the case for prohibition of lime-stone quarrying. The Minister for Lands has been advised of the discovery.
Bouddi Natural Park. A move is afoot to have leases granted for the removal of specific sand suitable for glass making. A protest has been entered to the appropriate authority.
Grose River. The Federation requested information as to the outcome of a request for a working party to help clear the river track of fallen logs.
Search and Rescue Demonstration. The demonstration was reported as being very successful but insufficient support is being given by the Clubs in the prior organisation required, most of the work being left to the Federation President. One participant was reported as being bitten on the nose by a dog & he is said to have had an ample nose to attract the animal. The Sydney Sky Divers Club has promised full co-operation if it is necessary to parachute assistance into an area. The Federation's radios were not successful when used from air to ground from aircraft taking part in the demonstration. It has been recommended that two more powerful radios be acquired by the Federation. These would cost in all about $440, which is beyond the capacity of current funds. Clubs are asked to suggest ways and means of raising the necessary money.
St Albans Military Map. This map is reported to be very inaccurate in many details and should not be implicitly relied upon. It does not conform in many respects with aerial photographs.
National Park service. The Federation has made an offer to the Service to help train N.P.S. rangers in Search and Rescue techniques, as this will be part of the rangers' functions.
Grose River access. It has been established beyond all doubt that the well established route used by walkers, emerging from the river on the right bank at Yarrramundi passes through private land, where access has been previously made on to Mountain River road, on the way to Richmond. This old access route is therefore closed to walkers who are advised to cross the river at Woods Creek and come out through Grose Wold. The holders of the private lands are very anti-bushwalker in attitude, have threatened violence and are reported to have savage dogs on their properties. However, steps are being taken to have access re-established.
Otford area. It is reported that a man with a rifle is shooting in this area, particularly near the Palm Jungle. As the area is a reserve, any information as to his identity would be appreciated by the Federation.
December Federation Meeting. Owing to the advent of Christmas, the normal date will be advanced and clubs will be notified as soon as possible as to the actual date.
Just recently I bought copies of the two inches to one mile maps of Burragorang, Nattai and Yerranderie. I admit to buying them with bad grace, thinking how we had walked over this area for years and years by inadequate and sometimes misleading maps, and now, when most of the place is out of bounds - officially - a good series by maps has been released.
Later, when I got around to looking at these maps I felt something like the housewife who has bought the Family King Size (or “jumbo”) package (6 cents off) and finds its just the old conventional pack in a larger wrapper, costing somewhat more than it used to do. After all, the old inch to the mile map embraced an area of 30 minutes of longitude by 15 minutes of latitude, but this improved version covered only 15 minutes by 7.5 lat. However the price was different 50 cents instead of 5/-; although mark you I still have one inch maps branded 2/-.
Then I took a closer look and my dim old eyes found something that did please them. I could actually read almost all the map without squinting. This was interesting because, for some years past, I have been complaining that the standard of cartography was steadily deteriorating, so that contours were being printed as a fuzzy rust-red mess instead of decent intelligible lines.
I had realised, of course, that this was because the hills were getting steeper, so that it was necessary to print contour-lines closer together, but I still felt it was regrettable that the contours were so fuzzy that you had to hold the map at arms length to see it at all, and then you couldn't read it because it was too far away.
Did I hear you say that the hills can't get steeper? Rubbish. Twenty years ago Waterfall railway station had a signboard “742 ft above sea level.” Have a look next time you pass and you'll see it's now “744 feet.”
This set my mind off on a chain reaction, all hinging around the motif that things are not what they used to be; in fact, they probably never have been. Another thing that has deteriorated is the climate almost everyone of my vintage says so, so it must be right. I've noticed it myself. These days June and July are too bleak for overnight jaunts. No, that's not quite right. The real trouble is they're so much colder that one has to take a good deal more clothing to keep comfortable, and what with the steeper hills and the reduction in the amount of oxygen in the air, mid winter overnight trips are scarcely worth the effort.
Now, take that jaunt in May last when I ambled along the scenic section of the Mudgee railway line between Excelsior and Clandulla. I camped the night just outside of Weenga tunnel, with a view out over the Captertee Valley to Tyan Pic, Gundangaroo, and all that spectacular stuff. It was almost full moon, and the valley looked marvellous, but it was too cold to sit and look at it. Rugged up like a Polar explorer I crawled into the inner bag and sleeping bag and pulled the former over my freezing ears.
Immediately I heard, far away down the line, the slow patient chugging of a steam locomotive toiling up the long grade from Captertee. After a bit I stuck my head out, looked out of the tent at the black tunnel mouth, and the sound faded. For several minutes I endured the biting, frosty air, then crept back into the bag, and immediately because aware of the solid tramp of the engine exhaust no closer, no lounder, but steady and rhythmic. It was only after popping my head in and out of the bag zeveral times that I realised I was hearing my own heart beat.
One way I have found of getting over this winter walking problem is to tackle overproof day walks. Admittedly, it means a really early start, usually between 4 and 5 a m, on the Saturday, with a fairly late return, but with a bit of low cunning one can fit in a trip that would rate as a reasonable 1.5 to 2 day jaunt carrying full gear.
A couple of examples of the last two winters. From Mount Banks down Pearces Pass to the Grose on through Blue Gum (with white frost all over the shadowy tree tops at 9.30 a m.-it was the weekend before the big snowfall) down another five miles to Coal Mine Creek, up into the saddle behind Mt. Caley and back along the tops to Mt. Banks and the Bell Road. In August this year from Medlow Gap down White Dog fire trail to the Cox, upriver a couple of miles, returning up Spotted Dog and Splendour Rock to Medlow Gap, finishing with just enough daylight to get back off the fire trail before headlights were needed.
Again from Coates farm on Starlight's Track down to the Nattai, and down river as far as Travis Gully, at the foot of the Beloon Pass - unfortunately the only return route by retracing one's way.
In these days of motorisation I feel there is some future in the extended day walk for those who have difficulty in teeing up regular overnight jaunts. Just the drive through the deserted suburban streets on a pre-dawn Saturday has quite a deal to commend it. It isn't often yours is the only vehicle in a half mile stretch of Parramatta Road!
Of course, you miss a lot too. When you should be setting up camp and watching the play of sunset light on mountain and stream, you're pushing weary limbs up the last pass. Then you should be relaxing those weary limbs before camp fire and watching the coffee bubble, you're dodging Saturday afternoon drunks on the Hume Highway. Still you can't have it all ways, and since this article is by way of a formless meandering - the idle thoughts of a not entirely idle fellow - it's an idea worth disclosing.
Talking about motorised walking, I never cease to be impressed with the difference it has wrought in the scope of travel. Ten years or so back it was almost essential to have a long weekend to do anything in the Sassafras-Renwick-Castle-Currockbilly area. To get out into the Coricudgy territory was usually an Easter project. There was all the business of organising hire cars or taxi's and hoping they'd pick you up at the appointed place and time - and the anxiety of getting back yourself in time for the rendezvous.
I can't say I have so many regrets about all this. After all, the walkers' abandonment of rail travel has coincided broadly with the railway's abolition of steam, and of course, if I get started on that subject I shall definitely claim things are not what they used to be. In fact, they're much better, but far, far less interesting.
This is a very thin edition of The Sydney Bushwalker because few people seemed inspired to write articles, and of course it is not part of the Editor's task to drag articles from people reluctant to write them. Editorial, September, 1936.
A popular trip was to Yerranderie and the Colong Caves, the popularity being due to cheap bus fares from Camden arranged by an enterprising Yerranderie resident desiring to see his township a tourist resort and not merely a mining village. Easter, 1936.
Jean Trimble, Oliver Moriarty and Tom Moppett have arrived back safely after skiing from Kiandra to Kosciusko. We understand Jean is the first woman to accomplish the trip and they are all to be heartily congratulated on their success especially as they had scarcely a fine day. They had to travel most of the time through mist and camp out twice. September 1936.
It is hard to choose one particular trip - there have been so many; arduous, tiring, lazy, generally pleasurable and all on which humorous incidents occurred- The main feature, of course, has been the good company, disagreeing on many topics (including direction and campsites) but never dividing the group, however hot the argument became.
My first overnight trip in the bush? We left Campbelltown after midnight on 25th January (Anniversary Day was then held on the day on which the 26th fell - Thursday). We walked out along the Wedderburn Road to stokes Creek and Minerva Pool, where we slept for the remainder of the night under a brilliantly starlit sky, and left early in the morning to follow O'Hares Creek down to the Woolwash, swimming in several of the beautiful deep pools. We had tea near the waterfall above the Woo1wash and caught the 8 p m. train to Sydney. In those days Bushwalkers invariably stayed out for the evening meal.
Blue Gum Forest has always been a favourite place, with its own special atmosphere. In full moonlight it is most beautiful, but one moonlit 8-Hour weekend there was magic, and a friend and I sometimes chuckle reminiscently about the happenings that weekend. I have entered and left Blue Gum by every possible route, even Orang Outang Pass. One weekend I was even persuaded to climb on to Mt King George from the valley floor and spent the night out clad only in shorts and shirt, in a snowstorm. Fortunately, we had matches with us and were able to light a fire, returning to the Forest in daylight; a most uncomfortable night.
Pigeon House Mountain area has always had its charm. On my first visit a girl member of the party mentioned she was terrified of cattle, and was told only the “bull heifers” were dangerous. We met Mr. Drury, on horseback riding to inspect some of his bullock-teams and our friend asked him which were the bull-heifers? Older members will remember Mr. Drury's tremendous laugh, and he was so amused he nearly fell off his horse.
Just at the time when the Japanese came into the war we had again an Easter trip in that area, travelling through from Pigeon House, over Wog Wog Mt. to the Braidwood Nerriga Rd. where our bus was to collect us at Corang River bridge. After travelling up the wrong spur, and then down again just as night fell, we camped on the creek, heavy rain falling during the night and early morning. The next morning we walked up the correct spur and had lunch in a shallow upland valley. The tents were spread out to dry and some of the party were doing gymnastics when an elderly bearded man rode by. He ignored our greetings and sped up his horse. Shortly after he returned, followed by two men who carried shotguns. We then found that the mounted man was Dutch, was deaf and had not heard anything we said. He told the Harts that “enemy parachute troops had landed, some were naked, and he had better lock up his daughter and baby, as you never knew what those b—— would do”. The younger man of the two realised we were a harmless bushwalking party.
The Harts were running a sheep property, also gathering eucalyptus leaves and distilling the oil; they showed us how their plant worked. We went to the house and met the daughter and baby, one of our menfolk taking mother and baby's portrait. He, incidentally, received a letter of thanks for the pictures, commencing “Dear Sir/Madam”.
Then the old deaf man had another bright idea - we were an acrobatic troup down on our luck, walking through to give a show in Braidwood. He himself had ridden across to the Harts to make arrangements for the sale of a horse. Mr. Hart was writing a note for him to the dealer about the horse and wrote, “The 'orse will be 'ere on Wednesday”. The Dutch farmer said, pointing: “Shouldn't there be a haitch in there?” As all his sentences crescendoed to a high pitched yell at the end, this was the last straw for me, and catching Betty's eye we disappeared around the corner of the house to release the laughter we had been controlling all afternoon.
A trip from Mongarlow over Mt. Currockbilly was also full of incident and humour. We found we were travelling in the wrong direction (our leader, again being very stubborn) which cost us half a day. The mountain was covered with thick sally and the only spots clear enough on top for camping were lyrebird dancing mounds. Water was scarce, but I think the party had sufficient for the essentials, drawn from a hole at the base of a fallen tree but I did miss my nightly bath.
We trod patiently up and down over Mt. Currockbilly, it was like walking on the backbone of a prehistoric monster; and on what we thought would be our last night out, camped on a creek below the mountain, a very long days walk to Drury's, where our bus was to collect us. We commenced walking before dawn - frankly, I was running quite a lot of the time. Crossing one creek flat, amongst bracken which completely hid Edna and I, we were told to “up periscopes”. On another flat I was caught by the foot in a dingo trap and was told “keep moving, you have no time to just stand”. When I replied, “I'm caught in a trap”, Bob returned to release me. Alex was told about the incident and all he said was “did you reset the trap?” We were on the Clyde for lunch and Phil set off ahead to let the bus driver know we were coming, even if a little late. Once again, through our leader differing in opinion with some of the party, we travelled up and down some wrong spurs but eventually cut the track and, walking the last couple of miles in the dark, came over a rise to see the lights of our bus travelling towards Milton. The driver left word he would come back next day for us, which he did -the only time I have been back a day late from a trip. The post office employees at Milton nearly collapsed when at least fourteen people walked in to send telegrams.
Another time on our homeward journey we stopped in Wollongong to have a meal, and one man had left his wallet in his rucksack on top of the bus. An inebriated man had parked his bicycle just behind our vehicle and our friend slipped and stepped on the bicycle and, being a big man, slightly bent it. The irate owner claimed full value of a new bicycle, and was hauled round to the police station for arbitration; if I remember rightly the police decided £5 was sufficient for the damage. It was late and our driver and the rest_of the party were becoming very restless, wishing to proceed homeward, and after a few terse remarks about some people holding up a party, two men went round to the police station to hurry them up, no sooner had they gone than the first group returned by another street. By the time the whole party was once again together the drive and a couple of our members were saying rude things about people who held up parties, making us late home.
On all these trips there has always been someone to make a witty remark when conditions were difficult, and the general good humour in the party, helped to relieve our tiredness and apprehension of the next obstacle.
The Minister for Lands (Mr. Lewis) has promised action to clean up the “shanty towns” in Royal National Park. He has agreed also that the practice of transferring leases other than between husbands and wives should be stopped.
“TURN INTO SLUM.”
Mr. T.F. Mead, MLA (Lib., Hurstville) asked the Minister last week to take stern action to clean up the “shanty towns” dotting the park. He said the transfer of leases of substandard dwellings in the park had to be stopped. “I know that some of these leases have been transferred under various subterfuges such as transfer to other relatives, including babes in arms,” he said. “This type of thing only turns an otherwise beautiful parkland into a slum area.”
Most of the shacks are weekenders, but some are fully occupied all the time. The worst areas are Bonnie Vale, Era and Burning Palms. Some of the shacks are owned by the Trust and let at rentals of up to $2 a week. Many others are owned by people ranging from pensioners to highly paid professional people, including doctors and lawyers.
Mr. Lewis said that during a conference with the park trustees in January the trustees were unanimous that any building or retention of shacks would not be in the best interests of the public, or in accordance with sound park practice.
“As a result of this agreement I offered to make available a grant of money to offset any loss in rent to the trust,” he said. The trustees agreed that no more transfers would be allowed. I then received a letter from the trust indicating that it had granted transfer rights up to the end of June. This was done in spite of the agreement. I pointed out to the president of the trust (Mr. J. Ferguson) and the trustees generally, that before any leasing arrangement could be entered into the permission of the Department of Lands would be required. The trust then wrote to the department asking for permission to lease the shacks in question These transfers have been examined and I am discussing them with my senior officers as to the outcome of the representations made by the trust. It is in my mind at present to allow no transfers other than those from husband to wife, or wife to husband and no other relatives. The practice referred to by Mr. Mead of transferring leases to babes-in-arms will certainly be stamped out. It must be understood that the removal of the shacks is going to proceed.”
Mr. Lewis said that his department had received many letters congratulating the government on its stand. “People seem to feel that this action should have been taken many years ago,” he said.
DR. GEOFF. MOSLEY - 30th NOVEMBER at our club rooms will talk on “Wilderness areas - their protection and management” Dr. Mosley is a bushwalker, who has a Nuffield Grant to conduct a survey in Australia to investigate the National Park needs.