A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, Northcote House, Reiby Place, Circular Quay, Sydney. Postal Address: Box 4476, G.P.O. Sydney, N.S.W. 2001.
|Editor||Neville Page||7/44 West Pde., West Ryde Tel. 2-0223 (B)|
|Typist||Lesley Page||7/44 West Pde., West Ryde Tel. 2-0223 (B)|
|Business Manager||Don Finch||6 Royce Ave., Croydon.|
|From the Editor||2|
|The February General Meeting||Jim Brown||3|
|Coming Walks||Alan Pike||5|
|Membership Notes||Barbara Bruce||8|
|Holiday in Fiji||Les Davidson||9|
|Club Office Bearers||19|
|Report of the Coolana Management Committee||19|
|Federation Notes||Jim Callaway||21|
|Heathcote State Park||Bill Hall||22|
Just having returned from a thoroughly delightful holiday at Barrington Guest House (Barrington Tops), I thought you might like the following verse, which I poached from the visitors' book at the guest house. Visions of Lilyvale and the Solitary side of Narrowneck come vividly to mind; and believe me, the leeches along the Williams River are really vicious. It's still a beaut spot though (find out by going on Ramon U'Brien's trip there at Easter).
By N. Shillito
Leeches greet you
Come to meet you
Suck your blood
And try to eat you.
In the forest,
In the river,
Even in your bed.
Long and black
They will attack you;
Anytime you turn your back.
You can't escape
That terrible fate
You may as well be dead.
Group “0” blood's delicious,
“L” is quite nutritious.
If your skin
Is tender white and thin
The damage to your body is malicious.
From which your blood flows
Cover you all over till it shows
That you are just another victim
Of the Barrington Plague.
Next month, starting with the April Magazine, the new Editor, needing no introduction to most in the form of Jim Brown, will take over “The Sydney Bushwalker”. Jim must be the magazine's most prolific and constant contributor, and his only problem as Editor will be that he doesn't have someone like himself to write for him. Please send all future contributions to Jim. His address is 103 Gipps St, Drummoyne.
By Jim Brown.
It was a pestilentially wet night and when the meeting opened at 8.20, we were a small gathering of about 30, which increased later. No new members to be welcomed, but arising from minutes we learned that Marcia Shappert had inherited the role of Club telephone contact.
Correspondence told us that there had been several transfers to the Non-active list, the people concerned ranging from old hands to quite newly elected members. Dot Butler volunteered to attend a symposium organised by the Nature Conservation Council for a date late in February. There was advice from the Kosciusko Hut Association of a draft constitution & by laws to be discussed at a meeting set down for Sawpit Creek in May.
The Treasurer's statement showed a closing balance of $947 in the Club's bread and butter account at the end of January (end of the Club year) and some discussion followed over an apparent conflict in the amounts provided for the Club's Christmas Party at the household of the Rowens. It was left on the basis that Social Secretary & Treasurer would resolve the question.
At this stage the Walks Secretary was not on deck, so we went on to Federation affairs. Jim Callaway reported that a Federation protest to the Minister for Lands had produced a positive denial that a road would be constructed through New England National Park. Federation would re-une in the Wolgan Valley on March 26th-27-28 before the projected coal mining venture disturbed its serenity.
So to the General Business at an indecently early hour. It was reported that work on the road between Kangaroo Valley township and Coolana, together with the unduly wet spell, had made it virtually impassible to all except 4 wheel drive vehicles. As a consequence we began to consider alternative Re-union sites, and although Era & Martin Place Plaza were mentioned, the old retreat at Woods Creek was selected.
The President announced that the Secretary, Social Secretary, Treasurer & three Committee Members would not seek re-election at the Annual Meeting, & at this stage the Walks Secretary put in an appearance & was asked to present two month's list of activities.
At first there was some trouble in tracking down the long-since December walks reports, & the report actually covered January & December in that sequence. However to be chronologically tidy, we started with the Gourmet weekend at Macarthur's Flat on the Nattai under the supervision of Julie Frost & Peter Franks - with nine people and an agreeably leisurely weekend. Don Finch and a party of 8 tackled the ropework of Danae Brook (as reported in an earlier magazine), and there were also 8 on Alan Hedstrom's day walk from Cowan to Brooklyn.
An enterprising jaunt conducted by Bill Gillam saw 11 folk tackling three peaks (Morgan, Murray and Bimberi) in the range between the Brindabella/Cotten valleys & Adaminaby. Twenty people, including six visitors from the Shakespeare Readers' Club were on Esme Biddulph's trip to West Head.
On the weekend before Christmas Keith Muddle's group of six tackled Cox's River & Harry's River, found hot weather conditions, and suitably altered the trip. And finally there were 17 to recoup from Christmas at Sheila Binn's leisured Burning Palms camp.
Over the holidays John Cameron had a party in the high country around Jagungal and Valentine Falls, Owen Marks made a verbal report covering his own indisposition one hot day & the mosquito trouble at Grey Mare.
January saw Marion Lloyd's Bouddi trip, done in very warm weather with a Saturday afternoon storm. Of the two day walks that weekend details were not to hand of the Woronora River jaunt, but Jerry Sinzig's Secret Canyon approach to Blue Gum had 10 people, including some with very heavy packs who found the quick return over Lockley's rather strenuous. Twelve people took to the Barrington area with Peter Levander (see the February magazine), while 16 took it quietly (3 hours lunch break) on Sheila Binn's Kangaroo Creek day jaunt.
Like Emily of TV fame, Peter Levander was at it again the next weekend, this time in the Bell Creek Canyon, & with 14 people. The Canyon was somewhat choked with timber washed down in recent floods, & proved a chilly passage (someone said “don't do canyon trips with false teeth”).
On the day walk Laurie Rayner substituted for Bob Younger (on holidays) & the party of four went to the West Head area instead of Woronora River.
The Australia Day holiday, wet, muddy & misty & full of misery. There were 9 on the Frost/Franks Shoalhaven jaunt, & many others from other Clubs & what-have-you in the area. Flooding occurred & some of the party pulled out Sunday. Keith Muddle with party of four went to the Pebbly Beach region of the south coast & evidently found that exceedingly wet also. Although not on the programme, another aquatic exploit in the Budawangs (12 people) under Ray Hookway had been accepted by Committee as a Test walk.
Well, there we were all programmed trips duly performed & a couple extra for good measure. There was nothing to add, & we closed down at 9.20pm.
By Alan Pike.
On 28th. March Bill Hall is leading a walk in the Heathcote State Park. This walk is to be held conjointly with the Trustees of the Park. This information unfortunately was somehow left out of the walks programme. Page 22 of this magazine has a brief history of the Park, with some notes on the part Sydney Bushwalkers played in its creation.
Walks for April are as follows:-
Well, it's good to see the names of Don Finch and Doone Wyborn so much on this programme, and they certainly have some interesting trips lined up. This weekend walk is out west towards Rylestone, Pat Harrison's favourite hideout. The area offers a lot of exploration, and it sounds as if Don and Doone will be doing their share of this. The trip is a test walk of about 25 miles and the country could be rough going in some places as the tracks are few.
If you would prefer a somewhat less adventuresome walk, with scenery to equal any, try Bob Younger's trip over Mount SolIitary in the Jamison Valley. This is a test walk, leaving Sydney on Saturday morning.
Once again stars Don Finch and Doone Wyborn are playing the leading roles in what promises to be a very spectacular effort. The area is in the Snowy Mountains, south-east of the Main Range, and actually crosses the headwaters of the Murray to Mt. Cobberas in Victoria. An ascent will be made of the Pilot (over 6,000 feet) which gives a fantastic view of Kosciusko, rising 5,000 feet from the Murray Valley. The weather can be quite wintry down there at Easter - so be prepared.
Ramon U'Brien is hitting the scene at Barrington Tops, west of Newcastle, an area which has been very popular during the last few months. As yet we don't know exactly what Ramon has cooked up, but as he never fails to put on an excellent and thoroughly planned trip, I can recommend this one. The walk is on the easy side of medium and should be very enjoyable.
If you would like some easy day walks from base camps, David Cotton will oblige by showing you the Warrumbungle and Mt. Kaputar National Parks. Those two Parks are in the north west of the state, and contain some very high volcanic peaks surrounded by a vast expanse of plain. Some of the rock formations are incredible. If you haven't been there - then go! It's long drive but the roads are good.
This weekend we have an Instructional for Prospectives (and Members who may have forgotten. Our President, Spiro Ketas (a very clever walker, and most able instructor) is the leader and he will announce full details later (when he's thought where to go).
Also this weekend we have a sightseeing trip and “Rigby Reunion” at the National Capital. We have a letter from Frank and Joan, and it is reproduced here to give you the full details:
At this time of the year the Autumn foliage should be a feature of the Canberra landscape and we hope that some of you will come and enjoy it with us. The general idea is that you arrive at our place on Friday night or Saturday morning. There is plenty of floor room for sleeping bags as well as some lawn for tents and, to avoid complete chaos in the kitchen we'll provide breakfast at a reasonable 20 cents a head.
During the morning you may care to stroll up nearby Mt. Ainslie for the best panoramic view of Canberra then we'll meet in Telopea Park for a barbecue lunch. Bring your own meat and eating tools, but salad and trimmings will be provided.
Have a look at Canberra during the afternoon and return in the evening for a buffet tea at our place. On Sunday we will organise an easy day walk finishing in time for an early start back to Sydney.
Our address is: 52 Glossop Crescent, Campbell. Telephone 49-1198.
Alan Pike will have sketch maps to help car drivers find their way through the Canberra maze to Campbell. Please help us cater for the weekend by letting Alan know no later that 14th April if you are coming.
Joan and Frank Rigby.
Two trips this weekend, both to the same place - Budawang National Park (inland from Nowra). If no-one gets lost, the two parties will meet up for some combined explorations of some of the less frequented areas. Don and Doone's walk is the harder of the two, but it will also be the more scenic, as ascents will be made of the Castle and Bibbenluke Walls. (It would be a sin not to take your camera).
Owen Marks' walk should be more leisurely. You could take along that book you haven't finished yet (as well as your camera of course). The Budawangs are “mighty”: in fact many say that the best walking country in New South Wales lies in these ranges.
If you still need a genuine New Zealand wool shirt for your winter gear, here is the opportunity.
Our clearance sale on New Zealand wool shirts is still on, although only large sizes are left now.
Standard Quality $8.00. Heavy Duty Quality $9.00.
And of course all the best gear for walking, climbing and canoeing is waiting for you to look at. See you next Saturday.
Mountain Equipment. 167 Pacific Highway, North Sydney, N.S.W. Ph. 929-6504.
Barbara Bruce - Membership Secretary.
I missed out on putting my section to the February mag.! I thought I had put it in, but I hadn't. But I've worked out a bit of a system now so I shouldn't forget again.
Anyway, you didn't miss much because there weren't any new members in February to spread gossip about (otherwise ' might have noticed).
March Committee Meeting yields a different story, insofar as we had an application for membership from Michael Smithers. I won't tell you all about Michael, but since he told Committee he might lead a few walks you may, in due course, find out for yourselves anyway. I will merely tell you that he is a young Civil Engineer working for a firm located in North Sydney and that he has spent approximately 18 months in Hobart prior to migrating to Scotland and seeing a bit of Europe. He also has a pack exactly the same as mine - only his weighs more when it's full.
Welcome to the now Prospectives who joined in February and March:
February: Robyn Barr, Max Christmann, Paul Harmata, Wendy Hobson, Kerry Ruston, Jenny Salzmann, Zenda Spry, Marjorie Stanton, Andrew Long, Nick Marshall, John O'Rourke, Greg. Wilson, Robert Banks, Michael Breen, Robyn Cummings, Peter Donnelly and Ron Howie.
March: Cedric Leathbridge, Robin Plumb, Jane Parish, Colin Rodgers, Louise Rowen and Wayne Small.
There's a whopping great list of Prospectives who kept us in Membership hopping, about October, and who are now due to apply for full membership or request an extension.
Robyn Anderson, Christine Brown, Anne Cowlishaw, Felicity Dixon, John and Peter Edwards, John Ellis, Jean Emerson, Lita Byers, Gaye Fordham, Jim Gardner, Kay Grover, Pam Gwyther, Jane Kobitz, Jeloel Mackenzie, Ella Neef, David Peacock, Angie Rosenrauch, Kay Schubkegel, Paul Sharp, Barbara Warnott, Richard Watkins, John Fieboldt.
If any members see any of the abovomentioned Prospectives - and think of it - please draw their attention to the expiration of their Prospective Membership.
By Les Davidson.
At last the big day arrived. Mary, Barry and I boarded the Boeing 707 on the 8th August last at 10a.m. ready for our flight to Viti Levu, Fiji looking forward to our 14 days holiday with the intention of walking from the Nausori Highlands on the west coast to Suva on the south-east coast.
Sydney had a temperature of 56° when we took off and after four hours of picturesque flying we touched dawn at Nadi Airport. When we stepped out of the aircraft it was like stepping into a hot house, it was 80°. Off came pullovers, long pants, and shirt sleeves were rolled up to combat the heat.
After we were cleared by Customs we walked out of the Airport scratching our heads as to which way to go to Nausori Highlands via Nadi township. Did Owen Marks say turn left and catch a bus or did he say turn right? Did Frank Tacker say turn right or was it left? Did Dot Noble say walk or did she say catch a bus?
Completely confused we asked a Fijian the way to Nausori Highlands via Nadi township. He looked at us and then at our gigantic packs and told us that we would never get to Nausori with such loads. It was clear he didn't want anything to do with idiots anyhow. After several more enquiries we boarded a bus for Nadi township. We alighted at a native village called Namotomoto.
At last we got some clues. The Fijians told us that Nausori Highlands was about 20 miles distant and seeing it was late in the day they suggested we stay with them overnight and set out for Nausori next morning.
These hospitable people spread out grass mats under the palm trees and served us with coffee and biscuits. We all agreed it was the best coffee and biscuits we had ever tasted. That night they took us into a bure (native hut) and we had an enjoyable evening discussing our respective countries.
Next morning after a mighty breakfast we said goodbye and set off by cab for Nausori. We climbed for hundreds of feet into the Nausori Highlands. The scenery was really something, dense rain forests and row after row of grass covered hills (Viti Levu was once volcanic). The cab dropped us off at the Nausori Village and we asked the natives the way to the next village explaining to them our intention of walking cross country to Suva.
Alas - the best laid plans of mice and men - they informed us most emphatically that walking across country to Suva was decidedly dangerous, that a guide was essential, that Mount Victoria Range was 4000 feet high and if you did not know the passes over the Range you would get hopelessly lost. They told us about a party of walkers from a youth organization who got lost trying to cross the range and helicopters were called in to locate and rescue them.
We looked at each other in dismay - hadn't we pored over maps for months previously planning our walk and allowing ourselves a certain mileage per day - what next?
Seeing we had letters and photos to give to people at the village of Nasauthoko we asked them how to get there. They gave us directions and after buying tinned fish and bread at their store we set off.
Following their directions we walked along a road for about two miles and turned right on to a horse track which was about 3' wide and cut its way through grass about 8' high. After walking along this track for about three miles we decided it was lunch time. The problem was where do we eat and where do we get water. We were still surrounded by grass 8' high.
In the distance to the right we could hear a waterfall. We left the track and walked toward the waterfall belting our way through the tall grass which gave way to thick jungle. The waterfall was evasive - hearing was not seeing. The temperature was still in the 80's. I decided to leave the others and press on towards the waterfall. After pushing my way through the thick jungle for about 300 yards I realised that further efforts were futile so made my way back to the others guided by their loud calls.
Getting back to the track again we walked a further mile and came to a most welcome stream where we boiled the billy and had a lunch which consisted of tinned fish and dry bread. The butter we had bought in Nadi was rancid, henceforth we didn't carry any butter.
After lunch we climbed about 500 feet and found ourselves on a rain forest plateau. We went along this plateau for about a mile before starting a 1000 foot descent. Banana palms grew in abundance in the rain forest, unfortunately the fruit was green, and it was here that we saw Fijian oranges for the first time. They were twice the size of a grape fruit and very thick skinned. We did not fancy eating them.
Half way down the mountain we had an excellent panoramic view of a native village situated on the banks of a river about three miles distant. Reaching the bottom the rain forest gave way to grasslands and we walked along a horse track to the native village arriving there about 4pm.
Fijian children with frizzy hair and gleaming white teeth welcomed us. One of the boys took us to the village chief who made us welcome and insisted we stay the night in the village. He told us that a bure was available however we decided to sleep in our tents.
This village is called Wauosa. It is about a quarter of a mile in diameter surrounded by a wire fence to stop the live stock from wandering. Here there were about 30 bures and as this was the first village we had seen off the beaten track we had an opportunity to see the villagers' way of life. The men were tall and had magnificent physiques. The women were tall also and carried more weight than their menfolk. Men's dress was shorts or sulus (coloured cloth wrapped around their waist). The women's dress was a cotton frock with a sulu worn underneath. Unfortunately mini skirts were non-existent. The Fijians are a religious people, 85% Methodist, and the women are modest. Their dress seems unsuitable for such a hot climate.
The main industry in the villages is farming. Their needs are simple and their expenses few. Their farms supply them with fruit and vegetables, the rivers abound with fish and prawns. Every village has fowls and pigs roaming around, they keep goats and cows for milk and meat and their existence is a very happy one.
They invited us to eat with them that night. The meal was fish and casava. Casava is a vegetable which, when growing, looks like sugar cane. It is cut into pieces about 4“ long and boiled - it tastes sweet potato but is very dry and rich. We found we couldn't eat much of it, however the Fijians have it with every meal.
Fijians have no tables and chairs or knives and forks. A cloth is spread on the bure floor and everybody sits down with legs crossed and eats with their fingers. We found this eating position most uncomfortable after five minutes but we had no alternative than to eat in this fashion.
That evening they entertained us with a kava ceremony. Kava is a drink made from the roots of a pepper plant. It is ground and mixed with water and is served from a bowl called a tonoa and is handed around in a half coconut shell called a bibo everybody drinking in turn, it has a shocking taste. It is manners to drink it down in one gulp. This ceremony went on for several hours - just as well the stuff wasn't intoxicating because we would have all been rotten drunk. We went to bed about midnight after we had chased pigs out of our tents.
In the morning Barry discovered some of his brass tent pegs had been taken and wooden ones substituted. We concluded someone in the village was a scrap metal merchant.
After breakfast of more casava and black tea drunk from a bowl by way of a spoon, we set off for Nasauthoko. The village Chief insisted in sending two of his nine sons with us to show us the way. Before leaving he told one of his sons to carry Mary's handbag (pack) as it looked too heavy for her. According to the Chief the distance was 1 1/2 miles - an Australian bush mile is always about 2 miles in my estimation, but Fijian miles are easily four miles Australian because we walked seven miles before we reached Nasaulthoko.
The walk was very rewarding because we walked through some of the most fertile farmland that I have ever seen. This land is on the banks of a river and the Fijian farms stretched for miles. The assortment of fruits and vegetable was grown, their size was unbelievable compared with ours. The Fijian passion fruit was ripe, the fruit is bright yellow and is easily the size of a mango and it has a much more delectable flavour than ours. We ate about a dozen each and the Fijian boys pushed dozens more into our packs.
When we were thirsty the boys climbed coconut palms and gave us coconut juice to drink. Te reached Nasauthoko about l p.m. and, as is the custom, we waited at the village limits while the Fijian boy escorts brought the Village Chief along to meet us.
His welcome was “Bula” which means hullo and welcome and took Mary's pack from her and took us to his bure and invited us to sleep there for the night. He sat us under a tree near his bure and produced large jugs of passion fruit juice and milk. The villagers crowded around us and asked us about ourselves.
Frank Tawker had visited this village previously and gave us a letter of introduction and photographs he had taken of the villagers. We gave these to the people and they disappeared within seconds, they were excited and delighted with the photographs.
The three of us decided to cool off in the river which ran along the boundary of the village so excusing ourselves we took a swim. After about a quarter of an hour in the water Mary said she had had enough and would go back to the bure and have a rest. Seeing nobody in sight Barry and I decided to have a swim as nature intended so we left our swim trunks on a rock on the river bank and dived back in again. No sooner had we hit the water than about 20 native women came dawn to the river to wash their clothes. The place they chose was right near the deep hole we were in. The hole was surrounded by flat rocks about a foot above water level, there we were trapped with nothing on and surrounded by women. Luckily the water was about 12 feet deep. We were certain the women each had a month's washing to do because they stayed there doing their chores for about two hours.
After a half hour we began to get cold but we dare not leave the water so we trod water and shivered. We watched every article of clothing get washed and were they slow washers! When we finally got out it took us an hour to thaw out.
Getting back to the village we decided to erect our tents near the Chief's bure because we did not like to be of any bother to the villagers. No sooner were the tents up than the Chief asked us to take them down because wild horses came into the village during the night and he was afraid the horses would get entangled in the tent ropes and either carry the tents away or trip and fall on us. We agreed that this was good advice so down came the tents.
That afternoon the Fijians rode into the hills and speared a wild pig for our dinner that night. We were told that wild pigs abound in the hills outside of the village. Barry and I watched them take out the pig's innards,a performance that Mary was not allowed to see because it wasn't a “nice sight” for women folk. When the pig was slit open the village dogs fought like hell to get first bite at the innards. The dogs got a swift kick from the disembowellers for their unruly behaviour.
The choicest sections of the pig were put into a giant iron pot and boiled for our meal that night. We sat down to our pig stew and casava about 9 p.m. that night. There were about 20 Fijians in the bure with us sharing the meal. We ate in the usual Fijian way with legs crossed etc. no knives and forks. After the meal we went to sleep on the bure floor in Fijian fashion.
We were up early next morning and after a meal of more casava and tea from a bowl we said goodbye to everybody. The children were very fascinating. We felt like putting some of them in our packs and taking them with us.
The Chief walked with us to the track which led to the road to Sigatoka where we intended stopping overnight. The Chief told us we had about 1 1/2 miles to walk to the village where we would pick up the bus to Sigatoka - these wore more Fijian miles as we walked about eight miles to the bus stop. It was on this walk that we decided that walking in Fiji was definitely “out” for us. The temperature was in the 80's and the going was hard - up hill and down dale with perspiration pouring off us. We reached Keiyasi about midday and caught the bus to Sigatoka.
The bus trip to Sigatoka took about two hours. Travelling by native bus in Fiji is very cheap - it works out a little over 1 cent a mile, 100 miles costing $1.18. Reaching Sigatoka about 2 p.m. we had a look around the town. Sigatoka is situated on the Sigatoka River which is on the south coast.
The next thing was where do we camp for the night. We spied a native village across the river so we made for it. This village is called Lase Lase and it was easily the biggest village we had yet encountered.
We asked for the head man of the village - he was a man about 6'4 who was dressed in European clothes and spoke perfect English. We told him about our Fijian travels to date and invited us to share his bungalow instead of staying in a bure. He took us to a room about 30' x 30' and told us we could use it for our overnight stay. There were beds in the room and each bed had four or five grass mats in place of a mattress.
This village owned a huge sugar cane plantation as it's source of income. The farm was adjacent to the village. The Chief showed us over the cane fields and explained all of its workings to us. When we got back to the bungalow the table was already set with cooked meat, eggs, tropical vegetables and fruit, milk and home made bread all of which was his own produce. After a gigantic meal we talked until about llpm and then retired to our comfortable beds.
Our breakfast next morning consisted of more farm produce and after more sight seeing we said goodbye.
The Fijian hospitality was so overwhelming that it was becoming embarrassing. No where would they accept money for anything. We decided henceforth to fend for ourselves and not indulge upon the Fijian's good naturedness.
We caught a bus at Sigatoka at 9a.m. The bus was going to Suva, a distance of about 90 miles. We informed the conductor that we would get off at the first good camping spot we came across. This was our first real experience of native bus travel in Fiji. The road from Sigatoka to Suva is not sealed and the buses have no glass windows, instead they have clear plastic blinds which are always rolled up for ventilation. Great clouds of dust engulfed the bus both inside and outside. We soon wised up that a hat and sun glasses were necessary to keep the thick dust out of our hair and eyes. Unfortunately our hats and sun glasses were in our packs in the luggage section of the bus.
We travelled along this road en route to Suva for about 50 miles looking for a suitable camping site, every few miles along the road were Fijian and Indian villages with rain forests between. The bus stopped at a halfway store/eating house for fifteen minutes. Here we met two New Zealand women who told us about a suitable camp site adjacent to a holiday resort called “Tropic Sands” at Deuba, which was about 8 miles distant. Alighting at this camping spot we paid the bus driver what we owed him. This place was all that the New Zealand women claimed - it was a stretch of beach miles long with coconut palms growing right to the sand. Nearby was a Seventh Day Adventist Holiday Camp, the people staying there allowed us to use their facilities so we pitched our tents and spent a day swimming and enjoying the tropical scenery.
At 1 p.m. the next day we caught the bus bound for Suva. The Fijian buses pick up and drop passengers anywhere - we found this practice very handy. We arrived in Suva at about 3 p.m. Frank Ashdown had given us the address of a guest house where he had stayed and with a Suva street map we soon found the house and introduced ourselves. Fortunately there were bed and breakfast vacancies so we stayed until Saturday morning. It was very nice to have some mod cons at last.
During our stay in Suva we visited the museum, parks, historical buildings and looked in at the hundreds of duty free shops. We had several meals in Indian restaurants - their food is made of a curry base and was it hot! Again we wised up smartly - the first thing we asked for in an Indian restaurant was a large jug of water to douse the mouthfuls of red hot curry.
We found the Suva markets amusing - the natives, both Fijian and Indian, spread their wares on the footpaths and lay down alongside often falling asleep. Everything imaginable can be bought here - fruit, vegetables, fish, poultry, pigs, clothing, jewellery, grass mats, hats, foodstuffs, you name it, they have it. There were fruits and vegetables we had never seen before.
On Friday afternoon we visited friends of Mary's who live on the outskirts of Suva. These people are horticulturists and grow exotic flowers and shrubs in their nursery which spreads over three acres. There are dozens of aviaries and fish ponds in their beautiful gardens. The aviaries house every type of parrot and the fish ponds are well stocked with all kinds of fresh water fish. We had dinner with them that evening on the verandah of their palatial home with a scene of coconut palms and the setting sun.
We left Suva by bus at 8 a.m. next morning bound for Rakiraki which is on the north coast. Rakiraki had been recommended to us as a good camping spot, however, we still had the intention of stopping off at any camping spot en route to Rakiraki. The road from Suva to Rakiraki passes through what is called the wet side of the island. Seeing we would be travelling for about a hundred miles we put our packs in the luggage compartment at the rear of the bus and got ourselves a back seat to enable us to look down at our packs periodically.
At Suva the Fijians and Indians had loaded the luggage compartment with all their goods and chattels bought at the Suva markets. Glancing at our packs the sight that met our eyes was amusing - on my pack there was a pig fast asleep, Barry's pack had three fowls perched on it, and Mary's was out of sight buried beneath huge bunches of bananas, taro roots, water melons etc.
The bus trip was pleasant - to the left there were Fijian and Indian villages situated on the banks of the many rivers. We saw many Fijian women washing clothes in the rivers (this brought back memories). The rivers were only knee deep, rocky, and fairly fast flowing. What we did notice vividly was the ratio of Indian schools to Fijian schools. Indian schools outnumbered Fijian schools 6 to 1. The Indians are the business people of Viti Levu - they are referred to as “the Jews of the Pacific”. They outnumber the Fijians 54% to 46%.
We didn't see any appealing camp sites on the trip to Rakiraki. The majority of the land was sugar cane fields, miles and miles of them. We did not fancy pitching our tents in the middle of the cane fields. The land close to the sea was mostly mangrove swamps - most unsuitable for camping. An unusual sight was to see mongoose darting across the roadway. Our first sight of them left us bewildered until we found out what they were. They were introduced to kill snakes which thrive in the cane fields.
We arrived at Rakiraki about 1 p.m. and this place was the worst dump we had ever seen. We stepped out of the bus and it was like stepping into the American wild west. It was hot, dry and dusty, predominantly Indian and the shops looked at least 200 years old. The food was 90% Indian, therefore we bought half a pound of biscuits for our lunch which worked out at four biscuits apiece, and we jumped into the bus as quickly as possible. We asked the conductor to put us off at the next best camping place. I am sure he had never heard of the word “camping” before because he put us off about 40 miles further along at a place called Ba.
This was another dump, slightly better than Rakiraki but that's all. We put our tents up by the side of a muddy river - the Yarra had nothing on this river because it definitely flowed upside down. We did not fancy staying the night here but we had no alternative. This to was also mainly Indian so we bought a tin of fish, a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk each and sat in the heat partaking of our 'appetising' meal. That night we walked along the main street window shopping and then went back to our tents where the giant mosquitoes nearly carried us away.
Next morning, after no breakfast, we caught the native bus to Lautoka about 25 miles away. Ernie and Betty Farquhar's son, Ken, lives in Lautoka and we had his phone number so we phoned as soon as we arrived and within minutes Ken's wife, Beryl, picked us up in their car and took us to their home where they let us erect our tents in their huge back yard. They showed us every kindness and on Sunday night Ken, who is a Chemist Supervisor employed by the South Pacific Sugar Mills, showed us over the sugar mill which is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The inspection was very interesting.
Beryl and Ken told us that no stay in Fiji would be complete without a holiday on a tropical island so they arranged accommodation on Etai Island. This island is about 12 miles off the mainland. After about 1 1/2 hours travel on a big launch we arrived there and this island proved to be a real paradise. Etai is about a quarter of a mile in diameter and takes six minutes to walk around. Coconut palms and tropical vegetation grow in abundance and there were about 24 bures well furnished. The meals were smorgasbord, so you could eat until you dropped. This was quite a change from tinned fish, dry bread, and four biscuits apiece.
We had five days in this Paradise. There was a glass bottom boat in which to view the coral and beautifully coloured fish. We spent all day long in the water snorkling. The sea was a bright blue such as we had never seen before, with the water temperature at 76°. There was a bar on the island where canned Australian beer could be bought for 30 cents a can, and it was delightful to sit under the palms drinking chilled cans of beer. Every night there was dancing to a Fijian band. The five days sped by and on Friday we left for Lautoka.
Seeing this was our last night in Fiji we decided to enjoy the comforts of a guest house. The guest house proprietor set us up in a room and no sooner wore we settled than he suggested we change rooms because our present one was noisy. Settling ourselves in the second room we decided on an early night. The proprietor must have had a strange idea of “no noise” as the noise that night was incredible. To start with the train carrying sugar cane to the mill ran down the street past the guest house and the sound of its screeching sirens every half hour was deafening - we were sure the train ran through our bedroom. A group of Fijians had a singsong outside our window and this lasted for about 4 hours. There was an Indian Mosque right opposite and the Indians started chanting, by way of a public address system, at about 1 a.m. going right through until daybreak. What a night! We got fully one hour's sleep all night. If that was a quiet room how would the other one have been.
We spent Saturday morning doing our duty free shopping, and we really enjoyed bargaining with the Indian shopkeepers. We left Lautoka for Nadi at about 2 p.m. and on arrival at the airport we were told there was a four hour delay. With the temperature in the 80's we left Nadi at 7 p.m. in shorts and shirts, arriving at Mascot where the temperature was 60°, with a chilly wind blowing.
Please note that the new Editor of “The Sydney Bushwalker” is Jim Brown. All future contributions should be handed to Jim in the Clubrooms, or posted direct to him at home. His address is:-
103 Gipps Street, Drummoyne, N.S.W. 2047
His telephone number is 81-2675.
40 years of service.
Yes, this is our 40th. year of service to bushwalkers and campers. Skiing, caving, canoeing and rockclimbing came along a little later but we pioneered the specialised equipment for all these adventurous people as the need arose over the years.
7alkeiv have always been able to drop into Paddy's knowing they will receive expert attention, because there have always been active walkers on the staff.
We developed lightweight camp gear, we know the game. When you want camp gear call in at Paddy's and you'll always be welcome.
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd.
69 Liverpool Street, Sydney, N.S.W. 2000. Telephone 26-2685.
The following persons were elected to office at the Annual General Meeting of the Sydney Bush Walkers held on 10th. March, 1971.
|Vice Presidents||Bob Younger, Phil Butt|
|Assistant Secretary||Heather Smith|
|Walks Secretary||Pat Harrison|
|Social Secretary||Not elected (Spiro Ketas acting)|
|Membership Secretary||Barbara Bruce|
|Federation Delegates||Pat Marson and Ray Hookway (Committee); Jim Callaway and Vacant (Non-Committee)|
|Substitute Federation Delegates||David Ingram, John Holly|
|Committee Members||Dorothy Noble, Elizabeth Priestly, Alan Pike, Owen Marks|
|Conservation Secretary||Marcia Shappert|
|Literary Editor||Jim Brown|
|Coolana Committee||Spiro Ketas Bob Younger, Alan Wyborn, Dot Butler, George Grey, Bill Gillam|
|Magazine Business Manager||Ramon U'Brien|
|Honorary Trustees||Gordon Redmond, Heather White, Bill Burke|
|Honorary Solicitor||Colin Broad|
|Honorary Auditor||Gordon Redmond|
|Keeper of Maps and Timetables||Peter Franks|
|Equipment Hire Officers||Laurie Quaken, Peter Franks|
|Search and Rescue Contacts||Heather White, Elsie Bruggy, Doone Wyborn|
Meetings of the Committee held during the year have been attended by all members of the Committee: the President (Spiro Ketas), Chairman Bob Younger, Treasurer Alan Wyborn, Secretary Dot Butler, George Grey and Bill Gillam.
During the year several working bees have been held on the land. Fallen branches were removed from the wire fence on the western boundary; barbed wire, wire netting and old fence posts were removed from around the dwelling; dead trees were removed from the house area; usable timber was stacked by the house; erosion channels were filled in on old timber getters scours. Bill Gillam planted out many native trees and shrubs.
The Committee has been waiting for the appropriate planting time to take advantage of the money donated by the Dungalla Club for re-afforestation. It was decided that Bill Gillam is to be in charge of replanting. The Committee agreed that half the donated money be used to buy trees, and half be used to buy seeds which Bill will plant and care for at his home over a period of three years, until they are ready for transplanting at Coolana.
A licenced surveyor, George Davison, gave his services free of charge and spent two days on the property and has verified all boundary pegs.
In reply to the Club's letter to the Lands Department enquiring about legal access to the property, a reply was received stating that a road has been surveyed through the leasehold land south of our property (Holland's lease) following the existing track. The purpose of this road is to give access to the Reserve for Public Recreation which abuts on our lot 104. It also gives access to our property via the existing earth road we use.
The Kangaroo Valley Conservation Association (President Warwick Deacock) has enquired whether the Club would join the Association. The annual subscription is $5. Meetings are held at Kangaroo Valley township from time to time.
The Coolana site has been used by Bushwalkers throughout the year. Over the Christmas period the Club gave permission to a Church group of boys (aged 7 to 14) to camp there. There were 52 children and their supervisors. They mowed tracks through the paspalum and erected 8 marquee tents along the river flats and constructed a well-made fireplace for cooking purposes. Members of the Management Committee and others called in to see how our visitors were getting on. Although rain fell for a day or two during the camp, the children all had a wonderful time. The organisers of the group conveyed their thanks to the S.B.W. for their use of the land. The place was left as clean and tidy as after a Bushwalker Reunion.
The Management Committee holds $100, as follows: Proceeds from two raffles $28; Proceeds from Auction sale $72: Total $100.
The Management Committee decided to recommend that the dwelling house be kept in repair to prevent deterioration, at least until such time as the Club may decide on a more permanent structure. We have been donated guttering and downpiping which can be erected on the roof to run water into a tank, and so ensure fresh drinking water. This will be a job for the next working bee. Wildlife is not lacking in the area. Several grey kangaroos and a brown rock wallaby are seen regularly in the area, as well as echidnas and lyre birds, and we are pleased to report the sighting of a platypus in the river, and water dragons. The river flats on the opposite side of the river to our land have already been resumed by the Water Board, at from $250 to $300 per acre. The Management Committee recommends to the Club that we do not apply for recompense yet, as the price of land will probably rise later on. The table and two seats in the hut disappeared some months ago, but we have received a gift from the Quakers of another table and two chairs.
By Jim Callaway.
The February meeting of Federation opened with the President welcoming two new delegates from K.B.C. and accepting apologies of delegates unable to attend. The minutes of the previous meeting were read and received. Regarding the minutes of the previous meeting, most delegates stated that their Walks Secretaries were in favour of a meeting at the Federation Reunion. The President made another appeal for old records of Federation.
The All Nations Club and the Walkabout Club at Lawson made inquiries about joining Federation. The Sydney Bush Ramblers forwarded their latest list of office bearers and their constitution. They also requested an inspection for their entry into Federation. The President asked for volunteers to attend a meeting at Caringbah. The Colong Committee waged another battle in the Mining Warden's Court at Moss Vale on 16th. February. The second edition of the Melbourne University Mountaineering Club's “Guide to the Victorian Alps” is now on sale at $2 per copy, or $2.25 posted. A list of office bearers for 1971 was received from the Outdoor Club. The Army advised that artillery practice would be hold at the Tianjara Range from 16th. - 24th. February, and 4th. - 5th. March. The Myall Lakes Committee have still $11,000 to collect. They have come forward with the idea to issue notes for $50 each, which will be repayable by 31/12/80 at the latest.
The entrance to Morton National Park (Budawang Range) which is from the Mongarlowe road to Corang trig has been blocked by a pine forest. There is now no entry from the western side. The Conservation Secretary has made out a protest letter to the Minister for Lands and to Australian Softwoods who, it would appear, do not wish to talk on allowing us an access.
The Treasurer reported that at 31/12/70 the cash book showed $1680-07 and the S & R account $433-02.
The S & R Report covered two months. There were no incidents during this time. In January there was one alert. A party was overdue while climbing near Mt. Banks but were reported O.K. at 9 a.m. on the Monday morning. Nin Melville suggested that as Mr. Askin was returned to office, we should now try to get some donations out of the Government, say $1000 per annum. Nin said that he would look after the writing of the letter to Mr. Askin.
The K.B.C. volunteered to print the song sheets to be used at the Reunion. The President volunteered the S.B.W. to do the cleaning up after the Reunion. Part of the programme for this event will be:
Saturday 3 p.m. Walks Secretary's Meeting. Sunday 10.30 a.m. Fire lighting competition.
The Secretary announced that he wished to resign, so Federation is now looking for a new one. The Catholic Bushwalking Club will be holding an Orienteering Practice on Sunday 21st. March. The map to be used is Katoomba Lands Dept. and duration of the event will be 3 hours. Anybody interested should contact the Walks Secretary, Wilf Hilder on 399-8019. Mountain Equipment have issued a new price list. Porriwinkle have brought out 2 volumes on National Parks which will cost $1.50 each. The N.P.W.S. have issued maps covering areas around Mr. Warning and Bundanoon. The S & R Practice Weekend will be on 17th. - 18th. July and the full demonstration on 16th. - 17th. October.
By Bill Hall.
The Heathcote State Park is of particular interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, because they, together with the Mountain Trails Club provided the initiative and drive that was to create the park. The Sydney Bush Walkers leased from the Lands Department an area known as Morella Karong and the Mountain Trails Club leased an area called Miara. It was hoped that other walking clubs would also lease some other choice parts of the Heathcote Valley, and thereby prevent commercial interests doing so, and exploiting and despoiling this area of bushland. Unfortunately other clubs did not take up leases.
The intention was to have a number of private leases taken up by conservation minded bodies, and then use this as a means to have the Heathcote Valley dedicated as a National Park. However, the efforts of the two clubs who did take up leases were sufficient, and in August 1943 an area of 1,760 acres was gazetted as the “Heathcote Primitive Area”.
Through the efforts of the Trustees, Bushwalking Clubs, and conservation minded bodies, the area has been increased numerous times and recently was increased by another 1,640 acres.
This last increase is a particularly important one, as it includes the headwaters of all the little creeks that have their source in the southern part of the Woronora Range, and it is here that the Heathcote State Park and the Woronora Dam Catchment Area share a common boundary. Also, the additional 1,640 acres is a nice piece of bushland. It means that now, and in the forseeable future an unpolluted water supply can be provided over almost all of the Heathcote State Park. With a little good fortune, and a few more acres of bushland the Trustees could within acceptable limits effectively control water pollution in the rest of the Heathcote Creek Valley.
Sydney Bush Walkers' thoughts should be ones of pride so far as the Heathcote State Park is concerned. Without their effort the park may never have come into existence, or at least it is certain that it would never have been a park only for walkers, naturalists, and those who camp in small tents, and specifically for the preservation of flora and fauna. The Park now has 5,540 acres.