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.
On Friday night, 16th March 1928, I boarded the 8 p.m. train to Penrith, together with sundry large bags and parcels containing food and bedding sufficient for a lengthy spell in the open. After an extremely slow train journey I at length reached Penrith and proceeded along the Western Road to the Nepean River. The river seemed to me to be above normal height, and this was indeed the case as I found early next morning.
A small grassy spot under some overhanging trees made an excellent bedroom for the night, so there I spread my blankets and slept.
The next morning (Saturday) I was up with the dawn and great was my surprise to see our sturdy little craft moored between two launches not more than 6 feet from where I had been standing the previous night. On closer inspection I found Tom bedded down in one of the launches. It was only a matter of seconds before I had wakened him by throwing a stone on the roof of the cabin.
We next held a council-of-war and decided to push on straight away and have breakfast further downstream. Accordingly we loaded “Joy” and headed away on our course at 6.27 a.m.
Just below the bridge we found the current flowing swifter than we liked, so we beached and went ahead to investigate, and found the water running over the full length of the weir about 2-ft. deep. This was indeed more than we had bargained for, and just as we were making up our minds to do a half-mile portage, we happened to notice that the water was not running so swiftly on the Western bank. We had a closer look and then decided to take a risk and lower the canoe down through the raging torrent, backwards, by means of a length of line we had brought with us. Except for a near mishap at first, just as the boat was going over the weir, everything went off as hoped, and about 200 yards further down we got in and paddled again.
The current was very swift, whirlpools and eddies gripping the boat every few yards. The only thing to do was to paddle hard until safely through. After about a mile of this, matters became even worse, and we noticed broken water ahead. I asked Tom whether he wanted to shoot the rapids or not. His answer was typical of the man: “I'll try anything once”, so away we went.
1 won't attempt to describe all the sensations I went through in those few minutes. We shot through at the speed of an express train, snags and rocks fairly leapt at the boat and it was only by dint of much hard paddling and harder steering that we at length came through unscathed and dry.
This little adventure gave us confidence in our boat, which, later, we were glad to have, as the next 2 or 3 miles proved to be nothing more or less than a succession of rapids, all of them worse than the first.
The last of these rapids nearly proved our downfall. The river at this point flowed round a little island, having two channels. We decided to take the one to the left as it looked the deeper of the two. We discovered our mistake when it was nearly too late. The channel narrowed down till barely ten yards wide and then plunged through a row of river oaks. We could never have got through alive. As it was, we barely managed to beach the canoe before it would have been sucked to its doom and ours.
A short portage across the island brought us to the other channel which was ugly enough, but which eventually brought us through safely.
After this bad stretch, the river opened out into a broad placid stream. A further half mile at the paddles and we put into the bank and ate a well-earned breakfast, embellished with eggs and milk obtained from a local farmer.
After breakfast we had a spell until ll o'clock, when we embarked and headed away downstream. After about 1 1/2 miles of paddling on a glass-like stream, we approached what appeared to be a wall of trees right across the river, and we could also hear the roar of the white water. We approached carefully to within 100 yards, when we could see the water falling away towards a channel which opened up on the right. When I say falling, I mean it literally, as the water was like the slope of a hill. Our passage through this rapid proved quite uneventful, although the waves in the centre of the river were sometimes as high as the prow of our stout little craft. Several more rapids followed in quick succession, when the river swept us through another in which there was a sharp bend. After negotiating this safely, imagine our dismay to see a bridge ahead of us with the water swirling underneath and barely 6 inches between bridge and water. We simply had to make the shore before we reached the bridge, and we did it, although I will never know to my dying day how we managed it.
After carrying the canoe over the bridge, we saw a railway bridge on the far s1de, about 150 yards downstream. It was questionable whether there was sufficient room for us to get under without knocking our heads, but as there was no way round, we had to try it. I will never forget the thrill as we shot between two of the trestles with barely six inches to spare above our heads.
This was our last experience of rapids, and we settled down to a steady paddle to Richmond, and lunch. All went well and we arrived there on schedule, and at 4 p.m. embarked again and headed for Windsor.
Just before reaching this town, we ran into a strong head wind and had a very uncomfortable half hour, as our sharp prow dashed spray all over us. That night we went to the local Picture Show, and after seeing a very fair programme went to bed in the reserve opposite the town.
Sunday dawned a perfect day, except for a heavy dew which drenched everything. However, we could not let this alter our plans so we packed early and while Tom went up town, I lazed in the shade of the bridge. At 10 o'clock we were again under way. The river was glassy and the current light; this meant a day of hard paddling. During the day we passed through some of the finest country I have ever seen. The trees and grass were fresh and green, the cattle sleek and fat.
After passing along Windsor, Wilberforce and York Reaches, we came to Canning Reach, where we decided to have lunch. Accordingly we stopped on a sandy beach and unpacked our gear. This meal, being the first solid one for the day, was little short of a feast, consisting of grilled sausages and boiled corn, Granose Biscuits and milk, cocoa and toast.
After lunch we pushed on, only being able to use the sail for about 1 1/2 miles. As night was falling fast, we paddled on to the junction of Portland and Sackville Reaches, where we camped under a huge tree about 20 feet above the river, perfectly dry and quite a good camp site. The paper this morning predicted rain, so we turned the canoe upside down and slept under it for additional protection.
The country so far could be divided into two classes. The first is like Burragorang, where the river bed is strewn with round boulders, and the banks lined with river oaks, bent downstream with the force of the raging torrent in flood time. The second portion consists of open flat country, the banks lined with willows and the stream wide, deep and still. Beautiful country, all of it. Towards the end of to-day's trip, the banks seemed to be getting more rugged, and perhaps another change awaits us on the morrow. Who knows?
We rose early on Monday, and after a light breakfast started the day's voyage. Rounding the bend from Sackville Reach into Kent Reach we heard a fusilade of shots. They came from a beautiful white cruiser which was anchored just out of sight around the bend. When we came abreast of them, we started a conversation and, one thing leading to another, we were asked on board and shown the boat. Later we were taken for a spin in the dinghy which was equipped with a special high-power outboard motor. Altogether we spent about 2 hours on board, and at 11.30 a.m. bid our friends adieu, and continued our cruise to Lower Portland.
After a short discussion, we decided to explore the Colo as far up as possible. Accordingly we started off and for the first time on the trip, made really fair progress under sail. This only lasted for about a mile, when the wind failed and we again took to the paddles. About this time a boatload of people pulled abreast of us, and on hearing that our supplies were getting low invited us to drop in to their farm. We accepted their kind offer and came away laden with milk, bread, butter, jam, and a rabbit, and, best of all, an invitation to be sure and drop in on the way back.
We continued on our way till we struck a good camping spot, and here had tea and settled down for the night.
The scenery is now becoming mountainous and the willows of the flat country are giving way to other trees and vines which grow on this river in almost tropical profusion.
Tuesday we cooked a very substantial breakfast, and made a start upstream about 9 a.m. At about 1 o'clock we came to a nice sandy beach where we had lunch and a bath. From here the current was very strong, in fact in one place we had to make a tow-line fast and pull the canoe through what practically amounted to a rapid. After about 3 or 4 miles of this gruelling work, we landed at a farm house, and after having a chat with the farmer, turned round and came back. The scenery at this part of the Colo is very similar to that just below Penrith, mostly River Oaks and sand, with a forest of Gums back towards the mountains.
After an uneventful trip downstream, we eventually reached Lower Portland, where we pitched camp for the night, having obtained supplies of bread from the “Baker's Launch” farther up the Colo.
Next day we started early and paddled hard until we reached Upper Half Moon Reach, where we had lunch. From here, however, we reached Wiseman's Ferry about halt past one.
From Wiseman's we continued downstream under sail for a couple of miles, but soon, according to custom, the wind failed and we again took to the paddles. We stuck to our work until we reached a nice sandy beach, surmounted by a grassy bank. It was now just on dark and storm clouds were gathering fast in the South. We first of all turned our boat bottom up and after making our stores secure, took our blankets and made our way to an empty house of which the local residents had told us. It proved to be in ruins, with rats and “what nots” scampering all over the floor. Sooner than spend the night here, we decided to try our luck under the canoe.
On our return we sorted the stores into two groups, namely: those that water would not damage, and those that it would. The latter we tucked away in the ends of the boat and the former we dumped outside. We next spread our blankets under the boat and found to our relief that we fitted all right.
By this time the inner man was screaming, so we prepared our tea. Just as we were finishing the storm broke in all its fury. Then ensued a wild scamper for bed, and when safely tucked away we watched the lightning from our cosy shelter while the mosquitoes reigned unchecked, for we were unable to hang our net that night.
Next morning we slept late, as the previous day had been a great strain; 24 miles against wind and rain most of the day, is no mean feat. After breakfast we did some washing while we waited for the tide to change, and at 12 noon again started, the tide being with us, but the wind blowing from the South East made it tough going. As we were now getting into the large stretches of open water, we were affected by the waves as well as the wind. As a head wind meant a head sea also, it can be imagined what a buffeting we received.
We made fair progress in spite of the weather and at 3.30 p.m. came in sight of Hawkesbury Bridge, reaching Dangar Island, our destination for the night, at 5 o'clock. Here we met some extremely nice people, who insisted on our using their boatshed for a bedroom, and who actually provided us with two stretchers on which to sleep.
Friday dawned with a clear blue sky, and a calm sea, there being no wind to speak of. We rose early, had breakfast, and filled in the time, until the tide turned, by a tour of the island on foot. There are some fine views to be had from some of the vantage points round the Island that kept our cameras very busy.
At 10 a.m. we left on a falling tide and reached Patonga Jetty about 12 noon. We spent the afternoon and evening with some friends and had a very enjoyable time.
Next day, we left under sail and headed for Lion Island, where we landed on a little beach. I will say here that this is one of the prettiest little spots that I have ever had the good fortune to visit. We climbed to the highest point and took many photos. We subsequently found that very few people have ever been up where we went on account of the inaccessibility of the place and the vast numbers of snakes that are said to infest the Island. All that we can say, however, is that we did not see any.
From Lion Island we cruised across to Barrenjoey, and visited the lighthouse, where we autographed the visitors' book.
Our next port of call was the Basin, and we turned in to camp at Bonnie Doon.
We were astir early on Sunday morning, and went for a walk to Perry's Lookdown. The view from here is splendid, and our cameras did good work.
On returning to the Basin, we first of all made sure of our milk supply and then went for a swim. Imagine our dismay on returning to camp to find all our bread and biscuits gone. It appears that while we were absent the cows had been driven across the channel and had made short work of everything they could find!
Our next point was Lovett Bay lookout, which we reached about 1 o'clock. There is a splendid view from this lookout, which although not quite as high as Perry's, possesses, if anything, a slightly better view of Pittwater.
From here we paddled slowly down to Church Point, our destination, which we reached about 2.30 p.m. After seeing “Joy” safely housed, we boarded the car which was to take us to Manly. We started for home at 3.15 p.m., and parted company at Circular Quay at 6 o'clock.
(Ed. Note: Though we feel it is quite unnecessary, at the urgent request of the Author, we assure our Readers that the characters in these Notes are all imaginary, and have no relation whatever to anyone bearing the same name.)
Only four specimens in Australia. Usually found at Pubs, Parties or on Bush Tracks. Live on Beer and Beef. Distinctive cry - “Orang-outang, Orang-outang.” General appearance - bold and bad.
The “Root” Orang-outang chants the cry incessantly and is fond of babies and brawls.
A long leanness distinguishes the “Herbert” specimen who adores foolery, females and food.
Great care and caution is necessary to view the “Donnelly” and “Green” Orang-outangs as both are very shy, fleeing hastily at the sound of inquisitive footsteps.
The liquid known as Beer consumed by all the members of this family has a remarkable effect, causing them to beat their chests, while vigorously uttering their cry and then to leap from rock to rock with gnashing of teeth and banging of chins on knees.
Boastful of their strength are the Orang-Outangs. Loudly do they vociferate that they are “tuff” but, as “the female of the species is more deadly than the male,” for “tuffness” see the “Hippopotami.”
Four specimens in Australia. Usually found at Bridge, Business or on Bush Tracks. Live on Apricots, Applesauce and Aspirations. Distinctive cry - “hip, hip, hip, hip-potami.” General appearance - handsome but hippy.
In addition to the common call of the family, the “Brown” Hippo produces weird, soul-tearing noises on an instrument known as a mouth organ.
The “Ellis” Hippo, hearty and hilarious, loves food and flattery, while the “Macartney” Hippo is troubled with navy-blue parasites known as “cubs”.
Brawn, beauty and brevity characterise the “Drewell” Hippo.
The Hippopotami have the strange habit of spending long afternoons wandering up and down ridges looking for short cut.
Allied to these two strange families is a third known as “Jaguar.”
Two specimens in Australia and one in New Zealand. Usually found in Accountants, Banks and Choirs, also on Bush Tracks. Live on Bones and Bovril. Distinctive cry - “Jaguar, Jaguar, rah rah rah.” General appearance - small but saintly.
This family are rapacious eaters and have been known to consume a whole cow for light luncheon, leaving the picked bones for evidence.
Of the two Australian specimens Jaguar “Armstrong” is distinguished by his broadcasting and buffoonery, while the “MacQueen” Jaguar likes adroit arguing and atheism. The New Zealand specimen has a fondness for hymns and hers.
A general characteristic of this family is restlessness and they are usually to be seen fleeing ahead of their rivals the “Orang-outangs.”
Note: It has been discovered that on occasions these families gather together and gallop over the countryside, chanting a chorus of - “Kowmung, Kowmung, it all sounds like Kowmung to me.”
- A Student.
- and most good campers are particular - like their gear made to their own requirements and that is just where Paddy Pallin comes in useful. Take that pet scheme of yours to him and let him make it up, whether it is a tent, a rucksack or even a new type of tent peg.
He likes that kind of job, and you may rest assured that he will put into it the best of materials and workmanship.
Here are a few new lines that may interest you:
Steel Frame Tailor-Made Rucksacks.
We are not all cast in the same mould. The rucksack that fits the six-footer does not generally suit the back of five foot six. Come and be measured for your steel frame. In hard-wearing grey duck and grey chroms leather harness for 60/-.
Tent Pegs: Here's a steel peg that will not readily bend, 2d. each, 1/10 per doz.
Ration bags: Japara ration bags in all sizes, from 3d. each.
Waterbuckets: Wedge shaped heavy-japara water buckets. Weigh only a few ounces, fold up quite small, yet hold over a gallon of water and will stand anywhere when full. 2/3 each.
Screw topped aluminium containers: with glass dish inside, 1/8d. 2/-, 2/6d.
Sleeping bags: Pure down sleeping bags in blue or brown supplied in a proofed japara bag: 55/-.
Uncoloured proofed japara: 3/- per yd.
F. A. Pallin,
2nd Floor, 236 George Street, (Nr. Bridge st. ) , Sydney.
About an hour after the avalanche hit us I came to with a dreadful headache, and my eye cut and bleeding. I'll carry that mark to my dying day… Suddenly I thought of my companions…
All round me were strewn large rocks, and lucky for me I had not been hit by one, otherwise I might have been “na-poo”. In the distance I could see Mangy limping round in circles. On coming up to him I found that he had lost his memory. He seemed startled at seeing me, and began fighting and abusing me for kissing his wife. I rushed round a tree to escape him. I thought he might have gone mad, and a cold shiver went down my spine at the thought of being alone with a madman out in these lonely spaces. He tripped over a small tree and hit his head on another. He lay as still as death, and gradually the white snow began to get a reddish colour. Fortunately he had only cut a vein, and after I had applied First Aid to him, and artificial respiration, etc., he sat up and rubbed his eyes, and said, “Well, when do we eat?”. Jove, I offered up a prayer of thankfulness, for he had regained his lost memory! Next I made our “humpy” and gave Mangy a drink of brandy and put him to sleep. He slept for fully 18 hours.
The next thing was to find the others. I searched till dark but no trace could I find of either of them. I offered up a very sincere prayer for their safety.
Having cleared a good spot, I stripped the damp bark off the birch trees and made a huge fire, partly to attract the attention of the others, and again to keep the wolves away as only the day before we had espied tracks leading the way we were going.
Mangy's pack was nowhere to be seen as it had been torn off his back. His gun was also missing, but luckily I found mine about 100-ft. back from where I had landed. I also salvaged about 1/2-lb. flour, some coffee, and two fishing lines. My belt with my ammunition had disappeared, and so the gun was useless.
Never will I forget that night in that solitary spot! Inside the shelter a sleeping man, whom it was certainly company to come in and look at occasionally; and outside – Only once before had I heard the bark of the foxes more eerisome. Behind us was a huge, snow-covered mountain. All around us was the snow-covered earth, and to the left was another drop into a chasm about 2000-ft. deep. Dark clouds hovered above and were travelling very fast, and occasionally the moon would shine through, but after it had gone - complete darkness. Every few minutes through the air would sound the quick bark of a fox, and with the crackling of the logs every now and again - well, I had 'em bad.
All through the night at intervals I kept on giving the Indian call sign, YAH-HOOOoooooo, but no answer from that black shroud encircling the miles of forest, and who knows what else – no answer except an occasional bark from a frightened fox.
The nightmare was over about 6 a.m. when the dawn broke through the inky darkness. Having left a note inside for my companion, I went off in search of food. I had not had time to set snares at night, and had to rely on strategy for something to eat. I tracked an unsuspecting bunny to its lair, and killed it with a whack on the neck with the butt-end of the gun. About a mile back of the rabbit lairs was a “young” stream all frozen up. I gave three loud and prolonged cheers, as we were assured of our fish at any rate. I was so excited that I ran back to camp and forgot my “bunny”, and it was taken by a fox while I was absent.
I returned with some lines and artificial flies and, with the aid of Mangy's axe, I cut a hole through the ice. The poor fish bit for all they were worth, and in less than 30 minutes twenty little trout, averaging 3/4-lb. each, had given up the ghost. I threw half of them in the ashes to cook and had my breakfast consisting of five trout and some coffee, made in a billy made out of the bark of a birch tree. Jove, I was hungry!
Having finished, I left another message and set off to look for my companions. All I had to eat for the rest of that day was the other five fish - cold - washed down with snow. I searched all day, but no signs could I find of them.
Returning to camp about 5 p.m., I found “Mangy” skinning a fox which he had caught with his bare hands. For the next 2 hours we ate nearly half of Mr. Reynard. After tea I felt very tired as I had been on my feet for 37 hours. “Mangy” saw how tired I was and suggested that I should have an hour's sleep and then we would talk things over. He promised to wake me in sixty minutes - but he didn't. I did not wake till about 7 a.m. next day. “Mangy” said he had fallen asleep, and, or course, he could not waken me. I knew that was wrong, for near the fire were two rabbits, and signs of another two inside.
After about half-an-hour's argument, we decided to have another good look. The two of us were to go in different directions and to return to the “base” in eight days' time. Smoke fires were to be a signal for us both if we had news. We tossed for “sides”. I was to get into the chasm. Improvised ladders were made from birch trees tied together with saplings - very precarious -but effective.
Having been lowered to the ledge beneath us, I found a series of rocks down the one side which luckily held, and by this means I reached the bottom in exactly 3 hours. Every now and again I'd dislodge a stone, and millions of smaller ones would then start.
Having reached the bottom, I gave the O.K. sign to “Mangy” and then we separated.
About 200 yds. round the bottom of the chasm I came across deep and heavy tracks in the snow. My heart gave a bounce, and I yelled to “Mangy”, who, luckily, heard me. Sensing something important, he came “tearing” down the chasm side. It took him about 1 3/4 hours. We followed the tracks for four or five miles, and then - we smelt burning wood. It was “Johnnie's” fire. He had carried “Whitewash” from the scene of the avalanche on his back, and was still attending him as the poor old chap had a broken leg, one arm broken in two places, and two fingers completely dragged out of their sockets. He was the worst case of all. Gee, we were pleased to hear each other's voices! “Whitewash” was a real stoic. Seated round the cave, we had a real old yarn, and lightheartedly talked about trivial matters - hiding our real feelings.
While Johnnie attended “Whitewash”, Le Blanc and I hunted for a way I out of the chasm. He struck a good position where we could lift “Whitewash” up in his improvised stretcher. After resting a few days, we eventually reached the top, and decided to go on. Taking turns with the stretcher, we averaged about 19 miles per day as only two had snowshoes. Hence the delay.
For 100 miles we followed a frozen stream, thereby easing our burden for we put runners on - about five layers of bark with saplings tied to the front. We put the “stretcher” on top and drew the whole thing along quite easily. By this means we made good progress. Five days afterwards we came to the head of the stream and then cut across to the coast. We really intended making for St. Anthony, but we struck the coast sooner than we anticipated, and not far from land was a “supply” steamer on its way north. We hailed it, and soon afterwards we were received on board and had a change of diet - salt pork and tea, bread and a few scones and margarine. Not bad after living on fish, rabbit, fox, etc.
We eventually reached Nain, having had an exciting trip with a few thrills. The monks there, I forget their order now - attended to “Whitewash”, and in three weeks' time he was recuperating - but could not go on as it was found that his kneecap had been shattered inside.
We were now in Labrador and about to start on the longest and most dangerous part of the whole trip.
A canker is in our midst!! It eats at one of our most cherished foundation stones! It is gnawing slowly but surely. Eventually that stone must surely crumble and die. This will leave a hole in the foundations above which we cannot raise a stable superstructure. Whatever would we all do if our organisation came tumbling down like a pack of cards? Think of it! (Pause). Ponder on it! (Long pause.)
This canker cannot be killed single-handed. It cannot be killed completely unless a wholly united front is presented, and an earnest endeavour made by each one of us individually to combat it.
Now, Friends, you and I must each make a special effort to rid ourselves of this evil. It works silently, but surely, and - as desperate diseases need desperate remedies - we also, Friends, must work silently and surely too.
Many of us may not recognise this canker, and even if we have, we cannot completely stamp it out. Now, Dear Friends, will you join with me, and with a heavy foot, stamp it out? It is not only our duty, but our privilege to do this. I shall be in the vestry to receive suggestions for Canker Poison on Friday evening next.
The canker, Friends, which is doing so much damage in our midst is the Canker of Disunity! An organised drive against it will be made at Euroka Clearing on Saturday and Sunday, April 9th and l0th. Come along and bring your working tools, (knife, fork, spoon, etc.), and small buckets, and two days' rations. As the job may take a while, bring any portable houses you may have. Let it be broadcast if you may have a house or a bedroom to let!
I would also like the choir to train hard, as there may be some anthems and songs of praise.
Friends, as many of you as are here present, and hope to join us in the Good Work, will you please hand in your names at the vestry on Friday to one of the vergers (or committeemen), and train accommodation will be reserved. Fare only 3/9d!
And now let us give praise for having found this canker in time, and let us all join together in a closing hymn!
Hymn No. 910: The nine-hundred and tenth hymn.
“Shall we gather at the Clearing,
“The beautiful, the beautiful Clearing?”
(Burely Bubonic Section!)
Seeing that the Editress hasn't had the common gumption to censor my last little letter, I shall break out again, like a blowfly with adenoids, on the little matter of cookery. My small niece Brenda, in the last issue, said that FOOD was all-important, but I'm sure, dears, that, having tasted the young-wife-next-door's burnt-offering at Christmas, you will all agree with your Aunt Tabitha that the COOKING of the FOOD is much more essential to the well-being of mankind. (I still have a lump on the lunch, from a piece of cake I took at Christmas. It made me feel so bad, you'd hardly believe it, dears, but I saw double and felt dizzy for three days after!)
And so here you have some priceless pointers on this long-lost Art. I'm convinced that it is an Art, for the function of Art is to express ourself. And what is a better medium in which to do so than, say, two and a half pounds of topside steak (cut thick), and a seven (or eight, or nine) pound bag of flour (S.R.)?
In these days of stress and crisis - three crises a day before meals, and three stresses after, we must go warily.
To cook, you must have a fire (if the Gas Co. has cut off the juice, or you're “roughing it” in camp). To achieve this, rub two sticks briskly together - golf sticks will do if none of the chairs lend themselves to the practice. Having lit your fire you proceed with:
Remember, variety, dears, is to be the keynote, so leave eggs, porridge, bacon, and other pitfalls alone. Get the saw to work on a chairleg (the one that wouldn't burn will do); collect the sawdust, and serve with melted floor polish, and there you have a cereal that is “different.” This brings us to:
or if you don't live in a swell suburb, –
My suggestion for this meal is Soap Soup. Cut soap into small cubes, and boil till the suds push the lid off the pot; colour with brown boot-polish, and add lux to taste. For sweets, custard is suggested, but take my advice and don't! Content yourself with the “cuss” part. You will now be famishing for your:
A promising menu is tinned bully, tinned soup, tinned herrings, tinned peaches, and cocoa. You won't find the tin-opener, so concentrate on the cocoa. When it is thick enough to sole a pair of shoes, you will discover that you have concentrated too aridly, so you will be ravenous tor your:
They do a Fish & Lobster 14-course Supper at the “Moulin Rouge” for 15/-. Biff off and order five - you'll want them all!
There now, Girlies, how's that for a full day of Expressionism in Art?
Here's another little gem from my nephew Gus – the dear boy is quite the poet laureat:
“Of home-made cakes in Mother's time
We safely ate our fill,
But now, alas! the Bright Young Thing
Dresses – and cooks – 'to kill'!”
Well, dears, I must close now as the hotwater bottle's waiting and my bed-socks (the beaded ones) are getting impatient.
Your loving Aunt,
Lost: Between Tumbledown Dick and West Head, one Duckhole, by Gentleman with baby car, bad directions, and doubtful morals. Does not think he drank it. Reward.
Finder communicate with: Box 11234, Bondi.
Found: The way to Mosquito Camp for the Swimming Carnival. Inquirers may have on application to
Any Swimming Enthusiast, 5th Floor, 252 George st., Sydney.
From Blackheath 2 miles to the top of Govett 's Leap, about 1 1/2 miles down to the Summer House at the bottom of Rodriquez Pass, and another 3 miles down Govett's Leap Creek to its junction with the Grose River; this is the most direct route to the Blue Gum Forest, but we thought 6 1/2 miles each way (including the descent into the valley and the climb out again - 2,000-ft each way) would be too big a day for any non-walkers.
So the Committee that has been fighting so hard to save the magnificent trees of the Blue Gum Forest arranged with Mr. C. A. Hungerford to meet us at the top of the new track he and his mate, Mr. Pearce, have made in from the Bell Rd. to enable them to get their cattle in and out of the valley. This track starts 2 miles beyond the Mt. Wilson turn-off (i.e. 7 miles from Bell). Here we left the cars and proceeded on foot 2 1/2 m11es down to the Grose River, which we crossed, and then followed the track from Hartley Vale and Mt. Victoria for another 2 miles down stream to the Forest, crossing back to the left bank of the river about 1/2 mile above our destination, which we reached at 11.45 a.m. - just 2 1/2 hours after leaving the cars. As I remarked, some of our party were not walkers; also, the day was close with the approach of a heavy thunderstorm, and the way was much too beautiful to hurry over.
First we came down a small creek valley, both sides of which were thickly studded with glowing waratahs. Then we turned to the right under a shoulder of rock and crossed a spur, to find ourselves descending to another creek through fields of flannel flowers. Zigzagging down the hillside, we turned left round a large boulder, “The Valley Gate”, and found ourselves in a beautiful mountain gully filled with ferns and sassafras and coachwood, and the music of running water.
Next the track edged along the steep mountain side, past an oil-shale outcrop on which Mr. Hungerford has pegged a claim, and past a bright patch of giant Christmas Bells. Then on, down and along, ever deeper into the Grose Gorge, with magnificent sandstone cliffs towering ever higher on all sides. Truly a lovely way by which to approach that temple of Beauty, the Blue Gum Forest! No wonder these city-dwellers lingered on the track!
Then the Forest itself on the river flat, with Mt. King George rising 2,000 ft. sheer behind it, and, stretching away in front, the valley of Govett's Leap Creek! A few hours are far too short to spend in the Blue Gum Forest; days one wants, just to drink in its beauty and peace.
This, however, though so thoroughly enjoyable, was not a pleasure jaunt but a hurried business trip, an urgent journey on a matter of life and death. Those magnificent trees have taken years to grow, some of them are over 20 ft. in circumference, their tops form a canopy well over 100 ft. above the river flat which their roots hold together. And Mr. Hungerford was going to ringbark the blue gums and grow, instead, walnut trees and grass for his cattle (provided, of course, the encircling river did not wash away the whole flat once the blue gums were gone). But we intended to secure it for a recreation reserve and save the trees - provided we could come to terms with Mr. Hungerford, and find the necessary money!
So the expedition had a double objective, to show the beauties of the Forest to those who would undoubtedly appreciate them, and who would assist in securing the necessary funds; and the holding of a conference to arrange price, terms of purchase, etc. that would be mutually satisfactory to Mr. Hungerford and to the Blue Gum Committee and its supporters. Incidentally, the necessary funds have been raised by the Committee, though more than half the amount is a short term loan, so it is still a case of “all donations thankfully received.”
Another party of very experienced walkers had left Hat Hill at about 8.30 a.m., giving themselves ample time (so they thought) to descend from Perry's Lookdown by “Docker's Ladder” and arrive well ahead of our party, for their route was shorter, though rougher, than ours. However, to everyone's surprise, both parties arrived almost simultaneously. Owing partly to the “amazing beauty” of Perry's Lookdown, but mainly to the trouble they had in locating the old and elusive “Docker's Ladder” and the difficulty and roughness of the whole descent to the river, they took 3 1/4 hours to reach the Forest, and do not recommend that route.
Greetings and lunch over, the conference went into session and, I may state, was carried through to a satisfactory conclusion in spite of the fact that the thunderstorm broke just as it started, and an inch of rain fell in about 20 minutes! The members of that conference just donned their waterproof capes, squatted in a circle under the trees, and conferred. All round them rose the straight, grey-blue trunks of the gums which were their inspiration, with here and there a recently-planted young walnut if one knew where to look for it; and not even that deluge could damp their ardour! The writer, being a mere woman, left the council to the men and retired into a hollow at the base of a fallen blue gum, a hollow in which she could stand in comfort.
The Blue Gum Forest extends across the river, but there the trees are somewhat smaller, younger, though more closely growing. A forester would probably say, “A fine stand of timber”, but Mr. Hordern would truly describe it as a beautiful Blue Gum Forest which he owns and cherishes. The 40 acres which is encircled by the Grose River, though, and which is the scene and subject of this important conference, contains the finest trees. Someday, if you like, I'll lead you there.
So that you won't be short of articles for the next “Bushwalker”, we're going to start a little controversy in this one. It concerns not whether we “hike” or “walk” but whether we “rec” or “wreck” reationally walk. It seems to some of us that there is a growing tendency in the Club to do the latter.
If we look at our constitution, we discover that we are called the Sydney Bush Walkers - Walkers, mind you, not Runners, or Fliers, but Walkers. But the tendency is for our walking to verge on running, or at any rate to be so fast that what should be recreation, becomes merely labour.
With us, high speed in walking is desirable only as a means, not as an end. As a means of taking one with the least possible delay from the main roads, which, haunted with motor-traffic, are now but little hells of dust and stink and noise, fast walking is excusable, nay laudable. As a means of getting one into a place of shelter at the approach of a violent thunderstorm, again it is permissible. The trouble, however, lies in the fact that this hustle, which is but a means to an end, comes to be regarded as the end itself; so our speed creeps up as we seek to cover the ground for the mere sake of covering it, and the once-loved countryside over which we were wont to loiter, drinking in its beauties, begins to assume the appearance of a heaving mass of grey-green porridge!
Five miles an hour is not five times as wonderful as one mile an hour, nor is the hare an inherently better animal than the tortoise. Why, then, I ask you, should we hurry? Certainly not in order to save time. There is rarely anything better at the end of the track than may be found beside it, though there would be no travel did men believe this. And who knows but that beauty may be lurking in the hours WASTED (?) by the roadside?
If our trips are such that we have to go fast, why then, let's cut down the distance, or lengthen the time, for if you're tearing along with sweat streaming into your eyes, gasping for breath, muscles straining, how are you going to absorb the grandeur and the majesty of tree, river, or canyon? We are aware, of course, that there is a school of thought which contends that we can, as we go along, unconsciously absorb these beauties, although by what process, our poor intellect fails to grasp. Personally, I prefer to soak up beauty consciously and deliberately; and when our eyes are glued on the rugged and uneven track (when the smarting perspiration is not being wiped from them!), when our breath, in the words of the ancient jest, is coming in short pants, when our whole energy is sublimated to the call for speed, I am at a loss to know just which of our five senses becomes the sponge to do the “unconscious absorbing” of beauty.
“Have you ever watched the sunset when pink lights are on the cloud-ranks,
When the hills are clothed in purple and the birds are flying low?
Have you ever seen the beauty in the flatness of the sandbanks
Where the long-legged marsh birds loiter, and the ripples come and go?
“Have you stopped to hear the music of the soft winds in the gum trees,
Or the mighty swelling symphony of beating rain and gale?
Have you ever caught the lullaby that's sung by every night breeze
Or the rhythmic song of glory in the clatter of the hail?”
Do you think you could see and hear these glories of nature whilst crashing through the countryside at four-and-a-bit miles an hour? Oh, you fibber! No, you couldn't.
Ian Malcolm. Jan. 1932.
The Christmas Spirit was very much in evidence when the S.B. W. gave their Annual Xmas Treat to some 38 children from Surry Hills. The “bathing beauties” were to the fore, and certain of the members' swimming costumes did double service - two children in one costume - but the water was a refresher to members and children alike. The children have the main S.B.W. qualification, and so the luncheon and tea provided were a marvel in judgement as there wasn't a crumb wasted, or one to waste. Altogether, a good day's enjoyment, and a credit to the Club.
The Fourth Annual Xmas Camp was held at Era, and was a most enjoyable one. Perfect weather reigned throughout the ten days. There was a big roll-up of members, and also an equally large contingent of visitors. It is understood that one party roasted the ox, or something like that, and - whether true or otherwise, - they certainly got the “bird”.
The attendance New Year Week-end was not as representative of members as the one before owing to things nautical having attracted a couple of parties away from the surf and Era. Sunburn and blisters were the fashion, but everyone voted this year's camp, the best ever.
Remember the Fourth Annual Swimming Carnival, on Sunday, 14th February. The annual contest for the “Mandelburg Cup.” The presentation of awards won at the 4th Annual Swimming Carnival will take place at the Monthly Meeting in March.
Take Notice: On March 11th Lieut-Colonel Clark, V.D. will give a lecture entitled “A Trip through Mesopotamia”. He will accompany his talk with lantern slides.
Rene D. Browne, Hon. Social Secretary.
Suggested Motto for the Year, and this is a good month to try it out…
“Look before you leap”.
Published by Sydney Bushwalkers' Publishing Committee.
Marjorie Hill, Editor. 15 Banksia Avenue, Banksia, N.S.W.