A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476, G.P.O. Sydney, N.S.W. 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.30 p.m. at the Wireless Institute building, 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards. Enquiries concerning the Club should be referred to Mrs. Marcia Shappert - telephone 30-2028.
|Editor||Helen Gray, 209 Malton Road, Epping 2121. Tel. 86-6263.|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118. Tel. 871-1207|
|Duplicator Operator||Bob Duncan, Tel. 869-2691.|
|Snowflakes on Mount Colong||Spiro Hajinakitas||2|
|North to the Coral Sea||Wade Butler||4|
|August General Meeting||Barry Wallace||6|
|Anzac Weekend Walk||John Redfern||9|
|Social Notes||Christine Austin||10|
|Mountain Poets||Fazely Read||11|
|My Favourite Greek Island||Owen Marks||13|
|The Travellers Ten Commandments||John Campbell||15|
|The Red Centre||Hec Carruthers||16|
|October Walk Notes||Spiro Hajinakitas||18|
|Mountain Equipment Ad||12|
by Spiro Hajinakitas.
Boyd Trail - Lannigan's Range - Mt. Colong - Mt. Armour - Kowmung - Kanangra - on 11, 12, and 13th August 1978, with Spiro Hajinakitas, Paul Hannan, Brian Hart, Bob Hodgson, Tony Marshall, Alan Pike, Fazeley Read and John Redfern.
The start of the Kanangra Road was surprisingly slippery seeing that it had not rained for about five weeks. Our one prospective on the trip, Paul Hannan, expressed fears of it snowing during the night, so when John suggested that we sleep in the farmer's shed at Budthingeroo and not at the Boyd River crossing as planned, we all agreed. The outside temperature contrasted greatly with the temperature of the heated car as we quickly gathered our sleeping gear and made our way to the shed.
The shed, with missing windows and no door, although not warm would offer us shelter if it snowed, having the advantage of not getting our tents heavy with ice. I lay on the ground and was in my sleeping bag in a very short time, whilst the others arranged foam rubber, ground sheets and air beds on the sagging wire mattresses. Just as we were falling off to sleep our attention was drawn to the sound of a car pulling up near ours, and we assumed that it was Tony's car with the remainder of the group and prepared for their noisy arrival, but to our surprise we heard the car drive off, leaving, we supposed, for the Boyd River crossing.
We arose at 6.15 to discover that it had not snowed during the night but it was quite frosty. Knowing that firewood was rather scarce at the Boyd River campsite, we collected a heap of wood that we placed in the boot, the larger logs being nursed across Brian and Paul's knees on the back seat. At the Boyd camp we snaked our way between the many Kombi-type vehicles until we recognised Tony's car and noticed that Alan had already lighted a fire. Tony remarked that they also should have slept in the shed as the many well-equipped campers were a little noisy.
After breakfast we drove one car to Kanangra Walls and returned to the fire-road leading to the South Boyd Trail. Now it was snowing very lightly, most of us were wearing long trousers and jumpers, whilst I and one or two others also wore beanies and gloves. As I didn't have any suitable long trousers with me I salvaged a pair of torn long-johns from the boot that had been used as a duster, and wore them under my stubbie shorts, not a very pretty sight. Fazeley laughed her head off. Being a hardy New Zealand mountain girl, used to low temperatures, Fazeley was wearing only an open-necked shirt and light blue jeans.
It ceased snowing after a few minutes and the party followed the marked trail until about 10.30 when we stopped for a morning tea break a half a kilometre before Mt. Savage, being the first spot where we were afforded a view. The alluring splendour of the Axe-Head Range in the Blue Breaks lay almost due east and our proposed camp site, Mt. Colong, much closer to the southeast, rising to 1,050 metres and dominating its neighbours with its sheer mass. Off along the now well defined ridge a couple of kilometres to Mt. Lannigan where the ridge turned sharply due south and a long steep descent to the Kowmung. The sun was now spreading its welcomed rays generously over us and we decided to cross the river before lunch. Most of the party removed shoes and socks as it was the one and only crossing of the day, and, as expected, the Kowmung was indeed very cold, resulting in appreciative sighs of great relief when finally the other side was reached.
At 1.30 we left our warm sunny lunch spot and proceeded up Lannigan's Range about two kilometres to Mt. Billy, and sidled around to the saddle to the ridge line leading to the Colong Saddle track, and at last began our climb up Mt. Colong. It was now very overcast and a cold wind was blowing, and we knew that it was either going to rain or snow. By the time we reached the last leg of the climb, a scree slope, it had started to rain and eventually light snow began to fall.
We pitched camp amongst the trees for shelter and built a very large fire. At the start of the walk we had decided to bring along four tents, two to each tent, but Alan produced his clear plastic tent fly saying he preferred to sleep under it, so we ended up with four tents and one tent fly. It was still snowing as we drank our pre-dinner drinks and cooked our food, and although we were out of the wind we could hear the wind howling over the rim of the mountain.
As usual, steak featured as nearly everyone's choice for dinner, but as Brian had had steak for lunch and lamb chops for breakfast he produced pork chops for dinner, saving his remaining steak for tomorrow's breakfast. After our dessert and Greek coffee with chocolate biscuits, Bob produced his harmonica and entertained us for a while with his playing, and by 9 o'clock we were all in bed. We spent a very comfortable night and when we all arose we agreed that the previous night on the Kanangra Road was far colder. There was a very light covering of snow all over the top of Colong and on our tents. It was a most glorious morning, clear, cool and sunny, perfect walking weather and yesterday's freshly fallen snow added that extra bonus to the bush scenery.
After breakfast we headed off to the Colong Trig, an interesting conical rock-built structure about four metres high. Here Bob took a bearing to where he knew lay the chimney break in the cliffs that was the only easy way down to the jeep track. Then onto the jeep track to Mt. Armour and onto that glorious lush clearing at Church Creek in time for morning tea. Whilst the water in the billy boiled we hung out our iced tents in the warm morning sun to dry. Alan objected to the Twining's Earl Grey tea that was brewed and insisted on brewing a billy of common garden variety.
Tea over and done with, tents rolled up, we headed off to the Kowmung and again suffered its freezing temperature as we crossed at a narrow bend at the foot of Blue Bush Ridge. I noticed that our feet did not go blue with cold but pink! As we made our way along the river we noticed signs of flood damage to its banks, its grassy flats having disappeared and trees been uprooted. Evidence indicated that the river level must have been about 7 metres higher than its present level. On a Grassy flat just before Christie's Creek we stopped for lunch and ate any food that was left, then up the now familiar track on the Bullhead Range. Half way up the ridge the weather turned cold. At the low cliffs near the Coal Seam Cave we were delighted to discover a beautiful curtain of icicles dropping over the edge, some 2 metres in length and stretching the full distance of the coal seam. The thirsty members of the party sucked on ice-sticks as the plastic bin was ripped.
It was quite cold back on Kanangra Tops; snow lay on the edges of the road and Tony's car at the start of the Boyd Trail had ice on its bonnet and roof.
Back at Katoomba our favourite Pizza place was closing early as they were having a quiet day, and rather than go to the opposition whom we do not like, we headed to Aroni's Cafe for a three course dinner as everyone, except Brian, did not want a Chinese meal. We arrived back at Sydney about 9.30 pm with very pleasant memories of a most enjoyable walk.
by Wade Butler.
The Oceanic Research Foundation's 58 ft yawl “Solo”, just returned from the Antarctic, was getting ready for a winter trip to Torres Strait. I was at the time up on the farm at Coonabarabran growing nut trees and raising sheep and the yacht had already left Sydney. Gerhard Putt came limping in with his arm almost burnt off and said, “I can't go. Can you take my place?” No worries. I hopped on the old motor bike, threw Margaret on the back and went up to Cairns to meet the boat. It was a rough 1,500 miles up the inland road and the old lump of cast iron lost its shock absorbers. I tied them on with fencing wire and we limped into Cairns just as “Solo” was arriving. I met the crew for the first time; Barry Lewis, skipper, and his wife Roselyn, John Marlind from England (a farmer), Gabriel Salas, a Chilean who has crossed the Pacific twice on a balsa wood raft and myself (as surveyor) and Margaret (my assistant).
We headed north under favourable conditions with a nice wind behind us, up through the coral reefs at night, to Lizard Island. Here we stopped for a day. It is a beautiful island, with lots of lizards, tall grass and beautiful coral reefs. We spent most of the day snorkeling looking at pretty fish and brilliant corals and sunbaking on the pure white sandy beach.
Next day we set off for Bramble Cay, out through a small passage in the Barrier Reef and into the Pacific Ocean. It took about three days of very good sailing most of the way, the last day being very fine and calm when we sighted Bramble Cay straight ahead. This coral cay consists of a 300 metres long sandbar with a surrounding reef extending for two kilometres. We had come to map this and collect geological and coral samples, to take back for analysis in Sydney. The surveying proved quite simple as most of it could be done from the top of the lighthouse. The rest was done with me at the theodolite and Margaret running round with the staff trying to avoid stepping on the millions of seabirds that were nesting there. The birds were noddies, terns, boobies and a few other odd sorts, with small nests on the grass and it seemed a shame that we were even on the island disturbing them.
Sand samples were taken with a dredge mounted on the back of the yacht as it circled the cay at ever increasing distances.
We had to wait for spring tides for the reef to uncover so that we could take samples of sand and living matter on the reef. This is quite interesting because you can be right out on the end of the reef and the tides come in so quickly that you can do the last couple of hundred metres up to your waist in water, with a shark following you!
Once this survey, was completed we left for Anchor Cay to do a comparative survey there. This proved almost impossible as there was only a very small sand bar which got completely covered, and we were running out of spring tides. John and I went diving - the coral there is fantastic, brilliant colours, beautiful shapes and hundreds of fish. We thought this was so good that we went diving with the Hooker Gear (a compressor with a long hose to your mouth). We were swimming around at a depth of about 20 ft. admiring the beautiful corals when a big shark came past. John didn't even see it. Blowing bubbles, I tapped John frantically and pointed to the shark and swam madly towards the boat. John immediately worked out what was going on, and as he had flippers he was out of the water before I was. I was waiting for my foot to be chopped off but with a bit of luck it never happened. Needless to say we weren't too keen about going in again after that.
We went to Eastern Cay to do a similar survey. However there was no sand, only a very treacherous-looking reef, so we turned round and headed back to Bramble Cay where we finished off our work and made for Lizard Island. The winds were from the southeast, very strong, and the seas were up making headway difficult. Most of us were chundering, except, of course, the Skipper and Gabriel. With a bit of luck, and excellent navigation on the part of the Skipper, we came straight through the passage in the reef with waves breaking on both sides. A lot of the Barrier Reef is like this; small passages through the reef leading out into the deep water. You seem to be out in the middle of nowhere and the last place where you would expect a reef when suddenly you see it, extending for hundreds of miles north and south.
We spent a day at Lizard Island recuperating, then back to Cairns, tacking all the way against strong head winds. Margaret and I left the boat here, hopped on the motor bike and headed south. We met “Solo” again in Townsville where Gabriel left to hitch hike home to Sydney as he didn't have enough time to sail back.
Margaret and I ate a million mangoes in Townsville, then headed inland to check out the inland rivers and make our way back to Coonabarabran. Recent floods had gone through. However most of the rivers had already gone down making another canoe trip not feasible.
South of Blackall we found a squashed kangaroo on the side of the road with a joey in its pouch. We rescued the poor little feller and put him in a new pouch (a jumper), and Margaret carried him home. In Bourke we bought a plaster of Paris bandage and set Joey's broken leg.
The motor bike performed perfectly on the way back, but 5 kilometres short of home we got a big flat tyre and lost the tail light. Anyway, not to worry! I put a spare tube in the tyre and we made it home.
Most of the inland was very green after the rains, with clover a foot high along the roadside and wildflowers everywhere - really pretty.
Oh well, I guess sailing is O.K. but it is very hard to go bushwalking across the mountainous seas. I think I prefer the land. Certainly Margaret does.
by Barry Wallace.
There were about 30 members present when the President called the meeting to order at about 8.30 pm.
New members Wendy Foster, Nina Gourdin and Stephen Hodgman were welcomed to the club in the usual way. Neil Brown and Christine Austin had sent apologies. The minutes were read and received.
Correspondence In brought letters from the Total Environment Centre regarding an ecosystems publication presently available at $4.60, the N.S.W. Department of Mines advising the refusal of an application for an exploratory license in the Binghai area, the F.B.W. regarding affiliation fees, and the N.S.W. University Sports Association regarding orienteering.
Correspondence Out comprised a letter to Federation ordering more conservation stickers. There remains, however, the mystery of the letters to new members. Perhaps next month.
Federation Report brought notice of the Annual General Meeting and elections, together with a report on threatened wilderness areas. Federation is seeking people to participate in a series of “Wilderness Walks” involving members of the public as paying customers. A motion was passed that the Club not participate in such a scheme and instructing our delegates to object in principle to the scheme.
All of which brought us to the Walks Report (sob!). On the weekend of 14,15,16 of July Jim Vatiliotis led three members on his Kallianna Ridge walk. On the same weekend Snow Brown had 12 bods out on what was described as a cold, fine trip in the Blue Gum area. Jim Brown had 16 people on the Sunday walk out from Glenbrook. Oliver Crawford's Colo test walk on that day attracted an unspecified number of people on a walk which ran out of time and had to be shortened to fit.
On the following weekend, the 21,22,23rd July, Steve Tompkins' walk was a non starter. The first of David Cotton's photographic workshops attracted three people, while Neil Brown's tough Borowra walk was reported back for the early train after the 12 starters had consumed many cups of tea at numerous stops along the way. It was hell out there! Margaret Reid's Sunday walk from Wondabyne to Wondabyne via Pindar's Cave attracted 20 members, 6 prospectives and 4 visitors on a walk described as “pleasant”.
Stephen Knightly provided warning of the hazards of camping at Bungonia Lookout for the Friday night. His 9 starters were kept awake by a succession of 4 WD rodeos and about 20 boy scouts. The following day was an easy one 'cos they couldn't cross the swollen Shoalhaven, The Sunday side trip up Bungonia was described as solid going and apparently evened things out.
John Holly had 10 people on his Glenbrook Creek trip on Sunday 30th. They reported encountering a rock concert at Euroka. Meryl Watman reported 7 members, one prospective and 5 visitors on her Waterfall walk on the Sunday. David Cotton appears to have reached market saturation for Photographic Adventure Workshops the previous weekend.
The following weekend Barry Wallace's (what's he doing here) bank holiday weekend ramble into the Blue Breaks attracted three members. The Grays reported a large group at Woodhill for a very windy weekend. Day walks to the Barren Grounds and Brogers Creek provided exercise for those so inclined. Victor Lewin had 6 members, 5 prospectives and one visitor (part time) on his Mt. Hay day test walk on Sunday 6th.
There being no treasurer present, there was no Treasurer's Report.
General Business brought a motion that the club withdraw from membership of the Australian Conservation Foundation and offer the A.C.F. a free page in the club magazine to canvas for membership within the club. After an extensive and sometimes confused debate the motion was passed. A motion that proceeds from future club auctions be dedicated to the Coolana bank account was also passed.
Attention was drawn to a N.P.W.S. ad. requesting suggestions for the celebration of the centenary of the Royal National Park. A motion that the club participate in a clean-up of the park was passed. A motion that the club conduct advertised walks with public participation was defeated after some debate.
And then it was just a matter of the announcements and Fazeley closed the meeting at 9.47 pm - twice. Then on to the coffee and biscuits.
Lightweight bushwalking and camping gear.
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”.
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 lbs.
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.
This 'shaped' rucksack is excellent for children. Usefull day pack. Weight 14 ozs.
A single pocket, shaped rucksack. Suitable for overnight camping. Weight 1 1/2 lbs.
Has 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.
Extra large bag with four external pockets and will carry about 40 lbs of camp gear. Weight 2 1/4 lbs.
One, two or three man. From 2 1/2 to 3 3/4 lbs. Choice of three cloths. Supplied with nylon cords and overlapped doors. No walls.
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
by John Redfern.
(The Walks Secretary doesn't get many walks reports, and certainly very few as detailed and as well-written as this. He thinks it is worthy of publication and I agree. Ed.)
Pike's Saddle - Big Badger - Woila Creek - Woila Clearing - The Scout - Table Top - Mother Woila - Dampier - Breakfast Creek - Pike's Saddle.
Leader - David Rostron. Party - Judith Rostron, Spiro Hajinakitas, Tony Marshall, Peter Miller, Rod Peters, Tom Wenman, Barry Wallace, Pat McBride, Jim Vatiliotis, Don Finch, Dorothy Butler, Don Andrews and John Redfern.
On Friday night (21st) we camped in the grounds of a small church just before the Shoalhaven River crosses the road south from Braidwood to Snowball and further.
On Saturday morning we drove again, then stopped at the entrance to “Wyanbene” property in the Bundillion area while Barry went in to pick up Don Finch who was joining us. We then finally left the cars at Pike's Gap and started walking at 9.30 a.m. Climbed on to Big Badger Trig at 10.00 a.m.; this is just off the fire trail. Subsequently we left the fire trail and followed a fairly rough, timber-strewn ridge down to Woila Creek. We reached there for lunch at 1.30 p.m. Alter lunch we followed Woila Creek a short distance along the valley floor to Woila Clearing. It was starting to rain so we made camp around 3.30 p.m. This is a very nice area, flat, grassy, with tall blue gums. During the evening we had a short but intense electrical storm.
On Sunday morning we left camp around 7.45 a.m. with a promise from David of a hard day. The ridge up to The Scout became steeper, sharper and rockier. We reached the top about 9.45 a.m. To get across to Table Top we followed a high knife edge ridge with some exposed scrambling and an interesting climb up the last bump. We found water on top as per “Bushwalking Near Canberra” and lunched around 1 p.m. We then followed another high ridge towards Mother Woila, dropping off late in the afternoon to get water and camp.
On Monday, with fine weather, some of us started out to climb Mother Woila. We got to a gap in the saddle linking it before deciding to give it a miss, mainly because it looked very time consuming. A way up looked to be a steep wooded gully to the right of the nose. We returned to the camp which we all left from about 11 a.m. We walked towards Dampier. The country became large rounded hills quite heavily timbered, with lots of fallen trees to hop over. We had lunch at a spot where Barry had once camped, 413126 (Badger map). After lunch we climbed over many fallen trees to Dampier Trig.
Started on a fire trail and made Breakfast Creek at 3 p.m. Here Don Finch was to be picked up in a four-wheel-drive vehicle by Doone Wyborn.
There were many huge mosquitoes here, so after a wash, we filled water bags and started back towards Dampier (after much discussion). We soon found a nice camp spot and had a good evening with much singing and stories.
On Tuesday we followed the fire trail back to the cars at Pike's Gap. There are some steep climbs. We had an early lunch on the way where the Shoalhaven crosses the fire trail - lovely clear cold water. We left by car quite early and called in to “Wyanbene” to see Don and Heather Finch - they are part of a geological team there.
by Christine Austin.
October 18 - This night Bob Younger will show slides of a country few of us have visited, but he has quite recently - Japan.
October 25 - Following the success of the cheese night, I have arranged to buy a range of interesting nuts, with a small amount of cheese as an accompaniment. Come along, and munch while gossiping to friends.
Alex Colley has been presented with the Citizens Award by the Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council for his work for the environment.
It is not a purple certificate awarded to Public Pest No.1, but a beautiful polished wood plaque of the Council's coat of arms with Alex's name engraved thereon and presented to Alex at a special ceremony.
Audley - Winifred Falls - Alice Falls - Deer Pool - Little Marley - Bundeena.
Train 8.20 a.m. Easy. Roy Braithwaite 445211.
by Fazeley Read
Poets have always found inspiration in mountains, and I have found references to mountains and walkers in the works of all major poets. William Blake, for example, wrote -
Tyger, Tyger, burning bright
On the ridge this hour at night
What immortal hand or power
Got ye here this bloomin' hour.
Wordsworth, famed for his first ascent of Poets' Corner, penned the famous lines -
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That fluttered high o'er hill and dale
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of Sydney Bushies
Fluttering in the breeze
And as they passed they seemed to say
“Does anyone know the way?”
Then there was Robert Burns, the well known British poet and climber, and his -
Ode to a Reluctant Climber
Ye sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O what a panics in thy breastie!
Why do you shout at me so testie?
I've tied the rope around your chestie
And let ye dangle there, to restie
Anither time I'll think it bestie
To leave ye in your tent to festie
Finally, was it not Robert Browning, who wrote -
Oh, to be out camping, now that spring is here
And whoever wakes while camping finds some morning unaware
That the tiny stream and the freshening breeze
Have dispersed their tents round the jagged trees
And the kookaburra laughs on the blue gum bough
Out camping now
My apologies to the aforementioned Poets.
by Owen Marks
Any dill who has travelled in Europe has his favourite spot. Having spent a short stay on the Island where Archimedes announced his theory, and having drunk from the same spring that he drew water from for his famous bath, this has too, given me inspiration to tell you all about This Loveliest of Greek Islands.
The history is a big mish-mash. Ruled by despots like Phalaris and Cleander (and there is no need to tell any of you what terrible deeds they did to earn their place in the Annals of History), in 413 B.C., the Athenians whizzed over and did a few ghastly things as well as build temples and amphitheatres, which are now World famous. The next 1,000 years are pretty pointless to discuss. Names like Hippocrates, Gelon, Hiero, Dionysios (not the God), and Timoleon, mix with the Latin names that came later and on to the Byzantine with a little Vandal period under Genseric. From memory, I think that the Vandal period came before the Byzantium, yours may be fresher. Have you guessed the name yet? The island I mean? No.
When walking down Arethusa Canyon next time, ponder on the lovely maiden who was walking along the beach front at Syracuse when she was set upon by a villain who was in reality an enemy of the Gods. Well, just as Arethusa (her name) was about to be raped, the Gods on high took mercy on her and being long before Womens Lib., instead of turning the ogre into a stone or something useful like that, NO, he turned her into a gushing spring. (Did Bergman get his virgin spring from here? I remember a similar story when Daphne was being chased by a man with similar designs, the Gods did the same thing and turned her into a flower. Maybe some one out there in the audience can write a thesis on this strange turn of events.) Where was I? Oh yes, in ancient Syracuse by the Prethusa Spring which today pours out into the Aegean with the same clarity as in the last millenium. A few hundred yards away is a glorious temple of Minerva converted into a church. A perfect Corinthian columned building, but all the spaces are filled in with marble paving and is dedicated to St. Lucy (she was martyred nearby, but she is not buried anywhere near ancient Syracuse. I came across her unrotten corpse in Venice. A proper sight she is too after 1,000 years of laying in a glass case, but lots of people keep on queueing up to kiss the coffin. Actually, when I was in Padua in the northern part of Italy I did the same thing and embraced the tomb of St. Anthony in the hope that my bad back would be cured. Wait and see, is the story here).
There are only a few things left to describe… the remains of the largest temple built in Ancient Greece… the temple of Appollo, a superb amphitheatre that is excavated from the living rock, and that is the end of Syracuse.
By now you have guessed or else you are just plain ignorant. Of course, we are in Sicily. What a magnificent Island. Dominated by Mount Etna, hazy during the day, but clear all night and early morning, it overlooks the magnificent coast line around Taormina, which was where the Roman Emperors went for the vacation, and is still a pleasant place. The whole countryside is full of ruins with Agrioentum the most glorious pile.
Sick of Roman and Greek ruins. How about some Arabian cemetries climbing the hillsides overlooking Norman Abbeys. Behind Palermo you can see one of the world's greatest roofs, inlaid with gold mosaics, in the Montreal Cathedral (Laurie and Mary Rayner insisted that I visit this. How right they were.) In the basement are enough skeletons to keep a ghoul happy for centuries, and the monastery cloister had every pillar inlaid with pearl and each column a different design. And the view!! Overlooking Palermo and the Tyrraneum Sea. Palermo is full of interest and I came across a sewer manhole cover dated in the 5th year of Benito Mussolini's reign. There are the usual naked marble ladies adorning fountains in the beautiful piazzas, a ghastly (or maybe it isn't) 1100 A.D. cathedral with a main road going under an arch that led to the palace. Victor Emmanuel statues are everywhere and the old cornices of the buildings are full of busts of the famous, but the lane ways of the medieval section can be two feet thick with rotting vegetable matter. (Oh for the Holy cows of India.) A fair bit of pollution to be truthful, but with all that sea around and wind it is blown over to Libya, so who cares.
One of the dramatic sites for a town is Enna, which is situated right in the centre of the Island. It is the highest city in Italy with views of Etna and of neighbouring craggy towns. Such a splendid sight. The road sweeps up from the valley in loops and arches and arrives at the medieval walls, and inside is a modern city with all its trappings and yet all around is the 15th and 16th centuries. The nights are made for walking to and fro, cars banned from the streets and ice cream cake shops and coffee bars do a busy trade. All the young kids are on skate boards in the piazzas and the police in their red striped uniforms are parading like peacocks. All over Sicily are converted mosques from the nearness of the African coast, the Mormans built things, and every civilisation right down to the present Italian is there in all its glory, to be loved by all.
I didn't do any walking in the rugged mountains as I intended. Indeed going to Sicily and Malta was one of my life's ambitions; the latter unfulfilled (have to leave something for the next time, when the football pools give their blessing!). Not to worry. I ate strawberries by the kilo and loquots by the half case. Apart from bread, that is all my mother and I ate during our stay, and we lived to tell the tale.
If any reader is thinking of going over to Italy, try and visit Sicily. There are absolutely no tourists, everything is bathed in sunshine, cheap hotels are right beside the railway stations and if you can find a restaurant open when the tummy dictates, you will be lucky, otherwise hard tack is available as everywhere. The people are most courteous (in train carriages wine and cheese gets exchanged as in ancient days, but no more “while I hold the goat”, thank heavens).
You may have wondered by my title My Favourite Greek Island. Well, here in Sicily is everything that Greece has to offer but more so. There is loneliness, blue waters, remarkable ruins jutting on promitories out to sea, crusaders churches and castles, picturesque villages with an occasional donkey and above all you can talk to the people, if you speak Italian. If you can't talk you can read everything that is written and you can never go wrong. Lastly, my mother proved her worth by knowing all about rare Italian authors, painters and having studied Pinnochio in Italian could chat to little kids with their school books.
by John Campbell
I came across the Travellers Ten Commandments while travelling through Queensland a few years ago. The thoughts expressed therein are timeless and as such I thought that it could be suitable for inclusion in The Sydney Bushwalker. So if you consider it appropriate please use it.
The author of these thoughts I do not recall, nor did I record it in my note book, so short of going back to the hotel at Yungaburra on the Atherton Tablelands, I cannot tell you. That is why the Commandments are signed “Anonymous” and should so appear in the magazine.
The Sanskrit verse on the bottom is my own addition and is best interpreted as universal peace.
Speak in harmony.
Om Shante Shante Shante.
by Hec Carruthers
The Red Centre! The destination of thousands of Australians and overseas visitors each year. As a tourist I did not realise what this influx of visitors meant to the Territory. Now, having been a resident for a few months, I have learnt quite a lot about the Territory, the people in it and the tourists.
To the tourist, it is a case of seeing as much as possible in the shortest time. Distances are so great and the land is so vast that the visitor finds difficulty in understanding the time it takes to go from one place of scenic interest to the next. Quite a number come to the Territory ill prepared; physically, mentally and mechanically. One thing they learn to appreciate is WATER, especially drinking water. There are so many towns relying solely on bore water which is usually hot and smelly. Anyone preparing for a trip into the interior or around Australia should make sure they have good water containers, filled up wherever good water is available. Another thing for motorists is to have the radiator flushed out and cleaned before venturing into the outback. A stone guard is really a must for this Country. I have seen dozens of broken windscreens in the past few weeks and had two broken on my own car within two days.
I am at present in Tennant Creek where our petrol comes 1,000 km. from Darwin and our food over 2,000 km. from Adelaide. During the recent unusual rains the road from Adelaide was closed on a number of occasions delaying supplies of food and goods all the way up to Darwin; food for black and white residents and hundreds of tourists.
The local business people survive only through the road trains that transport everything by road. With extra visitors in the area tempers sometimes become frayed especially when city dwellers expect the same facilities, goods and prices as they are accustomed to.
This is an area of frustration where one can wait for weeks to have parts of machinery sent up from Adelaide and then wait weeks for someone to arrive to fix the machinery. Many people become disheartened in this region and are pleased to leave. There are so many problems and so many disappointments that business people would rather quit than fight.
The visitors come, enjoy the scenery, make use of the amenities and then depart, leaving all their rubbish behind for someone to pick up. Beer cans litter the highways and practically every sign has been damaged by bullets.
TOURISTS - the local business people like their trade but detest their attitudes. They come to observe, but a good number come to destroy.
While I appreciate the work being done by conservationists, I do believe they are concerned about small areas. I do think more concern should be for our Red Centre which attracts thousands of visitors every year, many of these from overseas. Ayers Rock, one of the wonders of the world, is serviced by an appalling road that carries tourists from all over the world, while roads to Ormiston Gorge and Trephina Gorge should be upgraded to make it more pleasant for visitors to view these remarkable formations.
We bushwalkers should not adopt the selfish attitude that we wish to preserve certain areas for our own enjoyment, but should concern ourselves with Australia as a whole. There are many Australians who have never seen Ayers Rock and probably will never see it. Unless one goes by plane it is quite an ordeal over some of our roads. The 'road' from Adelaide is in a deplorable state and needs urgent attention to attract more visitors from our southern States. We should all clammer for better facilities to our Red Centre so that overseas visitors can be attracted to see this fascinating area and bring their money with them.
Personally, I find this Territory very interesting from a walkers' point of view. It is harsh and brutal, this is no area for shorts and thongs. When walking I wear heavy footwear, long pants and gaiters. Even then I get an occasional spike from the spinifex. Around Tennant Creek there are some fascinating hills, many like invented cones. Most of these have clumps of spinifex growing on them or around their bases. Some of the spinifex is the soft kind, but the other bristles with hundreds of needles in places forming an impenetrable barrier. It is a lonely area with little animal life, mainly donkeys and an occasional kangaroo or a pack of dingoes. On one occasion going west towards the Tanami Desert I came across the old telegraph line. The line still remains on the ground beside the remnants of an old road. Metal fittings still lie where they fell many years ago when the steel posts were removed. Further west a low range of hills reveals the Tanami desert, a place where one can be alone to enjoy the peace and quiet of solitude.
I intend to lead a walk on October 27/28/29 from Carlon's Farm, Blackhorse Ridge, Splendour Rock, Cox River, Breakfast Creek and back to Carlon's Farm. This walk was notified for the Spring programme, but curiously, failed to be printed. Spiro, are you trying to tell me something?
|6,7,8 (++)||Wolgan Valley: Mt Dawson - Red Rocks - Pipeline Pass - Wolgan Valley. 35 km Medium/Hard. Map: Glen Alice. Some scrambling over the rocky gendarmes and a possible dry camp. Breathtaking views in all directions particularly north towards Widden Brook. Leader: David Rostron 4517943 (H)|
|Sunday 8th||Grose Valley: Govett's Leap - Rodriguez Pass - Junction Rock - Blue Gum - Junction Rock - Evan's Lookout - Govett's Leap. 20 km, Medium. Map: Katoomba. Mainly track walking - good views of Grose Valley & Lockley Pylon - some climbing. A test walk. 8.30 am start. Leader: Gordon Lee 3182145 (7.30 am to 3.30 p.m.)|
|13,14,15 (*)||Widden Brook: Nullo Mt - Mt Cox - Mt Pomanay - Widdon Brook - Hod Em Boy - Nullo Mt. 30 km Medium/Hard. Suddenly emerging as a favourite walking area (not far from Rylstone (off the Mudgee Road)) Glorious mountain and valley scenery, friendly wombats and lots of bird life. Leaders: C & C Austin 803399 (H).|
|13,14,15||Megalong Valley: Carlon's Farm - Carlon Ck - Blackhorse Range - Merrigal - Cox R - Tinpot Track - Carlons. 30 km Medium. Map: Jenolan 1:31680. Mainly track walking in a very beautiful section of the Blue Mtns. (Sth West of Blackheath). Leader: HansBeck 798 0103|
|Saturday 14th||Cronulla: Bus to Kurnell Coast walk back to Cronulla. 10 km Easy. Map: Port Hacking Tourist. Train: 7.50 am E. Leader: Meryl Watman 570 1831. Flannel flowers to be seen. No water or firewood.|
|20,21,22||Wine & Cheese Walk in the Megalong Valley: Carlon's Farm - Breakfast Creek - Cox River - Galong Creek - Carlon's Farm. 26km Medium/Easy. Map: Katoomba 1:63. Participants to bring along approximately 1 litre of wine, 200 grams cheese and packet of crackers or bread. Leader: Barry Wallace 720401 (B).|
|20,21,22 (*)||Base Camp Airly: Walk 1. Patoney's Crown. Walk 2. Tynan Pic or Black Mtn. Medium. Mileage adjustable. Map: Glen Alice 1:50000. Walks of test standard - excellent scenery, some climbing. Leader: John Redfern 8081702 (H).|
|22||Glenbrook Creek Tributaries Exploratory: Springwood, Sassafrass Gully - Glenbrrok Ck. Trib. Medium. Distance to be determined. Map: Springwood 1:31680. Essential to bring long trousers and water on this day walk. Leader: Len Newland 432419 (B).|
|27,28,29 (++)||Colo: Mt. Tootie - Bowens Ck - Wollangambie R - Mt. Maiden - Colo - Blacksmith's Ridge - Mt. Tootie. 35 km Hard. Map: Colo Sketch Map. A harder than test walk in the famous Colo River region. Glorious river scenery with high glistening cliffs and white sandy beaches. Some thick scrub may be encountered. Leader: Bob Hodgson 949 6175 (H).|
|28/29||Kedumba: Katoomba - Mt. Solitary - Kedumba - Sunset Rock - Wentworth Falls. Medium 28 km. Maps: Jamieson & Katoomba 1:31680. Train: 9.25 am C. A 1 1/2 day test walk offering good mountain scenery and pleasant walking. Leader: Hans Beck 7980103 (H).|
|27||Bundeena: Cronulla - ferry to Bundeena - coastal walk to Otford. 28 km Medium. Map: Port Hacking. Enjoy the beauty of part of NSW coastal scenery in the Royal National Park. Leader: Ian Debert 698676 (H) 6490281 (B).|
Keep the bush clean and green - put your fire out.