THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalkers, Northcote Building, Reiby Place, Circular Quay, 2000. Postal Address: Box 4476,GPO Sydney,
|October Meeting - J. Brown||2|
|Taro - J. Turner||4|
|Now Fades the last Streak of Snow - D. Mathews||7|
|Once Upon a Time - Red-tail||11|
|Denise Hull's wedding||14|
|Search & Rescue - Berry Wallace||16|
|Mt. Equipment Ad||18|
|The Men Who Never Were -Thornigar||19|
|EDITOR||Bill Gillam, 19 Old Bush Rd, Engadine|
|BUS.MGR.||Bill Burke, Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford|
|TYPIST||Christa Younger, 71 Yarran Rd, Oatley.|
Coming after the fairly energetic debate at the half yearly meeting, October marked a return to tranquility. Three new members were named, Anne O'Leary and Robert Jones, who were there to be invested and George Mayer who wasn't.
As a matter arising from minutes, Don Finch announced the memorial to Taro would be placed at Clear Hill on 26th October, and outlined some of the arrangements being made. Phil Butt asked on behalf of Federation that the news be passed on to any members who may wish to take part.
From a Mr. Stanton, who is in occupation of the Quaker's land in Kangaroo Valley there was a letter indicating that there may be problems in acquiring Crown leases on adjacent land, if such was contemplated. Otherwise correspondence contained the information that there were now 270 “Smoke Walkers” and it was desired to increase this bushfire fighting force to 500. There were several letters seeking transfer to non-active status, or resigning - the usual concomitant of the final call for subscriptions.
In reply to an enquiry whether the Club had selected the delegates to the Nature Conservation Council, it was stated that Wilf Hilder was one and then came a volunteer for the second position in Spiro Ketas.
The Treasurer in presenting his statement said 32 unfinancial members had been crossed off, that there had been a fairly good response in last minute payment of subscriptions, and the Club's working funds stood at $1000, including $54 which finally wound up the Era fund after withdrawal of the amount voted for the Kangaroo Valley purchase.
Every month a growing number of Walks leaders announce the results of their own trips - a much more interesting way of presenting these vital statistics. Of the September activity it was recorded that David Cotton's Cox River trip was a pleasant jaunt in good weather and Sheila Binns day walk from Waterfall started with 26 and increased to 29 owing to three people having trouble with cancelled trains: very good wild flowers were reported.
The following week-end Bob Younger's 15 pilgrims over Mt. Solitary finished in a wind blown snow storm, and refuged in Wentworth Falls Railway Station to recover. It was rather milder for David Cotton's day walk amongst the bees and wild flowers at Darke's Forest: on the same day eleven people on David Ingram's day walk over Scouter's Mt. found it “nice and scratchy”, again with good wild flowers.
Pat Harrison reported that a party of 15 went out on his Nullo Mt Pomany trip: they were unable to get down into Wedden Valley but a pleasant trip was had. John Holly's St. Helena party of 19 including 11 prospectives) passed through some areas severely burned out last summer, but found St. Helena itself unscathed.
Mike Short took over Barry Wallace's Nattai River trip and reported numerous snakes. The area around Starlight's track is recovering well from last year bushfires. Finally David Ingram topped the poll with 42 people on his Wondabyne walk. They were, he said, very well behaved so no one got astray.
Wilf Hilder, on Federation matters, said a Committee had been set up to consider Reunion sites. Suggestions were invited, and information of suitable sites would he made known to member Clubs. The price of military maps had risen to 75c a copy. Owing to a burning coal seam nearby, the pass on Black Billy's Head in the Narrow Neck Megalong area, was rather obscure at present.
Coming to General Business Phil Hall said he felt some members were unaware of the Club's relationship to the Nature Conservation Council. To have a representative on the executive body of the Council, a membership of 400 people was necessary. Thus the Club's delegates could attend conferences, but not executive meetings.
Len Scotland had a couple of queries: first, if a member resigned during the year, was the magazine still forwarded until the period of subscription expired? Second there was the question of proposals to improve road access to the Kangaroo Valley property. In response to (1) the President said, no, there was a subscription but on resignation all communication ceased: regarding (2) there was as yet no firm proposal for road entry. Ho mentioned, however that the Management Committee would visit the land on November 1st, and invited any interested members to come along and see the property.
The time was 8.55, no one had anything to add, and we closed down.
Those of us who knew Walter Tarr well, (although perhaps one should give him the name by which, I suppose, all of us knew him best, “Lego”) will understand when I say that he is the last person who would have wished many words, in fact any words at all, to mark his passing . He was as you know of a retiring disposition and in fact he said to some of his friends shortly before his death and I quotes “I don't want anyone mumbling over my body when I'm gone!”
However, I feel we are not betraying Tare's confidence in going contrary to his expressed wishes, when we tender this semipublic recognition of our love and esteem of and for our friend, who after all, was a most extraordinary man!
First of all I think we should remind ourselves that our gathering here does not connote a time of sadness rather should we remember that the very essence of Taro's life was one of joy and the effervescence of living and so in death, I feel we should think of him that way.
This place has been well chosen because Clear Hill was always much beloved by Taro, so much so, of course that his dedication to this place earned him the title “THE DUKE OF CLEAR HILL”: As we, so many of us know, it was on a special trip he made here that ho erected what came to be known as Taro's ladders. He prefabbed the ladders and brought them from his home at Auburn on his motor-bike and side-car to as far as any sort of road existed in those days and then carried them on his back and here - or near this spot himself installed the ladders and thus was made very much easier - and safer - the descent of Clear Hill.
As you will realise, it is not easy when dealing with the life of such a remarkable man as Taro to know just where to begin nor, indeed, where to finish and so I have jotted down various items which I hope will give us a picture of him. Not all of his walking and camping life - which we all know so well anyway - but of other aspects.
Taro was practically a self-educated man and this made him all the more a remarkable character, when one calls to mind his many interests. He was a bush walker, a lover of nature; he was an artist, a lover of all the arts, music especially. He was a well read man who could quote from the classics and not the least, he was a philosopher.
His philosophical bent was never more apparent than during his camping expeditions. He loved his tent life and once wrote: “I have a fondness for tent life despite all the conveniences of the unfolding house; I like to wake in the tent after a night on Mother Earth, the closes to realism and yea (given a trench of course) the patter of rain on the cotton roof is music; on a house which is carried in a bag! With all the ever moving progress, somewhere deep down are elemental foundations which stir me as nothing fabricated can!”
He didn't get to see as much as he would have liked of the Snowy Region and was hoping for a trip back there one day. And of the Snowy's he said - “A never ending satisfaction to me is that we have our Snowy's region whore factories flounder not, where the air is delicious, it sets a pattern for every aspect of life!”
Taro too, was very young at heart and never happier than when mixing with younger people and he seemed to feel for them with their problems. On more than one occasion and to more than one of his friends he expressed relief that his life was coming to a close but coupled with that, he expressed regret for the young people living in a world of uncertainty and unrest and with all their problems ahead of them. As you know, he was a nonagenarian at his death and it might seem that he made up his mind that that would be about as long as he would live. I am told that about three years ago he expressed the conviction he had just 1000 more days left and not long before his death, when remonstrated with for saying he thought he'd had enough, he rejoined: “Well ninety's a long enough innings isn't it? at happens in nature when an animal can't fend for itself?”
One could elaborate at great length upon those attributes which prompted his friend, Bernie Peach (here with us today) to write recently: “Taro was quite a remarkable man in many ways and I feel that something irreplaceable has gone out of our lives. He was so utterly different in thought and action from the majority and I found the alertness of his mind remarkable for a man of his years. He reminded me somehow of an Australian pioneer mixed up with poetry, music and other talents, all thrust into the 20th century in one man - W.H. Tarr. The unobservant saw only his eccentricities, the observant saw a man who missed genius by very little.” (Unquote).
Then Taro's beloved push bike “The Bluebird” (something like 50 or 60 years old!) and upon which, up to not many years before his death he used to ride 100 miles every birthday; it might be to Bulli or to the Blue Mountains, It was a fixed-wheel job and of his return journey down the mountains he'd say to me :
“Boy what a thrashing my legs got as I came down Lapstone on the fixed wheel!”. And also his famous bike and side-car “The Royal Enfield” full of such gadgets as only Taro could contrive. He installed a brake which when in the “on” position, positioned a spike protruding through the seat which when he sat in the saddle would give no uncertain reminder that the brake was on. But one of his shall we say cutest gadgets was a list of reminders which enabled him to check that he had all the necessaries before setting off on a day or weekend trip. This was a panel containing the names of most of the things he would require, for instance, pack, billy, matches, boodle, as he called money, tent, sleeping bag and so on, with a shutter against each item, and as he placed each in his pack he would close the shutter until he had gone through the lot and of course he would then know he was fully equipped.
And so we must leave it at that. I feel, as no doubt many other people do, that although Taros's bodily presence is not with us, the spirit of the man will always remain and that he will always be trudging along with us with his Taro-made pack on his back, so constructed you will remember to have easy access to his watch, paper and pencil and for quick use, if necessary of his snake bite outfit. Let us ever be reminded that one of Taro's calibre cannot really depart from us and I conclude by repeating part of my tribute to him in the SBW Magazine : “It is not a case of Farewell Taro but walk on Taro and may the track become ever easier”.
Would any walker who is willing to donate back copies of the Sydney Bushwalker or who knows of a supply please contact Phil Butt or Joan Rigby. They will be forwarded to interested libraries such as the National Library in Canberra.
Any person interested in selling two H Frame packs please contact Bruce McGrath, Dept of Chemistry, University of Sydney or ring 6608741.
Don Mathews. Illuminated by Helen Gray.
There is an entry, in the logbook of Mawson's summing up the bulk of a season which, though snow fell early and late was on the whole, pretty dismal. The entry claimed a record for skiing from Kiandra, ON GRASS, and was dated mid-August.
I had given up all hope of a spring tour for this year. After that perfect day on Jagungal in September last year I could hardly expect another so soon. Early in August George Gray, Phil Hall and Griff the Grub toured in the Valentine Area but bad weather prevented a climb of Jagungal and they were full of enthusiasm for another trip if the snow was any good. The mid-September falls seemed to fix that aspect but one by one George's starters out until he was left with two last minute stalwarts, Rigby and myself.
After snatching a few hours sleep at Berridale we stopped at Sawpit Creek for breakfast and soon the ground was covered, with three lots of gear and food and waxes, Then the comedy routine began. Look atim, lookatim, cried George as excited as I have ever soon him, pointing at me. Where's his food.
Admittedly I hadn't brought the dehydrated garbage that George had requested but I had a large hunk of home-cooked corn beef instead and I'd taken the precaution to weigh my comestibles in case of the usual accusation that “he has hardly any food”. There eore seven pounds, all very nourishing. Ample. We polished off Digby's fresh eggs because George had a tin of powdered stuff which was the equivalent of umpteen dozen fresh ones, and used all my porridge, and this, of course worried George even more. I suppose we could have been snowed in for a week but this was unlikely. Finally we convinced him that we were carrying equal weights, and that we had enough for any contingency,
Then the wax business started. I was taking only two wazos, The others looked askance, They were after subtle shades of perfection in their waxing and were not to be put off. I saw the Klisterwax go in and with a sigh of relief put my own back in the car. As it was, I only used one of my two but it was was nice to know the others were available if needed.
After all this we were late leaving Munyang the prospect of the twelve miles to Mawsons, mostly uphill was not particularly inviting. We crossed the bridge and walked up the road towards the flume, At about 5000' we were able to put skis on. Digby had the right combination of wax and energy and disappeared up the hill at a great rate, then after a few hundred vertical feet we reached the flume terrace. This runs, nominally downhill to within half a mile of White's but with soft snow and many undulations was just a plod.
It was nearly three by the time we reached White's on a cloudless and very hot afternoon. The temptation to stay overnight and spend the afternoon scooting around without Packs was almost irresistible, but somehow we conned each other into pressing on. At the Schlink Hilton, the SMA hut, about a mile north of Schlink Pass, we turned right and climbed through the short gum tree grove into the wide gently sloping valley that runs parallel to the Kerries, west of the main ridge. We call it Two Mile Creek for some reason or other, though it is nearer to three miles, possibly because it conjures up a hopeful picture of a two (or three) mile skate on the return trip. Usually, of course, the snow is soft and the skate becomes a gentle glide, which is none the less pleasant.
By now the Violet Klister was well, and to ease my fatigue, I stopped frequently for photographs. Digby, fortunately, needed an occasional cigarette so the slog was endurable. Then,working at last, over the horizon, peeped the reluctant lion. Out came my camera. “What”,said George, “You've got about thirty views of Jagungal at home already”. That didn't matter, this was now. There was the scene, and the moment, not just the mountain had to be captured on film. The shutter gave a satisfying thunk. I picked up my pack with a groan and we slid down the Mawson Maze, a tangle of ridges which is only confusing until you have made your mistakes. We had made ours on earlier trips, so there was nothing to do but try to slow down the skis as they accelerated on the hardening snow.
Later that evening, a facetious suggestion that we should go for a moonlight tour was met with a certain apathy, but in fact it was light enough and calm enough to have made off for Jagungal and watch the sunrise from its summit. The morning was again clear and calm and we made a very leisurely start. Grass was showing on the northern slope to Valentine, which was mostly wide open and George headed for some rocks upstream where ho made a dry crossing I crossed half a mile downstream on tho remnants of a snow bridge and Digby managed it lower down still. Personal challenge this river crossing.
The natural route to Jagungal approximates on the map, a straight line from the apex of the Big Bend on the Valentino to the south facing bowl of the mountain itself, and is a delightful lope along the Valley at about 5,800' to 6,000' with very little effort required until the final half hour climb. We crossed the Rocky Plains Creek at the point where it flows due south for half a mile. The surface was of matt finish ice just thick enough to ski on. Downstream was a pond about sixty feet across, beyond the jumble of rocks at the far end, the stream dropped and rumbled out of sight. Upstream the narrow ribbon of ice was open here and there at the edges and the water swished and gurgled quietly. A few more days of sunshine and Preety Plains Creek would be open. Apart from patches of grass on the higher banks of the creek, the route was well covered. We stopped on a rise at the halfway mark and looked back at the steep western slopes of the Main Range, a narrow bead of creamy tinge which contrasted with the ultra whiteness of the rest of the snow.
The summit of Jagungal was remarkably calm and we were able to sit there in comfort and soak up the panorama. To the south, the area around Grey Mare hut, at about 5200',looked rather bare, but the Grey Mare Range was well covered and I wished that we had an extra day to explore its length and to see, close up,the Geehi Gorge and the western slopes.
There was instead the immediate pleasure of the descent of the and bowl. George headed for the knob to the south west of the trig, and we thought for a moment that he was going to take it straight, but he changed his mind when he saw the bottomless pit beneath him and joined Digby and I in traversing to the limit to get the most cut of the run. The snow was soft and turning, at times, a little uncertain. At one stage we marvelled at George's novel technique of skiing on his stomach with the soles of his skis warming in the sun and at the same time clearing his beard as it bulldozed through the snow, but as George explained, he discovered it quite by accident and isn't sure that he could do it again. Back at Valentine Digby's crossing was still intact but George and I spurned it and chose to wade the river about one mile further up. The thaw was really on.
We sat in the hut in the mid afternoon slurping billy after billy of tea prior to wood gathering and ski-fixing, with a satisfying feeling of accomplishment. Now it could rain or blow or snow and we wouldn't mind. It didn't. The moon shone again, and at intervals we'd wander out and gaze at the ghostly glory of the slopes and then creep back inside to warm up again.
The next morning there was a smoke haze in the air, and later a brisk wind blowing clouds over to shield our sunburnt noses. It would have been a blustery day on the slopes, but our valley was sheltered and still very hot. Sure enough the snow on Two (or Three) mile Crook was soft and we slid gently down. Near White's the soft snow was interspersed with hard patches where trees overhung the road formation. The acceleration on these was remarkable to behold, as was the sudden jerk with which we ploughed into the soft stuff again. From the flume we plodded on and shortly after the start of the downhill the snow became very patchy. We, persevered for a while but the scrape of rock on skis became too much to stand. The grass and rocks won out and it was all over.
After leaving late from Sydney due to somebody's inability to read railway indicators, the Woziborn bucket arrived at Budthingaroo Clearing during the early hours of Saturday morning. The contents of the vehicle extracted themselves and upon finding a suitable nic curled up for limited sleep. Doone Wyborn was supposed to lead this walk. However, as Doone was working at Cootamundra at the time D. Finch was for some unknown reason elected leader. The rashness of this decision first became apparent at 5.30 a.m. Saturday morning when the aforementioned leader lit a fire, started on breakfast and of course, expected everyone else to do the same. It was not use protesting and before long all of the party was up, with the exception of the Wyborns who lay in bed until five minutes before departure time and were then fifteen minutes late. Gerry Sinzig and John Powell rolled up at 8 a.m. just in time to help Rosso with his breakfast. Dot Butler had a bit of trouble sewing up a leaking flea-bag while the Fon sewed the only button back onto his shorts.
The first car finally rolled off at 8.15 and the second at 8.16 with all its doors open. The convey turned off the Kanangra Road along a fire trail at 056065 - after travelling along this trail for about one mile a junction was reached at 064079 (Kanangra L.D.)
After leaving the cars and walking for about a mile a spot of navigational trouble on the part of the leader was sorted out after somebody pointed out that the map was upside down. The general direction of the map was determined and after a short distance horizontal and 600 ft. vertical the party arrived at Sally Coop Creek. The party started rock hopping down the creek. It wasn't very long before a few short swims and a small jump were necessary. The rock hopping developed into scrambling with dampness in between times. While crossing some large rock slabs the white ants mentioned lunch. The leader, however, being wise to the ways of bludgers etc. ignored the remarks and pushed on to the first abseil.
The first abseil is actually one large drop of about 155 ft. broken up into two sections one (the first) of 65 ft and one of 90 ft. The first waterfall falls into a pool. Between the Pool and the second fall is a rock shelf. The plan was to have lunch on this shelf. The abseil rope was duly set up. The camera enthusiast had a field day getting people to pose in mid abseil. That with Margaret and her new camera Gerry and Rosso all clicking away, one lady abseiler had her photo taken with her tongue out. However, fortunately, or unfortunately, for her, whichever the case may be, the photo didn't turn out. The abseil was accomplished by all without too much trouble although the last bit was a problem i.e. how to tread water and unclip a sling at the same time. The Fon had the right idea as last man down he simply climbed down to an acceptable level and jumped.
After lunch, which was a leisurely affair except for the hardworking bludgers, the second part of the fall was attempted. Initially the rope was put down a dry section. After Rosso went down he decided that this would never do so he repositioned the rope through the waterfall,a much safer abseil he assured the rest.
Unable to do anything about this predicament the rest were forced to got wet much to the hysterical delight of Rosso clicking away from the rocks with his camera. When it came time to pull the rope down there were a few anxious moments until the knot came down. Now there was only Rosse's rope caught up. Enthusiasm waned until Rosso cunningly pointed out that both ropes would be needed to get out of the canyon and down it came.
While walking 400 yards to the next abseil the party frightened a wallaroo which raced back up the narrow canyon to come head on with Rosso. The terrified animal tried to jump up the side and in doing so fell and broke a hind leg. The poor creature was left to it's no doubt unpleasant destiny.
At the next abseil we found some spikes which we were told by one old enough to know were put there by Putto before the birth of Phil Butt. These spikes were given a miss in preference to a piton of less respectful vintage. From this piton an abseil directly into the gully was attempted at a point 50 ft. from the bottom and 20 ft. from the end of the rope. It was decided to try a different tack. The different tack was to traverse around a ledge and step across an airy fairy gully with somebody pushing against the chest of the stepping person. Then a scramble down loose dirt covered with nettles, a small cliff covered with hard holds, a walk across a log covered with moss and onto a rock ledge. Here several billies of Rosso's party-aid helped to revive the party.
After a couple more bombs the party arrived at the last abseil before the camp site for the night. The old manila sling from a trip early this year (1968) was still in the piton. It was replaced with a nylon sling. A few people climbed down the rope hand over hand while Dot climbed around a ledge, slid down a tree and arrived at the bottom in an avalanche of leaves, dirt and a cloud of dust.
The camp site was about 200 yds further down the creek and was on an island in the creek. A convenient rock shelf for the fire with a 2 ft drop to grass for sleeping on, plenty of firewood and easy to get water made a very pleasant camp. Dirty people went for a swim. After tea a group centring around Rosso discussed some of the horror movies and told jokes. Most people went to bed about 9 pm while a small group went hammer and tongs until the wee hours. The three favourite topics each got a bash until the origin of the universe and the theory of evolution with religious overtones promoted some lively conceptions.
The leader was up early at 5.15 - partly to the disgust and partly to the amazement of the party. The consequence was that an advance party moved off at 7.00 a.m. while the tail enders, Wyborns of course, moved off at 7.45 a.m.
After the usual run of small drops the party came to a large pool where the bombers bombed and the rest climbed around. Some people went up for a second bomb while super spoon climbed up a large tree trunk over the water with predictable results when she arrived at the moss covered section. Trundled off to the 215 ft fall marked on the Kanangra Sheet. It is possible to sidle this fall to the left. However, an abseil down to a low ledge was favoured. From the ledge a short sidle to the left and down through some scrub to the bottom where a large pool was used for cooling off while waiting for the end to catch up. Soon after this pool one more jump and then THE jump of about 45 ft. The rope was set up around a doubtful rock belay for use as a hardline by the less adventurous types who preferred to climb down instead of jumping. The Butler boys jumped and after some coaxing a few others followed. The really keen types went back for seconds. However, there weren't many of them. Then the real drama of the jump started. Lindsey and Margaret who had climbed down and had watched the jumpers from the warm rocks decided that it looked easy. It always does from the bottom. They climbed around the rocks and up the rope. Then they looked down. The Pen started pulling up and coiling the rope - a storm of protests when it was almost thrown over. Gerry, who was sun baking on a rock, became the custodian of the rope just in case the girls changed their minds.
After standing on the edge for five minutes or so a conversation between Margaret and Lindsay was after the style of - You go first then I will - No you go then I will - no you etc. Ten minutes of indecision. Then Margaret asks Pen to go first after bit of bartering he extracts a promise from Margaret that she will jump after him and a promise from Lindsey that she would try to. A second or two to balance on the edge, a jump, a splash, a head it's all over. Seconds pass. Margaret moves to the edge tenses it's now or never. It's now a falling body of blue and white with a golden streamer, a splash, a head, a short swim to the rocks and all eyes are on Lindsey leaning against the cliff. She moves forward to balance in mental conflict on the edge. Gerry finishes coiling tho rope. She relaxes and leans back against the cliff amongst shouts of encouragement and sighs of disappointment. Moving forward again, balancing on the edge, a hush, a jump and facial expressions of indescribable emotions - she descends into the ranks of the bombers. Gerry throws the rope to the Fon treading water in the middle of the pool. Then Gerry with a cry of Geronamo hops off his rock and into the water as if he were just getting into a bath.
A sidle and a slide down loose dirt around the next fall brought the party up to Joan who had missed out on the drama at the jump. After three or four easy miles around small falls and a fast rock hop behind Dave the party arrived at Kanangra River junction. A rest was declared in the absence of any dissenters i.e. the leader. Then up the Kanangra River, through Whalania Chasm to the slippery dip where lunch was had. The pool at the bottom was not very deep and it was not possible to free slide all the way without killing oneself. Alas, Lee, Ross and John were determined to get a slippery dip. They worked out a system of sliding down head first with the rope twisted through a crab for a brake and a sling around our ankle attached to the crab. Fortunately it worked.
The party moved on up the river about 1 p.m, with the Wyborns last as usual. On top of the big waterfall an afternoon tea break was declared in the absence of any dissenters etc. After two hours the party moved off again. About a mile further up a likely ridge was followed to the top. A bash through scrub then onto lush grass under tall timber to the fire trail. A mile or so along the fire trail to the cars and the end of another mighty trip.
Mighty trippers in order of the length of their little fingers were : Alan Kerns, Ross Templeton, Leroy, John Kitchener, Lawrence Quaken, Joan Rigby, Lindsey Gilroy, Margaret and Ross Wyborn, Dot Butler, John Powell, Gerry Sinzig, Don Finch, Dave Rostrom.
Denise had driven around the N.T, in an unregistered car for a week before deciding she ought to get it registered and drive back to Sydney to got married. Finally arrived exhausted at Epping to find fiancee Neville in bed with pneumonia. A few days under Sister Hull's supervision and he was able to stagger to the church at 10.30 Friday. He and the guests waited and waited…The bride was there but where was the minister? Eventually Denise took matters in hand and made a few phone calls. Everyone was waiting at the church (right denomination, wrong suburb). She arranged to have everyone at the right church at 12.30. “I can't wait any longer for the wedding breakfast” announced Denise “Let's have it now.”
Champagne relaxed everyone, toasts were made. Off to the right church. Another wait. Where was the groom? At the wrong church (Right suburb, wrong denomination). At last they were married. The happy couple walked to their car. The key wouldn't fit. And where was their luggage? In an identical car further down the road. Congratulations to Denise and Neville Raymond. Their address : 303 Malton Rd .Epping.
The N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs, with which S.B.W. is affiliated, organises and operates a volunteer Search and Rescue Section.
Volunteer Searchers are drawn from the affiliated clubs, and any member of one of these clubs may volunteer to be called out to assist in Search or Rescue. The main qualifications required are that volunteers be reasonably capable walkers and that they be able to take orders from the S & R Field Officer, or his assistant, whichever one is in charge of the particular operation.
Obviously not everyone can attend every search and not everyone may be available at any time. For this reason volunteers are graded on their availability for S & R operations.
There are three grades of availability. These are:
(A) Available for immediate call out at any time
(B) Available at 24 hours notice at any time.
(C) Available at weekend only.
In the event of a search becoming necessary the S. & R Field Officer notifies the Various Clubs Search and Rescue contacts. These people then proceed to ring the listed volunteers in their club, asking whether they can help, and telling them the rendezvous point and time. Persons listed are under no obligation to attend searches when asked. No explanation is required, in fact a simple YES or NO is preferred, as it permits the S & R contact to get on with calling other people.
The S & R lists for the Sydney Bushwalkers are currently being updated and revised. ALL volunteers, both new and existing ones, are asked to complete the attached form and forward it to:
S & R List Sydney Bush Walkers
Box 4476 G.P.O. Sydney 2001.
or hand it to Barry Wallace or Barbara Bruce in the Club Rooms.
It is necessary that all volunteers complete a form because it is intended that these should replace the present lists for use by S & R contacts.
PHONES Home: Business:
I would expect to be available
A: For immediate call out
B: For 24 hour call out
C: At weekends only.
Thornigar (Bill Gillam)
“At the end of a life illusion falls away
When the city falls, oh then, in that last day, river,
I shall came back to you as a man to his lover.
I shall come back when her wild blood sets the day
And the first leaf breaks on the willow, symbol and truth
Let that day disclose. But a man's what his spirit knows
And what I have known for truth, now as in youth
Is one clear river, coming down, cold from the snows.”
I had been, in my youth, to Annie Rowen's and, more youthful still to Glen Davis. Somewhere in between these two remarkable places I knew the two rivers met at a mythical junction. Reason said there could not be a great deal in elevation between any two spots on either river so there was no chance of being benighted on a dry ridge. Caution said put in some extra food just in case. Caution says this to me every time.
Pat Harrison said thirty five miles, Ross Hughes ran a planimeter over the route and said forty two miles, Gerry Sinzig said “We did it in summer when the days were very long”. Pat was determined to return with a triumph this time. One precaution to take was to put the Skiing Group into the other party; they had white-anted him last time, lighting fires at midday and insisting on staying in sleeping bags until an unreasonably late hour, something after six, on the Sunday morning. They would never agree to walk for some hours on Friday, exact time unknown, and then make a five o'clock start each morning.
The Skiing Group missed the rendevous at Bownfels. There was confusion before we left the city about how much extra food we needed, who had jumpers, tents, how much coffee. Instructions in case we did not return. The Group met their own leader at the appropriate place, opening the gates in Glen Davis. They didn't really have to white ant. The cars came to a locked gate, the cars backed to a pleasant spot. We went to sleep. Somewhere in the night Harrison walked on and on.
I have a feeling he was still walking when the dawn chorus of snapping twigs and rattling billies woke me. We lingered over breakfast, cooking the porridge properly, letting the coffee settle before drinking it, debating whether to go back to look at the Gothic Modern ruins of the Glen. We packed carefully, put the keys where John Scott would find them, looked round and said goodbye to the spot where we had slept six pleasant hours and then ran. We ran to such effect that the first time the map was produced we were halfway down the Capertee.
I had fallen into a wombat hole, inspected rocks covered in flowering orchids, great masses of Dendrobium Lingueforme, had sniffed the fragrance of several new mint bushes in full bloom, collected seed from flowering paperbarks and bottlebrushes. I don't know the difference between melaeucas and callistemons unless it is written on the label, found a pink and yellow flowered hakea and had picked up a piece of shale full of fossils. All this and watched the most wonderful cliff line of orange sandstone. After we decided we were halfway down the Capertee we took things even more leisurely.
We stopped for lunch. One noble spirit swam, others slept, some stood round a fire to warm themselves. Tine told me the story of her life subtitled “Encounters with nettles”. I could have camped there knowing how much extra food I had. Idle walkers speculated idly when and where we would meet Pat. If he had walked as well as we had we should have had dinner with him. Joan Rigby stopped such talk by putting out the fire, steam cleaning the speculators.
After lunch the peacefulness of the trip was broken. Ross stood on a black snake, defunct, so we had a rest. Bourke saw a lyre bird so we had a rest, Ross came into the running again when he trod on a Broad headed snake, alive, very venomous and just as John Pettigrew described the one he picked up; sluggish, brown, banded, head like a python, body like a python; we hesitated to see if this one would give a bite as Pettigrew describes. Onwards with someone else in the lead. Ross doesn't like snakes.
From a long way in the rear of the party I watched the cliff line and communed with nature. Ahead there came a change in the constant clatter; we had met Pat's Party, at something after two. The air was filled with tales of hardship from Pat; the road into Newnes is slippery, the river is up more than the Capertee and is much muddier. We can't match his tales. They have seen platypus playing in the Wolgan, and dingoes. Ah, our snakes and our lyre birds are suddenly valuable. With great cunning I tried to inspect the eyeballs of the other party to see if they were falling out from lack of sleep. Certainly they looked a bit red. Nine hours walking, you say. We may have done five and there is only fifty minutes to the junction. That would be eight hours tomorrow less any we do along the Wolgan tonight and surely we will do some along the Wolgan. Newnes in daylight whatever happens. That surplus food will not be needed.
There is a reasonably good campsite at the junction. What if it is only three o'clock. The Wolgan certainly is up and the water not nearly as clear as the Capertee. A tent goes up, a fire is lit and certain people, anonymous for the literary requirements of this article, get into sleeping bags which they will not leave, except under duress, for the next sixteen hours.
Sunday is a day of change. From a party running together we have become a party straggling apart. More orchids, more cliffs, pleasant glades to stroll through, cross the river, recross the river, swear at the nettles. Just like the Cox, beautiful trees, great fallen rocks and always a cliff to stop and admire. Annie Rowen's at lunch time, cold water, too cold really to swim although some even more noble souls do. Orchids flowering on the casuarinas. Peace. Cross the river. More orchids, photographs, clematis in bloom, beautiful cliffs.
The next navigational marker is Rocky Creek where a log crosses the river. There is the log. Afternoon tea. Cross the log. The road should be just above the flood level. No road. Persevere a bit. Not Rocky Creek. We should walk a bit faster. More nettles, cross the river again. Tine jumps and nearly loses her glasses. Walk really fast now. For the next two hours.
A well used campsite. This must mean something. The stragglers inspect the water. Somehow it doesn't seem as muddy as the Wolgan, but on the other hand there is quite a volume of water. It COULD be a side creek. Just check the map in case. Could be Rocky Creek. Walk downstream for just a few minutes. There's a log, stalk across it, hey it's the road. It is Rocky Creek. And there are the others. Or some of them. Billy Bourke and Dot Noble. No leader, no Lawrence, no Joan Rigby. Joan has gone looking for Marion. Lawrence arrives, coming downstream in Rocky Creek. Joan comes back and says we will need a visual search for Marion, Bourke says well where is Ross, did he cross back to this side. He may have kept on the other side all the way and missed This Rocky Greek. I still have surplus food. Is it more logical to camp here or go on to the cars. Ross and Marion arrive. They crossed Rocky Crock further up thinking it was the Wolgan and have climbed up the cliff line,found the road and walked. back to the junction looking for the “lost party”. The map says four miles to Newnes. An hour's walk - or run. It is still broad daylight, just after five.
Long after dark the road still hasn't taken us to Newnes. In moonlight we pass the old, beehive retorts, the blocked off entrance to mines. We keep running. In the still cold air the scent of a cooking fire comes to us. Then a little while later the smell of badly burnt bread. Tourists at least. It can't be far now. At last the road goes down to the river, the ford is as cold as it always is. The cars are where they should be. We change into warm dry, clothes to go to the Art Gallery. A good trip.
And the men who never were.
Snow Brown and Don Finch could not leave Sydney until nine o'clock on Friday. This put them three hours behind Pat at Newnes. On Saturday morning they could not rise early after three hours sleep and were slow to get away. Five hours behind Pat. They ran down the Wolgan where we met them at the junction; an hour and a half behind Pat. What's an hour and a half - we will catch them tomorrow. Late start. This modern day Burke and Wills reached Glen Davis at ONE THIRTY. No cars. Scott was to bring mine back from Glen Davis to Newnes WITH Snow and Don. They rested briefly. Then two thousand feet and six miles across the pass to Newnes they reached the Art Gallery ten minutes before the Skiing Group.
Somewhere there is a lesson to be learnt.