A Monthly Bulletin devoted to matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, 5 Hamilton Street, Sydney. Price 3d.
|Business Manager||Max Swift|
|Production||Brian Harvey and Mary Stoddart|
|Ordinary Subscriptions||Doreen Harris|
|“On Service” Subscriptions||Grace Jolly|
|Other Members of the Publication Staff||Jessie Martin, Merle Hamilton and Arthur Salmon|
|To Our Readers and Our Contributors||1|
|At Our Own Meeting||2|
|The Nightmare Hike||by Bill McCourt||3|
|Sports Carnival 1940||5|
|From Here, There and Everywhere||6|
|The Case Book of Dr. Do-Little||“Paddy's” Advt.||7|
|An Early Adventure in Bouddi||Marie B. Byles||9|
|This is a Walking Club!||11|
|Club Photographic Album||13|
|“The Bush Walker” (Republished by Request)||15|
In the distant days of that earlier epoch which ended with the declaration of war on 3rd September, 1939, the suggestion was put forward more than once that both sides of the paper should be used in “The Sydney Bushwalker”, but the S.B.W. Committee felt that such an economy would detract from the appearance of the magazine. Now you can judge for yourselves whether or not it does, for, as a wartime measure and a contribution to the general conservation of paper, the Committee has reversed its earlier decision.
When our stock of covers runs out in two or three months' time, there will probably be some further change in the appearance of our magazine, but we will always try to maintain the standard of the reading matter, and the editor is glad to be able to revert to sixteen pages under this new, double-sided arrangement. This, of course, is only made possible by the cooperation of the various club members who have contributed articles, etc.
Speaking of articles, the newer members may not know that it is the contributor who decided whether his (or her) article appears over a pen-name, initials, or the author's own name, and it is immaterial to the publication staff which is used; so there is no need to hold back your article just because you are shy. There is one thing to remember, though. The identity of the author must be known to the editor; so, my shy friends, put your pen-names on your articles, but also sign them. If you forget to do this, the article is anonymous and cannot be published, which is very sad.
There is a special reason for mentioning this matter here and now, In August the editor received a good but anonymous article and, even after considerable detective work, was not able to discover the author, so the article now in the lost children's department, waiting for its parent to claim it. We hope the parent will see these remarks and come forward so that the article can be published next month.
The new members welcomed at our August Meeting were Dorothy Vickery, Len Webb and Frank Leyden.
Another married couple with a new home to keep them busy have transferred to the Non-Active list; they are Don and Betty Gordon.
After some discussion it was decided that the S.B.W. would enter a team in the forthcoming Federation Debating Tournament, provided not more than two of the debates take place in our club room and the balance of those which would otherwise be held there be held instead at campfires.
The Club Album, came under discussion and it was decided that, instead of further enlarging the present one, the Photographic Committee be instructed to start Vol. 2 — Or should it be Vol.3? The original Club Album went right into the discard, didn't it?
Dunc was given yet another job. She was appointed a Sub-committee to keep in touch with members on service and see that letters are sent forward to them regularly from their fellow-members. When you see pencil and paper circulating round the club room in future, you won't automatically tell yourself, “Ah, we are writing, to the Rootses again”; instead, you will (we hope) dash over and say. “Who is this one to? May I add a bit next?”
Nowadays the pedestrian is just a dash between the dotted lines, but the Transport Dept. is producing a little book which will stop all that sort of nonsense. The idea behind the book, apparently; is that 'Those who run may read.'“
Reprinted from “Road Safety”.
By Bill McCourt
Several re-incarnations ago, I was a hiker, Now, of course, I'm a Bush Walker. Although I confess to leaving my tins and rubbish around the lunch site in that primary and innocent age, I was more to be pitied than scorned, if I knew nothing of these elementary principles of tidiness.
To proceed with my story. Having in my possession at the time, one of those sixpenny walking maps published by the Railway Commissioners, I was attracted by the route from Berowra to Cowan, via an overhead telephone line that went in the direction of Cowan Creek, and, thence along the banks of that water. By the map, the distance was fourteen miles, and was to be undertaken only by experienced walkers.
Accordingly, one sunny, Sunday morning, Margery, the dark eyed Lilian, Len and myself, set out from Berowra along the railway line, and shortly struck the telephone line branching off at right angles into the bush. We were through the fence, and, with our eyes focussed on the over-head life-line, which was strung from tree to tree, set off into the trackless Unknown.
It was one of those crisp, clear mornings when the sharp air seemed to tingle in the lungs, and it felt good to be alive. We pushed on through shrubs and kindred vegetation, and the wild flowers, that were commencing to bloom, filled our nostrils with their fragrance.
After seven miles, the telephone line went down into a steep, wild gully, which was skirted as per instructions; then we descended a smaller gully and had inner on it's precipitous slopes.
Len who was always a beggar for little surprises, produced a pea rifle from his over-sized pack, and, pinning some home-made bulls-eye targets on adjacent trees proceeded to demonstrate his skill as a marksman. The girls, too, were interested, and, when they had tried shutting the proper eye, gave every promise of becoming good shots after a lot of practice!
We fired at everything except the Bird of Time, who, as usual in these circumstances, power-dived with incredible speed. Holy Smoke: four o'clock and just half the distance covered: I thought it best to gain the top of the gully again, and, then go straight for Cowan, instead of the original and longer way. When we had climbed out of the gully, we saw, in the distance, Cowan wreathed in Smoke from a steam engine, which, in the afternoon light, gave our destination the ethereal appearance of a masterpiece. In between us and our objective, however, was a big, wild valley whose rocks and boulders looked all the more formidable in the lengthening shadows of late afternoon.
Retreat was the only alternative; so, with feelings akin to Napoleon at Moscow, we retraced our steps, and, after about a mile, came upon the telephone line again.
Clouds were forming overhead, and it promised to be a very dark night. Just before sundown, we pulled some Blackboy Sticks, as it seemed improbable that the line overhead could be seen for much longer, and it would then be necessary to feel our way instead. Not one in the party possessed a torch.
Night came on in the deepest shade of black; On we went with our sticks pressed hard against the telephone line, stumbling over rocks, falling between them, barking our shins and running into the low branches of trees. Once we missed the line altogether; so, leaving the others at the spot, I circled around in the ink, waving my staff about until it struck the wire, which had turned off at right angles. Off we went again, crawling along like trams in a traffic jam.
We knew we had reached the railway line when the leader bounced off the boundary fence: in a few minutes we were across the line and having a wash and brushup in an adjacent refreshment house. We were sitting down to scones and tea when the long threatening rain came, and we rejoiced in the good fortune of our timely arrival, as groundsheets were not included in our equipment.
With important parts of our attire held together by borrowed pins, we presented a sorry scene on Berowra station where there was a wait of an hour for the next train. When the train arrived, we all bundled in, very thankful we had homes to go to; be they ever so humble.
So ended a day that we afterwards laughed over, but which was at the time, a tedious experience that taught us a few valuable lessons.
Extracted without permission, but with acknowledgments, from an article by “Talker” in “Into the Blue”, the C.M.W's Magazine.
…. So it will always be. The memories of those early trips when we went hungry or thirsty, when the morning frost found the openings in our blankets and robbed us of much needed sleep, or when the rain came through, or under the badly pitched tent, will always be with us as we come back for more.
…. And so it is, today, that when new members arrive, it is not the member's friend that I look for, but rather the lone walker that comes in under his own steam, resolved that he will learn more of the game that so far has only given him hunger, thirst and fatigue.
Thanks to the good offices of Geoff Parker, the Sports Carnival was held again this year at “Sunnyside”, North Richmond, and, to our delight, the property lived up to its name in spite of the drought. About forty-three members attended on Saturday and assisted with the necessary preparations, and a further dozen or so arrived on Sunday.
On Saturday night we gathered around a typical Bill Henley campfire and, after a bright and cheery evening, christened the new “well'. (You will remember the starting fate of the old one at the Re-Union this year).
With usual Bush Walker energy, all events were well contested, and some excellent finishes resulted. The only non-runner was the creek. This was serious, but would have been much more so if Geoff. Parker had not provided two large milk cans of drinking water.
Chas. Rolfe made a spectacular throw to win the Log Throwing Competition. We would here record that notable absentees this year were Arnie and Roxy Barrett. Having in mind their experience in this event last year, we are not surprised.
The results were as follows:-
|100 yds Championship||Men||Tim Coffey||J.Woods and A.Watts|
|Women||J. West||J. Malcolm|
|Time Judging Contest.||Men||A.Salmon||T.Chambers|
|Women||Pat Coffey||Yvonne Rolfe|
|Walk with packs||Men||W Hall||T. Kenny Royal|
|Women||J. Malcolm||R. McLaren|
|Women||J. West||C. Griffith|
|Three Legged Race||Mixed||J West & J.Wood||W.Hall & R. McLaren|
|Half Mile Run||Men||J.Wood||F.Ashdown|
The young woman gazed at him in a calm and detached manner, as if he were a train she didn't have to catch.
Among “Recent Outdoor Books” listed in the “Bulletin” of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (Washington, D.C., U.S.A.) for April, 1940, are three that might be of interest to some S.B.W's.
From “Fragments”, February, 1937, via the P.A.T.C.”Bu1letin”, April, 1940:-
Suddenly you come upon the spot, the right spot, the most completely right spot that anyone could ask for. It stands up against the forest background and the level sun-rays shine into it and make splashes on its big tree-trunks……….You know that you have arrived at one more campsite that you will have always with you, along with all the others.“
Quoted in the “Bulletin” of The Mountain Club of Maryland, of Baltimore, U.S.A.:-
These are the things I prize
And hold of dearest worth;
Light of the sapphire skies,
Peace of the silent hills,
Shelter of forest,
Comfort of the grass,
Music of birds,
The murmur of little rills,
Shadows of clouds that swiftly pass,
And after showers, the smell of flowers
And of the good brown earth,
And, best of all, along the way,
Friendship and mirth.”
Henry Van Dyke,
They got the poem from “Trail and Timber Line”, the magazine of the Colorado Mountain Club.
Mr. Lilliput, a well known member of the bushwalking fraternity walked into my consulting room the other day. Placing his rucksack on the table in front of me, he held forth at length, on all his signs and symptoms. It appeared that the rucksack, a tried and trusty companion, had of late become irksome on the shoulders, resulting in a stiff neck and being generally uncomfortable. Placing my stethoscope in the “Ready for Action” position, I asked the patient to say “99” in my best professional manner.
After a short examination I diagnosed the trouble as “Acute Maladjustment of the Harness Shoulder Straps”. This was quickly amended and Mr Lilliput went on his way rejoicing.
Mr. Lilliput's case is surprisingly common and I have found that even experienced walkers do not understand the correct adjustment of their best friend, the steel framed rucksack. These are supplied with adjustment of three places on the harness. The purpose of these is to be able to adjust the rucksack when leather stretches.
The front strap is to lower or raise the frame to a comfortable position.
The strap at the top of the frame is to keep the frame close to the harness and so close to the bank of the neck.
The strap at the base of the frame is to keep the buckle of No.2 strap close to the frog, which is the leather socket attached to the bag.
When you are carrying the rucksack and the brace straps at the back are loose it is time to adjust No.3 strap.
Other common faults are taking the weight of the rucksack on the flap strap by buckling it too tight. The weight is meant to be taken by the cord.
Lifting the rucksack by the flap is another sure way to tear the flap.
A little drop of castor or olive oil or dubbin preserves and softens straps. This is needed particularly near the buckles. With chrome leather this is unnecessary. Neatsfoot oil rots the stitching and is not advisable to be used.
Carrying tins in the outside pockets will always wear out the pockets in record time. If you must carry tins, carry them in the back pockets, not in the side.
A few moments spent in adjusting straps and packing correctly will save some hours on a trip and add considerably to your enjoyment,
If this advice of Dr. Dolittle doesn't enable you to fix your troubles, the only thing to do is to take the rucksack to “Paddy's” – Where the 'Paddy-made' Camping Gear Comes From. F. A. PALLIN, 327 George Street, SYDNEY
The ranks of the Search & Rescue Section have been sadly depleted by enlistments, and further volunteers are asked to enrol and fill up the gaps, but the Section is still active and is having another instructional weekend on September 14th and 15th at Norton's Basin. If you want to learn how to deal with accident that may happen in the bush, catch the 1.25pm train to Penrith and the launch from the Log Cabin to Norton's Basin. Jean Trimble is still Hon. Secretary of the S.&R. as well as Acting Secretary of the S.B.W., so if you want any further information, apply to Jean.
The Federation Council held its Annual Meeting in July and elected the following office-bearers for 1940/41:-
The usual correspondence and reports were dealt with and will bear fruit in due course.
The Annual Conference of club members for 1940 was held on Tuesday, 13th August, but was so poorly attended that Marie Byles moved that the Council be asked to consider the advisability of holding the next one on a Saturday evening at some suitable campsite near Sydney from which those attending could either return home afterwards or go walking on the Sunday. The motion was seconded by Dorothy Lawry, supported by Merle Hamilton, and carried by a narrow margin in spite of the doubts of members of the other clubs as to whether it would be possible to get serious discussion at a large campfire.
Those attending the Conference received copies of the Federation's Annual Report and the Hon. Treasurer made a brief statement as to the financial position, which is very satisfactory. The Federation had a successful year, but towards the end Council was feeling the loss of about half-a-dozen delegates who had enlisted. These included Charles Roberts, Rory Lofts, Horrie Salmon and Hilary Jackson. Before the meeting closed it carried by acclamation a hearty vote of appreciation of Charles Roberts's Work as Hon. Secretary.
This year Agnes Miller is Hon. Organiser of the Federation Ball which will be held on the Show Boat on Saturday, 15th October. Tickets are 7/6d each and the S.B.W'S representative on the Ball Committee is Edna Garrad, who will be pleased to answer all enquiries.
From “The Reader's Digest”, April 1940:-
Pennsylvania forest fire prevention sign, surmounted by a huge reproduction of a match: “THIS IS THE FOREST PRIME EVIL”.
by Marie B. Byles
Note:- This story has been passed by the censor for adults only. It must not, be read by prospectives.
About the year 1914 my Mother built a seaside cottage on Sunrise Hill at Palm Beach facing north to the hills of Bouddi. Those were the good old days of Palm Beach when you went down to the wharf to collect what groceries the launch thought fit to bring from Newport. Sometimes it brought sour milk, and often meat that walked off the wharf without assistance but that was better than the bread which it sometimes failed to bring at all. Ah! But those were the days! Everyone knew everyone else and the best people showed their superiority by dressing the worst. Palm Beach has gone badly to the dogs since then, but it still looks across the wide estuary of the Hawkesbury River to the hills of Bouddi, which remain the same today as they were then.
I grew from girlhood to womanhood and those hills across the sea became as “faery lands forlorn”, with the magic call such far-off lands possess. Eventually the call could be resisted no longer. I mustered together a worthy gang of courageous maids, all pining for adventure and game to face the perils of the unknown. I fancy I can see you smiling, gentle reader, but it took courage in the year 1923 for maidens to venture alone into unknown country, and we thought it wise to have firearms in the party.
Esther, the handsome he-man, carried hers ready to hand on her hip and loaded. It was a gigantic Colt's automatic, fit to frighten the most wicked villain. Myself, I had merely a revolver. As leader of the party I knew it was my duty to protect the others in time of peril, but I have to admit that I did not really like this instrument of destruction. After all, I had been brought up as a very ladylike little girl, and I bad learned to shoot only from a stern sense of duty, carefully averting my head as I pulled the trigger. This fact made the weapon dangerous. For the bullet just might have hit the villain for whom it was intended. At the same time this fact did not have the effect of making the shooter any less nervous, more especially as my legal studies had at that time just got up to the different varieties of homicide, including those which are accidental. Taking all things into consideration, I thought my revolver would be more comfortable at the bottom of my pack – unloaded. After all, the mere sight of Esther's Colt would give the villain such d shock that I should have plenty of time to get my revolver out and load it!
Thus fully equipped, we set out. I do not remember how we got to Bouddi, but I do remember that we stopped for lunch somewhere on the hills overlooking the sea and that we remarked on the particularly fine breed of mosquito which welcomed us there. That was apparently the only place we met mosquitoes, for I do not recall them after this. Then we burst through the trees and there spread out before us that perfect half-moon curve of Maitland Bay, with white waves breaking at even intervals on yellow sands and the rusting boilers of the “Maitland washed by gentle waves lapping over the further headland.
Then it was that there happened the most terrible thing, and even now I shudder to think how narrow was our escape!
We had doffed our skirts, and skipped joyfully over the sands clad only in dark gym bloomers - shoes and stockings, long-sleeved blouses and hats as well; of course. The skirts were parked behind a convenient sandhill.
We spend a delightful afternoon, but when we returned - horrors! The skirts had gone! Of merciful Providence, were there ever four maids in such a ghastly position? Esther, it is true, had on military breeks, but even she turned ten shades of green at the thought of going home without a skirt. She got considerably more radical in her later years, but she was only pale pink then, and to go home in breeches - - - - (the dashes illustrate the horror no words can express).
To add to our misery a fisherman chose that time to cross the beach and see us in all our nakedness - to be exact, only our hands and faces were naked, but the reader will understand what I mean. The fisherman seemed to smile in mockery as if himself might have been the thief.
Just when we were debating whether suicide might not be the only way out of the difficulty, the spirits brought the skirts back again, possibly at the exact spot where we had left them, but of thit I cannot be sure.
We slept on the beach that night. We did not carry “pansy” things like tents in those spartan days. And I have no doubt that we took a dip in the cold sea before dawn, for in those days I believed that cleanliness was next to godliness. Then we struck up the hillside above the bay.
Unfortunately two of the party thought the skillion of Bouddi looked more attractive than the tangled brush into which I was leading them and, without saying anything to Esther or me, calmly went off on their own. Before we knew what was happening they had gone beyond recall.
Esther and I struggled on and up, and the scrub was very, very tangly and wind-bowed then before bushfires had burned it and cattle had eaten it. Eventually we emerged on the top and picked up the track to Kincumber, worrying all the time as to what had happened to the others who had neither map nor compass, and more than a little annoyed because it turned out they had taken all the jam and butter with them and left only the dry bread with us.
By the time we reached Kincumber clouds had gathered in the sky and thunder was starting to rumble very ominously. Esther thought a shed was essential for our comfort, but the only shed to be found was a cow shed with a mud floor liberally strewn with cow manure, and a pokey room with a board floor and no window, partitioned off at one end, and just a little less savoury than the main saloon.
As I have stated, I had absurdly-sissy ideas about cleanliness in my youth, and the inner room, let alone the outer, filled me with consternation. Esther was made of sterner stuff. She bravely spread her blankets on the bunk in the darkest, dingiest corner of that Black Hole of Calcutta. With gently uplifted nose I spread mine outside the hut on the clean smelling grass.
That was all okay, but soon the first rain fell in drops the size of cups. I edged just inside the doorway; the cup-sized drops grew a little larger and considerably more frequent; the lightning flashed, the thunder pealed, the mud floor became a lake; I ended up by sleeping on, fruit cases in the filthy interior of the inner sanctum!
In the morning the other two turned up, having managed perfectly well without my maps, my compasses and my leadership, to say nothing of the firearms. Worse still, they had not even noticed the absence of the bread, for they had feasted off the fat of the land in a prosperous farm house, and slept between snowy sheets at night.
Definitely this is a story that has a moral no story ought to have, and now you understand why the Censor refuses to let it be read by prospectives.
(At the time of going to press, news comes to hand that a further 45 acres on Putty Beach are being added to Bouddi Natural Park. – Ed.)
A new walks programme is in course of preparation but it is anticipated that some difficulty will be experiehced in obtaining leaders in view of the number of members now serving in the Navy, Army and Air Force, and those engaged in wartime occupations who cannot commit themselves to lead a walk on a given date.
A request is therefore made to those members who can reasonably hope to be available for leadership on a given date, to get in touch with the Walks Secretary or Assistant Walks Secretary as soon as possible.
The next programme covers the summer Months of November, December, January and February and Sunday walks should, as far as possible, provide good swimming facilities, particularly at lunch time.
In regard to weekend walks, particularly those commencing on Friday night, a request is made to those members who have done walks in new country, or know variations of “old” walks, to give other members an opportunity of enjoying the experience of covering such new country.
Walks Secretary - Bill Cosgrove
Assistant Walks Secretary - Jack Manson.
It is interesting to peruse back-numbers of “The Sydney Bushwalker” and to note the impressions of members experienced on their different trips. I was particularly impressed with an article entitled “Introspect”, in which the author reviewed his impressions of a certain trip upon which he happened to meet, or rather, was overtaken by, a party of hard-walking members who “slinked” by him. To use his own vivid description of their accelerated progress,
“suddenly trees and rocks on either bank were heard crashing and breaking as other club members pounded through from all sides, dashing along in cruel delight at the indifference they could show to all natural resistance which they bashed contemptuously out of the way.” ”…even the running water seemed to suffer a shock at the terrifying invasion which almost sent it scampering back upstream“,
And it came to pass in the course of time, that a party of civilians were peacefully camped on a large clearing at the junction of two rivers, calmly munching their breakfasts on a sunny morning in June. The party consisted of three naval ratings on long leave, and two cattle-men on the last round up, with attendant horses and dogs. The elder of the cattlemen, whose ears were attuned to the noises of the bush, suddenly became aware of a sound of thudding feet vibrating through the clear air, and the sound, soon becoming audible to all, grew louder and louder.
Round the corner of a stock-yard nearby there burst into view four figures amid a mass of flashing arms and legs, in machine-like movements, the foremost of the figures being stripped to the waist and displaying a pure white torso against the khaki of his pals. From his hip-pocket protruded a bunch of carrots. The invaders gave a ferocious yell on recognising the civilians as friends, and slowed down a little as they approached the tents. It was observed that they all were hollow-eyed from want of sleep, as they had only camped for some three hours during the night, so disturbing the nocturnal animals on the river-banks as they raced along with their eyes glued on the track. To converse with them, the civilians had to trot alongside as the quartet did not stop to carry out the time-honoured ceremony of pausing for a chat on meeting in the bush, as all other walkers do. (Even the Life Insurance Agent of the party did not seize the opportunity to leave a prospectus, so great was his hurry). The civilians could not continue conversation at such a pace as they had to travel to accompany the flyers, but quickly learned that a record was in the process of being broken, a record which had been set up by the very band of bushwalkers who were so derided for “dashing along in cruel delight”, and that the bare-skinned youth was none other than the author of “Introspect”! The four soon disappeared round a bend out of sight, but the sounds of their progress were heard for some time after.
On returning to camp, it was found that a layer of churned-up dust had settled on everything; the tents were blown over, and torn to ribbons, whilst, the horses had bolted, and, after hours of searching, the dogs were located, cowering in the deepest wombat burrow.
Later that day, as the sailors were gazing down from a high “canine” mountain, they observed the progress of the galloping record-breakers far beneath them, in a deep gorge, by the waving of the trees on either side, and the great flocks of birds which took to the air as the wild disturbance approached them. In several places landslides were being caused by the vibration of their feet. The sailors became tired of the spectacle, and made their way back towards their warship, where a peaceful life awaited them, as compared with the experience of that memorable day. They later learned that the quartet had continued their trail of destruction until long after dark that night, and had to stop on a high ridge from sheer exhaustion.
And so it came to pass that the introspective nature of our friend would not bear questioning on his previous notions, therefore the words of Confucius should be borne in mind:- “Bushwalker who eat sour grapes sure to change mind by and bye.”
We now await a further set of impressions from “Introspective”.
The Photographic Committee have taken up the matter of revising and improving the Club Album. It is their intention to divide the album into sections corresponding to the different areas of walking activity, and they request members to submit as many prints as possible of all areas, so that a selection may be made, typical of each district.
If your print is not the best possible from the negative, the Committee will arrange to have this made if the negative of any selected photograph is handed to them.
The following are members of the Photographic Committee:-
Don't destroy your unhappy negatives! About 25 of these will make an excellent wet day “fire lightin's” for your next long trip. Feed them into the flame one at a time!
The following back numbers of “The Sydney Bushwalker” are available at 3d. each - to clear!
Spots are the latest fashion for this spring and a number of S.B.W's fell under fashion's sway and caught measles, We are glad to see that Jean Trimble, Clare Kinsella, Mary Stoddart, Dorman, Bill Whitney, Ray Birt (and goodness knows how many others) are spotless once more.
Max Gentle is back again in our, midst, looking rosier and fitter than ever. Bathurst must be a good place! Or was it the carrots?.
Another old friend to return to Sydney recently is Goldie Lawson. Though we have not seen her yet, we say “Welcome back, Goldie!”.
Weddings and good wishes are in the air again. Betty Grill and George Walker were married, also Ida Barbour and Lloyd Edwards, before the bridegroom.. set off to “walk” to Bathurst. Another of our friends to try this new kind of walking was Rory Lofts of the Rover Ramblers. Before starting out he was talking of spending his one day's leave not in Katoomba with the rest of the troops but on a side trip down to the Blue Gum Forest and back! A walker's holiday!
According to Jack Debert, the Air Force is “Great”, and under its influence he is doing a little of everything – “Forming Guards of Honour, shaking hands with Somebodies, being photographed by the Press whilst doing same, listening to life stories, being guide, philosopher and friend to all that come. Plenty of tact is needed.” So we sent the right man. Cheerio, Jack, write and tell us more about it sometime. Do they sing “Kiss me good-night, Sargent-major” in the Air Force?
Paddy must have been hearing lots of tales of the fun the lads have been having in camp; yes, Paddy has joined the militia and soon he will be enjoying three months in camp while our old friend Oliver Wulf manages the business and May deals with the daughters single-handed. Congratulations, Oliver, from office-boy to manager in ten years (or is it less) is pretty good going.
(In the track of Rupert Brook)
I have been, so keen a walker; filled my lungs.
So deeply with the fragrance of the gums
Their tang, their 'scent', their aromatic breath,
Their life invigorating, and pungent death
These are mere words! They lack the power, the strength
To lift the bead, each step give added length.
As do the mighty trees in vibrant life.
Yet, ere the City's grim and noisy strife
Drowns all, I would shut out the noise a while
So peace can be remembered with a smile
That smooths the furrowed brow and finds again
Friends and brothers in one's fellow-men
Why do we fight, who are crowded here, hemmed in
By walls, machinery, and ceaseless din?
Components these of madness and despair!
Speed is a cage we – are all imprisoned there;
A curse;- and we live beneath it, you and I;
The goal itself:- so we rush and slave, and die.
Yet, by the walk's road, I can escape,
And change, and almost take another shape,
And so keep sanity still, and come to peace,
Wide-spread, serene, where jealousies cease,
And simple things give pleasure; wants are few -
To soothe jangled nerves, strength renew,
Out in the empty lands, gazing, or glancing …
These I recall:
Blue wavelets, sunlit, dancing,
Chased by a breeze; a beach of golden sand;
An eagle above me soaring; the wide land
Beneath my feet; and rest after a climb;
Oranges; and full many a view sublime;
A scarce-seen, leafy path beneath tall trees;
And trees themselves, that sway to every breeze,
Standing straight and stately, friended or alone,
Then; the fine friendliness of birds, full-grown,
Knowing not man; and the liquid notes
Of lyre-birds; butcher-birds; a song that floats,
Joyous and free, through sundrenched air; the calm
Serenity that is the mountain's charm;
The homeliness of a little fire, with tent close by;
Then hot food, and fresh tea; a darkening sky;
The comfort and joy of the big camp-fire,
Flames leaping, while the fairy sparks fly higher,
Into the night, and the cold dark ..
And gay laughter, and song, and talk! Great Shades,
And pleasing thoughts of lesser men are here;
Thoughts of our own; voices beautiful, or queer;
Frogs in chorus, too; - on bracken beds
We sink to sleep; and the silence spreads;
Night sounds, and silvery, shafts of moonlight
Slanting through trees, add magic to the night;
Fast-driving clouds, hiding the moon; the grey
Coldness of dawn; bird-calls greeting day;
Wind; and sunshine; deep pools in creeks;
Lapstones; and long, steep ridges, crowned with peaks;
The range-filled view; and trailing smoke of a train:-
all these have brought me joy, and will again
Whenever I escape, by secret thought,
Or with my rucksack, from the city. There's naught
Can keep me from them while I've strength to walk!
Yet do I leave them, join in the fuss and talk,
Fight the old fight for bread, enslaved by goods,
And insatiate appetites, timid moods.
Oh, why do I yield, when, old there, freedom waits,
And all that's left of leisure, that creates Beauty's reflection….
And the great god, Pan,
Retires, and watches, waits, withdraws, as man
Destroys the face of the earth, and kills, and burns
His source of food, and dies.
Then Nature returns.
O! dear, green earth! O! Mountains, deep within
Your hearts the bushland keep! May we who win
To peace, and living Beauty, there enshrined,
Guard them, and thee, forever, from mankind:
(In response to repeated requests we re-publish the above verses which previously appeared in the January, 1936, issue of this magazine. Ed. )