Established June 1931
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476 G.P.O. Sydney, 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.30 pm at the Cahill Community Centre (Upper Hall), 34 Falcon Street, Crow's Nest.
|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:||Phil Butt & Barry Wallace.|
|Winter - Cross-Country Skiing||David Rostron||2|
|Oh, Payanna||Peter Harris||4|
|The Circus Comes to Bungonia!||Michelle de Vries Robbe||5|
|S.B.W. Place Names in the Budawangs||Frank Rigby||7|
|Easter 1985 - The Deua National Park||Stuart Maxwell||9|
|Advertisement - Eastwood Camping Centre||11|
|A Valley in Mind||Bill Gamble||12|
|Annual Subscriptions 1985||13|
|Social Notes for June||14|
by David Rostron.
With May, one's thoughts begin to turn to the coming winter, and that ultimate of recreations - skiing. I don't know of any activity which provides such adrenalin-pumping enjoyment. The ecstasy of being able to swing down a mountain-side at speed, without any form of mechanical assistance, can provide some of the greatest “highs” of one's life.
Downhill skiing equipment provides great control but the experience does not quite equal that of the freedom associated with cross-country skiing. All this contemplation brings back fond memories of a relaxed four day trip in September, 1984.
Thursday night found Wendy Lippiat, Wayne Steel, Tom Wenman and I bedding down in Sawyer's Hut near Kiandra for a few hours sleep. It was to be one of those trips when enjoyment of the scenery and relaxed discussions with one's companions took precedence over terrain covered. With one exception we did not get away till about 9.00 am each day.
Friday morning found us climbing the hill out of Kiandra in overcast conditions, with light winds. Good time was made out past Four Mile Creek and along the ridge towards Table Top in variable snow conditions - in other words, breakable crust on the downhill sections in which it was almost impossible to turn. Towards midday the sun came out and the climbing slopes on the traverse of the north side of Table Top became soft. Wendy, Wayne and I on waxless skis had no problems. Tom's experience on waxed skis was a different story. Some years ago, when these were in vogue, we constantly derided Tom about his dreadful, slow waxless skis which made a shattering, humming noise on hard surfaces. He was assured the only way to ski was on wax. Brain washing is a powerful tool and when he finally broke a ski he was overjoyed - here was the excuse to buy a new pair of waxed skis. Times change and there was Tom for the first two days of this trip cursing and swearing about these despicable waxed skis which would not grip despite numerous applications of a variety of waxes. Of course, it did snow on the third day and he really did have grip - 6“ of new snow balled up under his skis.
Past Table Top we headed for Arsenic Ridge and then dropped off the eastern side near Brooks Hut, for a late lunch. Then it was across Happy Jack's River and Plain followed by a compass course for Boobees Hut, which is at the head of a valley running east of the Far Bald Ridge. We were on course following ski tracks in an open valley and were within an estimated 200-300 metres of the hut's position, but it couldn't be seen. We began to doubt our navigation but with the numerous ski tracks in the valley it had to be there somewhere. Suddenly it materialised in front of us. It is a dull grey and set amongst tall snowgums. The camouflage effect is perfect.
There was a solo South Australian skier in residence who obviously appreciated our company. With Tom leading the warblers we had a delightful relaxed evening. Next morning there was again high overcast. The natural destinations were O'Keefe's Hut and the ever beckoning mecca of Jagungal. We headed for Doubtful Gap and then made the mistake of dropping straight down to the Doubtful River, believing we could ski along the eastern bank until we found rocks or a snowbridge for a dry crossing.
There was no eastern bank - just a steep drop into the river for 200-300 metres. Off came boots and sox for a knee-deep wade in painfully cold water. Again it was not Tom's day. He crossed, and after donning sox and boots discovered his gloves were on a rock on the other side. After his third wade he was in agony with cold feet and he received the massage treatment from both male and female. He expressed loving gratitude to Wendy whilst Wayne and I were virtually ignored.
Progress to O'Keefe's Hut for lunch was uneventful. It snowed early in the afternoon and we occupied our time practising telemarks. Then the cloud lifted and we had no excuse to not climb Jagungal. We chose the north-east ridge behind the hut and when above the tree line climbed the large open northern bowl to the summit.
We were then exposed to a biting southwester and after climbing in shirts we quickly donned all our spare clothing and parkas. A quick appreciation of the view and then a rapid descent of the bowl, telemarking in new powder snow. The pleasured of wilderness skiing are many but it is difficult to surpass those of carving turns in untracked powder and then stopping and surveying the slope and those tracks.
For the following day we planned to go to Cesjack's Hut and then to Janga where Fazeley Read, Rick King, Ray Hookway and others were in residence. We decided on a 7:00 am departure, hoping to catch them in bed or at least at breakfast. However, the weather changed at 6.00 am with low cloud, sleet and snow. It appeared this would continue, and it seemed we should cut short the jaunt and proceed straight back to Kiandra that day.
We set off before 7.00 am but after 20 minutes the snow stopped, the cloud lifted and there were patches of blue sky. How weather affects our judgments in the mountains. We then became an indecisive rabble - equivocating for about 5 minutes before heading back past O'Keefe's and then to Cesjacks. On the run down to the Doubtful River there wasn't a cloud in the sky.
We passed Cesjacks and continued to the top of the Divide, arriving at Janga at 9.15 am. The birds had flown - that early sunshine must have dragged them out of their lethargy. We boiled up for morning tea on the front verandah. By this time it was again overcast and cold. A lone skier, Cora Knudsen, dropped in, also making a social call. He joined us for tea and reminiscing - Cora is a legend in that area.
After leaving a “please explain” note for our friends we headed north again around the west side of Spencer's Seak, and then down Diggers Creek and then donned skis again for the final two km to Happy Jacks Road. 'A road plod and then some skiing brought us back to the foot bridge on course for Brooks Hut. The cloud came down and the last l km to Brooks was almost in whiteout conditions.
With the wood and water collecting chores completed we settled down at about 4.00 pm for an extended “happy hour” and then the evening meal. Brooks is without doubt the best designed hut in the mountains, with comfortable accommodation for up to 10 on the double Maori platforms. It is about 8' from the platforms to the fireplace. With a large table to one side and an ample number of stools it is really a delight. For four it was almost luxury.
The morning was mainly clear with some low cloud scudding across the sky. We were away by 9:00 am and followed valleys on the eastern side of Arsenic Ridge before climbing and crossing over to the west for the direct route to Table Top. Tom had his wax at perfection point and set a rapid pace. In no time we had passed Table Top and were soon climbing the last hill from the saddle near Four Mile Hut. We thought about lunch but the cool southerly made most locations unsuitable.
Then followed a fast, scary descent on limited snow cover to Pollock's Creek and the vehicle. Oh for next winter!
by Peter Harris'.
Prelude and Notes: Written in 1982, the poem describes the view obtained from a vantage point on the Mountains of Jupiter (Central Plateau, Tasmania) which overlooked the extensive expanses of Lake Payanna, and further towards the peaks of the Du Cane Range and the Ossa/Pelion massifs. The walk was conducted in September, at winter's ebb.
Broad mountain peaks the latent sun divides with orange glow
Their cols and gaps to slowly melt the ebbing winter snow;
More distant hills a greyish veil of subtle shadowy eve,
Aloft the pits where foaming streams and rivers twist and weave;
Through myrtle, oak and pine and sagging beech,
In valleys deep which taunt the flickering light to reach
Their sunken bowels,
And waters claw and tear through heat-fused rock
With liquid trowels.
Nearer still the plateau dips to basins filled with rippling blue,
Where frothy, wind-whipped lakes and turgid pools cast coloured hue
On sculptured ridge which drops from height with peaceful pause,
To fall in rocky bluff to murky waters stony shores;
The battle-scarred and weary armour streaked with valiant pride
Of nature's wars,
But even jagged crumbling spire cannot defy the awesome power
Of nature's laws.
Onward amidst the low and stunted pines which cling to ridges steep
The bushman's watchful eye detects a narrow inlet, still and deep,
Affording scarce the space to serve a wild duck's brood to swim
From shore to shore without the wary need to cast the slightest whim
On preying man, or on a wicked lurking fox which lies concealed
By cunning driven
To take its prize whate'er the cost of wanton greed in careful ploy
Through cunning striven.
An islet crushed and crumpled floats as ruined fort on inland sea,
Defiant sentinel of darkening eve, a lonely spirit cast free;
And broader still the eye beholds a wispy bay bejewelled in stone,
Where warrior oak and broken pine cast anchor on a rocky shore alone.
Their mossy boughs will bend and quake at every breath of chilly gust,
And not a setting beam nor glow will warm the side where lichens rust
Proud nature's bloom.
Till cold damp air descends on fated lakelands sleeping towers
With certain doom.
There in your evening raiment clad with watery bosom upward spread,
You rest in peace at close of day in sunlight's final shimmering ray
Of crimson light.
Oh, Payanna, how you take your toll and tempt the whim of human soul,
And lead the wand'rer who would dare to flee from city's cold nightmare
In torrid flight.
But only man with wild urge can sit and watch your water's surge
With destined plight.
Oh, Payanna, you can crush a heart and tear a mellow soul apart,
And take the time to heal the wound which pitiless you broke and ruin'd
For slow repair.
Yet in your charm and sombre grace in winter's ebbing cold embrace
You swell the bushman's spirit high with inner peace as time goes by
And soul is bare.
But Payanna, you have lost the fight, at last I've seen the dawning light
You're ever there!
by Michelle de Vries Rpbbe
Well, here was I only one month back in the Sydney rat race after a year away from it all - and decided to have a weekend out in the bush to have a quiet commune with nature (and a few bushwalkers). So I called Roger Browne and added my name to the list of 18 people going on his lilo trip down the Shoalhaven River (on weekend of 23/24 February), and looked forward to a mini break away.
Friday night began the festivities, which were to last all weekend, and lead to many a sore stomach muscle after an inordinate amount of laughter. We arrived at the Bungonia Caves campsite looking forward to a good night's sleep, as I'm sure Peter Miller and a few others were before we found them! The combination of my carload (including Stan Corney and Roger Browne) and Peter proved fatal! There was much noisy bantering until we were safely ensconced in our respective tents and/or sleeping bags.
Saturday morning (which seemed to arrive far too soon before the required minimum sleeptime had elapsed) revealed that we had a few more noisy clowns and performers to add to the S.B.W. circus. The tone was set for anything but a quiet weekend.
After a very healthy early start, my first “confrontation” was facing a 45 degree (at least, it appeared more like 90 degrees to me) slope with no sign of a track, and convince myself that I would descend the 1500 or so feet without a fatal accident. It was at this point that I realised that I had been away from the Aussie bush for far too long - I was terrified at the prospect! (Yes me, and I'm not ashamed to admit it!). To my relief I discovered that I was not alone in my fear, and that a very kind “gentleman” in the form of Don Finch was most patient about coaxing the two of us down the slope. (I felt the warm glow of eternal gratitude, but little did I know how dearly I was going to pay for it later - gentleman indeed!) At the bottom I had a welcome extended lunch break to allow my jellified knees to resolidify while the others went to explore the Blockup on their lilos.
After lunch there was dissention in the troops, due to cool, cloudy weather, and two parties set off down the river - one on foot, and one on lilos. I was determined that I was going to use my lilo after I had carried it all that way, and even further to go! Naturally the foot party progressed quicker than the lilo party, but I bet we enjoyed it more, even though the others had great spectator value from watching us negotiating the “rapids” of the Shoalhaven. Although I did get wet (as we all did) it was heartening to know that we were giving the others so much pleasure.
We arrived at the campsite to find that Peter MIller had done a wonderful job of selecting the slope with the smallest gradient - and had built a fabulous campfire, which made him an instant (though temporary) hero with the thoroughly wet lilo party. However we discovered that there was no need to bother with the hero bit, as Peter was not meant to be a silent martyr….. He let us know loud and clear how much effort had gone into making that fire by declaring in a loud voice (or normal voice for Peter) that he was “not going to make a song and dance about making the fire but….. ” (I am sure that those who know Peter will not require further elaboration, and those of you who don't should find out for yourselves the hard way - by going on a trip with him - it will not be dull or quiet!)
Saturday night was a continuation of the S.B.W. circus which had been in progress all weekend - but I won't bore you with the details of endless banter, dirty (and a few clean) jokes and a huge bonfire to end all bonfires!
Sunday morning showed up the fit walkers - they were the ones that were not hobbling around! The rest of us had EXTREMELY stiff thigh muscles from the fly-crawl down the slopes (cliffs?) and sore shoulder muscles from paddling our lilos. For most, the lilos seemed a more attractive option to walking, as we could delay having to use our legs for another hour or so. It was great to have such versatile options! (One gold star to the leader!)
Just as the Bungonia Creek junction came into sight (which meant the end of the liloing) a strange sadistic urge overcame our leader. He decided to pull out the plug in my lilo so as to allow me to sit lower in the water Naturally, I obliged with the appropriate reaction of yelling and screaming in protest - which somehow resulted in Don Finch and Matthew Walton joining the fray. The weird part about it all is that Roger's lilo remained intact whilst the three of us landed up in the water one way or another and had deflated lilos into the bargain! (Remove the leader's gold star). The walking party came to the rescue again with a lovely warm fire when we emerged from the water - which reinforced the advantages of being in the slower party of a bushwalk!
Once dry, we reluctantly hobbled up (well, some us were hobbling for a while until we loosened up) the creek to Bungonia Gorge and oohed and aahed at how magnificent it is while we had lunch. It is amazing how suddenly bushwalkers get generous about sharing their food before the prospect of a long, steep walk UP!
As we set off to ascend (a fancy word for a fly-crawl up - to me, anyway) Sod's law prevailed, and the sun broke out from behind the clouds that had been around all weekend and allowed us to work up a decent sweat as we laboured up the hill. We were greeted at the two-thirds mark with a piece of watermelon from Roger - boy, I had to reinstate the leader's gold star - it was wonderful!
Just as we were to set off on our last third of the “slope”, the “gentleman” (alias Don Finch) pointed out that my pack zip was undone, and offered to do it up for me. I fell for his kind offer, and proceeded on my way. He then insisted on walking behind me on the pretext of wanting to admire my legs (which I fell for again - who says flattery will get you nowhere?). This did mystify me as there were a few pairs of legs that were far superior to mine (no names mentioned - find out for yourselves). However, all was revealed when we reached the top of the “hill”. It was wonderful to get to the end of the slogging, and know that the cars were a mere walk away, so I opened my pack in search of my car keys. To my amazement, there was a ROCK in there! Well, the mystery was revealed, and I just couldn't believe that Don could have done such a thing. I was speechless in surprise - but that only lasted 5 seconds (a record time for me) before the desired reaction eropted forth from the depths of my lungs - I hope Don at least went home with earache! (I will admit now that underneath it all I felt rather proud that I had carried a rock up that hill, and not noticed).
Later that night, in the local Mittagong chinese, it was suggested that I write to the Committee and complain about the “gentlemen” of the S.B.W. Club - I have decided to write this report instead so that this sort of thing is known to the whole Club, and not just the Committee. (I guess that it may wind up being a public admission of my naive gullability.)
Well, Roger, that was a memorable walk, I didn't have one muscle left that didn't ache for days afterwards! It was also memorable in that I haven't forgotten the chivalrous behaviour of the likes of you and Don - but revenge will be sweet in my own time Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I know we all did. The leader deserves another gold star for organising such a wonderful weekend circus. Thanks to all!!!
This article refers to certain place names, both Past and present, which were given to features in the Budawangs by the late Ken Angel, a former member of S.B.W., in the 1950s. I do know something about the origins of these names but I am not, by any means, an authority on the subject. If any readers can contribute further information, or perhaps corrections, I hope they will do so.
Ken Angel, as well as being a bushwalker, was also a professional surveyor. In the fifties he explored parts of the Budawangs and produced several bushwalker-type sketch maps during the period 1951-58. In those days these maps were, of course, very valuable to bushwalkers since official maps, to the best of my knowledge, did not exist. (Nor did the C.M.W. Budawang Range map, first published in 1960.) Ken died in or about 1981.
I knew Ken in the fifties and walked with him on several occasions. I remember him as a pleasant young man who seemed determined to spread a few names (albeit sometimes contrived, e.g. the composite names) of his walking friends across his maps. Let's have a look at these place names.
BYANGEE WALLS: The book “Pigeon House and Beyond”-states: “Apparently named by Ken Angel”. Not apparently at all, but most definitely. Ken's lady-friend at the time was June Byatt, also a member of S.B.W. for some years and whom some older members will surely remember. He combined the surnames into a happy composite with an aboriginal ring to it. In fact, I can remember Ken telling me that this particular bit of nomenclature would probably stick, if only for its seemingly aboriginal origins. He was right. Some of his names have been abandoned but Byangee looks set to stay. It is interesting to note that JUNE'S RIDGE and BYATT'S RIDGE also appear on his March, 1952 map.
MT. RENWICK (now MT.OWEN): After Keith and/or Yvonne Renwick (present married name unknown to me). Keith and Yvonne were brother and sister and Yvonne will be particularly remembered for her beautiful singing voice at Reunions and around the campfire. N.B. No, the current name of Mt. Owen is NOT named after-Owen Marks.
MT. ROSWAINE (now MT COLE): Composite name, after Ross Laird and Betty Swain (now Armstrong?).
MT. PATAIRD (now Shrouded Gods Mountain): Composite name, after Pat Sullivan (now Wood) and Jean Aird (now Wilson) and/or. Grace Aird (now Wagg). N.B. June Byatt, the Renwicks, Ross Laird, Betty Swain, Pat Sullivan and the Aird sisters were all active and well-known S.B.W. members in the fifties. Of all these people, only Grace Aird (now Wagg) currently belongs to S.B.W. Keith and Yvonne Renwick apparently still live in Sydney, as do Ross Laird and Jean Aird (now Wilson). Betty Swain (now Armstrong?) and Pat Sullivan (now Wood) live in New Zealand. I have no knowledge of June Byatt.
MT. FLETCHER (now Donjon Mountain:: After Joe Fletcher, probably from the Kameruka Club at that time.
ANGEL CREEK and ANGEL'S FALLS (now Crooked Falls): Apart from Byangee Walls, Angel Creek is now the only official name commemorating Ken's work in the Budawangs.
A few other names on the sketch.maps look suspiciously like his work but I cannot throw any light on their origins. They are JOANEMLA WALLS, BETHOM HEAD and MT. STEVARD.
Which names you will actually find on the map you use depends on what you have. The earlier C.M.W. sketch maps of the Budawangs bore Angel's bushwalker names but the later editions changed these names to others (e.g. Roswaine to Cole) which are, apparently, now official. Inexplicably, the 1:31,680 Corang sheet issued by the Central Mapping Authority of N.S.W. (reprinted in 1978) carries Angel's names but the much earlier C.M.W. sketch map (fifth edition, 1971) does not. Confusing?
In “Pigeon House and Beyond”, published by the Budawang Committee, the following passage is of interest: “After detailed consultation with Ken Angel, local identities, and the further gathering of historical information, the Budawang Committee made a submission to the geographical Names Board in 1967 on the nomenclature of many places, and provided historical information. The Board gazetted the majority of the names.”
It would appear that sometime after 1967 many of Ken Angel's names were officially changed but why they should still be on a C.M.A. map, reprinted in 1978, is a mystery to me. Whether Ken's original names were ever gazetted prior to 1967 is beyond my knowledge.
It seems likely that, in the fifties, Ken Angel was unaware of casual, unpublished names such as Owen, Cole, Donjon, Shrouded Gods and Crooked when he tried to immortalise his friends. It was, apparently, only when his names showed up on various maps that the claims of others (with historical precedent) saw the light of day.
It's all very strange.
Ainslie Morris and
who are having their wedding on
5th May at Longueville Reserve.
(Another S.B.W. romance! K.B.)
(Ainslie is keeping MORRIS as her surname.)
by Stuart Maxwell.
THE PARTY: Don Finch (leader), Jennie Brown, Wendy Aliano, Matthew Walton, Virgil Stephens and Stuart Maxwell.
Last year's great Deua walk got forty starters. We were only three real bush walkers, two innocent prospectives and me. Why? Was it the 3,000 metres odd of climbing? (Or three other good Easter trips. Ed.)
Matthew's inspired navigation avoided all traffic jams, allowing a leisurely meal and an early camp at Aruluen Creek public reserve in light rain. He also regaled and refreshed us from his latest acquisition, a C. J. Dennis anthology.
Rendezvous at the hotel revealed no last minute arrivals, and after a pretty drive through erstwhile dairy, now cattle, farms, we arrived at Yang Valley on the Kevin Greigs homestead on Telowar Creek. Our transit aroused only armies of dogs and bulls, and agricultural jokes. The owners seemed to have done the reverse to us and gone to the Big Smoke for company over Easter rather than to the wilds for solitude.
From this time until noon Monday we neither saw nor heard other people, cars, motorbikes or aeroplanes - a truly beautifully isolated walk.
Don took his responsibilities seriously, starting navigation lessons at once, and demonstrating that some of us had lost ourselves whilst still in sight of the homestead! However, I did learn of the mysteries of surveyed tracks, real tracks, abandoned tracks, non-existent tracks and new tracks relative to the age of the map.
Morning tea on the Deua; this gentle, clear, permanent stream, dancing in the strong sunlight under tall river oaks was very different from last year's swollen river. A terrible cry announced Matthew's exuberant sampling of the waters, a process repeated at every available opportunity.
All day we ascended the Deua and Woolla Creek. Suddenly at five, Don announced camp and before the tents were up or the fire lit, the heavens opened. A chilling wait for the rain to stop and cold dinner for some followed by early bed. Meanwhile, however, our leader had lit a fire under his fly, and with Wendy, had dined in style; he woke us at eight when the rain had stopped - the fire, still burning, was ready to be transferred (on a piece of bark, which he had thoughtfully built it on) to the open air. Don had also tracked, fought, caught and killed a deadly funnel-web spider between the sleeping bags.
Saturday: Off up the hills. About 1,350 m climb all day, the longest being 450 m. Even so we were not up to Don's ambitions and had to cut the day short, leaving out two or three peaks on the southern spur of Mt. Donovan, one of which, a round, rocky, stepped mass was Don's objective for the weekend (Ref. GA 619233 Bendethera).
Lunch was on the flat top of Donovan, with sweeping blue views to the divide and the coastal beaches at Moruya and Tomakin, blue skies and massive cumulus build-up. After an afternoon of slow progress down overgrown hillsides we dived down to Donovan Creek at nightfall. With no time to select a good spot we chose a leech-ridden clearing as it started raining again.
This time it was not so heavy and the fire was lit for dinner. Matthew, full of go, wanted us to stay up, recite and sing, but by nine he was alone at the fire, and we were contesting sleeping bags and tents with leeches. Feeling one inside my shirt, but too tired to bother, I tried to sleep but it kept tickling my armpit.
Down Donovan and up Burra Creeks in the morning; beautiful mountain streams, clear, fast running and not too deep for creek-walking this time though they may be hard to negotiate after extended heavy rain. By the time we left Burra we had probably caught 300 leeches between us.
As an appetiser for lunch we climbed 600 metres to an unnamed point on the Merricumbene fire trail. Since we “could not get lost” the “bushwalkers” left the rest to find their own pace. At the top we were horrified to find - NO FIRE TRAIL. Dayohs seemed to be answered from about five miles away. Soon, however, cool-headed Jenny discovered the completely overgrown trail and all was well. By the time we had done two more climbs to get down again I am afraid S.B.W. had lost another prospective, especially when we found the permanently marked Parsons Creek quite dry. Gone underground, according to our leader.
Fortunately Matthew had been sent ahead. He roared down the mountain like a wild goat, chased by a kangaroo-hopping Don trying to prove something - a limp next day? He went on to the Deua and when the rest of us arrived after dark he welcomed us with a magnificent fire. Swims in the dark for enthusiasts, lovely moonlight, too much to eat and another early night. Poor Matthew deserted again.
On Monday an Arcadian walk back along the river on grass through open woodland. Many pretty river crossings and picture-book river views, indigo reflections in the pools and rippling runs. Fast walking encouraged singing and Wendy showed us that she should have been in operetta.
All morning we reverse-tracked two horses on an Easter safari from Moruya: 150 miles! At Woolla three motorcross kids and six four-wheel drives in convoy overtook us; they had been fishing up river. As Vernon Davies, who settled the property in 1932, said, “The place is opening up.” More's the pity.
Back to the cars just in time to avoid another thunder storm, dine and catch the traffic jam about 10 km from Marulan. A great weekend and a lovely bit of bush.
by Bill Gamble.
On a fine, clear day in January, 1981, the Air New Zealand flight to Sydney took off from Wellington Airport into a southerly breeze; As the aircraft climbed out over Cook Strait and turned west it flew close to Nelson Lakes National Park; so close, in fact, that I could see the Travers Valley clearly amid the mountains and lakes. And on that summer afternoon memories of walking in the area flooded back as the snow-slabbed peaks slipped by. I felt almost boyish as I pressed my face to the cabin window, not wanting to miss anything. I was also a little sad that one of my favourite mountain valleys was so near and yet so far away.
The New Zealand mountains, particularly those in the South Island, are punctuated with fine valleys for walking and the Travers is one of them. Its recollection evokes a wistfulness for what I left behind by coming to live in Sydney (for those members who do not know me, I am a New Zealander by birth and grew, up and lived in Wellington for 28 years before coming to Sydney about 16 years ago):
The Travers is not isolated. In fact it must be one of the most accessible valleys in any of that country's national and forest parks. Located at the upper end of Lake Rotoiti, the valley delta can be easily reached from park headquarters at St. Arnaud either by a good lakeside track after 2 1/2 hours walking or by boat in much less time. There are other routes. The valley offers excellent access to side valleys and basins as well as to the ridges and climbing peaks like Kehu (7250'), Travers (7671') and Hopeless (7475'). Tracks are well marked and various saddles and passes provide good access to adjacent watersheds, of which Travers Saddle would be the most, frequently used to give access to the Sabine Valley and beyond. But more than this, the Travers offers much in its own right and is equally excellent as a base (using the well-maintained huts or tenting) for day walks in superb surroundings.
Beeches and Snow Grass.
To me, the Travers is an encapsulation of what a mountain valley should be like. The floor is flat, and broad at its mouth, and through the grassy, open ground meanders the Travers River, allowing most of the time reasonable fords when commencing a walk up the centre of the valley. The beech-covered slopes climb steeply away on both sides and in turn yield to snow grass and then rock, with seasonal snow and ice in the high basins and on peaks 3-5000' above. The gain in height moving up the valley is steady and so is the reduction in its width. Squeezed by the sides of the valley, the flats eventually peter out amid the cascading river, the forest cover crowding its banks and the steep side ridges and spurs. In the same way as for the valley sides at the delta the forest stops suddenly and the tussocky snow grass begins. The head of the valley comprises flats with a short walk to a large upper basin with its amphitheatre of peaks dominated by Kehu (7250') and Travers (7671).
For the headwaters of the Travers River it is necessary to scramble up a rock-strewn gully into a cirque of peaks and sharp ridges around twin tarns. The tarns may be gained from Travers Saddle but that is not quite the same as following the river to its source. The place is seldom visited and if the snow is deep and the day fine and calm, one should find a peacefulness and solitude well worth the seeking.
Up to the Tarns.
In 1979, in fine weather and fresh snow, I found just that and wrote: “My intention was to spend the morning wandering around the head of the valley - an amphitheatre of snow-covered peaks with-steep slopes of rock and snow grass - before returning to the Upper Travers Hut some time after lunch. In the crisp, still and brilliantly clear weather, I sat on the large boulder alongside the park sign which points to the saddle and thought a little more about what I was going to do this morning. It would have been easy to have found a slab of rock, stretched out in the sun and alternated between looking at the mountains and dozing. My inclination was to keep moving so I walked across the slope towards the head of the valley, more or less keeping parallel to the stream which was the beginning of the Travers River.
“In front of me the slope steepened to about 45 degrees and I lapsed into the steady rhythm of plodding uphill towards the gully out of which tumbled the stream. I made good time to reach the base of the gully, as there were few things in my pack to slow progress - from memory, a lunch snack, parka and first-aid kit. A light pack takes much of the heat out of going uphill.
“I had not intended to go any higher but the morning was still early and it seemed a good idea to scramble up the gully a little farther to see if the source of the river could be reached. The gully was filled with mostly large rocks and some snow, and picking my way upwards using hands and feet, I soon stood at the head of the gully. Ahead of me was a snow-filled notch and beneath water gurgled. There was a narrow rock ledge on the true left and it came out on a ridge about 30' above. From there on it was an easy walk across rock and snow to the small snow filled basin and ice-covered tarns which are the headwaters of the Travers River. Rainbow Saddle lay beyond. The snow was fresh from a storm which had cleared two days before, and it crunched underfoot as I wandered quietly around the basin. It was the only sound. When I stopped the silence was complete.”
The Travers will draw me back one day, as it has done before, probably in the autumn when it is quiet and there are few people about. I like it that way. It will be a time to again walk the length of the valley following the river from the lake's edge to the twin tarns below Rainbow Saddle, and to scramble to the tops along its serrated flanks. And there will be fresh opportunities to go farther into side valleys such as the Arnst and up into the Cupola Basin.
When it is time to go “up the Travers” again I will give members plenty of notice of the walk so that they might consider joining me. A valley in mind and not too far away.
The following subscriptions were decided upon at the A.G.M.:-
|Household - $11 plus $5 for each extra person in household||$16 (for 2 people)|
|$21 (for 3 people )|
|$26 ( for 4 people )|
|Full-time student (unless included in household subscription)||$9|
Non-active subscriptions etc. were decided by the Committee in April:-
|Non-active member + magazine posted||$9|
|Non-active member (no magazine)||$3|
|Prospective member - for 6 months||$5|
The following new.members are admitted to the club. Please add their names to your list of members.
|JANN GLASGOW||52 Banks Avenue, PAGEWOOD. 2035||349 3815|
|CHERRY SPOOR||43/679 Bourke Street, SURRY HILLS. 2010||699 2357|
|LYNNE JONES||242 Galston Road, HORNSBY HEIGHTS. 2077||477 6092|
|DON MACINTYRE||112 Burwood Street, WAGGA WAGGA. 2650||(069)21 6493|
Our magazine is printed on our own offset machine by a small group of volunteers. Another larger group collates and prepares it for postage.
Would anyone who is interested in learning how to print the magazine (or who knows how already!) please contact BARRY WALLACE 240 1115 (B) or PHIL BUTT 94 6333
By early 1986 we will need new premises for storage and operation of the printing equipment. Would anyone interested please discuss this with the Editor (Ph. 428 3178) or Phil Butt (Ph. 94 6333)
THE ENVIRONMENT CENTRE
which has received notice to vacate its present premises by 29th Sept.,'85.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
* Most importantly, write to
The Hon. N.K. Wran, Q.C., M.P.
Premier of N.S.W.
State Office Block, Phillip Street,
and The Hon. R. Carr, M.P.
Minister for Planning & Environment,
10th Floor, 139 Macquarie Street,
urging the Government to provide suitable premises at a nominal rental to the Environment Centre of N.S.W.
* Write to and/or visit your local member of Parliament asking them to support the Environment Centre's request for premises and to make representations to that effect to Mr. Wran and Mr. Carr.
* Make a donation to the Environment Centre's “Relocation Fund”. Send to 399 Pitt Street, Sydney. 2000 Phone. 267 7722
ANNUAL REPORT 1985 - a large number of copies are missing. Please contact The Secretary, Barrie Murdoch, 498 7834.
(of the FEDERATION OF BUSHWALKING CLUBS (NSW) S & R)
KANANGRA BOYD N.P. 22ND - 23RD JUNE, '85
How to get there - Drive to JENOLAN CAVES and continue towards KANANGRA WALLS. Follow FBW or S & R HQ signs from the BOYD RIVER CROSSING to base.
Activities - 7.30 a.m. start for instruction, radio practice, stretcher hauling etc.. Saturday night - CAMPFIRE / SLIDE SHOW / BUSH MUSIC - DANCING
Who is welcome - Fit keen walkers who are members of an affiliated F.B.W. club and who have at least 1 years general bushwalking experience.
Contact - Director S & R, Keith Maxwell 622-0049(h) for further details.
ENTER 19th JUNE in your diary …
This is the night for yarns, poetry and songs about the bush. To hear from Henry Lawson or Banjo Patterson, or simply a bushwalker's yarn from long ago. So practice your “Man from Snowy River”, “The Drover's Wife” or simply put your voice into a song or two. There will be ample rewards for those who are prepared to stand up and give it a go.
Here is the program for June:
|JUNE 5||Committee Meeting|
|JUNE 12||General Meeting|
|JUNE 19 *||Yarns, Poetry and Songs from the Bush|
|JUNE 28||Mid - Winter Feast|
* means dinner before the meeting at the Phuong Vietnamese Restaurant, 87 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest, 6.30 pm sharp - BYO
And some advance notice for the July diary ..
The subject will be “Bushwalking, Yesterday and Today”. We will be after pictorial displays, maps photos, slides magazine articles or simply a story or two.
There will be two nights -
|JULY 17||Walking 1927 - 1965|
|July 24||Walking 1960 - 1985|
A Club Post-Box will be placed on the new members table for a trial period of six months.
The box is for the exchange of mail, notes and articles of gear between members. Please label all items CLEARLY with the NAMES of both the sender and receiver and the DATE placed in the box. Any items left over six months will be sold at the club auction.
Please forward any comments on the system to PETER MILLER 818 1990