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Established June 1931
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 at 8 pm at Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre, 16 Fitzroy Street, Kirribilli (near Milson's Point Railway Station). Visitors and prospective members are welcome any Wednesday. To advertise in the magazine please contact the Business Manager.
|Editor||George Mawer, 42 Lincoln Rd., Georges Hall 2198. Telephone 707 1343.|
|Business Manager||Joy Hynes, 36 Lewis St., Dee Why 2099 Telephone 982 2615 (h), 888 3144 (w).|
|Production Manager||Fran Holland. Telephone 484 6636.|
|Typist and Lay-Out||Kath Brown.|
|Printers||Kenn Clacher, Kay Chan, Barrie Murdoch, Margaret Niven and Les Powell.|
|Winter Moon||Morag Ryder||2|
|Hazelbrook - Day Walk 16 May||Jo van Sommers||2|
|The Official Version of How Judy O'Connor Broke Her Ankle||Judy O'Connor||4|
|From the Clubroom||Maurice Smith||6|
|A Short Note on “K to K in a Day”||Patrick James||9|
|The July General Meeting||Barry Wallace||10|
|The Seven Ages of Man and Woman||Pam & Nev Robinson||12|
|Social Notes||John Hogan||13|
|Eastwood Camping Centre||7|
|Blue Mountains Outdoor Clothing Specialists||14|
She walks on diamonds
Like a pagan queen
Long veils of silver
Float before her face
Her vassal the frost
Has sequinned every tree
And edged all the pools
With fragi1e stars
Slowly her fingers probe
Deep into the midnight gully
The wind there murmurs and sighs
In an ecstasy of delight
Rising, he dances on the hill
Spinning the snow before him
Whirling, he dances along the trees
Filling the night with glitter
Dancing, he rises to the moon
Tearing away her silver veils
Winter moon and dervish wind
Dance away the night together.
by Jo van Sommers
Just an Easy/MediumDay Walk - that's what the program said. I had been surprised to read after this little trip was planned that this walk was featured in a booklet put out by WILD magazine (Oct-Dec 1992) titled “Wild Waterfalls - Ten Great Australian Walks”. Who would expect such a billing for a civilized part of the mid-Blue Mountains? Still, it is surprising what you find once you get off the strip of development along the narrow ridge that carries the railway and the highway.
Twenty-six people telephoned, and, as is the way when the weather looks dreary in Sydney, six prospectives didn't turn up. In Hazelbrook it was a bright sparkling morning, with the temperature around 6°C. It had been zero in Blackheath, but as any of the locals will tell you, the weather in the mid-Mountains is milder. Nevertheless, 6° was cool enough to have us making a brisk pace down the dirt road past the Old Baths, which in days of simpler standards was the local swimming hole, now with its damming blocks of stone blown apart.
In this area there is a maze of old tracks, picnic areas, dilapidated railings, tin signs embedded in trees, and ancient writings on rocks. There was once an extensive track system designed to allow access to and from railway stations, which has been dissected and fragmented by later roads, some of them put in by the Bush Fire Brigade. I wanted to replicate this old custom of starting and finishing at the same railway station, whilst linking the Hazelbrook waterfalls (on Terrace Falls Creek) with the Lawson waterfalls (on Lawson Creek). Made tracks link the cascades of Cateract Falls, the slippery rock slabs of Federal Falls and the impressive falls on both creeks at Junction Falls. Most people leave Lawson Creek at this stage and take a fire-trail to join up with Terrace Falls Creek, but we continued on its trackless banks.
I knew from my previous 'Wednesday Walk' down it that it would be a good two hours of rockhopping. This time, the rocks were more slippery because the water level was low and deposits of fine treacherous mud coated everything near the water. It was still a bit cool for wading, which had been the preferred method of attack on the previous occasion, so we explored a variety of 'interesting' ferny banks, mud slides and uncomfortable slopes. Jim confessed later that he had had some qualms about the way I hurled myself full-length into the ferns, but thought it was the leader's prerogative to lead. At the time, I remember overhearing a couple of my map-reading colleagues nervously assessing the remaining length of this creek, some references to 'real bushwalking' and two somewhat bewildered prospectives (both of whom walked splendidly, one of them for the first time!) asking each other what a walk graded 'Medium' might entail.
I also detected an extra voice amongst the party - yes it was - Wilf of the Great West Walk had joined us in the creek.
At a pleasant spot where Lawson Creek meets Bedford Creek a billy was boiled for lunch. What a difference it makes! I can't get the same feeling for anything that comes out of a thermos. Is SBW the last Club that observes this grand tradition, I wonder? I have been walking mid-week with other groups and they don't do it… no time, they say, too much trouble, not enough patience when the wood is damp, or, self-righteously, appealing to the ideology of minimal impact (which, carried to its extreme, would mean staying home).
After lunch, there is a lovely section of rainforest along Bedford Creek, where the water is certainly clean enough to swim in but no-one felt tempted. We turned up Terrace Falls Creek and followed the old path which crosses and re-crosses it, past pretty unnamed falls and deep pools to the rock terraces of the main falls. There is a picture of Terrace Falls, taken many decades ago and luridly handcoloured, on a poster luring visitors to the Mountains which now hangs in the old pub at Blackheath. I had intended to drop back down to Bedford Creek with its 'Lake' and come up the Lands Department track through the rainforest, but I had in mind that the Blue Mountain's trains were still being replaced by buses and it was important to be back at Hazelbrook by 4 pm, so we took the soft option and continued up the steep track to Victor Falls and out on to the firetrail. People took off like horses on the home stretch; the cows coming in to be milked; the sheep following their tails but not their leader, who dropped to the rear and made sure everyone got there in daylight.
By the person herself.
(Clear your mind of all unsubstantiated versions).
They say its extremely painful to write your autobiography because it involves reliving unpleasant and traumatic experiences which you'd rather hoped were buried forever in the back regions of your memory.
Writing this account is giving me the same feeling although let me hastily assure the reader I'm not about to inflict my life story on you.
It's just that nature has the very sensible habit of blurring unpleasant memories when all our bodily efforts are required to physically heal some part or parts of our body. Mine, at present, is busily applying itself to two broken bones in my ankle so not only does it feel uneasy to go through the details of how my accident happened, it is also mentally strenuous. Anyway that's my excuse for patches of incoherency.
The simple facts are amazingly, well, simple. You've all heard people say how easy it is to break a bone - some slip on nothing, others screech to a halt playing squash, tennis or netball and hear a crack while others trip over the cat. In my case, if you could take the flattest, easiest, on track, part of a walk, place a large amount of wooden branches and logs over it, then picture someone walking along, making a split second error of judgement as to whether to step on or over a branch then you have the basic scenario.
It was Saturday morning on Bill Holland's Nattai NP weekend test walk (July 10,11) and the thirteen of us in the party had just come down Starlights Track. We were making our way along the upper reaches of the Nattai river when we came to a very heavily wooded section. It had been raining very heavily during the week and the undergrowth and wood was extremely wet. Despite the fact that I have been actively bushwalking for ten years and heaven knows how many branches and logs I've negotiated over all that time without any mishap whatsoever, it appears destiny had me marked for a fall. My right foot hit a slippery log and I fell to the left. I felt the weight of my weekend pack pull me down so that I slipped down and sharply to the left at the same time. The log I was on intersected with another which my foot hit resulting in a very sharp impact which in a split second broke two bones (tibia and fibula) at the ankle. The most chilling part (and this is where the painful memory bit is hitting me as I write) was the sound of the the loudest crack you've ever heard in your entire life. Without a shadow of a doubt, and never having heard the sound before, I knew it was the sound of my own precious bones breaking; (When George Mawer, who also broke his ankle about a year ago, rang to commiserate, I felt the chill come through the line as he recollected the same sound of his break).
From then on the story is really that of the rescue operation and of those who played such a valiant and professional part. There were thirteen on the trip (see below) and each one proved their worth as an experienced and knowledgeable walker both individually and collectively. I am quite sincerely indebted to them all.
The accident happened about 11.30am and after half an hour's rest and a very tentative trial hop on the foot, it was clear I was immobile. We had about two kilometres of fairly thick bush on a considerable side slope with some crossing creeks to retrace to get to a clearing where a very unused 4-wheel drive track would provide an alternate way out.
Two kilometres is only a step away to most bushwalkers but in my case, it was a hop away, or what seemed like about two million hops to be precise. With the help of Barry Wallace and Peter Yardley I did a good impersonation of a wounded soldier hanging on to his mates and hopping away from the action. When it all got too much, or the going was too hard, Peter and Bill Holland took turns (I blush to write this) piggy-backing me, with Barry Wallace and Eddy Giacomel giving my bottom a good push upwards when I and the poor bearer looked like sinking into the earth.
By the time we reached the clearing, Bill and others made the decision that it was too late to get out that day so at about 3pm we put up the tents and I, for one, set my mind to a very long and difficult night. I seem to remember a Happy Hour although you're best to ask others but I do remember some unorthodox trips behind bushes to answer the call of nature (although I'll deny anything undignified) but mostly I'd rather not dwell on the long night of the camp fire. There were the usual songs, jokes and stories and a very nimble dancer who brushed up on his tap dancing in a circle about 10cms wide of my poor unhappy ankle (Barry wouldn't want me to mention his name). Fortunately, Jan Mohandas provided me with a big stick and colourful instructions on what to do with it.
Fortunately, I restrained myself because the next morning I was very pleased to have Barry on my side. He and the others very ably made a bush stretcher using four tree poles, with strapping strung between to form a stretcher bed. Two foam rest mattresses were placed on it and all would have been well if Eddy hadn't been chosen to test it out. After a few bounces of his not inconsiderable frame, the poles broke. Undeterred and in good spirits the team simply made a new one. This time Fran Holland delicately tried it out and all was well.
Six people carried the stretcher up a B-I-G, L-0-N-G UP while the others cleared the bush and warned of rocks, ditches and fallen logs. After a while, the two groups changed places. I lay back with my eyes closed and thought of England, so to speak, as the heavy breathing and grunting of some of the club's best walkers filled the air. Just before we reached the top, a couple of trail bike riders flew past and offered Peter a hair-raising ride back to his car so that he was waiting when we reached the top (three hours). Within a few minutes I was sitting inside ready to go. I couldn't believe how quickly the same deft fingers that had made my rescue stretcher dismantled it to retrieve their string and strapping and left behind four innocuous tree poles which would not even catch the eye, let alone tell the story of the part they'd played in getting me to safety.
As is the way with these things, there are many episodes to go through and my next ordeal was the two hour drive to Royal North Shore hospital where I arrived 30 hours after the accident occurred. Because the ankle was so swollen, doctors could not operate and I had to wait three days before the swelling came down enough for surgery.
However, thanks to modern medicine (and engineering?) and with the help of a metal plate and eight screws I am now back together again.
My very warm and sincere thanks to the many members who have so kindly written, rung and visited. I am truly touched and every message and word has helped me enormously. And, of course, my very special thanks to the twelve members on the trip who got me out. The club can be very proud to have members like this: They were:
Bill and Fran Holland, Peter Yardley, Jan Mohandas, Jean Kendall, Eddy Giacomel, Angelika Langley, Barry Wallace, Lynne Jones, Rosemary MacDougal, Peter Kaye and Paul (prospective).
By Maurice Smith
Maurie Bloom and Tony Crichton presented a slide show of their Tasmanian walk which was undertaken in February this year with 15 other walkers from the Club. Judging by the large number of members who were present for the show, evidently the slides were an excellent means of refreshing one's memory of the delights of Tasmania, or for those members and prospectives present who have not had the opportunity to walk there, the slides gave a taste of the superb scenery to be seen.
In summary, the walk was from the Walls of Jerusalem, through the Never Never, to the Overland track, to Pine Valley, the Acropolis and ending at Cynthia Bay at the southern end of Lake St. Clair. The usual delightful Tasmanian weather was enjoyed by the party, in other words, rain, sleet, snow, hail and sunshine (don't forget that this was a walk in summer). The fragile alpine environment of pencil pines, lakes, tarns, sphagnum moss and cushion plants meant that only fuel stoves could be used by the group and thus no fires could be used to warm up and dry out as we can do in most places around N.S.W.
The party in due course reached Pine Valley and from there day-walked to The Acropolis, a dolerite mountain where the rock is severely weather deformed into vertical columns and stunningly beautiful colours. From the fractured top of this mountain there are some superb views to be had for many kilometres, fortunately for the group the weather was quite reasonable and they were able to enjoy the scenes.
In due course the party made their way to Hobart from Lake St. Clair and from there went their several ways, including visiting some other famous walking venues including the delightful Mount Field National Park including the Tarn Shelf and Russell Falls, Freycinet National Park and Douglas Apsley National Park.
Thanks to Maurie and Tony for the enjoyable night which brought back to me the delights of walking in Tasmania.
by Patrick James
There are a number of favourite walks that SBW have which stretch your legs and attract a fair crowd. The one I like best is the classic “K to K in a day”. There are two bodies of opinion as to which end of the walk to start from. One group will say that to start at K is best because it is the logical place to start. Others will argue strongly that K is the only place to start. Both groups have valid points to their arguments. Personally I prefer to start at K and finish at K simply because the parking at K is better.
On this occasion I did the walk alone. Yes, I know that you should always walk in company just in case, but this time conditions were most favourable. Besides I also knew that I would not really be alone or far from help.
Up with the birds and of to K before it got too hot. As expected I found a good parking spot where the car would be somewhat protected. The first part of the walk is relatively easy, just follow the creek downstream. All fairly simple but there were many times when I had to cross the creek. As you know, both the creek and the river are not fit for drinking and you must carry enough water for the whole walk. The track is well marked and navigation in this location for me is easy, however others may have some difficulties. The most difficult part of the whole walk 1s along the river. Where the creek joins the river I turned right and kept to the right bank. This I followed until the next creek where I turned right again and followed the left bank upstream. This is a short and muddy creek which I followed to its head. From here it is a simple matter to take a bearing and head for K. Although it's only a couple of ks to K there are many distracting features on the way and to walk to a bearing is, I think, prudent.
K was in sight. A great reward for all that hard slog. As a special treat I bought a sticky cake at the first Greek cake shop I came to in K to make up for my energy imbalance, then off to the station. I bought a single ticket Kogarah to Kingsgrove and then settled down to wait for my train. The trip back was luckily uneventful as all good train trips should be. At Tempe while waiting for the East Hills train I saw where I had skirted along Cooks River. Travelling at speed and in comfort the cares and worries of the outward trip are quickly forgotten. From the speeding train I caught glimpses of Wolli Creek and some of the places where I had to cross it. Back at Kingsgrove the car was safe and sound as I had hoped; all four wheels and no flat tyres. What joy! Life is sweet. Home for a hot shower and a good meal with the satisfaction of completing “the K to K in a day”. A perfect end to a perfect day.
John Hogan - 51 Dahlia St. Greystanes 2145 Phone 725 1890.
Please alter your List of Members accordingly.
by Barry Wallace
The 22 or so members present came to immediate rapt attention at the merest brush of the gong at 2009 hours as the President gently yet purposefully began our stately progress through the business of the meeting. Ah well, it might have been that way, but honesty forbid. There were no apologies, but there was some conjecture as to the purpose of the strange garb affected by one. Les Powell, somewhat reminiscent of a mix of plastic samurai and grid-iron gear. The roller blades, oops, in-line roller skates, were the give-away. Wondered why he was standing so tall.
The Minutes of the previous general meeting were read and received with no matters arising.
Correspondence was sparse, with a post card from Kathy Gero, presently touring somewhere in South Africa, and a response from Fred Nile to our missive pleading the case for the South East Forest areas, indicating that he and Elaine will give the matter prayerful consideration when it comes before Parliament. They had thoughtfully included a copy of their latest Parliamentary Report. One can only puzzle over the tag-line to an announcement for a rally to defend the monarchy and Constitution (too late, held 13th July) which touchingly reassured their readers that the meeting was “open to both women and men”. The “Homosexual Vilification Kit” advertised for sale at $2.00 a kit is also causing some head scratching, but one could hardly venture one's hard won money on such a thing out of mere curiosity. Mayhap some reader has a used, or preferably just second-hand, one they could lend to put us out of our puzzlement.
The Treasurer's Report indicated that we earned $1,807, spent $755 and ended the month with a balance of $9,132.
The Walks.Report; ah yes - the Walks Report. It all began with the long weekend of June 11,12,13,14 when Alan Doherty and some 9 and a half persons arrived in the beautiful Widden Valley for a relaxing weekend. Saturday was O.K., they spent most of it arriving and setting up camp in the prevailing light drizzle. Sunday was the day of the day walk, I say DAY WALK, to Mount Pomany. Progress along the way was slow for the 8 who ventured forth and when night fell so did many of the party as they struggled on down the creek by the failing light of the 4 torches that were the sum total available in the party. It was all to no avail, so at around 2300 they resigned themselves to an overnight stay without overnight gear. It still took 2 hours to reach camp the next day. Other than that the walk went to program.
Morrie Ward's trip to Waka N.P. did not go and Tony Holgate's trip in the Wollemi area was cancelled due to the lack of starters. Kenn Clacher led a party of 19 on his Budawangs trip. The weather was cold and windy, with rain on the Friday night but otherwise all went well. Ralph Penglis had 13 on his Sydney Harbourside day walk, progressing through a series of snack bars and refreshment stands and consuming the odd capuccino along the way. There was no report of Rudy Dezelin's trip to West Head.
The weekend of 18,19,20 June saw Wilf Hilder losing almost half of his party of 7 in the wilds of the Blackheath street maze at the start of the trip. It all got better after that with clear and windy weather and a good walk over all. Tony Manes and Kay Chan led a party of 15 in cool conditions on their shared Bundeena to Sutherland day walk and Maurice Smith had the party of 10 on his trip to St. Helena crater increased to 11 when they met up with Peter Miller loitering suspiciously in the vicinity of the crater. Morag Ryder led a party of 14 on her Blackheath station to the Grand Canyon trip on what they described as a beaut day.
Dick Weston's walk to Splendour Rock over the weekend of 25,26,27 June did not go. Frank Taeker's trip in the Budawangs was also cancelled due to a combination of lumbago, communication problems and late registrations of interest. Shame, it was a glorious weekend in the Budawangs too, hard frosts and fine, cool days. Zol Bodlay's Saturday day walk along 36 km of the Benowie Track was rated as a nice walk for the party of 13 who went on it. Morrie Ward reported a fast party of 10 on his walk in the Wattagan Mountains on the Sunday. There were few leeches, little water, no scratchies (?) and the whole party was out by 1600. Jim Percy led a party of 17 on a pleasant walk in the vicinity of Lawson and Les Powell and a party of 5 were repulsed yet again in an attempt to reach Elenora Bluff via the scrub, despite their earlier hurrying to allow time for it.
Oliver Crawford's party of 8 weren't into standing around on his scheduled 3 day part-exploratory trip to Shrouded Gods Mountain. They all came out in two days. Been hearing too many stories about leathery apricots, I guess. Ian Debert's walk to Mount Carrialoo went, with the party of 5 camping a little higher up the creek than planned, but in more pleasant surroundings as it turned out. Kay Chan and Tony Manes led the party of 16 on their walk from Bundeena to Otford via the coast at the trot after some transport problems at the start. Tony Holgate's day walk in the Mill Creek area ended up being medium, rather than easy, for the 22 who attended. The mid-afternoon shower of rain didn't help much either and they reached the cars a bit over one hour after last light. Tony Crichton had 5 on his Pierces Pass to Bluegum walk. The walk was pleasant enough though they did have to abandon the planned side trip to Perry's Lookdown.
The only detail available for Bill Capon's Mittagong to Katoomba walk over the period 6 to 11th July was that there were 8 people on it. Maybe someone will write it up after they recover.
Ian Wolfe's 3 day wilderness wanderings from 9 to 11th July lasted three days but that's as much as we know. Bill Holland's weekend trip along the Nattai came unstuck when one of the members, Judy O'Connor, damaged an ankle. Fortunately there were enough people in the party of 13 to carry her out on a makeshift stretcher once she had hopped and been piggy-backed back to the downstream end of Macarthurs Flat. The damage has subsequently been assessed as a broken tibia and fibula. Judy is still recovering at last report. She has promised to write the only authentic version of the event for this magazine, so watch this space.
Wilf Hilder reported a total of 6 on his walk from Katoomba to Blackheath with no drama. Morrie Ward had a party of 5 out enjoying the wild raspberry and lawyer vines on his day walk in the Blue Mountains. Hat Hill and Orungutan Pass look like the villains of the piece. Morag Ryder led a party of 13 on her Heathcote to Bundeena walk to end the Walks Report.
Conservation Report indicated that heritage listing for the Blue Mountains including the Gardens of Stone area has the support of the Lithgow Council. A draft plan of management is being prepared for the Royal National Park.
Confederation Report was concerned mainly with S & R activities, with callouts at Wollongong and Springwood. Neither of these were directly bushwalker related and in each case resulted in the finding of a body, one related to the search and the other entirely coincidental.
General Business brought a motion that we write to the State Rail Authority and NPWS protesting the closure of the track to the Duckhole from Glenbrook at the railway line.
Announcements brought mention that Wade Butler is looking for a suitable person to baby-sit his property at Coonabarabran for a year while his family go to New Zealand.
The meeting closed at 2143.
All the world's a wilderness,
And all the men and women merely bushwalkers;
They have their starts and their finishes,
And all walkers in their time take many paths,
Life's stages being seven. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the mother's pack;
Then the whining school-child, with haversack
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly behind. And then the raver,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to the bushland Beauty. Then, the greenie,
Full of mild oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Zealous in honour, sudden and quick in defence,
Seeking to save the wilderness
Even in the developer's mouth. And then the camper,
In fair round belly with good claret lin'd,
With eyes smoke-filled and hair of careless cut,
Full of tall yarns of mountains climbed,
And tales of false compasses.
The sixth age shifts
Into the cheap disposal dungarees,
With binoculars, billy and map on side;
The youthful pants, well-worn by scrub-bashing
On the shrunk shanks, and the adult voice,
Turning again towards childish treble, pipes
And whistles like a pee-wit. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is death upon the track and mere oblivion;
Sans boots, sans stick, sans pack, sans everything.
Pam and Nev Robinson
(With apologies to Shakespeare, “As You Like It”.)
by John Hogan
I have just prepared the Social Program for the next three months and again we have a wide variety for your continued support.
On the September 15 meeting Ron Howlett, a new Member, will talk about native orchids and show slides from Australia, South Africa and Canada. Ron is a keen member of the Orchid Society and a mine of information on this subject.
September 22 we will welcome the warmer (?) weather with a barbecue in the grounds behind the Clubroom. B.Y.O. everything.
On September 29 we have a talk by Club member, Nancye Alderson, regarding a book which she wrote and published - “The Clydesdales are Waiting”. She tells us not only about the horses but the problems involved in writing and publishing the book.
We are going to try a new restaurant for pre-meeting dinner. It is “The Curry Bazaar” at Crow's Nest. Here the food is good, cheap and quick and it is only 5 mins drive to the Clubroom.
Petersham Town Hall - 3rd September - BYO Food and Drink Casual dress - pay at door - Denise Shaw (922 6093) is arranging the SBW party. Be in touch.
The rock paintings of Kakadu and the Kimberley, with their distinct sequence of styles, reflect a cultural tradition spanning tens of thousands of years.
A few major galleries are accessible by vehicle. Hundreds of others are accessible only on bushwalks of three days or more. We offer trips which visit many such sites, inaccessible to the average tourist, throughout these wilderness areas.
12 Carrington Street, Millner NT 0810. Ph: (089) 85 2134 Fax: (089) 85 2355.