SBW Walks Programs
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.
* The Clubroom will be closed over Xmas / New Year.
|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.|
|A Christmas Message from the President||2|
|“Stored Water”||Jim Brown||2|
|Hill Top to Kanangra 6 Days - July 1993||James R. Oxley||3|
|The Annual Re-Union||“The Lean Bean”||7|
|From the Clubroom||Maurice Smith||9|
|The November General Meeting||Barry Wallace||13|
|Book Review - “The Life & Journeys of Barrallier 1773-1853”||Jim Brown||15|
|Social Notes||John Hogan||16|
|Eastwood Camping Centre||6|
|Blue Mountains Outdoor Clothing Specialists||11|
Out calendar year is just about over and a few of us are looking forward to the extended Christmas walks, which have become so popular over the years. Other people are doing different things - socialising, meeting old friends, or just having Christmas with the family. Whatever you are doing I wish you all the best for a safe and Happy Christmas, and of course a great New Year of walking.
Ian Debert - President.
by Jim Brown
Sydney newspapers have recently contained sundry articles concerning the polluted condition of the Nepean/Hawkesbury River systems. Back about 1960 walkers were alerted to this probability by the announcement that, with the expected filling of the new Warragamba Dam that year, rangers would be patrolling its catchment area and penalties would be imposed on people found within 2 miles (about 3 km) of the “stored water”.
In a Reunion sketch we examined what could be expected to befall a walking party detected within the “forbidden ground”. It included two songs, one for the chorus, and one for the Ranger which went:-
“Once a walking party tramping down the River Cox
Camped in the shade of a water gum tree,
And they sang as they swam and waited till the billy boiled,
'Who'll have a dip in stored water with me?'
Dip in stored water…
Down came a Ranger, note book in his sweaty hand
'Caught you polluting the water!' cried he -
'And you've not paid the rates on the water in that billy can.
You're up for the use of stored water, you see.'
Use of stored water…
Tune: Waltzing Matilda.
You are not camped where you oughter,
At least two miles away.
You are poaching on stored water
And the penalty must pay.
From the sewerage farm at Leura,
From the gutters of Moss Vale,
We have drawn this water purer
Than the snow upon the gale.
But to practice these ablutions
In this brew that Sydney swills
May produce untold pollutions,
Filling the City with di-i-ireful ills!
Tune: Mary of Argyle.
By James R. Oxley
We came together near Hill Top. The party comprised, Peter Lafferty, Bob Milne, Geoff Grace, Morella Hogan, Bill Capon and myself.
It rained as we set camp on the first night after a pleasant walk along fire trails; much by torch light.
On the next day, overcast, there was an easy walk up Belloon Pass with fog on the other side. Wollondilly River was low at the ford.
The frost-browned grasslands around Wollondilly were a pleasant contrast to the unbroken, dark forest that lay ahead. Large mobs of kangaroos scattered at our passing and, from the ridge tops, wild cattle ruminated on our passing.
The water level at the first night's projected camping spot was very low. It looked unhealthy so we dropped down and spent the evening wandering along Byrnes Creek looking for puddles and calling for rain. Bill said later that he had considered Wollondilly - but who wants to drink sewerage and such a long way to cart it?
Fog and light rain continued on the following day as the party moved through undulating woodland. There followed a sharp ascent of a hard ridge to Bill's pass; a crack in the rock that would lead to Tonalli Tablelands. Bill, Peter and Bob set the ropes up the 60 foot high opening while the rest had lunch.
Smart navigation led to a special destination on Bob Higgins Creek. There we slept under clean overhangs with waterfalls and rum and lemon barley water sending us to sleep.
I had never been to Lacys Creek before but it certainly had plenty of leeches in the cold, wintry water. Heavy vegetation on the banks often forced our retreat to the thigh high cold. All seemed happy to leave water, leeches and lawyer vine for the much greater exertion of the ascent to Bimlow Tableland.
It was a steep climb, but near the top the party had a long and difficult traverse around the base of a cliff. We spent scarce time looking for the break that Bill knew was there. Lush ferns and other green material slowed our way as we groped along a well-concealed 'wombat walk'.
It was a relief when we found the pass and to find water and another clean overhang. After removing some determined Lacys leeches, the rum and lemon barley water went down easily, but there was no waterfall to drown the leader's snoring!
Bimlow Walls gave a very hard day's walk. We had to keep to the cliff line as best we could and when we strayed too far, we got into trouble. Impassable rock formations forced our way into lawyer vine and other harsh scrub that exacted blood toll for our passing. Bimlow's scrub reduced our progress to a pace of one kilometre per hour. The continual fog robbed us of any compensating views.
It was late when we fled Bimlow Walls for rain and a sloping camp spot.
On the fifth morning, Green Wattle Creek presented a beautiful display. We reached a long, narrow Burragorang bay as pelicans, alarmed, rose from the sleek, black water. On yellow banks, Casuarina bowed to the water. A dull morning sky, grey-blue trees flowed down Bimlow Walls, wreathed in scattered fog.
Ringed by a sea of green, we crunched through dead, brown, water grass. We rounded a bend and flocks of grey ducks, alarmed by our arrival, rose into the air. As they passed our watch spot, the only sound was the beat of their wings and spent food falling to the water. Hundreds of yellow eyes watched the watchers: mood, primordial.
The ascent of Black Coda Mountain was steeper than the others, climaxed by a traverse, slightly reminiscent of the climb to Bimlow. More flesh flew as we scrambled over a mix of rough scree, fern and lawyer vine.
Our lunch spot on Broken Rock Range became a Chinese laundry as our gear flapped in a generous breeze. The view from the end of the Range was magnificent, made more so by a welcome sun.
Our last camp was under a cool, clear moon after a long, but comparatively gentle climb from Butchers Creek to the top of Scotts Main Range.
Time had become a problem so it decided to take the Gingra Track rather than go to Kanangra by way of Gingra Creek.
The sun shone after a splendid walk with splendid company.
By “The Lean Bean”
The weekend of October, 23 and 24, saw a smallish number of SBW members attend the 1993 reunion at Coolana in perfect weather. Our President and First Lady were unable to attend as they were several thousand kilometres north. Apologies were also received from other long standing members, including Bill and Fran Holland and Spiro Hajinakitas.
Some of this report might be considered to stretch the truth, while other members might wonder why they aren't “mentioned in dispatches”. It is a matter of luck and my erratic memory for this weekend.
Les Powell was concerned that he had come to Coolana on the wrong weekend, as he was the only member present for quite some time. However, he was eventually joined by other members during the course of Saturday afternoon, thus allaying his fears.
Talking of John Hogan, he was seen on Saturday afternoon wearing just a pair of Volleys while wielding his chainsaw to clear some fallen branches and trees. Perhaps there is a name which reflects his propensity for this strange activity.
Louise (“totally orgasmic”) Verdon, a member who lives in the Wollongong area, arrived in time to pan-fry her chops, eat, debate with Les Powell the best outdoor activity for maximum thrills, and then return home, as she had a very early start at work the next morning.
Bill Bourke was seen for a while on Saturday afternoon and evening, but seems to have disappeared during the night. Should we have called for a search party for him?
Members were reluctant to move from a campfire near the tents on the upper level, to the “official” bonfire on the lower level between the shelter and the river. Eventually, the lure of a larger fire won over the members. Several of the children of members were given the honour of igniting the large bundle of branches and logs.
While the bonfire was burning, Dot Butler regaled us with how the property came to be acquired, some of its history, including how the “picnic shelter” came to built and the hard work of members to build the shelter. Several musical numbers followed including a request for Tom Wenman to exercise his skilled vocal chords. Tom of course complied. As the night wore on, members gradually drifted way to their tents. I understand that several members were still singing and imbibing well into the early hours of the morning.
The honour of being the first to rise on Sunday morning I believe belongs to Les Powell, who was out and about by about 5 a.m., he was joined shortly after by Tony Holgate's children. Tony was not able to appear for another hour or so, as he, it is reported, had been among those who did not retire until the early morning hours. Around 6.30 a.m. a lady member came over to the group of members cooking their breakfast, and berated the assembled members about the amount of noise being made which was disturbing her sleep. She then retired back to her tent for several hours more sleep.
When next she was seen, the same lady member, was noted eating breakfast around the fire at around 10 a.m., along with many other members. Meanwhile, various other members, were engaging in water based activities, starting with our esteemed Social Secretary John Hogan who after sleeping in the open near the embers of the bonfire (allegedly he couldn't walk up the hill to find his tent), after a self-reported very late retirement, arose at a very early hour to go canoeing towards the Hampden Bridge. Just as well that there were no water police with random breath testing gear on hand.
Also seen was Maurice Smith, the “From The Clubroom” reporter last seen slowly paddling his way up the river checking out the water worthiness of his brand new lilo.
Dot and several other ladies organised the children and other willing participants to make up the batches of damper. These were duly placed in the hot ashes of the bonfire. After an agonisingly long period the billies were removed from the ashes and the contents removed. Dot then donned her judge's hat and after a difficult judging process which had the onlookers urging her to make a decision, as they were all anxious to eat their share of the dampers, a decision was made in favour of a damper made by one of the children. Whereupon, all members were invited to sample the delights of the dampers, about 8 in all.
After the usual bushwalker feeding frenzy had subsided, with only a few blackened bits of damper left over, various members strolled down to the river to indulge in more energetic activities to burn off the calories put on eating damper. A men's swimming race was held; it was across the river and return. Four members started (and finished), with the winner being Dick Weston, followed by Tony Holgate. Very good recuperative powers were shown by one swimmer considering his close encounter with a bottle of red wine the previous night.
John Hogan took Dot for a long ride down the river in his canoe, Dot was quite happy about this, as John did all the work. The canoe was extremely popular with the children of several members of the club.
Around midday we were organised into gathering up the dried bracken in the front of the picnic shelter. This was all thrown on the ashes which quickly consumed the debris. Members gradually started drifting off home shortly afterwards after a pleasant relaxing weekend among congenial company. Hope to see you there next year.
By Maurice Smith
With summer rapidly approaching it was timely for Ken Clacher to enlighten a fair size crowd in the clubroom on the evening of 20 October on the gear and the techniques we need for the safe summer activities of canyoning and abseiling.
With the appropriate strong emphasis on safety training and experienced leaders we can be sure that Ken and other leaders for these activities will have plenty of starters for the summer activities coming soon. In fact, by the time you read this, the first few of those activities may even have taken place.
To whet our appetite even further; Ken showed some delightful slides of various canyon and lilo activities from recent summers. These slides have so inspired me that I am looking forward with anxious anticipation to the start of those activities. I hope to see you on track, river, rope, or whatever.
A smaller than usual crowd of members indulged in Oliver Crawford's Crazy Whist night on the evening of 27 October. Oliver, as our MC. (Master of Cards, that is) taught us the ever changing rules of Crazy Whist. We had an enjoyable evening playing cards and scoring points, with the highest point scorer being awarded a brown paper wrapped prize. The package had the appearance of a bottle of wine, perhaps to be consumed on the next wine and cheese weekend.
A fun night was had and I got to see my fellow members in a new light when involved in a competition. No, I'm not a sore loser, even though John Hogan, our social secretary, and I vied for right to possess the wooden spoon, ultimately won by John. Thanks for organising it Oliver.
This month I faced two interesting challenges when I sat down at my computer keyboard to write this column.
The first problem was how to describe the visit of Mr. Macpac (alias Dan Collison) without being an unpaid advertisement for Macpac bushwalking equipment. Our guest speaker is the Australian manager for Macpac, which is based in New Zealand. Dan was visiting Macpac's Australian retailers and talking with groups such as ours, obtaining feedback on the performance of their products and ideas for new features for the next models of existing products. For a supplier to provide a lifetime warranty on all their products speaks volumes for their confidence in the product design and manufacture quality control.
It seems that club members were also very interested in what Dan had to say as there was a very good attendance at the meeting, with standing room only for the late comers.
Dan displayed the new season models of Macpac's products and spoke very knowledgeably about the entire range of gear sold, how it is manufactured and used by users such as the club members who push equipment to the limits. Thanks for spending the evening with us Dan and we look forward to seeing you again some other time.
The second problem was how to describe delicate taste sensations provided to us by our Indian born member Jan Mohandas without being an advertisement for an Indian restaurant.
Jan had a large number of members in attendance to sample the food which he cooks when out on bushwalks, using no more than two billies and a campfire. The secret is in premixing the spices and herbs at home before setting off on a walk and planning their use in your cooking.
To show the taste achieved, Jan had pre-cooked several large pots of tasty Indian food and the members who were fortunate to be present all had the opportunity to sample each dish. For quite a while the meeting room looked as if it were the banquet room of a well liked Indian restaurant, as members ate their samples, with some coming back for seconds.
Jan provided the recipes for his dishes and I imagine that there will be quite a large number of walkers who start experimenting now that they know how easy it is to achieve the lovely tastes shown to us by Jan. Thanks for the tasty evening Jan.
To all SWB members from the magazine workers.
by Barry Wallace
It was around 2015 when the President in the chair gonged the gong and called the 17 or so members present to order. There were apologies from Joy Hynes, George Mawer and Patrick James.
New members Chris Wong and Brian Beavan were welcomed to membership and the Minutes of the previous general meeting were read and received with no matters arising.
Correspondence brought a post card from an unidentified correspondent located at Macalu(?), apparently working with some group there whom they appeared to think would be familiar to us. If anyone can shed light on that, please put us out of our mystery. The matter of the fence along the railway at Glenbrook got another mention. It seems there will be no great problem as an alternative walking track already exists from near the road bridge to the existing track. At present it does involve walking through some bush but there is a body of opinion which holds this to be no great obstacle for bushwalkers.
There were two letters from Natural Areas Ltd, one relating to our request for issue of script covering our investment and asking for a copy of our certificate of incorporation and street address, and one advising us of the intention to carry out weeding on the block of land. Unfortunately this letter was received too late for any action on our part. The matter of the copy of our certificate of incorporation is in hand and this will be furnished. A letter has been sent to Natural Areas Ltd advising them of the delays imposed by mail clearance times and general meeting schedules.
We also received a copy of a letter from the Budawangs Committee to Chris Harcher regarding the problems of access to the Clyde River and requesting restraints be placed on sub-divisions which are contributing to the problem. The Club resolved to write to the Minister supporting the Budawangs Committee and to pass information on the the Confederation for further action. We also received a letter from a Mr. J. Sorenson asking for advice of possible jobs in the leisure industry. If only we knew. A letter has been sent to Mr. George Souris regarding the closure of part of the Great North Walk near Hornsby. There were no further matters arising from the correspondence.
The Treasurer's Report indicated that we spent $1,422 and ended the month with a balance of $4,753.
The Walks Report began with the advice that no details were available for David Rostron's ski tour over the period 16/23 October. Over the weekend of 16/17 October, Jan Mohandas cancelled his gourmet weekend at Kanuka Brook due to lack of starters. The walk went however, in another area, as a day walk, involving cave crawls, swimming and gourmet food. The leader was Zol Bodlay and there were 12 starters, not one of whom was Jan, and even if one had been, it's unlikely he would have recognised his own walk. Bronny Niemeyer, still high on caffeine, reported 26 at lunchtime on her Harbour Foreshores walk.
The following weekend saw the Club Reunion at Coolana. There were around 25 or so people enjoying perfect weather and it was described as a most enjoyable occasion. Tony Maynes had a party of 21 rock-hopping around from Waterfall to Otford. Conditions were pleasant but the water was reported as too cold for enjoyable swimming. Morag's walk off-track around Glenbrook Creek area was described as easy despite one of the party taking a fall at one stage. Again the water was described as cool and there was no swimming.
The weekend of 29/30/31 October saw a total of 6 walks scheduled. Bill Capon led 8 walkers through scrub on his Budawangs trip down Freemans Creek. It was an excellent walk with 5 large waterfalls and several smaller ones. Greta James cancelled her Kowmung River (Introduction to walking) due to a lack of starters. Dick Weston's “wine and cheese” in Kanuka Brook went, led by Frank Woodgate with Dick Weston(?). Zol Bodlay led a party of 7 on his Marra Marra National Park Saturday day walk in sunny conditions. The water in the pristine pool was cool however, and there was little swimming. Maurie Bloom had 28 starters, some of whom were Sutherland Bushwalkers, on his bicycle ride in the Picton Lakes area. Conditions were reported as pleasant but cool. Tony Holgate's rock scrambling, abseiling trip at Lindfield had 12 or 13 bodies depending on when you counted them.
Ian Wolfe's crosscountry skiing wilderness ramble from 4 to 7 November went, but the lack of snow turned it into a walk for the 6 skiers who turned out. Over the weekend of 5,6,7 November Jim Rivers led 6 starters on his Morton National Park walk in fine conditions, and Eddie Giacomel's Kanangra walk, led by Tony Holgate, was cancelled. Of the day walks, Errol Sheedy had 15 starters and no other details for his Engadine to Heathcote walk, and Vic Lewin led 13 in fine conditions on his trip from Loftus to Heathcote. All of which brought the Walks Report to a close.
Conservation Report indicated that Natural Areas Ltd have decided to pay for professional assistance in weeding the block at Wheelers Creek and will attempt to have dumped car bodies and fridges removed. The South East Forest Preservation Bill was defeated through the good offices of the Niles. Thanks Fred, thanks Elaine. The Labor Party has asked for a list of proposed areas for preservation a National Parks. The opinion was expressed that there is little hope for any real progress in conservation under the present State Government.
There was no general business, so after the announcements, the meeting closed at 2136.
Leave the traffic, telephones and stress of the city behind. Enjoy an extended wilderness experience with a small group of like minded people.
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Andy Macqueen opens the Preface to his “Life and Journeys of Barrallier” with some questions: (1) “What was a Frenchman doing in the British Army and how did he come to be exploring in New South Wales.”? (2) “Why was he appointed by Governor King as 'an ambassador to the King of the Mountains'”?
They are valid questions, bearing in mind that France and Britain were at war for most of the years between 1795 and 1815: and that the regimental commander of the NSW Corps had forbidden the utilisation of military personnel on exploratory missions. Even before reading Andy Macqueen's tale, I already had some answers to both questions.
(1) Following the Revolution of 1789, France was divided for some years between Republican and Monarchist factions (Funny, but I seem to have heard of similar arguments somewhere recently). Some Royalists ultimately sought refuge even with the arch-enemy England - rather than face a short, sharp encounter with the invention of another Frenchman, Msieu Guillotin. (2) If there had been an ICAC in 1802/3, Governor King may not have been adjudged guilty of corruption, but he had certainly connived at inventing a fictional local sovereign, to enable him to outflank the military edict.
Andy Macqueen's book delves quite deeply into the life of the young Frenchman and gives much detail of his exploratory work in NSW in 1800/1802. He is not the first bushwalker to find Barrallier a fascinating subject. Myles Dunphy was obviously familiar with the contents of his journals, and the names of several aborigines who either accompanied him or were encountered on his journeys are given to prominent features in the maps drawn by Myles (mostly in the Kanangra/Boyd area - Goondel, Gogy, Wallarra, Bungin, and also one nick-named 'The Tonsure').
In 1957 Dot Butler wrote an absorbing summary of Barrallier's travels in the Southern Blue Mountains which appeared in our Club' magazine. In 1976/7 there were accounts by Paddy Pallin who, in company with walker friends, had sought to clarify some of the doubts about Barrallier's routes in the Yerranderie area.
Since these gigantic frogs in the bushwalking pond saw fit to write of Barrallier, I felt even a tadpole might have a little croak, and in August 1980 our magazine published an article in which I suggested that Barrallier may have broken out of the mountain barrier that encircled the infant colony if he had kept to the high ground west of Yerranderie, where the prominent ridge west from Bindook/Batsch Camp area leads direct to pleasant country on the Main Divide south from Oberon, not much more than a day's march from where he stood.
Andy Macqueen's book includes several appendices, with a few extracts (translated into English) from Barrallier's trip journals, but most importantly he has read and interpreted them with the mind and eye of a bushwalker. Indeed, in a few instances where he dissents from the previously accepted Barrallier routes, he has investigated them personally. Such a case is the way into the Nattai Valley from the Depot Camp south of Oakdale. It has generally been believed this followed Sheehy's Creek (Nattai Pass), but Andy is of the opinion Barrallier followed the next major creek to the north (Gillan's Creek) and describes his own exploratory walk by that route.
It has been believed Bartallier's Party continued beyond Byrne's gap down to the Kowmung River, and then turned up Christy's Creek because it seemed to offer a route to the west. Andy accepts this and considers Barrallier's party was frustrated by the series of waterfalls in Wheengee Whungee Creek, one of the headwaters of Christy's Creek, and withdrew to his Depot Camp. A remarkable coincidence here, because in the week I received the book for review we read of Wheengee Whungee Creek in Sydney newspapers (the first mention ever in the media of this stream?) when the bodies of two young airmen were found there, a few kilometres from their wrecked aircraft.
It is easy to understand why Barrallier's journeys have captured the imagination of bush walkers over the years…. the man himself was one of the first European bush walkers in Australia, but of course he didn't know it. How could he?. It was 125 years later that a gathering of respectable.Sydney citizens decided to call themselves “The Sydney Bush Walkers” and invented the term we now regard as “the name of the game”.
The book may be obtained from bookshops or direct from A. Macqueen, 39 Bee Farm Road, Springwood 2777. $14.95 plus $3.00 postage.
by John Hogan
Where has the year gone? It can't be Christmas, already! Well, I guess it is and our Christmas Party is upon us once again. Several of our recent activities have not attracted as many members as we might have expected, but I'm sure you won't let us down for the big event on December 15th. The Club will supply refreshments and you are simply asked to bring along a plate filled with some imaginative goodies and I promise you a very enjoyable evening!
I wish each and every one of you a safe and happy Christmas and those of you who are walking… have a ball!
Our first activity in the New Year will be the traditional beach barbecue at Obelisk Beach on January 5th. We trust that the weather will be a lot kinder than the past couple of years but if not we will rig up some shelters and have a great time anyway. We will have the barbecues available, just toss in some food and drinks…. and a towel!
The following week, the 12th, the Clubrooms will not be available so we are going to walk across The Bridge and do a bit of a “pub crawl” around The Rocks. If you haven't yet tried the “home brew” at the “Lord Nelson” you have a treat in store! Meet us outside the Clubrooms at 6 pm.
Then on the 26th we have the Australia Day holiday so again there will not be a meeting, but there will be a day walk conducted by Zol Bodlay, and Tony Holgate will lead an evening walk. If you can make it along please refer to the program or contact the respective leader.
Take care and have a wonderful Christmas. Good walking!