SBW Walks Programs
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards.
Postal Address: Box 4476 G.P.O., Sydney, N.S.W. 2001.
Meetings at the Club Room on Wednesday evenings after 7.30 p.m.
Enquiries regarding the Club - Mrs. Marcia Shappert, Te1.30-2028.
|Editor||Spiro Ketas, 104/10 Wylde Street, Pott's Point, 2011. Te1.357-1381 (Home)|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118.|
|The December General Meeting||Jim Brown||2|
|When Chinese Take to Climbing||Gordon Landsborough||4|
|Where Honey Bees Fly and Bushwalkers Walk||David Cotton||7|
|A Letter from Abroad||Jane Putt||8|
|Walks Secretary's Notes - February||Wilf Hilder||9|
|National Parks & Wildllife Appeal - 25th February||13|
|Federation Notes - December||Ray Hookway||13|
|Canberra with the Rigby's||Spiro Ketas||15|
|Official Notice from the Secretary||16|
by Jim Brown.
The roll-up was about 35, something like normal for a General Meeting, and it was 8.15 p.m. when the gong struck, and we gathered to see three new hands introduced - Margaret Reid, Len Miles and Peter Downes. Three others - originally elected to membership in October - have yet to be formally welcomed.
November's minutes were confirmed and no matters arose. In correspondence there was an enquiry from Federation (and a reply) concerning the extent of walking activity in the Wollongambe wilderness, associated with the gas pipe-line project, and a letter from the N.S.W. Orientiering Society advertising that it sought more members. The Club had lodged its own protest against the route of the gas pipe-line.
In the Treasurer's absence, the Secretary gave us the vital financial statistics, showing our credit in the working funds to be $1,035 at the end of November. Federation news was mainly covered in the December magazine, but additional matters referred to the establishment of a “Canyon S. & R.” team, and a reprint in colour of the well-known Blue Mountains - Burragorang Tourist map. Two recent meetings, one at Springwood and one in Sydney Town Hall, had objected to the gas line passing through the Blue Mountains National Park.
In accordance with his present practice, Wilf Hilder's Walks Report covered the mid-November to early December period, beginning with a leisured camp for 5 people (originally to be an Instructional Week-end) organised by Maria and Don Hitchcock at Burning Palms. That same weekend (November 10/12) Neville Lupton's Newnes bike trip went with 9 people and 8 bikes, but Peter Lovander's Wheeny Gap jaunt was cancelled. Sam Hinde had 16 along on a warm Sunday up Kingfisher Creek and Mt. Westmacott.
A week later Ray Hookway led 14 people in the Wolgan Valley, a leisured trip to Rocky Creek and environs. There were two day walks, one conducted by Mary Davidson with about 24 on Heathcote Creek, while an abseiling instruction day under Roger Gowing and Alan Pike brought out a largish team - about 25 to 30 “who kept on arriving”.
On the weekend 24/26, a party of unspecified strength went to the Kowmung Gorge with David Rostron, in cool, overcast weather. Wilf Hilder's Saturday walk from Stanwell Park to Bundeena was postponed to allow of a track-marking expedition on the Colo which blazed the old way from Hungryway Creek to Blacksmith's Creek. On Sunday both day walks went as programmed, Kath Brown with 15 to Burning Palms, and David Cotton and party of 10 or 12 looking at the familiar bees and one only cactus (apparently David was in the throes of a disagreement with the owner of the main cactus forest).
The weekend trip for December 1/3 was cancelled, but on the Sunday Bill Hall guided 18 through the prickle bushes over Scouters Mountain, and Sam Hinds expressed dismay at the litter around Marley. The final weekend covered by the report saw the Megalong jaunt programmed by Tony Denham fall through, but quite a team (about 20) turned up at Canberra, to a barbecue at the Rigby's and a lilo trip down a section of the Murrumbidgee River on Sunday. Five miles took 5 1/2 hours, and several square yards of skin were later lost through sunburn. Bob Hodgson took Wilf's Colo trip, but details were not known, and Gladys Roberts had 5 citizens out on Cowan Creek, remarking on the debris around the ruins of Windybanks old boat shed.
Thus to General Business, where Dot Butler gave us the latest on our Kangaroo Valley country estate. We would lose about 16 acres of terra firma when the dams were built, but in lieu the Water Board offered a 30-acre block downstream and adjourning our land PLUS $700. Dot suggested this and other funds available should be invested to provide the wherewithal for our rates. The question of erecting a shelter and water tank on the land was raised and it was mentioned that a “roof” only might be considered as being less liable to vandalism, giving shelter for cooking and eating and yet providing a catchment. Dot mentioned the Kiwi concept of “shelf-bunks” and it was agreed that the whole proposal be looked at. The Water Board's offer was adopted as satisfactory to us. A threat to build across Coolana a high-tension power line had been averted, and the whole question of road access to our property was deliberately being left in abeyance for a while.
As a rider Don Hitchcock rose to voice a proposal carried with acclaim to express thanks to Dot for her negotiations with the Water Board. Don also mentioned, a little later in proceedings, that trail bikes buzzing around the big clearing near Lilyvale station late in the night and early in the morning made it most unsatisfactory as a camping site.
Wilf Hilder mentioned that latest information from the Mountain Trails Club indicated it was practically inactive: thus the Club whose members were influential in creating S.B.W. 45 years ago was almost spent, as was the Rucksack Club, which was one of the other founding clubs of Federation. Wilf also spoke of new maps covering the North Coast region west of Wauchope and east of Walcha, and uttered a caution about cars parked in bushy places in the Blue Mountains on Saturdays, and a recent series of cases of breaking, entering and stealing of valuables.
At this, December's general meeting closed, just before 9.30 p.m.
The S.B.W. Reunion at Woods Creek 17/18th March. Organiser - Don Finch 47-2251. More information next month.
by Gordon Landsborough.
You don't walk in Hong Kong, you climb, because everything seems to go almost straight up. And - a surprise to many - the Colony is a magnificent place for those who love the outdoors. Most people think of HK (as it' known) as a place packed to suffocation with 4 million inhabitants living in high-rise concrete apartments or shoved out onto junks and sampans because there's no further space ashore. Untrue. HK Colony consists of about 200 islands, plus Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories which are part of the China mainland, and only 5% of these 400 square miles is built upon.
HK Island itself is magnificently green and mountainous. Two miles only from Central, the teaming business centre of the Colony, you can be surrounded by lush vegetation, brilliant with flowers, with glorious butterflies the size of birds drifting away as you climb. Tourists don't even know of this beauty, because the object of tourism is to keep the visitor where the shops and entertainment spots are, because how else are you going to separate him from his dollars? An hour's ride away on a very good ferry is Lan Tau. This island is bigger than Hong Kong; it's ruggedly mountainous, topping 3,000 ft in places. Which doesn't sound like Everest, but Lan Tau Peak rises relentlessly, and in the near Equatorial sunshine, with humidity sometimes close on 100%, climbing is a great way of attaining a sylph-like figure. Then you reach the Peak and your eyes stop dithering you have a view which makes it all worthwhile. The shimmering blue of the South China Sea, and soft green islands rising from it in every direction, lateen-sailed junks like autumn leaves upon its surface. It's good for two other reasons, too. At the start of the climb you pass through Chinese villages. Pretty stinky, still fascinating. And you can stay the night in Po Lin Monastery high up on Lan Tau Peak. Now, that's a way to round off a climb. A great, sprawling, highly ornate Buddhist monastery, the monks at work or meditating. Bare dining hall, but you're welcome to share their food. Quite free; you're their guest. And they have a dormitory for the ladies.
But the New Territories on China Mainland is the place for me. We used to cross by first ferry at 6 a.m., a joyous beginning to a day. Then on to a train crowded with noisy, happy young Chinese - they're a lovable people when you know them - to the Chinese University, where we would take to an unlicenced junk, or if the police Water Patrol was in a tizzy mood about unlicenced vessels, we'd cross the strait in a sampan, a Hakka and his smiling wife, baby on her strong young back, expertly getting us ashore among the rocks. Then we'd start to climb. Favourite was Ma On Shan, only 2,300 foot, but… rugged. There are three mountains in line here, with a sharp ridge undulating between them. You're close to heaven, walking that ridge, the loveliest view in the Colony spread on either side of you. Sea, islands with golden beaches far below, and something indefinable which can only be described as the glamour of the tropics stamped upon the scene. The end of the day was always something to look forward to. Dead weary we'd crawl into a Chinese fishing village, Sai Kung. There's a Hakka restaurant on the edge of an intriguing market that sells everything you never see in David Jones or Woolworths. They'd bring us big bottles of ice cold beer which I'll swear boiled for a few seconds when it got down to our engine-room. Then we'd have a Hakka meal that makes me wonder what the devil they serve in Sydney's supposedly Chinese restaurants. Marvellous food. And food and beer wouldn't top a dollar a head.
The Chinese haven't been much gone on climbing and walking until recently, but all at once it's become the in-thing. Being Chinese they tend to be somewhat original in their approach to the exercise. The Walkathon (revolting word wretched hybrid) is tops nowadays, to their credit. Every month they organise a walk right round HK Island, walkers being sponsored to raise money for charity. Never less than ten thousand people set off, a scene of gaiety and colour beyond mere imagination. Increasingly, too, is the picnic party, a kind of intermediate stage to the real thing of climbing and walking. Great parties of young people go off to the islands or the New Territories, walk not very far, then start to eat. They bring with them everything for a barbeque, including bags of charcoal and forks. Every party would have its fork bearer, a great bundle like the old Roman fasees under his arm - forks a couple of feet long, each with a cork protectively over the dangerous teeth. Comical to Western eyes. But though I like the Chinese and approve of this new enthusiasm for the outdoors, I must say they are horrifyingly anti-social in their habits. Everything comes in plastic bags. Everything is simply left in the picnic spots, no attempt being made to dispose of litter. Never have I seen such defilement of beautiful places. Some of us once spent an afternoon cleaning up a pretty, sandy cove, dragging plastic material by the ton to a huge fire we made. I don't think the weight is much exaggeration. Yet we knew the cove would soon be as mucky as ever. Curious, but the Chinese don't even seem to see litter and disorder.
A new breed of adventurer is taking to the mountains, though. Young Chinese, particularly from the universities, have begun to realise what walking is all about, and they're taking to it with enthusiasm, but again, with differences. I really hate to put you off those nice young people, but almost everyone of them carries with him (or her) either a radio or a cassette player. Each appears to be tuned in to any station between Shanghai and Bangkok. The noise is rather much for those in search of peaceful countryside.
Even more humorous, we often met climbing parties who had equipped themselves with walkie-talkies. They used them all the time. We'd hear them in the distance, in constant communication with each other, a rapid flow of Cantonese, followed by the English word, “Over”. God. knows what they communicated to each other. In any event, the walkie-talkies weren't really necessary. They were so close to each other they could have communicated by talking, not even shouting. Sound travels a long way in these mountains… unhappily. But if ever you go to Hong Kong, risk the wretched transistors and walkie-talkies, don't linger in the shopping districts, but take to boat and train and find the real beauty of the Colony which they don't even advertise.
Lightweight bushwalking and camp gear.
Bunyip Rucksack. This 'shaped' rucksack is excellent for children. Useful day pack. Weight 14 ozs.
Senior Rucksack. A single pocket, shaped rucksack. Suitable for overnight camping. Weight 1 1/2 lbs
Bushman Rucksacks. Have sewn-in curved bottom for extra comfort in carrying. Will hold 30 lbs. 2 pocket model 1 1/4 lbs. 3 pocket model 1 1/2 lbs.
Pioneer Rucksack is an extra large bag with four external pockets and will carry about 40 lbs of camp gear. Weight 2 3/4 lbs.
Mountaineer De Luxe. Can carry 70lbs or more. Tough lightweight terylene/cotton, proofed fabric with special P.V.C. reinforced base. 20“ x 17” x 9“ proofed nylon extension throat with double draw cord for positive closure. Flap has full sized zip pocket of waterproof nylon. Outside pocket. Bag is easily detached from the frame to form a 3' sleeping bag cover for cold, wet conditions. Weight 6 lbs.
Mountaineer. Same features as de luxe model except for P.V.C. bottom reinforcing. Weight 5 1/4 1bs.
Tramper Frame Rucksack. Young people and ladies will find this pack a good one. It will carry sufficient camping equipment and food for 3 or 4 days or more. Has 3 pockets, capacity about 30 lbs. Weight 4 lbs.
Kiandra Model. Hooded bag. Extra well filled. Very compact. Approx 3 3/4 lbs.
Hotham Model. Super warm. Box quilted. Added leg room. Approx 4 1/2 lbs.
Carrying Bags. P.V.C. or nylon.
'A' Tents. One, two or three men. From 2 1/2 to 3 3/4 1bs.
Wall Tents. Two, three or four man. From 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lbs.
Compasses dry, oil filled or wrist types. Maps. Large range. Bushwalking books. Freeze dried and dehydrated foods. Stoves and lamps. Aluminium cook ware. Ground sheets. Everything for the bushwalker.
69 Liverpool St., Sydney. 26-2686, 61-7215.
by David Cotton.
Saturday morning I arrived early with Owen, occupied the morning fiddling with bee hives, gashed left thumb severely whilst modifying some equipment, however repaired and cleaned up and off to Helensburgh to pick up Gem and Rosemary. Cut firewood on return. Joe, Evelyn, Rebecca, Tony and Doug arrived just after 6 and it wasn't long before tents were up and tea was on. Had a Bar-B-Que and bright discussion about everything imaginable and some not. Studied the stars through a pair of field glasses and discovered four reasons why telescopes are more popular: 1 - eyes out of alignment, 2 - field glasses out of alignment, 3 - stars out of alignment, 4 - distortion by alcoholic haze.
This was the last time the sky was clear for the rest of the weekend. A few showers fell during the night and we wakened on a cold, grey, damp, windy morning and all huddled around a rather smokey fire, quite similar to the one we had on the night before. With breakfast well under way and clearing up well organised it was decided to have a scramble around the waterfall. Then back to base to find Geoff, Adrienne and Frank had arrived, so made a quick trip down to the Highway to see if we had any more starters waiting.
As the weather still had not warmed sufficiently to allow a hive inspection, a walk down O'Hares Creek was decided on, so we deposited two cars on a property 2 miles further down the Forest and returned to find Bob and Shirley had arrived; however they only came as far as the waterfall before returning.
Although the weather was still overcast, cold and windy, we found it quite warm and pleasant in the protection of the trees and cliffs along the creek, not carrying packs made travelling even more delightful. Whilst the pace was not fast, there were a few light mumblings of “What's the rush” at the other end it was “How long are we going to sit here for?” (It must have been closer to dinner time). At this stage we were sitting round a huge deep pool of magnificent size just below a delightful waterfall about 8-10 feet high, the main body of water tumbling through a great crack in the rocks, the rest of the water was flowing across a huge sandstone shelf, more like a great flat arch with the water tumbling down like a great wide curtain of water 15' wide, with the water flowing through the crack forming an interesting back drop. It was here that the children (Rebecca, Doug and Tony) had their second swim for the day. After a short climb we were back at the cars and returned to base for dinner.
Conditions still hadn't warmed sufficiently to allow a beehive inspection, and a few showers fell whilst I rushed around carrying out some essential bee-work. Despite explanations that bees sting quite severely under cold conditions, I had a few onlookers and it wasn't long before I had about 8 stings on each arm.
During another two showers the ins and outs of bee-keeping etc. were explained, despite the poor conditions it was still hoped to demonstrate the working of an operational hive. However the only hive small enough to inspect was found to have died out, so at this stage the hive inspection was abandoned and we all congregated around the smokey fire for afternoon tea of brown bread, butter and fresh honey in the comb still warm from the hive, with cups of hot tea.
After cleaning up it was homeward bound, only to find traffic banked up on the highway at the Forest turn-off, so we took a pleasant detour down Bulli Pass and through the National Park. It was agreed that daylight saving did have one good point, at least you can enjoy the view.
by Jane Putt.
(Colin and Jane Putt, originally from New Zealand, have been S.B.W. members for about 20 years, and are now living in England)
5 Conifer Drive, Tilehurst, Reading, RG3 6YU, England.
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.
Our big news last year was Colin's transfer to England, where he is at the ICI Central Instrument Research Laboratory at Bozedown. He left in early October last year (1971) and we followed when Margaret and Gerard had sat HSO and School Cert. respectively. Margaret went off with a friend through Bali, Nepal and arrived in New Delhi the day before the India-Pakistan war broke out, thus causing us considerable concern. However they did all the right things and were eventually able to fly out through Bombay, and went on to Beirut and so through Istanbul to England, where they arrived just in time for Xmas.
Gerard flew to the South Island (of N.Z.) and walked the Routeburn track before coming on to join the rest of us, in Gisborne. We were staying with my mother and generally seeing relatives and friends. Left for Fiji where we spent several days walking on native tracks through the very hilly interior, and staying in the villages. We had a guide who was related to the various village chiefs. There are no roads (yet) and the villages are quite remote. Harry and Sarah were the first white childPen to have visited most of them and attracted a lot of attention - especially Sarah with her long, straight, fair hair. From Fiji in the 90s to Vancouver in a record cold spell, having 2 Xmas days on the way. We stayed with the Wyborns who drove us around and showed us something of the mountains (most impressive) and Gerard and Margaret had a couple of days skiing. Then by bus across the Rockies to Calgary. Unfortunately we had bad weather going through Fraser Canyon, but marvellous views around Lake Louise and Banff. We had a very crowded flight from Calgary and were glad to get to London even though England in Midwinter was fairly depressing with everything disappearing in a sort of blue mist. Colin had rented a 4 bedroom house for us. Comfortable but everything on a small scale as they seem to be in England. We felt as though we were living in a doll's house and found it hard to adjust to living on top of each other. However houses are very hard to come by in this particular area so we were lucky.
My mother has been staying with us since the end of April, and we have had other visitors too numerous to mention, though we saw most of Dot Butler. We have done a lot of local sightseeing and also mother and I with H and S spent 5 days in Devon. We've been to Wales 3 or 4 times and had a farmhouse in North Wales for the first week of the summer holidays. It was perfect weather and we all climbed Snowdon, and Harry saw a lot of castles. Mother and I also spent a fortnight in Scotland with H and S. Our main bases were at Fort William and Inverness, and we went right up to John o'Groats. Mother then minded the family while Colin and I went to Norway. We met up with Dot in Oslo (and unfortunately missed Margriet Wyborn), and had a fortnight walking and climbing in the Jotunheimen. We had good weather, and as the tourist season was over had it all to ourselves - a beautiful spot. We had time in Oslo to see all the ship museums too.
Unfortunately I was taken seriously ill shortly after our return, and spent three weeks in hospital. I'm now much better.
All the best from the Putts.
by Wilf Hilder.
January 1973 - Long Weekend 26,27,28,29
Four great trips for you - Ray Hookway is Kowmung bound with his li-lo; down Cambage into the canyon and up Gingra. Yes, tracks along Gingra and plenty of paddling along the river.
George Catchpole is heading for the Monaro Alps of Southern A.C.T. Mt. Kelly and Scabby will provide glorious views. Lush campsites 'neath the snowgums with crystal clear trout streams.
David Cotton is building his base camp at Lake Louise, by the sandy shore of the Shoalhaven, with swimming and cascading for young and old - side trips to Bungonia Gorge and the Block Up.
Don Finch's base camp on the other hand is at Pretty Beach where the blue Pacific breakers thunder nite'n-day. Swimming, surfing, and short walks a la carte. Book early please.
February 1973 - 2,3,4
Uncle Frank Tacker, our insectologist, is Blue Gum bound. There are tracks all the way with a bush road or two for good measure from Mt. Victoria Station to Evans Lookout. Steep but well graded climb to Evans thru Syncarpia Forest and around Beauchamp Falls. Mighty scenery all the way on this weekend test walk.
February - 2,3,4
Dave Cotton on t'other hand heads south along “der Six Footer Track” over Mini Mini Saddle to Little River. Fair bit of rock hopping downstream till you reach open country with its bridle tracks and a hidden farmhouse.
The winter ice should have just about melted in the canyons by now and Alan Pike is sampling Arathusa with its longish swims and moderate abseils. Fabulous canyon scenery - so book in early.
Gallop away Callaway canters down along the coast of Royal National Park from Bundeena to Lilyvale on this test walk. Tracks all the way but a fair amount of climbing is involved - excellent scenery.
This leisurely stroll to Burning Palms is led by Kath Brown. Plenty of time for a swim at the Palms with its magnificent scenery.
Don Finch* leads the canyoneers to the fabled Jerrara Creek with its big abseils and bombing holes. Then along Bungonia Creek to the Magnificent Bungonia Canyon with classic limestone boulder hopping and on to the mighty Shoalhaven at Lake Louise. More canyon scenery and the famous fifty-foot bombing hole - where Fendon won his flying license. (*** Don is taking over from Dave Rostron)
Rod Peters leads this instructional test walk thru Martins Creek Canyon - some rather interesting boulder hopping in ye upper reaches - and along the sandy banks of the Nattai River with splendiferous views. Easy grade bridle path from MacArthurs Flat to Coates Farm. Book early, but remember Rod lives at St. Marys so you're on STD - keep it brief.
Wild Wilf comes the Colo capers again. As anyone who hasn't been to the Colo will tell you, the scrub is almost bullet-proof, and the rapids make the Snowy River look like an irrigation ditch - while the cliffs are thousands of feet high, besides being rotten and overhung as well as unbroken for thirty or forty miles at a stretch. Wilf insists that waterproof packs are necessary, but sanity certificates are not.
Another Saturday trip! Nancye Alderson leads this easy stroll to the Duckhole on Glenbrook Creek. Plenty of time for swimming and sunbathing. A good trip for members who have young families or older members who want a very easy walk.
Another easy walk down to Royal National Park. Uncle Sam Hinde guides the multitude from Otford Station to Hell Hole (Werong) with its secluded beach. Rockhop round to Bulge and its rock pools and climb the mountain on a well-worn track - yes, fantastic views from the top. Special Excursion tickets to Otford.
Dave Rostron sallies forth to Sally Camp Creek and the mighty Davies Canyon. Some compulsory abseiling if you don't know the hidden passes - but great canyon scenery all the way. Bring your wet suit and canyon bag. (* Fair exchange with Don)
Well, you asked for it again and Bill Hall is organising it - the good old S.B.W. Swimming Carnival. Bill has organised a big campfire for Saturday night on the sandy banks of Lake Eckersley. All are naturally invited to join in the fun. For those who can't make it on Saturday, the 08.20 a.m. Sunday electric train (change at Sutherland) is the one to ride. Ring Bill at 57-5145 and he will give you all details about the camping, the trains, the swimming (easy and novelty races) and the Sunday leader.
Max Crisp's expedition to Shoalhaven Canyon is investigating the country around Old Phoenix Mines and Jockey's Point. Pretty rugged country by all accounts - but go and see for yourself. Canyon bags to make your pack waterproof are essential equipment on any river trip those days. Please book in early as transport is limited.
Saturday afternoon start on this over popular test walk from Carlons along the bridle paths over Tinpot Hill to Old Father Cox and downstream through the spectacular Harry's River junction to Breakfast Creek. Good tracks up Breakfast to Carlons with steep climb of about 500 feet onto the ridge. Genial Jim Vatiliotis is your guide for this trip.
Sheila Binns leads it like it is - from Waterfall down Kangaroo Creek with magnificent swimming holes. Good tracks all the way and an easy climb to Heathcote from Karloo Pool.
Dave Cotton's at it again - back to little old Darke's Forest for the apiary and cactus inspection jazz. So sorry, no free cactus samples, says David.
It's time you did the right thing and sent in a walk or two for the March, April, May Autumn programme (New Year Resolution!). There's tons of scope for 1 day to 6 day trips (the lucky ones will get 6 days in the wilderness at Easter). Please to put on honourable thinking cap and forward a walk as peace offering to Walks Secretary.
The deadline (or was it a dead lion?) on January 30th as the programme goes before Committee for approval on February 7th.
On Sunday, 25th February, the National Parks and Wildlife Foundation, will be conducting a Door-Knock Appeal, with the aim of raising $1,000,000 (one million dollars!) to be used in the purchase of natural land for National Parks.
Volunteers are required to help by acting as collectors, and there is also need for persons who will accept the responsibility of organising groups of collectors (e.g. 10-20-30 persons).
All Bushwalkers are lovers of wild country. All Bushwalkers are interested in money, yes? Therefore this is your job!!!!
Please let me have the names of as many people as possible who are willing to help on 25th.
See me, or ring me - Dorothy Butler (Phone 48-2208) - or any of these people - Dr. Mason (47-1558), Mr. Salt (48-5997), Mrs. Edgecombe (84-3034).
by Ray Hookway.
The main news for the month is regarding the public enquiry to be held commencing January 30th on the environmental effect of the Moomba-Sydney gas pipe line. The enquiry is a direct result of the protests of concerned people, mainly in this instance the Wilderness Protection Committee, and it highlights the fact that individuals and small groups with genuine aims can influence the decisions of government. A state government by-election in February was possibly a deciding factor, but strong protest action was the basic reason. However the enquiry should not be permitted to white-wash the pipe line project.
Meetings of groups interested in resuming the Snowy Mountains snow leases, which were discontinued about five years ago, are to be held over the next few weeks. Federation is to send an observer to one of these meetings.
State government recently decided to permit limited grazing of stock in the park because of the severe drought conditions in the surrounding countryside, but as yet grazing has not commenced. From reports broadcast on the ABC interested graziers regard this government move as only the first step towards the complete resumption of the grazing leases. Graziers argue that grazing would reduce the fire risk and would improve the country, and claim that the recent fires would have been less severe if grazing had been carried out over the last five years.
It is interesting to note that the fires in the Jacobs River area were allegedly deliberately lit, and that the fires in the Grey Mare Range were in an area not normally grazed over.
Whilst one can sympathise with the graziers, particularly at this drought time, sufficient grazing country exists in N.S.W. without recourse to the Kosciusko Park, whatever its previous grazing history. A lot of the graziers problems are no doubt due to overstocking and to bad management. One mob of cattle waiting at Tumut to enter the Blowering area has been driven from Gundagai which is hardly adjacent to the Park.
Miles Dunphy has advised that due to the advancing years of its members the Mountain Trails Club is to disband. This club, which is one of the oldest bushwalking clubs in Australia, has left its mark on most of the walking maps of N.S.W.
Canyon Rescue Team. The S. and R. group have decided to form a special canyon rescue team. Any interested member should contact Heather White (Phone 98-6526).
S. and R. Meeting. There will be no S. and R. meeting at Science House in January and if interest in these meetings does not improve they will be discontinued.
The S. and R. group is planning to hold more regular weekend practice searches in 1973 in an endeavour to increase interest.
The Lands Department Blue Mountains and Burragorang map had been reissued with corrections and additions. The new colour scheme used makes it a lot easier to read.
Other new maps in the 1.25,000 series are: Murrurundi, Bermagui, Moruya, Bellbrook.
by Spiro Ketas.
Five carloads of Sydney Bush Walkers converged onto the Rigby residence at Campbell, Canberra on Friday night, each arriving at a different time and eventually all managing to find a sleeping place somewhere in the Rigby house. Any nocturnal journey provided a hilarious “dodge 'em” experience and the over-taxed W.C. flushed itself over and over again as the weak-bladdered S.B.W. team relieved itself.
The next morning most of the party set off to walk to the shores of Lake Burley Griffin under the expert guidance of our host Frank, the remainder were expected to meet up with us at the boat hiring-shed. We walked past the attractive houses with their well-kept gardens and we noticed that nearly all of them were not endowed with indiginous trees or plants, their owner preferring exotics, unlike the Rigbys who are concentrating on Australian flora. Eventually we reached the lake and walked through Commonwealth Park, through the children's playground with the modern stone play sculptures and up to the lookout at Regatta Point, where we admired the view of the southern side of Canberra, Capital Hill, Red Hill, the Houses of Parliament and the National Library, the most prominent of the distant landmarks. We all agreed that the National Library appeared at its best at night under the flood lights. Prominent closer landmarks included the Commonwealth Avenue bridge, the famous “water spout” and the carillon (a gift from the British Government) with its high perpendicular white walls commandeering Aspen Island.
Although by this time the temperature had risen to quite an impressive level we decided that we required some energetic exercise and as we could not see the Finches or the Wyborns anywhere, as they were sleeping under a clump of trees 50 yards away, we hired a few paddle boats and a canoe for the odd one out. This novel form of water travel proved to be rather fun, but we were disappointed upon reaching that illusive fountain to suddenly discover that it had been turned off. We returned to the boat shed and as we could still not see the others we decided to walk to the Ainslie-Rex for a drink and a counter-lunch. The pub was quite crowded but we managed to find a shady spot in the beer garden and after a couple of drinks and lunch we headed back towards Campbell trying to identify the many varieties of trees. Owen Marks surprised both Frank Rigby and Dot Butler with his accurate descriptions.
The bulk of the party then set off to inspect the Canberra Botanic Gardens at the foot of Black Mountain which occupy about 100 acres of land. The first plantings were begun in 1950 amongst unfenced and unwatered bushland and the gardens have came a long way since then (officially opened in October, 1970). Over 4,000 different species of Australian plant are grown, and an artificially created rain forest formed by an intricate misting system. The garden inspection completed, we returned to the Rigby residence, collected our barbecue goodies and set off again to Black Mountain, where coin-operated hot plates and gas rings are provided for picnics. Whilst our meat was cooking Joan produced 2 spinach pies made from a secret Greek recipe and various salad dishes and all were consumed with great enthusiasm as we enjoyed the now fairy-tale view of Canberra at twilight with its sparkling lights and illuminated buildings, and the lake a great focal point of pleasing shape and dimension.
Back to Creswell Street and Frank showed his slides of South America which, as usual, were of very high standard and extremely interesting; but you know what tired tourists bushwalkers make, and within minutes he was addressing a half-asleep audience.
Sunday morning again showed signs of being very hot and an air of high expectation and excitement prevailed as we anticipated the joy that lay ahead of us, that is, a lazy li-lo jaunt down a very small section of the Murrumbidgee River. Into our various cars we jumped and sped off to the car park at Green Island where we made last minute repairs to our patchy li-los. Kath Brown, Pat Marson, Adrienne Shilling and Geoff Mattingley chose to keep up with us on the bank (they didn't have li-los); at times a most difficult task as the river bounced us over intrepid rapids, forced us around hair-pin bends and over long stretches of sand banks, took us along the deep pools of a rough, rocky gorge, where we also had to negotiate several small waterfalls, all at a devastating speed of a mile per hour.
Lunch was had on a shady beach where we could all examine our injuries. We also concluded that the sun had inflicted many injuries to our daring river band. Lying on a li-lo on a very hot day fully exposed to the sun is indeed hazardous for the unsuspecting. Kath Brown with her broad-brimmed straw hat, following the river on the scratchy river banks, managed to avoid sunburn completely, and encouraged at least one member of the party to don a tee-shirt. Again we set off to cover the remaining distance of our trip, ending at a public swimming river-pool with a large sand beach and a few concrete lunch sheds.
On the way home we stopped at the Wellington Hotel for a farewell drink with Les and Doone Wyborn, collected our belongings from the Rigbys and after lengthy farewells and sincere thanks we bid our hosts good-bye, with greater understanding of the advantages of living in the national capital.
from The Secretary.
Any notices or proposed Constitutional amendments to be presented to the Annual General Meeting should be in the hands of the Secretary not later than February 14th.
Any change of address or telephone number should be notified as soon as possible, for inclusion in the list of members accompanying the Annual Report.