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
|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
|Typist:|| Kath Brown
|Duplicator Operator:||Phil Butt
|Wallowing at Wyanbene||by Roger Browne and Michelle de Vries Robbe||2|
|Poem - Reproduced by permission from “The Quiet Land”||Peter Dombrovskis and Ellen Miller||4|
|Tigers Not Extinct||Alex Colley||5|
|It Turned Out Fine Again||Tom Wenman||6|
|Yalwal Instructional||Diedre Schofield||8|
|The Coolana Pyramid||A Nonny Mouse||9|
|Eastwood Camping Centre Advertisement||10|
|Meeting Notes - November General Meeting||Barry Wallace||11|
|Head Due South - Reprint from August 1960||Carl Doherty||12|
|“Of Ships and Shoes and Sealing Wax….”||Jim Brown||15|
|Walking's a Pleasure - It's New - It's 0fficial||16|
|Social Notes for February||Jo Van Sommers||16|
By Roger Browne and Michelle de Vries Robbe
Friday 16th December saw 16 people discovering the Deua National Park. Heavy rain had fallen recently, and we squelched along the track from the car park to our campsite on the Upper Shoalhaven River. “Camping within walking distance of the cars” may mean many things (since by definition it applies to every walk), but in this case it involved nothing more than a two-minute walk. The campsite was flat and grassy, marred only by some marauding bull-ants.
The Trip Info Sheet had asked everyone to bring some Christmas decorations, but most of those who read it though that the request was only a joke. So we selected a very small gum tree that was quietly minding its own business, and decorated it with the tinsel, baubles and inflatable Santa-with-backpack brought by those who knew the leaders well enough to take their strange requests seriously.
After a bludge breakfast on Saturday we donned old clothes, torches and helmets and set off for Wyanbene Cave. The sixteen of us climbed down the entrance slope and crawled on our knees through 20 cm of water under an 80cm high ceiling. The passage then opened out and led past the organ pipe formation to the wind tunnel, a tiny hole in the top corner of the cavern. Another group of cavers had caught up with us, so we let them wriggle through the wind tunnel while we explored the old tourist section.
Tourists were guided through this cave around the turn of the century, but they were certainly a hardier breed than the type who walk the electrically lit cement paths of caves like Jenolan today. The old tourists had to carry candles for light, and endure much mud, water and squeezing. Some iron ladders were installed for them on the unclimbable sections, and most of these are still there. We climbed up them into a cavern where tree roots grow through the roof, and bats were flying around and hanging from the ceiling.
We returned to the wind tunnel, and those who had done enough caving were taken outside. Eight remained, and we climbed the difficult slope to the wind tunnel and gushed ourselves through. Cavers describe the wriggling motion required to accomplish this as “reptating”, which means behaving like a worm. We returned to the river level below by climbing down a wire ladder that we had carried into the cave. We belayed each person on a safety-rope as they climbed the seven metre slope, but we passed a party on the way out using only a hand- line on this very slippery climb.
Wyanbene is basically a river cave, and we followed the underground river upstream past chamber after chamber of flowstone, rimstone pools, shawls, columns, helictites, stalactites, stalagmites and one formation which could only be described as a “phallictite”,. Two unusual obstacles were the “jail bars”, a row of stalactites which we climbed through, and the “triangle squeeze”, a 3-metre long wedge-shaped crevice which we wriggled along. After the triangle squeeze, we stopped for a snack before retracing our steps to reach the cave mouth after five hours in the cave.
Returning to the outside world after caving is a beautiful experience. The air becomes warm and welcoming, the smell of dust gives way to the aromas of plants, animals and moist earth, and the light appears filtered and bright to eyes accustomed to feeble yellow torchlight reflected off muddy rocks.
As only one car was left at the cave (the other drivers having opted out at the wind tunnel), we crammed eight people plus lots of caving gear into a small Chrysler Sigma. Only one person had to ride in the boot.
Time was running out for our 11 km afternoon walk, so we had a quick lunch and wash and left the campsite at ten to five (!). The first stop was the Big Hole - 100m deep, 40m across and a very neat cylindrical hole. It is truly impressive. Then we joined a fire trail and headed to Marble Arch, a small cave and canyon with interesting blue and red marbling patterns in grey and white rock.
On the way back we left the fire trail and walked on the National Park boundary between farmland and the bush. We passed a kangaroo with a cute and very curious joey in its pouch, and arrived back at camp just as night fell.
On Sunday morning, eight people opted for the long walk to the Deua, while the rest selected the “soft option” of liloing, swimming, and basking in the sun.
The park has been scarred by the construction of a large network of fire trails since the map was compiled (1975). The old foot and horse trails appear to have fallen into disuse and we were not able to locate them, even though we crossed their positions on the map-many times. However, one of the fire trails followed our general route for much of the way. The fire trail is 4 km shorter (at 18 km) than the old horse trail, but involved 100 in more climbing (for a total vertical of 900 m). Parts of the fire trail are extremely steep. The last 3 km follows Curmurlee Creek, a delightful mountain stream which feeds the Deua River. At the Deua we found an excellent swimming hole and stopped for a swim and a short (but not hurried) lunch.
The downward trip had taken 3 hours, but the return trip took from 3 to 5 hours, depending on the walker. Fortunately, the weather was with us - the glorious sun during our swim changed to an overcast sky and the temperature dropped rapidly as we started our walk back. The general opinion was that it was a lovely spot, but with a price to pay on the climb out.
We regrouped at the campsite. Roger's car had been giving trouble and had been pushed for much of the way down on Friday night. It needed considerable attention from the bush mechanics in our group before it agreed to cough in to Braidwood, where it was repaired.
The long climb out from the Deua, and the mechanical problems, meant that that it was almost midnight before the last participant was safety home, tired but happy.
by Ellen Miller
From THE QUIET LAND by Peter Dombrovskis (photos) and Ellen Miller (poetry), published by Peter Dombrovskis, P.O. Box 245 Sandy Bay, Tasmania 7005.
Reproduced by permission.
Often full of misty rain.
Light doesn't simply light this rain forest.
It slips into it like long, slanting fingers,
or filters in a lacy pattern through the tree tops.
Or glistens on patches of wet leaves.
Sometimes, a green light.
And it doesn't stay long,
for darkness comes quickly in a rain forest.
Days seem shorter here than on the open moorland.
Camping places are difficult to find, for the forest floor
is seldom flat and is littered with fallen trees
and criss-crossed by streams. One sleeps around roots,
or on a hill, or curled like a caterpillar.
And if a fire has to be lit in this rain-sodden
part of the wilderness, and the flames begin to flicker,
the darkness is black, and thick,
and filled with small sounds…
and it is so easy to imagine things.
by Alex Colley
As Gordon Lee has pointed out, the Tigers did some notable walks. The original (1937) Tigers accomplished this, not by walking fast but by starting early and walking steadily all day. There was time to enjoy the bush, take photographs, have swims and camp before dark. They were accompanied by lesser walkers known as “rabbits”, a term which originated when David Stead said, as he and I left before the rest of the party after lunch on the second day of our Katoomba to Picton walk, “The rabbits check out.” Female rabbits ware able to keep up because the real tigers carried the tents and most of the food. I was able to catch up at meal times because I carried a light pack.
In the early days of the Club very few walks were cancelled and nearly all were completed according to programme, despite the fact that many walks were in little known country and maps often crude. One reason why walks were completed as per schedule was that, in those days, we relied almost exclusively on public transport. Trains and buses had to be caught on time, and having been conveyed to the start by public transport, we had to get back to it. It was difficult to cancel walks and almost impossible to chicken out by short-circuiting a walk, because there were no parked cars to return to.
Gordon's quotation, “This Club has became sedentary,” echoes Jack Debert's ringing and oft-repeated cry that “The Club is dying on its feet”. Endurance walking is a pleasure for the fit and I sympathise with Gordon if he can't find companions with whom to enjoy it. I also agree with Jim Brown's view that it is only one of the many pleasures of walking. Even the original Tigers spent lazy days, week-ends and even longer camps by the surf and the good swimming holes.
Gordon is wrong an one point. Some of the Tigers have gone- beyond, but many have not. Despite their astronomical age they are neither toothless nor decrepit. They are still bushwalking; in fact they may well be the only ones of their age who are. They lead programme walks and often do four and five day mid-week walks. The average age of five who recently climbed Mounts Gudgenby and Kelly is inscribed in the book on the top of Mount Kelly as 68 years, with a rider “is it a record?” The aggregate age of seven who visited Mount Jagungal this month was 493 years. Two of them have been made honorary active members, an honour which they prize beyond anything Bob Hawke could bestow.
Being a record of Gordon Lee's walk 2, 3, 4 December
by Tom Wenman
Walk out to Coal Seam Cave on a Friday night? What ever for? However on this occasion it proved to be worthwhile. Mind you, as I stumbled along a slippery muddy path in the darkness, with a fast-fading torch, I did wonder if my journey was really necessary.
The trip by car to Kanangra had been wet for most of the way and generally a wet weekend had been indicated. It was therefore with some relief to note that it was not raining when we eventually climbed out of our vehicle and began the walk. For the most part the weather held (which was why it seemed a good idea the next morning) and the cave welcomed us with a dry floor and space to remove our wet parkas after the encounters with wet scrub.
Gordon had led us unerringly through the dark, misty, and moonless night. At the foot of the 'short cut' descent to the cave however, obviously feeling suitably elated he attempted a sort of 'pas de soil' and disappeared with a shout into the darkness. We peered anxiously down as it appeared that Gordon had mistaken the location for his display of exuberance. All was well, however, and his descent had been brief and a four-point landing effected an the path leading to the cave.
Morning revealed, beneath the overhang of the cave, a wet green panorama of gum trees and shrubs with a mist drifting amongst them. This, with the sound of rain and the dripping water from the overhang suitably dampened ou she drew them, “You can't trust Duncan, he'd go astray anywhere”. Curiosity gaining the upper hand we asked why her interest in Bob. “Well,” answered Dot, constructing a great timber arrow pointing towards the valley, “Rona is with him and I don't want her to miss school tomorrow”.
A lift to the pub spared us the last four miles roadbash also and speeded up our move out. With the exception of my car taking a rest on the steepest part of the road out and holding up half a dozen cars, the run to Katoomba was uneventful.
*(Note: The “old railway” mentioned is the line built about 1907 to carry shale oil products from Newnes to the western line at Newnes Junction about 10 miles east of Lithgow. The railway ceased operating in the 1930s, but the formation, including the famous “Glow Worm Tunnel” still exists. J.B.)
by Jim Brown
I don't know why I pay so much heed to what Don Matthews says, unless it's because he so often says the same thing I an thinking. Indeed, perhaps, he's the best argument I know for astrology, that notoriously unscientific cult. You see, he was born under the sign of Cancer (20 June - 20 July approx) which is designated by the sign of the Crab, and is presumably a lot better than being a Capricorn (sign of the Goat) or an Aries (the Ram). I mean, where else except in a Crab would you find a gentle, retiring and normally rather shy person who will still get up at a Reunion campfire and cheerfully play the Goat (though NOT a Capricorn)? I don't know the answer to that, because I, too, was born under the sign of the Crab.
At any rate Don recently told me he had been on Roy Braithwaite's day walk of 8th January. This occurred at a time when the State Rail Authority had shut down the South Coast Line between Waterfall and Thirroul to press ahead with the Port Kembla electrification, including digging out the floors of a couple of tunnels to make the roofs higher, so that double-deck carriages could go through, with still enough room for the overhead wiring. Don confirmed that they had to transfer at Waterfall to buses which than went through Helensburgh township - a good two to three kilometres from the station of that name. “It was,” he said, “one of the mast interesting parts of the trip. I'd never been through Helensburgh town before.”
(This, in turn, reminds me of a story dating back to the War years. A blacked-out train pulls into a blacked-out station. “Say,” says an American serviceman, “What burg is this?” To which Bob Younger replies, “Oh, I guess it's Helen's.”)
Actually, I had a fair idea what was afoot at Helensburgh. I had been down there a few days earlier, passing through the shopping centre on a rail- bus: had seen Otford Station as two platforms with a great trench (and no rails) in between; had walked back to Lilyvale along the tracks, chatting to some of the surveyors, shovelmen and drivers of bulldozers and other exotic machinery. I had observed the shortened “Up” platform at Lilyvale reduced to a facade of brickwork, just about wide enough for Skinny people-like Don Matthews and - myself to stand on without being wiped off by a passing train, and then walked on through Lilyvale tunnel before getting tired of having my toes stubbed by the ballast, and turning down on a side track to the Hacking River.
As a result I had Phoned Roy and told him that, in the absence of any road trafficable to buses, he was unlikely to be able to start from Lilyvale Station, but could get to Otford by devious ways and railway buses. Evidently, this is what he did, with a party of 14 people. One of them, Joe Marton, drove his car along the road from the Upper Causeway to the Karingal Picnic Ground, just across the Hacking River from Lilyvale Station site, and waited there for trains that never came in. Finally he walked to Burning Palms and met up with the party.
Well, you may say, what's all this scribbling in aid of? I have to admit, nothing in particular. After all, I did call it, quoting the Alice in Wonderland nonsense “of ships and shoes and sealing wax…..and cabbages and kings. But when Don Matthews said, “The buses went through Helensburgh town” I almost interrupted him to add,”And I bet you found that one of the most interesting parts of the day“. Then he said just that.
News release from the Premier's Department, December 1983.
Supplied by Alex Colley
A new activity called “Walking for Pleasure” will be launched state-side during Senior Citizens' week 1984. “Walking for Pleasure” is a joint promotion for the Departments of Health and Leisure, Sport and Tourism. Mr. Wran said that in New South Wales - where one in seven people was now 60 years of age or over - the promotion aimed to encourage walking as an. enjoyable, no-cost exercise which contributed to a healthy lifestyle.
by Jo Van Sommers.
|15||Members Slide Night. “Christmas Trips”. All members are invited to bring their slides and prints.|
|22||Magazine Wrapping Night. An experiment in doing the magazine at the Club night - join the hitherto secret rites - get stuck into the wrapping and labelling.|
|29||Double Header Slide Night:- Keith Docherty's bushwalking scenes, insects and flowers. Colin Barnes calls his similar subject “Walking With Your Eyes”.|
I am writing as a concerned parent on behalf of the 1st Lane Cove Cub & Scout Troop to ask whether any of your members would be interested in becoming a Warranted Cub Leader. 1st Lane Cove, the oldest troop in Lane Cove, desperately needs more leaders (we have one but need three) and faces dissolution if none is forthcoming. What the Cubs are missing most at the moment are opportunities for bushwalking and camping.
If any of your membership is interested, he/she can contact Club President, Joe Berry, 38 Cope Street, Lane Cove, 428-4820 for further information.
Ann P. Nixon
Morong Deep trip programmed for 10,11,12 February has been changed to 17,18,19 February. Leader: David Rostron, 451-7943.