THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER is a monthly bulletin Of matters of interest to The Sydney Bushwalkers inc, Box 4476 GPO Sydney 2001. To advertise in this magazine, please contact the Business Manager.
|Editor:||George Mawer, 42 Lincoln Road Georges Hall 2198 Telephone 9707 1343|
|Business Manager:||Jan Roberts, 5 Sharland Av Chatswood 2067 Telephone 9411 551.7 (H) 9925 4000(B)|
|Production Manager:||Fran Holland|
|Editorial Team:||George Mavver, Jan Roberts & Barbara Bruce|
|Printers:||Kenn Clacher, Tom Wenman, Barrie Murdoch, Margaret Niven & Les Powell|
|Clubroom Reporter:||Jan Roberts|
THE SYDNEY BUSH WALKERS INCORPORATED was founded in 1927. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening at 8 pm at Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre, 16 Fitzroy Street, Kirribilli (near Milsons Point Railway Station). Visitors and prospective members are welcome any Wednesday.
|Public Officer:||Fran Holland|
|Walks Secretary:||Eddy Giacomel|
|Social Secretary:||Jan Roberts|
|Membership Secretary:||Barry Wallace|
|New Members Secretary:||Miriam Kirwan|
|Conservation Secretary:||Alex Colley|
|Magazine Editor:||George Mawer|
|Committee Members:||Morie Ward & Jennifer Trevor-Roberts|
|Delegates to Confederation:||Ken Smith and Jim Callaway|
|P 2||A Letter to Sydney Water||Alex Colley|
|P 3||My First Visit to Coolana|
|P 4||Why Shouldn't it Happen Here||Bill Holland|
|P 5||Tallowa Dam Revisited||Don Cornell|
|P 6||The Wrong Leader||Maurice Smith|
|P 7||A Glimpse of The Past||Clio|
|P 8||Food For Walking||Kaite Matilda|
|P 11||A Walk in The Gloucester Area||Mouldy Harrison|
MAGAZINE EMAIL ADDRESS: TERRY @ SYDNEY.NET
|P 5||Willis Walkabouts|
|P 12||Eastwood Camping Centre|
|P 15||Paddy Pallin|
by Alex Colley 03/02/1997
The S.B.W. appreciate the invitation to comment on the Draft Plan of Management. Access is probably of more concern to this Club than to any other recreational body and has been thoroughly considered at our monthly meetings. The Southern Blue Mountains were the cradle of bushwalking not only for this Club, but for the bushwalking movement.
Organised bushwalking commenced with the formation in 1914 of our sponsors, the Mountain Trails Club, members of which formed the National Parks and Primitive Areas Council, which drafted the Greater Blue Mountains National Park proposal. This proposal was adopted by the S.B.W. as its principal conservation objective. The achievement of this objective (in fact, though not in name) presented the Kanangra Boyd wilderness from mining, pine plantations, rural subdivision and other forms of development. It is now the best protected part of the hydrological catchment of the Warragamba River. The Southern Blue Mountains, because of its accessibility, dramatic scenery and wilderness quality, has been the favourite bushwalking area of this Club since its inception in 1927. Most of the features were named by Club members, many after Club members.
The Executive Summary recognises the “potential” recreational value of the Special Area. We believe this potential has long since been confirmed. We hope your commitment to the State Parliament's Regulatory Review Committee to assess the feasibility of providing increased access will have regard to the above facts.
We are glad that you support the declaration of wilderness areas. There can be no doubt that wilderness preservation provides the best means of achieving your aim of protecting the quality of stored waters. The main aim of the NPWS wilderness policy is to preserve and enhance the distribution and abundance of native species. NPWS policy covers the control of introduced species. Easements and access trails are for management purposes only. Land clearance is not permitted. Fire control is essential. Mining is excluded. We believe that the NPWS would concur with your action in liaising with aviation authorities and the EPA to minimise the impact of aircraft on water quality and ecological integrity. If an airfield is located at Badgerys Creek or Holsworthy it is inevitable that the recreational value of the Blue Mountains parks will be degraded by the diversion of flight paths to the west. It is obvious that wilderness management according to the NPWS Guidelines covers all the catchment protection principles of Sydney Water.
We are therefore unable to comprehend why there should be any problem in the divestment of lands to the NPWS. Responsibility and accountability of Sydney Water and NPWS for biodiversity and water quality would be identical under wilderness management. There is, however, one aspect of wilderness preservation beyond the means of NPWS; that is finance. NPWS policy precludes compulsory acquisition of inholdings. These are a menace both to conservation and water quality, since access must be provided and will be used by off road vehicle drivers and horse riders. If subdivision approval is obtained the cost of acquisition soars, as occurred in the case of the Schmidt subdivision in the Pilliga Nature Reserve. Sydney Water has the power, and the means, to acquire these inholdings, and should do so if only in the interests of water quality. The control of feral animals, particularly pigs, has so far been beyond the means of NPWS but should be undertaken for the same reason.
The S.B.W. are at a loss to know why there should be restriction of bushwalking access to any part of the catchment area. We are not aware of any damage caused by members of this Club since its foundation nearly 70 years ago. Any pollution to the immense body of stored water would be minimal in comparison with that caused by inadequate sewerage treatment by the towns of the Blue Mountains, Werri Berri Creek, the Southern Tablelands, and other sources, such as rural properties and feral animals. Of particular concern is the Schedule 1 land around the Cox Kowmung junction, which covers an historical and much favoured walking route.
Protection of the catchment is important, but so is the area's recreational value. A survey of participation in sport by the Daily Telegraph in 1995 rated bushwalking second only to swimming as the most popular sport. Urban public lands with a value of many $ billions as real estate have been reserved for recreational purposes. There is no reason why cost free public land should not be available for bushwalking.
Declaration of the Kanangra Boyd Wilderness, management by the NPWS, and financial support from Sydney Water would ensure the integrity of the special areas and remove any restriction on bushwalking.
At the last general meeting of the S.B.W. it was suggested that appropriate notices placed at the entrances to the area, and car parks within it, could limit any waste disposal problems created by walkers not committed to the Confederation of Bushwalking Club's code of ethics. At least the effectiveness of this action could be tested over a trial period.
(A. G. Colley OAM)
More Walking- Less Diabetes
About 1.5 million Australians will have diabOtes by the year 2010 at a cost of more than $1 billion a year unless people stop eating too much fat and doing too little exemise. A national program to increase physical activity, such as walking every, day is needed to reduce peoples' risk of developing the desease. Professor Don Chisholm, head of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research's Metabolic Division (Search May 1996)
The explorer, writer and educationalist from Geelong Grammar school who, in 1949, made the first ascent of Federation Peak, the grey fang of 'rock that is as much a symbol of Tasmania's southwest wilderness as Lake Pedder. Bechervaise inspired generations of bushwalkers, and could lay claim to being the last in the long line of explorers of the Australian outback.
Freda Du Faur
The first woman to climb New Zealand's Mount Cook, Du Faur caused scandal on both sides of the Tasman by bivouacking with a man and taking a porter as chaperone, in societies unaware of her recently revealed preference for the company, of women. She took part in the first Grand Traverse of the three peaks of Mount Cook and many other firsts that remain tough and respected climbs to this day. Du Faurs exploits, like those of Marie Biles and pioneer climber Dorothy Butler, gave women in outdoor adventure a prominence that, despite social changes, has never been equalled in Australian life. Saddened by the death of her English lover Muriel Cardogan, she returned to Australia and gassed herself. The beautiful South island peaks of Du Faurs and Cardogan carry their names.
The last desert explorer to believe in an inland sea, Giles wrote of his vision: “There was room for snowy mountains, for an inland sea, ancient rivers and palmy plains, and above all there was room for me.” After an early career as a postal clerk in Melbourne, Giles joined a range of pastoral and telegraph line expeditions when much of inland Australia remained only vaguely understood. He eventually succeeded in making a double crossing of the western half of the continent and filling in many of the gaps. His books about his journeys explore his mind and the culture of his times as well as observing the harshness of the interior. He ended up as an obscure mining clerk in Coolgardie, WA, where he died of pneumonia.
By Ute Foster
Last weekend I visited Coolana for the first time and joined Joan Rigby and Helen & George Gray in the work of controlling the weeds which unfortunately have encroached on the Club's property.
I found the place absolutely delightful and hope to go back again soon and I was very impressed by the dedication and hard work put in by these three people, mostly; on their own. Everybody will benefit from their work eventually, so they deserve more support from the Club.
Here's a suggestion worth trying out. Every member, including prospective members, should be encouraged to put in one day's work per year at Coolana (come for the weekend, work one day, use the other to relax, swim, walk, enjoy). That way the work is spread amongst more people and more company will mean more fun.
Why not give it a go, especially the newer people who have not been there yet?
by Bill Holland
I was intrigued by the “concern” expressed by Mark Weatherly in his article in January magazine. Also by the Editorial Comment in the same issue on the same subject. Why do so many people have this reaction to granting land and access rights to the original owners of this country?
Mark is oversimplifying the case when he says the form of title granted to Aboriginal Land Councils is “the same as for any suburban home site and most family homes”. It is not. Our suburban home sites and family homes are not subject to National Park regulations and ministerial approval requirements. And by the way, we shouldn't equate possession by Aboriginal Land Councils as equivalent to private ownership. For starters, the land cannot be sold to another party and there are other limitations attached to Land Council ownership.
The new legislation continues the National Park classification for at least the period of leaseback ie. 30 years. This should be seen as a positive. At least the lands will not be open to commercial exploitation to the extent seen in Victoria the next time the state government changes hands. The Act also gives access and hunting rights to the traditional owners but let's not forget that aboriginal groups have always had hunting rights in National Parks.
Economic development rights may, be granted, but these are subject to the approval of the minister and must be in harmony with the plan of management for each park.
These rights already exist in other national parks.
We have already seen proposals put up by the previous Coalition who, by the way, still remain committed to “multiple use” and “economically sustainable” development of state assets.
The key point here is that Aboriginal cultural significance was a very significant factor in granting the seven sites. To qualify as significant the cultural influences must have continued over the centuries and be linked to current “family groups”.
Mark refers to “privately owned” Uluru and Kakadu. I have visited both of these on several occasions and although some areas are not accessible (due to sacred sites etc) I have never felt unduly restricted. Indeed, the only time I felt resentment in being excluded from some remarkable country was in the Gulf of Carpentaria where the land in question was owned by a large international mining company.
The Carr Government should be congratulated on the number of new parks created and its attempts to redress past wrongs by giving the aboriginal people the opportunity to join in the management and control of a small number of these parks.
The “views” expressed by Bill were referred to our Conservation Secretary Alex Colley for comment. His responses follow:
Canoeists: Leader Ian & Joy, Tony & Kay, David & Diane, Peter, Jaquie, Don & Jenny.
Walkers: Leader Bill & Fran - Jim & Jo - Lorraine - Robin - Judy- David - Frank - Peter.
Ten canoeists met at the Tallowa Dam Picnic Area on This very dull Saturday morning and having sorted out their gear and loaded it into the canoe set off about 9.30 am on the strenuous 10km paddle to a delightful grassed camping area on the shoreline set amongst wattle trees.
Our paddle across the broad stretches of Lake Yarunga accompanied by occasional drizzle contrasted greatly with the walk we had enjoyed 28 years ago as we ducked and weaved our way along a narrow cattle track beside the then slender Kangaroo River to sample a pleasant camp site on Teamster Flat now covered by megalitres of water but that's progress.
By the time the canoes had been hauled up and unloaded and the tents erected the walk-in group led by Bill emerged from the surrounding forest and after friendly greetings they too erected tents and planned a suitable size fire for 20 people.
Later Joy and Ian began to set up the awning and the tables and chairs and the light. As evening approached it began to resemble a backyard barbecue rather than a large group of bushwalkers gathered on a remote lake-side however their effort was greatly appreciated by everyone and the happy atmosphere with yarning - eating - drinking continued till late.
A fine sunny Sunday gave plenty of opportunity for everyone to indulge in their preferred activity so we saw swimming - fishing - walking and also the opportunity to paddle any of the variety of canoes available.
With a deadline set to leave by 3pm we began the two hours back to the vehicles, this time favoured by a tail wind. We made record time and we had barely got the canoes tied down when Bill appeared, having climbed the hills and driven to the dam. So ended a very pleasant weekend.
by Maurice Smith
I have read Tony Manes' letter on page 3 of the January 1997 club magazine and feel that I must defend myself.
But first of all, I am pleased to see that Tony agrees with me about excessive numbers on club trips.
To answer Tony's assertions I feel that I should set out how I organise for club walks that I lead.
All the weekend walks that I lead are now limited to a maximum of eight walkers. If I grade the walk as a Test walk two spots are reserved for prospectives and this is stated in the club program for members and prospective members to see. If an insufficient number of prospective members book, then the vacant spot is assigned to a full member, but only in the last day or so before the trip start date. Unlike a recent weekend test walk with another leader that I have heard about. That Walk was so popular with full members that prospective members could not get a look in! What an appalling state of affairs.
As an aside, on one of my trips late last year, there were four prospective members and four full members. I vividly remember my experience as a prospective member not that long ago and the advice received from members during that time. I endeavour to pass on to the prospective members who walk with me all of the advice, bushcraft and camperaft that I learned as a prospective member and that I have garnered subsequently.
I encourage prospective members who have the appropriate experience to come on my trips and enjoy the experience of a weekend walk.
I do not take bookings for any of my walks until the program is published and in the hands of members. Certainly there are a number of “regulars” on my trips. By this I mean that some club members will regularly come on my trips. I have no doubt that other trip leaders also have their “regulars”. However, these regulars do not receive any special treatment from me to be able to get onto my trips. It is strictly a first come first served. On some of my trips of last, year, where any of my regulars did not book early they missed out on the trip. Unlike a few other leaders, I do not organise for my walks to be filled before being placed on the program.
My trip booking sheet has two sections. The first section has provision for two prospectives and five other members (plus myself). The second section is for the reserves, that is, those members who book for the trip after the first eight. These reserves are told that the trip is fully booked, however, they are invited to be a reserve who can be contacted in the event that one of the first eight has a change of plans and pulls out of the trip.
From memory only once in my walks in last year was there one occasion when I did not have a full complement of eight walkers. In that trip one member pulled out at the very last moment and even though I had a reserves list I was unable to organise for a replacement at very short notice.
If it is perceived that I lead “cliquey little walks which no one can book on” then I can only surmise that members have tried to book and have missed out. The areas in which I mostly lead walks are declared wilderness areas. Such areas are recognised by NPWS as having higher conservation value than national parks. I am extremely anxious to conserve the areas in which I walk. This is so that future generations of walkers will have the same opportunity to enjoy their walks in our magnificent wilderness areas. It is mostly for this reason that I place such strict limits on my walks.
So in summing up, Tony you have the wrong leader in your sights when you make such reckless statements about my walks. I invite you to book early for any of my trips on the next program.
Sorry folks, I know that you all look forward to reading Barry's highly entertaining version of what happened at the last general meeting but due to pressure of business, and other commitments he couldn't find enough time for it this month.
Barry tenders his apologies to all his avid readers and assures me that he will try for a double whammy issue next month. Ed
The National Film and Sound Archive was established to preserve the heritage of the nation. Details of the holdings are stored on CD ROM and can be viewed for a fee (84 Alexander Street Crows Nest). Copyright issues and copying costs make reproduction difficult.
Items of interest are: In 1927 three men took a car out to Kanangra Walls. A soundless black and white film (1) came out of this visit with views from the highest point on the plateau and across to Kanangra Falls. Whilst the Blue Breaks are visible haze, the quality of the film makes everything else vague. Of interest is the descent from Kitten Rim to the foot of Kanangra Falls with its subsequent filming.
During the depression there was a craze for `mystery' hikes. A Movietone News newsreel (2) in 1932 has “Two Thousand Hikers Forget Their Cares” for 54 seconds including a chorus of “Wrap Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag”. In the reel is nearly two minutes of the Blue Mountaineers ascending the Bores Head at Katoomba.
The following month Cinesound Review (3) filmed a hikers wedding at Stanwell Park. The archives issue year to remember 1932 which includes a newsreel on hiking in National Parks (not viewed).
Round 1936 Cinesound (4) filmed athletics race walking though Centennial Park. Gordon Smith is seen coming in second while another contestant smokes as he walks.
Frank Hurley directed and narrated a short fiction film (5) “Treasures of Katoomba” (1936) showing someone on Orphan Rock and 3 climbers on a rock ledge. (possibly these could be Eric and Elinor Dark) It also includes “Uncle Leo” and his hikers engaged in Tyrolean singing.
In 1953 the Department of the Interior made a film (6) which illustrated “Why Bushwalking which means leaving the beaten track and venturing into rugged mountain country is attracting more and more young people”. The majority of the film took place in the Blue Mountains and mentions leaving details of the trip with someone responsible - shows Paddy in a suit (in a suit) receiving the plan from a young couple.
Bushwalking reappeared in a documentary (7) in 1960 showing some of the ways that the average Australian found recreation on the weekends. A short segment shows two walkers coming upon a party of three camped and being offered a cup of tea. Possibly set around the Mount Banks area with Grose-type escarpment in the far distance. A sign of the times - the 'parents' in the opening sequence in single beds?
A seventy second newsreel (8) showing a light aircraft dropping supplies to bushwalkers in Tasmania was unavailable when this article was researched.
Movietone News has a minute segment showing the cliff face at Liitle Bay being wrapped in polyweave in 1969. The artist Christo used Sydney Rock Climbers to fix some of the wraps.
In 1996 the archives issued the video “Blue Mountains: Moving Memories 1920s to 1970s” containing a small clip of Newnes, most of Hurley's film, Narrow Neck unscarred by the (current) road, (unintentionally) a youth throwing a stone at a lass posing above the Zig Zag Railway, “Dell” the hero dog who found a lost 2 year old Timothy Farmer (Search and Rescue involved but not mentioned). It also includes the final scene from Jedda (1955) When the nearby rocks at Kanangra Walls were sprayed reddish brown to resemble the Northern Territory landscapes, The conclusion was originally filmed in the Northern Territory but was lost in a plane crash.
by Kaite Matilda
I have observed that Sydney Bushwalkers take a most interesting variety of food with them on a walk. Some take next to nothing, while others take an enormous amount. Some leaders even carry full size and highly decorated cakes. I have also observed that after lunch some walkers jump up and race off again, full of energy, while others barely struggle to their feet and slowly lumber off. Why is this so? Could it possibly have something to do with what they have just eaten or drunk?
I have been doing some reading on all of this and as I suspected there is an optimal way to eat and walk well. Firstly bear with me while I explain the fuel sources for our hard-working muscles. In our endurance style walking the muscles draw on glycogen that is stored conveniently in the muscles, henceforth called muscle glycogen. When that muscle glycogen is exhausted it is replenished from the blood sugar. This blood sugar comes from simple sugars such as glucose that we have ingested or from glycogen that is stored in the liver, known as liver glycogen. Our brain also draws on the blood sugar as fuel for its enormously complex work. Therefore it very important to have a full tank, of both muscle and liver glycogen stores before starting a strenuous walk.
Having a good dinner the night before a walk is essential but even so the liver glycogen levels drop overnight to replenish the blood sugar. Even more essential is a good breakfast two hours before a walk. Yes, you read it correctly - 2 hours before! It takes that long to digest and load up the glycogen stores again. I know most of us think we can we can simply load up the tank, close the mouth to stop it all falling out again and keep going again, but unfortunately we are more complex than our cars. If it's to be an extra long or tough walk then carbohydrate loading for 3 - 4 days prior is a good idea also, along with resting on the day before.
Carbohydrate is the most readily available and best fuel for exercise. The old ideas about 'complex' and 'simple' have now been disproved scientifically. The new catchword is the Glycaemic Index (GI) which is a ranking of foods from 0 to 100. High GI foods (over 70) cause a sharp rise and moderate fall in blood sugar while low GI foods (under 50) cause a much :slower and sustained rise and fall in blood sugar. Remember it's. the blood sugar that then is stored as liver or muscle glycogen, depending upon the need.
I submit therefore that eating a low GI meal 2 hours before a walk and a high GI meal during and immediately (within 30 minutes) after the walk may be the ideal method to enhance endurance. Endurance is after all what SBWers really excel in.
Examples of low GI pre-walk foods are: porridge, rice, barley, semolina, rye/barley/oat bread, fruit loaf, spaghetti and pasta, legumes including baked beans, soy, products including soy milk, low fat cows milk, apples and oranges and chocolate. I make up a complex oatmeal porridge with semolina dried fruit and soy milk the night before, then heat it up in the morning and eat in the car plus a grain bread sandwich - whilst driving!
Examples of high GI mid-walk and post-walk foods are: Simple wholemeal and white bread, banana and pineapple, honey, sucrose, glucose and jam, glucose lollies such as jellybeans, pumpkin and Wheet Bix. Banana and honey sandwich for lunch and jelly-beans for desert. It's been shown that eating or drinking high GI foods within 30 minutes after exercise improves post-exercise recovery as it rapidly replaces glycogen levels, reducing fatigue and muscle stiffness.
If you can't manage an early morning solid breakfast then try to arrange a liquid one. Make a smoothie with soy or low fat milk, plus oat or wheat bran, wheat germ, banana, carob or chocolate, plus a pure orange juice. You could try adding spirolina also if you can stomach it that early! Fruit sugar (fructose) is taken up quickly by the liver so it's a good idea to start with fruit or fruit juice for breakfast. However it doesn't seem to be as effective in replacing muscle glycogen stores, so is not as useful as we might think on the short stops. In fact it may increase lactic acid production causing muscle soreness the next day if we, overdo the fruit consumption.
Ideally, we should be stopping for an hour at lunch and several 15 minute stops every 2 hours for adequate digestion, refuelling and rest On short breaks, less than half an hour, the best refuellers are drinks: water, fluid replacement drinks which are 5 to 10% carbohydrate or half strength diluted fruit juices, cordials, etc. Having 5-10% sugar in the drink aids rehydration also, At lunch, assuming it is an hour, the refuellers could be banana, jam or honey sandwiches, muesli bars or power bars, fresh or dried fruit, pumpkin scones or light salad with a white roll. Try not to include fats at lunch such as cheese, meat, chicken or avocado. Fats take so long to digest they may slow you down and don't contribute a readily available liver glycogen fuel source. Try to think of 'walks food as refuelling rather than as a picnic lunch or as your normal lunch at home with friends.
A word about hydration. If you wait until the walk leader announces “drink stop” or until you are feeling thirsty before having a drink, you may already be in dehydration. Once the body is dehydrated fluid empties more slowly from the stomach and it is harder to rehydrate. The optimal way to stay hydrated is to start the walk with a comfortable level of fluid under the belt and then to top up regularly. Wear a belly pack bottle and keep swigging from it. The rule of thumb for moderately strenuous endurance exercise is to drink 600 - 750ml of fluid for each hour.
That's a medium to medium/hard walk on a warm day. If it's a hot day and you sweat heavily then you may need to drink even more! The early warning signs of heat stress are feeling hot, burning and tired, headache, muscle cramps, concentration and judgement difficulties, nausea and blurred vision. Topping up with 5 to 10% carbohydrate drinks serves a double purpose Of speeding rehydration and aiding refuelling. Be wary of taking in too much salt though, we don't need it and it overloads the kidneys. Choose a low salt drink or make up your own using 50 gms of carbohydrate (sugar etc) per litre of water. Best to avoid caffeine, it's a diuretic and bladder irritant and may cause dehydration.
These are all guidelines only for those interested in the concept of refuelling for endurance exercise. I know the majority will continue to eat what they have always eaten on a walk but now at least you can make a conscious decision whether to picnic lunch or refuel. I got interested in this after eating delicious avocado and camembert rolls for lunch and then 20 minutes later trying to walk up a short and moderately steep hill - I barely made it!
If you want to know more I have borrowed heavily from: O'Conner, H. & Hay, D., 1996, The Taste Of Fitness,+ J. B. Fairfax Press Pty Limited. Available from Sydney Sports Medicine Centre, State Sports Centre,Olympic Park, Homebush Bay.
by Mouldy Harrison
I recently came across a 1933 diary of walking trip that I had written. Members of the trip were Ernie Austen (a 1924 Olympic competitor in Paris) and his wife Jean, Richard Croker (a one time , SBW secretary), Evelyn Higginbotham and “Mouldy” (Laurence) Harrison. I understand that I am the only one alive of that very happy quintet.
The diary goes on quite extensively. This extract is made as I recently met Nancy Bird Walton, the aviatrix, at a function and we talked about old times, including our first meeting.
Wednesday, 29th March, 1933.
We were up bright and early and ready to leave our lovely camp by the willow trees shortly after eight, following the road. We spent a few minutes talking to a man on a cream lorry, then on down to Dingo Creek, then past the school, the general public being much amused at our gear of shorts and shirts, not to mention packs. We called in at the post office, while Ernie sent a telegram congratulating his parents on their golden wedding anniversary. It started to rain a little, so on went our capes. We turned about two miles further on at Blanche's place, went through paddocks, then across a ridge.
We had a fine lunch of damper, cheese, honey and liverwurst and pork fritz, washed down with plenty of tea.
We had not walked far after lunch when we came across a black snake on our path, which was promptly killed. The rain then began to come down steadily but we plodded on through the heavy black mud. We passed four aborigines on horseback. They looked very fine types. Later we came to an aborigine farmhouse, where Jean tried to sit on part of the log fence, and it fell on her leg.
No serious damage was done however and we tramped on for about three miles to Mount George railway station. I called on Mr. Bird, the local storekeeper, who had replied to our letter seeking information about the country. He made us welcome and his two daughters invited us into the kitchen for tea, cake and biscuits ad lib. The girls live at Manly and take it in turns to come up for periods of two or three months to help in the store and the housekeeping.
The boys rang up from the post office and found out that our sixth member of the party would not be joining us the next day as expected,. After quite a chat with the postmistress and the Birds it was getting late so we walked to the far end of town to seek our campsite. This we found on private property by the roadside with plenty of trees. The tents were soon up and the fire lit, while Laurence trotted off to raise some cream. It was dark when he returned, after a lengthy discussion on free trade and protection, politics, religion, and the pressing needs of the dairy industry generally. Fortunately he just escaped the Japanese question, otherwise the cream would have been too late, even for breakfast. The nearest house, which was empty had plenty of tank water laid on, and with the help of a large basin from the neighbours, we had cold water baths in the garden. As a large cake of soap was also supplied the basin, we must have looked rather grubby.
While Jean was enjoying her bath the culinary arrangements were left in charge of Ernie, Richard and Evelyn. The meal was quite palatable, although a little carbonised.
While the cooking was being taken care of, the discovery was made that we were rather too close to an ants nest for comfort, so portions of nice juicy steak were placed in tempting array along the deep ant tracks, and we were soon able to sit down and eat in comfort.
It was quite dark and we had just finished dinner when Nancy and Gwen Bird arrived to pay us a visit as previously arranged. Just before this the boys had almost come to blows in their earnest endeavours to see who would get shaved first. We had an enjoyable concert, finishing up with about 10 o'clock, and Richard and Evelyn having their much longed for cocoa with plenty of thick cream. The boys escorted our visitors home, but halfway they met Mr. Bird out with a lantern and not looking too pleased with his straying daughters. However he was pacified
Thursday, 30th March, 1933.
We wakened to a very beautiful sight - the sunlight coming through the thick white ribbons of mist all around us. We spent a little more time at the store purchasing provisions, and a nail brush. Evelyn's much scorned, but well-used, little one had been left at Dingo Creek.
Richard also bought a nice snowy white singlet, as the laundress was beginning to despair of ever getting his anything like white again.
At Mount George station we reweighed our packs and caught the train for Gloucester. At the first little station past Mount George we saw a pair of feet sticking out from the waiting room. These belonged to an old sundowner we had seen very early in the morning walking along the railway track. Apparently he walked in the cool and rested in the heat of the day.
We arrived at Gloucester about 11.30 a m., enquired of the police sergeant of the best conveyance, and then ordered a good dinner at the station. This was ready for us a little after Noon. We had some of “the drink that is good for you” and were just finishing dinner when our car driver looked in to say he was ready. The five of us, with our packs, stowed in and off we drove to Rookhurst, about 12 miles from Gloucester. It is not a town, although it does boast a post and telegraph office. Our driver, in his generosity, took us about three miles further on and then deposited us with his good wishes.
It was great to be on the track again, and the country looked different from that passed through previously.
Ernie and Richard called at Coniac Station just to make sure of our direction, while the others made friends with some nice pigs by the roadside. It was a very warm day.
We followed along the lovely valley, with its green hills, and still greener apple-gum trees with their curly branches and lovely foliage. We passed Dead Bird Gold Mine, now deserted. Here the Manning River marked our course and we followed it along, crossing several times. We finally came to a lovely green fiat on the banks of the river, bordered with willow trees and profusely strewn with firewood. This was too fine a camp site to pass by and we were soon comfortably settled. While dinner was cooking, Evelyn did the family washing, and lost one precious cake of soap. (Jean fished it out from below the little waterfall the following morning, little worse for its night's immersion.)
A neighbouring stockman came down and caught three perch in the stream. We chatted with him and with two other men who appeared a little later, one of whom was Herbert Higgins of Currickabark Station.
We had our dinner, as usual enjoying it immensely, and after banking up a roaring fire, all fell sound asleep around it without even a single song. We were all very tired, although we had only covered nine miles. We awoke again about 10.30 pm and before turning in dried off the family washing as a particularly heavy dew was falling. The music of the running river soon lulled us off to sleep again.
Friday, 31st March, 1933.
Up with the lark again and into the gurgling stream for a tub. While having breakfast we were able to enjoy our attractive surroundings. The flat we were on was in a wide open valley at the junction of Dewett's Creek and the Manning River. Low sloping hills surrounded it, which in the evening had given it a vast open and calm appearance, vaulted as it then was with the clear sky and a myriad of twinkling stars. We started the day with the river crossing, and as it was the only one expected for a while, Ernie carried the girls across. We followed a fairly well made road, past Penfold's Hut and round many bends.
We were soon stepping out again and there to be far more ups than downs to the twisting turning roadway, with the sun blazing down on us. At the top of the final and biggest hill we passed through a gate. More lovely hills and valleys stretched away before us, and we sat beneath a lovely apple-gum tree for a rest after our seven mile climb. The valley below seemed even more beautiful than the ones we had just passed through.
We were munching our morning chocolate ration and preparing to move again, when along came a horseman, riding at a good pace - Billy Penfold as we later discovered. He seemed excited and his first remark, that he was looking for us, was rather surprising. He said that a telegram had come through by telephone and that one of the party, was wanted in Sydney immediately, and that it was a matter of life and death.
Unfortunately the telegram had been mutilated and did not state which one of us was wanted. Billy took us the short distance to his house where we rang up for further particulars, but as one of the exchanges had been left unattended we could not get through. We decided that the best thing to do was to go back to Coniac, about sixteen miles, from where we could ring through to Sydney. So we dumped our stores, except for absolute necessities, on Billy's verandah, had lunch and set off post haste. Fortunately the weather had turned cool and dull. We left at 1.10 and arrived at Coniac at 5.30 pm.
Mr. Wilson greeted us very warmly and insisted on us staying the night. He had a hot meal cooking for us, and had already arranged for a car to come out from Gloucester. We quickly rang Sydney and found that Richard's mother was seriously ill and that he would have to return at once.
Mr. Wilson was rather upset that his wife should be away, but he was very capable and had a fine hot meal ready for us in no time. Richard left shortly after in the car for Gloucester.
The rest of us sat around the kitchen fire for some time but as we were not feeling chatty and were all very tired, Mr. Wilson took us inside to two of the bedrooms. We were made thoroughly comfortable, but unfortunately our nights on the hard ground had spoilt us for soft feather beds, and none of us slept very much.
Saturday, 1st April, 1933.
We were up early, but our host was up before us and had a huge breakfast ready, of hot meat and vegetables. He had been very kind indeed to us.
We left Coniac about 8.45 am, retracing our steps along the tracks of the previous day. We had not gone very far along the road when we came up to a roadster with a man waiting beside it. He was Mr. Higgins of Currickabark Station, and as he had noticed Evelyn's decided limp, had waited to offer the girls a lift. This was gladly accepted and off they tootled in grand style with all the packs stowed in the dicky seat, leaving Ernie and Laurence with their ground sheets only as it had started to rain.
Just after the fifth crossing of the Manning, Mr. Higgins stopped at Dewett, a small place of his, where he wanted to do some branding. The girls were made comfortable With lounge chairs in the shack, and when the boys arrived a little later and the branding was finished, we had lunch together - plenty of tea, home-made bread, butter and jam. The damaged foot had also been attended to.
The girls were taken on by car again to Myra, the boys arriving later on foot. Billy Penfold was very pleased to see us, and as he was expecting us to spend the night with him we decided to do so, although it was only very early in the afternoon. He seemed delighted to have us all to talk to, and we spent the afternoon and evening sitting around a huge fire in the main room.
The house had apparently been well furnished by the previous occupants, but there were no floor coverings and only a portion of the furniture left.
Billy had killed a sheep specially for us, and was more than delighted when Jean said she would prepare the dinner. The party did its best to get Evelyn off with Billy, as they were left to themselves in the gathering dusk chatting in front of the fire. Billy entered into quite an amusing description of his adventures with girls in London during the war when some “English toffs”, as he called them, gave him a bonza time.
Dinner was announced and we filed into the kitchen. By this time Billy was quite excited and goofy, Jean struck a very coy pose for him from the other end of the table, and he got all of a dither, much to our suppressed amusement. After the washing up was over, we sat in the dark round the glowing fire, yarning and listening to Ernie singing. When bedtime came Billy flung some big mattresses on the floor in front of the fire and we crept into our sleeping bags and spent a very comfortable night, despite the rats playing chasings round about us.
The next morning we walked on and regrettably it was the last we saw of Billy. Jean and Ernie stayed in the area, Evelyn and I went down to Newcastle where Evelyn had a cousin who looked after us. We both cut our ship's departure time so fine that we had to go up over the side, helped by willing hands. Moonlight and a calm sea to Sydney made it a fitting end to a splendid holiday.