A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476, G.P.O. Sydney, N.S.W. 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.45 p.m. at Ella Community Centre, 58a Dalhousie Street, Haberfield (next to the Post Office). Prospective members and visitors are invited to visit the Club on any Wednesday. To advertise in the magazine please contact the Business Manager.
|Editor||Patrick James, P.O. Box 170, Kogarah, 2217. Telephone 588 2614.|
|Business Manager||Stan Madden, 8 Florence Avenue, Gosford, 2250. Telephone (043) 25 7203.|
|Production Manager||Helen Gray. Telephone 86 6263.|
|Printers||Fran Holland & Stan Madden.|
|Epic of the Mid-Week Walkers||Dot Butler||3|
|Letter to S.B.W. - 60th Anniversary||Jean & Brian Harvey||5|
|Memories of This and That||Rod Carruthers||7|
|Diary of a Tasmanian Tramp, January 1965||Emma Duncan||8|
|The November General Meeting||Barry Wallace||14|
|Stepping - Out||Bob Niven||14|
|Thanks S.B.W.||Kath Brown||15|
|N.S.W. Federation Meeting Report, November||Spiro Hajinakitas||15|
|Bandaging Bushwalker Burns||Reg Alder||16|
|Canoe & Camping, Gladesville||6|
|Belvedere Taxis, Blackheath||11|
|Eastwood Camping Centre||12|
The editorial staff extend to all best wishes for Christmas and the New Year, may your pack be light, your gear waterproof and your volleys never slip. For the Sydney Bushwalker this year has been a good year and our thanks go to all our authors who have contributed to the magazine in 1987 (next month we'll have an index). Without a steady input of articles the magazine would become stilted and boring. No, it is not boring now, and shame on you for such disloyal thoughts. New authors are always welcomed and every effort will be made to make your debut in print as painless as possible.
Our thanks and best wishes go to S.B.W. Printing, namely Fran Holland and Stan Madden for the 96,000 sheets of paper they printed in Alex's garage. Both Fran and Stan are standing down from their printing and new printers are eagerly sought.
Finally thanks and best wishes go to S.B.W. Operations and S.B.W. Distribution. This is a large Gray area in the preparation of the magazine and involves collating, binding and posting. The team of many is led by Helen and George Gray, thanks team. A separate enterprise is S.B.W. Labelling, the troubles early in the year were solved and our thanks and best wishes go to Dot Matrix and Barry Wallace.
Now that summer is officially here it is wise to ponder on the risks and effects of heat exposure. Obviously prevention is better than cure so take it easy in the heat of the day, have a longer lunch break, drink more water, wear a hat which provides shade, reflects the sun and does not cook the head. You can always soak the hat in water to give extra cooling. When walking do so at a steady even pace and take enough breaks to “keep one's cool”. Now for the cure. I note that my first aid book is the second edition, 1982 revised. Which should not be too out of date. For heat exhaustion the signs are - feels hot, suffers headaches, suffers giddiness and feels faint, suffers cramp and is pale and exhausted and sweats freely. The pulse and breathing are rapid. Treatment is simple - put in a cool place, sponge with cold water, give plenty of water to drink and apply ice packs to cramped muscles and stretch. Heat stroke is a more serious condition as the heat regulatory mechanisms of the brain start to fail. Signs are headache, casualty is irritable, nauseated and vomiting, may faint and ceases to sweat. Treatment: Remove clothing, sprinkle with water, wrap in cold wet sheets and rub with ice. The above poses a few questions: for people who are normally irritable, how do you tell if they are not just normal? A good reason to change one's ways. And where do you get ice on a bushwalk? Joking aside, be careful, be prepared, look out for yourself and for your fellow walker. It's easier to walk out than carry or be carried out. And get a current First Aid Book.
by Dot Butler.
This was the programmed walk (9-10-11-12 November) - Wiseman's Ferry to Wondabyne, 70 km - Leader Alex Colley.
Well, it started off all right, the party in two taxis from Turramurra. We arrived together at Wiseman's Ferry, paid off the drivers, and while Alex was working out how much each owed (5 into $81.00), the taxis departed and had disappeared from sight before Alex realised that he hadn't taken out his pack. (The good old days when you could expect the driver to take out your luggage are gone.) Dark gloom chest-beating and cries of despair. “The whole trip's ruined I'll just have to go home.” Can we salvage the situation? Best thing is to try to ring the taxi company to contact the driver on the radio and send him back. We had seen the number plate - 7110, but had to guess what company. Try 'Black & White' because that was the colour of the cab. Alex sought a phone at a nearby kiosk. The sympathetic kiosk lady did her best, but as she had only a local directory it wasn't much help.
Meanwhile John Jansons, stout fella, hitched a ride in a truck to the local pub and rang various taxi companies. Much time was spent listening to sweet music, but eventually a voice informed him that he could do nothing; the pack would be passed into the Department of Main Roads Lost Property Office and the owner could retrieve it there in three or four days time. John came back and reported his findings. “Be brave,” said he, “I've got a three-man tent. With two of us having sleeping bags that open out we can take in a third, no trouble. Get some more food and we're all set.” So, looking only half-convinced, Alex set off for the shops.
We waited a long time. Eventually Alex returned carrying nothing but two pink-iced cakes in a paper bag. The story was that after buying the necessary food for four days he had rung the Motor Transport Department. By the time he had listened to most of Brahm's Fifth Concerto he was told the cab with number plate 7110 belonged to De Luxe Red & Yellow Cabs; the driver was located and although he had knocked off for the day he agreed to come back to Wiseman's Ferry with the pack. Alex thereupon returned the food he had bought, bought two pink-iced buns, and joined his party. Songs of jubilation and joy. We sat in the shade of a flowering melaleuca for an hour or so and ate our lunch. The taxi reappeared. Alex forked out another $40 plus a $5 tip because he was such an obliging chap, then we got on the ferry and the trip started - 14 km to go and the time 2 pm.
We followed up the Old Northern Road, convict-built of incredible great blocks forming walls and buttresses and road edging. Views of the distant Hawkesbury across healthy rampant forest, native flowers everywhere among the shining broad leaves of the Gymea lilies and ferns, sky overcast and occasional spitting rain, but pleasantly cool for uphill walking. All afternoon we followed the road, an off-road-vehicle driver's delight, with bits of scraped tyres and and lost equipment along the route. Eventually we came to a locked gate where two approaching cars were held up. The two lady drivers were fiddling with a combination padlock. We gave them our pooled advice, which didn't help, then left them to it while we plunged down through the scrub to the creek to look for a flat area where Alex had camped previously. As we crashed our various ways down the overgrown hillside, we heard two triumphant toots, which signified that our lady friends were successfully on their way to Frog Hollow.
The level area seemed to be non-existent. “It's got to be here,” said Alex, “Let's try upstream.” But the terrain got steeper and steeper. “Let's try downstream.” In the midst of all this to-ing and fro-ing a jubilant call from John and Dot brought the party together. There was a great glorious camping cave that could accommodate at least 10. Its untouched appearance would suggest that no one had ever been in it. Dot threw out all the loose stones and levelled off the sand floor. John and Paul collected firewood, Alex went for water and soon we had a beaut fire going, sleeping areas chosen, dry bracken and sleeping mats in position and food cooking. Now let Hughie do his worst.
Suddenly a little live creature dropped from the ceiling and sprawled on the sand. “A giant cockroach,” yelled John. But no, it was a baby mouse. “Granpa!” Granpa!“ cried Sylvia, “Listen to its mother calling.” “Nonsense,” said Paul, “That's my pacemaker.” But Sylvia persisted, and sure enough, looking up, we saw some sort of creature's nest of leaves packed into a wind-blown hollow in the roof. We laid the little one on the sand where its mother could rescue it. Sylvia's young ears heard the mother's squeaks going on and on, but the older ears were not attuned to such high frequencies.
Next morning we left early, about 7.45. We checked the exact location of the cave for future use (just under the wires of a high tension line crossing the gully). Most of today was to be spent navigating along ridges, so there was a lot of map-reading and checking the compass. It was quite hot and the sunburn cream was liberally applied. We soon left Mill Creek Road and headed off into the bush. There were traces of an old track, probably made by aborigines on their way to their rock-carving and ghamma hole sites at the intersection of the N.S./E.W. ridges in the middle of Dharug Park. Old bent-over twigs along the track showed that bushwalkers had been through, but all that must have happened many years ago. Due to absence of outstanding features we made a couple of errors, which were soon rectified.
For a lunch break we sought out shade which, however, was unnecessary as the sky clouded over and for the rest of the day we watched the weather gradually deteriorating. We set up camp for the night about 6 pm a short distance down Birds-eye Creek. It rained heavily in the night. From Paul's tent came a voice, “Granpa, the tent leaks! I've got my sleeping bag wet!”
Loath to leave in the morning, we packed up but stayed in the tents while the rain rained. At last we had to start off, getting out onto the road again to avoid bashing through the heavy rain-drenched scrub. The road went up and down, up and down, the rain deluged down and great torrents of muddy yellow water coursed down each side gutter. The party plodded on doggedly, each occupied with his or her very different thoughts:
Paul: This hill has got to be higher than 600 ft… must check on the map. I swam in the Dead Sea once there was only one tree on all the whole barren bank… a casuarina… the same as these…
Sylvia: My name's Sylvia, the same as the mother of Romulus who founded Rome… I hope I've passed the H.S.C. exam.
Dot: Thank God for my strong Illio-psoas… never mind the tightened cruciate ligament or the miserable little Popliteus… Make the begger work!”
John: You've got to hand it to them - a little school girl and three noble ruins out in this foul weather… I was an idiot to leave my socks off and get blisters… I've gotta find shelter somewhere and put on a jumper, my fingers are going numb.
Alex: What have I let my party in for!
We had followed Mangrove Creek, then Popran Creek, walking through Mr. Lawler's Horse Riding Ranch (permission previously obtained). The final hill brought us out eventually to the Calga Road. Cars sped along in both directions. A huddled meeting was held and it was unanimously decided to cut the trip short and get a taxi out to Gosford. But how to get a taxi?
A short way off was the Newcastle Freeway with an enormous volume of traffic keeping to its 110 speed, windscreen wipers flailing madly. “There's got to be a service station at the Gosford turnoff,” said our leader. So, heading towards Sydney, off we struggled into the sweeping fury of the storm. The wild wind whistled, sending the rain along in great horizontal sheets. Roadside notices told us there was a 'phone ahead 500 metres, 400, 300, but John led us off to the shelter of an underpass where he put on his jumper, and Sylvia saw that Grandfather put on his dry shirt. Alex laid out the map, held down with wet stones and we studied what looked like a heap of red entrails, which was the Freeway and its various loops of entries and exits.
In the forlorn hope that she might get a lift to a phone, Dot tried to thumb down a passing motorist. He wound down his window, out flew two plastic bags full of ice crystals and prawn heads which spattered on the road at her feet, the window was hastily wound up and the driver continued on with his heater turned on and his speed unabated (so much for Christian charity).
While the three noble ruins (combined age 233 years) sheltered under the overpass, John plodded doggedly back to the phone on the Calga Road. He came back to report that the Traffic Department from the sheltered haven of its Sydney office (notwithstanding the fact that the radio was reporting flooding in the south, west and northern suburbs and Blacktown declared a disaster area) could do nothing except tell us to keep walking to a service station on the Mt. White turnoff, some 5 km away.
However, John had seen a house down in a hollow over the Freeway, so we climbed up the long grass of the embankment, streaked across the Freeway without losing anyone, and at last gained the shelter of the building, which was a garage! Our entry was contested by four or five huge Alsations… (“Shut up!! Lie down!! Shut up!!!”). The kindly lady attendant heated up meat pies for us and rang for a taxi from Gosford. “Ring me back if they start to walk off,” said the taxi driver. (Not b—-y likely!)
Dot did a strip-tease behind a fruit stand and got dressed in a dry skirt and her sleeping bag. Sylvia got Paul buttoned up. To warm up Sylvia and John were indulging in a little friendly scuffle. “I wouldn't do that,” said the woman, “the dogs might misunderstand.” Growling deep in their throats the huge crouching dogs, with violence locked behind their sullen smouldering eyes, watched from the wet concrete floor. We civilized humans eating our microwaved meat pies didn't realise the fine dividing line between life and having your throat torn out by a pack of mad dogs.
The taxi arrived. We threw our packs in, then ourselves (even Alex, who hates cars, made no demur), then down to Gosford, over the Mooney Mooney Bridge (higher above the water than the Harbour Bridge) with two windsocks streaming out horizontally in warning in the screaming wind.
Well, that's it. All aboard the train for home. Of course no taxis at the station so a final walk home to the heaven of a hot bath. As Jim Brown pointed out when Committee gave him and Kath their certificates of Hon. Active Membership, “All bushwalkers are thought to be mad, but you're not legally insane till you have been certified.” Well, Alex and I were certified at the same time as Jim and Kath. Makes you think, doesn't it!
As 1936 members we wish to express our appreciation of the fine efforts of Ian Debert and his Committee in programming and carrying out the multifarious aspects associated with such an event in our Club's life.
The Nostalgia Night and the Dinner were most enjoyable as both events attracted so many of our old Club colleagues of half a century, whilst the general fraternal spirit of both evenings added to their lustre.
We also wish to congratulate Ainslie Morris upon the production of such a magnificent record of the Club and the interesting stories re-told.
Lastly, our personal thanks to Ian Debert for providing transport for us to the Nostalgia Night. In our old age we would otherwise have been deprived of this happy occasion.
With best wishes for the Anniversary,
Jean Harvey. Brian Harvey.
Two senior management positions are available in S.B.W. Publishing. This is a dynamic work environment at the leading edge of the bushwalking movement. The positions are Manager: Printing and Manager: Operations and report to each other over a hot press and various cups of coffee, tea, etc. Previous experience in the printing and allied industry is not necessary as full on-the-job training will be given. Applicants should have a pleasant manner, good team spirit and be able to whistle whilst working. Salary is negotiable between nil and zero. Hours are flexible with daylight week days preferred. Applicants should rush to the nearest phone and call Stan on (043) 25 7203 NOW!
by Rod Carruthers.
They came crowding back at our sixtieth anniversary function at the Menzies. Faces that I had not seen for many years recalled some of the happiest days of my life when, with pleasant companions, I spent many days and nights tramping around our bushland.
My introduction to the Sydney Bush Walkers was brought about by Walter Tarr (Taro). He was a fellow patient of my dentist and, learning of my interest in the bush, he invited me to meet some fellow enthusiasts at a small meeting at Lilyvale. I was a keen bike rider at the time so I rode to Helensburgh then wandered down to Lilyvale where I was introduced to the rest of the party. It was only a matter of days after that meeting before I joined the Club.
My earliest recollection was on one of my test walks. Twenty-one of us became known as the Leaderless Legion. Our official leader did not show up but we managed to complete the walk satisfactorily and were credited with having completed one test walk (1933).
One member of that party became my mate during many miles of walking. His name was Gordon Manell. When he told me his name it sounded a chord in my mind. On arrival home I asked my father did he know someone by the name of Manell. “Oh, yes”, he said. “When I was a night officer on the railway he was also one of the officers.” He explained their friendship, when Gordon's father used to nurse me when I was a baby and my father nursed Gordon.
That was the start of a profound friendship. We became known as the hermits because we always set up our own camp and campfire. We had our own special menus, our speciality being salmon kedgeree followed by apricot sponge and custard. We lived well on our walking trips. We did become attached to another group who included Gordon Smith, Jack Lynch and Jean Travis (who married Gordon Manell later), Nanette Gorringe (who married Jack Lynch), Jess Martin and the Mullins sisters.
This small crowd went out into the bush every weekend come rain or sun. We had fantastic campfires, especially listening to Gordon Smith's pleasant voice.
At this time I was working at The Sydney Morning Herald and one of my jobs necessitated working from eleven at night to eight into the next day. This meant that I had a few hours to spare on Saturday mornings, during which time I did some exploring before meeting the rest of the party at a prearranged rendezvous later in the afternoon. Some of my wanderings were in the area west of Heathcote and Waterfall. I found this to be a very interesting and little known area without any tracks or signs of any human activity. On one of my trips I reached a small insignificant stream which flowed in an easterly direction towards Heathcote Creek. This insignificant stream developed into a series of small crystal clear pools with a potentially ideal camping area. Having discovered this delightful area I decided to keep its location to myself.
I did tell Gordon that I had found a beautiful area but I would not tell him where it was. He knew the region I had been exploring so at every chance he had he would try and locate it. He would set his tent somewhere near Kingfisher Pool and explore the surrounding country side. Where the stream entered Heathcote Creek it was still insignificant so Gordon ignored it. But one day he did decide to follow this stream and he discovered this idyllic spot. He immediately told the Club and soon it became a very popular rendezvous - Morella Karong (1936).
For that late Christmas gift Paxtons Photographic at any of their stores offer a 10% discount, but not on specials OT advertised lines.
Be an angel, become a devil, a printer's devil. Good conditions, fun people, great work, ring Stan now (043) 25-7203.
by Emma Duncan.
Dot Butler, Barbara Evans, George, Helen, Kathleen & Susan Gray, and Bob, Rosslyn, Emma & Michael Duncan.
Among the hustle and bustle of Sydney Airport stood excited children, neatly combed and clothed waiting for their first plane trip. Elegant women in becoming dresses waited to fly to distant family. Tourists with swagman hats, “I Love Australia” sloppy joes, and cameras slung around their necks waited to depart on the next leg of their holiday; all happy, all excited, all milling around. A group of ten people stood in a corner. Donned in heavy walking boots and sandshoes, thick socks, worn faded shorts, old shirts, thick jumpers and terry-towelling hats, they talked quietly. Could these people too be going on holiday???
The baggage men weighed endless numbers of neat suitcases, some proudly new with shining leather, some plastered with colourful stickers. Among the procession of suitcases ten scruffy back-packs lay humped together. They were stuffed so full that their fraying seams seemed about to burst. Most were the colour of dead grass; two were bright blue, with blue coils of foam cased in bright orange bags strapped to them, The gaping pockets gave glimpses of blackened billies, mittens, and packets of dried food. Could these packs be going to the same destination as the holidaying suitcases???
The group of ten comprised George and Helen Gray, their daughters Kathleen and Susan, Dot Butler (the most experienced and toughest of them all), Barbara Evans, Mum, Dad, my brother Michael and me. We took off from warm sunny Sydney Airport, and landed three hours later in cold drizzling Devonport Airport, Tasmania. Our 'holiday' had begun.
In the space of three weeks we were to do two nine-day walks. We were driven by bus from the airport through the rain and sleet to Waldheim, a beautiful village in rainforest, and the starting point of our first walk through the Central Reserve. We had planned to camp, but because of the rain, the campground on the flats by the river had become an extension of the river. Undecided what to do, we sheltered in the day hut, along with about one hundred people in similar indecision. The day hut was tiny, with a few chairs, two narrow tables, and a wooden holey floor through which blew an icy wind. There were fireplaces at each end, both of which were lit, filling the hut with smoke. Dusk was approaching, and there was literally standing room only.
“This is no good,” muttered Dot, and marched outside intent on finding a woodshed in which to spend the night. But Dot, being of a curious nature, snooped around Waldheim. Waldheim consists of several small holiday huts, which must be booked one year ahead. Dot peeked in the windows, and saw that one eight-bunk hut was occupied by two old ladies. She knocked on the door, introduced herself, explained our situation, and asked the ladies if they would allow the 'children' (Kathleen, 19, Susan, 16, Michael, 11, me 15) and herself to spend the night in their hut. “Of course,” they replied, undoubtedly feeling sorry for the tired, little children that Dot must have described. Feeling very superior to those still crowded in the day hut, we trooped over to the ladies' hut. To our delight we found that the next door hut was completely empty, so the whole party piled into that instead, secure against the sleet and wind. This was a luxury hut, with saucepans, a warm pot-belly stove, cutlery, everything! The owners of the hut had abandoned their holiday because of the atrocious weather so we spent the night there, warmed by hot lemon and rum.
That night was my first experience of TVP - textured vegetable protein, a soybean meat substitute. It looks and feels remarkably like small cubes of cork. Made up as spaghetti sauce, it looks deceptively palatable. I managed to eat about one quarter of my serve before I passed my plate to Dad. Dad, old garbage guts himself, renowned for relishing pineapple skins, was looking decidedly green by the time he was halfway through his serve, and with my, Michael's and Mum's waiting for him also. Taking sudden pity on the possums outside, he left all the TVP out for them. The animals in Tasmania were well fed during our walk.
In the morning the weather was better, though still cloudy, cold and windy. Dot went to the Ranger's hut, and talked him into allowing us to stay in the hut legally the next night. We then decided to do a day walk, donned our wet weather gear, and set off.
While walking through Waldheim, we passed a group of holiday-makers. “Gracious, there's a grandmother in sandshoes,” one of them exclaimed, “And she's not even wearing socks!!” We tried to keep straight faces as Dot, ignoring their comments, marched ahead.
Our plan was to circumnavigate Dove Lake. On the road to the lake the heavens opened, and the wind howled. The first leg of the track climbed through forest to Hanson'sPeak; this section was wet, but sheltered from the wind. On the way we met a group who had just left Hanson's Peak, and they warned us of strong wind ahead. Thinking that it couldn't be much worse than the wind we had already experienced, we went on. Soon after, we climbed above the treeline, and met the full force of the howling gale. Hanson's Peak was bare, exposed and incredibly windy - the sleet was blowing horizontally across the ridge. If I hadn't held onto the rocks, I would have been blown off my feet; as it was I was severely buffeted and stumbled frequently. The parts where there was nothing to hold were the worst, especially as these parts tended to be extremely narrow, with a 1000 foot drop on either side. The Gray's were wearing plastic ponchoes, which in no time were ripped to shreds by the wind.
At about 12.30 we reached a small emergency shelter hut, and went in and ate lunch. Being soaked to the skin, we ate quickly; after only five minutes of sitting still I was frozen, and wanted to move on as soon as possible. Eating was made difficult by the water dripping from my parka sleeves reducing the food to a sodden mess. A few other walkers joined us in the hut; they told us that all the huts in the Reserve were full, and that the weather had been bad for three days.
Leaving the hut, we continued to climb up the track in order to sidle across the front of Cradle Mountain. The track was running like a creek, and the water was ice-cold. It wasn't long before my feet stopped aching from the cold and became numb. Once when we stopped for a minute, Helen wondered why she couldn't lift her left foot, until she looked down and saw that her right foot was standing on it; both feet were too cold to feel anything. Only the thought of hot lemon and rum kept my spirits up.
We descended to Wilk's Lake, a hanging lake ringed with waterfalls, and then sidled high above Dove Lake in rainforest - sheltered from the wind at last. The rainforest was beautiful; mossy, green, and dripping. However, the track was steep, muddy and slippery, so much of the time was spent watching our feet instead of admiring the rainforest. We descended further and walked around the shore of Dove Lake, then back along the road to Waldheim. Looking back across the lake, our entire route was shrouded in grey cloud, which merged into the grey waters of the lake.
After the wind and sleet, the hut was luxurious; we stripped off our clothes, wrung the water out, warmed ourselves, and thankfully donned pyjamas, the only dry clothes we had. Barbara rigged an elaborate network of ropes around the hut on which she hung all the clothes. Every so often each piece would be moved one place along the ropes to ensure that everything had a turn over the stove. The shoes were lined up beside the stove. It was still raining and the wind was howling when we went to bed, so we decided that if it was still raining tomorrow, we would leave the mountains and go to the reputedly sunny East coast.
We woke to a clear morning with patches of sun. Deciding to do the walk, we packed our gear and moved off. Our packs were extremely heavy as we were carrying eight days worth of food, plus sleeping bags, tents, cooking utensils, clothing, etc. Although divided between the four in our family, the packs were still heavy, making them hard to take on and off, uncomfortable, and tiring. Obviously, towards the end, as we ate the food, they would become much lighter. (At the end of the trip I couldn't believe how light they were; I hardly noticed I was carrying a pack).
Our food was strictly rationed. One sachet of instant porridge for breakfast, nine Vita- Brits, 4 cm of cheese, 10 cm of cabanossi, one slice of lebanese bread, peanut butter and one Violet Crumble bar for lunch; and TVP or a Vesta meal for dinner, with Milo for dessert. We discovered too late that most of the lebanese bread was mouldy. I didn't like porridge, and I could never eat much of the dinners, so I lived mostly on Milo. Towards the end of the walk I spent a lot of time each day working out how much of my rations I would eat at lunch, how much for afternoon tea, and how much for dinner. Looking back now, I am surprised at how long the thought of food kept my mind occupied. I was never actually hungry after each meal, but I was never full.
We walked up Horse Trail towards Scout Hut, with the patches of sun growing bigger and bigger; it wasn't long until all our wet weather gear was taken off, and sleeves rolled up. At Scout Hut we learnt that a very large party of Scouts had just left and we hoped that we would not catch up with them. Because the track was almost vertical, we were soon up on the plateau, where once again exposed to the cold wind we quickly put all warm clothing back on. The view across the plateau was magnificent, although Barn Bluff was still under mist.
Crystal clear tarns were scattered across the plateau; Cradle Mountain loomed up on our left, the top dusted with snow; the plateau stretched on ahead, with mountain peak after mountain peak in the distance.
We ate lunch at Kitchen Hut, and the cloud lifted further, even allowing a few rays of sunshine through. The area brought back memories for most of the party. I had been here when I was nine, and climbed Cradle Mountain in a snow storm. Dad, George, Helen and Dot had walked here many times before. Once Dot and a group of our friends had been caught in a blizzard and sheltered in Kitchen Hut, which was buried in snow.
Kathleen decided to climb Cradle Mountain, so Helen and George waited for her while the rest of us went on. We sidled around the back of Cradle Mountain, alternatively walking through low, scrubby eucalypt forest and plains covered with scopari - a very dense, prickly bush. Ahead lay the beautiful mountains, Barn Bluff and Pelion West. At the far side of Cradle Mountain was the top of a cirque; we walked along the rim of the cirque, Bluff Valley, which was also beautiful. I could see right down the valley, and look back up the sheer rock face of Cradle Mountain. The track was muddy, and became even muddier on the descent to Waterfall Hut. The entire hillside down to the hut was like a sloping swamp; for every step I walked, I slid three. My shoes and overpants were soon plastered in sloppy mud. It was like walking through porridge.
Susan, Michael and I reached the hut after about an hour of sliding (it would have taken only 20 minutes if the track had been dry). Waterfall Hut was in an extremely pretty position; it was on a mossy plain with a waterfall immediately behind it, tumbling out of the rainforest. And behind that again rose Barn Bluff. The hut was of course full so we found a campsite next to a small stream in the rainforest, and started looking for firewood, a prickly procedure. A small hill behind our campsite was covered in waist high scopari, with a few widely scattered gum trees. Under the gum trees was a fair amount of wood, but finding it was difficult. Then it had to be dragged through the prickly scopari into a convenient pile, and finally carried in armfuls through the prickly scopari to the campsite.
The local fauna were well fed that night; the possums ate my dinner, and the leeches ate my blood. Leeches are one of two animals that I cannot stand, the other being snakes. Since Tasmania is wet and muddy and many people visit the area, bringing a constant supply of food, the leeches are in their element there. Undoubtedly, the marsupials approve of visitors too, but I don't mind giving them food, while I do object to food being sucked from me. Also, I am allergic to leeches; leech bites swell up into big lumps, which bleed for days, and itch for weeks. So I spent most of the evening checking my body and the ground around me for leeches. In between this constant surveillance I noticed the moon had come out.
I woke to rain, but it soon became fine scotch mist/drizzle. Again the track was very muddy. It is difficult to explain what the mud was like. Originally, the track was normal track size, about 50 cm across. However, the soil is peaty, so tramping feet have converted the peat to deep mud. To avoid the mud, later walkers have walked either side of the track, but these secondary tracks also have become mud pools, resulting in a wide mudpool. Later walkers-still went to the side of the bigger pool, eventually making an even wider pool, and so on. So the “track” when we were there was a 100 m lake of deep mud. There are a few islands of vegetation left in the lakes, which I jumped to when I was tired of detouring around the track. However, because I had a heavy pack, I couldn't jump very wide pools, and I would often find myself surrounded by vast pools which I couldn't avoid. It was impossible to judge the depth of the mud by looking; it could be anything from ankle deep to waist deep. As the thought of back-tracking was not inviting, I usually jumped the pools, and hoped that I would reach the next island, or that the mud would not be too deep. Once I missed, and landed in the middle of a thigh-deep pool; as soon as I put my other foot down to pull the first up, it too sunk; I had to grab a tree and pull myself through the mud to the edge of the pool and then haul myself out. The rest of the group were unable to help, as they were laughing uncontrollably. In some parts a wooden boardwalk had been built in an attempt to conserve the vegetation, and to prevent the area from becoming the Central Tasmanian Mudpool; unfortunately these parts were few and far between. Other parts of the track had had wooden logs laid for the same reason, but a long time ago. Over the years the logs have rotted, and sunk into the mud; sometimes saving me from sinking waist deep in mud, but at other times looking stable, only to sink as soon as any weight was put on them.
It rained all day, and was again extremely windy, but the terrain was fairly flat. We climbed a small hill giving us a view of Lake Windemere, which was probably very pretty, but everything - water, vegetation and sky - was a murky grey. We walked down to and around the lake to Windemere Hut, where we ate a late lunch. The hut was jam-packed with the Scouts, who, much to the delight of the younger children, chatted up Kathleen. After lunch, as it was too far to walk to the next hut, Dad and George looked for a campsite. The site they selected was a breeding ground for leeches. If I stood still and looked down, I could see about ten leeches humping towards me as fast as they could hump. This was not conducive to standing still for longer than two seconds, so I collected wood, and then went down to the lake for the daily ritual of washing my shoes and socks.
That night we discovered that when thrown in the fire, leeches violently explode with a satisfying POP. As I had previously thought leeches indestructible - they survive, stamping, squashing, and cutting with camping knives - I was delighted to find a way of permanently disposing of any that humped onto me.
Soon after dinner it began to rain, so we went to bed early. The rain poured down during the night, even drowning out Dad's snores. At one stage a corner of the tent flooded, but in the wee hours of the morning it stopped. I looked forward to a warm sunny day.
To be continued…
This is not a test of your mathematical ability. It will, however, give you some gauge of your mental flexibility and creativity. In the three years since the test was developed it has been found that few people could solve more than half of the questions in the first try. Many, however, reported getting answers long after the test had been set aside, particularly all the questions over a period of several days. Take this as a personal challenge.
Instructions: Each question below contains the initials of words that will make it correct. Find the missing words.
Example: 16 = O in a P. Ounces in a pound
Answers next month.
A printer and a printer's devil are required to print The Sydney Bushwalker. Ideally times are during the day on week days, but this can be changed to suit. Experience is not necessary but would be welcomed, especially off-set experience. These two positions are required immediately, the devil has been led astray already and the printer wants to stop in March 1988. Ring Stan Madden, our current printer, on (043) 25-7203 and talk about taking on an essential role in the Club.
by Barry Wallace.
The meeting began at around 2016 with 30 or so members present and the President in the chair.
There was an apology from Jim Brown, who was unwell, and there were no new members for welcome.
The Minutes of the previous meeting were read and received with no business arising other than advice that our Incorporation has now been approved by the N.S.W. Government. On the strength of that we have gone ahead and ordered a seal for ourselves.
Correspondence comprised letters to and from Kath and Jim Brown advising of their election to Honorary Active membership and their reply; a letter from Norma Carlon asking for details of the Club's position on the F.B.W. support for N.P.A. protests at horse riding in National Parks; and a letter of thanks from Denise and Geoff Yewdall for the undergrowth clearing carried out at Coolana. There was also a letter of thanks from Brian and Jean Harvey for the assistance given to enable them to attend the 60th Anniversary dinner; a letter from the South-East Forest Alliance imploring members to attend a “Save the Forests” meeting; and a letter from the Ella Community Centre advising of the Christmas-New Year closure of the hall. The correspondence was received.
Then came the “early business break” with a motion that S.B.W. do not oppose all horse riding in all National Parks, and support the continuation of Packsaddlers activities in the Blue Mountains Park, and thank Carlons for past assistance and for providing access to the park through their property over the years. This was passed.
A motion that the meeting congratulate the 60th Anniversary Sub-Committee on the success of the various celebratory function conducted, and place on record our thanks to the members of the committee for all the hard work that went into these functions and the various associated fund raising activities was also passed unanimously.
A motion from the Committee that we contribute $500 to the F.B.W. for the purchase of S. & R. equipment, such as pacers, was also passed.
The Treasurer's Report indicated that we began the month with $8,709.34, spent $6,797.76, acquired $5,216.50 and closed with a balance of $7,128.08. The Treasurer also presented an interim statement from the 60th Anniversary Sub-Committee.
There were also reports from F.B.W. and the Walks reports, of which I took copious notes… but there is also a deadline.
General Business brought a motion that we purchase some demountable metal shelving to house the Archives. After some debate and various amendments we agreed that this be referred to the Committee with advice from the Hon. Archivist and subject to the Treasurer's discretion.
After advice that there are some problems with type-setting the new Constitution… and the announcements, the meeting closed at 2204.
by Bob Niven.
I was approached to write a small section for an article on safety and mishaps. Mine was a small mishap. It was on Jan Mohandas' walk from Kanangra - Cloudmaker - Paralyser - Mt. Cyclops - Thurat Top - Kanangra.
It was after a steep descent from Cloudmaker to tiny Thunder Creek at Thunder bend. I watched Tom Wenman and Jan Mohandas step on a rock in middle of creek and then onto a grassy bank. I thought I did the same, but to my surprise as I put my foot on the grass my foot slipped into a hole and badly wrenched my ankle. I fell back into the water getting soaked.
After descending Cloudmaker with lots of loose stones etc. I sprained my ankle in such a comparatively safe spot, which proves you should be very careful at all times. Many thanks for Jan's ankle strap which made the climb up Paralyser a little easier.
by Kath Brown.
On the night of the Dinner, 23rd October at the Menzies, Jim and I were made Honorary Active Members of the Sydney Bush Walkers. This is a great honour for us, in our opinion the greatest honour, and we appreciate very much indeed that the Club wished to bestow it on us.
Jim and I both joined the Club in 1947 where we met, and married in 1949. During those early years, before our daughter was born, we went walking frequently, mainly on overnight trips; we did some wonderful trips and made friends with some wonderful people. It was a magic time.
But our doings over these and later years have been written up in the November issue of the magazine by an old friend “Observer”, who has been very observant in that he/she seems to have remembered a great deal about us. So thank you for your kind words, “Observer”. And thank you, Mr. Editor, for your kind words about my typing for the magazine. (Incidentally, I did not type the first three pages of the November issue; in fact I was not even allowed to read what was written until it appeared in print.)
Whatever Jim and I did for the Club (and perhaps are still doing) has been more than repaid by the great pleasure it gave us. For the last forty years we both have been most enthusiastic about bushwalking and also about the Sydney Bush Walkers.
So thanks, S.B.W., may the Club continue to prosper in the future as it has done during the past sixty years!
Footnote. Many thanks to the 60th Anniversary Sub-Committee, which spent so much time and effort arranging our Celebrations which were so successful and enjoyable, and also for working so hard to raise the money (in addition to that given by several donors) to help pay for them.
by Spiro Hajinakitas.
Donations have been received from Mt. Druitt Club $100 and S.B.W. $500 to purchase S. & R. equipment.
S. & R. Practice Dates for 1988 - 21/22 May and 29/30 October.
Jan Wouters will be organising a trip to Splendour Rock on Anzac Day 1988.
The Fairfield Bushwalkers are to host the 1988 Reunion on 5/6 March at Digger's Flat, Danjera Dam.
Due to an oversight F.B.W.'s phone number has not been placed in the 1987 white and yellow pages.
The following motions were carried:
1. That we write to the Water Board and ask the effect the proposed dams on rivers in the Ettrema region will have to National Parks in the area.
2. That we write to the Lands Dept. and ask that the road from Sassafras to Newhaven Gap be gazetted.
3. That we write to the Director of the N.P.W.S. Shoalhaven Region and ask that the road from Newhaven Gap to Quilty's Clearing be closed to all traffic so as to allow it to revegetate.
4. As according to a newspaper report 4.W.D. vehicles and horses have been given permission to enter the Kosciusko National Park on the Hume & Hovell Track, we ask Bob Carr to explain and give details of any other similar directive.
by Reg Alder.
Don Finch's mishap with a serious campfire burn (Bushwalker Sept. '87) recalls another recent campfire burn experience when a kicked branch caused a near-boiling billy to topple and slosh its contents over the foot and ankle of a nearby walker.
The first reaction of the unfortunate bystander was to pull the jogger and sock off but somehow we managed to get the offended foot into a water bucket. It is essential that a burn be cooled immediately to minimize the damage to the overheated flesh. Examination then showed a blister about 10 cm high completely around the ankle area with all the skin blistered, broken and lifting away.
What to do, with at least a four hour walk out and then another couple of hours to hospital. After an earlier casualty experience, some of us carried “Betadine” an antiseptic which had been highly recommended. It was decided to cut open a plastic bag, liberally smear it with the “Betadine” cream, wrap the plastic bag around the ankle and then cover it with an elastic bandage. Coupled with the difficulties of applying an antiseptic to the wound any other covering would have caused later problems with adhesion.
On the way in we had deluging, cold rain, and decided rather than run the risk of the ankle freezing up it would be best to walk as continuously as possible. This was done except for a very brief stop for lunch in a rock shelter, where all of us with no injury were glad to get moving again. Apart from a numbing sensation the patient did not experience a great deal of pain, possibly because the burn did not extend greatly into the shoe area.
The casualty doctor commented on our procedure and said it was the best method that could have been adopted to minimise the subsequent treatment.
(See also David Rostron's letter to the editor entitled “Boiling Water Burns” in the January 1986 issue of the magazine. ED.)
Found. At the Coolana weekend 31 Oct/1 Nov last, a grey parka was found in the fork of a tree near the hut. Would the owner please contact Helen Gray on 86-6263.
The Christmas Party will be held on Wednesday, 16th December. Please bring a plate of party food (and a glass). The Club will provide the drinks.
The Clubroom will be closed until 20th January 1988. Committee meeting will be held in a private home, but the January General meeting will be held (very short) prior to Gordon Lee's Abseiling & Canyoning evening.
So you've just retired from the printery and you never want to see an off-set again. WRONG. Here's what you are really after, a nice cosy once a month printing job to keep the ink under your fingernails. Pick up the phone and tell Stan you want the job.
Ring (043) 25-7203 now, quickly before someone else does.
Footnote: A limited number of copies of the limited edition “The Sydney Bush Walkers The First Sixty Years” are still available. Speed is essential if you wish to get a copy or two - as a Christmas present?