A journal devoted to matters of interest to the
Sydney Bush Walkers, 5 Hamilton St., Sydney, N.S.W.
No. 30. July 1936
Miss Marie B. Byles (Editor)
Miss Dinah Hearfield (Sub-Editor)
Miss Doris Allden (Editorial)
Mr Peter Page (Correspondence)
Miss Ada Frost and Miss Dot English (Selling Department)
Mr Ian Malcolm (Advertising)
|Shameful Adventure, by Suzanne Reichard||3|
|“Warragambols”, by Gordon Smith||6|
|Jimmy's Mystery Hike, by Win. Duncombe||14|
|A Bushwalker's Impression of London Ramblers||15|
|Questions Answered, by our Bushwalking Expert,“Reklawsub”||16|
|The Sirius Saga from the Dog Tales of Hoffman, by W. Mullins||17|
The new King is considerate enough to have his birthday at nearly the same time of the year as his late father, that is to say, in the season most suitable for strenuous walking. This year excellent weather blessed the advent of the first King's Birthday on the changed date, and most Club members showed their appreciation.
The official trip was to Blue Gum Forest, led by Dorothy Lawry armed with a huge sledge hammer and a crow bar, which were intended for the demolition of the hut erected by the unemployed workers down there, and generally considered as undesirable. It is rather interesting to note that huts are erected with much expense in New Zealand, and are pulled down with much labour in our less rainy land. Unfortunately - or otherwise, - some other enthusiasts had already done the main part of the work before the sledge hammer arrived. However, Dorman Long and his much ridiculed trenching tool were found very useful for uprooting the posts. Thirty four people housed in sixteen little tents celebrated the destruction of the hut.
Mount Solitary and the Korrowall Buttress saw its old friend, Jock Kaske, back again; but his prior experience on the Buttress made the rock climbing less formidable to this party than to his previous one.
Barney and a party spent the weekend on Clear Hill without succumbing to the temptation of going down Duncan's Pass or Taro's Ladders to the Cox.
Not so Paddy, who made up for his forced confinement in his shop over Easter, by making full use of every hour of the King's Birthday weekend. He and his party went from Wentworth Falls along King's Tableland and down to McMahon's on Cox's River. From there they went along Butcher's Creek and over Mount Cookem, taking in Clear Hill on their return home to Katoomba.
Ian Malcolm picked up various stragglers of the Rover Ramblers and also went from Wentworth Falls to the Cox and up Clear Hill; but they took the shorter route via Cedar Creek. Ian had the pleasure of climbing twice up the Goat Track in the middle of the night in search of various Rovers who did not arrive.
O'Hare's Creek from Stanwell Park might seem scarcely long enough for a holiday weekend; but Jean Trimble's party found it the most strenuous trip they had taken for a long time, and when Jean makes a statement like that, no more need be said.
Ernie and Jean Austin went over the lovely country at the back of Kiama with its green fields and sparkling streams. They camped on Saddleback the first night and at the junction of Brogher's Creek the second night. The second camp was a birthday party for Jean and Ted, and one of the local residents, hearing the jollification, came along with his concertina and added his share.
Suzanne Reichart, Dot English, Grace Edgecombe and Marie Byles again went off with the Highbrow Hikers and the Katoomba Suicide Club, intending to rock climb in the Upper Grose. They certainly lugged out plenty of rope, and found a lovely cave to camp in; but the rocks were either non-existent or vertical, and the rope was carried back unused.
Mittagong is not as popular as the Blue Mountains Plateau; but Jack Debert led a party of nine out to Mount Jellore and found it deserved greater popularity so perhaps others will follow later.
Apart from the holiday weekend trips, we must record how Richard Croker and Frank Keelty spent a fortnight at Barrington and Dorrigo, camping on one memorable night within twenty eight yards of twenty eight pigs!
Peter Page and Ray Birt also spent their fortnight's holiday under the open sky. They started down Breakfast Creek to the Cox's River, went up Morilla Range to the Gangerangs; over Cloudmaker with which Ray fell in love, thence to Kanangra, and down Gingera Creek to the Cox. Quite often, Ray informs us, they were up before dawn and breakfasted in the dark. Thus does the level of early rising gradually permeate the Club!
You will be pleased to know that Cupid has again been shooting his arrows in the Club, the victims this time being Iris Rockstro (Roxy) and Arnold Barrett.
The Stork has also been busy, and passing by Moroney's left a daughter on their doorstep.
The Roots have uprooted once more, and their new aboreal abode at 3 Logan Avenue, Haberfield, is to be open for public inspection tomorrow, the 11th July.
Richard Croker has presented “Bunyips and Billabongs” to the Club Library, and Dorothy Lawry has presented “The Nature of English Poetry” which we seriously recommend to all our aspiring poets. Not to be outdone the Club funds have presented “Tramping Through Scotland.”
Frances Ramsay, who is off to Scotland on a twelve months exchange and Vera Phillips who is going with her, should find the last named book most useful, but, as they are sailing in a fortnight, they probably will not have time to read it.
Flo Allsworth is another traveller, but her work has taken her only as far as Hobart for three months.
Once again we remind you that Barney it itching to receive your subscriptions and that Bernard, who-used-to-be-Edgar, is dying to assist him.
Not having “done” a decent walk for months, and with Easter only a week ahead, I felt physically very soft, and decided that something really must be done about it. Dot English obligingly offered to help me with the “hardening up” process, and after some discussion, we decided it should take the form of a walk in the Smith's Creek - Pepadray Creek district, which was unfamiliar to both of us.
Accordingly, on Sunday morning, Dot duly arrived per bicycle, having first ducked down Woodland Avenue, in order to put on her skirt and so appear before the family decently dressed. We were then driven out - as far as the Duffy's Track turn off in French's Forest. From here we set out armed with a map, but no compass; for although Dot owns one, she does not carry it, and I do not even own one.
We had no difficulty in finding the Trig station which indicates the turnoff to Smith's Creek, and we were soon making our way down to the junction of the two upper arms of the creek. Dot's aversion to pack carrying caused her to present a good edition of Mrs Mandelberg, with little parcels strung about her waist on bits of string - shoes, skirt, lunch etc.
We found Smith's Creek nice and bouldery, but dry. Dot, who was skipping along ahead, presently disturbed two flirting Lyre birds, which flew off up the hillside, with hoarse cries. After about an hour's boulder hopping, during which we had not seen much water except occasional water holes and one nice little waterfall, we found ourselves in an open valley. The water here was brackish, and a noisome smell assailed our nostrils. Bright yellow sulphur deposits covered the bottoms of the pools.
Farther on we struck a track leading through a dry reeds covered swamp. This we followed for some distance, along the banks of the creek - which had now widened and become semi-tidal - until we came to an arm which branched westwards. At this point the sand flies began to chew us alive, so we beat a hasty retreat up the branch creek. There we found some delicious water, and decided to make a halt for lunch. Dot's lunch, consisting of two date sandwiches, was eaten while my man-size steak was still grilling on the fire (what a waste of a fire, had we but known). After I had thoroughly “stodged” myself with lunch, in true Bushwalker fashion, we continued on our way. We followed up the creek until we became bored with it and decided to return to the road.
Having studied the map, I suggested that the most interesting and most direct route for home would be to strike out along the ridges for the large pool at the junction of Pepadray and Cowan Creeks, and thence along the Cowan Road. Dot, poor trusting soul, agreed that that would be a good idea. We, therefore, followed the road for some distance until we deemed the moment had come to strike out along the ridges. Again a Trig station was supposed to mark the point at which we should descend; which we duly did. After half an hour's rough scrambling, we found ourselves on Pepadray Creek. It was impossible to tell how far up we were, but I imagined the big pool must be “just round the corner.” In the meantime we enjoyed the vista of a string of some of the most lovely, clear, rock bottomed pools I have yet seen.
After half an hour's extremely rough going - Dot was able to climb down the face, of the rocks; but I perforce had to scramble up the banks and fight my way through the almost impenetrable scrub on the hillside - the big pool seemed to be as far away as ever. This drove us to study the map again, and the horrible conclusion was forced upon us that we had come down the wrong ridge and were a good two miles up Pepadray Creek, with only half an hour left before sunset.
The only thing to do was to leave the creek and get up the farther hillside while there was still light. The sun was setting as we reached the top, and there before us, to my utter dismay, lay still another tremendous gully. On the far horizon twinkled two or three lights, indicating the main French's Forest Road. Although it was already dark, there seemed nothing to do but attempt to descend the gully.
My “softness” was beginning to tell on me pretty badly by this time, and to add to my difficulties, the going was very steep and there were many ledges unscaleable by me, though not, of course, by Dot. My feeble pocket torch was not strong enough to explore the darkness for any distance ahead, so that I could not ascertain beforehand whether ledges were scalable or not; but could only progress by a method of trial and error. After about twenty minutes of this I became thoroughly fed up, and told Dot that I could not descend the gully; but that if she were willing, we might attempt to circle round it, via the ridges.
However, after half an hour's walking, the gully still showed no signs of closing in. Dot again wanted to attempt to cross it; but I was “done in.” There seemed no alternative but to spend the night in the open, we forthwith dumped our possessions on the first comparatively flat spot, and set about hauling in all the available logs. We soon piled up an imposing looking stack of wood and filled with pleasant anticipations of warmth, I put my hand in my rucksack pocket for the matches.
“No matches here……funny……well, perhaps I put them in the other pocket……no!”
“Where the Devil did I put the damn matches?”
Things were beginning to look serious. Perhaps I threw them into the pack, by mistake, at lunch time. Followed a frantic delving into the pack. Finally, the thing was tipped upside down and all its contents strewn upon the ground.
Well, that was the last straw. “Damn and blast,” I exclaimed with the utmost venom and from the fullness of my heart.
As soon as we had sufficiently recovered from the shock, we decided that a little nourishment would be the best means of restoring our equilibrium. I was able to produce the following: one banana, one piece of cake, a few raisins and two pieces of bread and butter. These we duly shared, with the exception of the bread and butter which was to be saved for the morning. Water, of course, we had none.
We then spread the ground sheet crosswise on the ground so that it would cover us both. The superior virtue of pack carrying was further demonstrated by my being able to produce, in addition to the above: one pullover, one woollen bathing costume, one towel, one bread bag, one bathing cap. I put on the pullover and drew the bathing costume over my legs, while Dot pulled her skirt up round her body, wrapped her legs in the towel and placed her feet in the bread-bag inside the bathing cap! We then snuggled down together, and the cold light of the moon shone unsympathetically upon us.
We changed the watch about every hour during the night, or whenever the ground became unbearably hard. This meant that we sat up and rubbed one another's backs vigorously, stamped our feet and then changed positions; the inside man taking the outside man's place, or vice versa. At about 11 o'clock Dot said: “I think it's nearly dawn; we might start, don't you think?” I didn't!
This went on throughout the night. She was further encouraged by a solitary cock craw; but we discovered that cocks craw at midnight! There was a very heavy dew and it began to come through the ground sheet rather badly - another unpleasant discovery. However, in spite of all this, we both achieved an odd doze or two.
The first pallid light of dawn saw us sitting up, thankful for the excuse to move. A piece of bread and butter each gave us courage for the start. In a quarter of an hour we had reached the bottom of the gully, and in barely an hour were on the road; but I am sure it would have taken us fully three hours in the dark. It was a brilliantly sunny morning, and as soon as we had warmed up a little through the exercise, we were thoroughly enjoying ourselves and prepared to regard the whole adventure as a joke.
We had just passed St. Ives' Village, when the family limousine loomed in sight. Dot and I were so pleased at the immediate prospect of breakfast, that we came alongside, all beaming smiles.
“It's no laughing matter!” from Father, in very gruff tones.
Somewhat abashed, Dot and I climbed in; but Dot, the irrepressible, soon started telling them in blithe tones how awfully cold we had been, whereupon a violent nudge from me, and a hastily whispered: “For Heaven's sake, don't spin too much of a yarn” Subsidence of Dot.
When we reached home, Dot, with admirable adaptability to the situation, proceeded to inform another member of the family that we had been very nice and warm all night.
No mention of the disgraceful episode of the matches was ever made.
However, the atmosphere was highly disapproving, and we were left severely alone during breakfast. When Dot left, no one said good bye to her! I had expected the folks to be worried; but was not prepared for such a censorious attitude. I am afraid I have not brought up my family as well as I might have done!
Still, it is an ill wind that blows no one any good. Although the experience did not convert Dot to pack carrying, it has made her vow never to be without her own box of matches!
Up, lad, up, 'tis late for lying;
Hear the drums of morning play;
Hark; the empty by-ways crying
“Who'll beyond the hills away?”
The canoe trip should have commenced at Penrith on Christmas Eve; but as at that time the canoe was miles away, I had better start from the beginning, when Hama Galliott, “Kissme” Hardy and I set out for Camden on Friday, December 20th. The canoe had been freighted from Liverpool to Camden, it being our intention to follow the Nepean River to Penrith and from there commence the trip proper on Christmas Eve. The canoe Was carried to the Nepean, and at 9 am on Saturday, a start was made on the 40 miles of river to Penrith. After covering 22 miles of the George's River to Liverpool in half a day, I was optimistic enough to think we could reach Penrith by Sunday night…alas!
There was not much information available about this part of the Nepean, but no news is good news - sometimes. After a quarter of a mile the weir appeared, and by lunch time, after five portages, our appetite for weirs was more than satiated. In between times the canoe was dragged through sand, assisted over snags and occasionally paddled, and by dusk, nine miles had been covered.
After a 7 am departure, progress improved and about 9 am, I was able to use the oars and visualise a spot of lunch about Wallacia. A beautiful stretch of water, where the banks were heavily wooded, ended abruptly at the entrance to a narrow defile. What shall I say about the next six or seven hours when at the expense of some gruelling hard work, and heavy falls on green, slippery rocks, an advance of 3/4 mile was made. “Kissme” tugged heroically at one end, while Hilma, surrounded with packs, on all sides, emulated a donkey along the rocky banks.
At 5 pm we “threw in the sponge,” parked the canoe to await our return on Christmas Eve and in 35 minutes reached Bent's Basin. On our arrival at Wallacia after tea, it was found that the last service car had gone. After some good team work between the storekeeper and a car owner, we departed at an average speed of 50 miles p.h., for Kingswood, where, we were informed, the last train would stop for us if asked nicely. It didn't, and we slept in a paddock waking at 4 am to catch the first train to Sydney.
Next night, Christmas Eve, saw the same party, plus Ada Frost, on Central waiting the 8.40 pm train to Penrith. No! I am wrong for Mr Hardy arrived at 8.45 full of joie de vivre, and reeled off a sad and recurrent story of missed taxis and convivial friends encountered. A sunlight soap box held his surplus groceries, and his pockets bulged with cigars. He forgot nothing - not even to give the Stationmaster at Kingswood a 'raspberry'.
The service car from Penrith dropped us at Wallacia about 12.30 am, and accompanied by one stray dog, we staggered a mile or two before camping.
Christmas Day was hot and a combined load of 180 lbs of food and gear made our journey to Bent's Basin a nightmare. The canoe had been left some 3/4 mile above this spot. The Basin, almost circular, with a diameter of about 150 yards, and fringed with rocks, grass and river oaks provided an ideal camp site, and a swim in its limpid waters soon removed the tired feeling. Soon after tea, “Kissme” produced a bright green mosquito net and hid himself. In confidence, let me tell you that “Kissme” (according to Kissme) does everything but gamble, but “foddah” and sleep are his two favourite pastimes. He had been burning the midnight oil recently and intended to get all the beauty sleep possible.
With the exception of a couple of hours' portage of the canoe to the Basin, Boxing Day was spent in a leisurely fashion. A sharp shower of rain drove us into the tent at night.
At 11 am on Friday, the two girls caught the launch to Wallacia (7 miles) and we followed by canoe, in time for lunch. Two trips were made to the weir, and after unloading, commenced the mile portage to Norton's Basin which was gloomy with the approaching dusk before we arrived. Joan Fitzpatrick and Jock Kaske, who had arranged to start by canoe that morning from Penrith and meet us at the Basin, weren't present in the flesh but an apt description by local campers satisfied me that they and the canoe weren't far distant. After breakfast they strolled up, expecting to see us, had been told that a “Pommy and a big dago” had been sighted!
In the afternoon Joan, Hilma, Jock and I went to Wallacia for supplies, while Ada and “Kissme” moved camp to a cave at the mouth of the Warragamba; the real beginning of the combined canoe trip, it being our intention to paddle up this river to Burragorang. Vic Leeson and Bill Medbury in a third canoe completed the party.
In the morning I rose early and took one of our party four miles upstream by canoe, paddling back in time to see the others pack and depart en masse. Gladys Parsons and Hec Carruthers who were only out for the weekend gazed mournfully at us from the bank.
Steady rain fell for an hour or so; but at lunch time, the skies were clear again. The river had narrowed and the canoes made tortuous progress between huge boulders towering on either side. The first few rapids presented little difficulty. To drag the canoes through the fast but shallow water was comparatively easy; but early in the afternoon the volume of water increased, and as a result of carelessness on my part, a wave swept over the side and swamped my canoe, some of the contents suffered but not seriously.
About this time the company had an encounter with two youths, travelling downstream in a canvas canoe; who gave us a vivid, if exaggerated description of the terrors ahead. Owing to the reported dearth of camp sites above Monkey Creek, it was decided to camp there on our arrival although only 3.15 pm. An early start on the morrow was planned, and Joan certainly arose at some ungodly hour to disturb the peace. That she even had “Kissme” out of bed early says a lot for her enthusiasm.
By 7 am the canoes were in motion and the day proved to be a hard one. Our canoe was overstocked, of course, with luggage for four, entailing loss of time at each portage. One or two of us took turns to walk along the rough banks. Later the “Trail Blazer” and the “Pig” very kindly took a passenger each. Stretches of half a mile or so of open water were encountered between some rapids; but this was far from general. At times, forces were combined, the five men pushing the canoes, in turn, through the swirling waters, or carrying them bodily over the rocks. This method lessened the hard work; but probably lost time. Lunch was taken on a large, flat rock and the close of a rather tiring day saw the gorge was behind us. Green banks, similar to those of the Cox, appeared in view and at 6 pm camp was made one mile short of the big bend and four to five miles from the Cox-Wollondilly Junction.
Next morning the huge boulders had disappeared; but the numerous rapids, where the extremely shallow water gushed over the cobblestones, provided a tough task, especially for my heavily laden canoe. A well-defined cow pad now followed the stream; and Hilma and Ada bolted, and when the party decided to call a halt, 3/4 mile short of the Junction, they were missing. After breathing anathemas for an hour, I found them near the Junction and we returned to camp. Some of the party went for a walk in the afternoon, and returned after dusk with Mostyn Kill. This was New Year's Eve, and the fire blazed brightly, for a couple of hours and Joan, who has a mania for letting off crackers, was true to form; but fortunately, no lives were lost. The New Year crept into a sleeping camp.
Next day we indulged in swimming and a little unsuccessful shooting. This was the parting of the ways. On the morrow two canoes were returning dawn the Warragamba, and Ada, Hilma, “Kissme” and I were going for a week's walk, and then returning to Penrith in my canoe, which I had already parked at a farmhouse. At 5 pm, the whole party boarded Mostyn's lorry, and away it rattled, following the road along the Cox's River.
This palatial machine was a four speed Fiat of 1914 vintage stripped of body, bonnet, lamps, horn, battery, hood, seats and number plates, and fitted with a buckboard and box for a seat. With a crank handle broken in the crank shaft, the only way to start was to push off downhill. Once when the motor stalled in a river crossing, Mostyn had to jack up the back wheel, put her in gear, and swing the wheel to start again. The radiator was rather badly bent as a result of a dive over an embankment, but for all its quaint appearance, the motor purred as sweetly as the day it was born. Mostyn drove mainly with one big toe, and a rather wild drive followed.
Joan, Jock, Bill and Vic had come “just for the ride”, and after three miles they alighted and bade us “au revoir”. The rest of us reached Mostyn's hut in time to prepare the evening meal.
At 11 am, we commenced a somewhat perilous ride from McMahon's along the Cedar Road to the Kowmung House on the Scots Main Range, where the lorry was left. From here our itinerary being the Kowmung, Kanangra Walls, Kanangra Creek and the Cox in that order. Our first contract with the Kowmung was a point about five miles downstream from Gingra Creek, where we swam and lunched. It was hot, and even Hilma, who usually swims only when thrown in, made a voluntary effort here. Mostyn was insistent that this was the only reliable pool for fish in the whole river, but a camp here would have made the next day's journey to Kanaagra Walls too severe. Mostyn and “Kissme” stayed to fish after tea, and follow later, while I accompanied the two girls to Gingra, making vain efforts en route to bag a rabbit. The fishermen arrived after midnight with eight fish, which were eaten for breakfast, and I shot three rabbits, so there was more meat than usually.
Mostyn left us to return to his lorry, and we walked upstream. The weather was hot and humid, and all were glad to reach Hughes' hut, where some rabbit stew and peaches from an adjacent tree, stewed, relieved the “inner man.”
The ascent of Hughes' Ridge from the Kowmung was commenced about 2.45 pm. The steaming heat poured over us and distant mutterings of the approaching storm accompanied our progress up the steep slopes. Soon after reaching the easier, grade the heavens opened and what a relief the rain was! We were four hours reaching the Dance Floor Cave on the top of the Kanangra Walls plateau and after the somewhat lengthy business of preparing and eating tea, all of us retired to a bed of gum leaves.
After an early stroll around the plateau, taking photos and viewing the gorge, we proceeded to follow the precipitous Murdering Gully to Kanangra Creek. Quite early in the day I dislodged a large stone about five hundredweight, skated wildly on the surface for a second or two, and then weighted with a 50-lb. pack, sat heavily on it. This may sound amusing; but I was shaken rather badly, and without any confidence continued the descent well in the rear. All were separated by the time the creek was reached, the girls having followed a rather hazardous ridge between two gullies. A little downstream a showy waterfall gushed into a crystal pool and provided a sufficient excuse for lunch.
The rocks were slippery, and shortly after resuming Hilma fell very hard. Soon after, I attempted the high jump record, when a snake swam under my body. After an hour’s rock-hopping, the sight of a cow-pad gladdened our eyes, and later a frightened little band of steers careered wildly along the track ahead, showing us the best crossings.
At 5 p.m. the tent was erected about ten miles from the Cox’s River, just as light rain began to fall. Tea was finished before dark and it was decided to have a good sleep, for once, so we settled down, and then came the rain. My tent holds four with a squeeze, and the two heroes on the wings were pressed against the sides which shortly became very wet. After a couple of hours' steady rain, “Kissme”, awaking, from slumber, offered the information that he was lying in six inches of water. We sympathised and I bravely offered to go outside and dig a trench, and while the female section modestly hid their heads beneath sleeping bags, I stripped, and armed to the teeth with a bowie knife, dived outside into the cold, soaking rain. Under the surface the ground was stony; but I made some sort of a trench, and certainly took the edge off the knife. Again we settled down; but “Kissme” remained wet. Ada too had a tough time, for Hilma repeatedly poked her elbow into Ada’s eye, recoiling and almost hurling the tent into Kanangra Creek. I slept occasionally, and in my lucid moments I remember hearing about the pedigree of my tent, which .I admit did leak occasionally - and about the virtues of Miss Galliottts high-class article which was waxed, par affined and what-not.
The dawn came - none too soon - and after a snappy breakfast of bread and jam, we packed and departed. The dripping casuarinas hung their heads while the vegetation oozed water, and never have I seen Kanangra Creek so mournful. About 1 p.m. Kanangra Clearing was sighted, and a little lean-to, repaired by the engineering skill of “Kissme” served as an annexe to the tent. The afternoon was mostly spent eating, and wiping smoke out of our eyes; and for diversion one of us, in turn, would sneak up near a burrow with a rifle, fire at a rabbit, miss, and come back again. I am pleased to say that we all slept well except “Kissme” who had adopted one of Mostyn's fleas and grown quite attached to it.
The next day, under gloomy skies, we had lunch just below the Kowmung and camped opposite Kedumba Creek. A late start and a somewhat limited menu made us all glad to reach Mostyn’s on the following night. Believe me, we “ate up big”!
Reprovisioning postponed departure until 11 a.m. next morning; and purchases en route further delayed us, but a late lunch was eaten on arrival at the canoe. “Kissme” did some nice repair work and at 5 p.m. we were ready to start. Rain during the last week had caused the river to rise a foot, and there was now sufficient water to float a light canoe over the rapids. Our intention was to reach our previous camp site on the forward journey by dark. While “Kissme” paddled the almost empty canoe, the two girls and I followed the cow-pad with a pack apiece. At each rapid I hurried dawn to assist him and we succeeded in reaching our objective at 7 p.m.
The Warragamba River at first flaws east between pleasant, grassy banks, noisy, little, shallow rapids alternating with placid pools which reflect the shadowy outlines of the overhanging casuarinas. There is an air of peace and solitude undisturbed by the occasional farmstead that lends an extra splash of colour to the landscape. One finds it difficult to remove the eyes from the magnificent heights which surround the river an all sides. As we commenced our camp chores, the setting sun was withdrawing its colour from the lower slopes, until finally, only the summits were bathed in its crimson radiance.
Then here, too, the sunshine faded, leaving the peaks a soft purple, contrasting vividly against the blue sky. Gradually this colour merged into a sombre grey, and darkness cast its mantle over the Warragamba.
In the morning the weather was oppressive. Two travelled in the canoe while two walked; and as progress along the banks became exceedingly difficult, the canoe sometimes returned for a double trip. The river was now flowing north-east through a gorge which was to continue for 18 miles until its junction with the Nepean.
Ada slid I had a rather lucky escape from treading on a black snake, which was only a foot away, poised and ready to strike - the only black snake I have seen that offered fight. Five minutes later I was a little slow for a second one, and only succeeded in cutting off his tail, but within the half hour we met a third gentleman having a glorious sunbath, and he died the death.
in. “Kissme” shot several rapids and at the portages the four of us worked hard and moved canoe and gear with celerity. A shower of rain influenced us to have an early lunch. Just before dusk we were still in the gorge with camp sites practically non-existent. “Kissme” thought Monkey Creek just round the bend; but I considered it better to take advantage of a strip of sand rather than risk shipwreck in the dark, so we camped and even erected the tent. Three fish caught by “Kissme” and Ada with the spinner proved a welcome addition to the menu.
Monkey Creek was found to be about 300 yards away. Each portage took us nearer to the open water; but at 11:35 a.m. came disaster. On a second trip, with half the gear, Hilma, “Kissme” and I shot a rapid, hit a rock and were hurled into the water. “Kissme” pulled the water-logged canoe to the bank, while Hilma and I retrieved paddles, seats and cushions from the current. Most of the perishable food was wet and Ada's face was a study as she surveyed her drenched clothing. After lunch the canoe was once more repaired. All things come to an end - even rapids; but as I started off with the girls, down came the rain, and I leaving them at the cave at the mouth of the Warragamba, returned for “Kissme” who had been fishing. Cold and extremely wet, we had every incentive to hurry, and hit up a good pace on the return trip. A blazing fire welcomed us, and from our shelter we watched the teeming rain while we ate.
A sandy ridge disturbed my slumbers, and once I was nicely settled someone woke me, to point out that a centipede was crawling over our pillows, which seemed a poor excuse until I saw the centipede - nine inches long, with legs inch long. The second time I awoke without assistance. What “Kissme” said when he knocked over the blackcurrant jam and plastered it over his pillow was a revelation to me. Dull skies awaited us on the morrow, Erskine Creek was the scene of our mid-day meal, and “Kissme” insisted on pouring honey over his clothes. (We didn't worry about his clothes; but the honey supply was law). Late afternoon found us at Fallick's Cave, about eight miles from Penrith. This immense cave can shelter 50 people and after some rather restricted quarters, we were apt to lose ourselves in the dark. More heavy rain fell during the night.
Sunday gave promise of being fine; but the heat produced a thunderstorm, and we had barely finished lunch at Glenbrook Creek, when we had to dive for shelter.
Hec and Gladys were camped there, and they accompanied us on our final stage to Penrith, with the rain following us relentlessly to the end.
In seeking a wife (or a tent) we may as well face the fact at the onset that the perfect wife (or tent) doesn't exist. They're like sheep (pardon me ladies). If a sheep gives the best mutton the wool is not first class, and the sheep that grow the finest woolly jumpers do not produce the tenderest chops.
The loveliest girls are not always the best cooks, and the girl who darns socks to perfection is not inevitably a vision of loveliness; and suppose you find a beautiful girl who can turn tough steak to tenderest chicken, and repair the sorriest sock, as likely as not you'll find she can't walk.
But far be it from Paddy to presume to give advice in choosing wives when it comes to tents, however, he can perhaps assist.
Tents like sheep and wives have their points, and the roomiest tent is generally the heaviest; one's head and toes often protrude from the vest pocket variety. “A” tents are easiest to pitch, but wall tents seem to give more room. Then the pyramid type appeals to some folks, because it only takes one pole, and so on. Now all this is rather bewildering to those who are new to the walking game, and sometimes they will buy a tent and find it does not suit requirements.
Paddy has therefore evolved a scheme that will help such people to try out different types without cost - if you are considering buying a tent and are in doubt as to the most suitable type, hire one from Paddy for a weekend (this costs about 3/-). If you don't like that type, try another next time you go camping; when you have finally decided on the tent you want Paddy will deduct from the price of the tent, the cost of hiring the “tryouts” provided not more than two months has elapsed between hiring the tent and purchasing one.
Talking about food (which we weren’t) have you tried the New Tomato Powder - it is the goods.-one ounce (price 6d.) makes 1 pint of strong tomato soup, add salt and pepper to taste. Good things for camp are Wheat Lunch Biscuits - lb. packet contains 15 biscuits which are crisp and appetising, and remain so for days after opening; being in a many- layered wax-dipped wrapper, they will keep fresh for weeks in the packet.
NEW ADDRESS: F.A. PALLIN, phone B .3101 . 327 George St., SYDNEY. Opp. Paling's.
After strolling from Ginkin down the Upper Kowmung, up Morong Falls, over Kanangra, Craft Walls, Gangerang; down Moorilla Creek, via Cox, Black Dog Track and Clear Hill to Katoomba in five days, Jim Muir, Harry Savage and I bid goodbye to the rest of the party on the 2:45 p.m. from Katoomba last Boxing Day, and made our way to Mrs. Savage's home to prepare for a “rest cure.” About six months previously, Jim Muir had asked us to do a trip with him in his Hillman Minx, dawn [Ed. Kosciuszko ] Kosciusko way at Christmas time, so after much rushing about after starting handles and passengers, we eventually collected Ray Wild at Burwood and left there at 2:35 p.m. on the 27th. After going through Liverpool and Goulburn we reached Yass at 9:10 p.m. Ray had gone to sleep and collapsed in my lap. Jim and Harry, as well as I, were getting pretty sleepy too. About Gundagai Jim began to drop off to sleep while he was driving, so Ray woke and volunteered to drive for a time. She changed places with Harry and made the miles slip past a bit faster; in fact so fast that Jim had to keep awake to watch her go round corners on two wheels.
Next day we collected Harry, a lad of about 17 or 18 years old, who had never been far from home before, or even camped out, and left for Wagga at 9:50 p.m., 17 miles away.
As the back wheel had been rumbling a good bit the night before, Jim decided to take the car to the garage and find out what it was. While we waited for the verdict, we walked along the Murrumbidgee, under lovely trees, to the sandy beach which is about 100 to 200 yards long. The river washes by pretty fast, and they have a lifesaving club, dressing sheds, diving tower and everything as on a real beach; even dawn to people sunbaking on the sand in the very latest costumes, backless enough to shock Mr. Spooner. The bank of the river is laid out in lawns and gardens and lovely trees; big ancient gum trees as well as elms, planes, big beeches and poplars, and lots of other English trees. We then walked round the gardens and had a look at the fern houses.
After lunch the car was still having its innards attended to, so Jim became over-exclusive and stowed himself away in the shade of a tree and went to sleep. About 2:45 p.m. Harry, Harry and I took the lunch things back to the oar and found it nearly ready to go, twisted axle and all; so we collected a cake of soap, some vegetables, a fishing line and some hooks and Jimmy and finally got sway from Wagga at 3:15 p.m.
Our next port of call was Holbrook, where Harry was going to have a long beer, because he and I had been singing all the way from Wagga and we were getting pretty dry.
The hills about here are very steep and heavily timbered. In some places they have been cleared and are covered with bracken. Jim told us bracken springs up as soon as timber is cleared off; but it dies out in three or four years.
By the way, Jim wouldn't wait for Harry to get his beer in Holbrook; but was off for the Murray River as hard as he could tear, through Gingellic, across the Murray into Victoria and on to a lovely road along the river to Walwa, where we filled the tank up with petrol and Harry had his long waited-for reviver. Then Nye continued on, along the lovely Murray valley to Cudgewa Creek, where we landed about 7:30 p.m., climbed over a barbed wire fence, and erected our tents on a nice flat, under some willows on the bank of a beautiful little creek. You should have seen what happened to Victoria when we hit it: in half an hour we had unloaded and our goods and chattels were spread over nearly half an acre (more or less). As we were pretty tired we went to bed as soon as we had had tea, and I never moved till they woke me next morning, with the sun burning down in my face. We left camp at 8 a.m., went on up the valley through Tintaldra, with the Kosciusko range getting nearer all the time, and we could see the snow on the slopes up near the top. We reached a gully which had been eroded away, cutting through a lovely grassy flat to the Murray. Jim stopped the car and we went on a tour of inspection. The soil was rich in mica which shone like gold where the sun struck it. The gully is about a quarter of a mile long and about 20 feet deeps and has eroded away, leaving pinnacles and spires for all the world like the Grand Canyon of Arizona, in miniature.
After taking some photos, we continued up the valley. Words cannot describe the beauty of the Murray Valley, with its lovely flats, covered with grass up to your knees with bright pink pretty Betsy, Blue Bells and yellow Buttercups all through it. There is also a tall plant with lilac-coloured flowers all round, and up the full length of the stems. Me Murray runs along the middle of the valley and is bordered with willows and tall gum trees; mountains tower on all sides, with Kosciusko range looking over their shoulders at the top end of the valley. We passed several beautiful homesteads of cattle stations. It was a lovely, sparkling, sunshiney day and everything seemed glad to be alive.
We arrived at Bringenbrong Bridge over the junction of the Swampy Plains and the Indi Rivers, which form the Murray. Up to this time, Jim had changed his mind about four times, as to where we were going; and he just had another idea so Harry appealed to him for goodness sake to stop changing his mind and stick to something definite. Then we went on past Bringenbrong homestead where we met a man, who, when asked for information, referred us to his father, who lived in a big house on a hill in the middle of the valley. We climbed up the hill while Jim and Harry interviewed the old chap and got lots of information, I photographed the valley. The house is on the very top of the hill, which stands up like a cone in the middle of the valley, and commands a wonderful view all round.
When we found out all that we wanted to know, we made our way up the divide, leaving Bringenbrong valley behind, to go down into lovely Khancoban valley, past Khancoban homestead. There were cattle everywhere, all as fat as mud, and this valley is even more beautiful than Bringenbrong. We left the car at Mr. Read’s place on the bank of the Swampy Plains, at the top of Khancoban valley, and started to climb up the mountain bound for Geehi Walls at 11:5 a.m.
It was terribly hot work; but very easy walking, along a good track. When we got to the top of the first rise we reached the tall timber and thereafter, although it was uphill all the way, the track was shady. The country is quite different to our Blue Mountain country, in that there are no cliff faces, or even big rocks. The river beds are stoney, and that seems to be all. Again too, there are no prickly bushes or undergrowth, only lovely, soft, green grass with seed heads knee-high, spangled with thousands of buttercups, bluebells and violets all the way to the tops of the mountains, and in every small depression there is a beautiful, little, crystal-clear creek rushing like mad between tree ferns. All the creeks seem in a terrible hurry, and fit in with the general scheme of things in that part of the world. Nothing is standing still; everything is Vigorous and growing with all its might, seemingly enjoying life to the utmost. Nothing is dry, starved and hungry-looking, as on Moorilla Spur, for instance.
We kept going up, on an easy grade and a good track, until we came to Back Creek, a lovely, little, bustling creek with a nice, grassy, flat alongside; and as it was 12.133 p.m. we had lunch. I might say that flies are another item in the make-up of that slice of country which is full of life and very busy, - they were in swarms. Jimmy said they worked shifts with the mosquitoes, the mosquitoes coming on duty at dusk when the flies went off; but I think the mossies loafed on the job, because they didn't worry us much.
We started off again at 1:35 p.m. and soon reached the top of Geehi Walls, from where we had a wonderful view of the Kosciusko range, Kosciusko itself being hidden by Mount Townsend. Jim and Harry pointed out Geehi Creek down which they had come, from Kosciusko, on their last trip. I was surprised when I actually saw Geehi Walls. I expected to see a cliff face; but it is merely a very steep mountainside, with no rocks. Most of the way was down the bed of a creek under tree ferns, a very beautiful walk, with cold, clear water laid on all the way - really a walker's paradise. At the foot of the wall we came to Bogong Creek, which is quite a considerable stream - only about 18” deep; but very fast and clear, with great gum trees and tree ferns along the bank. There is a lot of mica in the sand and as you walk in the water near the banks, it rises, sparkling like gold in the sunlit water.
We went across a shady patch among the gum trees for about 100 yards and came to the Swampy Plains River in a terrible hurry. It was up to our knees, and so fast we could scarcely stand up against it. We crossed to the other side and all hands went swimming. We went in where we crossed and let ourselves be washed down to the junction of Bogong Creek. Jim went farther down to see what was round the corner. We swam about for half an hour or so, and it was marvellously refreshing, the water being cold and crystal-clear; the day hot and bright.
We travelled along Geehi Flats for about half a mile and crossed again; it was a bit fiercer this time, and we had to watch our steps quarter of a mile of lovely track and views and then back across the it was the last time we expected to cross that night, we changed our Jim soaked the dried vegetables. We crossed more flats and met the Plains round the bend, where two men were camped. They had come in back and were trout fishing. We found afterwards that they came from which was parked next to Jim's as Mr. Read's place!
We went about half a mile farther upstream, and at 5:30 p.m. camped in an ideal spot - nice and flat - lovely green grass under big gums, with the river tearing past our door and tons of good firewood right alongside. I cooked stew of the remains of our working bullock from Wagga, some dried vegetables, one onion, one carrot, one parsnip and some spaghetti, with a little meat extract throw in for good measure. It wouldn't have been at all lad if I had left the dried vegetables out, (I haven't liked them since the Colo trip). We finished off with rice custard and stewed prunes. After tea I had a brain wave, and dug for worms, thinking I might go fishing; but as I found only two thin little things, I took pity on them and decided to leave the fish were they were, anyhow, I don't suppose the fishermen with fancy flies would have liked me fishing for trout with worms. We had a lovely camp fire, and as it was still light when we had finished all our work, I took a photo of it. We had a real good concert for two or three hours, went to bed about 10-40 p.m. and slept the sleep of the just. Win. Duncombe.
Being extracts from a letter of Grace Lofts written to Flo Allsworth.
Last Sunday Stoddy and I went on a Southern Railways Ramble - unknown to each other until to-day. The Railways provide the train and there are eight or nine volunteer leaders and rear-guarders - the latter to shut gates and hurry up stragglers. Club parties may go, and also individuals; but all must meet the special train at one of several different stations, and again at the end of the day.
Of course, England has no spare firewood to be had for picking up, so one either takes an oil stove or books up in advance at a “pub”, if the party is too large to trust to casual catering.
The Southern Pathfinders have adopted me as a “So-Pat,” complete with badge, and as Joan Ellwood and another So-Pat were doing volunteer leading for the day, I went with them. We three were the only members of the seventeen on our particular trip who wore shorts, and it was the first outing of the year on which they had not worn overcoats. Some of the party were in plus-fours, complete with walking sticks, the other girls generally were in skirts and pullovers with overcoats to carry. I overheard a discussion in which the members were trying to decide whether I was an Australian or an Austrian – one or other of which explained the size of my haversack.
We left Victoria Station at 10:10 a.m. that is summertime, so it is really 9:10 a.m. - and the train trip WAS very pretty. It took us through orchards in blossom - pear trees, all white, with green grass and woolly lambs underneath, old villages, patches of wood, fields and then Maidstone. It was a real thrill to meet in the flesh names which up till then just belonged to books. There is not much fun in leading a mixed crowd such as you find on a railway ramble; but the inducement is a free first class fare.
We started walking at about a quarter to twelve - first along a road with lovely banks of primroses and violets, and patches of mauve cuckoo flowers beyond the trees. Then we turned off by a slippery, muddy cart-track between cultivation. In the middle of that was another wooded patch with white anemones, then road again, alongside of which was a really enticing bit of woodland aggressively labelled “Private;” then past an old church, past a farmhouse - quite a palatial sort of place - walking on a footpath with hop- poles on one side and cherry trees on the other. To an Australian this looked very much like trespassing on private property; but it was a recognized public footpath.
There were patches of fields starred with daisies, banks by the side of the track thick with primroses and some violets for contrast. We passed one lot of bluebells, of the wild hyacinth variety, and another bigger blue flower whose name I have forgotten.
As Joan Ellwood was rear-guarding, I had a good opportunity to observe all the different gates - they have everything except a wire gate that twists round on itself. I wish I had counted all the stiles in the walk, there were about six in the quarter of an hour I timed. It is a crime to muddy the top of the stile as some of the uninitiated railways ramblers did. It is another crime to make a noise when going through woods at this time of the year, for they are generally game preserves, and one simply does not disturb the birds while nesting; although a few months later it is, of course, quite correct to shoot them.
I thought you might like to see the United Dairies which are all over London. I shall take a snap of one of their little carts. I am told the Dairies have some grand parades and decorate the horses. When I asked about their rambles, someone thought that this was what I was talking about.
I went to the So-Pat Clubrooms last night. They are a wonderfully friendly lot. As they have a “streaky bacon,” they are particularly anxious to meet Mouldy. Everyone is Jo, Mike, Cherry and the like. They are sorry that unless the convict system is revived, there is little chance of their coming out to see us. However, that does not limit the welcome they have for us there.
By our Bushwalking Expert, “Reklawsub.”
Q. Are there any artists in the Bush Walkers' Club?
A. We have many lady members who paint remarkably well.
Q. In wet weather, where does one find dry kindling wood?
A. Use your head. When camping, my wife will not cook. What shall I do? A. Eat her raw.
Q. I love to take my little dog out walking, but it always chases cows. What do you advise me to do?
A. Get a bull-dog.
Q. I am a very good bushman; but I can't understand why I always work round in circles when I'm lost. What is the explanation?
A: Perhaps you have one leg longer than the other.
Q. Don’t you think the Bushwalkers carry too much gear?
A. The size of their rucksacks is certainly staggering.
Q. Why should my landlord object so strongly to my returning to the flat in holey shorts?
A. Perhaps the rent is in arrears.
Q. Why do Bushwalkers get bad-tempered when pushing through burnt scrub?
A. They are not really-bad-tempered, it’s just their black looks.
Q. My boots are nearly worn through, and I have not the money to get them repaired. Must I give up walking?
A. Keep going, you will soon be on your feet again.
Q. Don’t you think it is disgraceful that Bushwalkers should boast of having gone to the Dogs for four whole days at Easter?
A. I'm afraid you're barking up the wrong tree.
Q. We are informed that we spelt several persons' names incorrectly in the last issue; we should be very glad if you would tell us which names were wrongly spelt and how they should have been spelt, Editor.
A. I am not sure how the names were spelt in the Annual Report; but from observation I know that “Alden” should have been “All-done” and that “Dolamore” should have been “Dally-more.” With regard to “Alyworth” I consider one tl in this earth is enough for any person. As for “Colberg,” everyone knows that he traces his descent from the Black Prince and that it should have been spelt “Coal-barge.” Incidentally “shi-ing” should have been “she-14g,” so called on account of the predominance of female bookings at Kosciusko.
Being the Epic of the laying 1:-N of the Black Dog by SIT and Timken, the two BeBTs. (Bearing-boys, bad boys or ask Taro?)
By W. Mullins.
Once upon a time there lived in the Blue Mountains a big bad Black Dog.
Now most people who came upon this Black Dog didn't worry about bearings or traverses, as these measures of bushcraft were simply not known or not done.
They just trusted to diligence, who of course is, as all good bushwalkers know the mother of good luck.
It often happened, however, that the maternal guardianship of such diligence was absent and so a great many folk went astray.
Nevertheless when such folk became foiled by the cunning of the bad Black Dog, they took the experience in the light of a lesson vowing to remember next time what all the old hunters of Dogs had told them; namely that when you want to go to the Cox by way of the Dogs, go on the back of one and not parasite fashion, clinging to his feet where he would easily be able to kick and snap at you.
And so for many years the Black Dog was a terrible bogey, grim and horrible fables found expression by the camp fire; survivors, however, scoffed and said the Black Dog was a fool of a dog, blind in one eye and stone deaf, so that one could easily mount his back without his knowing as much, and follow it to the tip of his nose. Once in that position one could grip his snout and he was at one's mercy.
In order to lay this terrible bogey by the heels and chain him up, one of the most celebrated of all walkers make a vow that he would bind the Black Dog with a strong chain, a diamond chain so strong that the Black Dog would be forever leashed.
This famous man was the Duke Taro. Now the Duke was a thrifty fellow and only having a limited number of diamonds he had to devise a means by which to make a suitable chain for his purposes.
He enlisted the aid of one Ninian the Swinger of needles and one Reg the Plotter of Traverses.
When these two knight boys (BU's) began the work of traversing and throwing the diamond chain across the Black Dog, Taro was a happy Duke.
He joined his diamonds with stout trees; hardwood, blackbutt and stringy- barks, so that the Black Dog became horribly enchained and tangled with a strong chain and hard trees.
The BB's had a long job, monotonous and strenuous, but they carried on in the face of almost insurmountable difficulties. “What's the bearing” saith Reg, the Plotter. “Ninety three” quoth Nin, the Swinger. “'What’s the back bearing” said Nin ditto. “Two hundred and seventy three” replies Reg ditto.
And so it went on for hours, Nin swinging the needle like a man possessed, and Reg plotting like an anarchist. Counting the paces, plotting the calls making notes of the contours.
But these men were if nothing else the pioneers of the great new highway that Was to come:- The Roots Douglee Road,
So, in order to make the road, the track had to be cleaned.
The grubbers, labourers who cut the scrub by the roots (or if this would not be cut, it is pulled, a technique attained after several miles of such grubbing) were the famous trio, Douglas-Lee-Roots of unmemorable fame.
These people were of a different school of thought. They believed in peaceful penetration as opposed to the Duke's scheme of passive oppression.
Both forms of pacification and conquest have been proved to be successful, (vide. The chronicles of Wild Dog Wal: “Through the Wild Dogs with a handful of biscuits and mince”, also Marshal Badogliols “Abysinnia by Blood and Fire”) and all good bushwalkers eagerly await the result of this experiment – probably a Mug's Alley (“Hikers” corridor) says. I.
The grubbers became so fed up that they almost lost their bearings. Pulling up on scrub is no easy task, and one becomes very aggravated when a lot of talk is going on around one especially when the talk is about bearings.
The whole thing culminated in a down tools when the job was half over. Not another strike, but the plaintive pangs of inner man at mid-day.
Although the Roots Douglee scheme of peaceful penetration was not finished, the BB’s completed the work of leashing the Black Dog.
On the night following, Sirius was to be seen high in the southern heavens and he looked particularly bright and unwinking.
Little did the Duke and the BB's know the tricks old Sirius was up to.
Now, as related before the Black Dog was blind in one eye and although he struggled to free himself from his bonds he could not see the chain which bound him because, firstly, he was pinned on one side, and secondly, his sound eye could not see very well in the darkness.
However Sirius, the Dog Star, patron of all dogs good and bad, came to his aid.
The Black Dog saw the diamonds flashing in the starlight and thus aided he commenced to bite his way through a sapling black butt, the safest within reach of his strong teeth.
Next morning the dreadful discovery was made that the Black Dog had escaped. However, the Duke, although sad at heart, knew that even if his measures had not been preventative, they had at least been curative.
So to-day somewhere in the Wild Dogs there roams an odd dog, not fitting in with the landscape but waiting to lead perhaps the Duke or the BB/s to some uninhabited part and leave them to the mercy of his brother dogs.
The peaceful penetrations will no doubt remain safe, provided they carry an extra ration of biscuits and mince for the straying Black Dog who is no longer a bogey.
In view of their famous research in the direction of bearings and traverses Nin, the Swinger, became known as Skf, and Reg, the Plotter, as Timken.
(Acknowledgement is made to the manufacturers of Hoffmann Skf and Timken bearings for the use of their trade names.)
Onward yet by river and glen.
To the dear lone lands untroubled of men,
Where no voice sounds, and amid shadowy green
The little things of the woodland live unseen.