A Journal devoted to matters of interest to Members of the Sydney Bush Walkers, Sydney, New South Wales.
Misses Marjorie Hill, (Editor), Dorothy Lawry, Brenda White, Rene Browne and Mr. Myles Dunphy.
The fourth issue of “The Bushwalker” is very pleased to announce that another walking club has been formed in Sydney. This is the “Hikers' Club of Sydney.” Although we do not altogether approve of the name they have chosen, yet we welcome them to the ranks of organised walkers. Of the hundreds of people who, every week-end, indulge in the glorious sport of tramping through the heat and dust, or the wet and mud, as the god of the weather may ordain, comparatively few have yet organised themselves into clubs with the object of mutual help.
Small clubs of a semi-private nature of which membership is difficult to attain to, are of little use to the general walking public. They need clubs such as the S.B.W. has been in the past and will continue to be if its function is not seriously interfered with by curtailment of membership, and as the Hikers' Club of Sydney promises to be.
If this new club is successful in permanently establishing itself, then the words “hikers” and “hiking” have come to stay. Personally I consider them inevitable already. The general public uses the terms frequently and will not be gulled into believing that we merely “walk”. Why, then, reject a word which definitely connotes our activity, in favour of one which only partly does so?
Instead of the usual Christmas wishes, we extend to all Bushwalkers our heartiest wishes for “Good Camping.”
Mr. Gordon Smith and I arrived at Capertee Railway Station at 4.30 a.m. Thursday, February 5th, 1931. Daybreak found us walking leisurely along the undulating roadway that runs from Capertee to Glen Alice. It zig-zagged around the head of Coco Creek and passed under the shadow of spectacular sandstone walls, but after awhile a more open country was reached, over which were scattered numerous sheep stations. After passing the Coco Creek ford we found ourselves in a broad valley. We had left the aptly-termed Tower Mountain behind us, and were now abreast of Mount Genowlan on our left and Canobla Gap on our right. The surrounding mountains gave an impression of great wildness. A few miles to the northward could be seen the Chimney Stack, which, from its conical appearance may have been a one-time volcano. Though the surrounding country was purely sandstone the bed of Coco Creek was composed of granite cobble stones. The creek itself was a chain of pools, fringed with river oaks and occasional willows. The undulating grassland through which it flowed was all taken up by sheep and cattle runs.
After passing the conical Mt. Canobla we found ourselves abreast of Mt. Gundangaroo, and when later we reached the Capertee River crossing we left the Glen Alice Road and followed that sluggish river downstream. Along the broad river flats we passed acres and acres of lucerne paddocks, and shortly came to a homestead, where we interviewed the owner, Mr. W. Masters. He gave us valuable information concerning the route to Uraterer Mountain, locally known as Gosper's Mountain. With a cheery good-bye he assured us that we would get lost. He had never been there himself, he said, and 10 years previously had nearly perished in a vain attempt to reach Gosper's.
That night we camped on the river bank 4 miles downstream from the Glen Alice Crossing. Naturally we felt very tired, having that day walked 27 miles along a hard, rocky road. We carried only 40-lb. packs, but had no sleep at all on the previous night. Next morning found us walking down through a valley that reminded us of the Burragorang, only the sandstone walls here rose higher and were much cleaner cut. The valley was narrowing in fast and soon presented the appearance of a gigantic canyon. A bridle track was followed along this section of the river and at times it rose a little above the river bed. An abandoned shale mine was passed in this locality and soon we reached the junction of the Running Stream. The water in it was quite good and a pleasant relief after the bad water of the Capertee.
The Running Stream gorge is an enormously deep and narrow canyon, and but for its presence there would be a more practicable route from the Capertee Valley to Gosper's Mountain. (Running Stream is Coorongooba Creek flowing from north to south}. The Capertee River was followed downstream for a further five miles, where the bridle track was found to pass through a cleared flat. There was an old, tumble-down hut, and as Mr. Masters had said, there was a break in the sandstone walls on the northern side of the valley. There was a steep basalt hill leading up to it and it was decided upon as our way of access to the higher tableland beyond, i.e. to Uraterer. Mr. Masters knew the basalt ridge by the name of “Grassy Hill”, and it is appropriate to its base. However, when ascending the hill next morning, we found the upper section to be a rocky knife-edge ridge and it provided a similarly thrilling experience as the last lap of the ascent to the Cloudmaker (Gongerang Peaks) from the Kanangra side. The tableland beyond was reached later by way of sandstone crevasses, and farther on we found ourselves on a range which reminded us of distant Wanganderry. The country traversed here was puzzling in its make-up and hideous in its aspect. Nothing could be seen of the Capertee Gorge behind us; it was a perpendicular split in the earth's surface fully 2,500 feet deep. Shortly we came to a slight rise in the range, a point from where we could look across over vale and hill to a treeless dome. Obviously it was Uraterer. Often after long and painful effort we would reach a similar vantage point, and always the will-o'-the-wisp seemed as far away as ever.
Late that afternoon I found myself sitting down in a semi-exhausted condition. I was gazing upon a segment of the most expansive cyclorama of my life, and like a man in a dream I realized that I was on the crest of Uraterer and that Gordon Smith was beside me. In the foreground there was seen a maze of wooded gullies and cliffs and crags. It was a scene of great wildness rather than of beauty; it would make a master-bushman shudder. Practically nothing could be seen of the Colo, Capertee and Running Stream Canyons, these being perpendicular slits in the earth's crust. Beyond this nearer mountain fastness could be seen the dim outlines of mountain ranges extending, maybe, up to 100 miles in every direction. We considered the great outlook for some time. Nightfall found us with our tent pitched under the clump of quince trees, and within 20 yards of an excellent permanent spring. About 60 years ago two brothers by name of Gasper selected at this outpost, and from information received I believe there is a bridle track from Gasper's MOuntain (Uraterer) running down the Wirraba Range and joining the Richmond track about 10 miles from Putty. This may be my next way of getting to Gasper's. The soil there is similar to Dillon's Valley at Woy Woy and probably volcanic. Amazing fertility is seen on every hand, and the 150 wild cattle grazing there were looking well on it. Had it not been for violent yelling and hooing we would have been trampled underfoot. We had stewed quinces for tea and breakfast.
Next morning we left with regret this throne of the everlasting hills to take on the big proposition of finding a way back to the Capertee Valley. On the way back we made three mistakes of note, and it was only because of the fact that I made very accurate calculations on the way that saved us from otherwise inevitable disaster. Shortly before dusk we reached the Capertee River and next morning faced another big proposition, the Colo River.
The bridle track continued on down the river and saved us much time. The sandstone bluffs that hemmed in the valley presented a very striking appearance and in my opinion the gorge scenery puts the Nattai and Burragorang Vallies in the shade. A few wallabies were seen and wonga pigeons and wild duck were in great numbers. About 3 miles before the Wolgan River Junction, the track died out and we plunged into the roughest river walking that I had up to this time experienced. The steep sided banks were strewn with boulders and over-grown with blackberry, lawyer vines, lantana and nettles. It came so suddenly that it took the stomach out of me, and after doing 1 1/2 miles in 4 hours I suggested giving it up. However, my more determined mate knew only one word - “forward”.
Next morning, after 1 1/2 miles of similar work, we reached the point where the inflow of the Wolgan joins the Capertee and so forms the Colo. We could look up the Wolgan a short way and it appeared hellish rough. >From this point the Colo flowed between huge boulders for about a mile, after which there was a long stretch of sandbank - a pleasant relief. Another mile, however, and rock-hopping was the order of things. Scrambling over boulders and bashing our way through lawyer vines and other creepers, alternated with short stretches of sandbank. Frequent waist-deep wadings were necessary - as was also the case down the whole length of the Colo - and treacherous quicksands had to be guarded against. The towering cliffs on each side of the valley presented a very broken appearance and occasionally we caught glimpses of gigantic sandstone caves at great heights above the river. Such was the order of things until the entrance of Wollemi Creek was reached. It had about as much water in it as Kanangra River. The Wollemi Gorge was hemmed in by towering precipices, and I doubt if its profound depths are ever disturbed by mankind. Three quarters of a mile beyond we chose a sandbank as our camp site for the night. Nearby was a seemingly bottomless pool, and opposite a cliff face rose for about 1,500 feet sheer.
Next morning we pushed onward again and much to our dismay the sandbanks disappeared. We found that clambering over boulders was good for all-round muscular development. The rocks were purely of sandstone and in places had a topping of ironstone. The Colo River was in the form of long, smooth pools alternating with rapids, where the water flowed between barriers of boulders. As a rule these barriers were the only practicable crossing places. By this time our packs weighed only 30 pounds each, but with the hellish rough walking we found them quite heavy enough. The monotony of rock-hopping was broken here and there by a rough passage through lawyer vines. Occasionally blackberry and wild raspberry bushes barred the way, and these had to be gone around, either through the water, or around the hillsides above. We were very disappointed that the blackberry was not in fruit; on the other hand a shot-gun was sadly missed on the trip. There were wild duck in droves, and never being disturbed they would provide excellent shooting at close range. Towards sundown our spirits were brightened by the re-appearance of sand-bars and that night we camped on a fine stretch of sand, beside a deep pool. We had covered 8 miles for the day.
On the following day we found that 4 miles was our limit. The going was frightfully rough and consisted of hauling one another over boulders and through crevasses. In places a rocky buttress would rise sheer out of the water, and sometimes the water was shallow enough to permit a passage around. In other cases it was doubtful if the depth could be measured in hundreds of feet. The Colo in this section is a magnificent canoeing stream and should satisfy the most exacting. Towering walls of sandstone rise almost from the water's edge, and here and there are narrow shelves at varying heights where turpentine and gum grow wild. At intervals is seen a cliff face of more moderate height and from its foot descends steeply a forest-clad slope to the waters of the Colo. The Colo pools teem with perch and eels and will long be remembered by the writer as the best fishing place he has ever known. At the close of the third day from the Wollemi Creek Junction we reached the Wollangambe. There was a large pool we afterwards named the Wollangambe Basin. On its north side a cliff face arose out of the water for 1,000 feet sheer. This added greatly to the rugged beauty of the place, and take the writer's word for it, the Wollangambe Gorge is a wild hole and would provide great sport for adventurous bushwalkers. However, we afterwards learned we had left the most scenic part of the Colo Gorge behind us. It puts the Nattai, Burragorang and Cox Vallies in the shade, and in places rivals the scenery at the foot of Kanangra Walls. All along the river was an atmosphere of terrible wildness that lent it an atmosphere of additional charm.
From information gathered previously we learned that many years ago a Government Surveyor constructed a track down the Colo River from the Wollangambe Junction to the Blacksmith's Creek. On the following morning I arose at daylight and after a search discovered the track on a steep hillside, on the southern side of the river. When I returned to camp we had breakfast and shortly after commenced our journey along the winding track. It zig-zagged along the steep hillside and in many places was obliterated by landslides and covered by fallen timber, but in spite of its roughness it permitted faster travelling than the boulder-strewn river in this section. Mid-day found us having lunch at Blacksmith's Creek. Then three miles of rough travelling from there brought us to a place on the river where the general aspect of things convinced us that the hills around the river were losing their height. The going along the river was so rough we decided upon a cross-country stunt to the Tootie Creek Junction. Much to our dismay we climbed 1,700 feet before we could look into the Tootie Gorge. The country was precipitous, but miraculously we found a way down and that night camped in a cave on Tootie Creek. Next day we followed it down for 1 1/2 miles before we reached the Colo and realized we had not saved any distance worth mentioning. Our spirits were brightened by the appearance of grazing cattle. Shortly we found a trail and at once assumed it would lead to civilization, but it hugged the southern bank for some 8 miles. The surrounding hills were becoming lower and the river banks beginning to open out into narrow flats. Lawyer vines and blackberry bushes abounded and the timber began to increase its size. Shortly we reached an orange orchard, and a mile farther on a homestead where we were told there was a motor road leading into Upper Colo. Four miles along this brought us to where the Richmond-Putty Road crossed the Colo. Before nightfall we walked a farther 2 miles towards Kurrajong and camped in a cave by the wayside.
Next morning we breakfasted at the Wheeny Creek Crossing, and reached Kurrajong about mid-day. We had completed our trip down the Colo River. We would say it was noteworthy for its two main features, viz: magnificent scenery and the roughness of the walking. It occupied 11 1/2 days.
(The Smith-Gentle Colo River venture holds the distinction of being the fastest known traverse of the Colo, - notwithstanding the fact that 2 days were occupied on the Gasper's Mountain (Uraterer) side trip. Their's also is the smallest party. Two previous successful attempts are known and one, at least, partly so. Apparently the going is so discouragingly difficult that only the able-bodied and most sanguine could ever hope to win through, - and the penalty for failure in this aloof canyon could well be the most extreme. M.J.D.)
(Tune - “Abdul Abulbul Amir.”)
There's a song of a fight through a day and a night,
'Twixt Abdul and Ivan Skavar,
But the tale has no biff, 'cause it's based on a myth,
This true one is better by far.
My tale, 'twill appear, is of no Slavonic peer
Named Ivan Skavinski Skavar,
But of maidens and men much more famous than then,
Their song I will sing it afar.
Casting off trousers and skirts they wear short shorts and shirts,
And are quite unaccustomed to fear,
And the catalogue long of the deeds they have done,
Fill with envy the Bulbul Amir.
Jack, Harold and others left the care of their mothers
To walk to the Bushwalkers' Basin.
They intended to stroll to that fine water-hole
Not five miles from Leumeah Station.
They walked all that day and they walked all that night,
'Neath the light of the pale southern stars,
And all that they found and all that they got
Were scratches and blisters and scars.
Now this Club has the seed of a much finer breed,
For Ivan he died most forlorn,
But our Harold arrived with the next day's sunrise,
He arrived like the milk in the morn.
Misfortune dogged our tracks on the second stage of our journey. We started off about eighteen days later after a complete rest as we, i.e. Johnnie & myself, made up the crew of the “Pride of Newfoundland”, a fishing smack and spent four and a half days partly visiting nearby fishing villages and latterly fishing for the last of the codfish of that season. It was absolutely great to experience such thrills as the waves swept right over us during the height of a storm. One of the crew fell overboard, but we managed to get him out and bring him to again. The delay was caused by the non-arrival of our furs and shoes, etc., for the snow had started to descend. The village of White Bay looked very picturesque with its covering of soft snow about fifteen feet deep and still snowing hard, which meant that we had to “go” some before the ice got too thick over the strait of Bell Isle.
First day out “Whitewash” sprained his neck whilst turning round quickly to investigate a slight sound he had heard on his left. 'Twas a white bunny - exit Bunny - exit bullet - exit bunny's soul - exit bunny down four throats soon after. Nature is wonderful in the Arctic regions. When winter comes she changes the animals' coloured coats to perfect white, to provide protection from roving animals - four legged and two legged as well.
Two days afterwards, about sunset, whilst making a steady six and a half to seven miles an hour on our snow-shoes we came to the top of a hill fully a hundred and twenty feet high. Johnny rushed forward to see the view from the top when suddenly the ground gave way from beneath him. We nearly lost our hearts - but managed to keep our teeth clenched. It is my first experience of seeing a man fall over such a height. We did not expect to see Johnnie again alive. We were all full of activity when it happened.
Leblanc issued the orders quick and to the point. Whitewash was to make our shelter about 1/4 of a mile away. He and myself had to get down somehow into the valley. It was a nightmare trip for me. Twice “Mangy” saved me from falling and starting an avalanche. Eventually we had to jump the last thirty odd feet into the snow below and luckily we both jumped into about five feet of snow near the bottom and escaped injury. Now came the hunt for “Johnnie”. We saw one of his snow shoes sticking out of the snow and we started digging him out of it. After what seemed a century we found him lying still and quiet under nine feet of snow, with about twenty more feet below him. We managed to bring him round with the usual restorative. The climb down was bad - but the climb up was fifty times worse. Having signalled to Whitewash he lighted a huge fire on top and after two and a half hours climbing we reached the top and safety.
It was 9.30 before we finished our tea and then to our hut for a real good sleep. Our hut consisted of about seven or eight thin trees tied with saplings to the limb of a big tree with the ends resting on the ground. The trees were placed about two feet apart. Across these poles were interlaced boughs etc., and having piled the snow up on the side we had a cosy wigwam. The sides open were laced up with boughs making an effective block for the wind. It took Johnnie fully two days to recuperate. Having got started on our way up north again we kept on increasing our mileage from twenty to fifty miles a day with the aid of our snowshoes. About two weeks out we got on the tracks of caribou and followed them for about fourteen miles and secured a nice young one. I can assure you we thoroughly enjoyed it as we had been living on rabbit and such small animals since we left White Bay.
Two days afterwards disaster overtook us, in the nature of an avalanche. We were walking - or I should have said feeling our way - round the mountain which had an angle of about forty degrees. When about a quarter of the way round I had to go forward. Mangy was in front. We must have looked quite curious with our packs, guns and snowshoes slung over our backs. Suddenly from above we heard a slight rumble. We knew what it was, - the start of an avalanche. It all happened in less than 35 seconds, but I can still hear that rumble. It started just like distant thunder and it came nearer and nearer, louder and louder and crash and bang, we were all caught in the turmoil and sent hurtling down. (To be continued)
By Noel Griffiths.
Far be it from me to disturb the harmony of the Club at this season of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. Rather let me attempt to lay the foundations of a happy New Year by settling once and for all the propriety of using the verb “to hike”. There is no denying that the word “hiking” has worried us. Vice-President Myles Dunphy regards it with distinct disfavour. To him it suggests a crowd of flappers of both sexes straggling through the bush in street attire with ukuleles and hampers to impede their progress, tripping over rocks and vines and leaving scraps and papers lying around to mark their halting places. Myles acknowledges the English origin of the word, but condemns it for its American associations. Empire preference and all that sort of thing. Myles doesn't “hike”- he goes a recreational walk.
My good friend, Bob Savage, on the other hand, utters the word with reverent awe, for has it not fallen in times past from the lips of the Great Chief Scout, Lord Baden Powell?
And so, not knowing in my bewilderment whether I hiked or recreationally walked (sorry, Myles!) I decided to ask the opinion of Mr. George Mackaness, Lecturer-in-Charge, Department of English, Teachers' College, Sydney; Past President, Royal Australian Historical Society; Vice President, Fellowship of Australian Writers; well known author and lecturer, recognised philological authority and Australian correspondent of the Syndics of the Oxford Press.
Promptly Mr. Mackaness's reply came back:-
“The word is not mentioned in any contemporary English dictionary, but can be found in earlier dictionaries. It is said by one authority to be derived from a Liecestershire dialect. The work is not an Americanism, nor is it slang. Its origin is probably to be found in the good old Anglo-Saxon word 'higian' from which we get 'to hie.'
“It may interest you to know,” concluded Mr. Mackaness, “that in a book published in 1764 I found a verse concluding
'If that's the case, I know you'll say,
'Tis time indeed to hyke away'.”
Thank you, Mr. Mackaness!
236 George Street, (near Bridge St.,) Sydney.
Small: 17” x 20“ in waterproof khaki duck, suitable for day walks, etc. 7/6.
Large: Swiss Pattern 19” x 23“ in khaki proofed duck with two pockets and a big flap 1 1/2” leather shoulder straps. 15/-.
Cane Frame: Specially priced to bring a frame rucksack within the reach of modest purses. In khaki proofed duck with 3 large pockets and an extra top flat for a full load, fitted with all-leather harness. 35/-.
Steel Frame: Bergen Pattern - These have an extra large sack and 4 capacious pockets. Made of superior grey proofed duck. The harness and straps are of chrome tanned leather which will retain its velvet softness under all conditions. Solid nickel fittings. 60/-.
Steel Frame No. 2: The same pattern rucksack in khaki duck with nickel plated fittings and brown leather harness. 50/-.
Military Style: 16“ x 12” x 5“ in brown duck with leather straps. 5/11.
As above with two large pockets, one on each side. 7/6.
Pockets fitted to your own Military pack for 2/6.
Full size 6' x 3' Proofed Japara. Weight only 12 oz. Made in red, black and brown, fast colours). 6/6. (Special Sizes made to order)
The “Dunphy Cape Piece”: 6' x 4' Made of proofed Japara. Provided with press studs so that it may be worn as a cape. 8/ll.
Sleeping Bags: Lower side proofed Japara and upper side of plain Japara 6' x 3. 9/ll.
Lightweight Tents or gear of any description made up to your own design.
If you want to make your own gear I can supply you with everything you require. Exact lengths of material cut. Leather straps cut to order. 36” Japara l/9d per yd.
F. A. Pallin, 236 George St, Sydney.
Five men and four fair maidens
On the Shoalhaven one day,
Did not expect to meet a snake,
But one came down that way.
It took three men, or was it four?
That one poor snake to kill,
But Brenda skinned it on her own,
And was not even ill.
Usually these reports are written by party leaders, but as Sister Rene is busy with the concert, I'll take this much off her pack.
I've not been on many official walks lately, but the midweekness and the nightness of this one made an appeal.
The party met at the intersection of two gorges, and right forninst the upper reaches of the Tank Stream. The first thing I noticed was the absence of the usual shorts and shirts and packs. Sister Ferrier, I noticed, wore a brown frock with a circular opening for the neck, and any other details the ladies of the party can supply. Sister Rankin had on a wide hat trimmed with a nice little face. Brother Chardan wore a straight-trimmed felt hat and a pipe. The others were all dressed just as they left home - and some a bit before.
About 7.40 p.m. Sister Rene passed round some coupons and off we went. The track turned into a short, narrow gully, then sharply up a steep pinch, reminding one awfully of the pass up to the end of Clear Hill. There is no doubt walking is popular, for we were shoulder to shoulder. Luckily for us the footholds were eminently satisfactory or in other words P.G.
Arriving at the top of the pinch we were forced to yield up our coupons (what a curse is this modern system of tolls!) and then to our surprise the country opened out greatly and the main crowd scattered in all directions.
Our party struck away to a track on the left, right against a perpendicular wall, and again a steep pinch. Reaching the top, we all sat down, some in places they had not bargained for. The country layout before us like a small amphitheatre with people dotted all over it - walking IS popular.
Alas! even on a mid-week walk the serpent of private partyism intruded its ugly head. Away down on a ledge I saw Sister O. Greenacre and a girl friend.
No one seemed inclined to move on and I was just wondering about the absence of packs and TUCKER, when along came Sister Rene handing out rations. They were certainly neat and light, and being sugary, ranked high in calories, evidently an experiment in the new no-weight equipment.
Just then the moon or something went out, and from the bottom of the gorge came low sweet music. “.Aha!” I thought, “Peter and his mouthy in ambush”.
This lasted about five minutes rising at times to the volume of an orchestra. Suddenly a cloud or somethin' cleared away and a lovely pommy looking landscape lay before us. In the foreground was a creek, spanned by a rustic bridge; beyond that lay an ideal camp spot - two fine oaks set on a lawn and to the left a gate and a suspicion of a farm house which promised eggs! milk!! bacon!!! A truly noble prospect considering the absence of real rations.
While we were admiring this, still to the sound of music sweet, on tripped some twenty most delightful bushwalking girls, also packless, but with wings (I happened to recognise their leader, a girl friend of mine, Iolanthe). They all carried their own tent poles, which proves their modernity, but I'm doubtful about their flimsy flowing dresses when it comes to scrubby stuff.
Just then, a thought chilled my spine. “Aha!” methinks, “this walk is a dud. I've been trapped into a “Berlei Exhibition, or Walking as it Might be”. However, seeing other men in the crowd, I calmed down.
The girls sang and danced most delightfully. Many others came on and had much to say. By keeping quiet we managed to hear all they were saying. It turned out to be a family quarrel with the eternal polyangle problem. It had some very funny aspects, and as they seemed unaware of our presence no harm came of it.
The argument lasted about 2 1/2 hours and the clouds again came over the picture, and the moon or somethin' came out. Peter and his mob played “Gorsave”. Grabbing my semi P.P. I dived down Jerry's Ridge just as the entire mob surged our way.
At the old Tank Stream the party broke and made for its many homes.
'Twas certainly a queer walk, not much mileage, but, still, plenty to see and hear; and as I've always contended, and as William S. would have said if he'd thought of it -
“Every walk is different.”
The scene is Liverpool.
Into the “Tin Hare” with cream cans all about, and soon with much chugging the “Hare” is started for Campbelltown, and so we neared our objective - O'Hares.
From Campbelltown on to Wedderburn Bridge - 3 1/2 miles in 55 minutes, and as hot as one could wish.
The hot and dusty road added zest to the carrying of heavy packs, little did we care about those ten long miles. Maybe there was a blister or two or perhaps an aching muscle, but these are minor things.
Minerva Pool, Stokes Creek's lovely waterhole, we reached as the old Sol sank to rest. Oh! How we enjoyed that dip, forgotten the dusty road, the aggravating blisters, complete enjoyment was ours in Nature's beauty pool.
With renewed vigour returned enormous appetites, and so to camp fires with forked sticks, chops, fry pans and many rounds of good red steak. Deep silence descended then upon the camp, broken sometimes by a fish yarn or the scratching of a match. There was little conversation, we were far too full for words.
”'Tis half past ten
Now come my men
To bed I say
And hurry pray
And long and rough
If you would walk
Then cut your talk
And into bed.“
This is what the leader said.
But some one mentioned Yabbies here
A food the leader held most dear,
And most dexterous was he
And we had then another tea.
Three he caught, or was it four,
We wish it had been many more.
Now Sidney liked the claws so much
He told us them we must not touch.
“I'll save them up until the morn
And have my supper with the dawn.”
The leader winked the other eye
And to the nippers said good-bye.
Thank heaven we had ladies there
To bottle Sidney's dam good swear.
“Rootsie you're a mingy cow
I'll get even, this I vow
Though it takes me till I'm dead. “
This is what old Sidney said.
The morn gave promise of a very wet day,
But very shortly this gave way
Heat that was wet and made our sweat
Run down into our eyes
And made us feel we were not real
And curse the blasted flies.
Nothing daunted we forged ahead and so to the tough part of the trip. That -
Stern rocky chasm of O'Hare
Would that I could often wander there
Deep, silent pools, and rushing stream
Ideal place for one to sit and dream.
As day advanced we cursed the heat and prayed the leader would let up. A true orang outang was he however, and walking to a schedule.
The party straggled out a bit and the ladies were left behind. Even the leader could not resist that water hole so inviting.
Oh! Cool, limpid waters of O'Hare
What though our bodies may be bare
Respite from the heat wave we did seek
In safety with our watcher on yon peak.
Into clinging clothes again and on to Pheasants Creek for lunch. “We must get there or not be home tonight,” so said the leader.
Dark clouds and rolling thunder, ominous portends of the coming storm. “Hurry you blighters, hurry”, so said the leader.
There were some that did and some that didn't
Alas for those behind,
Some reached the sanctum - Pheasants Cave
And so they didn't mind,
The hail and rain and wind and cold
Of the tempest so unkind.
A fire to warm them and dry their sodden clothes, this we did for them albeit laughing the while at their sorry plight. Cheerful they were and wholly unperturbed - truly true Bushwalkers.
Food of course, and muddy tea, we had ample stocks of both. Then ground sheets out and up the hill onward to Wedderburn.
A snake we saw, poor blighter half alive, the hail had stunned him - so it seemed - and the leader did the rest.
Itching fingers and a knife - 'Twas Brenda's second skin.
The weather continued so unkind that the rest of the tale is mud, just mud and rain and dodging drips under Wedderburn Bridge. Then more damp eats and more dam rain, and a sloppy walk to the train.
Now this is the tale of O'Hares Creek and of Minerva Pool
And the one who thinks it isn't tough is more than twice a fool,
It is a tale of a rare good crew, and clogging sloshy boots,
And all of you must know it's true for it's told by Leader Roots.
This is not “a song of a fight through a day and a night” as sung by Frank Duncan elsewhere in this issue, but the scene, strange to say, is the same - Bushwalkers' Basin. There must be something about that place which causes Bushwalkers, yes, and prospective Bushwalkers, to lose things when in its vicinity.
On this occasion it was not the Basin itself that was lost, but something very nearly as important, some might even think more so; for what is next in importance to a good camp site? Ask any S.B.W. that and the answer will be always the same, “Why, food of course.”
We had fine sunny weather, a gently flowing stream (very slippery at the crossing, but what of that?), a waterfall tumbling with a delightful din into the calm waters of the Basin, - and that must one member of the party do but discover that he had lost, or mislaid, or allowed to stray, or failed to pack, or even perhaps failed to buy the sixth tin of spaghetti. “I'm sure I paid for six tins” he wailed, “but I can only find five.” Still, we managed with the aid of large quantities of salad, not to mention toast and tea and many other things, to stifle the pangs of hunger and fortify ourselves for the moonlight walk to Campbelltown.
But our troubles were not yet ended, for that same moon played us a scurvy trick by shining upon the fence posts but failing to reveal the barbed wire stretched between them. I shall only say, sorrowfully, that in an argument with a barbed wire fence, it always wins.
“Through the crisp white frost on Ashton Hill
On Sunday came our old friend Bill;
When he and Maisie crossed the bridge,
They said “Let's follow this short ridge.”
“In Sunshine warm the 'bakers' lay,
But Bill continued on his way,
Said he 'Farewell, don't think me rude,
On this P. P. I'll not intrude.”
“Then Eric once more made some tea,
A worthy S.B.W. he,
Though rather weak in math'matics -
He can't tell how many tins make six.”
So many new young faces among you and so many faces that are merely new!! You will all be so busy reading the Social Notes in the magazine, that I'll just write you the weeniest little letter to-day.
I have just received some fearfully intreeging news from PAREE. It is that this year, skirts will not be worn any longer. I wasn't quite sure what this meant until I saw some of my nieces going walking last Sunday - and dear me! I hope I've made a mistake! Or that Paris has!! I mean to say, it's all very well for you young people, but, if I have to wear shorts and show my knees at afternoon tea, I feel sure that I shall lose my accustomed poise. Positively!
At this time of the year, as we clever little sempstresses know, one may pick up so many dainty trifles in Coles and Woolworths - of course we must be careful that the shopwalker is looking the other way, or we may be forced to pay for them. So tiresome don't you think dears? Well, dears, I came into town this morning quite on tip-toes for a day among the frillies (for I wanted one or two patterns off the selvedge to re-cover that pincushion I got from Barbara last year, so that I could give it to Dolly or Mary for Christmas - but the shop-walker was most offensive and kept breathing down my back until I had to leave and see what I could do in the cash-and-carry part of the premises.)
So I emerged presently with a beating heart, a pattern off the selvedge and two tins of Anchovy, not to mention one or two packets of dried soup, and, just as I was passing Cholmondeleys (pronounced “mannering” or something) I saw the most intreeging set of beaded bed-socks with night-cap to match! Of course they are a trifle daring, but one must move with the times, mustn't one? Before I forget let me print a perfectly dear little poem. My nephew Gus sent it to me:
“Girls, when they went out to swim,
Once dressed like Mother Hubbard;
But now they have a bolder whim -
They dress more like her cupboard.”
And now dear nieces, that is all the space the Editress will allow me; and I think she wants me to go away and write hints on how to make custard or something. So intreeging isn't it?
Your loving Aunt,
There have not been many items on the Social Calendar since last issue of the “Bushwalker”, as all our energies were directed towards making a success of our biggest undertaking - the 4th Annual Concert.
This was held in St. James' Hall on Wednesday, 18th November, and as a result of a record attendance of about 350, the Club is the richer by £22 - half of which it is expected will go towards the fund for buying back the Blue Gum Forest.
Several very enjoyable hours were spent one Friday night listening to a lantern lecture by Mr. Harold Chardon, partly on a canoe trip down the Warragamba and partly on a trip by the five “Ourang-Outangs” along O'Hares Creek. The Lantern slides were very good, and the river scenery, especially Minerva Pool, looked so enticing, that when an official trip was led to the district there was quite a large roll-up.
On 27th November, we were given a lecture by Miss Violet Roche of the Australian National Travel Association. She illustrated her talk with posters of various mountain scenes, native bears, and other interesting subjects, by means of which this country is being popularised abroad.
Provided it does not lead to despoiling the bush, we wish the Association every success.