SBW Walks Programs
Established June 1931
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476, G.P.O. Sydney, N.S.W. 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.30 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. Telephone 86-6263.|
|Duplicator Operator||Phil Butt.|
|S.B.W. Office Bearers - 1983||2|
|Who Won the Election?||Alex Colley||3|
|Let My Waters Flow||Peter Harris||5|
|New Year at Tin Mine Hut - K.N.P.||Rudi Dezelin||6|
|Crossed Paths||Bill Gamble||7|
|Social Notes for April||Jo Van Sommers||8|
|Annual Subscriptions 1983||8|
|Search & Rescue Practice - Mt. Wilson||Wendy Hodgman||9|
|The February General Meeting||Barry Wallace||12|
|Letter to the Editor||Warwick Blayden||13|
|Ramsheads Revisited - K.N.P.||Christine Austin||14|
|The Isle of the Dammed||Jim Brown||16|
|Eastwood Camping Centre||11|
The following office-bearers and committee members were elected at the S.B.W. Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday, 9th March, 1983:-
|Vice-Presidents||Ainslie Morris*, Barry Wallace*|
|Walks Secretary||Jim Percy*|
|Social Secretary||Jo Van Sommers*|
|New Members Secretary||Bill Holland*|
|Committee Members||Denise Shaw*, Frank Woodgate*, Margaret Conley*, Bill Capon*|
|Federation Delegates||Gordon Lee*, Wendy Hodgman, Spiro Hajinakitas*, Steve Hodgman|
|Substitute Federation Delegate||Alex Colley|
|Conservation Secretary||Alex Colley|
|Magazine Editor||Evelyn Walker|
|Magazine Business Manager||Bill Burke|
|Magazine Production Manager||Helen Gray|
|Duplicator Operator||Phil Butt|
|Keeper of Maps & Timetables||John Holly|
|Search & Rescue Contacts||Tony Marshall 713,6985(H) 264,7654(B), Ray Hookway 411,4873 Ext.294, Steve Hodgman 519,6633(H) 406,6177(B)|
|Trustees||Heather White, Gordon Redmond, Bill Burke|
|Coolana Management Committee||Dot Butler, Fazeley Read, George Gray, John Redfern, Bill Burke, Barry Wallace, Peter Miller|
|Kosciusko Huts Assn. Delegate||Bill Burke|
|Projectionists||Don Cornell, Ainslie Morris|
* Indicates members of the Committee.
by Alex Colley.
“Our concern is not politics, but the Franklin… and so we must ask you to vote for those parties committed to saving the Franklin. Even though you may never have voted for them before and may never again.” (From full page coloured advertisement costing $50,000 published in the S.M.H. by the National South-West Coalition)
Our Club is, and should remain, an a-political organisation, but it donated $500 to the Tasmanian Wilderness Society, knowing it would be used to canvass votes for the A.L.P. and the Australian Democrats, while individual members made private donations totalling over $5,000 which paid for car stickers. Bushwalkers, particularly those who have been in the South-West, appreciate more than most the importance of preserving this scenic and irreplaceable remnant of our rapidly, diminishing wilderness heritage.
Party policies were clear. The Tasmanian Government declared that it had a right to build the dam, and that nothing would stop it from doing so. The Federal Government agreed that State rights must be upheld (it was prepared to buy out these alleged rights but not to over-ride them). The Australian Democrats said that Tasmania had no right to destroy a part of the national and world heritage, but that the Commonwealth had both the power and the responsibility to preserve it. The Federal A.L.P., despite the opposition of its Tasmanian Division, agreed with the Democrats. Wilderness supporters therefore had no option but to vote for the Democrats and the A.L.P. Senator Chipp summed it up as follows:-
“Letting Tasmanians alone - that is, about half the voting population of Tasmania - decide on the Franklin River is about the same as allowing the population of Alice Springs and Darwin to vote by referendum to have Ayers Rock crushed by bulldozers to make gravel for a road in the middle of the Northern Territory. It is the same as allowing the populations of Townsville, Cairns and Mackay decide that the Great Barrier Reef ought to be drilled far oil. The proposition is absolutely absurd.”
Not long ago a campaign to defeat a government on the single issue of wilderness preservation would have been a futile exercise, as Mr. Fraser believed it would be in 1983, but as I pointed out in our magazine a year ago, conservation has come a long way since Myles Dunphy aroused the Club's interest 50 years ago. No secular movement can claim more voluntary members, or as many voluntary helpers, as the conservation societies, and they were all behind the Franklin campaign. Consequently, in the marginal electorates where the “No Dams” workers opposed the Government, they were able to field more campaigners than either of the major parties. On polling days over 400 workers were available on each of the city marginal seats chosen by the South-West Coalition.
For a movement with such resources and enthusiasm the task of winning the election was well within their capability. An average overall swing of 1.4% would defeat the government. This meant that if 14 voters in every 1000 could be persuaded to vote for the “no dams” parties instead of the “pro-dam” parties the Franklin could be saved. It could be done with less than a 1.4% overall swing if a swing of that extent were obtained in 11 marginal seats.
In the event the overall swing was 3.8%. How much of this was the work of the conservationists cannot be known. It is probably fair to say that, whereas there was a Tweedledum and Tweedledee element in the economic policies of the parties, the Franklin issue was clear cut and had an emotional appeal to many voters outside the conservation movement. There were some pointers as to the effect of the “No Dams” campaign. In N.S.W., Victoria and Tasmania, where the principal effort was made, the Democrats' Senate vote was up, whereas the overall trend, both in the Senate and the House of Representatives, was down. The vote in Bennelong, uncontested by the Democrats, where Milo Dunphy stood as a National South-West Coalition, was very significant. Milo would undoubtedly have received the majority of Democrat votes - 7.06% in 1960. But his vote was 12.7% of the total. The swing to Labor in this seat was only 0.26%. Some 5% of Milo's 12.7% was therefore at the expense of the Liberals. The biggest anti-dam vote was achieved in the strongest Liberal areas, where it reached up to 18.6%. The vote for Milo was down to 9% in Labor areas of the electorate. This was to be expected, because a vote for the Labor candidate would be equally effective against the dams. Whatever interpretation is placed on the election result, it is clear that the swing to Labor could have been achieved by the intervention of the South-last Coalition. Mr. Anthony, a seasoned campaigner, has attributed the Labor win to the Franklin dam issue. “Clearly the Government suffered, particularly in Victoria,” he stated, “from the campaign against the dam”. The conservationists got what they wanted. In this sense at least, they wan the election.
The Labor Government is pledged to stop the dam, but how? Premier Gray stands firm on his claim that nothing can over-ride his right to wreck a component of the National Estate and the World Heritage. Mr. Murray Wilcox, Q.C., President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, says that the Commonwealth Government, as a signatory to the UNESCO Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and National Heritage, has both the power and the responsibility to protect South-West Tasmania. The Attorney-General's Department's opinion is that “The Commonwealth has substantial constitutional powers that could be used to preserve South-West Tasmania. Any decision not to intervene must therefore be based on political grounds, not an any constitutional impediment.” Professor Michael Coper states that “a Commonwealth Government absolutely determined to intervene in Tasmania has powers which would enable it to do so”. Nevertheless there can be little doubt that the Tasmanian Government will not listen to reason and that whichever path the Commonwealth Government takes will lead it into a legal jungle as dense as the horizontal scrub of the South-West. Some of the steps it might take are:-
Enactment of the World Heritage Properties Protection Bill.
This passed the Senate with the support of several Liberal Senators in the old Parliament and will be overwhelmingly supported by both houses in the new.
Action under Section 51 of the Constitution.
This power is invoked by signature of the UNESCO Convention.
Refusal of import licenses for the importation of dam building machinery.
Refusal of permission to raise loans.
Withdrawal of financial privileges granted to Tasmania as a “disadvantaged state”.
Senator Missen, Liberal, Victoria, expressed his intention of voting against financial handouts to Tasmania in these words: “I am not prepared to see my constituents continually taken to the cleaners in the interests of a State which thumbs its nose at Australia's national responsibilities and threatens to bring this nation into disrepute.”
The Hawke Government will need its map, compass, torch and sustained determination to fight its way through the legal horizontal scrub. Let us hope that it never fails to see beyond the tangle to the real issue - the preservation of an irreplaceable remnant of the world's natural heritage.
(Note: Final figures were not available when this article was written.)
by Peter Harris.
Praise God! The Franklin lives!
“Now moves its ever-flowing waters
Now sings its raptuous sang of joy.
Behold the stream of living nature
Unbroken past its hydro-ploy.”
The stream which has a beginning now carries its waters to the end, unhindered and free-flowing. The Franklin lives. The chain is broken. The wilderness is intact. The World Heritage remains. The Franklin and Gordon Rivers National Park is unrevoked.
At what cost? Almost 1,600 arrests at on-site protests. A national cost of nearly $200,000 to fund an electoral pressure campaign. A complete farce of Tasmania's police and judicial systems. Conservation and recreation opposition to a Federal Government's failure to intervene under the External Affairs Powers - an opposition of nearly 100%. And the ultimate cost - division, diviciveness and the downfall of a Federal Government.
The issue crossed all political affiliations. My own decision to take a prominent role was a very difficult one. It cost me a few friends. It made me a few friends. But the successful objective was worth it. I am proud particularly of the Sydney Bush Walkers whose mammoth contribution in terms of money completely funded the national printing and distribution of car stickers - a project upon which the success of the “NO DAMS” campaign depended. The S.B.W. people who willingly gave up their time to actively canvass and campaign on behalf of the Wilderness Society are too numerous to mention, and their efforts will remain their own personal satisfaction. They have given of themselves.
God bless you all. You have saved the Franklin!
by Rudi Dezelin.
After the previous summer's visit to the beautiful remote mountains south of Thredbo, I decided another visit to the area was called for.
The last day of December 1982 dawned warm and sunny as I set off from the comforts of lodge in Thredbo on my three-day pack-walk. After a 4 km “road bash” to Dead Horse Gap I headed south along the Bob's Ridge fire trail for another 10 km or so.
A swim in Cascade Creek, my lunch stop, was most welcome to cool off from the very hot sun. After lunch it was another three hours of hot and tiring slog to the Tin Mine Huts, arriving there very hot and exhausted about two hours before sunset. The total distance covered that day was a good 30 km!
Despite the very bad drought conditions I found prolific wildlife along the way. A couple of black snakes, a lyrebird and numerous scurrying rabbits were encountered that day.
I settled down to a most welcome dinner in Charlie Carter's hut (Charlie was a recluse who lived in the Tin Mine Huts during the 1950s), but upon trying to sleep was disturbed by rats (or mice?) rummaging through the hut. Peace returned after chasing the noisy rodents away using a stick.
New Year's Day started sunny, warm and humid after the previous night's thunderstorms and light rain. After a hearty breakfast, I set off early, hoping to climb The Pilot Mountain. Unfortunately my efforts were unrewarded, as walking along the Cowombat Fire Trail I could not find the Pilot turn-off track, mainly due to the area having been recently burnt out by a huge (allegedly deliberately lit) bushfire! Along the way I encountered a group of young Victorians pedalling their special “mountain bicycles” en route to Thredbo, having set out from Bairnsdale, Victoria, some days before.
The night of New Year's Day was again spent at Charlie Carter's hut. That night proved to be very wet after thunder and lightning in the late afternoon.
The third, and last, day dawned horribly overcast, cold and misty. I set out for the return slog to Thredbo but was caught out in the open by a torrential downpour lasting about an hour. Drenched to the skin, it was heaven to reach Cascade Hut about 15 km walk from Tin Mine Hut. Two very kind souls staying in the hut had a roaring fire already going and it was great to be offered hot “billy tea” and home-made biscuits for lunch and to be able to dry my wet gear over the hut's fireplace. The rest of the day was spent sheltering in the hut as showers persisted all afternoon.
That day a huge, lone brumby was sighted grazing outside the hut. He quickly trotted off as soon as he noticed that he was being watched. Other fauna observed an that day included an emu, and a beautifully coloured flame-robin, as well as several mountain parrots. Several dingo tracks were to be seen an the muddy track. After a very cosy and comfortable night in Cascade Hut I returned to civilisation (Thredbo) on the morning of the fourth day. All in all the walk proved to be a most enjoyable experience, despite the very fickle weather conditions encountered.
by Bill Gamble.
A rostered day off work on Friday, 15th October 1982, let me plan a walk of three days along a route which would be a bit of a rush on an ordinary weekend. As well as doing my own walk, I was able to meet Bill Capon's Cox's River party at Splendour Rock on the Saturday afternoon and join it until breakfast at Konangaroo on the Sunday morning. In short, the walk combined two important aspects of my bushwalking: time to be alone and an opportunity to walk a little and camp with others. An account of Bill's walk, written by Tom Wenman, appears in the December issue of the magazine. The following is a brief account of what I did.
The 10.05 am train from Central put me in Katoomba shortly after noon. Lunch of fruit and filled bread rolls was bought at local shops (being a late evening or early morning visitor at weekends I had not realised how busy Katoomba can be on a weekday) and then walked out to Golden Stairs via Waratah, Cascade, Neale, Peckmans, Kamilaroi and Oak Streets, taking about forty-five minutes. After a leisurely lunch and a change into shorts there was a very pleasant walk along the Narrow Neck peninsula (an opinion not always shared by bushwalkers, judging by the numbers heard saying that the walk is monotonous), arriving at Taros Ladder about 4.30 pm. By 5.30 pm I had descended to Cedar Gap and dropped off the west side down to a beaut campsite an Glenalan Creek pretty well underneath the power lines and about a hundred metres from the Medlow Gap fire trail. The diversions in my overnight stay were a large, mischievous magpie interested in my food and the limb of a nearby tree which detached from its trunk in the still of the night.
By 7.30 am on Saturday morning, I was away for an easy-paced walk along the fire trail to Medlow Gap and out to Mobb's Swamp where a billabong water bucket was filled for morning tea and lunch at Splendour Rock. Then it was up to Warrigal Gap at the back of the swamp and a rather warm walk along the ridge to reach Splendour Rock about 10.30 am. The little extra effort in carrying plenty of water enabled me to indulge in a heavy session of tea drinking. Also, there was time to lay out maps and relate them to the countryside spread around; and to have a bit of a snooze too.
I had given up hope of Bill's party arriving from Carlons via Blackhorse Ridge and at 1.30 pm shook off my lethargy to walk down to Konangaroo; but no sooner commenced when Gordon Lee and Bob Milne came thundering down the track with most of the rest of Bill's party following a few minutes later. It was at least another thirty minutes before the party headed back to their packs on the main track to the Cox's River, after scrambling on the chains and spikes of Splendour Rock.
Momentum gathered along Yellow Dog Range, paused for awhile atop the mountain, then re-gathered for the plunge down Yellow Pup Ridge to the Cox's River. By 5.00 pm our campsite on the south bank of Kanangra Stream looked well-established. The day's efforts, the mildness of the evening or the effects of various murky liquids carried for medicinal purposes laid Bill's party low about 10.00 pm. In the early hours of the morning light rain ensured that they kept low until it cleared shortly after dawn.
Soon after 5.00 am (an ungodly hour for those not planning to walk until 9.00 am) I moved to relight the fire in the embers of the previous night's fire still very warm despite the rain. Everyone in Bill's party seemed to be turning to breakfast before their walk up the Cox's River to Breakfast Creek and Carlons, as I walked away from them at 7.00 am for the return to Katoomba. It was an ideal day for walking, cool but not cold. My pace was steady throughout, with only a few short stops. And the walk along Narrow Neck again a delight. At 2.50 pm I bought my ticket with twenty minutes to spare to tidy myself before the Sydney-bound train arrived on time at 3.13 pm. I was home at Bondi at 5.45 pm.
The relaxing train trip back to Sydney even gave me time to reflect on the walk. I thought that, perhaps, the Club programme might be varied occasionally by including walks which converge for an overnight camp and then disperse on the Sunday for the walk out by different routes. We might find members of widely differing walking capacities who would seldom if ever contemplate being on the same type of walk being able to meet out in the bush rather than just in the clubroom an Wednesday nights or at Coolana. Based on Konangaroo, we could wrap into a weekend of Club walking a Three-Peeks, Carlons-Kanangaroo-Carlons; and even a Kanangra-Katoomba car swop. Another thought is that the increasing incidence of rostered days off through the introduction of flexitime etc, or the forced working of fewer days in the current economic recession might make worthwhile the inclusion in the programme of walks of three days on other than public holiday long weekends.
Enough, any more suggestions like this and I shall be expected to lead a walk or two!
by Jo Van Sommers.
April 13 - General Meeting - Hand in slides for Competition on 27th.
* April 20 - Bhutan and Sikkim - Marcia Shappert will show her slides of these difficult-to-visit areas.
April 27 - Slide Competition - Judged by Henry Gold. Three sections:- 1. Candid snaps, 2. Landscape; 3. Overseas. No prizes, no entry fee; just glory!
* All members are invited to meet for dinner at Phuong Vietnamese Restaurant, 87 Willoughby Road, Crow's Nest (near Clubhouse) 6.30 pm. B.Y.O. Reasonable (it's in Cheap Eats).
The subscriptions decided upon at the A.G.M. on 9th March are as follows:-
Non-active member subscription and prospective members subscription will be decided by Committee and advised in the April magazine.
by Wendy Hodgman.
With bushwalking and appreciation of the outdoors becoming more popular, so the number of people out in the bush each weekend increases. In S.B.W. we have seen this as our membership grows each year. As more people get out in the bush, the chances of accidents occurring, or of people getting lost, must also increase. This, combined with a recognition by the Police Rescue Squad that the Federation of Bushwalking Clubs operates an efficient S. & R. unit, has resulted in an increased number of call-outs during the past twelve months. Being a voluntary organization, people are limited in how many days they can take off work to go out searching, and now S. & R. are desperately in need of more experienced bushwalkers to participate in their operations.
With this in mind, Steve and I set off early on Saturday morning to attend an S. & R. canyon practice weekend at Mt. Wilson. There were about 30 other bushwalkers from clubs ranging from Sydney to Bathurst. We began by discussing the operation, structure, history and problems encountered thus far. S. & R. has a committee consisting of many over-worked people, who basically do all the organizing, both at home and in the field. They are always willing to accept help or criticism, and are headed by Fergus Bell (Director). The committee members are the first people to alert if a party is overdue or injured. They will then contact police and call out a team if necessary. If there is a call-out, committee members contact Club S. & R. contacts, who then organize their own team of members to go out on a search.
And here we come across the two main problems S. & R. are currently facing. (1) Club contacts are not always easy to get in touch with, and (2) The same walkers are being called out fairly regularly, and as a result are having problems with bosses (and in these times this can be a worry).
So S. & R. appeal to all clubs to have phone contacts who can be contacted day or night, and who know the walking abilities of their club members. They also need active walkers, preferably with a St.John's Ambulance Certificate, and preferably who have been on a practice weekend and who can be called out at short notice. People called out should go equipped to be self-sufficient for 48 hours, have adequate food, clothing, water, abseiling gear (but not ropes) and a map.
After this discussion, which had been keenly observed by several kookaburras perched in the trees above, we were shown the radios and instructed in their use. In the afternoon we split up into groups of four, each with a radio, and were sent off in different directions. We had to keep radio contact with base, report on our progress and location, and generally practise radio operation. Most groups ended up at a pleasant waterhole and were able to cool off before returning to base. However, our group of four found ourselves 30 feet above the Wollongambe, with no way down without ropes. So we had to content ourselves with watching the water and imagining how good it would feel. The exercise itself was interesting - trying to keep radio messages short but informative.
With the day's “work” over, we all sat round a huge fire and discussed the world's problems with bushwalkers from other clubs.
Next morning, two fellows were sent off to get lost in a canyon. An hour later we were organized into search parties, each given specific areas to search, radios and details of the two missing walkers. Our luckless party again drew the short straw and began our searching down the side of an incredibly scrubby ridge. I felt sure that the missing walkers were too experienced to go through thick scrub, and so was able to justify my pleasant stroll along the ridge top, while I listened to fellow party members cursing the vines below. By the time we searched the creek, the missing people had been found, and a quick check of grid references revealed that they were within half hour's walk of our group. Base directed us to the aid of the now “found” walkers, because one fellow had a supposed broken ankle and could not walk out. Four parties converged on the spot where the missing people were found, well placed by a deep swimming hole, and found the injured person sunning himself on a leg (what a convenient place to break an ankle!!).
Base called the other parties back and then sent them out with a stretcher and a rescue officer. When they arrived we began the interesting exercise of floating an injured person to the bank, and then hauling him up a cliff on a stretcher. By using a long rope and all available personpower, the job of carrying the stretcher was spread over the group and made much easier. The difficulty, in fact, lay in organizing 30 people in a confined area. Once up to the tops, and then theoretically carried out by helicopter, the theoretically injured person was made to help carry out the stretcher (as a punishment for his hours of sunbaking and swimming). A debriefing followed and discussion of any problems or queries.
Apart from the usefulness of learning how a Search & Rescue is carried out, the weekend was a good chance to meet other bushwalkers and make new friends. Basically it was an interesting and enjoyable weekend. The next practice will be in April, and all S.B.W. members who could be put on our S. & R. list of walkers, are urged to come along. It will be on the next Walks Programme, so come and see how efficiently our S. & R. works. It is in all our interests as bushwalkers to have a reliable S. & R. team, and we can all be part of that team. After all, if you get lost or injured in the bush, who would you rather come to find you - experienced bushwalkers with a knowledge of the area, or novices to the bush?
S. & R. Committee Members:
Fergus Bell 476,4187 (a), 667,0511 (B)
Keith Maxwell 622,0049 (H), 88,9231 (B)
As mentioned earlier the next S. & R. practice has been planned for the weekend April 30th/May 1st. Experienced walkers who would like to take part are invited to contact Steve and Wendy Hodgman (phone 519,6633 (H)).
by Barry Wallace.
The meeting began at around 2007 hours with a floating number of members, estimated at 15… or so. There were apologies from Barrie Murdoch, and no new members to welcome.
The Minutes were read and received with no business arising.
Correspondence comprised outgoing letters to Melbourne Bush Walkers agreeing to an exchange of Club Magazines, to Laurie Rayner confirming details of his membership of the Club, to North Sydney Council Services Department, and from the N.P.A. advising of a proposed series of lectures on birdlife. There were no matters arising.
There was then a departure from the normal agenda to permit Peter Harris to apprise those present of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society's plans for participation in the upcoming federal elections and present an appeal for support and funds. A motion that the Club donate $500.00 to the T.W.S. brought some debate, but was passed on the voices.
The Treasurer's Report was read from the chair and revealed the following situation: We began the month with $2136.06, acquired $149.85, spent $164.86, to conclude the month with a balance of $2121.05.
All of which brought us with blinding speed to the… Walks-Report… David Rostron's walk/swim down Morong Deep over the weekend of 14,15,16 January attracted 16 people. Conditions were very dry but the trip went well. Joan Cooper's Heathcote to Audley via the pools is said to have gone, but there was no report. Roy Braithwaite had 4 starters on his Cowan to Brooklyn day walk on the Sunday. Guy Vinden's Snowy Mountains extended walk did not go.
The following weekend, 21,22,23 January, Frank Taeker and the 13 starters on his Budawangs base camp walk ran into a spot of bother on the Sunday morning. It seems that during a side trip in Corang River Gorge a falling rock, or rocks, injured two walkers and narrowly missed disabling a third. Derek Wilson sustained a badly gashed ankle, which was subsequently found to have two broken bones. The party came out without outside help, but it was a long Sunday. Gordon Lee's abseiling trip did not go nor did Jim Laing's Bell Creek/Wollongambe li-lo trip. Peter Christian's Wondabyne trip had 11 people sweating out a later-than-expected start due to their train missing the ferry. It seems a local samaritan called the ferry to come and collect the stranded ones. John Newman's Otford to Lilyvale walk was just another no-go that weekend, something to do with a lack of train, I believe.
Over the Australia Day weekend the easy and hard walks both went. Bill Burke had 18 people enjoying the sand, sea, and just a little surf, on his Pebbly Beach easy weekend. Gordon Lee reported 5 people, and some problem with weights, or ridges, or something. Anyway the Kowmung and Gingra Creek have almost stopped flowing.
Over the weekend of 4,5,6 February, Don Finch led 26 people on a rugged li-lo safari through the upper Wollongambe to recuperate at John and Heather White's place at Mt. Tomah. Don and Jenny Cornell's Cox River walk was cancelled due to poor river conditions, as was Gordon Lee's second bid for Danae Brook. Of the two day walks, Derek Wilson's Bundeena to Bundeena walk was led by Brian Bolton with 7 starters and Deer Pool in poor condition, and Steve and Wendy Hodgman led 5 people on their programmed bike trip to complete the Walks Report.
Federation Report brought news that the E.I.S. for Birds Rock Colliery has been received, that F.B.W. are to write complaining of mining leases being granted in the Ettrema area, and also to write to the Director N.P.W.S. supporting his stand on Kosciusko National Park.
General Business saw no action. There was an announcement that member Neil Brown has suffered a stroke and is recovering in the rehabilitation clinic at Sutherland Hospital - night time visits would be welcomed. The Club also resolved to send cards to both Neil Brown and Derek Wilson wishing them speedy recovery.
The meeting closed at 2105 hours.
A correction to Ron Knightley's article on “Some Unrecorded Budawang's History” in the Sydney Bushwalker, February 1983. The title quoted “Pigeon House and Beyond” was suggested by Bob Snedden and adopted at a meeting at Colin Watson's home on 15th November 1973.
This title was acceptable as (a) a recognisable feature and (b) was more likely to appeal to the general public as well as walkers. The fact that the publication has the same title as Ray Kirkby's article (Bushwalker 1941) is quite coincidental.
(Sgd.) Warwick Blayden.
Congratulations to Fiona Moyes and Jim Vatiliotis who were married on 13th February. Their honeymoon in Fiji just missed the cyclone!
Joe Marton's correct phone number is 638-7353. Please alter the details on your List of Members accordingly.
An extended trip for May school holidays - Sat. 14th to Wed. 18th May. Three Peaks Trip - Carlons, Blackhorse Range, Kanangaroo, Cloudmaker, Kanangra Creek, Paralyser, Sally Camp Creek, Gaouogang, Kanangaroo, Cox's River, Carlons. Leader: George Walton. Phone 498-7956.
Massage for those stiff limbs and sore backs (Swedish Certificate). Appointments 4 - 9 pm, Mondays and Tuesdays - at Lane Cove. Half hour treatment - $10. Ainslie Morris. Phone 428-3178.
by Christine Austin.
What a predicament! To be caught part way up the Ramsheads in a wild storm with Dane on my back, nappies in one hand and a temperamental umbrella in the other. However, my burdens were not the heaviest. Craig was carrying a pack containing three tents and three sleeping bags, not to mention all the other necessities for a six-day base trip. And who was this behind us, emerging from the mist? Eve Walker, her arms and back groaning from the weight of numerous burdens, slung all over her.
Continuing in the bad weather seemed rather pointless. We were all cold and Dane, although not cold, seemed rather perplexed to see these idiotic adults shambling around in the rain. A trip to the Jindabyne cake shop revived us and in the afternoon we repeated the morning's performance, the weather having slightly improved and David now with us uttering encouraging words about the camp site (he had established a spot the day before). And, true to his word, there it was! The most beautiful campsite one could imagine, several hundred feet below the tree line in the snow gums, with a clear stream nearby and magnificent views into Victoria. Judith and Deirdre were there to welcome us with a cup of tea and soon a meal was eaten and the tent erected, a good thing because the rain had decided to recommence. Was this weather to continue?
Happily no, because the next day was bright and cheerful with a keen wind blowing. A stroll over the Ramshead tops was arranged, but once on top the howling wind made us divert from the others to a sheltered cirque where a snow grass slope made a wonderful slippery dip, a delight for any little person. Craig and I, not wishing to participate as we felt we'd outgrown the slippery dip age, had time to admire all the magnificent flowers, which were out in profusion, despite the drought.
At camp that night we were treated to a taste of the most delicious food I've ever eaten on a bushwalk. Eve now revealed, the contents of her bags - rice, lentils, bean, almond meal and cheese. Sounds terrible, but oh, what concoctions! I had the merest taste, not wishing to deny Deirdre and Eve their dinner, but enough to wish that we could somehow exchange meals.
That night, after campfire conversations reaching every known-topic, we slid into warm sleeping bags, grateful to be in the cool Ramsheads, rather than sizzling in Sydney.
As the wind continued to howl the next day, Eve, Craig and I, not wishing to wind blast Dane's already crimson face, took to the safe protection of a group of rocks on the Ramsheads and from our fortress enjoyed our lunch with the mountains of Victoria before us. Each line of mountains presented a lighter blue until those in the distance merged with the horizon.
Not long after our return to camp, an elated but rather tired Leigh Rostron and Christie (a friend from Queanbeyan) arrived, having just walked to Mt. Kosciusko, a great effort for two small boys. Having shown the adults of what they were really capable, they preferred to spend the next day throwing rocks in the creek, an activity which delighted Dane. Meanwhile, David and Craig had strolled out to Mt. Mueller, while the ladies minded the camp. Their return with rosy, wind-blasted faces led us to reflect that at least the wind was keeping away the march flies, whose presence in great numbers would have made our idyllic week a misery.
Everybody knows about ladies' tennis days, but what about ladies' walking days? This time the men did the child minding while Eve, Judith, Deidre and I set out on our own walk. Where? Well, we weren't sure when we left but we knew we were going somewhere. A sheltered nook beside a crystal stream caught Eve's eye, so we left her there to relax and meditate. We three now decided to aim for Lake Cootapatamba, the thought of a swim high in our minds. However, little swimming was done because the lake was only thigh deep, even in the middle. The dip in the cool water was refreshing, anyhow, and putting dirty clothes on our clean bodies, we returned to camp, delighted that there hadn't been the slightest chance of getting ourselves lost. At camp we found that during our absence the three boys had added considerable strength to their right arms by another bout of rock throwing.
With the temperature rising and the boys hearing homes call, the Rostrons and Deidre returned to Sydney the next day. We decided to visit the Coolaman Caves - Blue Water Holes area, a place I've wanted to see for years. It was a hot drive up to the Caves, and, thinking we were nearly there, we rounded the last bend to find the most abominable creek crossing we've ever seen. Craig backed the car to a suitable spot and we examined the crossing with some trepidation. Should we risk crossing it or drive all the way back to Tantangara? The ranger (a seasonal one - there until the end of January) felt he couldn't give us any advice, the N.P.W.S. not being keen on law suits. We decided to risk it, and after emptying the car of all heavy objects, it bounced slowly but unharmed over the enormous boulders. Feeling rather relieved, we set up camp beside Cave Creek, a beautiful area now being managed by the seasonal ranger. The walk down Caves Creek through Clarke Gorge to the waterfall was a cool delight, because the temperature was exceedingly high that day, yet the water was icy.
On our return to camp we noticed, it being Saturday, that numerous people had set up camp around us. We were now treated to a fashion parade of the latest camping gear used by 4 W.D. owners. Large tents of every shape and colour, chairs, tables - the works. We felt rather conspicuous with our tiny tents and large rucksacks. In fact one man remarked to us rather disparagingly, “I notice you are cooking on a fire!!”
Anxious to escape this invasion, we left early, the next day, visiting the historic Coolamine homestead on the way. What a sense of age and romance pervaded the atmosphere of this place. Newspapers, written many years ago, covered the walls. Some of these extolled the virtues of married life - “Don't be negligent in your negligee!” said one. This old homestead is now being jointly run by the N.P.W.S. and the National Trust and it is to be hoped it will remain in good order, because it is a truly fascinating place to visit.
“Two and a half hours to Canberra,” the ranger at Coolaman had said, and 2 1/2 hot hours later we arrived there. Dust swirled around the city and visibility was down to a few kilometres. Dust slowed us almost to a standstill on the expressway.
Our thanks to the Rostrons, Christie, Eve and Deirdre for a great and relaxing trip to the Ramsheads.
by Jim Brown.
(A slightly abridged version of an “entertainment” presented at the Re-union, March, 1983. The players were Dot Butler, Jo Van Sommers, Geoff Wagg, Dan Matthew and Jim Brown.)
During the summer just past, the attention of bushwalkers and conservationists has been focussed on events in Tasmania.
Over a good many years we have heard walkers, returned from Tasmanian trips, sounding off about conditions there. Some have suggested that the telephone cables under Bass Strait should be severed, allowing Tasmania to drift away towards Antarctica, or to sink in the morass of button-grass plains.
Because of recent events we have chosen to present a tribute to some of our Tasmanian cousins under the title “Isle of the Dammed”. This play, if you can call it that, is semi-serious in nature, because what happened in Tasmania this summer was not a frivolous thing.
The words were written in late February. Owing to developments at the recent Federal Election, it seems possible that the threat to the Franklin and Gordon Rivers has been averted. If that is so, this cautionary tale is now out-of-date. We hope it is so.
There are convoys that roll out of Strahan each day
With a new batch of gaol-birds in paddy-vans crammed,
For the crime they've committed, says Premier Gray,
Is considered most grave in the Isle of the Dammed.
At Hobart these convoys converge on the gaol;
Upon these vile felons the gates then are slammed.
And conditions imposed if they chance to get bail -
They must no more blockade in the Isle of the Dammed.
Dot: (As this is spoken, pieces of suitably coloured plastic are waved)
I am a spokesperson for the Tasmanian Tourist Bureau…
Come to colourful Tasmania. See the Greenies, led by Bob Brown, confront the Red-tape bureaucrats of the Hydro Electric Commission, operating under the auspices of Premier Gray. See the Greenies being arrested by the men in Blue. Premier Gray believes this will prove the Greenies have a Yellow streak. About 1,500 have been arrested in this particular Blue.
Meanwhile many Tasmanian workers have been bought by the thirty pieces of Silver and have declined to declare the dam project Black. Premier Gray feels that Bob Brown is a Pink - a fellow traveller of the Reds - but to fellow conservationists he is a White man.
Anyway, came to Colourful Tasmania to spend your tourist dollar! See our wild Greenies! See our equally wild dam builders! See our Wild Rivers! After all, if the H.E.C. has its way, you won't be able to see them much longer!
(Enter Geoff & Jim): We are officers of the Tasmanian Hydro Electric Authority.
Jim: I don't think it is realised how we Tasmanians, without any aid from the Mainland, have advanced the development of our island. Let us list some of our positive achievements.
Geoff: We wiped out all our aborigines while the Mainlanders were still pussy-footing around, knocking off one or two here and there. Nowadays, you wouldn't have a bolters chance of liquidating them. Do you realise we're not even allowed to shoot Greenies nowadays? Instead we imprison them at the tax-payers' expense, which really means N.S.W. and Victoria pick up the tab.
Jim: By the 1930s we'd done away with that vicious marsupial, the thylacine, the Tasmanian Tiger. We managed this a lot better than the Indians, who still have a few tigers.
Geoff: In the 1970s we flooded Lake Pedder and showed those conservationist freaks where they got off.
Jim: Remember this basic precept. If its there, God intended the H.E.C. to use it. Our Chief Commissioner had heard that old hymn about the beautiful river that flows past the throne of God, and had plans to make a take-over bid for Heaven and dam that river too, but this project may have to wait now.
Geoff: Remember that wise old rhyme:-
If it is growing, lop it…
If it is flowing, stop it…
If it is moving, shoot it…
If it's a Greenie, boot it…
They say there are rivers down in the south-west
That still flow unchecked to the sea,
The Gordon and Franklin and all of the rest -
How can such wastage be?
We should dam every valley in three or four spots
By building a road and a wall…
Up with the megawatts, damn with the Greenie clots…
Shift it, me lads, dam 'em all.
(Chorus) Dam 'em all, dam 'em all, the Gordon and Franklin and all.
Dam all the rivers and flood all the lakes,
Drown all the wombats and flush out the snakes.
For we're going to have quite a ball,
Inundating that last waterfall.
Oh, we'll have a load of fun when no more rivers run,
Shift it, me lads, dam 'em all.
(Enter Jo and Don)
Don: We are a couple of Greenies, who think that the Franklin blockade
Is a protest against mindless authority - a bit like Eureka Stockade.
Jo: We won't earn a cent if we win this fight, but if we should lose, what's the cost?
Can you put a price on the wilderness, writing off what Australia has lost?
Don: What's happened down here has made going to gaol quite respectable - in fact, honourable.
Jo: Oh, yes, it's the “IN” thing.
Don: Look at our leader, Bob Brown. In gaol as a blockader. Then, out he comes on bail and goes straight into the State Parliament. Could that happen anywhere except in Tasmania?
Jo: Well, maybe in Ireland. It's really a Gilbertian situation.
Don: And Gilbert anticipated it… Remember in the Mikado, when Ko Ko is released from gaol and promoted to Lord High Executioner?
Taken from a county gaol by a set of curious chances,
Liberated then on bail, in my own recognisances.
Wafted by a favouring gale, as one sometimes is in trances
To a height that few can scale, save by long and weary dances…
(Re-enter DOT, followed by all the company)
Dot: We are the National Anthem Society. Possibly you don't know the second Stanza of the National Anthem? Well, it's very, very corny… so we've written a replacement stanza as a tribute to Tasmania, and we'll sing both of them…
When gallant Cook from Albion sailed
To trace wide oceans o'er,
True British courage bore him on
Till he landed an our shore.
And here he raised Old England's flag,
The standard of the brave.
With all her faults we love her still,
Britannia rule the wave! In joyous strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair!
When Tasman from Batavia sailed
To seek the Great South Land,
Dutch courage must have borne him on
Till he saw our western strand.
Of course, he never landed there,
In fact he quickly scrammed,
And in the “Zeehan's” log he wrote,
“An Island of the Dammed”.
Prophetic words we still may quote,
“The Island of the Dammed”.