SBW Walks Programs
Established June, 1931.
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476 G.P.0., 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|
|Happy 50th Birthday, “The Sydney Bushwalker”||Helen Gray||2|
|Easter 1981||Dot Butler||4|
|The Coast Race||Bill Gamble||7|
|May General Meeting||Jim Brown||8|
|Advertisement - Eastwood Camping Centre||10|
|To Gospers Mountain and Back||Wal Liddle||11|
|Dot Butler's 50th Anniversary Party||observer||12|
|Travelling with Children in India - Part 4||Marcia Shappert||15|
|Obituary - Ruby Hall||Christa Younger||18|
|Social Notes for July (also Ad for Theatre Party)||Peter Miller||18|
50th Birthday Issue
by Helen Gray.
This month in 1931 the club magazine first went to print. I was unaware of this until Dorothy Lawry (our first woman president who was also editor at the same time) wrote to me. I quote from her letter.
“I have just finished reading today's 'Sydney Morning Herald' with all its blurb - justifiable - about its 150th birthday this year. This drew my attention to the fact that the S.B.W. monthly was started in 1931, so 1981 is its 50th birthday and I guess that is a record for a club magazine.”
It all started when “one girl stood up in a monthly meeting and asked if it would be all right if some of us produced a magazine every other month. She was told if some of us liked to try it and see if there was any demand, that would be all right, but the Club would not sponsor it until or if it proved a success. Six of us made a pool by throwing in 10/- each. After a few issues had proved a success “The Bushwalker” became “The Sydney Bushwalker” and we got our 10/- back when it was taken over officially.
“In those early days we were having it produced by a professional typist (with price accordingly) for some time quite successfully. Then a new editor (Marie Byles) and assistant (Dinah Harefield) were appointed and Dinah nearly killed the magazine. She used the blue pencil very freely. The various contributers took exception and said 'It is not a literary magazine'. Then no contributions were available for the next issue.”
Obviously the situation was sorted out. Dorothy says that “Bill Mullins saved the magazine by moving that it be a monthly produced entirely by club members at a lower price and this it has been ever since”.
No one seems sure of the date of our cover. Foundation member Alan Rigby drew it some time in the 30's (our archive copies have had the original covers removed for binding).
Brian Harvey traced the history of the magazine in an article a couple of years ago. As he pointed out, at times it was quite an effort to produce the magazine every month, especially during the War years with paper shortages etc.
Until the mid-50's the magazine was always duplicated and collated in the club-rooms (like the old Ingersoll Hall) but not necessarily on a club meeting night. Jim Brown recalls collating while the St. John's Ambulance Band practised in the same room. Each bundle of pages would be set side by side an a long trestle table, and a worker would run (or march, or dance, depending on the music) down the aisle picking up a sheet from each pile and, clutching the bundle, would run over to the person with the stapler and thence back to the head of the table again.
When I joined the Club in '59, the magazine was being put together in members' homes. I soon got involved with the team who met at the Dean's every month. Shirley had organised the publication so that the entire production was done in one sitting. Bob Duncan, the editor, would drive over from his home at Camden and hand over half-a-dozen articles to Shirley, who would start typing furiously whilst delegating other jobs. While Bob proof-read and I illustrated, Tine Matthews would be looking after the four little Dean children, Kevin would be cooking a meal, some one who'd just walked in would be ordered to bake a cake, and George Gray and Stan Madden took it in turn to turn the duplicator handle. All hard, rushed work - but fun.
Today we may have an electric duplicator, but it has a sinister mind of its own, and when no one's looking it spits ink or devours paper. The collators now have a big job too; over 400 copies have to be put together. The cost-saving aspects of magazine publication mean work for someone: by not having the date on each cover we save on printing costs (we can bulk order covers) but someone has to count up 400+ covers and date-stamp them by hand. By pre-sorting the wrapped magazines into postal zones we save on postage but that's a lot of work too (made easier for the rest of us by the time and effort Sheila Binns puts into the job).
The typist's lot has remained the same for 50 years (no short cuts there). It still takes many hours of work and concentration and there's no glamour attached. As an editor, I feel this job unfairly gets the glory (although there has been some blame).
And the writers? We publish almost anything (but that doesn't mean we're desperate), because we aren't a literary magazine, but a club magazine. Members can share the joy (and pain!) of their trips through the magazine and air their views on just about anything.
Carry on, The Sydney Bushwalker!
Note. Brenda White, one of the early members, has old magazines she wishes to give away. Anyone interested in acquiring very early copies of the Club magazine, please contact Mrs. Elsie McNamara on Te1. 569,5845.
by Dot Butler, Doone Wyborne, Jo Van Sommers.
Bendethera Peak - Woolla Creek - Mt. Donovan - Donovan Creek - Coondella Creek - Diamond Creek - Bendethera. 55 km Medium.
The leaders were Doone Wyborn responsible for route finding, and Don Finch as Personnel Manager, and there were 26 in the party.
We assembled Thursday night on the Araluen/Moruya Road where it crosses Moruya River, bedded down for the night and next morning greeted our friends. It was good to see Frank and Joan Rigby up from Canberra. And there was Geof Wagg out of mothballs after 15 years of coaching soccer with his young. Phil Butt was looking down in the mouth. On the trip up his car had had battery trouble and on a hill between Mogo and Moruya it lost all its charge and the car would only proceed further when all lights, including the parking lights, were turned off. Fortunately it was a moonlight night. Before we could move off this had to be rectified. Dr. Finch, using Dr. Wallace's multimeter and other implements, determined the reason for the flat battery was a fault in the field winding of the alternator - a wire had broken and there was a gap of about 30 mm. He thereupon totally dismantled it in the middle of nowhere on a sheet of cardboard. He then called in Dr. Hodgson to carry out soldering with the aid of Dr. Wallace's solder and the patient's screwdriver. A miracle of microsurgery was executed by this efficient team, the alternator was reassembled after its open-heart surgery and the car started forthwith with the aid of jumper leads. By 8.30 am we left in the cars and travelled for one mile along the Little Sugarloaf firetrail, then parked at the head of Diamond Creek at an altitude of about 3,500 ft. This was to be our exit route on the fourth day.
Then began a 22 km road bash along the Bendethera fire trail. It was necessary to carry water. The ups and the downs, when toted up, came to the astounding total of 3,000 ft. Whoever designed the firetrail certainly believed that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. It went up and down like the Scenic Railway in its heyday. The situation wasn't helped by the civilized characters who kept passing us in their four-wheel drives. There were mutual mutterings about other people's crazy ideas of enjoying themselves. Somehow their idea didn't seem so crazy towards the end of the day. The tail-end of the party might even have accepted a lift if they had been able to think of a way of keeping it secret.
We reached Bendethera Peak trig for lunch, then continued on along the Merricumbene fire trail to Upper Woolla Creek. We camped for the night an this creek half a km from the firetrail in a very pretty spot among tree ferns. Woolla Creek is in a granite gorge.
Saturday morning we continued down the creek, keeping to the true right, negotiating many waterfalls in the very steep descent - the creek dropped 600 vertical feet in less than half a km. The steepness eased off and we continued down the creek for another km before ascending a ridge on the true right side which went up 1,700 ft to the West Peak of Mt. Donovan, where we had lunch. Then we descended 700 ft to the saddle between the E. and W. peaks, through a beautiful tree fern forest. Here the party split up. The ones who felt it wise to conserve their energy, and the ones who were honestly wrecked, settled down for a nice rest while the intrepid others climbed another 700 ft to the top of the East peak of Donovan. They came back talking mysteriously about not one peak but three. It turned out that two of them were Jo's; she had lost her shirt on the way up. Gordon Lee found it for her on the way down (spoil sport!).
The whole party now continued an down into the gully on the south side, which gully was the headwaters of Donovan Creek. All this country was known to Doone as he had carried out one of his Geological Surveys here, so we learnt a lot. Mt. Donovan is a mountain of gabbro. There is a large fault line which Donovan Creek follows, with granite on the west and rhyolite on the east. (Rhyolite is a volcanic rock formed from a volcano 375,000,000 years ago.) The fault between the rhyolite and the granite has had a vertical displacement of something like 10,000 ft.
In Donovan Creek we encountered the best tree fern forest ever seen, but potential campsites were at a premium. We managed to find one which was reasonably satisfactory although there were the usual complaints from some of the party. That night we had a sing-song of sorts. Just before morning we heard a terrific crash when a big tree splintered and fell down by the creek.
Sunday morning we continued down Donovan Creek for 6 km - quite a slothful morning. During one of our many stops Doone borrowed a sharp penknife to dig out of the white granite some black crystals as he wished to check which of two minerals they might be: amphibole or tourmaline. We reached the junction with Burra Creek and went down it one km to a lunch spot and swimming. In the afternoon we went up and over a ridge - a total climb of 500 ft - through a saddle and down into Coondella Creek to camp.
There had been quite some talk during the trip about Dave Rostron's Three Peaks trip in May. Gordon Lee announced himself as a starter and was regarding this walk as a training weekend. Imagine his consternation when one of his knees suddenly stiffened. He gritted his teeth and struggled on with a stiff leg. He had previously invited Dot, as physiotherapist, to feel the heads of the eight-sided nuts which the orthopaedic surgeon had used to hold a metal plate in place on the outer side of his thigh when he broke his femur some time ago. Jo was interested too, and so was Dr. Hodgson. Geof Wagg (old members will remember him as one of the Crown Street Composers) was inspired to compose this masterpiece:-
“All the boys admire Gordon's guts -
They envy the way that he struts -
While each girlie squeals
As she lines up for feels
Of his sexy hexagonal nuts.”
“I say,” said Gordon, “That's pretty good, isn't it!” Miraculously his knee recovered overnight, and without the professional help of Dot.
Coondella Creek campsite was a lovely wide open spot, although there was some moaning at the lack of a bar. Bill Burke and Barry Wallace had done their best, but all good things come to an end some time. The green grass grew all round, all round, but it seems we need more younger members like Geof to help us solve the problem of getting high on long trips.
Bill Burke testified in the presence of several witnesses that he would bet a hundred dollars that no one over forty could complete the Three Peaks trip (even the modified Cox to Cox version) in less than 24 hours. Glints appeared in several erstwhile jaded eyes as this news spread. Brian declared that it would be worth the agony just to take the money offa him. But Bill probably thought, looking around him as we slid backwards and forwards on the final ridge, that his money was pretty safe.
Monday morning we departed at 8.30 and walked down Coondella Creek through the rhyolite gorge, then up Diamond Creek through five waterfalls all with beaut swimming pools at the bottom, but no one went in for a swim. We noticed how the volcanic rhyolite had formed big cliffs, steep slopes and waterfalls, a characteristic of this rock. The same belt extends north/south all along the east side of the fault we had been following.
We had morning tea in the sun at the top of One of the falls and soon after had lunch at the junction of Diamond creek and an unnamed side creek. We then took the side creek for 1 1/2 km through a beautiful tree fern forest with huge vines hanging from trees. Then came the big climb out, 1,600 vertical feet, nice and easy at first, then up and up and UP a very steep loose hillside to the fire trail up top and a mere 200 metres brought us out at the cars. Soon we were heading for home. Even Phil Butt's car did not fail after its earlier traumatic surgery, but just in case of trouble Dr. Wallace looked after the patient for the journey home right back to Sydney.
Some of us stopped at Bateman's Bay for fish and chips. Spiro tried to compact the rubbish in an overflowing rubbish tin and pulled the whole lot down on top of himself. Amazed pedestrians were treated to the sight of Spiro sprawling on the pavement beneath a mountain of garbage. Conservationists will be happy to hear that he nobly picked it all up and replaced it in the tin, before polishing off the rest of his chips.
This.was one of those mighty trips whose success was due to the efficience of the leaders. But that's what one always expects on a Donny Finch / Doone Wyborn trip. May there be more of them.
Congratulations - to Frank Roberts, who has announced his engagement to Donalda Harris, and is to be married next month.
by Bill Gamble.
So often does one hear about the headlong rush of bushwalkers on the day walks programme, from Bundeena to Otford to catch the early train, that it is time, perhaps, for an annual race to be inaugurated to get it out of the Club's system in one day-long dash. Maybe then could we get back to enjoying the walk on its scenic merits.
Since joining the Club last year, I have heard various accounts of this dash, including the walks report on Leone Vella's coast run on 7th September last; and, now, I have been a lacklustre participant myself in another such race on Peter Christian's 5th April walk.
Diverging for a moment, I an unsure as to whether it was Peter's walk or just anybody's as I never caught sight of him all day. Did he participate or was it left to Bill Capon, Jan Mohandas, Elizabeth Radcliff and me to find our own ways southwards? Train delays had upset our best laid plans to reach Cronulla in time to catch the 9.00 am ferry to Bundeena and perhaps the others went ahead as scheduled while we did not get away until 10.00 am. I forgot to check later, but the lack of footprints in the sand seemed to indicate that we were the only starters in changeable conditions - a rather coolish day and showery after a few days of heavy rain.
Jan soon disappeared into the wild blue yonder at Big Marley Beach, and the challenge to connect with the 4.56 pm at Otford was too much for Bill Capon (he had already alluded to trying for the 3.35 pm if the 9.00 am ferry had been caught) as he shot through just after Wattamolla Beach to leave the tailend to Elizabeth and me. The pace at the rear was steady and allowed time to appreciate the many streams and waterfalls flowing again after a long dry spell, and for some swimming in somewhat chilly water at Little Marley and Garie Beaches, before reaching Otford soon after 6.00 pm. It could probably be said that all four did, in their own ways, have a good day.
But, returning to the point: Why not put an annual 5 kg rucksack coast race on the programme - first prize the 3.35 pm; second the 4.56 pm; and third the 6.37 pm. Also-rans may prefer the 8.17 pm!
Accommodation - available for a bushwalker.
Non-smoker, interested in sharing two-bedroom house at Five Dock with one male. $35 per week plus share household costs. Please ring Tony Marshall. 713,6985 (Home) or 29,5491 (Business). Probably easier to contact at business.
by Jim Brown.
What with the autumnal sharpness in the air, and the fact that it was the first week of school holidays, the turn-up of almost 50 folk for the General Meeting is difficult to explain: possibly a dozen or more were there to collect discount-priced sandshoes from the Hajinakitas emporium. The business part of the evening began at 8.20 pm with a welcome to one new member, Anton Gillezeau, and after confirming the April Minutes, it was decided Alex Colley's comment on the Morton Park Planning Scheme should be treated as a matter arising.
Alex (our Conservation Secretary) then said he had been in touch with the local Parks Service Officer and had been given an extension of time to 22nd May to make the Club's submission. He took the view that access should be our main concern, and proposed that we oppose any new road construction, and urge that existing roads and trails should either be reasonably maintained or closed and allowed to revert to nature. We finally resolved along these lines, nominating only the present dilapidated Sassafras-Newhaven Gap track as one to be preserved and preferably improved. Mention was also made of the importance of assuring access across the private property at Wog Wog.
Correspondence contained little of consequence, and nothing arose. Having told us that our funds stood at $2091 in the general account and $50 in the Coolana book, the Treasurer proposed we invest $1000 of the main package in a fairly high-interest security (naturally a trustee investment), and we carried the motion.
Presumably the Federation delegate was trading in sandshoes, so we pressed on to the Walks Report, with promptings to “speak up” to the sundry reporters. Commencing with the weekend before Easter, we heard that 7 people were out on Mark Dabb's Myall Lakes canoe exploit. Having said there was good weather, we were told the canoeists “sailed with umbrellas both ways”. Len Newland took a party of unknown proportions to Western Creek and St. Helena but no information was available, and of the two day walks Meryl Watman conducted 9 people in the Myuna Creek area, and Roy Braithwaite's party numbered 16, including 2 prospectives, for whose benefit he agreed to propose the Porto Bay-Hawkesbury walk as a test - the same as on previous programmes.
Easter saw the Bushies out in some force, in particular 26 tackling the Bendethera country under Wyborn/Finch management. Some fascinating streams and waterholes were passed, but for some people the lengthy fire trail stage on one day proved rather wearing. Peter Miller's canoe jaunt on the waters of Tallowa Dam (5 folk, 2 kayaks and one Canadian canoe) was reported in May's magazine. Peter Harris went to the Apsley and Tia Gorges, but no details were to be had. Ray Turton inherited the Budawangs base camp trip and 8 attended initially, being joined on Saturday by 4 more. Camp was made on Boonbah Creek and various day walks done, including trips to Monolith Valley and the Mount Sturgiss-Hidden Valley area. There were three on Roy Braithwaite's Alps journey also reported in last month's magazine.
On the following weekend - Anzac Day without the extra day - Pat McBride too over from an injured David Rostron on a very smart canter from Kanangra to Axe Head Range and back. Four fleet-footed citizens got back to the cars about 8.0 pm Sunday. That weekend Bob Younger with parity of eleven had pleasant walking at Ettrema, but the Ti Willa walk was cancelled for lack of starters. The day walks had a good roll-up, 16 with Hans Beck down Glenbrook Creek, which had still a fair flow of water and at least one patch of quicksand which sucked in a prospective; and 12 on Sheila Binns' Kangaroo Creek trip - parts of the way changed almost beyond recognition after last November's bush fires.
The Cornells led a party totalling 16 on the Martin's Creek - Nattai jaunt on the first weekend of May, and threw in a side trip up to the Beloon Gap on the Wollondilly Divide. That same weekend Brian Hart had three starters left after some got astray in transit, but found a very easy ridge off Mount Coricudgy in the upper end of Blackwater Creek, and returned early to the cars after exploring its pleasant headwaters. Having no starters, Gordon Lee formed a party of one to Paralyser and Guouogang, while 19 joined David Ingram to Cowan Creek, the region having largely recovered from earlier bush fires. Len Newland's “exploratory” in Lynch's Creek attracted five, who had leisured morning tea and lunch breaks, but finally reached the cars along a fire trail after nightfall.
For the last weekend under review (May 8-9-10), a party of eight assailed the Three Peaks with David Rostron. Advertised as “80 km - Very Hard” the conquerors gloated at the meeting over “50 miles and 15,000 ft” to get away from cold metric calculations. (Without scaling it off on a map I assume that's 15,000 ft of total ascent, not 9,000 ft up and 6,000 ft down.) Seven people were on Bob Younger's Shoalhaven trip - no detailed report. Margaret Reid had 19 on the Pindar Cave trip, where some evidence was still about of last summer's fires. The need to travel by a later train than originally intended reduced the spread of time available. Roy Braithwaite's team of 9 lunched at Deer Pool en route from Bundeena to Audley and all went to plan.
Having finished with Walks Report, it was now discovered the Federation Delegate could not comment, as he had left notes of the last meeting at home. A double-barrelled Fed. report is a pleasure in store for us.
In General Business, Peter Miller asked if something could be done in a simple way to improve the bit of track leading in from the sealed road to our “parking area” above Coolana. As John Redfern pointed out, this is not on the Club property and it was left to the Coolana Committee to look into, and hopefully, remedy.
At 9.16 pm President Bob donged his gang and we went several ways.
by Wal Liddle (No, I haven't got an uncle named Felix).
A long drive through the night, via Bell's Line of Road and Lithgow saw us at the Glen Davis camping ground, opposite the disused hotel. Whilst most of the party camped under cotton or nylon, two of us slept in the station wagon.
Early morning dawned bright but with slightly overcast conditions. A gathering around the breakfast fire revealed that there were 14 persons present, namely Fazeley, Jim, Robert, James, Brian and Brian, George, Wal, Karl, Geoff, Gemma, Don, Matthew (14 years) and Jim.
Whilst awaiting the rest of the party to finish breakfast I strolled down to the town to survey the local scene. The town now consists of the disused pub and a number of shops (either disused or used as dwellings), and a small number of occupied houses, all on dirt roads. There is a post office (in going order), also a magnificent two-storey brick building with a bow fronted facade complete with colonial-type glass doors, namely the “Painted Horse Ranch”. A small brick building attached to the ranch was emblazoned with a religious cross, so possibly the “ranch” had been a convent or religious institution in Glen Davis' “heyday”.
“Hey day” you say!! Oh yes. Glen Davis has seen better days as in the 1940/50's. In 1940 the Australian Government opened the Glen Davis shale oil complex. Shale was mined and refined to extract high grade oil for the navy during the Second World War. The operation was a huge economic failure due to inept management, badly, designed equipment, isolation and floods. In 1952 the Menzies government closed the works. The miners who had built the town around the industry, struck for 28 days underground in protest at the closure. The strike earned them compensation but failed to save the town. Townspeople were left with houses and property they could not sell.
After looking at the old photos of the processing plant (at the time of the closure) in the pub's front window, including graffiti of the time - “Got No More Aussie Oil!” - I proceeded back to the breakfast fire.
At approximately 8.0 o'clock the party finished breakfast and drove to the Ranch where a small fee was paid to enter the ex-oil-co's property. After entering two gates we traversed a concrete road past the ruins of the processing plant, complete with kilns, boilers, machinery, trucks and buses. Flocks of white cockatoos arose from amongst the ruins as we drove past. We parked the cars at the end of a dirt road, black with coal stains.
All Saturday morning we spent creek hopping in Capertee River, Coorongooba Creek And Running Stream Creek.
After lunch we climbed out of Running Stream via a high mountain and proceeded on the top of the ridge until we reached the old landing strip at Geebung Ground. (Apparently the, strip was used by the Australian and American forces in World War II.) From here the party “trekked on” via four wheel drive tracks and a dirt road until we reached the “meadow” below Gospers Mountain.
The meadow was a section of cleared land with one cow and a small stockyard on same. Here we pitched camp in long soft grass and ferns, with breathtaking views of 360° all around. As far as the eye could see were rugged, pristine valleys clothed in verdant green trees and undergrowth.
Water was somewhat of a problem for camping but after climbing down the valley for about 300 yards we found a “soak” in amongst the bushes. A wonderful meal was enjoyed by all around a very sociable campfire, and Gemma capped it all off by producing the ingredients for a cheese cake from her haversack, making same and sharing it amongst her fellow campers.
Sunday dawned bright and sunny and after partaking of the views from the trig station at the top of Gospers Mountain proper, we proceeded in a southerly direction, via a dirt road. Around dinnertime the road petered out and we “lunched” above a valley containing the Capertee River. The river seemed so near and yet it was so far. In fact we spent approximately 1 1/2 hours scrambling down the steep slopes, via loose boulders and prickly bushes, getting to the bottom. Once we reached the river the rest of the walk was a “breeze”, via tracks alongside the river.
Many thanks to Don and Fazeley for their navigation, also to the Club for an enjoyable weekend.
(Acknowledgements for the history of Glen Davis to the Sydney Filmmakers Co-op, St. Peters Lane, Darlinghurst - from their recently concluded film “Bulldozed - No Such a Place”.)
There was a hush in the hall, a wine glass was heard dropping to the floor, the orchestra faltered and stopped and a great silence overwhelmed the boozers and then seconds later amid grand cheering and balloons, the Queen entered. Her diamond tiara adding height as doth an angel to a Christmas Tree, and sparkling in the blaze of the Ashfield Town Hall, Dorothy outdid Solomon in all his glory.
With her unusual necklace rising and falling on her delicate bosom, her neck opaque and translucent as a Botticelli virgin's, even Watteau and Fragonard (who for those uncultured drips painted imaginary scenes of swooning ladies in voluptuous gowns), even those two Froggy painters couldn't have caught the beauty, the play of light and shade on her crinoline from the chandeliers of the Ashfield Town Hall, as did our Dorothy. It was as though Marie Antoinette herself (but without her head tucked underneath her arm) had been reincarnated. A silver lame encrusted gown shimmering over hundreds of yards of lace underskirt, with here and there large glitter roses made of the same fabric. And her shoes! Purple satin slippers with points just like a regular Princess out of a tryptich that made even hardened souls like Owen Marks and Phil Butt swoon when they looked below her hooped skirt. May God punish them both (although a Bible student said that they were probably checking up, as King Solomon did, to see if the Queen of Sheba had hairy legs, although he did it much more politely and made her walk over a mirrored floor). Where was I? And what a Regal Bearing. Her supple lily-white hand and wrists beneath her sunburnt arms, gave just that touch of contrast, and when later on in the evening she knighted with a plastic butter knife a rather dirty looking Sheikh who had just flown in from Port Moresby (it was Craig Shappert in incognito) her whole regal carriage was obvious to all. Thus Dorothy Butler, beloved by all, made her grandest entry.
A whole Town Hall to celebrate her 50th year of active walking with the Club. What an honour, and indeed what an honour for all the guests. And who wasn't there could fill a book the size of Mussolini's Greatest War Heroes. First and foremost was Tom Herbert, an ex-President from 1933 - most of us had only read of him in the archives and here he was, chatting to Alex Colley about former lives and loves. Jean Ashdown, a member since 1929 was seen conversing with Jess Martin, who not many people realize kept the Club going through the war years of 1939-1945. On the drink table was an old photo album of people who are now old and feeble or memories, and yet they in their day were fitter than this generation. Shorter weekends with heavier packs were the norm in those Glorious Days in the late 20's and 30's. And there was Enid Rigby, a member now for 54 years. The Rigbys and Pages from Canberra made the pilgrimage and did homage unto Dorothy.
The musicians and singers performed admirably, and the Town Hall night-watchman was later heard to remark that it was the best and quietest music he had heard for years.
A small number of revellers came in fancy dress and as they are more noteworthy and flamboyant they will get a mention. The Hosts, George Gray and family, were all decked out in a thousand years of costumery. Young Susan was a medievil heroine with a pointed hat 3 ft high, Kathleen was in a black and white servant's livery, whilst Helen in blonde wig and blue cocktail outfit was insignificant next to reliable George who was the Most Distinguished Person, in a three piece evening suit with tails, and a frilly dickie that contrasted with his contoured beard. The observant critic couldn't help noticing the moth-holes were touched up with ink. Shame! Marcia Shappert came in an emerald green ninon-over-none-on thing from the Flapper days which reminded Phyllis Ratcliffe of her young days and brought tears into the eyes of Gladys Roberts, who can remember those glorious times before the Wall Street crash. Owen McMarks came in an odd mixture of six clashing tartans, his flaming red hair covering his piercing cold blue eyes. Bob Duncan and Snow Brown wore their Yeti costumes. Judith Rostron was heard to say to Jo, “How can I compare thee to a summer's night?” To which she replied, “You can't, seeing I'm a Sommers Jester”. What a lovely sight she was. Frilly jerkin with bells and purple pants, but her headgear was not quite genuine. It was not true that she was a fool. Ann Brown was an authentic high class Indian lady with her black and gold sari, and I did espy as well a Madame Butterfly - or was it Mata Hari. I couldn't tell.
There was a small speech, giving for the first time in our Club's history, Life Membership to Dorothy, and Grace Noble's monster fruit cake with a double circle of candles was duly blown out and cut. Telegrams were read out with apologies and best wishes from Mouldy Harrison, Hilda Newstead, Heather Williams and Ray Hookway; messages came from the Whites and Bill Burke and Spiro who were overseas, in hospital or prison or something. Mr. Davison, our Coolana surveyor (now 92), sent his best wishes and regrets that he wasn't there to dance the evening away, and included a donation towards the party. Don Matthews, at a few hours' notice, wrote an Ode to Dorothy, and read his Owne Worke, and there is nobody in the Club (apart from Jim Brown who was too busy up a ladder painting) equal to the task. Here it is for posterity and eternity, forever:-
by Don Matthews.
Regal in stature, though her name implies.
A form of service to the upper class,
She glides across the landscape - glides? She flies!
With winged feet which barely touch the grass,
And conquers, in a tanner quite unfussed,
Those perils which beset earth's wrinkled crust.
With these accomplishments, no pride we see,
But maidenly humility that's meet,
And modest and sweet comment in low key,
In contrast to the vigour of the feat.
So does our Club, its members old and new,
Pay tribute to a friend of fifty years;
The princess of the woods! Hear now your cue,
And honour her with three long rousing cheers.
New members were there in force as well as the old. The familiar and unfamiliar. Frank Roberts and his new fiance Donalda with a nine carat diamond to blind one and all. The food went, the drinks were drunk, and when Snow Brown came out wearing Marcia's green frock it proved too much for Barry Wallace who in shock dropped and smashed his waterford drinking mug.
The witching hour came, normal attire once more resumed, tidying-ups took over and the small band of reliable types got together and by 12.30 the nightwatchman snuffed the lights and the party was over. Humble readers, don't be too upset if your name is not here, the good is oft interred with the grave.
We wish Dorothy many more years of health and happiness with the Club, and….
“With these blessings one by one,
May God take us all into Kingdom Come.”
by Marcia Shappert.
We had spent a lovely Christmas at Wilpattu National Park in Sri Lanka and now headed back to Anuradhapura to catch a 'mini bus' to Kandy, the mountain stronghold that the Kandyan chiefs were able to protect from the Portuguese, Dutch and British until 1815. Its extra two centuries of independence gave Kandy ample time to develop distinctive customs and traditions.
The 'mini buses' were new on the scene since I had last been in Sri Lanka. They are the usual 16 seater buses and go to places often not serviced by train. They are also much quicker than government buses, the reason why we were to find out. The four hour bus trip cost $2.25 for the four of us. A German fellow got on the bus and refused to sit in the front seat. He said he'd rather walk. I didn't understand this until the bus started. The rules seemed to me to be:- (1) Pass anyone in front of you - no matter how fast they are going. (2) Pass only when someone is coming in the opposite direction or on 'S' bends or 'blind' curves, and (3) Above all, use the horn the whole way. Now I understood the German and agreed with him!
Our friends in Colombo had organized for us to stay with friends of theirs as paying guests. The house was near “Elephant Baths” and Beautiful. Our hostess, Mrs. Ratwatte, is the widow of the High Commissioner to Ghana and Malaysia and the daughter-in-law of Mayor of Kandy, who had held this post for 25 years. We paid more that night than for most of the trip, $25, but it was well worth it just for the experience. We had two huge rooms, one for Craig and me and another for the children, plus two large bathrooms (no hot water, though). The two-storey house must have been at least 100 squares and the grounds were fantastic, including a large fountain in the front yard. I was changing, when the kids ran in shouting “There's an elephant coming up the driveway, with a log in its trunk”. I ran out with my camera to take a picture of this remarkable sight. How the Ratawattes laughed at our excitement. It was their pet elephant and they said we could all have a ride the next morning. Its name is Leshme and it's 52 years old. The log it had in its trunk was its dinner.
In our excitement, we almost missed the bus to town and the Kandyan Dancers. The dances were spectacular, with beautiful costumes. The fire-eater was my favourite. Jenny had her picture taken with some masked dancer who was more anxious to have the picture taken than Jenny was.
On the bus going to the dances, I met two English girls, one of whom now works in Pokra, Nepal. I mentioned the name of a girl I had met in Pokra while there in Feb, 1980 and to my surprise the English girl was her roommate!! It is really a small world.
The next morning the children were up early to have their ride on Leshme. She stopped at the fountain and had a shower and a long drink - you could see the level of the fountain go down.
“Delhi Belly” finally struck P.J. Jenny had succumbed at Wilpattur, so they decided to stay 'home' and play with the Tamil servant girls who couldn't speak a word of English. Craig and I went into Kandy to do some sightseeing and shopping, and to get information on the bus to Ratnapura, our next stop. Somehow, we ended up on a tour of a tea plantation. The driver even stopped to get P.J. and Jenny, who were feeling somewhat better.
It was interesting to see the plantation, but it must be backbreaking work for the women who work for 75 cents a day.
P.J. was feeling crook again, so I took him home while Craig took Jenny to the Botanical Gardens. The Ratwatte house was just near the Elephant Baths, so we stopped there to watch. It's named that because that's what they do there - bathe elephants, with coconut husks. I had been warned not to take a camera with me here or I would be charged for any photos I might want to take. The mahouts were really watching and if anyone even lifted a camera, they had their hands out.
I spent the rest of the afternoon talking with Mrs. Ratwatte, listening to her tales of travels and life and customs in Sri Lanka. Such an interesting person. I'm sure she enjoyed it as much as I did. We talked right through to 10 pm, Craig and her daughter and son-in-law joining us later. That afternoon was one of the high points of the trip for me.
After a lovely breakfast of fresh pineapple, bananas, omelets and toast with woodapple jam, we said good-bye to our new friends and caught the bus to Kandy. We caught a mini bus to Kegalla - at least we thought we had - about 10.30. As we passed through Kegalla, I made motions to the conductor. He said, “Yes, Kegalla”, and I thought they'd leave us off where we could catch the bus to Ratnapura. However, he didn't and when we made it clear, the bus wouldn't go back. They tried stopping several buses going in the opposite direction, but they were all full. By the time they found one going back to Kegalla, we were closer to Colombo, so we decided to skip Ratnapura and go down the coast from Colombo.
When we reached Colombo, I phoned our friend Sriyanie and explained the situation. (They had organized a house for us to use in Ratnapura. The owners were away, but their non-English-speaking servants would look after us. The kids were really looking forward to having their 'own' servants. They kept practising snapping their fingers and saying “I want…”.) When I mentioned that we were heading towards Galle or Ambalagoda, Sriyanie said the Rest House at Ambalagoda was very nice and part of the group of companies her husband, Sadha, was director of.
The two hour bus trip down the coast was beautiful, but hair-raising. I tried to concentrate on the scenery (the road followed the coast all the way and the palm-studded beaches were beautiful), but the bus driver made me feel I should be spending my time praying instead.
We couldn't get a room at the Rest House because it was full, but when I casually mentioned Sadha's name, the manager said he felt they would have a room for us the next day. We settled into a nearby guest house and then walked down to the beach to watch all the fishing boats go out - mostly out-rigger canoes. When we walked over to the Rest House for dinner after dark, all the fishing boats had their lanterns lit. There must have been about 100 on the horizon. What a beautiful sight!
Later, walking back to our rooms, we heard some noise coming from down the road. We decided to have a look. It was some big party. As we walked by, they insisted we come in and have something to eat and drink. They all had to know our names and where we came from. The next night when Craig and I were walking in another part of town, people kept saying “Hello, Marcia”.
We spent two lovely days at Ambalagoda, swimming in water so warm it was almost not refreshing, lying on the pure white sand, talking with lots of friendly people, and snorkeling on the nearby coral reef from an out-rigger canoe. It really was paradise.
Everywhere we went in Sri Lanka the children were known as the 'babies', as in 'What will the babies have for dinner tonight?' PJ wasn't too keen on that, especially when he was taller than a lot of the people doing the asking.
Our last day in Sri Lanka was spent in Cinnamon Gardens, THE most exclusive suburb in Colombo, thanks once again to our friends. All the consulates are in this area. It was at one time the original cinnamon plantations, hence the name. We spent some time in the museum there and were further enlightened with the beautiful culture and heritage the Sri Lankas have.
The flight back to Trivandrum was much nicer then the flight over. Air Lanka served cool drinks and a light meal, where all we had been given on the flight over with Indian Airlines was two pieces of hard candy. We were dreading going through Indian customs again, but there was no way we could avoid it. This time it was worse than ever before.
As the passengers (the plane had been full) filed into a huge room, all our passports were taken and stacked up on a table. When everyone was seated, the first man opened the top passport (which was the passport of the last person in) and handed it to another man who stamped it and then put it on the table near the third man. By this time the passport had closed, so he shuffled through it again to find the right page, and then handed it an to the fourth man who took it over to the fifth man sitting at another desk, who then called the name out in very accented English. Now he didn't talk too loudly, so all 200-plus passengers started crowding around his desk to hear more clearly. If you saw your passport on his desk, you kept pointing at it till he got the message and started to process it. Somehow Craig and the kids got through in about 10 minutes, but my passport (which was with theirs) got lost in the shuffle and took over 1 hour to process. We could tell we were back in India.
To be continued…
Club members running in the City to Surf Race on August 9 are welcome to call in on Owen Mark's after the event.
Give Owen a ring on 30 1827 if you are coming.
by Christa Younger.
We were very sorry to hear of the death of Club member Ruby Hall on 25th May, 1981.
Ruby joined the Club about 1940 and served on the Committee during the war years. She was always greatly interested in conservation matters and her love of the bush was reflected in the garden of her home where she and Bill had retained as much of the natural bush as possible and Ruby had planted many additional native plants.
Although Ruby had not walked with the Club for some time she and Bill enjoyed walking-camping holidays until quite recent years. Some of the older members will remember Ruby for her kindly help to them in their prospective days.
Ruby was a Master of Science, gaining that degree at a younger age than anyone prior to her. During the war years Ruby worked as an engineer at ANA and following that did research work with CSIRO. After rearing her family Ruby took on a new career, teaching, and spent some years as a dedicated science teacher.
We extend our deepest sympathy to Bill and Peter, Fiona and Jeannie.
By Peter Miller.
In place of the guest speaker advertised in the Walks Programme, we are showing films on skiing, canoeing and “Leisure” by Bruce Petty. The films are made available by the Department of Sport and Recreation and should be very interesting. Dinner before the meeting will be held at Chehades Lebanese Restaurant, 270 Pacific Highway, Crows Nest at 6.30 pm.
Elwyn Morris will show slides of her trip to the West Indies in 1976. Elwyn visited Jamaica, St.Vincents, St.Lucia and several other islands. Her trip included a visit to a reserve where a few hundred of the original Carib Indians still live. The slides show some of the amazing unspoilt beauty of the islands.
This is a chance for you all to display those beaut souvenirs you have brought home from trips overseas. We all bring back some kind of memento - beautiful, bizarre, banal or sometimes just plain awful. Please label all items with your name and the place from which the souvenir was bought. A prize will be offered for the worst souvenir of the evening. Wine, cheese and nuts will be provided.
“Venetian Twins” - Nimrod Musical Comedy.
Location - Seymour Centre. Time - 8.00 pm. Cost - Adult $8.90, Children $6.90.
Contact Peter Miller 95,2689 for reservations.
Please book early as the tickets must be paid for in advance.