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, Crows Nest.
|Editor||Ainslie Morris, 45 Austin Street, Lane Cove, 2066. Telephone 428,3178.|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118. Telephone 871,1207.|
|Production Manager||Helen Gray.|
|Printers||Kenn Clacher, Les Powell, Margaret Niven, Barrie Murdoch & Kay Chan|
|S.B.W. Office-Bearers & Committee 1985||2|
|Through the Wollangambe with Tolkien||Roger Browne||3|
|No Regrets||Peter Harris||5|
|Twelve Miles to Burrier||Dorothy Lawry||6|
|Reproduction of S.B.W. Walks Programme 1939||9|
|South Coast Walking||Ainslie Morris||11|
|Advertisement - Eastwood Camping Centre||14|
|The Country with a Human Face - Part 3||Wal Liddle||15|
|New Members, February & March||18|
|Conservation News - Daintree||19|
|Obituary - Hon. Paul Landa, Q.C., M.P.||20|
|Annual Subscriptions 1985||20|
The following office-bearers and committee members were elected at the Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday, 13th March, 1985:-
|President||* Barbara Bruce|
|Vice-Presidents||* Ainslie Morris|
|* Peter Miller|
|Secretary||* Barrie Murdoch|
|Treasurer||* Carol Bruce|
|Walks Secretary||* Bill Capon|
|Social Secretary||* Bill Holland|
|New Members Secretary||* Michael Reynolds|
|Committee Members||* Barry Wallace|
|* Frances Longfoot|
|* Jim Percy|
|* Greta Davis|
|Federation Delegates||* Gordon Lee|
|* Spiro Hajinakitas|
|Conservation Secretary||Alex Colley|
|Magazine Editor||Ainslie Morris|
|Magazine Business Manager||Bill Burke|
|Magazine Production Manager||Helen Gray|
|Magazine Printers||Phil Butt|
|Keeper of Maps & Timetables||John Holly|
|Search & Rescue Contacts||Tony Marshall|
|Kosciusko Huts Assn. Delegates||Ray Hookway|
* Indicates members of Committee.
by Roger Browne.
“… he would load them with food to last them for weeks with care, and packed so as to be as easy as possible to carry - nuts, flour, sealed jars of dried fruits, and red earthenware pots of honey, and twice-baked cakes that would keep good a long time, and on a little of which they could march far.” (All the quotes in this article are from THE HOBBIT by J. R. R. TOLKIEN.)
Thus began our walk through the Wollangambe Wilderness on the weekend before Christmas. The original route had been changed, because the large number of participants could not have fitted into the originally-planned campsite. So we decided to perform a car swap, walking from the bend in the road at Map Reference 460909 to Wollangambe Crater via spot heights 1018, 994, 914 and 978, to camp on the grassy west bank of the Wollangambe at this point, and lilo downstream the following day to 542913, where a short track leads back to Mt Wilson.
Lots of late cancellations meant that only 11 started the walk - Stan, Bronny, Ainslie, Mike R., Ilsa, Mike H., Keith, Cath, Jan and Greg, with Roger at the helm. It was a hot day, and we dropped down to the Wollangambe at what we thought was just below spot height 914. We then decided to follow the river to the campsite, instead of following the ridges in the heat.
We inflated the lilos, and slowly gained our confidence and balance, and paddled through the gorges and canyons that typify the Wollangambe. It is rugged, unspoilt wilderness.
“Morning passed, afternoon came, but in all the silent waste there was no sign of any dwelling. They were growing anxious now, for they saw that the house might be hidden anywhere between them and the mountains. They came on unexpected valleys, narrow with steep sides, that opened suddenly at their feet, and they looked down surprised to see trees below them and running water at the bottom. There were gullies that they could almost leap over, but very deep and with waterfalls in them. There were dark ravines that one could neither jump over nor climb into. There werebogs, some of them sreen pleasant places to look at, with flowers growing bright and tall, but a pony that walked there with a pack on its back would never have come out again.”
Cath had dropped back, complaining of the cold, and Keith was staying back with her. They were to meet us at the campsite, either that night or the next day. But as we progressed downstream, we realised that we were not where we thought we were. There was no sign of the Crater. There was, however, a good campsite on a clear ridge about 10 m above the river, so we settled down for the night.
We found an innocent gum tree that had been quietly minding its own business, and decorated it with the tinsel and Christmas decorations which we had brought. We then sat down to feast, tell jokes, sing songs, and talk of our travels, around a blazing fire.
“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”
“Where are we?” someone asked the next morning. “Just below that hill over there,” I said, pointing to the hill above the campsite. “And where are Cath and Keith?” they asked. “I don't know,” I said.
I climbed a nearby ridge and got a fix on our location. I had, through an error of navigation, taken us into the Wollangambe at 473933, considerably upstream of the intended point. Surprisingly, the river has well-developed canyons even this high up. And we were now camped at 486929, not far from spot height 914. We decided to go on a day trip down the river, returning to camp at 2 pm. by which time we expected Keith and Cath to have caught up. We would then return overland to the cars at 460909.
“Their clothes were mended as well as their bruises, their tempers and their hopes. Their bags were filled with provisions light to carry but strong to bring them over the mountain passes. Their plans were improved with the best advice. So the time came to midsummer eve, and they were to go on again with the early sun on midsummer morning.”
For quite some distance the river was quite nondescript, but we then found the best swimming hole I have seen - - big, deep, filled with crystal-clear water, fed by a waterfall, and well stocked with rock ledges from which we jumped joyfully. The pool is near 497925. After a short section of good quality canyon downstream of the swimming hole, we left the river and walked back to camp via spot heights 978 and 914.
“There were many paths that led up into these mountains, and many passes over them. But most of the paths were cheats and deceptions and led nowhere or to bad ends; and most of the passes were infested by evil things and dreadful dangers.”
Back at camp there was no sign of Cath and Keith. So Ainslie led the party back to the cars via a road (not marked on the map) which leads from 472933 to Bell via spot heights 994 and 1016. Meanwhile, Stan and I travelled upstream along the Wollangambe, to check that Cath and Keith were not stuck somewhere along the way. Finding no trace of them, we joined the same road and walked out.
Cath and Keith were fine, having left a note and walked out when Cath found the water too cold. We met up with them at Mt Wilson, when we returned to the cars. And although the walk had not traversed one inch of the intended stretch of the Wollangambe, we all agreed that it had been a most interesting area and an enjoyable trip, and pledged to come back another time to enjoy the swimming hole, and make our way downstream as originally intended.
Heathcote National Park - Leader: Maurie Bloom
This weekend walk 13, 14th April has been changed to a day walk 14th April.
Phone 525,4698 or 922,6093 before 9.30 pm.
by Peter Harris.
Prelude: This poem was written from inspiration provided by the late J. R. R. Tolkien. The opening line is extremely thought-provoking, and it is easy to continue the stanzas. It was written in 1980 during the journey from Lake Manapouri to Cascade Cove, en route to completing the first successful traverse of the Evans Range, and the first ascent of both peaks of Mount Evans N.Z. A stimulating and demanding venture.
I sit beside my fire and think
Of all that I have seen;
Of awesome, rugged mountain peaks
And forests vibrant green.
Of mighty, rocky ridges
Upward-thrusting to the sky;
Adorned with shattered, splintered rock
And pinnacles pushed high.
Where sunset glows with orange hues
And dewdrops greet the dawning hour;
And I can take the time to muse
At nature's soft, yet rampant power.
The mountains rumble with the sound
Of certain, self-abasing haste;
For what was lost is quickly found
Transposed into another place.
I think of narrow mountain tracks
Which twist and wind past crystal pools;
And pass through deeply slotted cracks
And built and trod by hopeless fools.
Yet such is life! A narrow path
Which twines through gale and shade and sun;
And yet its final aftermath
Is just the point where life's begun!
Ever onward the pathway goes
Out from that place where it began;
Through light and joy, and dark and woes
And I have followed where I can.
At last! At last so near to sight
Another post along the way;
Pursued above by birds in flight
The steps increase at close of day.
Who leads the route through swamp and snow?
Around the pools by gifted song?
And where to next? I do not know -
Perhaps a place where I belong!
(He is alone with thoughts of deeds
Of things that he has done;
Of peaceful dreams beside a stream
Of battles lost and won.
Still, when he passes to his grave
His epitaph attests -
In all of life's uncertainties
There were no deep regrets!)
by Dorothy Lawry
(Dorothy Lawry is one of our Hon. Members and is now aged 90. She was an Editor of the Magazine in the early days, and President of the Club from March 1942 to March 1944, being our first woman president. Her name is perpetuated in Lawry Cone, overlooking the Kowmung River, and in Dorrie Lawry Pass, one of the walkers' routes off the Krungle Bungle Range. We welcome this story of a walking trip done 40 years ago!)
Any trip on which not even the leader had been over that country before was truly called “an exploration”. We were unable to get a decent map for this country to the south of the Shoalhaven River from Nowra to the main southern railway near Goulburn.
Wal Roots had been spending the first week of his annual fortnight's holiday fishing on the coast out from Nowra and suggested this Easter walk, so he was the leader. On the Good Friday morning Tom Herbert, Charlie Pryde, Phillis White and I caught the train from Sydney down to railend at Bomaderry, just north of the river from Nowra; where Wal joined us.
The actual walk was to start from a township called Burrier, shown on the motorists' map which was all we had, so, after lunching at a cafe in Nowra, we sent Wal off to get a hire car to take us the 12 miles from Nowra by the road on the south side of the Shoalhaven River. He came back to tell us there were only two hire cars based on Nowra and one of them was off down the coast with a party. The other driver had promised to take his mother to the pictures that afternoon so would not be available until after tea. We all agreed that that would suit us as the weather was fine and the moon would be full. We would explore Nowra and the shores of the river there that afternoon, have tea at the cafe where we had lunched, then get the car for the twelve miles of road to Burrier. It would be easy to erect our tents by moonlight and we would not need to make a fire or do any cooking. Wal went off again and booked the driver and his car.
When we packed into the car, which was towing a wartime contraption for saving fuel (I have forgotten its name) the driver set off south till he reached a signpost with many arms. Here he turned right along a road marked “Burrier” which wound along high up and always with the Shoalhaven River on our right. After about twelve miles we came to a village where a man came out of his house and was asked by the driver, “Is this Burrier?”
“No, it is only Southwest Creek.”
“But we have come twelve miles from Nowra.”
“But you came by the wrong road. It is longer and you are still about 12 miles from Burrier. You have to cross that bridge over there, then drive along that mountain, round the end of it and on. Go over the next mountain and when you get down the other side you will still be about a mile short of Burrier, but you will see a good campsite with water. It is better than you would find at Burner. Right now, over the bridge and round the first mountain. Don't go over it!”
We thanked him for the directions and on we went.
About halfway along that “first mountain” the most obvious road turned left up the hill although the road also continued along at the lower level. The driver turned up the hill and we all five called that he had been told not to go up that hill but round it. He said, “Oh, it will be all right. We will just take the first turn to the right and so get back to the right road” and drove on.
That was when the trouble started. Later we learned the driver was English and had only been in Australia about a year and did not know the back country.
Soon the road reached a plateau and went straight ahead on and on and on with no roads to the right - or the left.
I was one of the three on the back seat. Soon after we started along the plateau I noticed that through the windscreen the evening planet was looking very bright. After we had proceeded a long way without finding any road turning off to the right, I happened to turn and look out of the side window. To my surprise, there was the evening planet shining through the window instead of the windscreen! That was the only time I have ever navigated a car by the stars but I realised it meant that the road had veered and, instead of heading west, we were now driving south!
The driver was still carrying straight on but getting worried because he was booked by another party to pick them up at Bomaderry at 8 pm and it was now nearly 7.45 pm. Then, straight ahead a great gash in the landscape appeared and the road started to drop into it. Wal told him to stop at the first place where the road was wide enough for his to turn his car. This he did and, to his amazement, we five got out, shouldered our rucksacks and set off quite happily on foot, down the road in search of a campsite. He turned the car and gas-producer and set off back to Nowra. We wondered if he would ever find it!
When we reached the bottom of that mountain we found ourselves in a deep, narrow valley with a creek running through it northwards. Between road and creek ran a fence which, like the road, ran on north and south. We were glad to see between fence and road quite a wide strip of grass. Here we pitched our three tents and settled to sleep.
Next morning the boys went upstream and found a secluded pool for a wash, then came back and told Phyl and me where to find it while they made a fire and got breakfast. As we were coming back to the camp we saw two men approaching from downstream; they looked like a young fellow from the local property and a visitor who had been out after rabbits - without success. From the younger man we learned that the stream, which was flowing north, was Yalwal Creek, a tributary of the Shoalhaven River.
“Does it go anywhere near Burrier?”
“Yes, it is 12 miles from here to Burrier. Where are your horses?”
“We have no horses. We are bushwalkers.”
“Oh! If you are walking, it is 16 miles to Burrier.”
“Do we go by a different route from the riders?”
“No, the route is the same, but if you are walking it is 16 miles and only 12 if you are riding.”
We thanked him for the information and they went on southwards to their breakfast. We had ours, then packed our rucksacks, broke camp, and walked northwards for about 12 milea, when a track crossed ours and we turned to the west. We never saw Burrier…
Although we did not then see the Shoalhaven River, I think we must have been near it. Anyway, the walls of the valley were much lower than where we had entered it and not nearly so steep. As we crossed Yalwal Creek we filled our water bags and, when we reached the top of the hill, made camp near the track, which seemed to be swinging to the north.
The following morning we left the track and continued westwards over hilly country through low, scratchy scrub. Our next adventure was here when we came upon a wombat peacefully grazing and all stopped and stood looking at him. The wombat was scared and set off down the slope - between Tom Herbert's legs! Tom was as surprised as the wombat had been.
As we proceeded the land flattened but continued waterless, so it was as well that we were carrying water. About the middle of the afternoon we suddenly came to a large deep pool almost surrounded by a thick growth of trees. It was certainly a Bunyip Pool.
We continued on our waterless way and before long reached a gravel road running north and south. We turned north for the river and the way home. Quite soon we reached a house! The people there invited us to camp in front of the house beside a small creek and said that in the morning they would show us the remains of an old road that would take us steeply down to the Shoalhaven at Badgerys Crossing.
When we got up next morning we were glad no one had wandered in the night for we discovered that about twenty feet from our tents the pleasant little creek suddenly plunged over a cliff into a deep and narrow gully! The old road was so eroded it had to be tackled slowly and cautiously, so when we reached a delightful spot by the river we were glad to pitch our tents and do a bit of exploring up and down our side of the river so that we would find the best spot to wade across next morning before climbing up the steep and trackless hill on the other side to a road on the top.
The rest of this “oncer” trip was a road walk to the main southern railway. (Probably a train from Tallong.)
There was a rather amusing sequel to this exploration of ours. As I told you, the only map we had been able to buy was one for motorists. It had proved to be inaccurate and useless to us.
The next time we were in the clubroom one of the men who had been in the southernmost group that had spent many weekends tramping the country from the main railway lines to the coast and making detailed maps of their sections for the Home Guard said to me:-
“Why didn't you ask me or my mate? We had covered that area.”
“I knew the southern boundary of your area was at Nowra and naturally thought that meant the Shoalhaven River.”
Then a few days later I went into Paddy Pallin's shop for something. At that time it was on the western side of George Street a little south of Wynyard. Paddy was busy attending to a small group of youths so, while I was waiting, I went over to look at a map, framed and hung on the wall. What do you think it was?
It covered - among other areas - the country south of the Shoalhaven River we had just walked. It covered that country accurately and in detail, and it had been drawn by Sir Thomas Mitchell and it was dated just about 100 years previously!!
NOTE: On the next two pages of the magazine are reproductions of a Walks Programme from 1939 which was sent to the Club by Doreen Berry. The original was printed on thin card, exactly the size shown, and could be folded so that the walks would be on the inside.
by Ainslie Morris
These notes are intended as a guide to walkers who wish to do some easy beach and headland walking when a week or two allows time to go a distance from Sydney greater than a normal weekend would.
1. Gregory's “National Parks of New South Wales”. I have found this book accurate and invaluable on this and other trips. Widely available.
2. N.R.M.A. District Map South Coast and Snowy Mountains and/or Robinson's 150 Kilometres Around Nowra, and 150 Kilometres Around Bega ($1.50 each and they show National Parks and State Forests).
3. Visitor's Guide Milton Ulladulla Districts (free) - includes local tide chart. Obtain at local newsagents, hotels, Julie's Corner Store, or similar.
4. Topographic Maps 1:25,000 as follows:- (a) Murramarang Walk - 4 maps N to S: Tabourie, Kioloa, Durras, Nelligen. (b) Potato Point - Dalmeny - 2 maps N to S: Bodalla, Narooma. © Mount Dromedary - 1 map - Central Tilba. (d) Bermagui - Mimosa Rocks - 1 map: Bermagui, then Murrah sheet to south is not available (Try Forestry Commission's map 14 “Batemans Bay”). (e) Nadgee - 1 map: Nadgee (Also Narrabarba if heading north to Wonboyn River).
5. Eden State Forests 1:125,000 by Forestry Commission, N.S.W. - very accurate for access roads, National Parks and State Forests from Bermagui to the Victorian border. Useful for Nadgee walk.
Now for the walks.
(a) Murramarang National Park is the most accessible, and to my mind, the gem. Four days easy going, or three days a bit faster going or using a car swap. We walked from Long Beach (north of Batemans Bay) to Lake Tabourie (south of Ulladulla), but you can start at Batemans Bay. The walk has been led by Alex Colley and was vividly described by Dot Butler in the magazine issue of May, 1984. They went by train to Bomaderry, where the Eden bus meets it. We drove to Lake Tabourie turnoff and left the car outside Julie's Corner under the watchful eyes of Les and June Filby (phone: (044)573038). There we hailed the 2.20 pm bus at 3 pm (fare $3.70) and were dropped off by 3.30 pm at the Long Beach turnoff for a 6 km walk from the Princes Highway. Take right fork to pick up water. If a car swap, take water, and then you can drive in and take the left fork to Maloneys Beach called Chain Bay on the Nelligen map. Camp site at eastern end of beach has soft grass, but is exposed if you get a storm - as we did.
The Durras map covers exceptionally picturesque coastline, 13 km easily walked in one day. We used some tracks and did side trips to little beaches. Don't miss Dark Beach, where the Sydney sandstone ends, meeting the ancient twisted rocks of chert, slate and phyllite further south that creates this interesting and delightful coast. We camped at Emily Miller Beach (water from Mill Beach campground). The Ranger told us that backpack camping is welcome but not if gaining access by car.
Our campsite was flat, grassy and sheltered by a line of casuarinas.
Lake Durras had been closed by sand deposited in very heavy seas after Christmas Day, but you can expect a wade chest-deep. High tide and higher waves made the usual route around Point Upright risky, so we went over the headland and were rewarded with seeing many kangaroos. Next camp was on Kioloa map reference 598587. Plenty of water runs in all the creeks from Durras Mountain. While, collecting wood in damp weather we picked up leeches, and named the beach Leech Beach in memory of the one Mike Reynolds missed. But if you feel that leech bites can be lightly dismissed as nought but ucky goo, this leech gave Mike septicaemia. It is true that the leech hung on from one year into the next (31.12.84 to 1.1.85). Its introduced infection appeared twelve days later as a high temperature with enormously swollen lymph glands in groin and leg - a case for hospital, if we'd been near one.
Last campsite was on the Tabourie map reference 633688 next to a fresh water pond. Meroo Lake entrance was closed by sand but can open. Meroo Head rocks would be impassible at high tide. Car campers use the headland - watch for a small foot track to right off the vehicle track. From here on we surfed and sunbaked to journey's end.
(b) Potato Point to Dalmeny - and return. A day walk. Turn off at Bodalla to Potato Point. Turn right on good vehicle track to Jemisons Point and campsites in north side of Lake Taronga. No water. Brow Beach has good surf at north end. Try walking behind the dunes to see birds on the lakes.
© Mount Dromedary 797 metres, 9 km from sea, 4 km each way from Tilba Tilba on Princes Highway, 5 hours return. Park and go through gate where signs explain the walk. No vehicles are allowed now, so it is a grassy smooth track up the ridge, pleasant views across the valley to the mountain where trees were cleared 100 years ago for a gold mining town. No signs of it now except a shaft or two. Excellent views. Take two side trips - a really wonderful rainforest near the summit for one hour, and from the Dromedary Saddle 4WD vehicle park take the track a couple of hundred metres east to see the monzonite tors - outstanding.
A possible long walk is Narooma to Bermagui using the bus.
(d) Bermagui - Mimosa Rocks National Park.
We visited three bits, but it looks like a possible long walk if you can pick up water at settlements. Bermagui to Marraga Bay [Barragga Bay] is straight-forward, then you can easily get to the next beach south called Almonds [Armands]. From here to Murrah Head is unknown. Murrah Lagoon appeared easy to cross at low tide. Goalen Head is farmland so probably unsuitable for camping. Bunga Head is unknown, but the Ranger for Mimosa Rocks National Park should be able to advise. Aragunnu Beach has bush car camping and a creek for water. South of here there are no tracks on the headlands and the scrub is very thick. The rocks are vertically bedded and very sharp, so the 3 km to Picnic Beach could take 4 hours or more, so beware. There are streams for water and small places for a tent.
You can drive the 5 km into Aragunnu: turn off 23 km south of Bermagui where signposted. Good camping, fishing, surfing, birdwatching.
(e) Ben Boyd National Park. North - not explored. South - car camping by booking. No bushwalking with camping is allowed. Return day walk between Bittangabee Bay and Saltwater Creek 18 km, mostly heath and deeply incised rocky inlets. No need to camp in the Park, but if desired, phone N.P.& W.S. Eden (0649)61434.
(f) Nadgee Nature Reserve. This is primarily a scientific reference area. Write up to three months before required date to:
Officer in Charge, Eden District N.P. & W.S.,
Box 186 P.O., EDEN. N.S.W. 2551.
or phone (0649) 61434 as for Ben Boyd, or call in on the off-chance as we did. Buy your maps in Sydney or at the Forestry office upstairs in the same building.
Your application should state your reasons for wishing to visit Nadgee. We are keen on wildflowers, which are in dwarf prostrate forms on the moors and flowering in abundance in January. The birds are prolific, e.g. ground parrots, sea eagles. It is not scenic in a spectacular way except from Ospreys Outlook on Impressa Moor. Only one campsite has abundant good water, at the hut on Nadgee River, which is a sheltered forest site. Nadgee Lake has a pleasant site, but exposed to southerlies. In three days you can see the area south of Newtons Beach. Make sure your car has a light load and high clearance as the road is steep and rough.
(g) Mount Imlay National Park. At 888 metres, Mount Imlay provides a full panorama of the coast around Eden, south to Victoria and west over mountain ranges including pockets of seldom visited national parks. We made camp at the end of the road, using tank water, and did the return walk on a very steep track in the three hours as suggested in the information sheet obtained in the Eden office.
Now all we need is another holiday to explore all the bits we missed in between our walks.
An article on Nadgee with coloured photos aDpears in “Nature and Health”, Vol. 5 No.4 Spring 1984 (Available at health food stores and newsagents).
“WILD PLACES” by Peter Prineas has a chapter on Nadgee with photographs by SBW member Henry Gold. It is at present on sale at a reduced price in the city.
S.B.W. banner given by Doreen Berry recently to our Secretary has a story behind it. OUr older members are invited - nay, challenged! - to send in their version of its history. CLUE - E. Yardley drew the pig.
PART 3. by Wal Liddle.
(Wal continues his account of a 16 day bike/bus tour - cycling 660 kms - through Southern China, from the Macau border to Canton and then north to Hot Springs.)
That night we celebrated Lorraine's birthday with an iced cake decorated with a bicycle design. A noisy wedding party was proceeding in a room next to ours, and halfway through our own celebrations the bride and groom entered with a tray of offerings containing sweets, trinkets and small denomination paper notes. The bride was dressed in a pink suit, the groom in a dark grey suit without a tie and both wore a red feather, the Chinese symbol for happiness. Suddenly a loud crackling noise, like machine gun fire, penetrated the room. This was the traditional method of celebrating a wedding, by setting off a string of crackers at the hotel's entry gate. The longer the string, the louder the noise, the more prestigious the occasion; but what a racket! The Communist Party has tried to stamp out expensive wedding feasts like these but has not succeeded.
The next day we visited the Foshan Arts and Crafts Centre where silk lampshades, hand-crafted paintings and ceramic masks were made. Phillip and Lesley played a game of foot shuttlecock with some of the office staff in their lunch hour. The cock consisted of round leather disks stitched together with brightly coloured feathers attached. The object of the game is to pass the “cock” from player to player without it falling to the ground. Phillip in his enthusiasm to keep the cock “alive” kicked it over the balcony to the gound, one storey below. The Chinese laughed!
From Foshan to Shaoquing proved to be a long, gruelling day relieved by a picnic lunch by the side of the road. We feasted on tinned dace (fish), pork, steamed white bread and Baiyun Beer, and somebody forgot to bring the tin opener. On arrival at Shaoquing, hot and dirty, we were informed that the boiler had broken down. We were amazed to see the staff of the hotel emptying all the thermos flasks and heating water on fuel stoves, to satisfy our needs.
Shaoquing was surrounded by vast man-made lakes, out of which rose high mountain peaks, hence the name for the district, Seven Star Crags. A Buddhist monastery was located on the top of Mount Dinghu, in the middle of a national conservation area. Our lunch consisted of a hot vegetarian meal served by the monks who were dressed in dull yellow and brown robes. The abbot indicated that the monastery had seen better times, under the Chinese Emperors, when 1,000 monks lived here. He said that part of the present buildings had been destroyed at the time of the “Red Guards Movement” but this damage had been repaired by the new Chinese leadership. One of the worshippers asked Lorraine to remove her shoes when she entered a sacred area to photograph the three Golden Buddhas.
Returning to our hotel we were greeted by three 15-year-old girls who wanted to improve their language skills. They lived in a sugar cane commune nearby and had been given permission to visit us by the “house mother”. They were dressed in bright and colourful clothing and one was wearing a hand-knitted jumper in an Eskimo design. The girls were shy and found it difficult to cope with our accents but told us that all of them wished to become teachers of English, a compulsory subject in schools.
We had our evening meal on the third floor of a Tea House, filled with Chinese from all walks of life. I was intrigued by a group of men and women who were cooking strips of meat and leafy vegetables over a small coal-burning brazier. Mr Ou Song Chiang spoke to me in English, introducing his fellow executives from the China National Arts and Crafts Company who were being entertained on his expense account. He had just returned from a sales promotion trip to Sydney.
On Wednesday we arose early, preparatory to cycling halfway to Guangzhou (formerly Canton), a distance of 52 kms. The countryside was beautiful, with deep blue misty mountains in the background, the lower parts being terraced with rice fields. The cyclists were strung out over a distance of 2 kms with the support truck at the rear. As Malcolm and I came over a rise, a dramatic sight met our eyes, a portent of impending tragedy. Coming towards us was a motor bike and side car containing two blue uniformed military police and a white uniformed traffic policeman. All looked resplendent with brass buttons and red stars but seemed out of place in this peaceful rural scene. We found out the whole story at our lunch spot when we were joined by other members of the group. The policemen had been travelling to a village where a crime had been committed. One of the male workers had gone berserk with an axe, seriously injuring an old man. The rest of the village beat up the assailant and secured him with rope. The police arrived, arrested the madman, commandeered our support truck and drove the victim to hospital. Apparently some tempers had been inflamed by the old man receiving money from his sons in Hung Kong, to build a house. The “axe wielder” resented the gift, as wages in Hong Kong were on a grand scale, compared to the low rates of pay in China.
That afternoon we experienced the physical evidence of the assault when we loaded our bikes into the truck and saw the blood on the tail gate!
As we approached Canton, we saw a most peculiar sign which said “Don't Drink And Drive”, and featured two drunk Chinese on bicycles. We then realized how appropriate the sign was because there are no private cars in China, only taxi cabs and consular vehicles.
Our accommodation was at a super luxurious hotel on the outskirts of Canton, with everything laid on for the Western visitors, including room service and coffee. We attended a disco in the neighbouring Nanhu Hotel, where we found a number of Japanese businessmen dancing to the latest Western tunes, with flashing strip lights in the background. We thought the price of 10 Yuan rather steep, but our hosts indicated that the charge was comparable to similar resorts in Hawaii and Japan. They said that the price was set at that level to discourage participation by the local Chinese.
Our bus stopped at the market town of Taiping to pick up a young Chinese nurse en route to Hot Springs. The town was packed with people on their way to visit relatives or on shopping expeditions. Small welding workshops and tinning factories abutted the town square, and ready-made clothing was featured on many of the street stalls. A sign on one of the building stated World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Primary Health. Next door was the Conchua County Public Health Bureau. Numerous billposters extolled the virtues of birth control with the slogan “One Child is Glory”. A loudspeaker van sped by extolling the same theme. The wallboards in the town square displayed photos of drug smugglers, petty thieves and large-scale embezzlers wanted for their crimes. The captions stated “CONSOLIDATE THE SOCIALIST DEMOCRACY JUDICIARY SYSTEM!”
As we left the town our young nurse stood in the open doorway of the bus, waving and shouting remarks to her teenage friends.
At Hot Springs, we were billeted in large guest houses, a la Katoomba style, the villas being constructed by the Chinese and Russians in the 1950s when an amicable relationship existed between the two countries. The bedrooms were huge with a large enclosed verandah across the front of the building. We had every amenity including a sunken bath, with piped water from the hot mineral springs. A large entertainment hall with a dance floor, billiard and tennis tables, was located in the grounds.
The tourist centre was also used for Government conferences as we found out when walking along one of the back streets. We were stopped by a Red Army soldier with a rifle held at the ready. He made it clear that we were to proceed no further. As we retraced our steps, a group of elderly Chinese clad in dark blue padded cotton jackets and trousers emerged from the buildings.
That afternoon, we were joined by Charles Ng, the Managing Director of Cross Point Tours, who had flown in from Hong Kong to meet us. He was a small-boned, middle-aged man who was very affable, joining in all our fun. Charles had been born into one of the classical Southern Chinese families and at the age of five had actually witnessed executions of landlords by the new Communist Government. Although his mother and father had escaped death, their land was appropriated and the family fled to Hong Kong. At the age of 14, Charles had caught a cargo boat to Sydney, and after a few years graduated as a TV technician from North Sydney Technical College.
He had worked for WIN 5, Wollongong Television, for a number of years and had been active in the organisation of the China Day celebrations in the Haymarket, Sydney. Returning to Hong Kong, he became a producer of TV shows and made many contacts in Communist China. He now owns shares in a small electronics factory in the north of China.
Our farewell feast consisted of special dishes prepared in one of Canton's famous restaurants, hosted by members of the Chinese Youth Federation and the Chinese Travel Bureau. One of the highlights of the evening was a peanut eating competition in which the diners transferred peanuts from a saucer to the mouth, with chopsticks. What a slippery game it turned out to be with our laughter penetrating all corners of the restaurant. Our hosts presented each of us with small soap-stone souvenirs:-
The next morning, we boarded a luxury diesel train, en route to Hong Kong.
The following new members were admitted to the Club in February and March. Please add their names to your List Of Members. CORNEY, Stan, 63 Turriell Point Road, Lilli Pilli, 2229 Phone 524-5580 HORNE, Craig, 18 Verletta Ave, Castle Hill, 2154 634-4710 CROWTHER, Veronique, 44/20 Carabella St. Kirribilli, 2061 922-5178 LAND, Helmut, 14/19 Johnston St. Annandale, 2038 519-9857 LONGFOOT, Catherine, 9A Wycombe Street, Epping, 2121 86-4210 SEYMOUR, Ruth, 4 Emperor Place, Forestville, 2087 451-4322 SEYMOUR, Don, Il TV It tl TT SHARP, Peter, 119 Prince Alfred Parade, Newport, 2106 918-2303 STARMER, Lyn, 5 Essex Street, KIllara, 2071 499-2157
“CATS” - at the Theatre Royal, Tuesday, 20 August. Price per ticket $32.60 (group concession - normally $35).
Contact FAZELEY READ, 909-3671 as soon as possible.
Donalda and I have at last moved to the country after two years of telling everyone we would soon be on our way. I have bought into a firm of accountants in Bowral and currently we are living in a rented house at Mittagong. We would like to see our friends in S.B.W. any time they're down this way. phone numbers are (048) 61-1999 (B) and (048) 71-1697 (home) - at present. We are hoping to buy a few acres soon and build, so the home number may only be applicable for the next 8 or 9 months (or more?).
Wishing all a very enjoyable 1985 with plenty of good walking.
The S. & R. section of the Fed. of Bushwalking Clubs will be holding its first practice for 1985 at Bungonia Caves Reserve on the weekend of 22/23 March. We are hoping for a large representation from Clubs. For access to the Caves Reserve, follow the S. & R. yellow signs from the turnoff just past Marulan on the east side of the Hume Highway.
Activities will be divided into three areas:- (See page 20)
(From The Sydney Morning Herald, February 2, 1985.)
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has performed an about-face and decided to embroil itself in the controversy over the road through the Daintree rainforest in far north Queensland.
The authority will set up a series of sites along the Daintree coast to monitor siltation levels and their effects on what scientists are now describing as some of the rarest and most diverse of Australian coral reefs.
Mr. Graeme Kelleher, the authority chairman, said yesterday:“There is clear evidence there is a fair amount of silt coming off the road and it's time for us to find out if that is affecting the fringing reefs.”
The first significant scientific examination of the Daintree fringing reefs was conducted just over two weeks ago by Dr. John Veron, principal research scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science. In one two-hour scuba dive he counted 147 different species of coral from 55 genera (there are about 80 genera of coral on the Great Barrier Reef), making it one of the most diverse reefs he had seen.
Dr. Veron, acknowledged as a leading authority on the corals of the Pacific region, said: “There is not another fringing reef like that anywhere around Australia. It is very beautiful, very diverse.” But he expressed “serious concern” about survival prospects for significant sections of coral.
Since February 1984 Federal Government representations to the Queensland Government and local government failed to prevent a new round of bulldozing on the road last August and the first couple of months of the northern wet season have produced photographic and eye-witness evidence of heavy silt run-off.
On January 15 this year Dr. Veron dived on a fringing reef about 50-100 metres off Donovan's Range, the first of two steep climbs heading north from Cape Tribulation where road-works have gouged out a large side-cut. Dr. Veron said that soon after it began raining visibility in the water dropped to zero. “I could not see my hand in front of my face. I have not seen any reef survive under those conditions (for prolonged periods).
“A plume of orange mud was pouring off that range as a result of those earthworks.”
Asked if the reef could survive the muddy deluge, Dr. Veron replied: “I think it could survive brief episodes but if it becomes a chronic problem over a full wet season, I would say those corals in the plumes of those headlands and creeks have had it. I had wondered before whether fears about siltation from the road were exaggerated, but it would be hard for me to exaggerate what I saw that day.”
He was diving in about five metres of water over what he described as a fairly broad, continuous reef with two other scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University in Townsville.
Mr. Kelleher confirmed that it was the only location in Australia where well-developed tropical rainforest abutted such a rich series of fringing reefs. The reefs are on the World Heritage list as part of the Great Barrier Reef. Dr. Veron said there are probably only two other places in the world where reef and rainforest meet like this - one off western Thailand and the other along the north coast of Papua New Guinea.
“It is strange, extremely unexpected, to have these two complex ecosystems existing side by side,” Dr. Veron said. This is because rain-forests need plenty of fresh water. Corals die if they get too much fresh water.
The Sydney Bush Wslkers has good reason to regret the death of the Han. Paul Landa in late November, 1984. He was a strong supporter of conservation.
He was responsible for Australia's first Heritage Act and, during his term as Minister for the Environment in New South Wales, the total area of national parks was doubled and the planning laws were completely updated.
He presided over the dedication of the State's second largest National Park, Wollemi.
Of his record of achievements, it was this that gave him most pride.
The S.B.W. will support the proposal to the Bicentennial Committee for the Sydney to Hunter Valley track.
There will be a variation of procedure in admitting prospective members in that they will be required to come before the Committee as a group, to be followed by reports from the proposers for membership.
At the Annual General Meeting held on 13th March it was resolved that “The category of Married Couple Membership Subscription be replaced by a Household Membership Subscription”.
Arising from this decision it was also resolved “That members availing themselves of the new category of Household Membership subscription receive only one copy of the Club Magazine and other Club publications”.
It was suggested that members of a household desiring an additional Walks Programme would be able to buy one at a price decided by Committee.
Annual subscriptions were fixed at:-
|Household - $11 plus $5 for each extra person in household|
|$16 (for 2 people)|
|$21 ( ” 3 “ )|
|$26 ( ” 4 “ )|
|Full-time student (unless included in household subscription)||$9|
Non-active member subscription and prospective member subscription will be decided by Committee and advised in the April magazine.
A. Navigation, long hard walking, NIGHT navigation. Ropes needed. Start 10 pm Friday (from S.& R.trailer), finish Sunday, 24th.
B. Two days walking (NO night walking), camp out Sat. night. Ropes needed. Start 7 am Saturday.
C. Two day walks, camp at trailer, no ropes. Basic navigation. Start 7 am.