A Journal devouted to matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, 5 Hamilton St., Sydney, N.S.W.
No. 32. January, 1937.
|Editor:-||Marie B. Byles|
|Assistant Editor:-||Dinah Hearfield|
|Sales Manager:-||W.J. Mullins|
|Editorial Committee:-||Doris Allden, Dot English, Ada Frost, Ian Malcolm, Peter Page.|
|Camping De Luxe, by Suzanne Reichard.||3|
|Extracts from Letter From Wiff Aboard “Wandarra”||4|
|Warrumbungle Mines, By A.W. Mills.||7|
|Rhyme of the Hardy He-Men, from “The Tararua Tramper”||8|
|Photography and the Walker, by R.W. Savage.||9|
|A Week's Ramble Along the Cox Via Katoomba, By. E. Millard.||11|
|Grose River, by Gordon Smith.||13|
|Hikers or Bushwalkers ?||16|
|Gadzooks by Dot English.||18|
STOP PRESS: The stork again visited the Pallin's home on 30th. September and completed the “pigeon pair”. We have it on good authority that Jennifer is delighted and congratulated her parents on their choice of a playmate for her. We trust that David George will be trained in the art of “Paddymade” for the benefit of future Bushwalkers.
This issue sees the innovation of two important things. Firstly, there is the appointment of Mr. W.J. Mullins as sales manager of “The Sydney Bushwalker.” In accepting this position, Mr. Mullins will relieve the editor of the greater part of the work.
Secondly, we have arranged that “The Sydney Bushwalker” may be obtained by annual subscription as well as for cash at the Club Rooms. For the sum of 4/6 per annum “The Sydney Bushwalker” will be posted each quarter, free of charge, to your home a week before it is on sale at the Club Rooms. It has long been felt that it was most undignified that “The Sydney Bushwalker” should be hawked round the Club Rooms as if it were a kind of patent medicine which an enthusiastic salesman was trying to foist off upon a gullible public. An attempt to add the cost of “The Sydney Bushwalker” to the amount of the annual subscription for membership - as is done in most clubs - completely failed to win approval, you will remember, for about only half the members wish to obtain copies of it. It is now hoped that the institution of on annual subscription, apart from the annual subscription for Club membership, will strike the happy medium between the old method and the proposal which failed to win approval. For those who cannot afford to pay 4/6 in advance for the quarterly publication, it will still be possible to purchase at the Club Rooms. But it is hoped that all who can will adopt the annual subscription method. Subscriptions will be received either by the editor or the sales manager. “The Sydney Bushwalker” will appear on the first Friday of January, April and July, and the “Annual” in October.
Another matter of interest is the arrangement for publication in “The Sydney Bushwalker” of maps drawn by members. It has always seemed a pity that valuable and useful maps and sketches of routes prepared by people who penetrate now country, should be filed away in the archives of the Walks Secretary. In future it is proposed to ask all map-makers to trace a copy onto the necessary plate for re-production. These can then be copied at very small cost, and it is not anticipated that the price of “The Sydney Bush walker” need be increased. The fact that such maps will appear as often as they are available is an added reason why you should make sure of your copy of “The Sydney Bushwalker” by paying an annual subscription for it.
The total area of the Park is 11,000 sq. miles, while that of the Yosemite Valley is only about 10 sq. miles, so that the Valley is only a very small portion of the Park. The Valley is about 4,000 ft. high and is surrounded by walls of rock towering over 3,000 ft. above it. The entrance is quite narrow and is guarded by two magnificent rock-sentinels, El Captain and Cathedral Rock. El Captain is extraordinarily impressive; it is a sheer vertical wall of smooth, polished granite, rising thousands of feet above the valley. The Merced river winds its way along the floor of the valley, which is entirely filled with giant pines and cedars.
Camp Curry consists of about 1,500 bungalows, log-cabins and tents, which are so wonderfully hidden amongst the pine-trees, that you would scarcely suspect their existence. In the centre are some larger log-cabins, which contain the community buildings, office, dance-hall, dining-room and cafeteria. There is something beautiful and serene about the place, for which Ann and I were both devoutly thankful. It is as though the pine-trees have imposed their peace upon the place… the ground is carpeted with pine-needles, and everyone treads softly. Behind the camp Glacier Point rises in all its 3,200 ft. of grandeur. Even the dining-room is pervaded with this wonderful quietness; all the waiters and waitresses, who are college students on vacation, wear rubber-soled shoes, and I don't know how they achieve the miracle, but there is no clattering of dishes. I used to imagine that Americans were incapable of appreciating quietness, but I think I must be wrong. I must also admit that they have a genius, for combining an outdoor life with all the comforts of civilization. Scattered discreetly amongst the tents and log-cabins, are slightly larger log-cabins containing all that is most up-to-date in toilet fittings. The dining-room is planned as a huge log-cabin, with unstained red-wood walls and bright Indian hangings, but it is air-conditioned and the food is absolutley first-class; their salads, especially, were delicious. Let me warn you, however, that the tariff is this super camp is 30/- per day!
After dinner at night a camp-fire is built in the open, and all the seats are arranged round it for the camp-fire concert. While we were there, they had an orchestra, a guitar quartet singing Hill Billy songs and a Russian balalaika orchestra. At 9 o'clock the concert finished and we prepared to watch the fire-fall.
The fire-fall is something quite special to Camp Curry. First we were told the story of the origin of the fire-fall; how away back in 1882 an old Scot, who was exploring the trails of the National Park, used to camp up on Glacier Point and how, when his camp-fire had burned down at night, he used to kick it over the edge. One night someone in the valley below saw this happen and offered the old Scot five dollars to make a fire-fall for him the next evening. After this the Scot met several different people and offered to make a personal fire-fall for each of them for five dollars…but of course there was only the one fire-fall! In 1899 when David Curry founded Camp Curry, he continued the custom, and there has been a fire- fall at Camp Curry every night since. Exactly at 9 o'clock we were told to look towarde Glacier Point, and a man called out “Hel-lo Gla-cier Point!!” After a while the answer came faintly from 3,000 ft. above, “Hel-lo Camp Curry!!” and Camp Curry replied: “Let the fire fa-all!!” Then to the chant of an Indian song, a stream of fire poured over the cliff on to a ledge 1,400 ft. below. Anything quite so beautiful it would be difficult to imagine. Ann and I felt almost reverent. Afterwards we retired to our log-cabin and gazed at the stars and the pine-trees. We felt at peace with the world.
“Now for my second wonderful trip. I heard about it in Cairns. The John Burke Line of steamers runs the “Wandarra” from Brisbane to Burketown, calling at Townsville, Cairns, Cooktowm [Cooktown], Port Stewart, Lockhart Mission, Portland Road, Thursday Island, Normanton and Burketown. Cooktown is a has-been place; should be burnt down; old, neglected shops and houses, and goats and pubs. That's all I saw in it. I'm told it's a very cheap place to live in; rent 2/6 a week and you could live well on 20/- - so when I get the old age pension, I'll go and finish my days. We arrived at Port Stewart at midnight, and a luggar came alongside - six jet black abos., white skipper and a fat wife; a rare nigger driver. Gold Portland Road was all excitement. We had on board about a dozen going to try their luck; 16 ozs to the ton. That would make anyone's mouth water and give them gold fever. The finder wants £50,000 for his show. Any S.B.W. can have it at that price. A couple of miners took their wives with them. Don't think they're a poor lot - quite the opposite. You can't hope for success there unless you've cash behind you, and muscle too. It is all hard rock that has to be blasted away.”
“I got in touch with a young man called Vidgeon, who has a cocoanut plantation with 10,000 trees right on the top of York Peninsula. It seems to be just what I'm looking for. The steamer went in close to the shore and blew the whistle, and the blackboys waved from the verandah. Mr. Vidgeon invited us to camp for a month on our may back, and promised us a good time. There are crocs., wild pigs, duck, death adders, carpet, black and brown snakes galore, not forgetting the fish and oysters - so I wouldn't go short of food. We passed Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday Islands and the next port was Thursday Island. I don't know if there are Saturday and Sunday Islands - perhaps they're not named because they're not working days. Well, Thursday Island only grows blacks, chows and all those races just north of here, and a few whites. The soil is very poor, mostly stony gravel, yet the people seem contented and well fed. The big boats cannot get in; they have to use launches. The town is better than Cooktown. Shops seem busy, but there are lots of blacks and whites just loafing about.”
“We have Billy Turnbull on board. Did you read in a Sydney paper an account by Ian Idriess of Billy at Hicks Islands? The Japs stole his shoes, and crocs. ate his pigs and fowls. He is a modern Crusoe. He has just come out of Thursday Island Hospital, after a nervous breakdown. He asked us to stay with him for a month, but it was looking a bit too far ahead, so I did not promise to go. When I asked a passenger what there was to see at Normanton, he said: “White ants, wind, whiskers and whiskey”…so I won't go up there! He told me about a chap who went into an outback pub and asked for pickles. The girl sang out: “Mum, this chap wants pickles - he must think its Christmas.”
“Our ship is stuck in the mud, and we have to wait for next tide - only one tide in 24 hours. I'm in my singlet and shorts, baking in the sun. We are getting plenty of food - morning tea at 6; 3-course breakfast at 8; tea at 11; dinner at 1; tea at 4; 3-course tea at 6; supper at 9:30. I'm missing some of the 11's and 4's; I don't want to get too fat for the crocs. at Cape York. If any S.B.W's. want to come up here they can book at Brisbane for the round trip, which takes four weeks or a little more. It is a most wonderful trip; visiting places every day or two, seeing something entirely different to down south. The fare is £24 plus 10% for a 2-berth cabin. There is only one trip a month, so I think it might be better to write John Burke Ltd., Flour Mill Wharf, Stanley St., South Brisbane, to find out when the boat leaves. The journey can be broken at Cape York and you can pick up the steamer a week or five weeks later. Mr. Vidgeon is starting a guest house at £3/3/- a week, with entertainment cruises, hunting and fishing. My next letter will give you details. We got off the sand or mud bank at 3 o'clock in the morning, and went about 20 miles up the Norman river to meet a lighter, that never turned up. On the wharf was a tame Native Companion, which followed us about 3 miles out along the track and back again. There were heaps of kangaroos, hopping all over the place. They are small and a light buff colour. I saw a lot of big feet marks and wondered what strange bird they had up here. Billy Turnbull said they were cassowarys. There was a chap on the wharf selling small stuffed and varnished crocodiles at £2/2/- each. He said there were plenty of live ones in the river….I swam in the cattle tank. The men don't bring their wives up here - it's too hot. They have housekeepers instead. I talked to two of them and they like the life. The meatworks does killing and freezing for export. A black rowed up to the steamer with a load of Barramundi fish to be put aboard for Brisbane. The boat finished loading at 3 o'clock next morning, and we set off for Burketown and pulled up about five miles from the entrance of Albert River, awaiting the tide at 3 o'clock next morning, to go into Burketown. We never got in the river; a lighter came out to us and we unloaded for Roper River, Mornington Mission Island, Burketown and several other places along the far side of the Gulf. The lighter goes to Burketown, then unloads into another lighter for cargo further afield. This takes it three, weeks to deliver its cargo, then it comes back for the “Wandarra's” next trip in four weeks' time. We leave the boat about four hours after at Cape York for four weeks. If we like it, we may stay eight weeks, then go straight home to Sydney. Billy Turnbull would be glad to have letters from Bushwalkers. (Stamped addressed envelopes would help). He is very interesting to talk to. Not a rough chap, as you would imagine - just the opposite. Let all the members read this, for I know they are seeking something now and near to nature.
Love to all, From Wiff.”
There is much comfort in high hills,
And a great easing of the heart.
is Paddy's wish to all Bushwalkers. Despite wars real and wars threatened, income tax paid and income tax threatened. Despite all the worries, cares and difficulties which will inevitably beset us in 1937, may we all be able to escape from time to time to the calm serenity and quiet solitude of the bush, thence to return refreshed and reinvigorated, ready to play a worthy part in the hurly burly of a daily life.
It is Paddy's job to assist busy people more readily to get to the great out o' doors properly equipped to meet all vagaries of weather and variety of conditions. To further these ends in 1937 he has some new lines which should lessen walking weariness and add to camping comfort.
The new proofing.
All stock groundsheets, capes and lumber jackets are now proofed by an entirely new process which is even more reliable than the old proofing and has the following advantages:-
Colour. Quite even. Feel. Softer and quite non-tacky.
STRENGTH. Cloth is not weakened as in old style of proofing. The basis is of course as before the best quality light weight japara. Articles may be reproofed.
Lumber Jackets . In various shades of khaki and brown from 36” to 44“ chest, 2 pockets, elastic waist - 21/- - (They were made to sell at 35/-. Manufacturer closed down supply limited.)
|'Phone B.3101 .||F.A. PALLIN,|
|327 George St., SYDNEY.|
The Mine at Bugaldie has now been working for about 15 years, the earth in the early years being drawn by waggon to Coonabarabran, and trucked from there to Sydney. This was before the line was extended past that Station.
During the last few years about 1,500 tons a year have been despatched to Sydney, Melbourne, New Zealand etc. The correct name is not chalk, but Diatomaceous Earth, and the deposit, which is about a mile long by half a mile wide, and on the edge 14 feet in depth, will last for years yet. From years of experience, I have a theory that the site of the present deposit is the crater of an extinct volcano, which is fed by streams of water from inside. The diatoms, which formed the earth, were a very early form of life, invisible to the naked eye, and lived in this water. When they died, their shells, of which there are something like 800,000 to the cubic inch, sank to the bottom and gradually filled up the crater. All the water was thus run off, as is shown by the formation above the proper earth, which is a mixture of mud and earth which did not properly form, not being under water. This holds the fossilized remains of freshwater mussels, while the earth itself has the fossilized remains of various fish, up to 18 inches long, with leaves all through it. What caused the fish to die when the water was clear enough for the diatoms to live in, I do not know, but I suggest that heavy downpours of rain muddying the water, or excessive heat, may have been the cause.
Various geologists have visited the Mine, and a Mr. Kenny of the Mines Dept. had the theory that the deposit was formed under the sea, and had been pushed up in some eruption; but when I pointed out that trees do not grow under the sea; that no trace of salt or iodine is found in the analysis; that it is a sodium freshwater deposit, showing each layer distinct from the next and all exactly level, all parts of the deposit showing the same formation at that particular level, he changed his theory and accepted mine.
There are various places on the mountain showing honeycombed lava rock, also deposits of red oxide, both being formed by intense heat, which prove my theory of a volcano.
After the whole of the deposit had been formed, trees mnd grass grew on it, and there is even now only a few inches of ordinary dirt on the top, which has formed over all these years from fallen leaves, grass sticks etc.
The only thing that has me beaten is the fact that after the whole thing has been formed, there must have been another volcanic eruption in the vicinity, as the mountain is covered with basalt rocks, some weighing up to 4 and 5 tons; but all of which are only on the surface, and although the earth deposit is quite soft, not one of these rocks has penetrated into it, yet they must have been thrown there after the deposit was formed. Only the outside portion of the deposit is dry, and inside up to about 100 yards getting wetter as you go in, and after that distance it is a brown colour, from having a carbon content. This when dried and fired burns itself out, leaving a pure white earth, equal to the other.
There must be a big reservoir of water somewhere in the mountain, as springs run out of it here and there, and in good seasons there is even a spring on the flat top of the mountain 600 feet above Bugaldie.
The earth is all picked out and bagged in the tunnels, and about 400 bags make up a 15-ton truck.
The uses are extensive, Davis Gelatine Ltd. using it for clearing and filtering, rubber manufacture, packing for chemicals, plaster sheets, electrical insulations, porcelain and hundreds of others including fire bricks.
It will not burn and will not mix with water and for polishing and cleaning metals it is on its awn, some people even use it for tooth powder. Pure earth is nearly all silica, has no abrasives and will not scratch
Tough, tough, tough,
Indomitably tough -
They waver not, nor wilt,
They never cry enough.
They take what's coming to them
They brag not, no, nor bluff -
No praise they ask or give
But this: He did his stuff.
A chosen tribe are they,
And tested every one,
The chattering orange-sucking
Munching mobs they shun.
Despising huts and tents,
Jerseys, scarves and vests,
Men of the shorter shorts
and blizzard-beaten chests.
Men of the trackless bush,
Men of the hard-won peak,
Men of the long day's trail
Who very seldom speak.
So great the deeds, as great
The feeds of He-men true -
Billies of stodgy rice
Kerosene tins of stew.
No festive feeding theirs,
But purposeful and dumb,
Till tight, tight, tight,
Is the tum, tum, tum.
Tough, tough, tough,
Grumpy, grim and gruff -
Hardy hefty He-men,
Diamonds rare though rough.
Of deeds and feeds of He-men
We ne'er can hear enough,
We who can never hope
To be tough, tough, tough.
(From “The Tararua Tramper.” The “Tararuas” apparently have more of such heroes than the S.B.W.!)
By R.W. Savage.
It is only natural that the majority of walkers should be interested in photography - probably no other recreation offers so great a scope for viewing nature in her many moods, and according to our ability, we endeavour to catch and retain impressions which will recall pleasant memories of the great “out of doors.”
The past five years have seen many changes in cameras, lens and photographic negative material. Whilst the general photographer has benefited by these improvements, the walker, by reason of his peculiar methods of working, has benefited to a much greater degree. A brief summary of walking photographic technique will probably explain this.
1. The camera, accessories and negative material must be carried in addition to the normal camping load. This limits the size and type of camera and the number of exposures available for a trip.
2. Only a limited time each day can be given to photography, e.g., assuming a quota of twelve exposures a day, and the time for each exposure to be five minutes. On this basis, which may easily be exceeded, the time spent is one hour a day, which is equivalent to, about, three miles' walking.
3. Photographs may have to be taken early in the morning and late in the afternoon, under trees and at the bottom of ravines when the light conditions are very bad. Should the day be cloudy, one can rarely wait for the sun.
4. Due to the physical exertions of the photographer, in climbing to a vantage point, and also to the movement of trees in the foreground, it is often necessary to use a comparatively short exposure to counteract unsteadiness in holding and to stop movement in the picture.
These requirements demand that the camera should be of the miniature type, with preferably, a very rigid self-erecting front. The lens should not be slower than f=6.3 and may with advantage be as fast as f=3.6. The shutter speeds should include 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100 second. Faster and slower additional speeds will increase the scope of the camera. A direct vision eye level view-finder, preferably of the optical type, will make for faster working, increased steadiness and better composition.
Size is the next point to be considered, for this affects the original weight of the camera, the weight of negative material and the resultant picture. Some walkers carry the panel size (4½” x 2½“) 1) - I do myself, and consider it worth the weight. In view of modern developments, however, this size must be considered as the largest practicable, and the majority of walkers will favour one of the following:-
|3¼” x 2¼“ 2) - 8 exposures per film or half this size||2¼” x 1¾“ 3) with 16 exposures per film.|
|2½” x 1 5/8“ 4) - 8 ” “ ” “ ” “||1 5/8” x 1¼“ 5) ” 16 “ ” “|
|1½” x 1“ 6) - 36 exposures on a strip of 35 m.m. cine film.|
Concurrently with the development of these new cameras, the film manufacturers have been producing new negative material, until the amateur of to-day can select from over a dozen different types, ranging from the old standard films to multicoated, panchromatic, infra red and natural colour film, All have their respective uses, but those most favoured by the walking fraternity are the multicoated films of medium colour sensitivity, such as Verichrome, Isochrom, and Selochrome and the panchromatic emulsions, put out by the same makers. All these films are much faster than the old standard films, thus permitting photographs under more adverse light conditions.
Finally a few words on carrying the camera. - The ordinary leather camera case slung across the body by a thin strap is not comfortable, and does not ride well when also carrying a framed rucksack. The back pockets of the rucksack are objectionable in that the rucksack must be removed every time a photograph is taken, which adds to the time factor. The possibility of damage to the camera in this exposed position must also be considered. About seven years ago the writer, in an attempt to make a balanced rucksack, evolved the front wallets to be attached by swivel to the front of the shoulder straps. The idea was patterned on the military method of carrying ammunition, and since then my camera has always been carried, in this position. Spare film, colour filters, self-timer, exposure calculator, compass, aneroid map and log-book are all carried in sub-divisions of the wallet, which enables a photograph to be taken or a reference made, without removing the pack and the consequent loss of time.
And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thought; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought
And rolls through all things.
On Friday night, the 3rd. October, seven of us, to wit, Ada Meade, Hilma Galliott, Gordon Smith, Bernard Yardley (our most estimable leader), Ninian Melville, Max Gentle and I set out for a most enjoyable week's walk.
We started out by catching the 6:30 train from Central arriving at Katoomba at a little after 9. Our destination for this night was Diamond Falls. It was a glorious night for walking, though as we neared the Falls, it became terribly windy. I might add that the water supply here was very poor. Next morning our leader, Bernard, after several unsuccessful reminders of “Leaving in 10 minutes” eventually succeeded in getting us to break camp at about 8:30 a m. The morning was a glorious one, but very hot and the trip being the first long one of Ada and self, our packs soon began to feel rather heavy. However, we proceeded to Narrow Neck, admiring Mt. Solitary from the distance, thence round Glen Raphael swamp to Clear Hill. Hera we signed the visitors' book which was buried beneath a quantity of stones, after which we made for Taro's Ladder, which appeared to have been reinforced and so we felt most secure going down. All having reached the bottom of the ladder, we began a most slippery piece of sliding down the hill until we reached the bottom.
Next morning, Sunday, we left Carlon's at 10:30 and followed Galong Creek through to the Cox, arriving there at about 12:30. Galong Creek is very pretty and drops down in layers. These drops are really waterfalls but the Creek was very dry. Getting down each layer proved a slippery business and we found the seats of our pants a great asset. After about three hours' rest we followed the Cox on, walking along the cattle pads which crossed and recrossed the Cox every now and then, eventually making camp for the night just past Breakfast Creek. The Cox, with the beautiful casuarinas growing on both sides, is indeed an extremely pretty river, but there is only one drawback and that is the nettles which persisted in gently caressing our legs every few minutes. After tea this night Bernard rendered many songs for us and proved a good entertainer.
Next day, Monday, we said goodbye to two of our companions, Hilma and Max. The party had now diminished to five, so off we set for Kanagaroo Clearing at the mouth of Kanangara River arriving about 2 o'clock. This morning had been exceedingly hot, and it was not surprising that we saw many snakes (commonly known as “Joe Blakes”). Between Bernard and Gordon they succeeded in killing a nasty black one about 5 ft. long. (I was. going to say about 7 ft. long, but as this is not a fish story, 5 ft. will suffice. As we were having lunch, the air became oppressive, very black clouds appeared and thunder clattered overhead, but we had only a few drops of rain. During the afternoon Ada became domesticated and mended Bernard's shorts, he being forced into the privacy of Ada's going-home skirt, and I must say he did make a pretty picture. This night Ninian made us a lovely steamed pudding, over which we had apricot syrup. Now, should anyone be looking for a good cook, I can thoroughly recommend Nin; the pudding was really delicious. Tea was made over a big fire and after putting up the tents, verandah fashion, we went to bed, the fire throwing out its warmth to us; and so, with Bernard's “Dolly Ballads” and the cheerful warmth of the fire, we were indeed a most contented party.
Next morning, Tuesday, Gordon had to depart for home. We were now four, so after a lovely lazy morning, we set off after lunch for the Kowmung River, the nettles by the way, still playfully accompanying us. This night we actually went to bed at 7:10 but it was a very hot night and nettle stings made me pretty restless, for the hotter I became, the worse were the stings. Next morning we went for a stroll up the Kowmung. We all had a good swim, Ada and I found it great fun to lie just where the rapids flowed over the rocks, and it was very cooling. Before I had my swim, I was walking along the banks of the River, looking for Ada, who had gone ahead, when to my surprise and, I must admit, fright, I came face to face with a pretty big wallaby. I was half decided to jump into the safety of the Kowmung when the poor old wallaby who was just as scared as I hopped away. After lunch this day we four, plus the nettles, moved on to Cedar Creek, which was pretty dry.
Early next morning the boys explored the Creek while Ada and I basked in the sun. They returned to camp about 11:15 and once more the familiar words “Moving off in 10 minutes” rang out, so off we went to Kill's old farm. On arrival there we helped ourselves to some oranges and lemons, had lunch just below the farm, and as our clothes were just clinging to us, we had another dip in the dear old Cox. Our next port of call was Seymour's where we chatted for awhile. We then moved on to McMahon's and met Mostyn Kill in the yard. We had been told his main characteristic was his very big toes, and Ada and I had a good opportunity of observing them. He was tinkering with an old battered lorry which possessed no horn, brakes, bonnet or seats, and in this contraption he was driving the MoMahon's to a wedding in Burragorang! We camped this night about half a mile passed MeMahon's and as the next day we would be in civilisation once more, Ada and I thought we would try to improve our hair, which had been allowed to run pretty wild all the week. We had lost all our bobbie pins, but I found a piece of ribbon and twisted it wound my head and Ada, a most resourceful person, wound a piece of her hair around a tent peg. She forgot she had it there end. when Bernard came to fold up his tent and could not find the peg, we all looked for it until Ada remembered it in her hair.
Friday lunch time found us just near the junction of the Wollondilly and Cox Rivers. Now, up till this day we had had exceptionally good meals but this day an examination of the packs, we were only able to scrape together for lunch enough damper to have l½ 7) slices each, with cheese. Too soon did the 1½ 8) pieces sink in our cavities, and we were all left feeling rather light inside. Ada and Bernard had just started dividing the damper crumbs, when I remembered I had nearly 1 lb. of chocolate in a pocket of my pack. Thus we were saved from starvation, and we went happily on our way to Bimlo where we arrived at 5 o'clock; this was our final camping spot. To make up for the sorry lunch we had had, Ninian made us another good steamed pudding.
On this, our last night of camping, we went to bed about 8:30, and at midnight or thereabouts all were awakened by merrymakers from an adjoining boarding house and by torches shining on the tents. We were very annoyed, but just grinned and bore it, and after hearing various comments such as “Looks like a boy scouts' camp” and a discussion on our cooking gear, the marauders left us in peace and we just rolled over and went to sleep??????.
By Gordon Smith.
In October, 1936, a party of youths, plus two ukuleles and a large assortment of chops, set out to walk in three days from Blackheath to Richmond via the Grose River - a distance of approximately 47 miles. Being without maps or experience they failed to realize haw far along the river they had come; became apprehensive and sick, and finally left a trail of gear and bodies scattered along the river bank. Search parties were organised and great publicity was given by the newspapers to the episode. One writer likened the Grose to some tropical jungle on account of its difficulties, while another considered that five days was a reasonable time to devote to the trip.
I was sceptical about it and meeting Max Gentle with similar ambitions, we decided to make an attempt the next week-end. That Max and I, excepting the ordinary element of accident, would reach Riohmond in two days, I had no doubt; but I was curious to know haw successful a girl would be. Being fortunate enough to have a friend who was both fast on a track and steady and reliable on the 'rough stuff', I asked Hilma Galliott to accompany us.
Leaving Blackheath station at 9:30 on the Friday night, we walked to Govett's Leap, and after watching for a few minutes a brilliant full moon flood the valley below, we retired, to get as much sleep as possible before an early start on the morrow.
I awoke at 5 a m. to see Max feverishly packing, and at 5:20 the party was on its way carrying a combined load of 50 lbs. of gear and food. A steady descent was made as far as the Falls, but then, while I retied a shoe lace, Max and Hilma bolted. The track to the Junction is extremely steep, composed mostly of dirt, and often slippery. In my efforts to join the others I ran all the way, miraculously turning corners on one wheel and avoiding a broken neck, but at the Junction they were crossing the spur while I was a hundred yards back. I rock-hopped on the creek bed, but slipped and 'barked' my knees. A mile downstream I was metaphorically “on their tails”, and after recovering my breath, suggested that unless either of them had an urgent appointment in town that night, it might be advisable to reduce the pace to four miles per. The Blue Gum Forest was reached in 1 hour 25 mins., when some thought was given to the question of sustenance. Max hung his head and confessed to having forgotten some of the food list including butter.
At 8 a m. I led the way downstream. The bushfires at that stage had hardly touched the trees and bracken, and a very distinct track meandered along, at times close to the river, at others quite a distance away. The towering majesty of Mt. King George was left behind and Mt. Hay loomed up on our right front. For miles the left bank of the Grose was very rough and almost vertical, while the right bank was comparatively level, with gentle slopes declining from the foot hills of Mt. Hay. A steady pace was maintained for about seven miles, until the track became overgrown. Vines and bushes chopped us about for a while before I had sense enough to put on a shirt, and all three changed into long trousers. Tomah Creek was reached at 11:30 a.m. and at mid-day, having done 17 miles that morning, a halt was called for lunch. A fine cave afforded some shade, and Max and I hit the water without delay. Hilma had a dip around the corner, and as a result we all felt much better. Eating and basking in the sun was very pleasant, and two hours went quickly enough.
Max, who has an uncanny instinct for following tracks however overgrown, led the way; Hilma followed and I brought up the rear. The track was by no means flat, but Max followed it, such as it was, up and down the small rises with unfailing regularity, with Hilma hard on his heels. I had a shoelace complex. The lace became undone each time I got close to the others, and I had to start all over again. At 3 p.m. we reached what we at first took to be Hungerford's Creek. Some small bends were not mapped, and subsequently our error was realized. At 4:40 p m. the genuine Hungerford's Creek flowed in from a northerly direction. It had been a steady monotonous plod and twenty minutes' rest was taken. I swam again and we ate chocolate.
Between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. several suitable caves appeared, each with mod. cons. and water frontage, but it wastoo early to camp. At 6 p m. a most unpleasant defile, rocky and inhospitable, greeted our eyes. The track zig-zagged through lantana, ordinary prickly bushes and rocks, and was obliterated once or twice by a landslide of dirt and boulders. It was ever thus at camp time. At 6:10 advantage was taken of a small cave where the approach to the water was atrocious and the water itself shallow. But we had covered 25 miles and were all tired. Hilma and I were wearing light crepe-soled shoes and were footsore also. So we made the best of it, but the natural disabilities of the place hampered our preparations for food and slumber. The cave bed, although composed of sand, had a sprinkling of small rocks, and it was necessary for each to lie at all sorts of angles to secure a comfortable position.
About 6 a.m. 1 opened my peepers and found Max lighting the fire. “Sound idea”, thought I. My thigh muscles ached abominably and I could not adequately express my weary condition without risk of censorship. I thought of old age etc., and cocked a somewhat bleary eye over to where Hilma had sandwiched her form between two goolies. No doubt she had her share of aches and scratches, but after waking she seemed to be in reasonably good trim.
Breakfast was prepared slowly, and at 7:30 the party departed with a total lack of that “Kruschen” feeling. I was extremely sluggish and the others had to wait for me occasionally. I promised myself a swim at Wentworth Creek, but upon arriving there unexpectedly at 9:5 a.m., the crossing was remote from the river. A large sand cave showed evidence of its recent occupation by one of the lost chop-eaters. At 9:50 a crossing was made over the rocky and almost dry bed of Linden Creek, and half an hour passed very quickly, eating chocolate and resting the body,
Below Linden Creek for two miles was slightly the roughest part of the river. The track was missing altogether in some places. The boulders were large and numerous and covered with debris. Max led in his usual silent manner. In the rear, I was beginning to emerge from my lethargy. Of course, I cursed the prickly bushes occasionally, and once when my shin bone collided with a broken tree, cast reasonable doubts as to its ancestry. But the prospects of a swim and lunch appealed to me greatly.
At this stage Hilma was having a bad spin. Tired from the solid grind of yesterday, in her efforts to keep close behind the indefatigable Max, she had fallen a few times, and I caught up to find her in a heap, with a slight cut on the head and real pleased with everything. I offered my condolences, but she snarled at me, and I departed in a hurry. A hundred yards away was the foot of the track from Faulconbridge and the time was 11:45, There was a good pool here, and some protection from a shower of rain that fell. It was very pleasant to swim, eat and rest awhile. Three fishermen occupied a cave nearby, and we chatted to them before leaving.
As it was only a reasonable half day's journey to Richmond from here, we were “on the pig's back”, and restarted at 1:50 p.m., refreshed and full of confidence. The banks were not so rocky and sandy stretches appeared. Springwood Creek was passed at 3 p.m. and at 4:10 we reached a cave familiar to me, where I had camped some years ago. We finished the chocolate and waited here half an hour, Max and I having our last swim.
Taking one last look at the river, our party climbed the hillside and followed a faint track along the top of the ridge in the direction of the road. The last stop was made at Yarramundi Bridge at 6 p.m. and a large party of Coast and Mountain Walkers was encountered. Wood was scarce, so their fire helped to make our coffee quickly. Offers of bread and butter were gratefully accepted, and I saw Hilma scrounging sweet biscuits from Gladys Parsons.
The other party were ready to go, and were away long before our departure at 7 p.m. In the gathering dusk we walked along the Richmond Road and reached the town at 7:50. Max was reckless enough to want a beer.
Monday found me with many aching muscles, and later, Max, who has few peers in rough country, confessed that bricklaying the next day had few joys for him. Hilma's performance speaks for itself, and I venture to say that it will be a long time before any mixed party again reaches Richmond in two days.
Swags up! and yet I turn upon the way.
The yellow hill against the dapple sky,
With tufts and clumps of thorn, the bush whereby
All through the wonder-pregnant night I lay,
Until the silver stars were merged in grey
- Our fragrant camp - demand a parting sigh;
New tracks, new camps, and hearts forever high,
Yet brief regret with every welcome day.
J. Le Gay Brereton.
A small matter, but one of considerable significance arose a few weeks ago when the Hikers' Club of Sydney changed its name to the Rucksack Club, unknowingly choosing the same name as the leading English rock-climbing Society.
The reason for the change is obvious. The term “Hiking” has not met with favour in Sydney, despite the fact that its origin is Anglo-Saxon, not American, an& that its use has been blessed by the great Lord Baden Powell and the Scout Movement generally.
“Bushwalking” is the term that Sydney prefers, or, to be more precise, has invented and added to its dictionary. The efficient recreational walker who knows haw to camp as well as walk is, with us, a “bushwalker”, not a “hiker.”
It is hikers who go out and get lost; it is bushwalkers who rescue them. It is hikers who leave their fires alight, often causing bush fires, or despoil the landscape by leaving papers, tins and orange peel about; it is bushwalkers who put up 9) fires mind clear away litter. In short, the hiker is, in Sydney's opinion, the muddling inefficient; the bushwalker, the expert.
Thus it is that the Hikers' Club of Sydney, which took its name thinking it was following the best traditions, has seen fit to eliminate the word which has fallen into disfavour and to adopt something else. It is also significant that “Paddy” Pallin who used to sell “hiking” gear, now sells only “camp gear for walkers”.
For those who have only recently joined the bushwalking movement, it may be of interest to recall that origin of the name is found in the origin of our Club. A long and heated discussion took place about the best name for the Club. Eventually “Sydney Bush Walkers” was chosen, not because anyone intended to coin a new word, but because it met with less opposition than any other suggested name. That was in 1927. The Club grew by leaps and bounds and came into the public eye through its work for the reservation of the Blue Gum Forest and other park lands.
Other Clubs were formed subsequently, among them the Hikers' Club of Sydney, but the Sydney Bush Walkers always remained the largest and most influential, so that when the walking clubs arranged to federate, there was no doubt as to name by which they would be known. The term “bushwalker” had acquired a certain prestige, so the Federation was termed “The N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs.”
Each country choses the name it prefers. In England people “ramble”; in America they “hike”, in New Zealand they “tramp”; in N.S.W. they “Bushwalk” - unless they got lost - when, of course, they were “merely hiking”!
Cupid has been having a glorious time since our last issue, but his most dramatic success was when Bernard Yardley marched into the Club on Friday 23rd. October and introduced his leading lady in these terms, “meet my wife, Roberta.” The union of Win Lewis and Harold Chardon is the result of a long friendship and, we feel certain, the beginning of another that will be lifelong. Rene Smith and Bill Riley happily paired off in October, while Ann Smith and Charlie Culberg have announced their engagement.
Several canoeists are reported as having had a rough spin lately. Arnie Barrett was made to paddle his own canoe with a broken rib. He managed it; but when he started to drive a pen - an easier task one would have thought, - he was promptly sent home. Ray Bean had two perfectly good paddles. He broke them trying to kill two snakes which both escaped.
Once again we have to record the departure of various members from Sydney - Ethel Hansard to Tasmania for three months, Norrie Macdonald and Morrie Stephenson into the country permanently. As against this Ninian Melville of the Coast mad Mountain Walkers has been sent to Newcastle from the country, and hopes to establish a walking club there. Any who know of people likely to be interested should write to Ninian at the Carlton, Scott St., Newcastle.
Since last issue of “The Sydney Bush Walker” the Club has had the pleasure of meeting four people from overseas. Chief among these was Dr. Teichelman, the president of the New Zealand Alpine Club, who was able to meet some of us at lunch. Miss de Beer of the Ladies Alpine Club of England and also the New Zealand Alpine Club, and Miss Norma Cooper and Miss Flora Smith of the Tararua Tramping Club, were able to meet us all for tea and at the Club rooms afterwards, while Miss Cooper accompanied one of our Christmas camping-parties to the Blue Gum Forest. Few of us can travel abroad and it is therefore delightful to meet these people who come from other clubs.
The Knight of the Seventh Day reined his steed 'neath the pillared dome surmounting the Place of Iron Monsters, and swung himself and his knapsack to the ground.
Setting up the ensign of his clan - a Bush-Walker rampant, on a Steak dormant, on a Field of Unpolished Rice - he prepared to await others of his company, who, indeed, were already apparent, bearing in his direction, variously and ungracedully loaded with all manner of bulky chattels.
The laden cavalcade shortly joined the Knight's train (steam, not electric, seeing that its destination was beyond Sutherland), the new comers with sighs of relief depositing their bundles in the places reserved for such purpose. Amongst the last to arrive were two who carried between them a huge bin, its identity concealed beneath a brown canvas cover.
“Prithee,” quoth one of the assembled Ladies, “Why carry a rubbish tin into the bush? Why not let them bury their rubbish in the ground?”
“This, Madam,” said the sage, “is no rubbish tin, but contains frozen cheer for heated children.” (At this point the reader gets his first inkling that some doings are afoot other than the usual week-end peregrinations of the Bush-Walker clan).
The first arduous section of their mission accomplished, the Knights and Ladies relaxed on the cushioned seats, or lounged gracefully on the carriage platforms, yawning and flicking smuts of coal dust from their immaculate garb. Life was very pleasant and placid this quiet Sunday morning. Except for a muffled snort emitted from time to time by the somnolent iron monster, nothing disturbed the calm dignity of the surroundings, nor harrassed the people in their gentle comings and goings.
But stay! One of the Knights has become aware of a growing noise, and now perceives an erratic procession approaching, headed by a grave, kindly figure in black. “Egad,” cried he, “Who is yon Holy Man who hither comes, preceding his joyful, vociferating mass of ragged, juvenile followers? In sooth, they make a goodly show! Methinks…..”
“Yar-hoo” yelled the Knight of the Seventh Day, suddenly galvanised into action. “It's Morri and the kids! Clear the decks for action! Put your breakables out of reach! - ” The Knight's eyes flashed as he warmed into the spirit of the thing, “They come to sack the temples and lay waste the land! Hide the maidens and the holy relics, and send the cattle to the hills!”
There was a general stir as the children descended upon the train like an invading hoard of locusts, but it speaks well for the principles of Law and Order inculcated, into our leaders at great personal loss, that before the train moved out all the children were, if not neatly, at least thoroughly packed into two carriages and in possession of anything from 1/7 th to half a seat each.
The Knights and Ladies, kindly in their day and generation, loved little children, Yea, as God in Heaven does, - from a safe distance, Heaven in this case being an adjoining carriage whither most of them repaired. When heard from here, the riotous din, which at its source was one sustained, continuous blast, ebbed and flowed in pleasing, melodious waves, such as one hears when rumbling past a line of loaded cattle trucks at Homebush yards.
Several of the Knights and Ladies, however, bravely entered the packed carriages, but were instantly leapt upon, to the accompanyment of piercirg shrieks, and overwhelmed by sheer force of numbers. They went down fighting bravely with their cutlasses between their teeth and their battle axes unsheathed and placed in their back trouser-pockets so as to be close at hand should an emergency arise. Conspicuous among the attacked was one De Bertram of the rampant Bantam, named from that heraldic device emblazoned on his shield. You could tell from the flurry of skirts and petticoats, and the high girlish squeals as they bore him to the floor, that the Houris (or do I mean 'Harpies') had got him.
Further aft, struggling beneath a heap of yelling little boys, was one whose embroidered device of an Ape Incognita disclosed her identity.
The scene changes for a moment to the front of the train, to give the Lady a chance to extricate herself, or work out her Purgatory as the Law of Karma demands. Here we see a traveller who, having completed his meal of fish and chips, is waving the newspaper wrapping in the air, the whiles remarking to a fellow passenger, “Pleasant it is in the good greenwood when the mavis and merle are singing, but pleasanter far to mine ear is the skriek and roar of a rousing locust chorus in the Australian bush. Hark at it.”
“You are right,” said his companion; but they were both wrong, and Little Audrey laughed and laughed because she knew it wasn't a locust chorus, as also do you, my intelligent reader, especially (one might say 'inevitably') if you were there in person.
Back at the scene of action we find the worst is over. De Bertram is upright, shaking little girls off his back and shoulders, and out of his hair, and wiping the perspiration from his face. Shielding his head with his crooked arm he took the cotton wool from his ears for one desperate moment and leaned over to remark to the Lady who had just succeeded in emerging from the tangle of arms and legs and small bodies, “What Ho!!”
“Yar!!” said the Lady phonetically (Ed.'s note: the Lady said 'Ja') Panting, with flushed face and tongue hanging out, she busied herself tucking her shirt back into her pants, …….but as this is no position for a Lady to be seen in we hurriedly shift the scene to Heaven aforementioned where a pop-eyed emissary is addressing Lady Dagmar-hyphen-Brown! “Your Ladyship,” he gasped, “the children are swinging by their feet from the hat-racks, shrieking wild cries, and the one called Tarzan is egging them on. I fear lest the fierce Guard become annoyed and chide them.” But the Guard was only painted fierce on the outside as a means of self-defence. Beneath his rugged exterior he had, like Mae West, a Heart of Gold, and, on our arrival at Lilyvale he helped unpack the children and the luggage in all good grace.
We had it in mind to lead our brood to water. The charts of the day indicated, at the foot of the hill, a broad stretch of water - the Ackin River, but Lady Dagmar put not her faith in scraps of paper. She hailed a fellow who was approaching from a downstream direction: “Ho, Carrion!” - this term of endearment was frequently employed by the whimsical Duchess - “How's the water yonder?”
“Good!”, was the cheerful response - “At least, it would be good if it hadn't been dehydrated. You'll still find the fibre left”, and the stranger passed on his way. Lady Dagnar stood, deep in thought, gazing after his retreating figure, till 10) someone gently put a hand under her chin and closed her mouth, whereat she appeared to wake as from a trance, and set to chewing her hat elastic in spleen of ire. “Tch, Tch”, she hissed, and then, “Tut Tut! We'll go upstream.”
So up we went, putting faith in the ancient wisdom, “Omne Vivum ex Vivo”, which, freely translated, means, “If it's not downstream it ought to be upstream,” and eventualy converged at an open clearing where several citizens were at play with bat and ball. As the field became somewhat congested by the influx of three score children, not to mention attendant adults and pseudo-adults, the sportsmen deemed it advisable to depart for fresh fields, and left us undisturbed.
Despite the drought which had bound the land for months, several pools, rank with decayed water weeds, still persisted in the vicinity, and in these the juveniles disported, emerging with lank, slimy festoons clinging to their strangely-clothed bodies.
Scatteredi rallies were made into the surrounding bush in pursuit of the elusive lokie, and sudden scurries for shelter when a few short flurries of rain did their best to break the drought.
Ere the sun was high in the mid heaven, pangs of hunger brought an overpowering desire to eat, and the children came straggling back to headquarters it dozens and half-dozens, insistently demanding that they be fed. The Clerk of the Course assembled them into some sort of order, with threats of no eats for those who didn't stay put, then proceeded up the hill where the Lady of the Manor sat with her busy following, preparing edibles.
“My Lady,” he cried, with a flourish indicating the army below, waving tin plates above their heads and beating thereon with spoons, “The multitude awaits without.”
Lady Dagmar looked up from her work of stripping lettuce into an open suitcase, removing a few green ribbons of the succulent vegetable from her monacle, “Whaddayer mean …..without?”
“Minus food, your Ladyship.”
“Let them be fed,” quoth her Ladyship, and they were fed, and how ? Well, I can't tell you how, because your Editress (you know her stubborn nature) has demanded that I give her this article immediately, otherwise it will miss insertion in the next issue and will have to wait for three months for the next, by which time it will be definitely passe . Consequently I can't tell you all about the sports in the afternoon, or Christmats Tree, or Haille Selassie who strained a muscle in the three-legged race and had to be carried home. You're also going to miss a graphic account of the water-pistol fight extending over two compartments on the way home in the train. Say, was it good fun? You ask me!
If you want to be narked about missing all this you had better interview the Editress. But if you're thinking of taking drastic action, my advice is - don't. You'll never get another person to take on the thankless task of squeezing blood out of stones with such good grace as she squeezes literary masterpieces out of her Bushwalker friends.
By Dot English.