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 January General Meeting||Jim Brown||2|
|The Roads||Marion Lloyd||3|
|S.B.W. Reunion 1973 - Notice||Don Finch||10|
|Thirteen Walkers in Search of a Walk||Bob Younger||11|
|Notice from the Secretary||Sheila Binns||15|
|Tasmania '72 - (Part 4)||Don Finch||15|
|Federation Notes - January||Ray Hookway||17|
|Walk's Secretary's Notes - March||Wilf Hilder||18|
by Jim Brown.
Anyone would reasonably expect a smallish roll-up for the January business meeting, so the attendance of about 30 at the outset was quite a satisfactory state of affairs. There were no newcomers to say “Hullo” to, and arising from the December minutes Dot Butler reported contact from the Water Board with a request to clear trees off Coolana to a height of 10 ft above full storage level of the proposed dam. The trustees were authorised to O.K. the entry of Water Board personnel for this task.
Correspondence contained the first news of the move by the Lake Pedder Committee to get the new Federal Government to provide funds for a modification of the Gordon River scheme: and from the Minister for Local Government acknowledging the Club's representations about electricity and gas lines. There was other news from Tasmania where a Warden's Court had rejected proposals for limestone mining in the New River area, but an appeal seemed likely to follow. Federation had advised that its new draft Constitution was being distributed to Clubs for consideration, and that the Reunion this year would probably be again at Sugee Bag Creek on April 7 - 8th.
The Treasurer was summoned to give account, and the finances showed the usual diminution at this time of year when subscriptions have ceased to flow, but outgoings haven't, the tally in the working funds at 31st December being $876.
Federation affairs during December were reported to the meeting (they were given in the January magazine), and we moved on to walking activities, commencing with Barry Wallace's trip to the Barallier - Tomat country with a party of 13 on December 15/17, recorded as a “good weekend” (djavagood weegend). No news of Ray Carter's caving trip in the Bendethera country, nor of the leisurely camp on Kangaroo Creek listed for Maria and Don Hitchcock. The Sunday trip to Marley ranged in attendance from 19 to 16, the weather was perfect, and Marley less littered than expected.
Two of the long Christmas/New Year trips were reported, Max Crisp's team having gone first to the Dimberi - Coolamon area, and later spent six days travelling from Round Mountain to White's River Hut and back. They discovered afterwards the area had been theoretically closed to walkers at the time, but plenty were there, including Max's team of 13. Peter Levander and party of six went to the Kowmung as planned, finding the river itself low and some side creeks not flowing. No news was to hand of Tony Denham's Tasmanian trip, nor of the Hitchcocks' 2 weeks tour of the Snowy Mountains, which was to have set out five days before.
Then the first weekend of January and six people along on Bob Younger's two-day stand at Burning Palms, while there were three starters on Wi1f Hilder's Colo River exploit on the Sunday, during which the presence of another pass out of the valley on the eastern side about 3 miles above Tambo Creek was confirmed.
Social events called forth from Owen Marks the not at all surprising statement that a very large amount of food and liquor was consumed at the Christmas Party, and a large number of people seemed to have enjoyed themselves.
Finally, to General Business, in which Dot Butler had two points to raise. First - a reminder of the Door Knock Appeal by the National Parks and Wildlife Foundation on Sunday 25th February, for which no less than 25,000 collectors were sought. Second - she had a letter from an Australian now living in America who wondered if cedar trees still grew in Christy's Greek. Phil Butt was able to verify that some were still there and also in Danae Brook.
With coffee-time at hand Owen sought the meeting's blessing to the purchase of 40 mugs and was given the green light. By 9.20 we had scattered to use the eight or ten cups currently available.
by Marion Lloyd.
(Marion points out that this is not original material but a collection of information from books, brochures and individual people.)
The story of the roads in the Hartley area is a fascinating one.
Commencing with Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth, they set out from Blaxland's Farm on May 11, 1813, with 4 servants, 4 pack horses laden with provisions, and 5 dogs. Using the old Roman soldier's method of measuring distance, i.e. 2000 long paces or 2200 short paces to the mile, Lawson could estimate distance with fair accuracy. As a matter of fact, he was only about 2 miles out in his calculated distance travelled to the termination of the expedition over the mountains.
They neared Mt. York late in the afternoon of the 28th, when Blaxland in his diary records that they “Took up their station the edge of a precipice.” This was the “Herculean Mountain” that Cox, the roadbuilder, was so worried about, and which was subsequently named “Cox's Pass”, much to the annoyance of Blaxland who felt that his name should have been given to it.
Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth had their moment of triumph, they had crossed the Blue Mountains at last. Westward and before them spread what we know as Hartley Vale or the Vale of Clwydd. They did not realise, as they stood on the verge of Mt. York, that the Blue Mountains were only a spur from the Great Dividing Range. But as history has showed, they had “cracked” the problem of the mountain passage by following Blaxland's theory of keeping to the ridges. Difficulties were still ahead, but not insurmountable problems.
Wentworth was impressed with the “Mighty ridge that, from thy azure brow, survey'st these fertile plains that stretched below”, and continued:
Blaxland: “How mute, how desolate thy stunted woods,
How dread thy chasms, there many an eagle broods;
Lawson: How dark thy caves, how lone thy torrents roar
As down the cliffs precipitous they pour -
Wentworth: Broke on our hearts, when first with venturous tread
We dared to rouse the from thy mountain bed
Till, gained with toilsome step thy rocky heath,
We spied the cheering smokes ascend beneath…
Till, nearer seen, the beauteous landscape grew,
Opening like Canaan on rapt Israel's view.”
The following day-they descended Mt. York and “camped by the side of a fine stream near a high hill in the shape of a sugar loaf”. The “high hill” was climbed. (now named Mt. Blaxland with the adjoining Wentworth Sugarloaf and Lawson Sugarloaf). Blaxland viewed this new country with the eyes of a pastoralist; but the military mind of Lawson turned to thoughts of the expected French raid on Port Jackson when he wrote: “The best watered country I have seen in this Colony… and take it in a Political point of view, if in any case of an invasion it will be a safe retreat for the inhabitants and their stock. “For this part of the country is so formed by nature that a few men would be able to defend the passes against a large body.”
Lawson was writing about what we now call Hartley Valley district below Mt. York.
They caught fish, they roasted kangaroo meat and within a day or two were refreshed and ready for the return journey.
Their horses had been so close to exhaustion that they were frequently collapsing, and had to be leveled with saplings to their feet, as they were incapable of rising unaided. However they more fully recovered after eating the lush grass of this fertile valley, and on June 1 they were loaded with what remained of the provisions and the long walk back began.
The party returned on June 6th “in good health, after an absence of 26 days and having accomplished what no other white man had hitherto done”.
Blaxland called on the Governor (Macquarie) to inform him of their success, but he did not appear enthusiastic, and acted almost as if he neither expected nor wished them to succeed. (Blaxland and Macquarie were not friends - which is another story.) Macquarie did go as far as to state that he “Is happy to embrace this opportunity of conveying his acknowledgement to Gregory Blaxland, William Charles Wentworth Esquires, and Lieutenant William Lawson… for their enterprising and arduous exertions on the Tour of Discovery when they effected a passage over the Blue Mountains and proceeded to the extremity of the first valley… and means to present each of them with a grant of 1000 acres in this newly discovered country.”
Lawson was the only one of the explorers who took up this grant. Blaxland sold his “order” of 1000 acres for £250!
Blaxland never received the recognition to which he was entitled, and in 1816, from his property of Brush Farm he wrote to his friend and patron, Sir Joseph Banks, outlining his attempts on the Blue Mountains and concluding: “The Governor's conduct has been perfectly inexplicable. He has endeavoured to others the merit due to us. He has named the pass down the mountains with another person's name, who only followed in our steps, and also a river at the foot of the mountains we discovered with the same person's name (Cox) which may leave in doubt to posterity who were the real discoverers. May I request Sir, that you will have the goodness to explain to his Majestic's Ministers how far I have endeavoured to be of service to the Colony.”
It was not until February 12th, 1814 that a General Order was issued, and then most of the praise was given to Surveyor Evans who had by this time followed their blazed trail.
Macquarie being a cautious man, decided to have their story checked and recalled George Evans from Tasmania to follow the tracks of Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth to make sure the way across the mountains had been found and to explore the country beyond.
With 5 men, Evans left the Nepean in November 1813 and followed the trail of marked trees through the mountains. The passage was easier for him but nevertheless it was still rough going. He reached the point at Mt. York that the others had reached and made the steep descent down the western side. It was he who named Mt. Blaxland (the silver marker at the top is a memorial to Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth) and Lawson and Wentworth Sugar Loaves. He continued 98 miles beyond the point that Blaxland's party had reached and crossed the main range. His reference to a “riverlett” (rivulet) was corrupted to the River Lett (Hartley) which still bears that name.
Evan's described the fertile country he passed through as equal to any demands which the colony may have for pasture lands for a century to come. He named the Fish River because of the avidity with which a species of what he called “Salmon Trout” seized the bait. Further west the Campbell River was named and then the Macquarie. He continued several miles down the Macquarie and the river led him to the fine open grasslands (Bathurst Plains) on which Governor Macquarie later founded the city of Bathurst.
Evans was followed by William Cox, who at that time was chief magistrate at Windsor. Cox, also selected by Governor Macquarie, was to supervise the building of the first road over the Blue Mountains. There were 30 men and 8 soldiers. The road from Emu Plains to Bathurst, just over 100 miles, was commenced in July, 1814 and completed on January 14, 1815. The construction of Cox's Pass down from Mt. York had taken from 7th November to 14th December, 1814, approximately 3/4 mile.
October 23, 1814 - “Four men sent forward about 10 miles to examine the mountain that leads down to the forest ground and they reported that it is scarcely possible to make a good road down. (Note - this was “Herculean Mountain”, later named Mt. York.) November - men sent down to try to find a better way down the mountain, but returned unsuccessful. “I have therefore made up my mind to make a road as a cart can go down empty, without a possibility of its return - such a road will answer to drive stock down to the forest ground!” said Cox. Cox built a rough road on Evan's surveyed line from Mt. York into Hartley Vale.
Governor Macquarie passed over Cox's road to Bathurst, which he named in the following year in 1815, and named “Herculean Mountain”, “Cox's Pass” and the valley “The Vale Of the Clwydd”, because of its strong resemblance to the vale of that name in north Wales.
The descent of Mt. York was terrifying. The carts were to some degree unloaded, to some extent manhandled over the steepest sections, and had trees up to 48 foot in length tied to the back of the carts to prevent them running downhill. There was a heap of trunks at the bottom of the Pass where travellers detached them, in fact Governor Macquarie complained at the expense involved in sending parties of convicts every few months to clear the road. To bring even a half-laden cart up the Pass as a difficult procedure. Heavy iron rings were fastened at intervals in the rock face of the road and with the aid of pulleys and ropes, bullocks were driven down the hill, to assist laden carts up the worst pinches. Cox's Pass grade 1 in 4.
Alternative roads were constructed down Mt. York but with little success and a reward was offered by Governor Darling in 1827 of a grant of land to any “free person” who could point out a better route. A proposal submitted by Hamilton Hume was not adopted.
William Lawson (“Old Ironbark”) was first to discover coal in N.S.W. when constructing Lawson's Long Alley. In 1882 he wrote to the Colonial Secretary, “In examining the mountains in the neighbourhood of Mt. York to ascertain the best place to get down, I discovered coal of good quality”. The coal was evidently found in the vicinity of Lawson's Long Alley, a deviation made by Lawson (explorer) in an attempt to provide an easier grade than Cox's Pass and which may be plainly seen to this day opposite the junction of the old Berghofer's Pass with the Mt. York road. It was an improvement, but still it did not “permit of a gentleman to arrive down without leaving his vehicle” - as a traveller later recorded.
Pierce Collits supposedly had his own track down from Mt.York. Collits was very probably the supervisor of the convicts who built Lawson's Long Alley. Sometime in 1823 he built his own inn known as Collits Inn or The Golden Fleece. Both Lawson's Long Alley and Cox's Road passed by his inn. (Collits and his many enterprises is another story.)
In 1827 Lockyer's Road from Hartley Vale was commenced but never completed.
In 1827 Hamilton Hume and Lieut. Bowen also marked a track for a road.
The Surveyor-General Major Mitchell found that an easier grade could be maintained down Mt. Victoria, and regarded this as so important that he commenced work immediately without informing his superiors. This annoyed the Colonial-Secretary to such an extent that he wrote to Mitchell, “I am directed to request that… the line proposed by you is not to be adopted or commenced”. An angry exchange of letters took place and Mitchell threatened to resign rather than to forgo his desire to prove that he had found a better descent of the mountains. He persisted with his project and hundreds of convicts, some in chains, were engaged in building huge masonry buttresses, and moved masses of iron and sandstone to fill the gap which is held in place by their fine bridgework. They literally cut the top off a mountain. The new pass traversed a narrow ridge from which valleys fell away very steeply on either side. The pass is 1.9 miles long with a height of 800 feet.
It was opened on October 23rd, 1832 by Governer Bourke and is still in use, though slightly altered at its lower Section. Thomas Mitchell named it Victoria Pass in honour of the young Princess, following the pattern of royal names used in the area. It was at the opening of this road that the township of Mt. Victoria was established.
During the period 1832 to 1868 Mt. Victoria was a most important link on the Western Road; it was the busiest township between Emu and Hartley. During that period it was known as “One Tree Hill” by virtue of a huge tree that was growing near the stone built church.
A Toll House was built on the eastern side of the village in about 1849. A charge was made for goats, pigs and sheep at one farthing each and coaches one shilling and sixpence. Wagons with wide steel tyres were allowed to go through free as they assisted in rolling the surface of the road. Tolls were collected at this point until the completion of the railway to Mt. Victoria in 1868. A stone building nearby was used to house convicts going west, and ticket-of-leave men returning to Emu Plains. The site is possibly Karawatha House which is adjacent to the Toll Bar and is built on foundations of an historic barn at the first inn (now removed) and used to lodge prisoners en route to Bathurst or employed on construction of the road to the west. An antique business is now conducted in this building. At the entrance to Cedar Lodge Cabins at the Western point of the town is the site of one of the stockades used by the military during the making of the Western Pass by convicts. Of particular beauty at this point is a stand of majestic Gum Trees of great antiquity.
With the opening of the Victoria Pass a police district was set up in Hartley and a court house was built there. It was intended that Hartley become an intermediary town on the Western Road. The village flourished and the population grew to over 1000 people, whilst Mt. Victoria remained just a village and continued so almost until the railway reached there in 1868. With the coming of the railway with its faster means of transport, Hartley commenced to decline, the police district was moved to Lithgow, and Mt. Victoria became an important railway centre. The Jenolan Caves by this time had been opened up and visitors from Sydney stopped overnight to continue their journey to the Caves by coach next day.
As mentioned, Major Mitchell completed the deviation of the Bathurst Road from Mt. Victoria to Hartley. This deviation (Victoria Pass) replaced the dangerous grades in Cox's Road and Lawson's Long Alley at Mt. York. This new pass was much easier grade and a normal ascent and descent of horsedrawn vehicles was possible. The problem of climbing the western rampart of the Blue Mountains was considered solved. In 1832 Mitchell did not foresee the coming of the horseless carriage for at that time it was not even a dream in the minds of the world's foremost mechanical scientists. Seventy years later when the first automobile descended the Victoria Pass, it was unable to make the ascent, and was forced to obtain the assistance of a horse. Some examples of early roadworks on the Mt. Victoria Pass have been incorporated into the new four-lane highway.
In 1907 Mr. J. Berghofer, first President of Blaxland Shire, was responsible for the building of an extensive deviation near the present Pass. Commenced in 1907 and in use by 1909, but after many delays was opened in 1912. This became the main road down the mountains from Mt. Victoria. But cars were becoming more powerful and reliable so that the Dept. of Main Roads improved the old Mt. Victoria Pass in 1920 and finally closed the Berghofer Pass. When the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) visited the Jenolan Caves and on stopping at Mt. York on their return, met the 88 year old Berghofer, the Queen shook his hand and said, “Oh, Mr. Berghofer, what a wonderful road you have made over these rugged mountains.”
The Blue Mountains Historical Society, to mark this historical spot, had a 3 ton block of granite hauled up from the Cox's River and with the cooperation of the Blue Mountains City Council, erected it on a suitable base on the original Bathurst Road (Cox's Road) at the junction of Berghofer's Pass (closed in 1920) and Lawson's Long Alley, the former leading down to the south, to connect with the Great Western Highway at the base of Mt. Victoria.
I was told of a gentleman who managed to get a parking ticket at the Lett River Bridge (Hartley) in 1837. He had his 2 drays parked on the roadway and when instructed by the constable to move them, did nothing about them. Fined £1.
In the Museum of Applied Arts and Science is a model of an early Australian Settler's Homestead. The original homestead was made of slabs of timber and bark roof and was built by James Rushby in 1840 at McDonalds Creek near Mudgee, N.S.W. The model was made by his daughter Charlotte, prior to 1857. The figure of the settler, his wife and animals are modelled in white clay from the Mudgee district, and would represent the earliest modelled Australian ceramic figures. Charlotte Rushby when 12 years of age travelled with her parents over the Blue Mountains via Mt. York, while convicts were still working on the roads.
The Marcus Clark Memorial Cross may be seen by taking a track to the left off Mt. York Road a little before the Obelisk at Mt. York is reached. The cross fronts the cliff where a small child fell to his death.
Our Blue Mountains Yesterdays - P.W. Spriggs. An excellent book on the history of the Blue Mountains.
Tourist Brochures from Katoomba and Mt. Victoria Historical Societies.
The Blue Mountains Crossing - John Kennedy.
Pictorial History of the Blue Mountains - Blue Mountains City Council.
Journey into Historical Hartle - Arthur Paridaens.
Historic Historic - Arthur Paridaens.
Also to Arthur Paridaens for his volumes of correspondence and time spent yarning to me about Hartley. Arthur is curator of Hartley Court House. Also to his wife Iris.
Mrs. E. E. Williams of Katoomba for her correspondence.
Lightweight bushwalking and camp gear.
Don't be lumbered with a winter bag in summer.
Our new 'Superlight' summer weight bags are nearly half the packed size and weight (2 lbs) of our regular sleeping bags. Nylon covering, superdown filled. Packs into 9” length x 5 1/2” dia. Can also be used during winter as an “inner-bag”.
Kiandra model: Pillow flap, hooded bag. Well filled. Compact, warm and lightweight. Excellent for warmer summer nights and times when carrying weight can be reduced. Approx 3 3/4 1bs.
Hotham model: Superwarm hooded bag made for cold sleepers and high altitudes. 'Box quilted' with no 'through' stitching. All bags can be fitted with zippers and draught resisting overlaps. Weight 4 1/2 lbs.
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 Rucksack. 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.
'A' Tents. One, two or three men. From 2 1/2 to 3 3/4 1bs. Choice of three cloths. Supplied with nylon cords and overlapped doors. No walls.
Wall Tents. Two, three or four man. From 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 lbs. Choice of three cloths. Supplied with nylon cords and overlapped doors.
Everything for the bushwalker, from blankets and air mattresses, stretchers, boots, compasses, maps, books, stoves and lamps to cooking ware and freeze dried and dehydrated foods.
69 Liverpool St., Sydney. 26-2686, 61-7215.
This year the reunion will be held at the old favourite spot of Woods Creek. The date of the reunion is the 17th and 18th March. If you require car transport either from Sydney or from Richmond railway station please contact Don Finch (Phone 47-2251 (H)) the sooner the better. For people travelling by train to Richmond car transport can be arranged to convey them to Woods Creek. However you must let Don Finch know beforehand as cars will not be able to meet every train. Below is a short list of train times for Saturday afternoon - if possible please use one of these trains:
Leaving Central: 12 noon, 1.09 p.m., 3.09 p.m.
Arriving Richmond: 1.41 p.m. 2.51 p.m. 4.51 p.m.
N.B. Change trains at Blacktown to the rail motor. The weekend excursion fare is $1.68 return from Central.
On the weekend of the reunion small S.B.W. arrows will be erected on road junction and turns beyond North Richmond. Below are some road directions that may be useful:
Go to North Richmond on the Windsor/Kurrajong/Bell Road. Turn left in North Richmond at the chemist shop. The sign post on this road reads Grose Weld 3, Grose Vale 5. After 1.6 miles, just past the entrance to “St. John of God Hospital” turn left. After 1 mile just over a bridge over a creek, turn right into Grose Weld Road. After 0.8 mile turn left into Avoca Road. After 0.8 mile the tar surface gives way to dirt road. 100 yards further on bear slightly to the right past a gate. Continue along the dirt track and turn left in front of a house (some gates may be shut in this area). After 100 yards turn right then continue more or less straight on to the end of the road (approx. 2 miles).
by Bob Younger.
Max Crisp had a ten day Christmas trip to the Kosciusko National Park programmed and likely starters were invited to a briefing at his flat several weeks before the event. Maps were laid out, the proposed route outlined, distances to be traversed each day discussed, the camp sites selected, the duration at each nominated and an estimate on the availability of water, tent poles, firewood and possible side trips postulated.
The gathering, duly impressed, set about to regroup into three food parties, being careful to maintain as equitable ratio as possible of male to female in each party to preserve the correct pecking order for the domestic chores. Food lists were roughed out and arrangements made for a member from each food party to travel down to White's River on Thursday, a day ahead of the others, to establish a food dump in some secret place thereabouts. As the plan was for the party to reach White's River Hut on the fifth day, the amount of food to be carried could be halved and also give us plenty of scope to indulge in an extravagant and somewhat exotic Christmas feast halfway through the trip.
This superb organisation started to go awry about ten miles this side of Goulburn. The night was clear and moonlit and the traffic was light but the relief driver of the Maxwagon managed to navigate both nearside wheels of that remarkable vehicle, with praiseworthy accuracy, over three nails protruding from a plank lying in wait on the highway. We did not realise that we had scored six holes in one hit but it was obvious that further progress must await repair action. Max set off down the road with a wheel under each arm, obtained a lift into Goulburn and eventually found a garage with facilities for the patching and pumping operations.
All this took a long time and by 3.30 a.m. on the Friday, instead of being close to our destination, we had not yet reached Queanbeyan. Some sleep seemed in order so we pulled up and carried our sleeping bags into a convenient pine forest nearby. By about 9.30 a.m the next morning we were entering the Kosciusko Park when the toll-collector informed us that he had just received word that bushwalking in the park had been banned - due to bush-fires in the area. We confirmed this with the ranger at the Visitors' Centre and then phoned the news to Ray Hookway at work. Ray frantically phoned the other members of the party and informed them that we would all meet at the Gudgenby Crossing along the road to Yaouk.
We found a shelter shed and George Catchpole, Max and I then tried to console ourselves with a brew of tea boiled up on a portable stove we had brought with us since fires in the open were also banned. Feeling somewhat better, we boarded the wagon and headed back towards Adaminaby. We reached the rendezvous point at about 3 o'clock and had just put the tents up when a sudden blast of wind, rain, lightning and thunder swept them away and soaked us to the skin. We sought refuge in the car and the rain had scarcely stopped when the owner of the nearby property appeared in a landrover and appealed for assistance to help him fight a bushfire which had just been started by a lightning strike. Max and George jumped onto the back of the rover and sped off towards a distant ridge. I was glad Max had suggested that I should mind the camp because firefighting would have required more effort than I felt capable of exerting at that moment. The firefighters returned and we sought a more sheltered spot in which to pitch the tents as intermittent blasts of wind had continued to blow on us as we were preparing our first substantial meal for the day.
Ray Hookway and Ross Hughes arrived with their passengers during the night but not Laurie. This was not surprising as Ray had told Laurie to stop at the first creek crossing which was some miles up the road. Despite this, however, Laurie, Rosemary and Kathy eventually turned up with a story about an irate farmer whose sleep had been disturbed by their interminable cruising around his property looking for us in the middle of the night.
It was agreed that we should do a three day trip based on Oldfields Hut, where indoor cooking could be accomplished and various mountain peaks around about explored. This plan required us to select items of food from our somewhat bulky mountain of rations. The fact that Christmas Day was approaching had to be considered and much discussion ensued during this walk as to where and when we should celebrate this important occasion. A place on the map marked Cooloman Caves seemed to suggest a suitable venue so, after our little jaunts up Mount Morgan and Mount Bimberi, we returned to the cars on Christmas morning and once more headed for Adaminaby.
All garages were closed and no petrol was available. Notwithstanding this we carried on towards the caves and our long planned but limited debauch, which became even more limited when Sally Briggs discovered that their plastic flagon of claret had succumbed to the rigours of travel over rough roads and had split, thus allowing the contents to escape. A similar fate overtook Bob Younger's plastic bottle of shellite, which accounted for the strong and apparently inexplicable odour of rubber solution which accompanied us during part of the journey. The shellite seeped away and had been busy desolving some of the car's innards.
On Boxing Day we set off on a journey of exploration on foot which was short-lived because it started to rain fairly heavily. This alarmed the car drivers considerably as the track out was fairly steep and would soon become slippery. Quick consultations produced the proposal that we should return to the Park, which would soon be nice and wet, via Round Mountain and Farm Ridge. Some of the cars suffered a few delays whilst fuel was transferred from one to the other, but it was not long before more decisions concerning how much food to take and who would carry it became necessary before we abandoned the cars again and set out for Round Mountain Hut.
There was a light drizzle of rain still, so on reaching the hut a fire was lit in the fireplace and billies of soup, stew, rice and dessert were crowded in, above and around the fire. A large swarm of bees had taken possession of the hut but they did not seem to mind sharing it with us. Perhaps they were cold and enjoyed the company. The door of the hut caused us some worry as it sagged on its hinges and the opening and closing operations caused the whole structure to shake and reverberate alarmingly. We were sure the bees would not approve, but the only thing they objected to was when Libby swept up the next morning and raised some dust which drifted towards their nice clean honeycomb. The sweeping exercise was fairly brief.
The latest revision was to travel south towards the Blue Lake, camping at O'Keefes, Mawson's and White's River Huts as other walkers had assured us that the park had been opened although the fire ban might still apply.
Jagungal was climbed by some and there was plenty of time for fishing, swimming, washing or reading the books at Mawson's Hut along the way. This was the life. The weather had cleared, the sun was warm, the breeze cool and Kathy was downing huge quantities of curried stew with the rest of us. She had probably woken up to the fact that if you don't like it, you lump it.
At White's River we camped in some light timber on a rise overlooking the hut but within view of the Snowy Mountains Authority road. This was our undoing. A ranger on his way home spotted our camp and came over. After inquiring for the leader he insisted that we should leave the Park as it was still closed although he had no objection if we returned to our cars, which were at least two days away.
Maps came out again George - decided to continue south along the road towards Guthega and we decided to exit via Valentines Falls, Grey Mare Hut and Pretty Plain. The old mine workings around the Grey Mare Hut proved most interesting and the party was most enthusiastic about the large log cabin on Bulls Head Creek. The cabin was a classic, with two large rooms, split log floors, rough hewn bush timber beds, tables, benches and shelves and contained a large fireplace.
Our way out lay across the Pretty Plains, which would be prettier from a horse, since it was a bit swampy with thick grass and difficult to walk on. A hawk followed us for some time and the significance of this was conveyed to one member of the party who was feeling poorly that morning. It did the trick, much better than sympathy - he was back in his usual place towards the front of the party in no time at all. As the girls seemed a bit too delicate and ladylike to fight their way up Pugilistic Creek we decided to ascend by a track on a ridge we learnt about from some Canberra walkers who were also camped at Pretty Plain Hut.
There were no other major changes in plan during the last two days of the trip, unless you count the action of Ray in spilling a billy full of scalding tea on his ankle and his being bitten by a bee whilst driving home, but he assures me that both these incidents were quite unplanned.
Those taking part were Max Crisp, the chief planner, Ray Hookway, the chief risk, Ross Hughes, chief lay-about, Frank Tacker, chief photographer, George Catchpole, chief talker, Laurie Quaken, chief scout and lookout man, Sally Briggs, Evelyn Walker, Kathy Stuart, Rosemary Edmunds, the chief attractions, myself and two Kameruka Club members, Libby and Bill.
The following office bearers and committee members have indicated that they do not wish to stand for re-election to Committee for the year 1973/74:-
|Owen Marks||Social Secretary|
|Ray Hookway||Federation Delegate|
|Gladys Roberts||Committee member|
|Nancy Alderson||Committee member|
by Don Finch.
The afternoon was overcast. A rainbow glowed in the only shaft of sunlight that penetrated the clouds. We were on yet another of the large button-grass plains of South-West Tassie. Low hills climbed up from the edge of the plain to the more distant peaks beyond. To the south a gap in the hills showed the approximate position of Cox's Bight, a 6 mile walk over the button grass. At Cox's Bight the waves of the Great South Ocean wash the southern shores of Australia. We were at King Memorial Hut built by Mr. Derry King for the use of bona fide bushwalkers. Derry King operates an alluvial tin mine on the plains. He has done so since 1934. He transports his ore to Hobart in his sailing vessel. Tidal estuaries from Port Arthur come to within 100 yds. of the Hut and canals wind their way up to the mine with its washing and grading plant.
Heather and Dot had both sustained injuries and had decided not to continue on the walk right along the south coast. This left only the 6 boys of the party to continue the trip. They were Bill Burke, Graham Cunningham, Snow Brown, Peter Levander, Spiro Ketas and Don Finch. Since the party was splitting up again another rehash of the food distribution was necessary. The food was sorted out into pack lots just before dark and then plans were made for the morrow. The timetable called for us to camp at Cox's Bight the next night. The girls both wanted to see the coast especially after listening to Snow rave on about it. Derry King had said earlier in the afternoon that a plane was expected to land at the airfield, which was only 200 yds. from the hut, early the next morning. The girls planned to catch this plane to Cox's Bight taking 2 days food with them. The boys would walk to the Bight, camp with the girls, then continue along the coast the following day.
In the morning the girls caught the Plane without any trouble. The rest of us went up to say good-bye to Mr. King. He was busy baking bread for us so we waited about 3 hours while it cooked. It was really worth waiting for, too. It was mid-afternoon by the time we had walked to Cox's Bight and found Dot and Heather.
We set up our tents on the eastern side of Pt. Eric. The campsite was suggested to us by Derry King. He often used the spot himself and there was quite a lot of his camp gear stored in packing cases under the trees. The campsite was under a cover of low trees which gave plenty of protection from any wind. The ground under the trees was clear with plenty of space for our 4 tents. A fireplace was on a small grassed area on the edge of the trees. A step off the bank took us to the sand of the beach which stretches in a graceful curve 2 miles towards Red Point Hills in the east. At the end of the beach Buoy Creek comes into the sea and the South Coast Track goes inland over the Red Point Hills.
Most of the party went for a stroll along the beach. Peter Levander and I walked around the rocks of Pt. Eric to go fishing. Using crabs for bait we soon caught a rock fish, identity unknown but found on another occasion to be a rather poor eating fish. Using a large hunk of fish flesh as bait on a rather substantial hook I threw the line into the swirling water. A current was running past the rocks out to sea and the water was really moving about. A good bite, a run, a brief fight, a slack line and a broken hook. Quite a fish out there. Selecting my biggest and strongest hook and more fish bait I threw out again. The rock I was using as a sinker was just holding the line against the current. Then another bite, a good one too, sinks the hook and after playing the line for five or ten minutes a small shark comes to the surface. On the wash of the next wave I float him into a small rock pool.
Spiro and some of the others came over to look at dinner. The shark was about 3'6“ long and with Spiro's practiced hand he declares its weight to be about 8 lbs. While Spiro cleans the shark I bait up and throw out again. Another good bite and soon shark No.2 is thrashing around in the rock pool. The second shark was about 1 lb lighter than the first. We now had plenty of fish to feed the eight people in the party. Using a frying pan and lard found among Derry King's gear we cooked up a large plate full of fish for each person. (Don't think such nasty thoughts! Of course Derry King had told us to use anything that we wanted to at the camp site.) Everybody declared the shark very tasty, it was certainly a welcome change from our dehydrated food.
The next morning all posed for group photographs, all of the shutter bugs using the time delay shutter trip mechanism that the cameras were fitted with. All went well for awhile, then Spiro having started his camera up ran around into the firing line. Several minutes later somebody commented through cheesy teeth that it was taking a long time to operate. Closer inspection revealed that the camera had jammed fast. No amount of gentle prodding and pushing would release it. So Spiro with 4 more rolls of unexposed film was unable to take any more pictures during the rest of the trip.
We all walked along the beach to the east to pick up the South Coast track near Buoy Creek. Heather and Dot bade us a tearful farewell. The track was cut through the dense scrub for the first 200 yds. and then we were on the inevitable button grass plain. Mud up to the knees was normal while a few unlucky people managed to sink in up to the thighs. As the track moved towards the edge of the plain the drainage was better and it became firm under foot once again.
Three miles from the beach we climbed up a steep ridge for about 800 ft. and a few hundred yards of gently sloping country brought us to the top of the Red Point Hills. We rested to catch our breath. To the eastward the track dropped to the Louisa Plains, crossed the Louisa Creek and then disappeared up the valley of the Louisa River, finally crossing the River at the foot of the Ironbound Range. We were about 6 miles from the Ironbounds as the crow flies, and we thought we could see the ridge the track climbs to the top. The climb up the Ironbounds is 3,000 ft. and even from our range of 6 miles they looked every bit of those 3,000 feet.
We descended from the top of the range about 400 ft. until we came to a small creek - lunch. We demolished our lunch of cheese, salami and dried fruit washed down with large quantities of black tea, fed the small carp swimming in the creek on tit-bits of salami, and contemplated the 6 miles that we had to travel during the afternoon.
The track dropped further, then wound in and out around a few ridges through some very thick bush and into the Louisa Creek. It was a very hot, dry day. Bill Burke stood in the creek and shouted cups of water all round. Moving on we cross around the nose of a ridge and head up the Louisa River valley. Soon we are back on the button grass. Slowly, ever so slowly, the landscape falls behind us - so immense and undisturbed is distance that after walking for a mile or so one hardly seems to have moved. Eventually the track leading up Ironbounds is discernible, then we turn towards the river, another 1 1/2 miles and we are at the Louisa River. Thirty feet down a steep gutter cut through the flat plain is the boulder strewn course of the river. At first we cannot see the camping site, but a bit further on we find the cleared area at the confluence of a small creek. A very cosy spot indeed. A swim, a rest, then up with tents and start a fire for tea. Around the campfire after tea we discussed tactics for the morrow. An early start was deemed necessary while camp site for the next clay would be at the western end of Prior Beach.
(To be continued)
by Ray Hookway.
The 1973 Federation Reunion is to be held again at Sugee Bag Creek on April 7th and 8th and a big S.B.W. attendance is requested.
1973 is the 25th Anniversary of the dedication of the plaque at Splendour Rock and it is proposed that Federation hold a service at the Rock. Because Anzac Day and Easter fall so close together the service will be held on another Sunday to ensure a reasonable attendance. Dates will be advised later.
The government enquiry into the effect on the environment of the above pipe line is to commence in Sydney on March 1st. Murray Scott, the Federation Conservation Secretary, is preparing a submission to the enquiry based on the recreational value of the Wollongambe Wilderness Area.
The event which helped to trigger the enquiry, the Hawkesbury by-election is to be held on February 17th, and the Conservation lobby is to be represented by independent candidate Hugh Bannister of the Wilderness Committee. It will be interesting to see what support he receives.
Federation has been advised by Mr. Lewis that the Sassafras entrance to the Budawangs is still closed to walkers pending further enquiries. He admits that logging interests have been given permission to use the road but states that the reason for closure is the danger to walkers from unexploded shells on the Folly Point track.
There were two alerts in December but no searches.
Support for the monthly meetings has not been strong enough to warrant their continuance and they will possibly be replaced by more frequent practice searches.
A Radio practice is to be held in late February.
by Wilf Hilder.
|2,3,4||Jim Vatiliotis leads this medium exploratory walk to Deanes Crook from Newnes and following the old railway formation to Mt. Wolgan Station. Just a few yards on is the only remaining rolling stock on the line. Great scenery on this walk.|
|Sunday 4||The Wingecarribee at last! Wilf must be kidding - 16 kilometres in one day in that country - a 24 hour trip maybe? Powerful torches please - running shoes are optional.|
|Sunday 4||Barry Zieren leads this easy walk at West Head. Good tracks for about half the walk, with some rock-hopping to keep you on your toes. Magnificent scenery.|
|9,10,11||It's Wollondilly time again. Lush campsites along the river - tracks most of the way. Excellent scenery on this medium walk - book now.|
|9,10,11||Tony Denham leads this Blue Gum trip. Lush camping by ye Grose River - but boil all water before drinking. Tracks all the way with a stiff climb beside Govetts Leap.|
|Sunday 11||Marion Lloyd leads this historical pilgrimage to Hartley Vale. Interesting scenery in this convict country - with historic roads and tracks all the way. Sorry no ghosts until after dark.|
|Sunday 11||Kuring-gai Chase is Sam Hinde's walk for today - Berowra Station along Cowan Creek to Mt. Kuring-gai. Very nice scenery - good tracks all the way.|
|16,17,18||Woods Creek is the site - the event naturally is our Annual Reunion. “Big fella corroboree” our aborigines would have called it. In any language a mighty event. Organiser, major domo, ringmaster - call him what you will - is the one and only Don Finch. Do the right thing by him and let him know you're coming.|
|23,24,25||Mike Short leads this beaut test walk to the Wollondilly. Over Bonnum Pic that magnificent lookout and down to the lush campsite among the casuarinas. Spectacular views in a great area.|
|23,24,25||Carlons - that home away from home - and it's Bill Burke who takes you out to Splendour Rock and Knights Deck to Old Man Cox. Excellent scenery from numerous sandstone lookouts. Good tracks for about half the way.|
|24,25||Late Saturday afternoon start for this Era walk from Lilyvale. Camping at North Era - a good camp spot with very pretty scenery along the coast range. Yes, tracks all the way.|
|Sunday 25||Now's your chance - a test walk in the picturesque Georges River valley. You're in safe hands all the way with Uncle John Holly. Rockhopping in Pheasant Creek and O'Hares Creek. If its warm you can enjoy a swim in the big clear crystal pools.|
|March 30,31, April 1||Don Finch leads the throng into the mighty Ettrema Canyon from Tullyangela Clearing. No tracks but magnificent scenery. Book early.|
|Sunday, April 1||Another historical ramble with Marion Lloyd - this time in the lower mountains. From Woodford to Faulconbridge in fact. Very interesting relics and ruins most of the way.|
|Sunday, April 1||Kath Brown leads this popular walk to Uloola Falls and on to Heathcote. Nice scenery with easy tracks all the way. Some aboriginal carvings above the falls are worth seeing.|
(At the Federation Reunion there are various competitions - one is a cooking competition - for “Brownies”. Here are two recipes. Try them out at the S.B.W. Reunion and then you'll be in good form for the Federation “do”. Maybe Don Finch will arrange a competition at our Reunion.)
Use 4 cups of flour, 1 cup each of sugar, dripping, currants, and raisins, 1 teaspoon each of baking soda, cream of tartar, spice, and cinnamon, and sufficient milk to mix. Rub the dripping into the flour in which the soda, cream of tartar, spice, and cinnamon have been mixed and sifted. Add the sugar, currants, and raisins and mix with milk to make a dough slightly stiffer than that of a fruit cake. Place in a greased dish and bake for one hour.
1 lb flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 dessertspoon baking powder, 1 pinch salt, 1 beaten egg, 1 cup milk, 1 tablespoonful treacle, 1/4 lb sultanas, 1 dessertspoon cinnamon, 1 large tablespoon butter or dripping. Sift dry ingredients together, rub in the dripping (or butter). Mix wet ingredients and stir them in. Add sultanas. Bake in steady oven 50 or 60 minutes.
Tom and Linda Wilhelm, recently returned to their homeland (U.S.A.), miss Australia and their old friends so much that they have indicated in a Xmas card to the club, that they will return in June.