A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bushwalkers, Anzac House, 26 College Street, Sydney. Postal Address - Box 4476, G.P.O., Sydney, N.S.W., 2001.
|Editor||Jim Brown, 103 Gipps Street, Drummoyne, Te1.81-2675(H)|
|Business Manager||Ramon U'Brien, 61 Nickson St., Surry Hills Te1.886 144,(B)|
|From the Editor||2|
|The June General Meeting||3|
|One Woman's Recollections||Edna Garrad||5|
|Echo From the Past (Easter at Thurat Spires)||Bill Gillam||9|
|Rotorua Diversion||Owen Marks||12|
|Coming Walks||Pat Harrison||15|
|Federation Report||Ray Hookway||18|
The Sydney Bush Walkers were unable to book any meeting space in “Anzac House” for the August General Meeting during the week starting 8th August 1971. The meeting will be held on 17th August in the meeting room.
The Social Evening set down for 16 August 1971 has been cancelled.
The Clutha Committee in conjunction with the Myall Lakes Committee is organising a procession through Sydney to Parliament House to be followed by a public meeting on August 4th, 1971. Details are as follows:
The procession will commence at 11.30am. on 4/8/71 at Railway Square and will proceed via George & Bridge Streets to Parliament House where a petition will be presented.
A protest meeting will be held immediately there-after on the Clutha Issue.
For further details contact Mr. F.L. Stern at 27-7471.
A couple of years ago there was quite a spate of articles in the local press on the status of various suburbs. Statistics invited you to consider whether there was more Crime in Cremorne than in Croydon: more Vice in Villawood than in Vaucluse: more Money in Mona Vale than in Manly: above all, whether Sutherland was Superior as a Status Symbol Suburb to Summer Hill. Practically the only field that was not explored was the distribution of bush walkers - are there more Walkers in Woollahra than in Wollstonecraft? Are there more Campers in Camperdown than in Campsie?
Without wishing to stir up parochial rivalries, we have made a dissection by districts and suburbs of the addresses of active members as disclosed by the list that accompanied the 1971 Annual Report. In doing so, we have perforce ignored those who do not have a Sydney suburban address. Residents of the Capital Territory are patently State-less, whilst those living in country areas or Interstate must, for the purpose of this exercise, be Status-less.
The results are interesting. There are 219 members spread over 96 suburbs. Of these 101 reside in northern suburbs, 49 in the south, 32 in eastern suburbs and 37 to the west.
On the face of it, the north has it made. But wait! If you dig deeper, you find that Oatley, an Illawarra (southern) suburb has fourteen resident S.B.W.-plus two abroad, not to count a few on the non-active list. We called it 14 for short. Like Abou ben Adhem, Oatley leads all the rest. There follows Mosman with nine, Turramurra and Bondi (equal at 8), and the neighbouring Beecroft and Pennant Hills with six each. Most of the remaining suburbs are “also-rans”, and many cannot boast a single S.B.W. member.
Of course, it is unlikely that these unfortunate localities are aware of their deficiency, or appreciate the poverty of status it entails. Fortunately for us, perhaps. After all, in some highly competitive sports, usually those with either overt or covert gambling associations, it is not uncommon for the more ambitious and affluent groups to “buy” players.
Yet it is somehow difficult to imagine the St. George District, intent on restoring its image after the loss of Rugby League pre-eminence several seasons ago, negotiating for the acquisition of walkers from northern suburbs. Perhaps it would do better to emulate the example of the walking stronghold already within its boundaries at Oatley, and breed its own brood of walkers.
Our forces gathered for the first time in the College Street lodgings to hear Spiro welcome three of the five new members admitted in June. Ann Emery, Ella Neef and Errol Sheedy were there, and we will no doubt catch up with Ross Wi1son and Brian Holden at a later date. Everyone was in agreement with the minutes after a minor adjustment, and in Correspondence we heard that the Dungalla Club had contributed a further $10 for upkeep at Coolana; apart from which, letters in and out were all routine matters.
One way and another - donations to conservation causes and rent - our financial outgoings for May had been fairly solid, and the Treasurer's statement showed our ready cash as declining from $1,030 to $750 during the month. In answer to a question, it was stated that the Myall Lakes contribution had been accompanied by a letter indicating that it was an interest-free loan for 10 years.
Perhaps the Walks Report and allied matters covered a large part of the doings; there certainly seemed an abundance to record, beginning with Sheila Binn's trip to Blue Gum at the outset of May. Eight people went along and camp was made away from the Forest itself, which seemed to be cleaner and in better shape than it has been for some time. Sunday saw Jim Callaway's Woronora River test walk attended by 17, including ten prospectives; the party “seemed to wander more than usual” but made Engadine just on nightfall. On the same day Peter Franks conducted a far-afield day walk to Splendour Rock with group of five, camp having been made at Megalong Creek the previous night.
The Talks Secretary in person took the Friday nighter on the second week-end, in the Deep Pass - Nayook Creek country. Nine people, clear frosty weather, a camp at Mount Cameron on Saturday, and a visit to a most peculiarly furnished hut on the way back. For Sunday, May 9th, David Cotton had nine on an apiary inspection plus walk in Darke's Forest: the car-swap trip folded up for lack of starters; and Frank Leyden had no less than 23 folk on an easy jaunt in the Heathcote-Uloola area.
It was Frank Taeker's Grose River trip next week-end - six in the party and fending off bush rats in a cave on Friday night. One of the crew injured an ankle and the trip was slightly curtailed. Unfortunately no one who might have attended the Newcastle Uni orienteering contest that weekend would hare been eligible to compete. On the other hand 9 members and 16 prospectives made it to the Instructional Weekend, saw mist on Saturday and the attractive views from Narrow Neck when it cleared on Sunday. The day walk was Jack Gentle's out from Helensburgh, 16 attending, and the going reported as slow in overgrown Wilson's Creek.
A Finch-Wyborn stunt from the Kanangra Road to the Cox River and back went the following weekend with six people. Saturday weather was distinctly unpleasant, and the return up Whalania Chasm was slippery after all the wet. The Sunday walk was Jim Brown's in the Glenbrook area with 23 in the party, and lovely weather after the dubious Saturday.
FOB the final weekend Alan Pike conducted Owen's Birthday Walk (minus Owen, of course) from Kanangra to Katoomba. Getting 19 folk to Kanangra with no return transport was a teaser, but fine cold weather with high winds were favourable to the trip, camp on Saturday being at Konangaroo. No less than 36 teams, with only two from S.B.W., went to Paddy's Orienteering Contest, held in very suitable country near St. Albans. Phil Butt's team won, by three inches it was said. The day walk was David Ingram's on Georges River, the route being altered because the Army was appalled at the notion of walkers crossing their firing range; David reported a good day and pleasant trip.
Federation Report was published in last month's issue, but arising from it Phil Butt mentioned the “Tri-State Trail” and some work towards it done in the Baw Baws and around Licola and Tarli Karng in Victoria. Unfortunately it may induce more trail bikes.
To General Business and Jack Perry enquiring if some of David Cotton's bees would stimulate pollination at Coolana - a matter for thought by the Management. Alex Colley reported that the lively annual meeting of APCM had resolved that sales of single shares would be prohibited; the legality of the decision had been queried, owing to the lack of notice, and apparently one-share holders could still buy in. Owen Marks recorded the attendance at the QANTAS advertising session at Channel 7 as 79, but added that forms would have to be completed on behalf of children aged 7 to 15 who attended, to ensure that we were not exploiting child labour. Additional good news was that the Judo Club present had accepted an invitation to give us a demonstration some evening.
Secretary Don Finch pointed out we had not been able to book the hall for every evening during the next few months, and on July 7 and 14 would meet in the Board Room in the same building. The position about other dates would be announced later.
And that was it, and the time 9.22 p.m.
- by Edna Garrad.
I wonder how many members experienced the tremendous amount of pleasure I did from Frank Taeker's slides on the 26th May? So many of the places held memories for me and perhaps some of you may be interested in these recollections.
On one trip we were five women led by Rae Page and in the early 1940s this was a novelty to the local people and the cattle men. I remember Mawsons Hut, fully occupied by cattlemen who informed us that they were aware we were in the area and had been searching for us with field glasses! There was one little man called Dan with the smallest feet on a man I have ever seen, encased in high heeled riding boots. He was fascinated with the sun tops worn by the girls, but obviously very disapproving. I wonder if he survived to see the “bikini era” and what his reaction would have been to that! The men were very friendly, allowed the girls to have a ride on their horses and when we left presented us with a freshly cooked loaf of bread from the camp oven - much appreciated in a fortnight's diet that provided damper and Vitaweet biscuits.
We camped one night near the Tin Hut, occupied by two cattlemen, and cooked by their fire (it was a cold windy night). They despised our offer to share our food but presented us with some chops from a recent killing - a great treat.
Formans Hut, which was located below Charlotte Pass on the Snowy was used several times as a base, and contained an old tin trunk marvellous for leaving food in whilst we did side trips. One year we left underwear on the fence to dry and on returning found the grass hoppers had eaten holes in it!
I remember a lunch at “Tom Groggin” on the Murray with Leo Byatt (of Byatts Camp on Hannells Spur) and one of the Nankervis boys. Leo was amazed that “women could navigate themselves in the hills” and obviously had no faith in us. Several days later when we reached the top of the Wilkinson Valley he rode towards us - checking up that we had made it safely! Leo used to lead parties of Victorian Walkers and skiers. The walkers usually had packhorses to carry their gear and we met such parties on a number of occasions. The lunch was memorable amongst other things for the huge bowl of junket and luscious stewed blackberries they shared with us. We ate in the kitchen, the cleanest imaginable, with pots and pans shining bright. Usually in the bush you expect them to be blackened.
On another trip we spent a night in the hut at Dead Horse Gap and enjoyed a bath in a baby's bath tub we found there, and with hot water in front of the fire it was certainly a luxury, even though I seemed to have a lot of leg that would not fit in! That night mice ate the leather shoe laces in the boots of one of the party.
One Christmas Day we ate lunch in a hut in the Doubtful River area (the coldest river I ever waded) with the snow falling. Hardly a typical Australian Christmas Day. That year the range was still covered with snow and it was hard work walking in it. The weather was clear when we reached the trig on Jagungal and the view glorious.
Another Christmas we ate our evening meal in freezing cold weather near Careys Peak at Barrington, complete with tinned Christmas pudding. We had to go straight into our sleeping bags and tents to avoid the cold. Another un-Australian Christmas. We had arrived on a moonlight night and the Allyn River had looked very lovely. In those days there was no track from the Allyn to the Tops. Found the swamps on the Tops most attractive with their browns, golds, russets and greens in the grasses and reeds and with the little rivulets criss-crossing the plateau.
Mount Bimberi in May after an early fall of snow and the views magnificent. We found a sheltered spot, set out lunch and boiled the billy and found we had no tea! Miraculously along came a cattleman with tea in his saddle bag, and joined us for a “cuppa” and a chat.
Fainter and Feather-top - the hillsides carpeted with snow daises and other Alpine flowers.
Mount Bogong and Ropers Hut filled to overflowing with skiers engaged in renovating a hut ready for the snow season, and men from the S.E.C. project who had taken to walking in their time off. We camped nearby in snow and alternating rain, and were told next morning that men were coming into the hut all night - overdue on various trips. The weather on this occasion continued bad and after going down the Staircase we were hoping to find the Tawonga Hut - the one at the bottom of the ranges - which Harry Ellis had seen on an old map and we hoped still existed. It was off the road but we found it and it was an absolute haven - the ground outside running with water. The roof was high pitched with openings each end of the hut at the top, full of spider webs, and in the flickering firelight we could see the silhouettes of the spiders. Ough!
The Cross Cut Saw, first seen in brilliant sunlight with all the 13 little rocky tops standing out, and at our feet magnificent alpine daisies and other flowers. On the far side we camped amongst violets at McAllister Springs. On the Howitt Plains we left our packs whilst walking out to the end of a ridge for a view and on returning found dozens of cattle milling around them obviously looking for salt. It took a lot of courage as far as I was concerned to go in and collect the pack. On the second occasion I crossed the Saw in swirling mist and strong wind and the party did not have any views of the Terrible Hollow, etc.
The swift flowing Howqua River and a memorable night spent with the Forestry employee, Freddy Fry (subsequently described in the book “The Far Country” but called Billy Bly!). We sat at his fire place listening to his tall stories far into the night.
For these and many other recollections - my thanks to Frank and Pat.
Your Editorial on “Man's Crowning Glory” (May issue) prompts the reflection that there was a time, not long after the War, when bushwalkers sported some fine beards. The disappearance of beards shortly afterwards may well have been due, as your article suggests in its reference,to hakea and lawyer vine, to the lush growth following the heavy rains of the later forties and early fifties.
I know that the proceedings of the Committee are confidential, but the following revelation may be forgiven after some 20 years have elapsed. When Fred Doutch, whose beard was a beauty, came before the Committee as a prospective, he was asked the usual questions about putting out fires, burying tins, etc. Near the end of the interview Ray Kirkby asked “And tell me, does your beard impede you in thick scrub?”
Alterations in the shape, and appearance and disappearance of beards, was also common. There was, for instance, Neil Schafer, who had one of the “here today, gone tomorrow” models. He was reported in the magazine as “Neil Schafer (with beard) or Neil Schafer (without beard).
In conclusion I would like to point out that some of us sport those hirsute appendages after half a century or more, because we grow sick and tired of what we see in the mirror.
(Thanks for the comment, Alex. It reminds us of the theatre critic saying that, at first the musical play “Hair” didn't appeal to him. However, he later came to the conclusion that it grows on you… Ed.)
Not a bad time for walking, so long as your as your gear is equal to it…..
Wonderful time for skiing, if there have been good snow falls…. and if your clothing and gear are right.
Always seems to get back to your gear, doesn't it?
Why not see Paddy and his range of walking and skiing equipment.
Soon it will be warmer again, but Paddy will have what your need for your outdoors activities.
You see, he's a man for all seasons.
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd. Lightweight Camping Gear.
69 Liverpool Street, Sydney. 26 2685
- by Bill Gillam.
(While it is still firmly resolved to reproduce more of the saga of early walker trips into the Northern Budawangs, this is being held over until the effect of recent emphasis on the region has faded. In the meantime we reprint one of the particularly good things from a magazine of about 20 years ago - an account by Bill Gillam of a climb on Thurat Spires, which first appeared in May, 1950. - Editor)
If a psycho-analyst ever catches me on a couch and whispers in my ear “spires” I would probably, being of a monosyllabic character, reply “nettles”. This no doubt wouldn't satisfy the Doc. who might want to know if I had suffered a “deep traumatic shock about Easter 1950”. So here goes on the Spires (Thurat) and nettles (ferociofolia).
While the photographers were arguing whether to give them a 50th at a 40th (or some such thing), Dot Butler decided that an “easy Easter” at Kanangra would be improved by light divertissements such as traversing Thurat Spires. Jim Smith, an enthusiastic N.Z. climber, backed her up, but for safety's sake a third was needed, I didn't have a camera and was eating on my own, so off I want. Bill Cosgrove, without Frank Leyden to contradict him, willingly supplied a possible route and an “escape route”. We were to go up the scree slope between the last two spires and attempt the face, about 300 ft. of rock.
Some vita-weat, a carefully hoarded tin of blackberries, and a large lump of roast beef were thrown into a bag as nourishment, and at the last moment Dot decided to take a pair of shoes.
Then at 11 o'clock we set off down Murdering Gully (an extremely apt description). Dinner time found us on Kanangra Creek, philosophically eating blackberries with a knife and gazing with awe and apprehension at our “route”. The scree was really a “river of rock” composed of cubic boulders from a foot to three feet measurement, at a perilously steep angle, unstable and interleaved with the most horrible mixture of blackthorn and nettles imaginable. - Dante, I think, would have added another circle to his “Inferno” had seen it.
There is some debate whether the joys of mountaineering are best anticipated or recounted. For my part I prefer either to the experience. Half-way up the scree I had grave doubts as to my sanity; why should I be puffing uphill behind a barefooted Amazon and a ragged moustachioed villain? If I had been in front I would have rolled a rock over the two of them, then rolled, like Jill, after them. However, I couldn't get to the lead so we were all spared an untimely end.
That had promised, from Kanangra, to be “catsmeat” (a N.Z. term of a contemptuous character) soon developed into torment as we ploughed through band after band of nettles. They couldn't be avoided; all handholds were covered with them and wobbly footholds frequently pitched one stern-first into the thicker patches. I don't know whether there is a saturation point for nettle stings; we certainly must have been very close to it. Our arms, hands, legs, stomach (one bush caught in my open shirt) were one red itching rash, and our fingers had lost all capacity for feeling the edges of things. Each band, about ten in all, added its quota of viciousness and spite, so it was almost with relief that we arrived at the apparently sheer walls, for here only such tenacious things as cobwebs and caterpillars could cling.
The scree led to a “straight” face about 30 ft. high which was obviously impossible. We tried working around it to the left with Dot leading on the first pitch. This led back to the face and was “no go”. Then by reversing we were on a narrow ledge and couldn't pass, it was my turn to lead up. The only possible way was by a series of steps about 30 feet above one another connected by a series of cracks, some so small that a jammed fist would just hold, others negotiable with chockstones, and only one or two wide enough to straddle. In one of these dark cracks I surprised a cockroach which resented my intrusion and gave off its sickening odour. For about two minutes my nose twitched while I hauled myself up. All managed to squeeze, grunt and worm their ways dodging flying rocks and knowing we couldn't possibly go back by the same route.
At 3.30 we reached the summit of the Middle spire. It had taken an hour on the scree and the same on the rock so now we felt we had earned a rest. In brilliant sunshine we munched an apple, built a cairn, gazed at the wonderful view. The Spires are not more than 50 to 100 feet wide at most, and are connected by a knife-edge a mere yard wide. They fall on one side to Kanangra Deep and on the other to the similar Danae Brook. The vision of the immense deeps, purple in afternoon shadow, cut by innumerable waterfalls, with the glorious yellow of the walls dominating all, is a wonderful sight. In a moment of drowsy triumph I had even forgotten the nettles.
No quick or safe route (we had no rope) could be found on to Big Misty, so after building further cairns we tried our “escape route” off the shoulder of the third spire. As a contrast to the struggles on the cliff face, this was quite safe and straightforward, although a few loose rocks-provided their share of amusement. Soon we were back on the scree, rattling down, backwards. Going down was far more exhilarating. The rocks were very unstable, some even started to slide after a loud Coo-ee, and it was necessary to watch through one's legs where to put the feet. An exaggerated view was thus obtained of the slope. The scree seems nearly vertical - it was gauged by rule of thumb at 89, with Kanangra Creek just under one's heels, and a thousand feet or so below. Adopting Christian Science principles we ignored the nettles, although even this was not entirely satisfactory.
It was getting dark when we reached the creek and all the party were tired after six hours of solid going and almost continual climbing. The prospect of getting over the few bluffs to Murdering Gully, easily negotiable in the morning, but now in the dark an extremely slippery and unstable route, was not at all pleasant. We struck the last bluff just as the light was getting really bad. All went well until the final pitch of about fifteen feet. Dot, as usual, went up by her strange process of levitation, but I had neither the strength nor the nerve to follow on the rather insecure footholds. Finally she had to let down an ankle for me to grab, then hoist me up. In doing this the only safe hold was broken so I climbed to another stance, let down an ankle for Dot, who in turn let down an ankle for Jim. Both pulling together Jim came up and we all stumbled off into a very dark Murdering Gully.
At seven o'clock we were back in the cave, wrapped in sleeping bags and lapping up our tea. To all enquiries we merely replied “Catsmeat”.
Although membership subscriptions became due and payable at the Annual General Meeting on March 10th, many members, both Active and Non Active, have not yet paid.
Members who have not yet attended to their subscription should see Alan Hedstrom or John Holly at any meeting. Alternatively, subscriptions may be posted by cheque or postal order to “The Sydney Bushwalkers, Box 4476, G.P.0, Sydney, 2001.
The rates set for this year are:
|Active Members (single)||$6.00|
|Active members (Married couples)||$8.00|
|Active Members (Students)||$3.00|
The magazine subscription for non-active members is $1.50.
- by Owen Marks.
(A version in verse of climbing on volcanic peaks near Rotorua)
While sitting in my mineral pool
I said to myself “I'm a stupid fool
To waste my hols in such a fashion.
I'll climb a volcano; it'll cool my passion”.
(You've heard of ardour being damped by ice?
I was three weeks in hot water! That'll suffice.)
I packed my rucksack, girded loins
Caught a bus to Taupo; 'twas but a few coins
And at lunch time I was standing at a sign
“To Ketatahi Springs” it said. And with a face benign
I said to myself (in Spanish) “yo to quiero”.
In front of me was Ngaruhoe and Tongariro
Two high volcanos, with Tongariro passive
Made of black rock and lava; gee, it was massive.
High on one side could be seen a scar
To which the Maoris came from afar
Yo sit in the mud and hot sulphur springs,
For it cures lumbago and other things.
Peeping out could be seen Ngaruhoe;
The active volcano (it's pronounced Narrahoee)
With smoke billowing forth, from its perfect cone.
In winter it's snow covered, but now a pale bone.
“To the springs: 1 3/4 hours” the sign clearly stated,
But time and mountains can't really be estimated.
I ignore all such rot. I keep my own pace.
Walking's a pleasure but not if you race.
The track winds and climbs neath rain forest trees,
Very quiet, no birds, no animals nor bees.
Quite sterile in fact, but I really don't care
For New Zealand has no leeches or snakes over there.
Up and up the track tunnelled onwards
With an occasional view through the jungle northwards,
But then quite abruptly you're on open heath
With the volcanos above and the rain forest beneath.
One mile away and a 1000 ft up
Was Ketatahi springs, where I intended to sup.
(Alas, when I arrived the water was undrinkable
And what my language was, well, that's quite unprintable)
But then a sign I did espy
“To the Hut and water”, it was quite nearby.
Only 20 mine walk and all uphill!
So I pushed on regardless to drink my fill
And rest awhile at the mountain hut
Before returning to the springs for my bath; but
I must hurry - the sun was sinking.
And I plonked in the mud, all hot and stinking.
'Twas strange to lay in a shallow pool
Stark naked and covered in black like a fool
Out of Shakespeare's King Lear, but I was alone
With a view to rival God - who sits on his throne
And gazes on mortals who live down below
And live out their lives and pass to and fro.
But it then got quite cold and I had to hurry,
So found a hot spring and then in a flurry
Of motion I washed the muck off
With hot sulphury water that makes you cough
(If you're so stupid as to swallow the stuff).
The sun was now gone the track was so rough
It took half an hour to retrace my way
Back to the hut. 'Twas the end of the day.
The hut had ten beds or maybe more,
And a coke-burning oven - with fuel, what's more!
And half a candle gave light to eat by.
Whilst munching and humming a Norse lullaby
A noise outside made me prick my ears.
That strange apparition doth excite my fears?
'Twas a mad Yankee tourist to share my abode
Named Gordon Harris “a man of the mode”
From Arizona he hailed and was wandering around
New Zealand, eventually Australia bound,
To whom I extended my Bushwalker greetings
And who promised to attend at one of our meetings.
Anyway we talked for an hour or more
Till words turned to silence and then to a snore.
Night with her mantle had covered us twain.
I wonder if I'll ever see him again?
Next morning at dawn the mist was down.
“Donna nobis solem” we said with a frown,
But Hughie ignored us and it got real pea-soupy.
Gordon went as planned, but I felt real droopy
And went back to bed until it was fine.
As it turned out, 'twas half past nine
When the day turned out brilliant and I decided to pack.
So - filled my water bucket and tied it on the back.
I said a silent farewell to the view down below
And walked up the zig-zags in the warm morning's glow.
I took off my shorts to make walking easy
(The perspiration made both my legs greasy)
Then I realized that the water was dripping
Onto my underpants; it made them ill fitting
And quite uncomfy. I had no choice
And I took them off too. I could rejoice
In the pleasure of walking in the sun
With the water dripping slowly to cool my posterior.
The black lava made the heat so strong
That (as you all realize) it wasn't long
Before off came my singlet and then my shirt
And walked on quite naked, no one to hurt
Or shock, for as far as the eye could see
Was nobody. ('Twas midweek. Thursday actually.)
To my right was a blue irk, as blue as blue
The water slightly ashy but drinkable too.
Below but beside this and slightly to the right
Was a flat moon-like crater a wonderful sight.
A perfect circle a half a mile wide,
Dead flat in the middle but steep on one side
Where Tongariro joined the cirque.
And on the horizon a thousand yards in the murk
Was Ngaruhoe smoking. It was awe inspiring.
Forever one could look at this view without tiring.
I sat on my rucksack (the ground was too rough -
My posterior is delicate and not a bit tough)
And wished that all my walking friends could be here
To enjoy the view. I'd be clothed, never fear!
The track, marked by white posts 30 yards apart,
Crossed the crater - but then with a start
I noticed the spiders, just about everywhere
Scurrying here and scurrying there.
What do they live on? There's naught to see.
Not a blade of grass - a herb - or tree.
(Dot Butler laughed when I told her this story.
“Why wind blown insects - blown to glory.”
A wise answer and who am I to doubt her?
If anyone disagrees, they've my permission to clout her.)
Crossing the wastes I saw on the right
The Emerald Lakes, a pretty sight
Nestling at the foot of the fearsome Red Crater.
(When visiting areas thermal, sooner or later
You always have lakes Emerald or Blue.
In Iceland they have them; Mount Gambier too!!)
I climbed the Red Crater, was hissing like a dragon
And groaning and wheezing like any old wagon.
Smoke whisped out here, or else fumeroles
Caused the earth to shake; you'd sink down in holes
If you make a false step, you'd list.
Not the best place for a somnambulist.
The track became tougher and so steep as hell
That I had to go sideways with feet parallel
Just like skiing. Three steps up, two steps back:
Nothing like pummice. Woe and alack!
On reaching the top the temperature dropped
As though the breath of death had stopped
And picked me out of all creation.
This but caused me a moments hesitation; - - -
(The need to produce the rest of the story produced slightly more than a moment's hesitation, but no doubt Owen will get around to telling us if he over got back.)
- by Pat Harrison (Walks Secretary).
|August 6,7,8||This is the first walk to be led by Max Crisp, and he has selected a good one - Mount Kelly with a capping of snow. The camp on Saturday night just above the snow line will be worthwhile. Plenty of Snow Gum bark to make a warm bed, but bring warm clothing & wear good footwear - feet wet by frozen snow are not the best companions.|
|*August 6,7,8||Peter Franks has a walk from the Wolgan to the Capertee Valley and back again, and in the process he passes through quite a few of the gaps and passes for which this area is notable. Great scenery, good walking, and the chances are that the wattle will still be in bloom.|
|August 6,7,8||Cross country skiing with Phil Butt. Same arrangements as before.|
|August 8||John Holly leads an old favorite from Waterfall to Heathcote. Should be plenty of wildflowers along the way, and there are a table and seats under a spreading Red Gum at Kingdom Come for civilised lunching.|
|August 13,14,15||The spiritual home of bushwalkers is believed to be in the Blue Mountains somewhere around Cloudmaker and Guouogang. Guouogang at 4,232 ft is the highest thereabouts, and its Nooroo Buttress has the greatest drop - over 3,000 ft. Dot Noble is going up the Gasper Buttress ('tisn't hard to guess the origin of the name) and down Nooroo, and to get ready for all this she will jog down Breakfast Creek on Friday night. A walk that should not be missed by young or old.|
|August 14,15||Ernie and Betty Farquhar have the Instructional Weekend at Moorabinda in the Heathcote Primitive Area. Please note that the train leaves at 12.50 p.m. on Saturday.|
|*August 15||Jack Gentle's Test Walk is a tour of the Heathcote Primitive Area and takes in two of the highest points, Woronora Trig and Scouter's Mountain. The bushland should be looking its best at this time of year.|
|*August 20,21,22||The walk on Saturday is mainly along a fairly narrow range for about 10 miles. There are a few changes of direction, but the golden rule for steering down the Gingra is not to turn your back on Ti-Willa. The Gingra Range, losing height as it goes and having the higher Gangerangs on one side and the Broken Rock and the Colong Maze across the Kowmung on the other, provides changing scenery all the way. A lush campsite on Saturday and on Sunday a wander up one of the prettiest creeks in the mountains. Alan Round is the leader.|
|August 20,21,22||Good old Bill Gillam's Ski Instructional. The more the merrier.|
|August 20,21,22||A tour of all the places with the enticing names around the head of the Cudgegong River, east of Rylstone. Interesting navigation from one patch of volcanic soil to another, not least of all the elusive Pinchgut, and a peak-bagging weekend that should quell the ardour of the keenest.|
|August 22||A combined walk with the Catholic Bushwalkers of the Royal National Park led by their president, Jim Callaway. A chance to find out how the other half lives.|
|August 22||Jack Perry has a 7-miler up Hawkesbury way. Catch the 8.30 am country train and spend a carefree day with Jack and company.|
|August 27,28,29||“Springtime! When comes in the sweet of the year and the red blood reigns in the winter's pale!” People filled with the friskiness of spring are needed to help Bob Younger's working bee at our very own “Coolana” on the Kangaroo River. Bob can't do it all himself, so please come along and help - even if it's only to keep the billy boiling for the workers.|
|August 27,28,29||Myall Lakes are the Colong of the north. Hence this tour by Alan Hedstrom, in an endeavour to let others see what they are fighting to preserve.|
|August 29||The month ends with two day walks. The northsiders can go with Jim Brown from Cowan to Brooklyn, while the southsiders can go With Meryl Watman from Waterfall to Heathcote by way of Uloola Falls. Either way, the wildflowers should be abundant.|
- by Ray Hookway.
The June meeting welcomed two more clubs to membership of Federation, the Sydney University Mountaineering Club and the Walkabout group of the All Nations Club. This brings to 29 the membership of Federation. It was also advised that the National Parks Association were to seek full affiliation.
Further details were given regarding the Conservation and Wildlife Exhibition to be held in the lower Sydney Town Hall between August 16th and 21st. The exhibit will be open between 10 am and 10 pm daily. Admission will be 40 cents for adults and 10 cents for children. Federation are still seeking volunteers to man its display for short periods, so if you want to save 40 cents please contact me and sign up….. Several exhibitors will be showing films and slides of interest to bushwalkers.
In reply to letters from Federation the Minister of Lands advised that he had no notice of proposals to build either a road through Bouddi to Maitland Bay or from Mt. Hay to Mt. Whitton in the Blue Mountains. He also confirmed receipt of Federation's proposal of Mrs. Jenny Madden as secretary of the Bouddi Park local committee to replace the late Daphne McKern.
Discussion was held on the Clutha Development Act and it was decided that Federation write letters to both the N.S.W. Premier and to the State Governor stating our objections to all features of the Act. Details of three anti-Clutha protest meetings to be held in Sydney were announced. The largest of these meetings since held at the Sydney Town Hall on June 28th, attracted over 3,000 people.
The main S/R event for May demonstrated the benefit of training. Special stretcher handling techniques recently practised were required to carry the patient 600 ft down the steep slope of Brindle Pup. The walker slipped whilst descending and broke a vertebra (possibly on the horn of his cheap A-frame pack). Forty five members participated in the rescue. A helicopter landing area was cleared about a mile down the Cox from Merrigal Creek and the rescuers and the helicopter arrived at the clearing within minutes of each other. The patient was quickly whisked off to land in the centre of the football field alongside the Katoomba hospital. A well organised and executed rescue.
The next Search and Rescue practise is to be held at Medlow Gap on July 17/18th.
The June Federation meeting became slightly disorganised as advice of 3 lost walkers was received and about one-third of the delegates left to join the various search groups.
Win Melville protested against lack of publicity given to the recent burning off in the Jamieson Valley; he called for 6/8 weeks notice and for an advertised phone contact number similar to the Budawangs firing range contact.
To be held on Friday, September 17th. Tickets will be $4 single. There will be two bands and a good roll up is requested.
Blue Mountains and Burragorang Valley - 8 colours - 2 mile/inch - 250ft contours - layer tinted - available for 75 cents at Lands Dept.
The park service proposed to close off the track between the car parking area and the large cave at Kanangra Walls in order to contain erosion and to protect the park service against possible legal claims for damages due to injuries. They have suggested the installation of a steel ladder down the cliff to the cave. Eventually when funds are available, the track will be rebuilt. Federation agreed to a low fence and to a notice at the start of the track but expressed opposition to both the ladder proposal and to the complete closure of the track to tourists. The park service also proposes to close off most fire trails in the park and sought advice on which roads should remain open. Federation agreed with this proposal and are to suggest that the roads to Boss Peak, Thurat trig and FCI. remain open.
The Kamerukas are sponsoring a slide evening by Tim Walkden Brown to be held at the Oddfellows Hall, 149 Castlereagh St. at 8 pm on 22nd July. Slides will feature Macquarie Island and climbing in New Zealand and Tasmania. Admission will be $1 and supper will be provided. Money raised will go to the “Save Lake Pedder” fund.
Are bicycles baggage? If you don't know, please consult with Heather Williams, Clare Howden or Frank Taeker, who should be back any day now after a jaunt in Tonga and Samoa.
At the time of their departure they reported to Qantas terminal with push bikes which were “needed on tour”, and mightily disturbed the air line officials, who requested them to place the cycles in the parking area.
When our trio protested that the bikes were luggage, the air line was nonplussed. Never, they said, but never, no never, had they heard of people taking push bikes by air as luggage. Well, maybe, they were not prohibited items…..
Are they perhaps Australia's first airborne cyclists?
Talking about cycling…. Owen has had a letter from overseas member Lyn Drummond, passing on good wishes to all the old crowd. Lyn is at present cycling around England, but presumably NOT on an Australian push bike.
Another exile returned is Roger Gowing, who reappeared in June with 25-cents in his pocket, and in a somewhat debilitated condition. Amongst his exploits abroad was an overland journey from India through Afghanistan, ending in Israel, where he passed some time with one of the kibbutz communities, and became an enthusiast for the life and the people.
That Membership girl, Barbara, has taken herself off for a week with Bill Bourke's snow fiesta, so this month we lack the usual greetings to newcomers, warning to time-expired prospective members, and footnotes on those elected to full membership. Probably there will be a double dose in the next issue, especially as five new members made their debut at the July General Meeting.
On getting facts wrong - or jumping to conclusions…. Last issue it was reported that Club poet laureate Kath Mackay had recently been in Sydney. Wrong! It was a misinterpretation of a remark by Brian Harvey that he had lately had lunch with Kath. He had - but it was at Armadale, near Perth, W.A., where she now lives.
The site for the August General Meeting, which would normally be on Wednesday, August 11, is still in doubt. We have been unable to obtain accommodation for that date, either at Anzac House or elsewhere. For the following week, the gathering will be in the usual hall, but on TUESDAY, August 17.