A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney-Bush Walkers, Box 4476 G.P.O. Sydney, 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.30 pm at the Wireless Institute Building, 14 Atchison Street, St.Leonards. Enquiries concerning the Club should be referred to Marcia Shappert Telephone 30,2028.
|EDITOR||Helen Gray, 209 Malian Road, Epping, 2121. Telephone 86,6263.|
|BUSINESS MANAGER||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118. Telephone 871,1207.|
|DUPLICATOR OPERATOR||Bob Duncan Telephone 869,2691.|
|Canoe Trip - Monkeycar Creek & Macquarie Marshes - August, 1979||Dot Butler|
|Bush Safety Awareness, Part 4: On the Lookout||Len Newland||5|
|A Famous Walker of Yesteryear||Owen Marks||9|
|Mountain Equipment Ad||12|
|Abercrombie & Wingecaribee Rivers - 1939||Dorothy Lawry||13|
|The Federation Ball of 1979||Observationist||15|
|The September General Meeting||Barry Wallace||17|
|Coolana Barn Dance||18|
|Special Notice from Committee||19|
|Social Notes for November||Ailsa Hocking||19|
|Alterations to Walks Programme||19|
by Dot Butler.
Since Wade's world-record 3,000 mile canoe trip, three months from Dalby in Queensland to the sea at Goolwa in South Australia following the 1975-76 floods, Jack and Rona have been consumed with a burning desire to see something of the Australian inland waterways. They have just returned to Australia after ten years' exile in California, so now seemed just right for the trip - a time of Spring and new life and nesting waterbirds.
I borrowed Gerard Putt's roof rack, Snow Brown's canoe and Alan Pike's paddles and off we went to Wade's place at Coonabarabran. Outside his log cabin, there was Wade's'trusty canoe propped up under the callitris trees, just as he had brought it back after his last trip down Cooper Creek to Lake Eyre and out to the Birdsville Track in the “big wet” of 1977. The only necessities overlooked in packing my station waggon with Jack, Rona and baby Tara (4 months) and Galen (2 1/2) and food for the trip were the paddles, left back on the lawn at Wahroonga. Nothing daunted, Wade carved a new set out of black pine in no time at all, and off we set in the late afternoon, heading into the setting sun, which means somewhere out there, north-west towards Bourke.
We travelled well into the night and eventually pulled up in the huge emptiness by the roadside where a sign by a bridge over a river announced that this was the Macquarie. We crawled under a wire fence and had hardly got up two tents and lit a campfire when a cattle transport materialised out of a million miles of amorphous night and a voice demanded to know if we had permission to camp there. (!!!??!!! This is the same reaction as you would expect if you were camped out in the Andromeda Galaxy and some green Martian complete with eyebrow antennae demanded to know if you had permission!) We assured him we were innocuous and only there for the night and he rumbled off, muttering. Next morning, having doused our fire with gallons of Macquarie River, we drove on a bit then called into a homestead to ask the owner where was the best place to start canoeing to see the birds in the Macquarie Marshes.
“Arragh, I wouldn't know; I don't follow them sort of birds (haw. haw). You could put your canoes in where the river goes through that there deserted property and come out down the Monkeygar Creek where the yaller post is.” We thanked him and decided to do just that. We unloaded the canoes, then Rona and Margaret and I wandered with the infants around the sprawling decaying house and farm buildings while Wade and Jack took the cars off in a car swap operation. They must have been successful because in about an hour they were back again, having left one car behind at the yaller post some 30 miles away.
We embarked, Jack and Rona and baby Tara in her sleeping basket in one canoe, and in the other Wade at the back with the double paddle, Margaret in front in Wade's patent crow's-nest, as lookout man for snags and Galen and me and the food packed in between.
The very first obstacles were two huge fallen trees completely blocking the whole width of the river. I wondered what sort of problem this might be, unpacking and portaging babies and food in a fairly swift-flowing river, but Wade and Margaret miraculously paddled through the branches and after that nothing was a problem.
Right from the start the bird life was startling; water hens and cattle egrets out in the mud, a pelican floating above his reflection by the bank. Flocks of ducks, 100 to 200 strong, would rise up before us with a great flutter and splash and circle around to land. again up river behind us. Huge flocks of black swans flew wavering against the empty sky. Plovers, looking neat and dapper in their brown and fawn uniforms, stood around in little groups, the spurs on their wings glinting in the sun.
As we got further into the wild country flocks of kangaroos would start up along the banks keeping ahead of the canoes. One huge fellow decided to swim for the other side. He leapt into the river, swimming with powerful strokes to the other bank, and without a break in his rhythm leapt ashore and continued on into the distance, the water streaming off him in great cascades. Emus strutted around the banks, accompanied by flocks of chicks, shovelling down grasshoppers like vacuum-cleaners working non-stop. The answer to the grasshopper plague at present threatening the wheat lands is to import emus and let them do the job. Unfortunately the Government is offering free D.D.T. to the farmers for aerial spraying. This means death to next season's emus as D.D.T. so weakens the egg shells that the eggs break under their own weight and so there are no young ones next year. However that won't be a problem out in the Macquarie National Park and you can expect to see plenty of emus in the years to come.
Galen was particularly taken with the black snakes. Everywhere along the baked black mud they lay looking like large bead necklaces, each “bead” being a frog in course of being digested. Out in the lignum swamps millions of frogs were screaming “Come and get us! Come and get us!”. The snakes smiled their thin-lipped smiles and waited; there was no hurry. Fat thick-tailed water-rats dragged themselves out of the water and into the mud among the lignum roots. Wade says that further out in the sandhill country they can be seen in their thousands.
We paddled through a great expanse of dead trees - a blockage somewhere up river had diverted the water to spread out over a great area, waterlogging the roots of the eucalypts and killing them. On the stark dead branches, Jack brought his spy-glasses to bear on his favourite birds, the accipiters - hawks, eagles and falcons. Pee-wits' nests, looking like unbaked clay pots stuck up in forks of the trees were everywhere. White ibis and spoonbills dotted the trees and flocks of galahs changed colour from grey to pink as they wheeled around. We passed under a cattle bridge, a frail-looking one-beast-wide structure. All the underside was plastered with mud swallows' nests. Out on the flat plains we could see cattle and trotting in and out among them were herds of wild pigs. We had been urging Wade to get out and run us down a piglet for dinner - he says that is quite possible - but his Margaret didn't want to see him gored to death by wild tuskers so we did without our roast pig.
Having passed through the open country we now swung into a weird swamp of tall feathery reeds which got higher and higher as we proceeded, effectively blocking out everything except a remote patch of blue sky above and the sinuous water trails below. Jack and Rona kept close behind Wade who has an instinct for the right direction in this sort of maze. The reeds closed in on all sides. Wade eventually pulled into the mud, fought his way through the reedy thicket and climbed up ,a tall dead tree. “What can you see?” “What can you see?” we chorused. “Miles and miles of lignum swamp,” said Wade “This could go on for weeks.”
We looked for a place to camp and eventually found some ground elevated about a foot above the surrounding swamp. Here was firewood and plenty of dry reeds for a bed. Apparently the pigs also viewed it as a desirable campsite. All through the high canes their runways led, and in tastefully selected spots they had made their sleeping quarters. Don't ever let anyone try to tell me that pigs are dirty. Their bedding arrangements were exquisite - just as though some perfect housewife, say Judith Rostron, had given a last touch to the bedroom; a little plumping up of the pillows here, a little puff of the eiderdown there, a gentle tug of the coverlet just so. The selected clump of lignum really had artistry to recommend it; the dead reeds* had been trampled down tastefully over a large area, but the piece-de-resistance was a great billowing heap of bone-coloured dead leaves in the dead centre. One could imagine the house-proud pig gently edging around in a circle snuffling and waffling the dead leaves until they formed a heap of just the right spring and consistency to please her artistic taste. -Judith, you would just love to see it. You'd be proud to meet a soul mate. I put up my small tent by the fire, Wade and Margaret erected a groundsheet in one pig bedroom, and I helped Jack erect the Pettigrew tent on the most magnificent pile of leaves in the whole dormitory. Luckily we were allowed unquestioned possession for the night.
Next morning it began to spit rain.,… and none of us had even dreamed of including parkas in our gear! The idea of paddling young babies through the wild country lost its attractiveness. We wrapped ourselves in makeshift groundsheets and garbo bags and paddled on with speed, hoping to come out at the yaller post before things got too uncomfortable.
Eventually we came to settled land, as evinced by wire cattle fences across the river. It took some ingenuity squeezing the loaded canoes under or through the wires but we managed. And then What's this? A car parked out on a muddy bank in the middle of the trackless lignum swamp! And what's more, WADE'S car! Galen could hardly contain himself; I think Wade has become little less than God in his young oyes. But he wasn't so pleased when Wade and Margaret took off leaving us behind to erect the tent as shelter from the drizzle and await their returnwith the other car. Not another night out in the mud and the eerie lignum swamp!
As the Wise Prophet has said, “Sorrow may endure for a night but Joy cometh in the morning.” In fact it was well before morning when the two cars were spotted wavering towards us down the greasy mud road. We quickly tied the canoes on to the roof racks, packed the babies aboard and headed for home. Wade couldn't resist making another adventure out of it by taking a back dirt road through the Warrumbungles- in the pitch black night. At last we were back to the home paddocks and a big log fire burning in the cabin and hot food and soft beds. It was not a very long trip, but it was a taste of what the wild country has to offer. Jack will not be happy till he has acquired his own canoe and they come back for another trip. Me too.
by Len Newland. (and. incorporating some comments submitted. by Jim Brown)
Why do you go bushwalking? Surely each of us can supply a mass of reasons, none of which necessarily predominates at all times. Almost surely, these aspects include the overview of bushland that can only be obtained from some sort of vantage point or lookout. Even lookouts, however, have their dangers, as some of our major accidents in the Club show. The following comments apply to lookouts and cliff edges, and also to the somewhat lower rocks that we climb over or around during our walking. So if you are next to a drop of any sort, be it a shallow creek (possible twisted ankles) or a 200 foot lookout (probable broken scone), evaluate the situation in terms of these comments. Do this consciously enough times, and it will eventually be automatic, thus making these situations safer.
(1) Nature and Condition of Edge.
Probably the safest condition is that of a clear, dry, rough, solid rock sloping away from the edge. Loose-rock, clay or pebbles; leaves or twigs; moss or moisture, smoothness; and an outward slope all contribute to your ability to slide- fun when sliding from a low rock into a deep creek, but definitely dangerous atop a high cliff.
(2) Condition of Footwear.
As commented under (1), smoothness contributes to “slidability”, especially when combined with, for example, wet sand that you just walked in. Pasty materials, such as found in farmers' paddocks, or granular material, such as sand (which sticks to your shoes when Wet) are very good at lubricating your slide. A recent article in a motoring journal showed that bald car tyres have a much better grip on the road than treaded ones- so long as they are dry. When wet, they offer practically no grip. The same applies to your walking shoes, especially on moss.
(3) Alertness of Walkers.
The first three of the questions require little additional comment, as the ramifications are obvious. Packs, if left close to an edge, not only might fall off, but people have been known to trip over them (also such innocuous items as waterbags have been the cause of falls). Also, while you are reaching for your pack, or your tea, do you watch where you put your feet? Check yourself next walk, even away from edges- you might be surprised! Again, it is interesting how many people change their stance while aiming a camera see if you're one. Such a dance could well be the end of that photograph and maybe that walker. As far as collecting water at the rim edge of a waterfall is concerned, one case is known of a girl who went over, on a trip some years back. These things do happen.
If you are on a walk, and suddenly happen to remember this article, but can't remember the above question checklist, just ask yourself these questions:
In Fergus Bents “Bushwalkers' Search and-Rescue' lecture in the Club in September (You missed another informative session, didn't you), he made a feature of the fact that rock climbing club members are thoroughly trained in safety techniques. We bushwaikers are not (and in effect cannot be) so trained, so we must train ourselves. This series of articles does not attempt to lay down any safety rules. It is designed to make the reader aware of the sorts of things that can go wrong in the bush, so that he can think for himself about the safe approach to any situation. The slogan is - “Bushwalker, Train Thyself”.
I recently received this communication (with gratitude).
As you wanted to hear from more people re your series “Bush Safety Awareness”, I am writing to tell you of a type of accident in the bush that has been common in my family. Last weekend, while taking our children for a short walk near Berowra Waters, we stopped for lunch on a rocky Outcrop. My 9-year-old daughter climbed up a sloping rock about 12 ft high. I was arrested by a cry and turned to see her rolling down the rock (45° slope). As she stood upright almost at the top, she had hit her head on a large horizontal branch of a gum tree, lost her balance and fallen back down to the bottom. Luckily, she only suffered grazes to arms, legs and spine but the outcome could easily have been more serious.
Strangely enough, I had hit my head on another branch of the same tree a few months ago (but did not fall). My husband had a similar accident climbing up the Gordon Smith Pass at Kanangra recently but without serious injury. (Perhaps we have an hereditary failing!) I can't think of any way to guard against this type of mishap. Maybe you can.
P.S. There is no hope for us - this evening I stood up after sweeping some crumbs into the dustpan and guess what - I hit my head on an open cupboard door above me!”
(Unless specifically requested, we won't be publishing names in this column. How 'bout a few more letters from members telling about their mishaps - we'd all like to know what to watch out for.)
by Owen Marks.
About five years ago, during an interval at one of the Old Tote productions, Christine Austin told me to get hold of a book by Fielding called “Joseph Andrews”. Her words were “a supremely written story; much better than Tom Jones”. Well, I did. buy a copy and enjoyed it immensely, but whilst reading about the wanderings on foot of this 18th Century philanderer, a thought came to me that if ever I had the time, I would chronicle only his walking tours of England. (In those days they would walk 40 miles across the county to see Lord So-and-so at a fair and would think nothing of walking in woeful weather, four miles to church after awakening from an orgy.) Well, I never did and possibly somebody else will.
All this made me think. Why not write about one of my ancestors who walked all the way from Rome to Leipzig and fiddled around Switzerland. It has all been published before in various books, but always musically orientated. My grandmother who died two years ago aged 100, had odd papers and letters and a diary that was obviously copied from another diary or letters. (It was in my grandmother's writing, so she must have copied it herself.) They were the daily jottings of her grand-aunt's “younger second cousin Jakob Mendelssohn (known to the world as Felix)”, so with these hitherto unpublished letters and jottings, and from what we glean in musical history books, I shall tell of my great-great-great-great-grandaunt's son.
The diary starts off in 1837 when he was already famous and had been given an audience with the Pope who said that “although I am stone deaf, it seams to be the consensus of opinion here in the Vatican and abroad, your gifts to mankind and their Christian message will last as long as the Holy Mother Church plays music”. He was, of course, referring to “Elijah” and “St.Paul” (two oratorios). The only Mendelssohn heard today in churches is the Wedding March from The Midsummer Night's Dream”; not very Christian.
As he had been too long in Rome and the weather was getting him down, he wrote to his Aunt Rebekkah (who was my family connection; it wasn't his real aunt but a second cousin on his father's side; my great-grand- mother's maiden name was Mendelssohn; no more on this family connection; if it's not clear now, it never will be; although I must confess it's my only claim to fame) that he intended to follow a party of English tourists to Florence and thence after a short stay with the Orsoni family, would walk throughout the summer before arriving home in Leipzig. His intended route was via the Dolomites, then climb a few peaks in Switzerland, cross the Rhine and walk through the forests and arrive home fresh for his new post as Director of the Conservatorium. His father owned banks, he had married filthy rich and was the cream of society, and he had no need to walk anywhere. His Aunt Becky advised him to “Take a poste. You have no need to and it will aggravate your mother if you get caught by bandits and if such a thing would happen, God forbid, it would disturb the harmony of the family”. Uncle Felix had no intention of being shook up by those rough coaches, as he had a bad back.
On May 30, he set out with a Lord Effington and Paltry, the latter being the servant who objected to having to carry Felix's gear. After two days there was a split because “the English Lord insisted on washing at every stream, so from Montefiascone, Felix said farewell to them and took “a public horse” to Siena. It took three days and the “horse” was a donkey that carried the luggage whilst the hirer walked behind. Nothing of much interest happened apart from the heat which caused many frequent stops at inns and the inevitable wine “which not only is of 5th quality but makes walking more difficult due to my bodily functions being impaired”. At Abbadia “I played my favorite piece on the local church organ, to the accompaniment of donkeys braying in the main square outside”. The next morning “after a terrible night of fleas, I climbed the local hill for a view, and thought of my precious”. (Unnamed, I might add. Also unnamed was his favorite piece. Very tantalising.)
After two days in Siena “I decided to halve my baggage and carry it on my back, because of the mixup”. (It seems that four or five people shared the same public horse, and the young boy who accompanied it must have deliberately misplaced some of the luggage.) Anyway, he gave away all his heavy “fabrics” and had two canvas shoulder bags made by a local craftan and thus became a conventional modern day walker with his gear on his back and money in his pocket. He averaged 25 to 30 miles a day, which is excellent, and it gave him time to “sit on wells and make the local girls laugh at my accent”.
The main roads must have been quite safe otherwise he wouldn't have done it. A hundred and fifty years ago it must have been quite lovely indeed, with only an occasional coach zipping along the dusty valleys to liven up things. Anyway, a day and a half later he was in Florence and “my friends were delighted to see me and asked how was the journey, because of the tremors in the last day, to which I replied that I was unaware of anything untoward”. He sat in the gardens “behind the house” (if you have seen the house belonging to the Orsoni family, you will realise what an understatement that was. The whopping, big, dismal Pitti Palace). He rested and played the violin at night “to the children, who were always delighted to hear me in silence”, but his pride made him refuse to play the organ in the Duomo, because the Papal Legation practically ordered him to, and thus he got indignant gave as the excuse that the organ stops were “too noisy and the ladies more so”. It seams he loved Florence, but didn't think much of Micholangelo's David. “His hands are too big and he should be circumcised,” I agree with him, and Art critics take note.
To Bologna took three days (about 60 miles). This is one of Italy's loveliest valley systems, with glorious mountains and the road winding through unspoilt villages that even today (I was there last year on my Grand Tour) is very much as it was a hundred years ago, if you can block your ears to the traffic tooting. The first day out it rained and he reached a village called San Pietro “where I dried out my leather pants and noticed a gold button missing from my waistcoat”. The muddy roads held him up and he only made 15 miles before he gave up and beneath a pass he slept in a shepherd's hut. The old man “played a rough flute”, but he couldn't stand the smell so “at an early hour I walked up and over and made Loiana by mid-morning where there was a small Fiesta going, and I decided to stay here all day and enjoy the peasants' merrymaking.' There is nothing that can express the pleasure in seeing people dancing and hearing their glorious voices. Why can't my own native Germans sing so eloquently?” Nothing has changed!
He left here at sunset and walked in “the cool air to Pianaro (or Bianara?) where I stayed at a local house that were expecting me.” (Obviously somebody from the Fiesta had left earlier and reserved accommodation.) “Next morning I set out early for Bologna.”
At Bologna something awful must have happened as he vowed “to leave this insufferable town immediately”, and he took the coach to Cremona vowing “never again to travel with Italians who eat garlic, and whose rudeness made this ride really uncomfortable. Brother Pirenzo was adept at passing wind in the key of G. I declined his invitation to stay at his monastery in Cremona.” Nothing seamed to please him.
Cremona, then as now, is a pleasant place. He met his old school friend who was employed by the Duke of Cicognolo, a Franz Lilienthal, and went with him into the neighboring hills to paint the peasants harvesting. (Felix M. has works in the Hamburg Art Gallery, watercolours of Venice and Scotland.) At Cremona he bought a pair of black boots with “bright green buttons, as my shoes were good for nothing”, and tried to buy a matching gold button for his waistcoat and found that he had lost another button, So he bought three new silver ones “which would do as a present for Mitzi”.
Also here in Cremona, Mozart's “Don Giovanni” was on, and during the interval he went backstage and promptly fell asleep on the floor in the musicians' room and woke up after the show. His head full of tunes he 'Worked all the night” (he never says at what!) And thus missed the party that was to be held in his honour. The cream of Cremona was upset at this rudeness and they were only mollified by his accepting their offer of him conducting a programme of his Symphonies. The audience coughed and talked throughout the concert, so Felix would throw his baton high into the air and catch it. A hush would be created. This he did repeatedly during the concert. A FIASCO. He wrote lime saying, “This was the highlight of my stay in Italy.” He had a sense of humour.
If you are wondering what he wore to all these posh places seeing he carried so little, I can't help you. I suppose he borrowed from everyone. He was considered the Beau Brummel of Hamburg society and yet here he was literally bumming around Italy astounding one and all, and even today reading about his trip you can't help admiring the fellow.
(Part 2 of Mendelssohn's walking trip from Italy to Germany will be in next month's magazine.)
From Dorothy Lawry's Diary.
(Coincidentally, before I received Dorothy Lawry's article- see last month's magazine- Jess Martin had sent me this extract from Dorothy's diary of 1939. We print Dorothy's story on the 50th Anniversary of this “first”. Editor.)
(“Christine” in Dorothy's diary notes was her name for her car, a tourer with running boards. In my early days in the S.B.W., very few members had motor cars. Frank Cramp had a big touring car and after one winter weekend driving up the mountains, the boys nicknamed it the “Flying Frigidaire”. I found Wingecarribee Gorge rather spectacular, and it was there, where we found a camping spot for the night, that we were entertained by lyrebirds scratching round the tent and giving us a chorus of bird calls. Jess Martin.)
Having secured Ray Birt as a mate for the first week and Jessie Martin for the second week, I planned a trip from Mount Werong south down the Abercrombie River and over the hills to Taralga, where the change of partners and direction would be made, the second week being fully occupied in going dawn Guineacore Creek to the Wollondilly and up the Wingecarribee River to Joadja, or further, and home from Mittagong or Bowral.
To get to Mt. Werong I arranged with Mr. Druitt to come along, and he and Tuggie to take Christine back to Sydney. Dorothy Hasluck came too, but only for the weekend drive, as she could not manage the whole week away from her business.
Saturday, 18th November, 1939 was fine, and. Mr. Druitt and Tuggie came to my place and we packed the luggage carrier, then picked up Dorothy at Neutral Bay Junction and put her rucksack and the veges in the side luggage carrier. Then we arrived at St. Leonards to pick up Ray at 9.30am, only half an hour late, but all packed and rearing to go.
Christine went like a bird till we were part way up a long hill not far from the Kings Tableland turnoff. Then she boiled like mad. That was the start of the trouble. After that we could not keep her cool. Tried a garage at Blackheath- he thought it might be the long pull up the mountains for an old car, and advised us to carry on to Lithgow District Depot, as she was pulling splendidly and the fan and oil pump were both working. She did not boil again until we were nearly up the hill from the Lett River and only a couple of miles between there and Lithgow; so when we found the Depot closed, we were not sufficiently worried to hunt town for the man, but carried on.
From there on Christine boiled every 5 or 6 miles, so we decided to go into Bathurst for attention. Horan's Garage there Sold us some radiator tablets and told us to flush the radiator at the Fish River, about 10 miles out on the Oberon Road.
Had a grill at the Chelsea Cafe, showed the party- Machatti Park, and set out for Oberon.
A lovely moonlight night and she went well to the Fish River. No camping spot there, but we drained and flushed and refilled the radiator, and went on with high hopes - for 6 miles. Then she boiled again - and kept on repeating the performance, but we finally reached Oberon and stopped at the first garage for 1 1/2 gals. petrol. The man said he was no mechanic, but a Mr.Lambert at one of the other local garages was excellent, if we could get hold of him. Found him just going home - from the N.R.M.A. District Depot that we had not known about! He suggested a “reverse flush” and arranged for his assistant to do it, in the morning. Drove about 1 mile further along the Jenolan Caves Road and camped by the Fish River Creek - a lovely spot.
Sunday llth November, 1939 Another lovely day. By the time we broke camp, packed, and returned to Oberon it was 9.30am, and by the time the job was complete, it was 11am, so Ray and I decided to stay with the car to the Bummaroo Ford over the Abercrombie River, and to go upstream instead of down. Had lunch there with the others, and they left at 3pm for Goulburn and Sydney, without a horn as she had blown two fuses that morning, and we could not locate the short, but Mr. Druitt would have that fixed at the first garage he came to. Otherwise the car was going like a bird - and so she ought after the dirt that came out of the radiator. When the other three left in Christine, Ray and I set out up the left bank of the Abercrombie River, and, as she did not want to wet her feet, we kept to that side all through. It would have been easier to have crossed and recrossed every now and then, instead of pushing through bushes and nettles and thistles, and scrambling in other parts. However, about 3 miles up we found a nice little camp spot, where a side creek came in that had a pool in the right place for getting drinking water.
All this country is shale, and slate capped with basalt, so that river was somewhat muddy, and along its banks were quite a lot of bushes (ti-tree, I think) with a very heavy, unpleasant stink. Evidently they use flies for fertilisation, but this first afternoon, I was blaming the water for the smell!
After tea, had a wash, lost my soap, and had to have a bath to recover it. Water delightfully warm.
(Dorothy's Diary will be continued in next month's magazine.)
by the Observationist
I have arrived home exhausted from a wow of a dance and am in a fervour. In how many ways can I describe the success of the Federation Ball? In hundred of ways. At this early hour I can still hear the trippling rills of laughter, the refreshing smells of the weary dancers, the soft lilting beat of the paso doble and the cries of delight at the fancy dress. I shall describe with no artistic merit at all exactly what went on and you will have to put it all together yourself.
The Place. Balmain Town Hall. It may have seen better days but what the hall saw last night could have rivalled Melba's last farewell in London with such a wild exuberance rarely seen in the troubled 70s. A vast spacious hall partly made from corrugated iron with narrow side passage- ways to get you to the toilets quickly. Simple fluorescent lighting that enabled you to miss the holes in the unsprung floor, and a very efficient air conditioning system called O.W.S. (open window system). On all sides were quaint trestles with firm white paper tablecloths, that were of such a variety that you couldn't tear them up for making paper aeroplanes (worse luck). The ladies brought food and the gents the drinks. Champagne, beer, soft drinks and even our tasty Sydney water flowed from the cornucopia, and the pavlovas, healthfood rissoles, cakes, were there in gargantuan gorgeous display.
Who was there? Who wasn't there! All the beautiful people of the Bushwalking movement. Canoeing clubs, the rookies, cavers, and us - the humble walkers. From smiling millionaires to soulful dolebludgers; from young innocents to old mature solid god-fearing sensible senior members. Everyone had the joy of living and sharing of hidden strengths that are a delight to see. Some groups had transcendental table decorations, others had none (S.B.W. are making plans to win the prize next year).
While none of the S.B.W. came in fancy dress, the 42 of us were by all opinion the most solid decently attired mob there. Bearded denizens of the bush were seen dancing with sylph-like Willis. Lady Sneerwell types dancing with Fagan, and the REDDY RIVER MUSIC GROUP gave us their best. Such improvisations and zest were a joy to all. The Music man called Moby Disc gave us refreshing and 'a tangy style of,”with it“rhythms. I even learnt the words of Macho Macho, Macho-Man., Thank heavens it wasn't loud; just simple style music for the simple folk. Music you can talk over is the best to dance to (so said Dorothy Butler who unfortunately couldn't make it) and she would have been happy last night at Balmain.
Was there anything worth while looking at on the dance floor? Was there ever!!!! The speleos were there in force, dancing with their helmets on, with packs on showing how tough they are. “Beware the carabieners,” the Rockies kept on calling and it shows their supreme skill how nobody was injured last night. One young thing was wearing ski-boots all night, a bikini top and short, short jean shorts. Another maiden came on skis with wheels. Another obstacle was a canoe with a bod front and rear paddling around the hall, which led to Pavlovian reflexes among everybody. If they headed for you you simply made a tunnel for them and they would slide right through. Everyone being physically fit led to hardly any persons sitting out the dances. By the end of the evening everyone was worn out and yet I overheard the Y.M.C.A. “SPAN” Club members planning a trip on this very morning.
Now comes the list of S.B.W. members and their idiosyncrasies. Perfect authors would have sprinkled names throughout the entire article but as I can't be bothered being clever or have the time to set it all out (I am due at the airport in three hours before embarking for my overseas post), I am rushing this to the Editor for inclusion in the next magazine.
The ladies outshone the men as is natural seeing that women spend all their income on clothing and men have to struggle to keep house and kin together, but where was I? Yes, Bob and Christa Younger were there sharing the quadrilles with Leon Vella in a washed satin shirt and Marion Lloyd who looked as though she had stepped out of “Picnic at Hanging Rock”, Neil and Anne Brown just back from Malaysia were jiving in their wedding clothes, Anne having an organza thing with roses at neck and waist, the Hodgemans were there, dancing with their bicycles over the shoulders, and this made Snow Brown laugh (Claribelle stunning one and all, by her Irish Green Gown). Robin Herbert in a diaphanous creation and her Greek God companion were having a drinking competition with Rosemary Baxter (who was attired like Nell Gwynn) and John Redfern who wasn't. Judy Maley, Helen Rowen and Barbara Bruce all wore blue, and it was a sight for sore eyes to see them sharing the one bottle of beer, just like sisters. Owen Marks, the ONLY male to came in evening suit (the same monkey suit that he wore to the Himalayas, if his story can be believed) was seen in a crocodile samba sandwiched between Twinkletoes Crane and Christine Davidson (nee Brown), the latter wearing a remarkably unique imitation cotton print of an Indian sari. Her husband Geoff and new member Ken Gould quaffed the orange drink like professionals. Frank Roberts, Wayne Steele and Peter Sargent wore working clothes. Shame. Jenny and Don Cornell were observed falling down in the Strip the Willow. Peter Christian and Vivian Shaffer (in a Dior gown of patchy proportion) led the field in tripping the unwary, and Barry Wallace and Tony Denham (who incidentally won the raffle, the prize being a beaut rucksack) were observed to never sit out a dance, (Not together, of course!) Such stamina. Sat opposite Jo van Sommers and she was enjoying the food like you wouldn't believe. Her aristocratic navy evening gown, replete with diamonds and sapphires, was the envy of Denise Brown, who was wearing nothing (jewelwise!!!). Bill Burke, smartly attired, brought along a rare 1979 Soda water and it received, rave reviews.
Not being a drink connoisseur, I will not be drawn into the argument. Forgot to mention a new prospective Diane somebody-ore-ther who was caught dancing barefoot with John Blewitt all dressed in beige tonings; their rendition of “Rock Around the Clock Tonight” brought the house down. Her spotted frock was the envy of all. A nice compliment was overheard from a lady C.M.W. member. On seeing Tony Marshall and Wayne Steele she said, “I think I'll join the S.B.W. if the men are snazzily clothed like that.” Obviously clothes do make the man. Peter Sargent who damaged a shin in the Scottish Reel was seen to be inspecting Linda's back. She had Chinese writing all over her blue check gown. Bob Hodgson, who said he could read Chinese, gave up after the first attempt. Craig and Marcia Shappert were seen nearly all the time doing the twist to whatever music was playing, and our farming member, Frank Roberts, practically dislocated his vertebrae doing an impromtu Schottische. The last of the S.B.W. group were Gordon Lee and his friend Toni, her spray of orchids being unique in the hall.
Towards the end, Owen started the paper plate throwing, and it was taken up by all it far surpasses the Greek custom of chucking REAL crockery. From such a night as this are memories made. We all toasted our absent friends and President.
The night was a ripping success. Forty three S.B.W. members out of a total of 330. Approx. 13%. Next year let's make it over 20%. Our thanks to Barbara Bruce who, with her customary enthusiasm, practically forced us at the point of a gun to buy tickets, and it is her we must praise. The time is now 5am and I am off to have a cup of coffee. Dawn is coming up and another fabulous night has gone. Let us have more such nights.
by Barry Wallace.
The meeting began at 20:18 with about 30 members present. There 7 were apologies from Neil Brown, Dot Butler and Alastair Battye.
Spiro, who as you shall find was to almost single handed present all the reports for the meeting, led off by reading the minutes, which were approved.
He then went on to present the correspondence which comprised:- notice from U.N.S.W. about a forthcoming rogaining event, a letter from the Premier of Victoria concerning available information on bushcraft, a letter from Mr. Ken Booth indicating that he had passed our letter regardihg campsites on the Wolgan over to Mr. Paul Landa and a reply from Mr. Landa indicating that these campsites will in fact be included in the national park. There was also a letter to our Hon Solicitor, Colin Broad, about the E.C. of N.S.W. easement through Coolana. As well as that there was an assortment of magazines and circulars.
Then it was Spiro's turn to present the Treasurer's report. We began the month with $2053.42 and finished up with $2114.80.
Federation Report, you guessed it, was presented by Spiro. This brought news of future S. & R. exercises, a canyon rescue practice for 1st and 2nd December, and other practice weekends on 22/23 March and 7/8 June 1980. There is a report of blackening of the waters of the Upper Grose and further information is being sought.
The Walks Report, as is usual, was presented by Spiro and went something like this. Ray Turton's Newnes base camp on 10/11/12th August attracted 12 people, Jim Brown reported 38 starters on his fine but rather windy Sunday trip on the same weekend. The following weekend saw Ian Debert leading 14 people through a rainy Saturday on the Murruin Creek - Tomat Oreek loop. Their Saturday discomfort, however, was somewhat overshadowed by lunching at 4:30pm on the Sunday, and then arriving back at the cars in the dark. Len Newland's Sunday trip attracted 20 people and there was no report whether Peter Christian's Waterfall trip went or not.
Peter Harris had managed to schedule walks on two different programmes for the 24/25/26th August. He combined the two but chose the easier of the two routes. The S.B.W. starters lapped it up and the weather was perfect. The Sunday walks saw 31 people enjoying the wildflowers around Kangaroo Creek with Sheila Binns and 28 people blurring along the Upper Grose with Joe Marton.
The weekend of 31st August and 1/2nd September saw Gordon Lee leading 9 people through perfect weather on a very scenic although rather strenuous trip in the Castle area. Steve and Wendy Hodgman's Dharug area pushbike trip attracted 13 starters and Meryl Watman's day trip saw 19 starters enjoying the wildflowers in Royal National Park. Vic Lewin's Sunday walk attracted 28 people on what was described as a good trip in good weather.
The following weekend 7/8/9th September saw Bob Hodgson leading six people on his Red Rocks spectacular, while Brian Hart had 9 starters on his Mt. Yengo trip. The Sunday trips were well attended with 14 people following Sheila Binns an her re-routed Royal National Park walk, and 24 people with Roy Braithwaite for most of his Jerusalem Bay walk, brought the Walks Report to an end.
General Business required the choice of a re-union site for next year, and Coolana got the nod. The position of convenor went to Spiro. Then there was a motion that we write to N.P.W.S. concerning the obstruction of a walking track in Brisbane Waters National Park by a rifle range easement, and that saw the end of General Business.
Announcements brought the news that the neighbours at Coolana were planning to burn-off their blocks before the summer dry sets in.
The meeting closed at 21:02.
Last year this event was attended by over 100 members. Indications are for another big roll up. Mark it on your planning calendar for Saturday 3rd November and note it is also a full moon. Moonlight swimming to cool off.
The S.B.W. Bushwackers Band will be there.
That the Special Instructions on the back of the Walks Programme be amended as follows:
Point 1, “For the Party Member”, be separated into two parts:
by Ailsa Hocking.
|Wednesday 21||The South West Tasmania Committed has introduced an audio-visual of the last of Tasmania's wild rivers - the Franklin. Will it, too, be dammed and flooded? The audio-visual consists of 100 slides and a taped commentary on the Franklin River. Came and support the South West Tasmania Committee's effort to preserve the Franklin and the rest of Tasmania's beautiful, wild, South West.|
|Wednesday 28||With summer fast approaching, we need to be aware of the dangers of bushfires. Bill Gillam is a volunteer fire fighter at Engadine. He can tell us the most common causes of bushfires, how they are fought, and what to do if you find yourself in the path of one.|
Two walks to be led by Vic Lewin in the GROSE VALLEY have been shown as weekend walks but should have been shown as DAY TEST WALKS. The correct dates are Sunday 28th October and Sunday 18th November.
Also on the 18th November, a day walk to -be led by Sheila Binns will START from Waterfall, not Heathcote. Train 8.45am (Country) does not stop at Heathcote.
LEADER SWAP. The Bungonia trip on 16/17/18 November will now be led by Jim Laing instead of Len Newland. Please alter your Walks Programme accordingly.
|2,3,4 ++||NARROW -NECK: Splendour Rock - Cox' s River - Carlon's - Narrow Neck 65km MED/HARD Maps:Jamieson/Katoomba .A good leg stretcher with tremendous views and good walking and camp sites LEADER: PETER MILLER 952689 (H)|
|3,4||COOLANA HUT: 1st Anniversary Barn Dance by the light of the full moon. Good camping, swimming & music in the peaceful Kangaroo Valley LEADER: GEORGE GRAY 866263 (H)|
|4||ENGADINE: Tukawa Rill - Kangaroo Ck- Karloo Pool - Heathcote 15 km EASY Map: Royal Nat Park LEADER: NEIL BROWN (042) 941376|
|4 0||COWAN- Jerusalem Bay - Porto Bay - Railway Dam - Brooklyn train: 8.48 (C) 15 km MEDIUM Tickets to Hawkesbury River LEADER: ROY BRAITHWAITE 445211 (H)|
|9,10,11 0||BARRINGTON TOPS: Barrington Guest House-Rain Forest-the Corker-the Big Pool- Carey's Peak-Barrington Guest House 30 km MEDIUM LEADER: FAZELEY READ 9093671 (H)|
|9,10,11||WILD DOG MTS: Carlon's Farm - Iron Pot Range - Lt. Cedar Gap - Mt Debert- Medlow Gap - Glen Alan Ck - Breakfast Ck Carlon's Ck - Carlon's Farm - 26 km MEDIUM Limit 10 Maps: Jenolan/Jamieson 1.31680 . A good 2 day test walk covering a lot of traditional territory staring from Megalong Valley LEADER: IAN DEBERT 6461569 (H) between 7 and 9 pm on Thursday 8th.|
|11||BOUDDI NAT PARK: Little Beach -the Moorstrack -Maitland Bay -coastal track to Kilcare 15km MEDIUM. A very pleasant day trip with expansive coastal views to Manly. Swimming if desired. LEADER:HANS STICHTER 6355808 (H)|
|11 0||BUNDEENDA: Wattamolla Garie Beach - Burning Palms - Otford 28km MEDIUM. Glorious coastal scenery - swimming optional Map: Pt Hacking LEADER:PETER CHRISTIAN|
|16 17,18 0||GROSE VALLEY: Evans Lookout - Bridle track - Blackwall Glen - Upper Govett's Leap Creek to Waterfall base - Cone Wall Base - Grand Canyon - Neate's Glen - Evan's Lookout 8.30 a m. start - cars to Evan's Lookout. 13 km MEDIUM Map:Katoomba . A not too difficult 2 day test walk offering good forest & mountain scenery LEADER: VICTOR LENIN 504096 (H).|
|16,17,18||BUNGONIA: Long Point Lookout - Shoalhaven River - Bungonia Gorge - Long Point Lookout (base camp Bungonia Creek) Map: Coura 25 km MEDIUM. Exciting sandstone cliffs & sweeping river views LEADER: LEN NEWLAND 432419 (B).|
|18||HEATHCOTE: Carloo Pool - Kangaroo Ck - Waterfall 12 km MEDIUM (Swimming optional) Map: Pt Hacking Train: 8.45 (C) Lush green forest scenery 7 good gentle walking LEADER: SHEILA BINNS 789 1854|
|18||STANWELL PARK:Zig Zag track -Mt Mitchell-Stanwell Park EASY Map: Port Hacking LEADER: PETER SERGEANT 5023637 (H)|
|24,25 0||MT. SOLITARY: Katoomba -Scenic Railway -Ruined Castle -Mt Solitary - Camp at Chinaman's Cave -Kedumba Creek -Sublime Pt. Ridge -Three Sisters -Katoomba 30 km MEDIUM Train: 8.10 am. (C) Map: Katoomba. No tents required -an interesting and scenic 1½ day test walk in the popular Kedumba Valley. LEADER: PETER CHRISTIAN.|
|25 0||WATERFALL: Fruer Gully - Bola Heights - Burning Palms - Werong Beach- Otford 15 km MEDIUM Map: Pt. Hacking Train: 8.45 (C) LEADER: JOE MARTON 638 7353 (FT)|
|25||ROYAL NAT. PARK: Lilyvale - Palm Jungle - Burning Palms - Garrawarra Farm - Otford 13 km EASY Map: Otford 1.25000 Train: 8.45 (C) (Tickets to Otford) LEADER: KATH BROWN 812675 (H)|