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198409 [2014/12/17 22:10]
kclacher a nd the Kowmung were still enveloped in slowly-moving wreaths of cotton wool, and looked, even deeper and more mysterious than they are. There was another song popular at the time which went:| |"Good Doctor Jekyll, naughty Mr. Hyde, || |Day and night, w
198409 [2017/03/07 01:57]
richard_pattison [WILDLIFE IN THE APSLEY RIVER GORGE]
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 I breakfasted out of a tin of cocktail frankfurts and vegetables, looked at the bodies cossetted in their sleeping bags in the Dance Floor Cave, where there was still quite a lot of the wooden platform, and went on up the ladders which then gave access to the Tops. Took a few black and white photographs,​ mostly of headlands silhouetted against the rising mist, and then veered south past Kanangra trig towards the Gingra Range. Half an hour later I was brought to an abrupt halt at a swampy patch, where the trail disintegrated into half a dozen threads. Very circumspectly I groped my way through this maze of tracks until I came again to a clear path, which showed signs of dropping downwards. I breakfasted out of a tin of cocktail frankfurts and vegetables, looked at the bodies cossetted in their sleeping bags in the Dance Floor Cave, where there was still quite a lot of the wooden platform, and went on up the ladders which then gave access to the Tops. Took a few black and white photographs,​ mostly of headlands silhouetted against the rising mist, and then veered south past Kanangra trig towards the Gingra Range. Half an hour later I was brought to an abrupt halt at a swampy patch, where the trail disintegrated into half a dozen threads. Very circumspectly I groped my way through this maze of tracks until I came again to a clear path, which showed signs of dropping downwards.
  
-But my confidence had been shattered into little fragments like the track. I looked south towards Mount Colong'​s table top, which stood up above the mist, but the gorges of Christy'​s ​Creeks ​of the trees.+But my confidence had been shattered into little fragments like the track. I looked south towards Mount Colong'​s table top, which stood up above the mist, but the gorges of Christy'​s ​Creek and the Kowmung were still enveloped in slowly-moving wreaths of cotton wool, and looked even deeper and more mysterious than they are. There was another song popular at the time which went:\\  
 + “Good Doctor Jekyll, naughty Mr. Hyde,\\  
 + Day and night, wrong or right,\\  
 + They'​re arguing inside.” 
 + 
 +Mr. Hyde now spoke to me loud and clear. He said, “Turn back. It's too hairy. You're no hero, not even a half-baked bushwalker.” 
 + 
 +Dr. Jekyll replied. “If you go back, you'll always regret it. You'll never become even a half-baked bushwalker.” 
 + 
 +“Take the easy way out,” counselled Mr. Hyde. “Remember how you suffered on Kedumba Creek and in the lawyer vine below Clear Hill? You can easily get back to Jenolan. No one will ever know.” 
 + 
 +Said Dr. Jekyll. “**You** will! **You'​ll** know you turned chicken.” 
 + 
 +“Well,” argued Mr. Hyde. “You wanted to get to Kanangra. Well, you got here. There will be even better views on the Tops as you go back. Oh, and by tn6 way, are you really sure this is the way to Gingra?​” 
 + 
 +Dr. Jekyll: “Chicken!” 
 + 
 +Mr. Hyde: “Where do you think you're going? You'll be sorry!!!” 
 + 
 +Years later, in a magazine article, Geoff Wagg wrote of a party facing a similar decision “... but our feet were already going down the trail, and we knew we wouldn'​t be back.” I knew just what he meant. At the time I didn't say anything, but if I had it would have been, “Cheerio, gents. Have one for me at Caves House, Mr. Hyde.” 
 + 
 +So I came to Gingra Range, to Hughes Ridge (finding that must have been Mug's Luck), and the Kowmung for lunch. That night, near Gingra Creek junction I met up with some real, fair-dinkum bushwalkers. They may have been S.B.W. - I never found out. They were very kind, and didn't sneer at my queer assortment of gear, and even offered some helpful suggestions. 
 + 
 +Why agonise over the rest of that awful trip? On the morning of Easter Day the chill drove me on my way before dawn and I reached Coxs River via the Lower Kowmung Canyon about 9.00 am for breakfast. The Kowmung wasn't flowing, neither was the Coxs, but there were large pools, and beside them some cattle that had died in the drought. On the lower Kowmung I also found a dead wallaby, which must have been shot the previous day: I went on my way cursing in the filthiest language I then knew those people who took pleasure in destruction. 
 + 
 +I was determined not to drink polluted water again, so I waited until I found the Coxs flowing before I filled my aluminium water bottle for the stage up Kedumba. What I didn't notice was the Coxs began to flow where a puny stream came out of a narrow ravine ... Kedumba Creek. About 3.00 pm, already bilious from the “Coxs River” water in my flask, I started up Kedumba Pass. Mount Solitary was ringed by the flames of a bush fire. 
 + 
 +I just caught the last train from Wentworth Falls about 8.20 pm, and was glad to have to myself a compartment in a box carriage so that I could go and be sick in the toilet when I needed to do so. I arrived home about 11.30 pm on Easter Sunday, very sick, sore and sorry for myself. 
 + 
 +Yes, like the character in the pop song, I was sorry for myself. In fact, I wondered again if I should Quit for Life, except that I no longer had any real choice. At South Kanangra I had passed through an invisible barrier, that sort of Moment of Truth. 
 + 
 +Even as I have been writing this, a most disturbing thought has occurred to me. I know that Thomas Carlyle cautions us about speculation on our “might-have-beens” and derides it as a totally futile exercise. Perhaps it is. But suppose ... just suppose ... I had turned back at South Kanangra... Would I have ever gone again to the bush? Could I have ever nerved myself to try to join a Bush Walking Club seven years later and after the War? 
 + 
 +If that had happened, I might have failed to do almost all the things that now seem to me to have been most worthwhile, most rewarding. Worst of all, I may never have met most of the people I have come to respect ... to admire ... yes, to love ... 
 + 
 +It doesn'​t bear thinking about. 
 + 
 +=====A NEW NATIONAL PARK AT PORT STEPHENS - AND IT'S MAGNIFICENT===== 
 + 
 +From “The Sydney Morning Herald”, 11th August, 1984 
 + 
 +N.S.W. gained a magnificent new coastal headland national park at Port Stephens yesterday, when the Minister for Planning and Environment,​ Mr. Sheahan, opened Tomaree Park. The 800-hectare park - near Tomaree Head at the entrance to the port - embraces an outstanding scenic coastline of mountains, islands and beaches on the southern headland near Shoal Bay. 
 + 
 +And it is only 30 minutes'​ drive from the centre of Newcastle. 
 + 
 +Mr. Sheahan said that since 1976 the length of the N.S.W. coastline covered by national parks and nature reserves had doubled from 17 to 34 per cent. The addition of Tomaree Park would preserve the scenic and biological features of the area and cater for swimming, surfing, bushwalking,​ nature study and fishing. 
 + 
 +The vegetation of Tomaree Park includes open forest, mixed eucalypts and extensive areas of heath, as well as rare species of tea tree. Fauna includes koalas, bandicoots, swamp wallabies and an outstanding variety of seabirds on the offshore islands and cliffs. There is also a number of archaeological sites. 
 + 
 +An important part of the park is the Fingal promontory, which for much of the year is an offshore island, but sometimes is connected by a sandy isthmus. 
 + 
 +Mr. Sheahan said negotiations were underway between the State and Federal Governments to transfer the historic lighthouse on Point Stephens to the State for inclusion in the park. 
 + 
 +The N.P.W.S. also hopes that the Crown land on Tomaree Head controlled by the N.S.W. Health. Commission may eventually be included in the park. 
 + 
 +Joseph Glascott 
 + 
 +(Perhaps a member would like to lead a walk here? Ed.) 
 + 
 +=====COMMITTEE MEETING===== 
 + 
 +Some information presented to the September Committee Meeting suggested that on a few recent walks lunch-time fires were not extinguished as thoroughly as they might have been. In some cases, apparently, sand had been scuffed over the embers. 
 + 
 +For bushwalkers there is only one way to put out a fire - **drown it completely with water**. 
 + 
 +**New Member: Please add to your Membership List.** 
 + 
 +Osprey, Martina - 57 Melaleuca Drive, St. Ives, 2075 Phone 440,8877 (H) 
 + 
 +=====OUR CONSERVATION SECRETARY AWARDED 0.A.M.===== 
 + 
 +From “The Colong Bulletin"​ July 1984 
 + 
 +Alex Colley, Honorary Secretary of the Colong Committee for the past eight years, was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen'​s Birthday Honours List. 
 + 
 +Alex has given sustained and invaluable assistance in a voluntary capacity to conservation in Australia for nearly fifty years. Seldom in the public eye, he has worked tirelessly to ensure that future generations of Australians will be adequately provided with a rich natural heritage in terms of national parks and wilderness. 
 + 
 +In his professional career, Alex was, until his retirement, an economist with the N.S.W. State Planning Authority. Thus his life's work has been concerned with conservation-related matters and public service. He has served not only his employer but a host of public spirited bodies with distinction,​ bringing to the task enthusiasm, devotion and exceptional counsel. 
 + 
 +Alex Colley joined The Sydney Bush Walkers Club in 1936. By 1937 he was filling a position on the Committee, and four years later was elected President for 1941-42. He later served as editor of the Club's magazine “The Sydney Bushwalker”,​ and he has played an active part in the N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs. For about twenty years he has been the Sydney Bush Walkers Club's Conservation Secretary. 
 + 
 +In the conservation field, Alex has been closely involved in The Colong Committee, which he joined in 1963, when it became known that limestone deposits at Colong were under threat from mining. He has given continuous service to the Committee as Director, editor of “The Colong Bulletin”,​ and Hon. Secretary since 1976. 
 + 
 +His contribution to conservation has always been a willingness to take on activities that involve both time and effort. Aside from editing “The Sydney Bushwalker” and “The Colong Bulletin”,​ he has written scores of articles for conservation journals, including “The National Parks Journal of N.S.W.” and the Australian Conservation Foundation'​s magazine “Habitat”. His work is influential,​ in so far as his research is thorough and his comment is always reasoned and lucid. 
 + 
 +In conservation,​ Alex was vital to campaigns conducted to preserve the integrity of the southern Blue Mountains from limestone mining at Colong, and the threat of logging of the Boyd Plateau. Today this area is protected by the Kanangra-Boyd National Park. In the northern Blue Mountains he made representations leading to the proclamation of the State'​s second largest Park, Wollemi National Park. For over a decade he has worked to bring to fruition the gazettal of the State'​s principal rainforest areas as National Park. His efforts in other parts of Australia include valuable submissions for campaigns in south-west Tasmania and in the dedication and management of Kakadu National Park. 
 + 
 +It is perhaps typical of Alex Colley that when, in July 1981, the Sydney Bushwalkers Club elected him as their second Honorary Active Member, he told those gathered that he felt the Club owed him nothing - rather that he owed the Club for the many good years it had given him. 
 + 
 +Alex's many friends and colleagues in the great conservation movement are delighted at the well-deserved honour he has received. And to this official recognition we all heartily add our own special “Well done, Alex”. 
 + 
 +Hardly need we say - “Keep up the good work!” 
 + 
 +=====NO NEGOTIATION ON THE DAINTREE===== 
 + 
 +From “The Colong Bulletin”,​ July 1984 
 + 
 +The July A.C.F. Newsletter reports that Last November the State Government gave the (Douglas Shire) Council $100,000 to begin work approximately along the line of a rough track last bulldozed in 1976. The Council now has between $20,000 and $40,000 left (they claim the December blockade cost them $20,000). Despite the efforts of the Environment Minister, Martin Tenni (Barron River), the government does not appear to be about to put more money into the road. 
 + 
 +The lack of preparation and haste of the Council in bulldozing from both ends last December has now become quite clear. In places the grading is so steep that it is difficult to walk, let alone drive a vehicle. At the northern end where the road climbs above the Woobadda River large landslips have sent sections of the road into the river. Some low sections of the road behind Cowie Beach would be flooded during summer rains. At the southern end between Emmagen Creek and Cape Tribulation the road is also excessively steep and sections have slipped up to 100 m. Throughout its 38 km length erosion has created deep channels and gullies up to 3.5 m deep over some creek crossings. 
 + 
 +It is obvious that a road in this terrain and climate will have to be thoroughly drained, graded and surfaced, and kept that way if it is to be usable. Simply pushing a bulldozer through the scrub is not only destructive,​ but useless. An all-weather road might well cost millions of dollars. 
 + 
 +Mr. David Connolly, Federal Shadow Minister for the Environment,​ has informed us that the Minister “has not even taken the preliminary step to initiate negotiations with the Queensland Government”,​ and has “rejected the Opposition proposal to offer Federal Funds to build or upgrade an alternative road, inland from the coastal rainforest”. The Federal Government'​s inaction on this matter cannot be reconciled with its over-generous treatment of Tasmania. 
 + 
 +=====AN EXTRA WALK FOR THE HOLIDAY WEEK-END. EASY CAMP===== 
 + 
 +Sunday 30th.Sept., Monday 1st Oct. (Suitable for beginners) 
 + 
 +Glenbrook - St. Helena - Springwood. Easy/medium 15 km - Train: 9.10 am Country.\\  
 +Leader: Barbara Evans. Phone 94,6333 (H) before 9.00 pm. 
 + 
 +====="​WILDERNESS"​===== 
 + 
 +by Peter Christian 
 + 
 +Touch the stillness of twilight huddled deep in the lap of wilderness\\  
 +As cool night air brushes ruddy complexion and prickles even a leathery skin;\\  
 +Incessant stars shine above unblinking as both air and time stand still,\\  
 +Faces framed by flickering flame give friends a ghostly grin. 
 + 
 +Feel the icy, swirling mountain waters as they numb both calf and knee,\\  
 +Agonising pins and needles and futile battle of shoes versus rigid feet,\\  
 +When unrelenting scrub and lawyer vine nearly reduce pack and limbs to shreds,\\  
 +The luxury and reprieve of grassy river bank where rest of bones is complete. 
 + 
 +Rugged granite spurs and ridges tax heart and limb to limits of endurance,​\\  
 +Solitary mountain peaks stand witness to the weathering of eons of time.\\  
 +Fragile heath spreads its delicate lace and lightly springs beneath our tread;\\  
 +Persistent leeches, sand and march flies find the tempting bare skin sublime. 
 + 
 +Stinging nettle on snaking Colo keeps tough walkers recoiling in retreat;\\  
 +Casuarinas as dense as bristles stubbornly resent and rebuff our advances.\\  
 +Evil black oozing bog of ancient sphagnum swamps, squelches between the toes\\  
 +Whilst walking in the birthplace of many a great river'​s humble traces. 
 + 
 +Sandstone buttresses stand sentinel in far-flung Hawkesbury reaches.\\  
 +Currawong and lyrebird sing of a newborn day as morning mist disperses.\\  
 +Shy platypus and wild duck cautiously ripple those tranquil inland waters\\  
 +Where rock orchids display their creamy finery perched on protective ledges. 
 + 
 +Sense the wild and untamed beauty, the balm for restless heart and soul,\\  
 +That can only be found in unblemished places where nature reigns supreme\\  
 +But only a few oases remain due to destructive hand of ignorance and greed\\  
 +So precious little left on this tiny planet - preserve it before it's only a dream. 
 + 
 +**Congratulations** - on the birth of a daughter, Catrina, on 9/7/84 to Rowena and Victor Lewin. 
 + 
 +=====THE DESERT SURVIVAL PROBLEM===== 
 + 
 +Marion Lloyd, a Club member for some years, was introduced to the following “quiz” during a recent holiday at Binna Burra Lodge on the Lamington Plateau. Feeling it may be of interest or value to Club members, she has forwarded it for presentation in the Magazine. - - 
 + 
 +[Removed for copyright reasons] 
 + 
 +The views of the “experts” will be published in the October issue of the magazine. 
 + 
 +=====CAROL'​S WALK===== 
 + 
 +by Bill Gamble 
 + 
 +There was Brian, Shirley, Jan, Paul, John, Marilyn .... in all thirty-one on Carol Bruce'​s walk in the Royal National Park on Sunday 10th June, 1984. In brief, it was, after a 9.00 am start at Waterfall, downstream on Kangaroo Creek and then uphill from Yaala Pool to Engadine in time to catch the 4.14 pm city train. 
 + 
 +Carol led a procession of many prospectives and a few members, generally on a well-used track along the true right of the creek (there are a couple of places where the track swings to the true left, e.g. downstream from Karloo Pool) and Peter Miller kept the rear intact. Sometimes it was easier to forget about the track as travel was often easy on both sides of the creek. 
 + 
 +Lunch break was taken above Karloo Pool and there was plenty of time for an afternoon snack in the sun on the east side of Yaala Pool (for Laurie Quaken and a lady it was sufficient for a quick dip in the chilly waters) before doubling back a couple of hundred metres to recross to the true left and climb up the established track to Engadine Station before rain closed in quickly from the south. It was a pleasant if uneventful day. 
 + 
 +At the time, Kangaroo Creek was running cold and clear and the way was easy. Given a warmer time of year there would have been ample opportunity for the party to have swum and waded itself downstream. The rock pools are numerous and a delight, and the walk is recommended for inclusion in the summer walks programme. 
 + 
 +=====WILDLIFE IN THE APSLEY RIVER GORGE====== 
 + 
 +First printed in “The Sydney, Bushwalker” May, 1967 
 + 
 +by Dot Butler 
 + 
 +In the spacious days before speed, when the whole of your life stretched ahead in a golden never-ending summer, you travelled by coastal steamer from Sydney to Port Macquarie taking several days over the trip, including the wait to get over the bar. Uncle met you there with his buggy and you bowled off inland along a dirt road through the dense rainforest filled with Buffalo Marys (a large-bodied yellow and green wood pigeon), where bullock tams were dragging logs out of steep rocky gullies. You passed cleared areas where the plovers made their odd call by day and. the curlews wailed in the dark. Walcha, in those days hardly more than a homestead property, was an infinity of time and space away from Sydney. Now we get in our cars at 6.00 pm. Friday, travel non-stop through the night, and in the early hours of the morning we have arrived. 
 + 
 +Easter Friday morning saw 12 Sydney Bush Walkers and a number of N.P.A. members arriving at the Apsley Lookout Reserve in the New England Highlands, about 12 miles out of Walcha. The N.P.A. people were going to view the region from the top, visiting its various lookout points, while the S.B.W.s were planning, in the four days at our disposal, to negotiate some thirty miles of its rugged gorges and canyons. As far as we knew, this trip had never been done before. 
 + 
 +The Apsley River winds its way in great loops from west to east right across the map, dropping about 2,400 ft in this distance. While the car drivers took the car on some thirty miles to where we planned to come out on the last day, the rest of us wandered round to admire the falls, and to speculate on our chances of getting through the deep, rock-piled canyon floor down which the brown water tumbled, building up back eddies of yellow foam. It was beautiful hot dry inland weather and billies of tea seemed much more in demand than climbing activity. However, when our ruthless leaders, Ross Wyborn and Don Finch, arrived back at about 11 am it was a case of “Finish your eating and get packed up; we're moving off in ten minutes!” And strange as it may seem, in less than ten minutes we were actually moving off. 
 + 
 +We clambered down a steep spur, covered with scant vegetation, and moved across to a steeply falling creek bed. Although this is to be an account of the native fauna, I can't omit mentioning a specimen of introduced fauna - the exotic Homo Sapiens who dislodged a large boulder on the hillside, which split into several pieces as it bounded down, one of them grazing Ross's head as it screamed past. Of course, being Ross's head, it caused no damage. However, another piece hit him on the arm, paralysing it, and it remained out of commission for the rest of the trip. We applied band-aids and continued on our way. 
 + 
 +When we reached the river bed we found it even more rugged than it looked from the top. Huge dark grey block-up boulders lay crowded together in great heaps and over these we clambered for the rest of the afternoon. Those in the lead had plenty of time to admire the scenery while waiting for the tail-enders to catch up. The warm air had a dream-like quality. The sun filtered down in a golden haze. The scene looked like a picture done in pointillism - that form of art in which the whole effect is achieved by little dots of colour. The thousand-foot high rock walls, dark grey and almost vertical, were spotted with palest grey-green lichen, the pale blue sky was a backdrop to countless thousands of lightly floating thistledowns,​ interspersed with long shining streamers of airborne spiderwebs, and the brown earth-stained water at our feet was flecked with spots of foam the size of golden guineas. Great casuarinas, their gnarled roots gripping the rocks at the water'​s edge, had entrapped thousands of the floating thistle- downs and looked like a child'​s drawing of trees spotted with snowflakes. IN the stark dead branches of a ringbarked gumtree on the skyline a flock of white cockatoos settled - live white flowers dotting its limbs. 
 + 
 +We camped in the afternoon on a flood-strewn heap of rocks. To say something in its favour, it was at least fairly horizontal, and after we had scraped up heaps of dry casuarina needles for a bed it was even comfortable. The keen ones studied the map and found we had achieved hardly a mile. We'll have to make better time tomorrow. 
 + 
 +Away bright and early in the morning. The water must be swarming with eels; we came across many 2 ft long ones dead among the rocks, probably killed by the impact of flood waters the previous week. Stranded shells on the black mud gave evidence of fresh-water mussels. This rocky gorge is a lizard'​s paradise; every jutting piece of rock had its watchful water-dragon,​ poised on strong front legs ready to plop into the water as we drew near. Over the brown water skimmed swallows, slim little arrows of delight, never still a moment. 
 + 
 +Our progress this day involved much swimming, pushing our floating packs before us. I heard no complaint about the temperature of the water from the girls, but poor Digby, shivering his way over the rocks from one swim to the next, was heard to remark through chattering teeth, “Oh, for a little bit of that something that we males haven'​t got, namely subcutanous fat!” As we came swimming into their view, flocks of ducks would take off from the water. We counted as many as fifteen in one flock, thirteen in another. Then there would be crashing amongst the bushes on the steep hillside, and the eye following the sound would see thickly-furred rock wallabies leaping effortlessly upwards. At a safe distance they would pause and look down on us - the intruders in their country. 
 + 
 +After cooling off in the water it was a delightful sensation to lie on the hot rocks and dry off. We weren'​t. the only ones who appreciated this; we found we were sharing the rocks with lizards and snakes, the red-bellied black snake, a greyish whip-snake, a beautifully marked diamond python. With his tail in the water and a large frog on its way down his throat, a bright green tree-snake tried to look inconspicuous and failed. Camp for the night was another heap of rocks - the only thing offering in this steep gorge country. We made a big campfire from dry wood brought down by the floods and sang into the late hours, though you might wonder what we had to sing about as this day we had only covered another four or five miles, and no knowing how we were to get out. All night long bats flitted across the star-shine and disappeared into the dark shadows ​of the trees.
  
 Next day more swimming. In fact, the first seven miles of the gorge involve as much swimming as walking. For this reason it would be wise for anyone else planning this trip to find out about local rainfall during the previous week as it would be extremely hazardous, if not impossible, to swim the canyons in flood. Huge logs and other flood debris was piled 20 and 30 ft up the sides of the gorge. Next day more swimming. In fact, the first seven miles of the gorge involve as much swimming as walking. For this reason it would be wise for anyone else planning this trip to find out about local rainfall during the previous week as it would be extremely hazardous, if not impossible, to swim the canyons in flood. Huge logs and other flood debris was piled 20 and 30 ft up the sides of the gorge.
198409.txt · Last modified: 2017/03/07 01:57 by richard_pattison