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 Ann Ravn, Telephone 798-8607.
|Editor||Helen Gray, 209 Malton Road, Epping, 2121. Telephone 86-6263|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford 2118. Telephone 871-1207|
|Duplicator Operator||Phil Butt|
|S.B.W. Office Bearers - 1981||2|
|The Pilot||Reg Alder||3|
|Social Notes for April||Peter Miller||5|
|Advertisement - Eastwood Camping Centre||6|
|Where to Springwood or How to Winmalee||Gordon Lee||7|
|“Why I Go Bushwalking”||Joan Rigby||9|
|Travelling with Children in India||Marcia Shappert||11|
|The February General Meeting||Barry Wallace||15|
|The Annual Subscriptions||16|
The following office-bearers and committee members were elected at the S.B.W. Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday, 11th March, 1981:-
|Vice-Presidents||*Spiro Hajinakitas, *Barry Wallace|
|Assistant Secretary||*Barbara Bruce|
|Walks Secretary||*Jim Vatiliotis|
|Social Secretary||*Peter Miller|
|New Members Secretary||*Fazeley Read|
|Committee Members||*Gordon Lee, *Jim Percy, *Jo van Sommers, *Ailsa Hocking|
|Federation Delegates||Spiro Hajinakitas, Gordon Lee, *Peter Franks, *Diane Fox|
|Substitute Fed. Delegate||Alex Colley|
|Conservation Secretary||Alex Colley|
|Magazine Editor||Helen Gray|
|Magazine Business Manager||Bill Burke|
|Duplicator Operator||Phil Butt|
|Keeper of Maps & Timetables||John Holly|
|Search & Rescue Contacts||Marcia Shappert, Ray Hookway, Don Finch|
|Trustees||Heather White, Gordon Redmond, Bill Burke|
|Coolana Management Committee||Dot Butler, John Redfern, Fazeley Read, Owen Marks, Brian Hart, Barry Wallace, George Gray, Peter Franks|
|Kosciusko Huts Association Delegate||Bill Burke|
* Indicates members of the Committee.
See page 16 for Annual Subscriptions.
by Reg Alder.
For some time during 1941, I, with a group of Sydney Bushwalkers, had planned to walk in the Pilot, Cobberas, Thredbo, Kosciusko area over the Christmas period. Plans were well advanced even to the stage of purchasing food and taking some preliminary photographs of the preparations for a full slide picture record with the recently introduced Kodachrome colour film. Myles Dunphy - “Australia's Father of the Wilderness” - gave us most explicit directions (by some quirk I still have them), even to being asked to be remembered to a farmer whose property he had passed through some ten years previously. At 89 he is still drawing on his great memories for detail and meticulously kept diaries to advise a further generation of walkers.
The walk was not to be. Japan entered the war, our remoteness from the European war was over and by government direction we were to be made to realise that we were really at war. We had to do our bit, all holidays were cancelled, travel drastically restricted, six-day working weeks became the norm and other deterrents to pleasure were imposed. Instead, I ate my dried foods on the occasional days I had off and the idea of the walk became but a memory. In recent years, walks down around the Kosciusko area showed The Pilot still beckoning and as far as I was concerned, unconquered.
Perhaps in earlier days with the present easier access, a Friday night walk in the moonlight and I might have stood on the top over a two-day weekend, but four days seemed better with a chance to explore some of the surrounding country. The extra time would also give a margin on the weather to give time to climb the peak on a clear day, and so a trip was organised to start from Dead Horse Gap over the Easter weekend. An earlier walk to the Cascade Hut had quickened interest in the country and made us familiar with about a third of the way. The route follows the Cascade fire trail over a fairly level direct course except for a couple of ups and downs of about a thousand feet.
We made the Tin Mine Huts in one day after passing through some of the most beautiful forest country, and used the flats near the huts as our base for the next two days. Records of alluvial tin and gold deposits in this locality date back to 1875, and in 1892 the N.S.W. Government was asked to provide assistance from the prospecting vote to develop the area. No serious attempts at development took place until the Mount Pilot Syndicate took up operations in the 1930s. Their operations were not successful, and after spending $18,000 mainly on access roads and some mining activity the syndicate went into liquidation. Charlie Carter lived as a recluse in one of the Tin Mine Huts until his death from starvation in 1952 when he was unable to go into Jindabyne for supplies after his horses had escaped. The distance by pedometer from Dead Horse Gap was 27 kms, although the map only measured 23-24 kms; 1:100,000 scale cannot take into account all the bends of the firetrail and it may be as well to add about 15% to any measured map distance in similar country. The 40 metre contour lines also did not give much indication of location since for most of the distance the thick forest obscured distant views. Apart from seeing The Pilot on the way down Bob's Ridge, our next fleeting glimpse was near Tin Mine Creek and then when almost under it.
The main axis of the Pilot and Little Pilot runs parallel with the firetrail and a note in the visitors' book at the Tin Mine Hut mentioned a sign pointing to it from the firetrail and with a comment that it was better to start the ascent some 100 metres further on. We had had doubts on our arrival at the Tin Mine Huts that our views from The Pilot may have been severely restricted since a controlled burn had been started on the Suggan Buggan Range and a change of wind had filled the sky with smoke. Next day, however, a westerly developed and we had a sparkling morning to commence our walk. We missed the sign and went on possibly about another kilometre from where we later learnt the sign was. It is apparently only a small notice nailed to a tree and we had expected an official sign more in the manner of the firetrail ones we had seen on the way. Anyhow it didn't really matter as the route we took up was fairly easy and open. On the way back we came down to near where the sign would have been so that it must be a fairly natural route.
Signs of brumbies were everywhere from their characteristic piles of manure, even up to the grassy top of the Pilot which surmounts its rocky crown. Three Victorians arriving soon after us made company for lunch and an exchange of experiences. Wonderful views all around except in one quarter where the controlled burn had really taken. Further along towards Thredbo could be seen the line of fires started from the incendiaries dropped from a plane. One fire was within a mile of our camp at the Tin Mine Huts. A new visitors' book had been placed on The Pilot and we were the third entry. The previous one was Milo Dunphy, son of Myles Dunphy, and what a coincidence that should be and later to meet him back at the huts with the ranger.
The visitors' book at the Tin Mine Huts shows that the area is regularly visited and entries have been made at almost weekly intervals. There were many interesting comments in the visitors' book between 4-wheel drive enthusiasts and walkers over their respective rights to be in the area. The ranger told us that the Service had several prosecutions pending against owners of 4-wheel drive vehicles and trailbikes found in the area. We only saw one 4-wheel drive and that was on Bob's Ridge.
Only one other visitor came to stay whilst we were at the Tin Mine Huts and he had come on a push bike. We featured, with our comings and goings, as fill-ins in a movie film he was making. The brumbies were his friends and he had brought carrots and apples to feed them. The noise of his transistor at 100 metres, however, somewhat spoilt the wilderness effect.
On Sunday we went looking for the tin mines and fortunately we had chosen our days well since we emerged from our tents we found the valley filled with a very wet mist which remained until mid-day. There was a good deal of evidence of past mining with mullock heaps, dams, aqueducts, etc., but nature since the last mining in 1936 was fast obliterating man's desecration. It was interesting after the lecture to the Association on dingoes to surprise a pack of six. They scattered quickly and by their colouring seemed to be pure bred animals. The ranger was interested to hear of our sighting. Strangely, we didn't see one brumby.
Milo Dunphy told us about how incendiaries had rained around them from the sky during the controlled burn activity. It is realised that only short warnings can be given about a controlled burn because of changing weather conditions, but a newspaper advertisement only is little help to persons in remote areas. Increased ranger activity should be carried out to give some possible warning.
As mentioned previously, one fire was within a mile of the Tin Mine Huts and posed a possible threat with a change of wind. At night the glow was very bright and timber could be heard to fall.
The walk out was made a little easier by leaving after lunch on Sunday, walking about half the distance back to Dead Horse Gap and camping in the beautiful mountain ash forest. In all we covered 82 kms.
by Peter Miller.
Wine and Cheese Night.
This night is left free to allow time for arranging Easter trips. A range of wines and cheeses will be available to assist you in sorting out Your transport and other matters related to the weekend.
National Parks of North America and Canada.
Jim and Kath Brown had a trip to America and Canada and visited several national parks in each country. Jim has the reputation of being one of the best photographers in the Club as well as being a raconteur of note.
Sunsets and Music.
Victor Lewin mill show his collection of colour slides of sunsets synchronised with the music of Richard Strauss, “Thus Spake Zarathrustra”. This will be a slide evening with a difference.
A chance to see the finest Australia has to offer -
23rd. May - 8th June 1981.
Programmed walks are Medium graded with a car base camp at “O'Reiley's”:-
(1) Three days over “The Lost World”
(2) Six days through “Lamington Wilderness” to Mt. Gipps and return via “The Stinson Wreck”.
Leader: Victor Lewin. Tel. 50,4096 (H)
by Gordon Lee.
(In keeping with the current trend in the magazine this article will appear in two parts.)
Cancellation and Disappointment can often be parents to Alternation, but when this comes in the late pm of Thursday evening your choice becomes limited and you tend to run short of alternatives. However, saved was the day when discovery was made that there was a “Len Newland” on the programme.
A typical “Newland” can be guaranteed to produce country generally ignored by the elite of the S.B.W. leaders and the trackless walking can invariably be relied on to uncover very interesting nooks and crannies by way of ridges and watercourses interspersed with the odd cloudburst and always accompanied by an in-depth study of every species of “lawyer” vines, “wait-a-while” and “hug-me-tight” extant an this continent of ours. Trackless it may be, but not bloodless.
Naturally a walk of this nature requires meticulous planning, with minute attention to detail, like whether I should wear my red, black or brown “onsom”. Of course the choice is governed by such factors as:-
1. Whether we are going to eat Chinese at the completion of the walk.
2. The impression you wish to create -
a. on the leader
b. on the other members of the party -
3. The weather. No problems here. This being a “Newland” you simply pack a wet suit and rubber dinghy.
Emergency rations and torches have never been found necessary to date and items such as snake repellant, de-leecher and spare bottle of whole blood, though not absolutely necessary, could be considered.
I didn't ring Len on Friday and since he has no home phone decided that personal application was the best approach. In your approach to leaders it is desirable to give plenty of notice of intention (this gives The Leader time to “vet” you, i.e. ascertain such important details as whether you brush your teeth after meals, use “Brut” or “Sprayped”, or spit to leeward (pronounced “looard”)) as well as being polite and courteous.
So at nine o'clock on Saturday night my opening gambit was, “What's for breakfast and where do I sleep? But not necessarily in that order.” On learning that I intended joining his walk I was shown a comfortable lump of grass under the clothesline where the drips from the wet clothes would cool me during the night.
Before retiring we entered into a long but meaningful discourse an the advisability of taking his car or mine. Since my car was older and more worn out the conclusion was reached that my car was the obvious choice.
While cruising along the highway, motor purring like a contented pussycat, it occurred to me how dependent we (as bushwalkers) are on the motor car. We read articles on, “How to survive in the bush”, “What to do when bitten by an irate farmer”, “How a camera works and why it has a zoom or 50 mm lens and what a lens is made of (other than glass)” and other such impedimenta yet nowhere does there appear an article on “How to keep your car running smoothly”, or “What to do to reduce the pollution emitted by your car's engine”, so I think it's high time.
Of course, before you can be informed on the subject you need to acquire the jargon. You must be able to refer glibly to matters such as swept volume, compression ratio, dwell angle, ignition timing, valve clearance, cutout and voltage control, steering damper (though why anyone would wish to drive with a wet steering wheel I don't know), octane rating and so on. Then you will be able to prevent your vehicle coughing out last whilst en route to your walking rendezvous or at least be able to dissertate volubly on the occasion.
Therefore, with the permission of my publishers, here is a short extract from my article, suitably titled “Diamonds are Forever”: -
“To remove and Install Caliper.
1. Raise the front of the vehicle, support on stands and remove the road wheel.
2. Disconnect the hydraulic line from the caliper by removing the banjo bolt.*
3. Remove the bolts connecting the caliper assembly to the stub axle flange and detach the caliper assembly.”
* To be a mechanic you have to be a musician yet!
I'm sure after this short extract that all bushwalking motorists will be able to pick a banjo and bolt. Why you need to remove your calipers I don't know. I always wear my Bonds.
I braked carefully to a halt, selected reverse gear (I have four on the floor) and did a neat “U-ee”, pulled the handbrake into the “on” position and switched off the ignition. “Ah!” said the Leader. “We're here!”
And so irate, bored and utterly confused reader, having had the temerity to have read thus far, here we were on the verge of the Winmalee Wilderness preparing to proceed down the firetrail so that we might proceed down the creek, proceeding along which we would be able to proceed….
Part Two next issue. Don't miss the miraculous adventures an our almost fatal trek. Hear how Margaret Reid was wrested from the clutches of the dreaded “Hug-me-tight”, Len Newland was torn by marauding lawyer vine, almost losing his valuable shorts - the struggle, staggering on courageously though suffering from loss of blood after being savaged by a gorging leech, and yours truly's death defying leap to escape the gnashing jaws of the dreaded red-bellied black snake - (verbum sat est sapienti).
(Mutterings from a hot weekend) by Joan Rigby.
No, not a statement, it should be a question, “Why do I go bushwalking?” Look at me, look at us all - not enough sleep last night, a long drive, it's hot and getting hotter. This fire-trail seems to go an forever. Back River was almost dry, no chance of water on the hill up to the trig. We're almost to the top - and now look - the silly road drops down and rises a steep 200 feet. There go the young and fit, the rest of us are slogging up the hill as if it were Everest - “Why do I go bushwalking?”
The trig. - and lunch - at last! Bob and Allan (new walkers) have been sipping water all the morning and now have little left - have they realised how far it is to the river? Oh well, I'll keep this last mugful in my wineskin - we may need it later. Casuarina, not shady, graceful trees but scratchy scrub tearing my legs, no shade and this is the easy bit of the ridge; much steeper and rougher further down.
Well, that was a mistake. A rough scramble along a rocky ridge and then no way down. I remember now - we came up that loose gully back there into the saddle, but that was two years ago and the opposite direction. I did say I couldn't remember all the details - “Why do I go buShwalking?”
It could be worse, at least my pack slips under the trees. That high-rise pack of Allan's is caught in the scrub again. How long is this ridge? 600 metres drop? Wonder if the Pound is dry? No water would be the last straw.
The bottom at last and at least there's a dunking pool and a cup of tea on the boil. Also the first leech. Did Kevin put it in the fire or did it fall into my gear? Guess I'll find out eventually. Now for a campsite - nothing much around - flat and rocky or steep and rocky seem to be the alternatives. Pat seems to have found something - not bad - it is feasible. Now if I slept beside this big log and if it rained, I could pitch the fly over both log and me. Wonder what lives in or under the log? Just have to hope it's friendly. Nice tangle of lawyer cane between me and the fire. Plenty of wood - mostly half rotten. It could be worse, it might rain. Why DO I go bushwalking? - there's the first drop now.
Rainy night and a late start - the sun will soon dry the rocks though. Soon there is too much sun and the rocks get hotter and hotter. Plenty of pools though; oh-oh, there's a snake in that one; wander how many times we've swum with a snake unknowingly? Lots of swims and we're far behind schedule. Yes, it seems reasonable to walk to 1.30 and lunch at the next pool after that. Why did we hit a dry stretch of river at 1.15? The three flyers are out of sight. The river's as dry as a bone and it's now nearly 2 pm. The tailenders we haven't seen for ages. Pat and I will stage a strike at this first just-passable pool and wait for them. Hope the leader understands when we see him. Two hours later and the party is together again - Peter was only 5 minutes downstream from us after all.
Five pm and the lovely pool at the Wadbilliga junction. Best swimming yet but the (now anxious) leader demands another two hours walking. Dry, stony Wadbilliga! Wonder what the temperature is? Possibly 35°? These hot rocks, radiating around us, must make it close to 40°. “Why do I go walking?”
Campsite is softer, clearer than last night's, but the fire is in a rock-heap. Over goes a billy and out goes the fire. Everyone is too tired and hot to care. Peter is demanding a 5 am rising and reluctantly we agree with him. All too soon the first light comes and Pat is up and stirring us. At least this stretch of river is easier, faster and, in the early morning, fairly cool. I keep thinking of that ridge down into the river - it is steep enough and loose enough coming down. What will it be like going up?. Allan's pack caught in the lawyer again. It's getting hotter, I hope the creek at the top is still running. Here's the first rocky knob, that's about 1/3 of the way. Rest a while and enjoy an orange. The orange is hot already despite being in the river all night, the chocolate is melted and that broken egg from yesterday is still turning up in odd places. On up the ridge, think of it in stages. Next bit is scrubby, then there's the bare bit by the side spur where David's boot came apart on that long Xmas trip, then the crest. Only a few hundred yards now and there's water in the creek.
Peter has relented, we can have lunch here instead of halfway up the next hill. Lovely spot but what has happened to the scrub and ferns around the saddle? Fire or drought? On through the scrub, under and over logs, up, up, then out into what the map shows as clear ground. More dwarf casuarina, more thick scrub. This map must have been drawn just after a fire. That firetrail must be just over the skyline, but we've been saying that for half an hour now.
The road at last! How glad we were to leave it two days ago. Now it looks like a friend - temperature must be high in the thirties now. Not much shade and it's eleven kilometres back to the cars. Walk, walk, road's hard and feet are soft. No water till halfway. Dirty, dry, sweaty we collapse in the shade, with just enough energy left to move away from the ants.
On to the Tuross, late afternoon at the cars. Packs down, water, clean clothes. Why do I go walking?
Why? Well it was a great trip, wonderful country, good company. Remember those birds along the river - the nest of fantails - the lyrebirds calling? Remember the clear cool pools - the feel of water against hot skin as you slid in - the trees against the sky above? Remember all the other good trips in the past, the ones yet to come.
I go walking because it is the most enjoyable life I know.
Congratulations to: Keith Cairncross and Ann Parks who were married on 27th February.
by Marcia Shappert.
Everyone said we were crazy to take the children to India and Sri Lanka with us. Especially Owen.
When I left for Nepal in February of 1980, PJ said “This is the last time you're getting out of the country without me!” Craig and I figured “Why not”. PJ is 11 years old now and Jenny is 7, they cope pretty well with bushwalking and roughing it. Anyway, once PJ turns 12, we have to pay full fare for him.
But why India? - all our friends ask. I had been there five years ago with six other bushwalkers and really enjoyed the country. I feel it has the best and worst of everything. Craig hadn't been there yet and wanted to see it, so the plans were made and we left an December 5th, 1980.
We arrived at the new Bombay Airport about 1.45 am. The airport had been officially opened at 5 pm the previous day. I felt it was done in typical Indian 'ticky-tacky' style. The toilets weren't working yet, there seemed to be general confusion as to where to go through customs, etc. We finally got checked through and went to the restaurant to have a cuppa and a light snack. (We were flying on to Madras at 7 am, so we had some time to kill. We figured if the kids coped with the long flight from Australia and all the waiting around at the Bombay Airport before we finally reached Madras, they'd cope with the whole trip.) Much to our amazement, we couldn't get a cup of tea! … so we settled for four 'colas' (Coke is no longer available in India) and a tired cheese sandwich. The kids thought the bread tasted terrible and the cheese like soapsuds. Craig and I were wondering if we hadn't made a mistake after all.
We finally reached Madras about 9.30 am and were all extremely tired. We settled into the little Hotel Sarmani and the kids were introduced to the Eastern toilet. It turned out that the hotel was located above a vegetarian restaurant… a very noisy restaurant, and after a couple of hours of tossing and turning in the Indian heat, we gave up trying to sleep and decided to explore Madras.
The kids' eyes were opened to beggars, holy cows, millions of people everywhere, and monkeys at the railway station where we waited in line for 1 1/2 hours for train tickets to Bangalore.
Although the restaurant located near our hotel was very noisy, the food was delicious and very reasonable. Jenny, who we can't convince to eat veges at home, really tucked into the potato pooris and very sweet coffee.
Our first day in India had been very interesting, but we collapsed into bed by 7 pm and waited for the restaurant to quiet down, which it finally did about 10.30.
The next day while visiting Fort St. George, we got talking to an Indian couple with four children. They invited us back to the 'house' - a room about 10' x 12' for the six of them, with a tiny lean-to with a mud floor for a kitchen. We never did see if they had a loo.
The man was a mechanical engineer with the Water Board and earned $110 a month clear. They considered themselves middle-class. The parents spoke English very well, but only the oldest child spoke any English. However, as we were to see over and over again, children have a language all their own. In no time at all, all the children were out playing 'chasings' and cricket. It was evident by the sounds of laughter that they were all enjoying themselves.
At one point in our conversation, I got out my $10 Woolworths calulator to help me put rupees into 'real' money. They were all so impressed by what it could do, that I said I would give it to them at the end of the trip in a month's time when we would be back in Madras. The 14-year-old daughter said she wanted to be a Science Professor, so I thought it would really help her in her studies. Needless to say, they were overjoyed.
The five hour second-class train trip to Bangalore was hot and dusty. The seats were as hard as rocks, but for $6.80 for the four of us we really couldn't complain. Bangalore is a much more pleasant place than Madras with wide, better repaired streets, a more pleasing climate and didn't seem nearly as crowded.
I have a friend who was in Bangalore at the same time we were so she took us on a tour of the Markets. Similar to Paddy's Markets, but, oh so different. Wendy pointed out such things as tongue scrapers, and fruits and vegetables that I had never seen before. She insisted that we buy BIG hair ribbons for Jenny, saying that no self-respecting Indian girl would go without ribbons in her hair.
Everywhere we went we attracted a crowd who would not only beg, but just stare. The children found this a bit disconcerting at first, but did get used to it. Everyone was attracted to Jenny's light-coloured hair and bright blue eyes. They always asked what country she came from and if she was a 'student'. PJ at 11 was taller than a lot of the adults and they were amazed to learn his age.
Bangalore has several dairies nearby, so Wendy recommended we fill up on all the dairy foods we wanted here because it would be safe to eat. She took us to a shop selling all sorts of 'barfi'. We really enjoyed trying all the different types of these sweets made with milk. We could even eat the 'gulah jamuns' there. I must admit they were as good as the ones I make.
From Bangalore we travelled by train to Mysore, which is about quarter the size of Bangalore. We had promised the children we would stay at one palace while we were in India, so we checked into the Lalitha Mahal Palace Hotel. It had been the residence of the Maharaja of Mysore and was lovely. The kids especially enjoyed the swimming pool. The dining room was domed in stained glass flowers and had a mezzanine around it. The huge ballroom is now used for conferences.
The two days we spent in Mysore were interesting. We toured the government silk weaving factory and saw the process from the cocoon stage right up to the weaving of beautiful silk saris, in some cases embroidered with gold. We also toured the sandalwood factory while there.
While in India we toured several factories and not once saw 'adequate working conditions'. Bob Hawke would have a field day there. But I guess if you're one of the lucky ones to even have a job, you don't complain about bad lighting or terrible smells, much less rotten pay. (PJ was washing cars for $2 each before we left for India to earn money for a watch. He made between $16 and $20 a weekend; this is the monthly wage for some Indians.) As the month wore on and the children saw how the majority of people lived, they said several times how lucky they were to live in a country like Australia.
Jenny's 'most unforgettable incident of the trip' happened in Mysore. Craig and I were busy buying fruit at a street stall, when we heard Jenny screaming. We turned around to see a huge cow running off. Jenny told us that the cow had bucked her!! PJ gave this sacred symbol of the Hindu religion a swift kick in the rear and it went running off. The Indians were not too happy with PJ. Fortunately, Jenny came to no real harm and only had a slight bruise to show for her encounter with the sacred caw.
Before we left for India I told the kids they would have to do their own washing. (We each took two changes of clothes.) It didn't quite work out that way. Usually when we got to some place that had hot water, we would use the bucket that was always in the bathroom as a substitute for a flushing toilet (you'd throw a bucket of water down the toilet, not use the bucket, silly!!) and put our clothes and soap in that. We'd then have Jenny stomp up and down in the bucket for a while (PJ's feet are too big). She thought it was great fun, especially as we used her navel for the on/off switch.
We'd been in India a week by this time and so far I was the only one to succumb to 'Delhi Belly'. I kept after the kids to wash their hands, be careful what they touch, etc., and they were fine and I wasn't!! They accepted the different diet, the strange sights and smells with very few comments. Having no one else to play with and very little to play with, they played together better than they often do at home.
We were all looking forward to Ooticamund, also known as Snooty Ooty. It's an old English hill station at 7,500 feet located in the Nilgiri Hills (the Blue Mtns.). The climate was quite refreshing after the heat in Mysore. It was the only place we used our sleeping bags, it being warm enough everywhere else to just use a sleeping sheet.
Owen had told us about the Ooty Club, so off we went. It looked as though the English had walked away yesterday, with hunt trophies all over the walls, big fireplaces and lots of big slip-covered arm chairs all over. The library, game room, billiard room, etc. looked as they must have at the height of the British Raj. The cup of tea we had there was the best we had anywhere in India. They allowed Indians to become members after Independence and now there are only a few English people left.
We had dinner that night at the Savoy Hotel, another relic of the Raj. The walls were all panelled in wood with a huge fire in the fireplace.
We had left the heat of Mysore in a taxi when the bus was over two hours late. A French girl we met at the bus station came along to share the fare. The countryside turned into steep hills overlooking coffee and tea plantations. We had lots of opportunities to stop and look as the taxi continually was boiling over.
The next morning, after having coffee on the balcony of the hotel, we walked over to The Lake, where we rented tWo pedal boats for 40c. an hour. We had found that if the kids got to do some of the things that interested them, they would go along more cheerfully with some of the boring things we wanted to do - like tour a museum, or some such thing.
The bus ride down through the Nilgiri Hills was rather reminiscent of Nepal. The road had 22 hairpin turns in it (all numbered) and the driver rarely had a chance to use top gear. However, whereas the land was all terraced in Nepal, here it was just steep and didn't look as though it was cultivated. The temperature rose as we came down the mountain, and soon we were feeling too warm again.
The long train ride to Cochin (the Queen of the Arabian Sea) was interesting only because of a fellow who started talking to the children. He was in the Navy and was stationed near Cochin. He made $7.00 a month! He entertained us all by reading our palms. PJ is to be a good student, be good at sports, and be very lucky and make lots of money. Jenny is to be a good student, but then fall off and make even more money than PJ. He told me Virtually the same thing a palmist in Jaipur told me five years ago!! All very interesting - I wonder if any of it will come true.
Cochin is really a series of islands. Very tropical and lush. Not many Europeans get to this south-west state, but they should. We spent a very relaxing two days here swimming and taking a boat ride through the canals. It reminded me of the klongs of Bangkok. We took a boat tour of the coir factory, Jew Town (where the Jewish settlement recently celebrated 400 years of living in India), and the Chinese fishing nets. PJ and Jenny were really fascinated how these lever-type nets worked, so they stayed behind while Craig and I visited the church where Vasco da Gama was buried in 1534. When we got back to the nets the kids had been invited out to one of the platforms the nets are worked from and had great fun helping to raise and lower these huge nets.
Also on the tour with us was an American named Charlie. I mentioned that we were going that night to see the Kathakali dancers. These dancers perform the legends of Hindu mythology in vivid makeup and costumes. Charlie asked if he could come too, so after a very hurried meal of fresh fish which Cochin is known for, we hailed down two auto-rickshaws. Charlie and Craig in one and the children and I in the other. No one we spoke to seemed to understand what I was trying to say, so finally I pulled out a postcard with a green-faced Kathakali dancer on it. The driver at last understood, said something to the other driver, and off sped the two autos - in different directions! Craig and Charlie got to see the dancers and so did we, but at two different places. Everyone agreed, though, that the dancers were really spectacular. The eyes and hand movements are incredible and PJ and Jenny had lots of fun trying to imitate them.
To be continued…
by Barry Wallace.
The meeting began at 2023 with about 35 members present and the President in the chair. Spiro and Tony Marshall sent apologies and we welcomed new members Colin Besley, Barry Murdoch and Lyn Wilson with the traditional applause, constitution and badge.
The Minutes of the January meeting were read and received, and Correspondence brought only a letter from the Dept. of Tourism seeking information on the Club. The usual letters to new members were sent, but that was all.
The Treasurer was not present but the meeting was presented with the following details of closing balances:-
Main account $2435.52
Coolana account $ 260.33
There was no Federation Report for the month so we were forced on to the Walks Report.
Roy Braithwaite's long playing Snowy Mountains walk was completed, had five members and one visitor, but there was nobody at the meeting prepared to give a report on it.
The first reported walk was David Rostron's trip through Morong Deep on the Upper Kowmung, but you read about that in last month's mag. Just while we are discussing that walk, I should point out that my tent was abdulled, - sort of, and as for the other allegation, anyone who has ever seen Bob Duncan in the early morning will know I have no case to answer. The weather was good, there were 14 starters and it was a beaut trip.
Ian Debert's Colo River trip of 16,17,18 January had 13 starters, fine weather, and swimming. Peter Christian's day walk from Waterfall to Heathcote attracted 6 members, 10 prospectives and one visitor. The other Peter, Sargeant by name, led a good trip from Faulconbridge to Glenbrook but we don't know how many people participated.
The following weekend, 23 to 26 January, saw Wayne Steele leading a team of 15 seasoned whiteants on a very hot trip in the Brindabellas. The people survived the heat better than some of the cars, it seems. Bill' Burke's Valiant was sighted with a sunburst pattern of rust streaks from the bonnet and Mark Dabb's Citroen was reported beetling along the Tharwa road with a petrol drip-tube clenched in its beak. All of which makes up for the fact that there was no report of the Peter Harris trip programmed for that weekend. Spiro's Kanangra trip encountered hot conditions and had about 15 starters. The Waterfall to Heathcote day walk saw 12 people suffering through a 2-hour lunch under the lash of Sheila Binns.
The Don and Jenny Cornell walk on the Shoalhaven of 30,31 January and 1st Feb. had 14 starters enjoying the heat in a clear and clean Shoalhaven. Bob Hodgson's Danae Brook trip did not go, and the same applied to Gordon Lee's camping made easy. Len Newland, on the other hand, had four people doing a car swap trip - somewhere. We are promised a magazine article which will tell all. The other two day walks had Peter Christian with 8 members, 2 prospectives, 3 visitors and no report, and Peter Miller aborting a Wollongambe Canyon trip in the early morning rain. Some of the survivors went to Mt. Banks - others scattered to the four winds.
The weekend of 6,7,8 Feb saw Bill Burke leading 14 people on his Long Point to Bungonia and return trip. They reported Bungonia as somewhat turbid, but Barber's Creek as good as ever. Gordon Lee's Little River exploratory failed to attract starters and both day walks were cancelled. All of which brought the Walks Report to a mercifully swift end.
There was no General Business, so we discussed “the bone” and other symbols of office - ho hum!
The announcements over, we closed the meeting at 2051.
This year the annual subscriptions for active members are:-
|Single member||$ 9|
|Full-time student||$ 7|
Subscriptions are due and payable at the Annual General Meeting. The constitution provides that the committee shall review the membership of any member whose subscription is due and unpaid for two months.
Non-active fees will be set at the April Committee Meeting and published in the next edition of the magazine. Non-active members will be advised of the fees by letter.
Subscriptions can be paid to the Treasurer, Tony Marshall, or to John Holly at the weekly club meeting, or mailed to Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476 G.P.O., Sydney, 2001.
Anyone interested in buying abseiling rope for canyon trips please contact Tony Marshall. Phone 713,6985 (H) or 29,5491 (B).