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|The May General Meeting||J. Brown||2|
|Colong Caves - Won or Lost?||R. Janssen||4|
|Theatre Party Announcement||M. Shappert||6|
|Thinking Makes it So||P. Harrison||7|
|Once Around Cloudmaker (Again)||M. Wyborn||9|
|The Russell's Needler's||M. Short||11|
|Up the Bleeding Barrington||R. Derbridge||14|
|Amendments to List of Members||15|
A monthly bulletin,of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, Northcote Buildings, Reiby Place, Circular Quay, Sydney. Postal Address: Box 4476, G.P.O., Sydney.
|Editor||Bill Gillam, 19 Old Bush Road, Engadine, 2233|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118|
|Typist||Christa Younger, 71 Yarran Road, Oatley, 2223|
Members admitted to the Club over the past seven or eight years may be pardoned for believing that the May meeting, with a duration of 22 minutes set a record for brevity. Actually your reporter can vouch that there have been several other general meetings which took only 20 to 25 minutes - but not lately.
The only new member - actually a recall from April, and not present in any case: the minutes read and confirmed: matters arising - what no takers for Lady Committee Member; Magazine Sales & Subscriptions or delegate to the Nature Conservation Council - vacant since March. The President expressed his disappointment.
Nothing dramatic in Correspondence, nothing arising. The Treasurer reported a closing balance in April of $664 (I think I heard it aright). Walks Report - ah, at least a reasonably well-filled account, starting with Easter and David Cotton with party of 15 at the Warrumbungles, while Owen Marks led a group of 13 to the Budawangs (“about 300 others” were stated to be clambering around the Castle area). Don Finch had a crowd out in the “unknown” rock-hoping along a river in the Armidale area.
On the following week-end there was Barry Wallace's Harry's River trip (5 people) and a day walk conducted by David Ingram: April 18/19 saw Allan Round and crew in the Nattai-Jellore country, and Margaret Wyborn's cycling trip. John Holly had the day walk. Finally Anzac Week-end, with Ramon U'Brien deputising for Owen Marks on a Shoalhaven trip out from Tallong, and Sheila Binns and party taking it quietly at Burning Palms.
The Federation Report - jointly and severally presented by Phil Butt and Wilf Hilder - referred to complaints by Tasmanians of the amount of litter being left around air drop sites in the rugged south-west of the island. On the other side of the coin there was report of a cleaning up at Bungonia by a gathering of various Spelio groups. The Co-ordinator of S&R activities in New Zealand is to pay a visit to Australia, and for budding naturalists Federation has been informed of an annual award of a Natural History Medallion - details of the contest and organisers not yet fully known.
Only 8.37 p.m. and the call of General Business. None. The President reminded all of the unfilled posts mentioned before - also the need of another S & R Contact. A Question - any doings on the Kangaroo Valley land purchase - answer, not yet, but a meeting between representatives of the co-purchasers, the Society of Friends, and the trustees to take place soon. Meanwhile there is still some money to be collected.
That, is there really no other business? No, only announcements and then at 8.40 p.m. closure.
To celebrate Taro's birthday everyone is popping up on Monday, 23rd June to Taro's house (Alice Street, Auburn) for a semi-surprise party. Bring your own cup, food and booze. A number of people will be catching the 6.09 p.m. train from Central.
Bill Burke's astonishment at reading that he was to grow, or provide trees for the Kangaroo Valley project was justifiable. The truth is they will be grown by your non-observant Observer-Editor who was too busy growing the trees to observe this month.
For those who missed the debate, take notice that the practitioners of the art of bludging are to be allowed on official walks provided they practice their art at a high level and with sufficient suavity. Straight out begging of food is still frowned on but manipulation of the exchange rate of food to one's advantage received the blessing of the audience.
The battle for the Preservation of this area against limestone mining is still raging. The battle tactics can almost be likened to guerilla warfare, and at odd moments calm surface will erupt to show that all is not well in the state of N.S.W.
Mining of the proposed Kanangra-Boyd National Park will
_ destroy the wilderness character of the Park.
Australia has very few areas of wilderness potential - let us not lose any opportunity of keeping them.
Who is the Colong Committee's opponent? The same as yours - Big Business.
It is trying to take from, or ruin for you and for posterity a pleasure area, an area of scientific importance which, once mined, can never be restored to its former state of beauty or importance.
Understandably, mining will take place where it is easiest and most lucrative for the business - our Great Barrier Reef or Colong are easy targets. Huge alternative limestone deposits suitable for economical mining exist. “Conservationists” were able to establish this so that they can “Save Colong” for your pleasure and that of posterity.
To save Colong you are a conservationist but not a reactionary. Why mine Colong if all possibility of alternatives have not been exhausted. Why destroy unnecessarily?
Who wants to save Colong? At least 71 community bodies in N.S.W. have shown and are showing support for this cause. To mention a few:
Recently the Warringah Sub-branch of the Liberal Party showed active support to Save Colong. At the NSW Young Liberals 14th Annual Convention July 1968 the following motion was passed with an overwhelming majority-
“That the NSW Young Liberal Movement request the Premier to take immediate and effective steps to:
Many members of the Labour Party have given support to Save Colong.
The fight to Save Colong has not been won (yet). It has not been lost either. Help to Save Colong.
If you want to participate in saving Colong, perhaps in a small way only, send the following details to the Membership Secretary, Rolf Janssen c/- Box 4476 G.P.O. Sydney, who will contact you when help is required.
A further way to help in saving Colong - Send any publication, long or short, about Colong, of any flavour, political, scientific, economic etc. to the same address.
Send the entire sheet of the newspaper or magazine - it saves you cutting it out and me losing it if it is small. Add your name and address should further details about the article be required.
By Marcia Shappert (Hon. Social Sec.)
Owing to popular demand I have been asked to organize a Music Hall evening. The management has assured us of all the tables at the front in the old orchestra pit (the only request is for the audience not to throw full glasses of champagne at the heroine). The Menu is quite edible and for your edification it is:
The date? Monday 28th July 1969. For anyone who likes melodrama and wishes to relive the atmosphere of Gaslight London of the last century and when the curtain rises to reveal the wickedness of the evil Ashley Irving, you will feel the hot flush of shame and indignation rise to your cheek and you will frame the words and shout “O Vile Pretender” which is the name of the show.
The price is only $4.50 for the dinner and show. Come on your own, come with friends, bring your relations, fete your beloved, woo your boss (he may buy champagne); in fact everybody is most welcome.
Please see me at the Club (or I can be contacted at home 30.2028) or The Assistant Soc. Sec. Owen Marks who will be going around with his little blue box.
Helen Gray's walking boots, elastic sided gristle sole. Degree of wear slight. Size 8. History… Helen forgot to take shoes on a country holiday at Frogmore. If you don't know where Frogmore is, or if you want to know how Helen got that far without shoes ring her on 86-6263.
Whenever I look at a topographical map of mountain country the contour lines begin to sing so alluringly that I feel much as Ulysses felt when he had to tie himself to the mast of his ship to save himself from the Sirens. An almost irresistible urge comes over me to reach for my pack and set off.
But of course things do not happen that way. “To travel hopefully is better than to arrive” - the getting there and not the arrival is what counts most of all - and so perhaps the best walks are those that are, as it were, savoured by the mental faculties long before the physical senses undergo their pain. I don't suppose anything is so much appreciated as the things that are hard to come by.
“Let your imagination work” - and during the period between your camp trips you can, for example, stroll across Fig Tree Bridge (or any such place near you) and believe that you have crossed the Cox at White Dog and are heading up the Gangerangs to Cloudmaker. Once you get in the mood it is surprising what you can achieve in this way, and in addition there is the advantage that you can begin and end a 10-miler or more and be away from home and sweethearts for only a few hours.
By going a little further afield, say to Era or Bola Heights, you can easily accept the fact that the rounded grassy hills of Era and the swampy land of Tarra Moor are the Alpine heights around Jagungal. Just close your eyes for a moment and you are there.
And then when you contemplate a walk in a new but long-desired area, what pleasure there is in getting maps and pouring over them and working out routes and times and compiling notes of all things relevant! And the pleasant hours spent in browsing through old bushwalking journals and logs and gleaning the nuggets of information hidden therein! Oh! 'Tis then that you feel like an explorer setting out into unknown country - for it is really unknown to you and is the nearest substitute you will ever get for the real thing in our sadly shrunken world.
And the decisions about food and gear! Weekends and long weekends are no problem - just throw a few things into your pack and worry not too much about weight - a few pounds extra are good for keeping you up to scratch for the longer trips, But when it is for a week or more many are the rescinded decisions before you will be satisfied - and even then you will, no doubt, have put a few things in “just in case”.
And then when you reach your Land of Heart's Desire, how the reality is always better than your imagination would let it be - for you were cautious in your mental flights to apply a brake, such as: It may rain all the time; or there may be fog; or snow; or heat; or drought; or the place may not be worth seeing anyway (this last is your great standby and the one you have always consoled yourself with whenever you wanted to go somewhere but for some reason or other you couldn't.)
“Oh! well, it isn't worth going anyway!” Without this wonderful ability of the mind to practice such deceptions what a discontented, moody, unhappy, glum-looking lot of bush walkers would congregate at Reiby Place on Wednesday nights!
…. much, indeed the greater portion of my journey, had been occupied in long reconnoitring rides; and he who thus rides is in a continued state of excitement, now bouyant with hope… now all despairing and miserable as he approaches the foot of a range without finding water.
Overland journey from Moreton Bay.
Leader: David Brown. Jerry Sinzig, Phil Butt, John Powell, Lindsey Gilroy, Margaret Wyborn.
Snow picked up Lindsey and myself at Strathfield Station in front of a big hole which was the old Melba. The others, going in Jerry's car, met at Windsor. The cup of tea and cakes at Mrs. Brown's was part of the trip, otherwise the trip was uneventful. I must comment, however, that until this trip I didn't realise there were so many bends around Jenolan.
We camped near the cars on top of Kanangra on little boulders and we were awoken at dawn by an icy wind. The others spent a more comfortable night in a small cave on the right hand side going down to the main cave. Up and away at 7.00 a.m. We had a look in the main cave which appeared as full of bodies as Bondi Beach on a fine day.
The chill wind, thoughts of our flea bags, the soft light on Kanangra Falls and Thurat Spires, the harsh voice of our slave driving Leader. “Forty Miles to go.” Onwards and downwards we trudged.
Downhill was fun on the Gingra, but after 14 miles and only one food break the old knee joints began to feel the knocking strain. After 3 1/2 hours we were down and had a feed on the Kowmung. The Kowmung looked exceptionally clear after the recent floods. Pools were crystal clear with a blue green tinge through the water. Four miles from the Cox's Junction we met a mob and a half of Catholic Bushwalkers strewn along most of the Kowmung. Eskis and monstrous packs were being carried up to some huts 1 1/2 mile downstream from the Gingra-Kowmung junction.
The weather was by now quite warm and the tough trip was transformed for some hours into a summer swimming trip. Into every pool we jumped. Even a small rapid was tried. Fantastic. Instead of having a nice long lunch our slave driver forced us to have two 1/2 hour lunches during the whole trip. What a bash! At 4.30 we passed White Dog and continued along the Cox towards Kanangaroo Clearing. Jerry soon disappeared into the evening mists along the Cox. We battled on, my new sandshoes not helping at all. As darkness approached, and Kanangaroo didn't, we said, “What is so good about the old clearing anyway?”
We found the next closest, softest, available campsite. John left us fifteen minutes after we had set up camp, deciding to continue on to Kanangaroo. Lindsey's torch was lent and off he went into the deepening darkness.
The leader's orders of the night were simple - early to bed and up at 7.30. Phil had knocked his knee soon after the first lunch and went to bed drugged with all the available tablets; four aspirin, two disprin and three codiene. We'll never make it.
After breakfast in bed I did manage to rise. We met the leader at the Clearing. A cup of tea was called for. “Brown for me, thank you.” “What do you mean brown?” “Brown in colour; not black as you had last night.” The argument intensified on the best way to cook tea and then drink it. Concentrated tannic acid is what black tea is made of and each person has a preference as to the colour his stomach will be in ten years time.
We met our President on the Kanangra River when we were thinking of starting up the long grind of Paralyser. Advice for future trippers - take gaiters or something for the small holly bush and prickly scrub. We reached the top of Paralyser and soon found our way over to Cyclops - where our Pres found some fruit on his shirt for our refreshment. We don't know how it came to be on his shirt.
Mount Carra-Merroo and North Thurat Range were crossed before dark then our slave driver told us to hurry up as it was getting dark. Six miles to go, along a road, but they were the longest six miles. It was very tempting to sit down on the Kanangra Road and wait for a car to come and pick me up. It wasn't permitted. We trudged on and on. To Kanangra.
(Phil Butt woke from his drugged sleep and decided it was easier to come home via White Dog and Katoomba. He reasoned that the bearable angle of bend of his knee was greater than the slope of White Dog but considerably less than the slope of Paralyser. He is alive and almost well. Editor.)
Alan Round was keen to lead a trip to Russell's Needle. But he wasn't sure whether it was possible to get down to the Nattai from thereabouts. So, on the Sunday before the programmed trip, he, my uncle and myself set out through Haddon's property, having left the land-rover outside the gate. Even though it was only seven-thirty on the Sunday morning, the Haddons were up and about. They didn't mind us passing through but had objected very strongly when an aloof party had gone through a few weeks earlier and had declined to talk to the property owner, apparently regarding the route through the paddocks as their right-of-way. We could have driven out much further towards the needle had not another irate farmer at High Range refused to allow anyone through his land.
However, we were on our way regardless via Mt. Jellore. From the mountain, a conically rounded volcanic plug of trachyte, could be seen the distant Blue Mountains. There was haze obscuring the detail, as usual. We had a dispute as to whether a plateau on the horizon was the Narrow Neck or King's Tableland, and weren't sure what the peaks were between Mt. Mouin and Cloudmaker. In contrast to the sweep of wilderness, the southern scene was of grassy paddocks, cattle here and there, tree-lined lanes, and the occasional homestead. Dominating the scene was Mt. Gibraltar, another volcanic outcrop a little higher than the 2,730 foot Jellore.
Having exhausted the view without sighting the needle (which was hidden behind its connecting ridge), we set off down to pick up the trail. After following the road for a mile or so, we came to a fork and took the the right-hand branch. More miles, and we were able to see across to the fire-blackened far side of the Nattai. Then the road ended.
Ahead of us was a remarkable sight. A knife-edged ridge, badly weathered, ran down some hundreds of feet in rocky terraces to a saddle, then up again in rocky confusion to finish abruptly at the “Needle”, a rounded brown block crowning this delicately poised jumble. Different indeed to the view of the Needle from downstream on the Nattai, a white pinnacle rising from the trees, much more true to its name.
We reached the saddle, where it would have been possible to descend direct to the Nattai (in a controlled manner I mean)! Continuing to wend our way amongst the assortment, we came close upon the quarry, and saw that an exposed rock climb was necessary to reach the top from the creek-side. Not wishing to attempt this without the safety of a rope, we made our way back to the saddle. From there, we dropped only one hundred feet into the creek which had formed the Needle. Collecting a billy of water, we rose again to the road and, after brushing the ants off the cheese, settled down to lunch. Then back to land rover, Mittagong and Sydney.
On the following Friday, the eight forty five Cooma Mail was chock-a-block with bods, bikes and bags for bike-bash to Katoomba and bona-fide bushwalk. On arrival at Mittagong the bona-fide bushwalkers were swallowed by a waiting taxi which whisked them off to Spring Hill where they spent a comfortable night on a soft bed of leaves. These three were the leader Alan Round (who had so much confidence that he had come without a map), Jim Vatiliotis, who fortunately had a map and Laurie Quaken.
After sleeping in until half-past seven and after a cold breakfast, they passed through Haddon's place. Mr. Haddon thought that Alan was very keen to have come again so soon! He didn't know that it was only conscience that had brought him down the week-end before to examine the route.
Same old Jellore, same old fire trail, same old saddle. But a different approach to the needle. Around to the Nattai side this time and, lo and behold, an easy chimney, however, with a chockstone at the top. Not knowing how easy it was to negotiate the chockstone, Alan rigged up his rope so that one could only fall six foot instead of sixty. Hence to the top.
Down to the saddle by three-thirty and down to the Nattai, via the creek, by five. One minor mishap in the creek. Alan pulled a large slice of rock on top of himself and decided that he didn't want it on his chest. So he pushed it to one side and he went to the other side and down, escaping with a bruised thigh. An early night was had on the Nattai.
I wanted to join the Needlers on the Nattai, having worked overtime on Saturday morning. On missing the afternoon's train to Hill Top, I took my car to Coates' Farm. Setting off down Starlight's Trail at seven, I was startled by the sound of a horn. On looking up I saw that there was a small addition to the motley collection of cars at the top. The Y.H.A. Campers Club was camped at the foot of Starlight's Trail and this was a late addition. So the whole three of us blundered down the often obscure track until we ran into the main party an hour later. At this point the filament of my torch burnt out, so I could go no further. After talking about the good old days with a friend from the Y.H.A. I spent a very comfortable night by the fire.
First light. Should be up. Sleep overpowers me again. Second light. Six o'clock. Up, farewell to the Y.H.A. and off to Rocky Waterholes Creek. Went upstream to where valley narrows and made breakfast. At half past eight who should come along but the three Russell's Needler's. Surprise!
Not wanting tea, we all set off up the creek, after dousing the fire. Easy going for the first few miles, being burnt, and scoured out by the recent heavy rain. Then overgrown on banks where it has escaped the fire and so, much slower going. We passed underneath the power lines, a recent addition to the scenery, at a quarter to three. It was not long afterwards that we came to two short but spectacular waterfalls. After this, we found out why the creek was called Rocky Waterholes. Two deep, four feet diameter holes were seen in the bed. From then on numerous holes were seen in the shallow rock-bed of the creek.
The country by this time had flattened right out on the right hand side so we reluctantly left the creek which had proved well worth the effort of going right up. Especially since it reduced our road walking for that day to only a mile… So to Hilltop Station, as per programme. But not as per programme, Alan and I jogged the six miles out to Coates' Farm to retrieve my nuisance of a car. We then picked up the others, dropped in on Grandma's at Mittagong where we discussed the trip and enjoyed tea and toast made on an open fire. Then back to home after quite a weekend.
In this year's February issue of the S.B.W. a trip to Barrington Tops is described. Had I not read that article I would not have got myself into this mess. From the description it sounds like a Sunday picnic. I was deceived and I just want to put the record straight. I live in Taree, about 80 miles from the Tops so over Easter I decided to reconnoitre the area to lead a future trip. That I thought would be two quiet days turned into the four most grinding, perishing days on record. By the end of the second day I'd run out of food, my strength on the third. On the fourth I thought my sanity would go.
The Nine Mile Spur between the Kholwha and the Barrington Rivers (the B.) slowly climbs to the Tops. The use of this track goes back a long way for I found two stone implements indicating that the trail was known to the Aborigines. It takes a full day to climb that spur. The second day I took very casually. I went looking for a wartime airstrip by Landrover with members of the Newcastle Aero Club. They ran into me on the Tops. About midday I headed down the B. having spent another hour with a party of trout fishermen round the Big Hole. I thought half a day would be ample time to get down. I never imagined I'd be following that river for a further two days. The Big Hole is a splendid camping spot on the B which can be reached by road. With the trout season nearly over there were few about however.
On the afternoon of the third day I'd had enough of rock hopping. Hoping for a quicker way out I climbed 1,500 steep feet to the top of a ridge. It went the wrong way. I slept there and wisely headed back down at sunup. I was short of water anyway. On this trip I committed three bushwalking blunders. I went alone, without a map and without sufficient food to cover emergencies. With a contour map I would not have pointlessly climbed that spur. At this stage I hadn't eaten for 20 hours so I started taking an interest in what the bush had to offer. Raspberries and wild cherries were surprisingly common. I saw some little white berries in some “roo poo”. I found a tree heavily laden with the same little white berries. I ate heartily reasoning that if 'roos could eat them so could I. A short time later I found a dead kangaroo - most interesting. But I looked up and this voice spake unto me and saith I was not to perish in that place for that he hath gotten other things planned for me besides crazy bushwalking. That's my story anyway. For a dollar or two I'll change it.
On the fourth day when finally I dragged myself clear of the tangled forest and ceaseless rattle of water into the flat fields I wept. I really did. With two full days of rock hobbling behind me, green pasture and cow dung never smelt so sweet. I was just so mighty pleased to be out. That river had become a monstrous and determined opponent baulking and snarling me with every step. I don't want to see another waterfall again. When you're buggered misty spray, twittering birds and cascading waterfalls lose all that beauty they're supposed to have. O.K. Its a fine river but get this straight: Fair weather or foul, trout or no trout you'll never get me up the bleeding Barrington again!
(Russ Derbridge's address is now C/- Valuer General's Dept. Horton Street, Port Macquarie).
The following Additions, Deletions, Amendments, etc. will bring the list dated 31st January, 1969, up to date:
Active to Non-Active
Non-Active to Active
To keep the address list up-to-date, would members please advise any changes to the Secretary without delay.
Congratulations to Craig and Marcia Shappert on the birth of a son.