A Journal devoted to matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, 5 Hamilton St., Sydney, N.S.W.
No. 28. March 1936
|Miss Marie B. Byles (Acting Editor)|
|Miss Dinah Hearfield (Acting Sub-Editor)|
|Miss Dorothy Lawry, Messrs Myles Dunphy, Graham Harrison, Ian Malcolm and Jack Debert.|
We regret to announce the resignation of Miss Brenda White from the editorship of “The Sydney Bushwalker”. Miss White has occupied the position of Business Editor since the second issue of the journal, Miss Marjorie Hill being the first Literary Editor. Then, when Miss Hill resigned from the literary editorship in August 1932, Miss White added the labours of Literary Editor to those she had already undertaken, and since that time it has been due to her unaided efforts that “The Sydney Bushwalker” has appeared every alternate month with faithful regularity. It is only those who have edited a similar journal who realize just what labour this entails, and how much they owe to Miss White; but every Bushwalker will join with us in offering her our thanks for what was, we fear, often a thankless task, and in hoping that she will see her way clear to resume the editorial duties after not too long a holiday.
Mavis Dibley and Cedric Barnes (Barney) have announced their engagement. We wish them all happiness on the bushwalk of life.
Laurence Graham “Mouldy Bacon” Harrison is sailing for England on the “Orion” leaving March 11th. and Mrs. Hilda Stoddart (Stoddy) will be sailing on the same boat. We wish them good walking both in “green days in forests” and in “blue days at sea.”
We are pleased to announce that we have arranged for an expert in bushwalking to answer questions concerning bushwalking in the columns of this Journal. Questions should be short and to the point, and should be handed to the Editor not later than the second Friday in April, if the answer is to appear in the next issue.
Being the account of the first bucks' party's intrusion into a new domain.
The first Sydney Bushwalker to assail and surmount Mounts Jenolan and Heartbreaker was Gordon Smith, who performed this noteworthy deed on a mere week-end jaunt on the 18th. May. 1935.
To our little band of die-hards, this news when related to us by Gordon, was received with cheers and much jubilation, as this climb had been down on our list for some time, to be performed on King's Birthday week-end. George Dibley bubbled with glee. “That's just 4000 calories Gordon has saved me,” he cried. Similar un-bushwalkerlike remarks were passed and tradition was running a bad last. Who likes climbing hills anyway? - only mountaineers, I suppose.
However, the militant section decided on a vote - and hail tradition! The ayes had it. We completed plans for the climb, collected valuable information from Gordon Smith, and all of the party arranged to start on the Friday night, May 31st., 1935. Charles Culberg threw in his lot with our venture, the party being Doug Grosvenor and Arnold Barrett; prospectives Fred Somers a non-member, George Dibley, Chas. Rolfe [Charles Rolfe] and myself.
After supper at the All British, Katoomba, on the Friday evening, we slept on beds at “Dibs Rest” - a very commendable procedure.
Saturday morning saw us away early, and soon we were passing down that never-ending show place of interest, Nellies Glen. Our route to the Coxs River was via Euroka and Black Jerrys Ridge, and walking on the day in question was an inexplicable pleasure, it being fine and warm, although the air had a cool nip, especially at the top of Black Jerrys, when we encountered the full force of the high winds. Very soon we were on the Coxs and decided to go on to Galong Creek before lunch. At Tinpot Creek the party came on a shepherd driving a small flock of sheep. The boys of course stopped and had the usual yarn about the rain, (or the lack of it), the River, and things in general. We accompanied him as far as Galong Creek, where he left us and went up the Creek track.
After a halt at Galong Creek, during which time the party consumed a well-earned dinner, we pushed down the Coxs again, and to all except George the country was new. A very interesting part of the Coxs River this and it was very much appreciated by the party.
Five o'clock, and we drifted on to the camp site at Breakfast Creek, after a short afternoon walk, and very soon the party was under canvas. Two 7×5 tents and two Q's made quite a fine array. After a hearty meal, during which the digestion was considerably aided by several dissertations by members of the party on their respective callings; on subjects such as Dunlop tyres, Commercial Gas, and the products of the A.I.& S., the whole crew retired.
As the night grew old, the glass sank lower. It was very cold, and Arnold, for a first-nighter-in-a-Paddy-bag, was a sleepless failure.
“He rolled and sighed
And twisted and cried,
While hips did creak and skin deride
The efforts of a dawn-stuffed bag, to hide,
Arnold from the cold and the hard earth's side.”
Needless to say, after a hearty breakfast consisting, it is said, of several loaves of bread, he Was again in working order.
It was decided to take very little food up the mountain, and thus be not encumbered with packs at all.
Starting from the base camp at about 10-15 a.m., the party proceeded down stream about 200 yards and forded the Cox. Continuing another 150 yards down the south bank, we came upon a recently broken camp site, with the embers of a fire still glowing. Fred and George presumed, correctly, that it was Don Wallace and John Lumsden's camp site. It was here that the climb to the saddle above commenced. The rough track goes up the course of a dry creek - for 200 or 250 feet - a very steep climb while it lasts.
Once on the crest of the saddle, an idea of the climb of the mountain is obtained. The long ridge that runs from the saddle rises in an easy grade, and for the most part the general direction, due south, is held without any severe turns. On the one hand there is a grand view of Harry's River Canyon [Jenolan River] and Mumbedah Creek, and on the other is the general vista, showing the Coxs for some distance and the Blue Dog Range.
The scope of the landscape under review widened as we climbed higher, and each “top” presented a view exceeding the magnificence of the previous one. The ridge was a veritable bridge from Nibelheim to Walhalla. One view that remained indelibly photographed in my mind was that of the Gorge of Harry's River. On the day in question, there was a delicate blue haze hanging over the valley; it seemed that one was gazing on a super-natural scene, so ethereal and unreal did the atmosphere appear.
However, we were not able to tarry long viewing such splendid panoramas, for time was limited.
It is to be noted that the ridge is very definite, so much so, that on our way up we must have closely traced Gordon Smith's footsteps, for we picked up a table-knife he had left several weeks before. Pushing on, we breasted the last “top” and soon were walking - or rather hopping - on the broken Silurian quartzite rocks which form the summit of the mountain. Cheers that must have sounded very rowdy and unbecoming in that Hall of the Gods, rent the air.
The party was a little blown after the final effort, so we rested and meanwhile ate a little.(N.B.). After having satisfied our physical needs we proceeded to pander to our aesthetic sense by surveying the extensive panoramas that lay at, below, and beyond our feet.
The Cox appeared as a fine, brown thread, turning and twisting in its erratic course; and was the centre of the vast piece of nature's handiwork. Goolara Peak, with its wretched bare sides, looked down on the scene, a sentinel guarding his end of the treasure house. Directly south-east of Goolara was the fine Blue Dog Shelf, extending from Breakfast Creek right up to the guards of the other door, Warrigal [Mt Warrigal] and Dingo [Mt Dingo]. These two Giants stand out very prominently, aggressive to intruders into their wonderful domain which they guard so craftily. Between the Brindle Dog and the Blue Dog Ranges could be seen Merrigal Creek cutting the hills like a knife - a short gentleman; but steep and ever so impressive.
Round farther to the south, we saw the mighty Gangerang, and then that Mecca, Kanangra. The aspect from our angle was new, and great interest was centred on the walls, which were practically due south. Farther round still, but much closer, were Guouogang and Queahgong. It might be added in passing that if one has, say 1½ 2) hours to spare on arrival at Mt Jenolan, Queahgong could be quite easily bagged. Unfortunately, we were not able to spare the time because of the late start.
Photographs were secured, Fred being particularly active. He had a quick-loading camera and mapped some ten shots in almost as many seconds.
The local foliage is not conducive to the acquisition of good photographs, as uninterrupted views from the top are few. When the compass was produced to take a few bearings, we discovered that nobody carried either paper or pencil. We had despaired of leaving any record of our trip, when George espied the burnt stump of a tree, from which he secured a piece of charcoal and with this improvised pencil he recorded the facts of the climb on the reverse side of a piece of paper, which Gordon Smith had used - crude but effective.
Mt Heartbreaker is about 100 feet below Mt Jenolan, some 200 yards distant, and the party decided to push on and surmount it. The Jenolan and Heartbreaker Ridges seem to converge at Mt Jenolan, and what is accepted as the “summit” of the Heartbreaker is really another step, if carried to its obvious conclusion, to Mt Jenolan. The fall of Mt Heartbreaker is much shorter and steeper than Mt Jenolan, and aptly named, the position being aggravated by three “pimples” - rocky crags, very steep and exposed. An idea of its steepness may be gathered from the fact that Mt Jenolan falls to the Cox in 5 miles, whereas Mt Heartbreaker drops in just 2½ 3), both being approximately 4000 feet in height.
The outward view from Mt. Heartbreaker is not so interrupted by saplings and in this respect only, is it better than Mt. Jenolan. The angle of vision is not as great as the south-west, and much of the west is obscured by Mt. Jenolan's ridge and summit.
An interesting fact is that from Mt Heartbreaker we were able to see though more specks, the tents in our camp, over 4 miles away as the crow flies. After more photographs the party pushed onward and downward.
Each “pimple” on the way down had to be scaled, as it was impossible to edge around the sides, and as we were coming down from one of these crags, Doug had a bad fall, which shook him up considerably. Footing was very uncertain, and in desperation, Fred and Arnold decided to go down the side of the ridge. The side it might be said is a slope of some 50° 4). They certainly got to the bottom - and in double quick time - Newton saw to that. The remainder of the party fought to the bitter end, as it were, and picked up a few cattle tracks, which were all over the ridge from the river up to the 500 or 750 foot mark; quite high for cattle considering the steepness with which they, too, have to contend.
We came down rather abruptly at the end, and almost fell into the Cox, arriving at about 3-50 p.m.
After a refreshing drink and a short spell, we waded to the other bank and hit the trail for camp, and the 2½ 5) miles were covered by 4-45 p.m., arriving to find that Fred and Arnold had been in some 25 minutes, but it was learned that their advance had been rather uncomfortable.
Back in Nibelheim, we discussed the baser, and more mundane subjects of man's lot. Food was the principal topic; sleep next.
The next morning we arose early, and actually had Doug. walking about in the dark - surprising - perhaps it was that he had spent a “trying” night of rest, and was glad to have done with his torment; or maybe the towering Gods of Walhalla had inspired him to a more appreciative outlook towards the dawn.
Breakfast, shaving and packing were all over by 10-15, and so the party pushed up Breakfast Creek, leaving behind not memories; but burned rubbish and buried tins.
Personally, on principle, I am all against leaving memories lying about the countryside - spoil the natural scenery and all that - selfish, too. Just think of some tired walker, having pitched his tent in a memory-littered area, being rudely awakened in the dead of night by a stray memory, wafting under the tent flap into his hard-earned slumbers.
After a delightful amble up the Creek, we breasted the hill at the top of Carlon Creek at 11-45 and bore down on Green Gully with all haste. As we drew near, I noticed two small blue figures frolicking on the grass of Carlon's homestead. They were none other than the Roots' “Imps.”
They, too, had noticed us, and as I walked on watching them closely, they were discussing intruders. The dialogue, as far as I could make out was as follows:-
Imp 1 : “Oh! look David, there are some walkers coming down the Hill.” (Womem are always saying obvious things).
Imp 11 : “Yes, Cis.” said David, quite unconcerned. He was at attention, his right hand shading his eyes from the hot noonday sun. He had noticed something of interest in the party.
“I think they are some of Dad's friends”, he said, simply, after having gazed so for a few moments.
Imp 1 : “Why David? I don't think Dad was ever out with that funny looking party,”
Imp 11 : “They must be Dad's friends,” persisted David, there aren't any women there.“
I nudged George as I walked on, saying: “Did you hear that, my boy?” “Hear what?” he asked, with an extraordinary look on his face.
“You must be dreaming.” Perhaps I do dream - George doesn't; but who cares?
Carlon was at his back-gate to greet us, and soon we were mopping up the sweet milk, which he supplied, (per medium of Strawberry, of course.) A quart and a half between seven of us! Ye Gods! Yes, they certainly avenged our intrusion into their domain the previous day.
After much palaver, we pushed over to the Gully, where we found the Roots-Pryde combination in occupation, complete with effects; - “Peter the Page” and others.
After making nuisances of ourselves and generously(?) unburdening packs of dead weight in the form of a few turnips and parsnips we corrected watches by Charlie's timepiece and were away again at 12-50 p.m. (By the way, if ever anybody wants to pick a row when Chas. Pryde [Charles Pryde] is about just induce that anybody to tell Chas. that the time as indicated by his watch is incorrect.)
We dined with the ants at Mitchells Creek, stopping 50 mins. After a very hectic rush up the Glen, pausing only for a fizz drink, we blew in, as is related in the Classics, at Dibs Rest at 5-15.
The party washed and generally cleaned up and after another rush, caught the 5-44 train home, after a very interesting and enjoyable three days in the company of good fellows and beautiful mountains.
William de Sind.
The sleepless Hours who watch me as I lie,
Curtained with star-inwoven tapestries,
From the broad moonlight of the sky,
Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes,
Waken me when their mother, the grey Dawn,
Tells them that dreams and that the moon is gone.
October 4th. - 7th., 1929.
The Shoalhaven River.
Alighting at Tallong Station at 1-24 a.m., we were met by Rumsey with his lorry, and with the aid of a shoe horn and a few straps, the whole party was loaded on the lorry and driven to the look-out. Harold, Tom, Maurie and myself standing on the running board had some narrow escapes from being brushed off by overhanging trees.
Very soon after alighting from the lorry I had a fire going, while most of the people assisted in bringing in wood. Everybody seemed tired and wasted no time in making beds and settling down for the night.
We had almost succeeded in getting everybody to sleep when the Duncans [Frank Duncan, Anice Duncan] and Austens [Ernie Austen, Jean Austen] arrived by car and created such a disturbance that they wakened the whole of the camp. Jean went round to each member and wished him or her good-night and good-morning in practically the same breath. The new arrivals were not long in getting to bed; but uncomplimentary remarks were hurled at them, before they turned in. When everyone was quiet Maurie suggested a walk to the look-out and I readily agreed. It was then 3-30 a.m. and coolish away from the fire. Although there was no moon, the outlines of the mighty gorge of the Shoalhaven River could be discerned. Gazing upon the view we heard the hooting of owls and the merry twitter of willie wagtails. After a few minutes, our eyes, becoming accustomed to the darkness, could clearly pick out patches of the river, 1800 feet below, and I was keenly anticipating the view we must see in the day light. We returned to the camp fire and had a peaceful sleep until 5-40, when Maurie, Edgar and myself paid another visit to the lookout and were thrilled with the magnificent view. The usual morning chorus of the birds was delightful. We could pick out the clear metallic sound of the bellbird; the voices of the lyre bird, the owl, an occasional butcher bird, and the kookaburra; not to mention the numerous other birds with whose calls I was not familiar. Maurie, who had previously visited this spot, pointed out the various land marks, and we were amazed at the possibility of there being a track down so steep a mountain.
We went back to the camp, wakened the crowd and took them to the lookout to gaze down on our prospective camp. After admiring the extensive view we returned to the track and made down for the river. It was very steep going, and the small loose stones caused frequent slipping; but the bottom was reached without any mishap. Marge [Marjorie Hill] , Brenda [Brenda White] and I hit up a good pace going down hill, and arriving at the river, we found Ernie at a good camp site. Within a few minutes I had a cooking fire and when Maurie arrived he informed us that we were not on the right camp spot; but as my breakfast was half cooked I decided to stay until the meal was over. Frances was somewhat knocked up and did not eat much breakfast. This was no doubt owing to the heat and also to the fact that she had not eaten before setting out.
With breakfast over, we joined the others some few hundred yards downstream at a fair camp site, and when I had erected my tent, and the others had washed up, we went for a walk downstream, leaving the camp to look after itself. The walking was fairly rough; we were plodding through sand, rock hopping, or walking on pebbles, otherwise known as Wollondilly boulders. About noon a halt was made at Tallowal Gully [Tallowal Creek] where most of the members thoroughly enjoyed a swim in a large pool, and much amusement was created by lying in the rapids. There is a remarkably fine massaging effect to be obtained from lying in such places, and I wonder how really beneficial it may be. After the swim we lay in the shade and had a light lunch, (a light lunch for Bush Walkers, as on account of weight saving - most members take only a little food with them). In the afternoon a few of the more energetic individuals set out to explore Tallowal Gully to find the secluded waterfalls that Mr. Rumsey had told us about. We “loafers” stayed behind and argued, “chivalry” being the main topic.
On the return of the others, some of whom had lyre bird feathers, we set out for our camp, arriving there about 5-30. During our absence a goanna had invaded Maurie's tent and helped himself to the condensed milk! A big campfire was made; but Harold, Win and I watched Frances do some fishing. Her efforts brought no results, so we all joined the throng around the fire, where Jean was amusing the new members immensely with her antics and versatile manners. Ernie's songs were much appreciated, and Brenda recited “The man from Snowy River.” Harold gave “Abdul,” and Frank was called upon for his parody. At about 10 o'clock singing ceased and discussions were entered into, “chivalry” again being the main topic. During the discussion, Maurie arrived with Plimmer, Alf Gallagher and his friend, and the party was complete. The discussion went on until mid-night, by which time most of the members had either retired to their tents or turned in round the fire.
Awaking at about 5 a.m., I suggested to Marge and Plimmer that we make an assault upon the highest cliff directly opposite our camp[Tumbledown Point?], in which they enthusiastically joined, and we set off. Crossing the stream at Badgerys Crossing, we went up a steep spur, and Marge, having resided in the district for some time, knew the river well and insisted that this was the spur used by a settler, who came over to Tallong twice a week for his mail. Plimmer and I thought it was too steep for any horse; but we carried on our objective the top of the hill. The going, owing to the steepness and loose stones, was particularly heavy, and we had frequent rests. Within 200 feet of the top we were confronted by a sheer 200 feet cliff, so we had to do a little rock climbing. Marge carried on remarkably well, and we all thoroughly enjoyed the effort.
The view from the top was delightful, it being far more extensive than that from the lookout. Rumsey's clearing stood out well against the heavily timbered country, and our camps looked exactly like miniature dolls' houses, with little specks moving to and from the river. We coo-eed to the members below and were answered. Though opposed to the practice of rolling stones, we threw over a few big boulders to see whether they would roll into the river; but even in view of the steepness of the hill, they did not do so. Throughout the morning the continuous hooting of an owl annoyed Plimmer, who frequently hurled abuse at the unseen bird, and Marge volunteered the suggestion that it was probably still night in the owl's location.
We walked for some distance on the edge of the plateau, taking particular notice of the surrounding country, and notwithstanding Marge's insistence that the spur we climbed was correct, we decided to look for the real track. After going in a westerly direction we found the track bearing recent hoof-marks of a horse. We descended in a Chinaman's jog-trot and kept it up until we reached the river. It certainly was a very quick manner of gaining the water. Plimmer and I decided to call the hill Marge Hill; but stressed to Marge that it was not in her honour. [These libellous remarks are only allowed because everyone knows that Marge Hill is a particularly good bushwoman whose reputation cannot be injured. Ed.]
On arrival at the camp, we found that the various parties had our breakfast ready and immediately afterwards Plimmer and I had a swim. It was arranged to proceed upstream to Bungonia Cave; but the Duncans and Austens, together with Frances, decided to have a lazy day round the camp. The other members made art early start. Some time after Plimmer and I set out; and overtook them at a very rocky cliff which gave no opportunity of passing without climbing some few hundred feet. After climbing some distance, and not liking the idea of proceeding higher, I decided to work my way along the face of the cliff. Many loose stones went with me and I was not too happy on numerous occasions. However, my short cut gave me the opportunity of a swim before the others arrived, and being hot after the climb down, I dived in the water complete with clothes; but as the party was some time coming along, I changed into costume and had another swim. Walking on for some distance, I came across a beautiful sandy spit, from which I decided would be an enjoyable place for the others to swim. They readily joined in upon their arrival. It was some time before Maurie put in an appearance, because Hilda, having got into the shelf of the rocky cliff, could neither proceed nor return, and had to receive his assistance. Most of us were loth to leave this good swimming spot; but Maurie was anxious to see the caves. Just before halting for lunch Harold killed and skinned two brown water snakes.
It became almost unbearably hot approaching noon and after going some distance beyond Ottawa Creek we halted for lunch; afterwards spending a long time swimming and sun baking; but owing to the height of the cliff we were soon without sunlight, so we moved downstream until we found a position from which the sun would not be obscured for some time. More swimming was enjoyed and at about 4-30 we proceeded back to the camp.
Tom and I came across a canoe that had been roughly made from some cedar, and after launching it, we had an exciting five minutes before it sank under the excessive weight of our two selves. A further attempt was made, in which Tom paddled the canoe on his own downstream for some distance. I thought walking infinitely quicker, and making a good pace, arrived in camp considerably before the others. During our absence the five stay-at-homes had had an enjoyable time. They caught two brown snakes, and had their tent and food raided by a goanna. It seemed strange that the only tent raided was that of the people staying in camp. Who said goannas had no brains?
The camp fire was very successful and many discussions were entered upon. Talking went on until the very early hours of morning, and not feeling particularly tired, I paraded round the camp fire until 12-45. Going to the river for a drink I decided to pretend I was swimming and threw in a large stone, accompanying the splash with shrieks about cold water. Some disbeliever flashed a torch in my direction to prove I was not in the water, and remarks were then hurled at me that I was not game to go in at that hour; so within two minutes I was having a perfectly delightful swim. Returning to the fire I caused the others some more annoyance before turning into bed.
The bird chorus in the early dawn was again delightful and after lying awake listening to it, I went for a swim at 5-30, before making tea for those sleeping out round the fire. After breakfast some of the more energetic ones played games, and a football match between the Duncans and Austens v Marge, Fanny, Plimmer and myself, proved very strenuous, resulting in the last named winning by 4 to nil. Later the Duncans had a cockfight with Jean and me. The Duncans had earned much popularity by defeating Jean and Ernie, much to Jean's disgust, who said: “You're the only horse, Jack.” To the spectators the fight was the old cry of meateaters v. vegetarians. Need we say the meateaters won? A word of praise must be given though to our worthy opponents, who, having been well advised by Jean and me, were now becoming experts at the game. Jean is absolutely marvellous, and provided her horse can keep its legs, she will stay on regardless of position or attitude. Nevertheless the day is arriving when the Duncans must defeat us. As Jean remarked, it is strange that, “only the old married fogies,” (excluding the writer, of course) “are game enough to tackle this fool's play.”
After two glorious days, Monday turned out to be a cow of a day, with hot westerly winds blowing sand all over the camp site and into food, generally making things unpleasant. Relief was found in the water, so we had a swimming race down the rapids; but just before commencing the race Ernie announced that a snake was swimming downstream, and four of us stood with large stones waiting for it to pass. The snake saw us however, and made a determined effort to swim against the current; but try as he might he was not able to progress upstream, and it was somewhat pathetic to see his valiant attempt. Then Frank broke its back with a piece of bark, making the fifth snake for the trip.
There was a certain sadness about having to pack up and leave a spot that had helped make the trip so enjoyable, and the thought of the long drag up the hill did not alleviate that sadness. Leaving the site almost last of all, I quickly got into a nice, lazy stride, and without any rest, arrived at the top first. Not wishing to deprive anyone who perhaps had a competitive spirit, of the right of arriving at the top before someone else, I sat down for about seven minutes and awaited the arrival of Maurie, Rene and Marge; and so we walked a hundred yards together, arriving at the top as a party. I am quite satisfied that there is an efficient and economical walking speed for each individual, and should any member go slower than that speed he is tiring himself. On the other hand, should he attempt to go faster he is straining himself. It is advisable for each member to find out what is his most economical speed, and regardless of everyone else, keep to that pace. Many members find the desire to halt, whereas others find it infinitely better to keep on until the objective is reached, I favour the latter.
When the balance of the party arrived at the top we went over to the Willows, a very refreshing spot with green fields, a shady creek with watercress and mint and lovely willows. Lunch was a delightful affair, though somewhat hurried.
The long drag into Tallong is hardly worth mentioning, I walked at the rear with Edgar and Gwen and was eventually joined by Marge. Arriving in Tallong about forty minutes before the train was due, some of us went down to the creek and had a good swim.
From a scenic point of view, the trip was not up to expectations and could not be compared with the Nattai; but then one cannot expect to go on these trips finding each one better, scenically, than the others. The Nattai for some time to come will stand out as the most beautiful of all. The redeeming features of the trip were the sociability of the big party and the good humour that prevailed throughout; the splendid weather, with the exception of the last day; the freedom to do as one desired and the splendid swimming facilities. The bird life was as fine as in any other part I have visited. I saw and heard the following:- bellbirds, gillbirds, lyrebirds, black and white shrikes, mopokes, kurrawongs, wagtails, swallows, blue wrens, and a very vivid blue bird the name of which I do not know. There were not many flowers; but I saw some beautiful clematis. Most of the shrubs were aquatic.
Did you ever watch the camp fire
When the wood has fallen low,
And the ashes start to whiten
Round the ember's crimson glow?
With the night sounds all around you
Making silence doubly sweet,
And a full moon high above you
That the spell may be complete?
Tell me, were you ever nearer
To the land of heart's desire,
Than when you sat there thinking
With your feet before the fire?
(Obtained from Ian Malcolm
who does not know the author ) .
Proof of satisfaction is sometimes afforded in a negative sort of way by lack of complaints. Being human however, Paddy does like a pat on the back occasionally, and he is feeling very pleased with himself over a pat on the back received via a third party. It happened thus, - Bert recommended John to get his gear from Paddy. John going on his first big trip duly came to Paddy for advice and gear, and got both. He went on his trip and on his return he wrote to Bert as Follows:-
“The hike proved one thing, that Paddy Pallin's stuff is not over-rated - in short it was splendid - not a complaint on any ground, and to say we were delighted would be putting it mildly. I must thank you for recommending me to Paddy”.
Of course this is not the first compliment Paddy has received either verbally or by letter, but this extract was sent along at the psychological moment as it were - just when the harassed editor was worrying Paddy for his advert. Hence this departure from Paddy's customary modesty.
The most practical appreciation of Paddy-made gear is to buy it and tell your friends about it, which is of course what most bushwalkers do.
Paddy has just had manufactured a supply of sturdy, flat aluminium containers with bayonet fitting lids. They are of extra heavy gauge aluminium and have no threads to get crossed. Prices 1/- and 1/6.
312 George Street,
(Above Hallam's Opp. Wynyard Stn.)
|Note:||The Editor accepts no responsibility
for the conduct of a Bushwalker who
goes for a motor-trip!
This is the tale of Adeline, the faithful; my father, mother and myself, and our trip to Brisbane.
To introduce Adeline to those who have not the privilege of her acquaintance: Age - uncertain, Character - temperamental. H.P. - 7, Occupation - Part-time painter's truck, Part-time family limousine.
Well, we went on Monday, 6th. January, to Peat's Ferry across to Gosford, thence to Minmi, where we stayed the night. So far the adventure had not really started as this was the 27th. time Adeline had traversed this route.
The country from Peat's Ferry onward is mountainous, and in spots, extremely beautiful There are long views from the mountain tops of the Hawkesbury River country and close ups of some pretty waterfalls. Gosford, seen from the top of the hill, is a picture and 6) artist would like to put on canvas, the purple hills with their orange groves picked out like Chinese inlay work. The hills slope down to the lake-like waters of the Hawkesbury, known at this part as Brisbane Water, a good view of which is also to be seen. Lion Island, at the entrance of Broken Bay is just discernible over a headland which screens the rest of the bay.
The next point of interest is Lake Macquarie, the first view of which is from the turn-off to Catherine Hill Bay, seen on the right.
We reached the lake just as the sun was setting. The water was pink, gold and purply-blue, and the shadows of the hills on the western side were reflected as if in glass. The clouds were multi-coloured.
It is strange that so little is known in Sydney of this Lake. It is an enormous stretch of water with beautiful little bays and beaches, - some sandy, some pebbly - that have all the colours of the rainbow in them, and on the western side the hills seem to rise sheer from the water.
Minmi is a dead mining town, the pits having been closed for years, and the population is now 400 or 500 as compared with 10,000 to 12,000 in the early mining days of the district.
Our next place of call was Martin's Creek on the Paterson River. Leaving Minmi, we crossed the Hexham Swamp, via Black Hill which is a green flat about 20 sq. miles in extent, surrounded by hills. The cattle feeding on it look like so many colored dots. It is a bird sanctuary and almost any kind of waterbird is to be found there. A month's feeding on the swamp turns skinny store cattle into prime beef cattle, and so, although swamp land is generally speaking, useless the owners of this patch would not have it drained even if were possible.
All this time Adeline had been enjoying purring along the good roads with nary a cramp within.
The next town is Maitland, with its old churches and general past-century air, set in lucerne paddocks, with the dear dirty old Hunter lapping the back doors of the Western shopping centre, and the purple hills rising all round it. The old town should be sure of its future. The centre of one of the best farming districts on the coast, the heart of a mining district which, if the schemes for extracting oil and petrol from coal eventuate, will be the richest in the world.
We left Maitland to cross the bridge to Bulwarra, through the lucerne and farm country, crossing the Paterson at Dunmore Bridge and recrossing it at Paterson township, another old and historic town, 7) The church has tombstones dated 1809, and the church itself was built by convicts to Governor Macquarie's orders, on the site of a slab and bark chapel.
Leaving Paterson we crossed the river for the last time and went thence to Martin's Creek, where we spent the afternoon and night. Dad and I shot a few rabbits and disposed of countless Paterson River oranges.
Next morning found us early on our way to Port Macquarie. The country between Paterson and Dungog the next town is hilly and green, and the road winds through the valley and over the hills until we see Dungog stretched out before us in the Williams River Valley. Barrington Tops can be seen from here. Rain had fallen the night before, and mists were rising from the mountains making a sight worth travelling blindfolded to see. I took some photos of the Williams; but I have misgivings as all from there to Brisbane were taken in dull weather.
Our next stop was Gloucester, where there is a queer formation of rocks outside the town called the Buckets. They graduate from a pile about 100 ft. high to one that is a mountain in size. Though they show bare rock, they are covered with vegetation. Every crevice and patch of soil bears trees; some giants. The bases of these huge piles slope out until they lose themselves in the flats. Perhaps being rather isolated from other hills, they encourage rainfall and in the course of centuries have been washed bare. We ascend after Gloucester and some good views of the hill country can be seen from Krambach Mountain. From here to Port Macquarie, the country is fairly flat and very similar to the outskirts of Sydney. From here to Port Macquarie Adeline protested for the road was like a washing-board and the poor old dear skithered 8) 9) from one side of the road to the other.
It was dark when we camped at the Port. Dad was given some fish which I cooked while he went to the town to buy bait. I might say that the camping ground was like a town; no place for a Bushwalker. The tents were like houses and the campers seemed to have everything but the kitchen sink. It was rather like camping in a garbage dump - papers, tins and rubbish all over the place. Dad brought a melon; but as we had just finished tea, it was reserved for the next day. It disappeared during the night!
Most passers-by commented on “the little tent”; but I'll bet we were a dashed sight more comfortable than the majority of our critics.
The next day we visited the town and old church. Can anyone tell me why so many people think their names are 10) important that they must scratch, paint, or pencil them on national monuments and at points of interest? We left the Port and a few miles out crossed the Hastings River, Adeline contentedly purring along over a good road. You should hear her purr - it sounds like a concrete mixer.
Telegraph Point was the next on the list - and very nice too. It is on the railway and a river runs parallel to the line. Altogether it looks like a place where a man could spend a few days. It has a pub.
Our next stop was Kempsey where we had a spot of lunch and then went straight off for Coffs Harbour. From here on the trip is hazy to me. The road was so bad that I had to concentrate all my energy to keeping Adeline all in one piece.
Coffs Harbour hove in sight and after giving Adeline a much needed dose of oil and a drink of water Dad and I tried the Coffs Harbour beer at 6d. the glass and 1/- the pint. Dad had our camp picked out, found during his last visit - on the bank of a nice creek 3 miles past Woolgoolga. Bananas are grown in this district and some of the plantations are perched on the hillsides at such an angle that it seemed to get the crop to the road, the pickers would merely need to drop the fruit.
After breaking camp we headed for Grafton. The road was fair and we had some glimpses of the sea and coast line for the first part of the trip; then it was nothing but gum trees until we reached Grafton. We crossed over the new bridge and looked over the town. It is well laid out with trees growing along the centres of the streets. It needs them. At this time of the year it is so hot there that if you stand in one place you practically sizzle. The Clarence is a grand stretch of water here, and fairly large ships are able to come right up to the town.
After leaving Grafton we got on to some concrete highway and sat back to enjoy the country. Maclean was the next stop. The country hereabouts is all under sugar cane or corn. We followed along the bank of the river until we arrived at Ballina Ferry.
I had heard so much about Yamba that when it was suggested that we should take a side trip to visit it, I fell. The road was so bad that Adeline groaned and howled all the way. The worst of it was that we had to return the same way. Well, I saw Yamba.(Sweet are the uses of advertisement!) A fairly decent beach and that was all! Viewed without enthusiasm and left without regret except for the punishment given to poor, innocent Adeline - and so to Ballina.
Have you ever noticed how country towns resemble one another? However, compensation was forthcoming in the wonderful Lismore valley to Byron Bay.
The hills and the valleys were knee deep in grass and the cattle fat and contented looking. The views as the car topped the rises were marvellous. Remember that we were dodging rain most of the time and that it had been raining, or was about to rain, everywhere on the trip up. We were lucky in that we missed it most of the time. The clouds and the mists, and the occasional bursts of sunlight made this part of the trip a sight for the gods.
We camped at Byron Bay that night and the next. The view from the lighthouse, of the long stretch of beach with the mountains cutting the horizon, and especially the lights and shadows at sundown, took one's breath away. An artist in color would be in despair here if he were to see it as I did from the headland below the lighthouse.
The next and last stage on the trip up was over the Burringbar Ranges, through Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads and Coolangatta. The country here is much the same as from Gloucester to Port Macquarie until Murwillumbah is reached; when the Tweed River is followed to Tweed Heads. The river is dotted with islands from Murwillumbah onwards, many of them being public reserves, and in their natural state. Some are an absolute tangle of palms and tropical vegetation, and give some idea of the extremely hard work carried out by the early settlers.
From Tweed Heads we crossed the border to Coolangatta and then drove on a good road to Brisbane. It was as well it was good road for it rained so hard that it was impossible to see more than 20 yards ahead.
We stayed that might at an hotel! and looked such down-and-outs, that had I been the booking clerk I would have thought twice about admitting such people. However, after a hot bath and a change of clothes, the Cramps were fit to be seen - and admired. It was Sunday night, and in comparison with Sydney the city was crowded; a cousin living there told me that they have no beaches within miles and that the city is the only bright spot on Sunday nights. Brisbane is a fine city and I would like to spend more time there; the people are friendly and once they know that you are strange to the place, will go to no end of trouble to be of service. Dad asked a man to direct him to the new City Hall, and instead of just giving directions, walked there with him, chatting and pointing out places of interest as they went along. Dad thought that he was bound that way himself; but he was on his way to South Brisbane and had walked a good half mile out of his way. I had a similar experience, 11)
The next day we started south again; through Beaudesert to Mt Lindesay, and the country was uninteresting until we reached some fine dairy country hemmed in by tall, craggy hills. We passed through the border gate at Mt. Lindsey without knowing what it was; but it was raining very heavily at the time and restricted our view to about 200 yards. As Mt. Lindsey is 4000 feet in height, we missed something worth seeing.
The few views we had made us want more and none of us having been over this route before, we were expecting the good road to end at any moment leaving us to face the dreaded black soil, such as on the Warwick-Stanthorpe route. It came as a pleasant surprise when we were told at a bowser that we were 40 miles on the N.S.W. side of the fence. The road up to now had been through beautiful forest country; big trees and open glades, here and there.
We camped outside Glen Innes, passing through Tenterfield, one of the nicest towns of all. Our next big town was Inverell where I rang a cousin to see what the road was like to their place. (We did not want to be caught in the black soil.) The report was good, so off we set to Warialda, the nearest town, blithely thinking we would be there for lunch. The station is 30 odd miles from Wariaida and 25 of them were over black soil! Ours was the first car over since the rain. This was where Adeline excelled herself. Having a law clearance, it was a work of art getting her there intact, and believe me, a tank would have been a better proposition. We arrived at 4 o'clock after 20 odd miles of low gear.
After a chinwag Sam got some horses in and we went round the windmills, a routine job. This country is sub-artesian and the windmills draw the water from the wells and pump it into tanks, after which it runs into troughs, controlled by a ball valve. No water is wasted; when the tanks are full the mills are locked.
The next day Sam and I moved some sheep and after lunch we chased kangaroos - just for fun. It is good country for a gallop and a good time was enjoyed by all; including the kangaroos.
Now comes what was to me the high spot of the trip. Coming home we put up a fox. I can understand why fox-hunting is so popular in England. He gave us, or rather me, a run of a mile and a half, Sam didn't think I would tackle a fence and galloped down to a gate and missed it. I wouldn't tackle a wire fence on a strange horse; (or any horse for that matter) but as we were starting the chase I noticed a slip-rail about 100 yards to the left of where we were heading, so I bore over that way and over at full gallop, away over some logs and deep washes in the black soil; plenty of obstacles and that lovely horse taking them in his stride! Those few minutes were worth a year of life on a painter's scaffold. The horse knew the game and enjoyed it as much as I did, and as soon as the fox doubled back he knew that was the end of the chase, and steadied up beautifully. After that I felt that all the “man from Snowy River” had done was to ride a billy goat dawn a cart track! It was a grand finish to our short visit.
We left Glencoe on Friday at 2 p.m. with 500 miles to go. That night we camped outside Barraba, and the next stop was Singleton. We passed through Manilla to Tamworth, which brought us back into farming country, and it was good to see the green grass and crops after the brawn tuft grass of the sheep country. Tamworth is a modern town with nice surroundings and the Peel River running through it.
After we crossed the Peel the next big town was Murrurundi, which was first sighted from a tall hill. Incidentally one of the last views of the trip was seen from here. The town looks like a collection of dolls houses, and is tucked away in a corner of a large valley with mountains sloping up about 2,000 feet. By this time Adeline has worn the seat of her breeks 12) and we had to get down to the town in low gear. After adjusting the brakes, we made tracks to Scone, and Muswellbrook and camped at Singleton.
The country from Muswellbrook to Maitland is all of a piece- typical of the Hunter Valley, deep grass, fat cattle and prosperous farms. The only blot is the dirty-looking, but historic mining town, Greta, the scene of one of the worst mining disasters of the State. I lived there when I was a nipper, for about two years. That was just at the end of the war, when mining was booming, and new pits were opening everywhere. The town was prosperous and very well kept; now only the shell remains and a pall of coal dust hangs over the place. The park dawn the centre of the main street is knee deep in weeds and an impression of decay pervades. I was glad to leave it. It may be of interest to note that coal was first mined there over 100 years ago, at the old Anvil Creek Colliery, by convict labor.
From Greta we passed through Allandale and Lochinvar, farming townships on the Hunter River flats. From the top of Harper's Hill, just outside Greta the river flats are spread like a carpet, the ploughed land, lucerne, corn, grass lands, and orchards forming a geometric pattern, with the Hunter winding like a silver thread through them all. This part of the road has a legend attached to it. The Great North Road was built by convicts, and their conditions were extremely hard. At the foot of Harper's Hill there is a culvert. When I was a kid the ring bolts to which the convicts were chained bearing initials and crude attempts at carving, could be seen. The tale has it that, one night there was a cloud burst in the hills, and as there was no rain near the culvert, the over-seer did not imagine that any water would be running there. In fact the channel cut in the rock is generally able to carry any water off without wetting the floor of the culvert. Hearing cries coming from there, he investigated and found the water about up to the men's shoulders. He quickly released the 10 or 12 men he could reach, then rushed across the road and plunged into the top end of the culvert to save the others. However, he was overcome by the flood and all six perished. Since then the hill is said to be haunted. No one could ever get one of us kids to go near that place at night.
That brings us to the end of our journey, which from now on was through country already described.
Adeline behaved very well and brought us home without accident, after travelling 1,824 miles according to the map, over some roads that were excellent, some good, some not so good, and some that would be good pig wallows. For an old lady, I must say Adeline carries her age well.
The 8th. Annual Swimming Carnival took place on the 15th. and 16th. February at Mosquito Camp on the Woronora River. There was a good attendance, events were keenly contested, and fine racing was seen. The weather was good on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning but the sky clouded over and brought a cold Sunday afternoon.
A Mock Wedding was held in the Club rooms on 21st. February. The dressing was most effective and caused much laughter, but the actual representation could have been improved. Probably lack of proper rehearsal was the cause of the trouble.
On the 28th. February, Mr. K. Hindwood, one of the first people to lecture at the Club, gave us a talk on “Birds and Bushwalking”. His lectures have always been of great interest and this one was no exception.
A Moonlight Excursion, was held on Wednesday 4th, March. Thanks to the activities of our super-salesman, Jack Debert, there was a splendid attendance. This was matched by a glorious moonlight night and a beautiful breeze. As we passed the Heads we were treated to a fireworks' display from the guns on South Head. The target practice was most spectacular, but perhaps we all registered a hope that those guns would never be aimed at anything except targets. Moonlight swimming at Balmoral concluded the joys of the Cruise and we arrived back at Dawes Point about 11 p.m.
Rene D. Browne,
Hon, Social Secretary.
I have tramped it too long not to know there is truth in it still,
That lure of the turn of the road, of the crest of the hill.