Established June 1931.
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 Cahill Community Centre (Upper Hall), 34 Falcon Street, Crow's Nest. Enquiries concerning the Club should be referred to Ann Ravn, Telephone 798-8607.
|Editor||Evelyn Walker, 158 Evans Street, Rozelle, 2039. Telephone 827-3695.|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118. Telephone 871-1207.|
|Production Manager||Helen Gray.|
|Duplicator Operator||Phil Butt. (This issue, Frank Taeker)|
|Eulogy for Snow Brown||Geoff Wagg & Peter Stitt||2|
|In Appreciation of Snow||Helen Gray||3|
|Scripture Without Words||4|
|The Werrikimbe Wilderness||Brian Hart||5|
|Out in The Centre||Barbara Bruce||8|
|Clear, Cold and Kanangra||Bill Gamble||11|
|The Dream That Came True||D.C. Berry||13|
|Brisbane Waters National Park||Ainslie Morris||15|
|New Year Trip||Joan Rigby||16|
|Social Programme - December||Jo Van Sommers||17|
|Bushwalker Recipe No.6||Jill Cahn||17|
|Kosciusko National Park Management Plan||N.P.A.||18|
|The October General Meeting||Barry Wallace||19|
|For the Attention of Walks Leaders & All Members||The Committee||20|
|Eastwood Camping Centre||10|
by Geoff Wagg & Peter Stitt.
David Howard Brown, affectionately known to most of us as Snow, was our friend and we mourn his loss as the loss of a friend - but, deep in our hearts we know we have lost something much more. For Snow had a quality all too rare - he was a JOY BRINGER.
His enthusiasm was irresistable.
His unfailing good humour was infectious.
His tolerant outlook on life, his good sense as well as his innate love and understanding of the bush made him a delightful and formidably capable companion. It has been our privilege that he was our companion on many sunlit days - rainy days - blizzard days.
In good times and in adversity, his presence has brightened the days of our years.
To many of us who walked with Snow in the 50's and 60's, an insight was given to the influences that had formed the character we loved so much, when we used to visit his parents' home in Katoomba. It was usually after a trip, and Mrs. Brown would invite these grubby, smelly, often soaking wet walkers into her kitchen. She would feed them, share her hearth, and Mr. Brown would ask knowing questions and be highly amused. There was always a welcome.
Snow used to express considerable scorn for people who married non-bushwalkers, gave up bushwalking and became miserable. It was his often expressed opinion that he would never marry a girl who was not a bushwalker. When Snow met and later married Margaret Clarence (Clarrie) that is exactly what he did do - marry a non-bushwalker. However it soon became evident that Snow's judgement was sound, in that Clarrie became a rapid convert to the fold. Together they built a marriage which reflected the love and joy they found in each other.
A feature of this marriage was the hospitality which Snow and Clarrie extended to one and all.
Snow's passing is at present too close for us to experience anything but sorrow and profound feelings of loss. However as time passes we will be able to look back at the happy memories and remember Snow as he would perhaps have chosen to be remembered - A BRINGER OF JOY.
He has gone but his spirit will live on with us.
Snow Brown joined the S.B.W. in 1952, and up to the time of his final illness continued to be a very active and enthusiastic bushwalker. His untimely death on 28th October was an occasion of great sorrow to his many friends in the Club, as evidenced by the large group of bushwalkers who attended his funeral on 1st November. This eulogy was spoken by Peter Stitt, and the following stanza from Rupert Brooke's “The Dead”, a piece of verse which Snow had liked and found very moving, was read by Geoff Wagg:-
There are waters blown by changing winds to laughter,
And lit by rich skies all day. And after,
Frost with a gesture, stays the waves that dance,
And wandering loveliness. He leaves a white
Unbroken glory, a gathered radiance,
A width, a shining peace under the night.“
by Helen Gray.
It was April 1959 when I decided to see what bushwalking was all about. The Sydney Bush Walkers, I was told, was the best club, so with address in hand I finally found a derelict old building near Oxford Street and climbed up old wooden stairs, past broken windows, stray cats and odd smells, to an unbelievably untidy meeting room. The old Ingersoll Hall was being vacated that very night and chaos reigned. David Ingram, as new members' secretary, did his best to make me welcome, but I didn't feel it. I knew no one. The people were dressed to fit the surroundings. Then a voice, bubbling with enthusiasm…
“I've got a MIGHTY trip on this weekend. You've GOT to come.”
“Don't go on his walk,” someone close at hand advised. “He leads REALLY hard walks.”
I looked closely at the fair-haired young man and at the group he now turned to. There was a thin man with odd socks and black rings under his eyes. (“He broke his skull on one of Snow's walks,” the same voice added.) And there were two bearded fellows (beards were an oddity in those days) who'd given up GOOD JOBS to wander around Australia for 6 months. There was that super-fit looking young woman who was now involved in some sort of tripping-up game with the blond youth they called Snow. Cheering them on was another super-fit looking young woman who, I was told, had 4 children and had been a tiger walker before I was born! (That, at least, must be a big exaggeration.) I looked at Snow, and Bob Duncan, George and Frank Rigby, and Heather Joyce and Dot. No, I'd better not go on that walk. They obviously weren't my types.
I went on a Sunday walk.
A week later, new club room, same faces.
“You should've come on my walk! You missed a mighty trip. Next week we're going caving….”
This time I couldn't resist. No matter that they all seemed such odd-bods. No matter that everything seemed to have gone wrong on the previous week's walk. I'd take the risk.
Well, everything did go wrong and it was a hard trip, as I'd been warned. Cars broke down. The rendez-vous was vague; one car load never turned up. I travelled with the red-bearded one, George, who spoke not a single word on the 200 mile car journey. I shared a tent with Bob, who had matching socks now that it didn't matter, but wore a strange Tibetan-type hat and had a piece of sticking-plaster on his forehead.
(What's wrong with your forehead?” I asked.
“Nothing. It's to remind me of something.”
For the car trip they all wore hairy brown “bear-suits” - World War II inner flying suits - so I felt quite out of place in my jeans and parka.(For me, at 19, the right dress was still of some importance.) We were to spend the weekend caving at Bendethra, so I at least knew boiler-suits would be the dress for that. Next morning I donned my brand-new suit, boots and torch, confident that I would at least look right. Wrong again! People appeared in once-white long-johns under their shorts, shrunken jumpers, smelly old carbide lamps and sandshoes with most of the canvas uppers missing.
This isn't the story of a caving trip. The adventure, the cold, the fun, the moment when Snow held his carbide lamp too close to the leg of my boiler suit, can be told another time. Like Tamino in “The Magic Flute” I emerged from my tests a new person. A new outlook an life, a greater awareness, and new friends were forever to be mine.
Thank you, Snow, for making me feel welcome, for making me feel I belonged. For introducing me to people who have become life-long friends. For being so full of fun and life. For taking me on all those trips, even if half of them went wrong. For helping me see that every little incident could have its funny side. For knowing you, for being a friend.
After your funeral, someone produced photos - you in your long-johns at the 50th Reunion. We laughed. We spoke of you in the present tense. That's how it will always be. You are still part of our lives and our memories.
Your physical presence may be missed, but you are still here.
from Kinkaku-Ji Temple Japan.
How fresh it is like morning dew,
An open flower.
How clear it is, the note of singing birds,
The clouds are calm, the waters blue….
Who has written,
“Scripture without words”.
Mountain is sharply etched,
Woods are colourful,
Valleys deep and rapid streams with spray,
Moon light is clear - In softly breathing wind,
Man reads in the quietness
“Scripture without words”.
by Brian Hart.
Bushwalking in the Queensland of my youth consisted of forcing a way through lantana and low scrub with the aid of a Shell road map which rarely showed ridges, cliffs or similar geographical refinements. One acquired a knowledge of the country by a sort of creative blundering about.
Memories of this perhaps unfortunate background stirred in my mind a couple of years ago as Gemma Gagne, Bob Parkes and I found ourselves looking thoughtfully in the gathering dusk at a creek flowing in a slightly odd direction, but hopefully towards the Upper Hastings River. We were, in fact, aiming for the Lower Falls on the Hastings River in Werrikimbe National Park, between Walcha and Wauchope, on the mid North Coast of N.S.W.
For Gempa, whose approach to bushwalking tends to be rather goal oriented, it had not been a reassuring day. As a result of leaving the main access road a couple of miles too far to the north, we had engaged in a series of marches and counter-marches through material of varying prickliness. This had been a little hard on those members of the party who indulged in the rather risky habit, as it seemed to me, of traversing bush country in short pants.
The next day was more successful. We hit a ridge and timber track which took us to within striking distance of the lower falls. But time ran out and we returned to our vehicle with an interesting cross-sectional acquaintance of part of Werrikimbe National Park, but no actual sighting of the river. So ended my first attempt to reach the Upper Hastings; not one of the great moments in bushwalking, but enjoyable in its way.
I had first noticed the Werrikimbe Park in a National Parks and Wildlife publication, and the topography of the area looked promising. The park, extending over 12,000 hectares, is one of the most recently established in N.S.W. and takes in much of the Upper Hastings River, including the Upper and Lower Falls, both a couple of hundred feet high. The range country reaches heights of 3,000 feet or more, with the Hastings Gorge between the two falls in the 1,200-2,400 feet range.
Fine gum forests cover much of the higher parts of the park, with extensive and luxuriant rain forests along the river and creek floors, extending up to the higher ridge areas.
For the bushwalker, the attractions are obvious - relatively remote and extremely attractive country, good road access and territory as yet unvisited by large numbers of tourists or walkers.
On a second trip to the Hastings, the redoubtable Bob fronted up for some more punishment, Peter Harris and I formed the other two segments of the party. This time, with the knowledge gained on our former trip, we made our way without any difficulty - well, not much - into Cobcroft Creek, a stream flowing through quiet and beautiful rain forest into the Hastings.
[ Map of Werrikimbe National Park ]
Baulked by a waterfall dropping into a huge rock amphitheatre, we cut up to the top of the escarpment fringing the Hastings and down on to the river itself; not without a little scrambling, but nothing too startling.
At the Upper Falls, we were rewarded by the sight of a platypus intermittently surfacing in the big pool at the foot of the falls.
Then down to the Lower Falls; maybe six miles away. We were able to follow the gorge at river level for most of the way, except for one steep and scungy detour, with sound effects by the blasphemous Bob and occasional nicotine breaks for the addict Harris.
The river above the Lower Falls contains some of the best basalt-type pools I have yet encountered; deep, long and accessible, bordered by excellent rain forest. But there are few camp spots along the entire gorge. Our party spent the night on a quite large, but slightly sloping rock shelf, before pushing back up to Bob's Land Rover.
Anyone interested in bushwalking would be well rewarded by a trip to the Werrikimbe Park.
Apart from splendid rain forest areas, there are hundreds of hectares of open high country originally cleared for grazing: “All these open areas present a wonderful opportunity for seeing big mobs of Grey Kangaroos, as many as 50 at a time, particularly in the early morning and late afternoon”, according to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The N.P.W.S. has put in two camping areas at elevated parts of the park, within easy walking distance of rain forest and other areas.
To do the trip properly, it would be preferable to schedule it for some such time as Easter, or perhaps up to five or six days over the Christmas period. The N.P.W.S., 189 Kent Street, phone 237-6500, provides good information sheets, showing the main access roads and so on.
The best contour map (at least a couple of years ago) is a one inch to the mile Werrikimbe National Park N.P.W.S. sheet. Other useful maps include the Cowarral 1:100,000 and Hastings 1:250,000. The N.S.W. Forest Commission has also put out a good Mid North Coast Project Map, showing State Forest areas, with road access well indicated.
The Mid-North Coast as a whole offers plenty of interesting bushwalking in its hinterland. The Upper Forbes River, running immediately adjacent and parallel to the Upper Hastings, is one other such area - Dot Butler, Fazeley Read and Jo Van Sommers were good enough to guide me up the Forbes a few years ago… but that is another story.
by Barbara Bruce.
Having just read the September magazine and noticed apologies had been registered at the August General Meeting from Tony Marshall, myself and Steve and Wendy Hodgman, I realised that none of us had done anything about writing an account of our trip. It struck me that I shouldn't let it go by completely unrecorded!
As preparation for the trip, different members of our party had looked after various aspects and I had the pleasure of helping Wendy organise the food we were to eat during the 11 days. As you'd expect, this was no mean challenge. We had to keep the weight down as much as possible of course, and I congratulate Wendy on her splendid efforts in this regard. I never doubted for a moment that we would eat well and enjoy what we ate, despite the fact that most of the menu combinations were virtually untried before this trip.
In our party, besides the aforementioned Tony, Wendy and Steve were Jim Laing, Jacqui Bruen and Bill Capon.
To begin with, from Sydney to Alice Springs was quite a jump - in temperature as well as distance. The Sydney I left was decidedly cold but the Alice I arrived in was pleasantly warm. Although the seven of us arrived at The Alice at a variety of times, we all set out together for Ormiston Gorge early in the afternoon of Monday, 11 August. Our transport was a comfortable new eight-seater bus. We were to take 11 days to walk from Ormiston Gorge to Mt. Giles, Giles Springs, Ellery Creek, Hugh Gorge, Spencer Gorge, Jerrys Canyon, Hogs Back and Standley Chasm.
On the first night we witnessed a beautiful sunset over Ormiston Gorge and Mount Sonder, and bedded down early. I clearly remember the start of the trip - rising in the dark, the awesome wonder as the sun exposed the colourful and majestic scenery of the Gorge and the “Pound”, the high spirits, our first scroggin stop where we also decided we should don our gaiters to ward off the penetrating spikes of the prolific spinifex, the pleasure of trying to identify a few unfamiliar wildflowers, and the still good humoured groans as we loaded and unloaded quite heavy packs.
But it doesn't take long for some sort of routine to set in and the rest of the trip seemed to just slip by. So it is both good and bad highlights which spring to mind from then on -
And, finally, that most memorable experience of negotiating our way through Standley Chasm. As the Chasm from the northern end is far more enchanting and spectacular than the almost colourless part which most tourists see - and consider picturesque - I felt this made a most fitting ending to our trip.
Over all, the trip transpired pretty well according to our plans and we are grateful to the many people who gave us both advice and practical assistance (such as Dot, who made gaiters for the girls). A special word of thanks should be given to Frank Rigby, but he also gets a special 'boo' too, because he did not tell us about the officious little manager of the Standley Chasm (Jay Creek) Aboriginal Reserve who appeared abruptly and without preamble demanded to see our 'letter of authority' - after we'd been lazing around in the grounds for nearly two hours! During a one-sided 'discussion' he suggested if we paid our entrance fees of $1 each that would make everything all right… Why didn't you warn us, Frank!
Now, reminiscent of the setting sun seen from Mt. Glies, our holiday in the Centre can dissolve into oblivion.
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by Bill Gamble.
A feature of Jim Vatiliotis' Kanangra walk on the weekend of 21-23 May 1982 was the fitness of the party and the capacity of fourteen persons to move together well at all times (and that in spite of injuries sustained earlier or en route by some members). Others may prefer to recall the clear, cold weather. The walk was listed in the Autumn Walks Programme as:-
Kanangra - Crafts Wall - Page's Pinnacle - Gingra Creek - Compagnoni Pass - Ti-Willa Plateau - Mount Cloudmaker - Crafts Wall - Kanangra. Map: Kanangra 1:31680. Distance: 35 km. Medium/Hard.
The old dance floor cave at Kanangra was cold and draughty for Friday's overnight bivvy. There was no cheery fire to welcome and warm members of the party as they arrived from Sydney, just dark, huddled shapes in sleeping bags glad to have some protection from the bitter wind. Others tented adjacent to the new carpark by the pluviometer or at Boyd Crossing campsite. Charlie and Margaret Brown probably had the best idea by staying in Katoomba and driving in around 8.00 am ready to go. Other members not already mentioned and ready to go were:- John Redfern, Bill Capon, John Newman, Bob Milne, Steve Carratt, Paul Davies, Geoff and Fiona Wagg, Steve and Wendy Hodgman, Bill Gamble.
Saturday morning, in the half-light under the overhang of the cave, party members slowly gathered around the fire. Too many cold fingers and toes put paid to ideas of lingering and at 8.30 am the party moved out into the sunlight towards Pages Pinnacle. The pace to the north end of Crafts Wall was cracking and not unexpected in the chill air. A short walk out to Pages Pinnacle and a break gave the opportunity to climb the south pinnacle for fine views eastwards. The plunge to Gingra Creek which followed can be described as hell-bent down a well-defined ridge of fairly open forest beneath the canopy. We deserved and took a long lunch in the sun at the confluence of Gabes and Gingra Creeks. Bill Capon ambled in about five minutes after everyone else, claiming an injured leg and/or knee.
The walk down Gingra Creek was brisk. Initially, there was some hesitation in picking up the remains of the Cedar Track (an old logging road fast disappearing as nature reclaims Man's destructive handiwork). Deep pools in a gorge shortly below the confluence of the creeks suggested pleasant watering holes on summer walks. As the valley opened to provide modest flats in places, the track faded and we relied on cattle tracks or simply walking down the creek bed. Soon after 3.00 pm, we reached our campsite just short of the Kowmung River.
The campsite did not yield as many level tent sites as first thought and there was some shuffling about to find suitable spaces on the generally sloping ground. Geoff and his daughter, Fiona, settled for a bivvy under the stars on a soft ground cover of gathered fern. Steve Carratt bivvied alongside the fire, adding wood as necessary during the night for additional warmth. Others were spread about under tents or flies.
When cooking commenced soon after 4.30 pm, in fading light, there were groans of protest that the night would be interminable as a result. It wasn't. There were too many interesting things to eat, drink and talk about. Water flasks were emptied of murky fluids, ostensibly to make room for Sunday's dry walk, biscuits were passed around and, to cap it all, Jim quietly prepared a cheesecake to satisfy the sweet-tooths in the party. Conversation covered many bushwalking opinions and experiences. From such mundane topics as the maintenance of tracks (the letter in the March '82 Federation Newsletter on the removal of cairns and markers drew some comment and mixed views) to Charlie Brown, who can rest on his laurels after giving an outrageous account of charcoal sandwiches as a surefire remedy for an upset stomach. For bushwalking quackery, it must be a prescription without equal. Sometime after 10.00 pm, we left the fire to Steve.
Our leader talked of a 7.30 am start on Sunday, and by 7.45 am we were away. Shortly after 6.00 am, Steve had stoked the fire and everyone awoke to all the warmth necessary to face a freezing dawn and heat for cooking breakfast. Ice was tapped out of mugs and white-covered tents shaken. A whole day's walking with no prospect of water ensured that everyone drew their needs from Gingra Creek (a1t. 600 feet) before commencing the uphill plod to Compagnoni Pass and Ti-Willa Plateau (alt. 3200 feet). There were no desperate thirsts.
At a dry morning tea on a well-worn vantage point by the top of the pass, we rested in the warm sun and enjoyed the sweeping views from Narrow Neck in the north to Scotts Main Range in the south-east. Jim said we came up from Gingra Creek about 25% faster than he had expected. We had moved off from our campsite, crossed the creek, and walked straight into a steep climb up a spur ridge to the cliff line of the plateau. The direction was clear as the ridge left little choice of route. The buttress was steep and covered in thick bush, but the rock outcrops in front of the cliffs were a good indicator and confirmation of route. Once the cliff face was reached it was just a matter of scrambling northwards around the base until we reached the spikes of Compagnoni Pass. Our party passed without hesitation. So quickly in fact that John Redfern and Bill Gamble were left standing talking at the rear. John was lamenting a punctured wine skin of water which had soaked his pack and expressing some annoyance at muscular stiffness which was holding him back.
Ti-Willa Plateau is neither flat nor open walking, and when the trees give way to scrub the undergrowth is of the type to scratch and tear legs and arms until they feel raw. One is left with an impression of an undulating ridge rather than a plateau long and fairly narrow instead of wide. Just as it is shown on the map. In close file, Jim's party crossed the plateau and re-entered the tree line for the slog up the ridge to Mount Cloudmaker (3819 feet). Slowly, the markings of a route became visible. We stopped briefly at the cairn atop Cloudmaker, saw no merit in having lunch without a decent view, and dropped down the other side for about 5-6 minutes to a place which offered fine panoramas north into Kanangra Creek and south to Kanangra Walls. Our long ridge walk out lay before us, but that did not detract from a pleasant break in warm, calm conditions. Almost soporific.
The afternoon session was to many in the party the familiar ridge route from Mount Cloudmaker down Rumble, Roar, Rack and Rip to Mount Stormbreaker, then, in succession, Mount High and Mighty, Gabes Gap, Mount Berry, Crafts Wall and Kanangra Walls to finish at the carpark shortly after 4.30 pm. It was no headlong rush - there was time for rest in Gabes Gap and at the north and of Crafts Wall in the late afternoon sun - but there again the pace was hardly leisurely when the party was on the move. Even the beaten track is no guarantee of plain sailing though. Some got bluffed coming off High and Mighty, forgetting to drop off the east side of the rock outcrop, and Charlie Brown walked headlong into a good-sized tree branch at Crafts Wall which stunned him briefly.
Kanangra Walls lay golden in the setting sun as we walked up the steps to the old carpark, and that is not a bad time to be there completing a good walk. But it was not a time to linger. The chill of the evening and the gathering darkness soon had us moving off homewards. For some members, a fitting conclusion to the weekend may well have been over the hot chocolate at Aroneys in Katoomba, or pizza in the restaurant next door.
by D.C. Berry.
The “Dream” began twenty odd years ago, when a party of Sydney Bushwalkers, after a happy weekend spent in Blue Gum Forest, were toiling up Perry's Lookdown, heavy rucksacks on backs, hot, tired and grubby, as was normal going home.
While enjoying a rest, someone said, “I'm not as young as I was, nor as active, and carrying a large pack up this track is not going to be for me, very much longer!” There was agreement, from some of those present. Then one made a positive statement, “This is the last time I'll be down in Blue Gum unless I am taken down there and brought up again in a helicopter!” Loud laughter followed this remark, “Don't be ridiculous”, they said, “That is just a silly dream, it could never happen, it will never happen!” But it was agreed, it would be great if it ever did.
On 26th September, 1982, the “Dream” came true, and a couple of those who had been in the original party and had scoffed at the idea, were in the Forest, taken down and safely returned to the top of the cliffs by helicopter!
“The Year of the Tree” being celebrated this year coincides with the Fiftieth Anniversary of acquiring the area of land that subsequently became The Blue Gum Forest.
The story was told in our September issue how some members of the Sydney Bushwalkers persuaded the holder of the lease to sell the land to the Club, to save the trees. Also how the money to pay for it was raised by functions, concerts, theatre parties etc., entailing hard work by many people interested in the project. Money did not come easily during the Great Depression.
Finally the debt was paid to the owner, who had been very generous in allowing time to pay, and the whole area handed over to the State Government to be held as a recreational site to be enjoyed by all. Trustees were appointed to manage and care for Blue Gum Forest. Many working bees were organised and well supported to help keep the place in good condition. Some Trustees retired, or were not able to carry on, and were replaced by others, approximately ten in all over the years, mostly drawn from the Walking movement. As the need for universal conservation was recognized, the State Government formed the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The Forest, along with other areas in the Blue Mountains, passed into the care of the Service and Trustees were no longer required.
To mark the occasion of the “Fiftieth Birthday”, the Advisory Committee of the N.P.& W.S. Blue Mountains District thought it would be fitting to arrange a “Back to Blue Gum” Day, so a search was made for the present whereabouts of any ex-Trustees, or others connected with the early days, and invitations were sent to those who could be located to attend a luncheon in the Forest, everything provided, including the HELICOPTER!! So on the day those who could avail themselves of the opportunity assembled at Katoomba Airfield at Medlow Bath for the big adventure.
There was a howling westerly wind blowing, but the pilot assured the passengers, taken aboard three at a time, that everything would be all right, but there might be a bump or two when we went off the escarpment - and he was right! The little machine bucked about a bit, but we all landed safely in the clearing alongside Govett's Leap Creek, not far from its junction with the Grose River. Several trips were made and about fifteen people delivered, along with the sumptuous lunch.
Quite a number of “old hands” were at the luncheon, the tougher ones even walked down. So friendships were renewed and there was plenty of “Do you remember?”
Representatives of various walking movements, Boy Scouts Association, etc. were present, along with our hosts, Rangers from N.P. & W.S. A total of twentyfive persons, old and young, enjoyed the company and the excellent meal. After lunch, we gathered at the edge of the Forest for a short ceremony, yarns about the early days were told and there were a couple of speeches. Several groups of walkers, not actual guests, but very welcome, joined in the celebration, making a gathering of fifty altogether.
Later a stroll among the trees, just as magnificent as ever, was a soul-satisfying experience. It was great to see evidence of the care being taken by the Service to preserve the wonder of Blue Gum for those who are prepared to use, and not abuse, this great heritage.
So with thanks to our Hosts for such an unusual and enjoyable day, we prepared to go aboard the little “chopper” and return top side.
Thus that “silly dream” finally came true for some of those tired walkers who had laughed at it, so long ago, but on “Back to Blue Gum” Day they may have been thankful that it did.
by Ainslie Morris.
Pearl Beach, Dillon's Farm, Patonga, Pearl Beach. Map:- Myles Dunphy's Sketch Map (1949, revised 1967) of Patonga - Kariong Section, compiled for conservation purposes.
This is a very scenic walk with a great variety of natural and man-made features. It is a pity that club members have not gone to this attractive area very much in recent years.
My second walk here was in spring (19th September), and we were rewarded on a drought-breaking rainy day with magnificent big red waratahs, as well as a profusion of pink eriostemon, red spider flower and other grevilleas, and many other heath flowers in purple and white and yellow. These were displayed at their best along the Girrakool Track, made in 1972. We picked it up on the Patonga Road and left it where it meets the dirt road into Dillon's Farm.
There we dropped into a tight little valley where the 50-acre farm is surrounded by National Park. The sign at the gate “BEWARE - Bull at Large”. is meant to intimidate bikies, not bushwalkers. I had met the owners on my winter walk, and so I was pleased to see that they were working on the rich dark soil of the volcanic plug on the other Side of the valley. The bull was happily enclosed with a few cows in a tiny light green field, so we passed by and up to talk to the Dillon brothers, both close to 80 and very fit!
Norman Dillon told me a bit of their early life on the farm, selected by their parents in 1912 for its good soil. They grew potatoes (and still do, with a neat system of irrigation), and carried them out by throwing a couple of sacks on the draught horse. He knew the way to the wharf about half a mile down Dillon's Creek. It was to here that the boys carried the milk containers on a “Chinaman's” yoke, one on each side. They then rowed two miles down Patonga Creek to deliver the milk to Patonga Village.
If anyone is interested in oral history, the Dillons are most articulate and enjoy visitors. They now live in Woy Woy and keep the place as a hobby farm so that all the work of c1earing it by hand won't go to waste. It is easy to see how the lantana would invade from seeing the great thickets where the cow bails used to be (where North Patonga Brook and Dillon's Creek meet). These creeks are thick with palms and lianas in true rainforest, and also jungle style of vegetation where the undergrowth closes in.
This delightful rainforest is left as you go down the tidal Patonga Creek, easier and quicker at low tide as you can walk on the water-weed covered sand or mud. If you don't mind wet feet and like mangroves, waterfowl and oysters, this section gives vistas of lovely deep green water. After Patonga Village, a jumble of old weatherboard pre-war weekenders, there is a track back to Pearl Beach over Warrah Heights.
We disturbed five sea-eagles, that swooped off a high rock lookout over the Hawkesbury River. Magnificent is the best word for a view east from Palm Beach, across to Lambert Peninsula and far to the west to Brooklyn. Or you can start your walk along here and return along the Girrakool Track with its views of Brisbane Water, and then of the Pacific Ocean which we saw rippling in the moonlight on our return on the winter walk.
This beautiful and varied walk is 18 to 20 km, takes 9 hours with a short lunch, and is easy/medium, mostly on tracks. I hope to go next time in summer so we can have a variety of swims - salt water at Pearl Beach, fresh at Dillon's in the creek, and brackish in Patonga Creek.
(See Summer Walks Programme).
by Joan Rigby.
This is where the rain that doesn't get over Currockbilly ends up. Therefore there is thick scrub and forest on ridges and overgrown river banks. There are also big trees, interesting palmy patches, flowers, lovely rock pools and views of Currockbilly.
I plan two fairly easy rockhopping days. If we get reasonable rain in the next two months there should be swimming holes on the first day, dunking holes only on the second, and the availability of campsites will decide how far up the river we go.
The last day is when you pay for your pleasures. A 1400 foot climb to the Stoney Creek divide, a similar drop down to the creek; probably by a ridge I haven't used before - and it must be better than the one I have used. The compulsory swim in Stoney Creek is short and pleasant, then it is a few miles rockhopping back to the cars.
I shall check water levels in early December and cancel trip if river is too dry. Also, if it teems between Xmas and New Year we shall seek a drier place.
A special New Year breakfast will be organised at the Bimberamala Swimming Hole on Saturday 1st January before a leisurely start about 10 am.
The Western Distributor? A good forestry road between Yadboro Flat and Clyde Mountain Road. The Bimberamala is crossed just below Stoney Creek, about 20 km from Clyde Mountain Road, 35 from Yadboro. It's shown on Bateman's Bay Forestry map or you can get a sketch from me or my Sydney contact.
by Jo Van Sommers.
Bill Gillam's exhibition of large prints (12“ x 16”) from negatives taken with old 5“ x 4” view cameras. Bill will bring the cameras and demonstrate how they work. If you fancy yourself as a silent movie star, you can have your studio portrait taken wearing your old gear. Mounted prints from the exhibition will be available for about $10, and your portrait about the same - all proceeds to Coolana.
The Club will be open from 7.30 to 10 for this Year's party. We provide beer, wine and soft drink and some plastic glasses, but it's a good idea to bring your own glass. A plate of food per person will get you in the door.
Club Room closed.
* Dinner before the meeting at the Malaya, 73 Mount Street, North Sydney - 6.30 pm.
A letter under this heading has been received by the Club from the National Parks Association of N.S.W. and is published under instructions from the October General Meeting. It reads as follows:-
“As you are probably aware, the Minister for Planning and Environment, Mr. Eric Bedford, has adopted a management plan for Kosciusko National Park which dispenses with any upper limit on ski resort accommodation development within the Park.
About 6500 beds presently exist in Park resorts and the National Parks and Wi1d1ife Service had specified in its draft management plan an upper limit of about 9000 beds. This is the limit provided for in the previously existing management plan adopted in 1974.
In adopting the new plan recently, the Minister removed the upper limit and suggested in press statements that, when the 9000 bed figure had been reached, ski resort owners would be in a position to apply for additional capacity to be determined in resort “precinct plans” yet to be prepared.
As can be seen from the attached letter to the Premier of August 19, 1982, and press release of August 20, 1982, the National Parks Association has objected strongly to Mr. Bedford's open-ended approach to resort development in Kosciusko National Park.
We urge your organisation to write to the Hon. Neville Wran, Q.C., Premier of New South Wales, requesting him to ask the Minister for Planning and Environment to recall the Kosciusko National Park Management Plan and to restore the firm upper limits on ski resort accommodation favoured by the N.P. & W.S.
Dr. R. Mason, per P. Prineas.”
To Jim Vatiliotis and Fiona Mayes who have announced their engagement.
Australia Day Weekend, January. 1983.
Contact Jo Witts for details - Phone 908-3162.
by Barry Wallace.
The meeting began at around 2030 with 30 or so members present and the President in the chair.
There were apologies from John Newman and Hans Stichter, and new members John Clark and Peter Yardley were welcomed with badge, applause and constitution.
The Minutes were read and received, with no business arising.
Correspondence brought mention of letters to Frank Mears, Vicki Beaumont, Ted Kelly, and the N.P.W.S. ref. Kanangra Tops trackwork, from N.P.A. ref. the Plan of Management for Kosciusko National Park and carbon copy of a letter from Ted Kelly to Frank Taeker in response to the Club's letter.
Business arising brought decisions to publish the N.P.A. letter in the Club magazine, and to write to N.P.W.S. about the K.N.P. Plan of Management.
The Treasurer's Report brought news that we opened the month with a balance of $1305.78, received $266.00, spent $166.62 and closed the month with $1405.16. The Coolana Account had a closing balance of $25.03.
Federation Report indicated that F.B.W. are seeking new premises and plan to publish pamphlets on bushwalking. The S. & R. section reported a successful search for four girls who were overdue on a Duke of Edinburgh award expedition.
All of which was hardly heady excitement, but there was more to come - the Walks Report. Over the weekend of 10,11,12 September Bob Hodgson had 7 people on his Wollangambe trip, reporting a quite cold Friday night and generally dry conditions. There was a report that Gordon Lee's Sunday abseiling trip did go, but who knows how many starters there were. There were 20 members, 4 prospectives and one visitor on Bill Hall's trip Waterfall to Heathcote, the trip went well and there were wildflowers. Jo Van Sommers led Joan Cooper's Colo River trip and provided a very bucolic description of the activities of the 16 starters.
On the following weekend, 17,18,19 September the Peter Harris birthday trip attracted 15 people and went to programme. Anton Gillezeau's Yalwal trip did not go but Ian Debert had 6 members and 3 prospectives on his Mt. Solitary trip despite fuel problems. They had a rather wet Sunday but managed to catch the Scenic Railway and save all that climbing. Ralph Penglis reported 24 people on the ferry, 17 departing from Bundeena and only 12 finishing his Bundeena to Otford stroll on the Sunday. Frank Woodgate's walk went, but there was no report. Ainslie Morris had brought her Pearl Beach walk forward to the 19th, reported 6 starters, and is writing an article for the magazine to prove it.
The following weekend, 24,25,26 September saw Don and Jenny Cornell substituting for Barry Wallace, who was off in the desert or something, on his Nattai River walk. There were 4 starters and the weather was fine and sunny. They also report that the property previously called “Camelot” has been re-named “Wattle Ridge”. Peter Miller had two members and 4 prospectives on his Grose River walk but there was no report of Ken Gould's walk. Derek Wilson's Uloola Brook walk on the 26th had 13 starters and went to programme. Steve and Wendy Hodgman reported 8 people participating in a solid day's bike ride but Tony Marshall's Cloudmaker trip did not go.
On Wednesday 29th Meryl Nathan had 4 members, one visitor and good wildflowers on her Waterfall area trip.
Over the weekend 1,2,3,4 October Spiro H. reported that there were 15 people on his Blue Breaks trip, enjoying fine weather and good walking. Peter Harris reported 13 people on an arduous trip in the Coolah Tops, and some vehicle problems. It seems getting there was not half the fun. Frank Taeker had 30 people enjoying good weather on his Budawangs trip. Hans Stichter reported 10 starters and lots of water on his Cox's River walk.
Over the weekend of 8,9,10 October Barry Murdoch had 6 starters in the fog and rain of the Budawangs on the Saturday. It appears that the fine Sunday which followed more than made up for this, despite the leeches and a twisted ankle. Gordon Lee's Cloudmaker trip was cancelled. Tony Marshall had 4 members, 2 prospectives and 2 visitors walking briskly in cold conditions on his Bluegum trip, to arrive back at the cars by 1530. There was no report of Peter Christian's Cowan walk but Brian Bolton had 9 people slaving through leeches and wet weather to a bright tomorrow of apple pie and ice cream; and the end of the Walks Report.
The Coolana Committee Report indicated that the tank foundations at the hut have been re-aligned, that leaf-resistant guttering is to be purchased and fitted to the hut over the Barn Dance weekend in November, that copies of a map of the land are to be left in the hut for visitors' information and that the access track needs repair.
General Business brought a motion that we write to the Tasmanian Government about the proposed Franklin-below-Gordon dam. So then it was just a matter of the announcements, and the meeting closed at 2121.
There have been a number of incidents on walks recently which indicate a failure of basic hygiene practice by some of the participants.
Walks leaders and club members are therefore requested to bring to the attention of walking parties the following minimum requirements:-
Barbara Bruce, Hon. Secretary. For the Committee.