No.93, Price 3d.
A monthly Bulletin devoted to matters of interest to The Sydney Bushwalkers, 5 Hamilton Street, Sydney.
|Journey in the North||Doreen Helmrich||2|
|August in the Bush||Ray Birt||5|
|A Visit to the Observatory||Canopus||6|
|Whispered on the Wind||8|
|The Voice of the Social Committee||8|
|Our Own Meeting||9|
|From our Melbourne Correspondent||Dot English||10|
|Letters from the Lads||13|
|What do you Think||14|
by Aurthur Guiterman
This is the forest's prime evil, the slovenly camper,
Wasting and spoiling and scattering litter and rubbish,
Leaving his fire unquenched, what to him if its embers
Kindle a blaze that shall sweep through the pines and the birches.
Miles upon miles in a fury of death and destruction!
This is the forest's prime evil, the reckless and ruthless
Let him be locked in a cell where a single barred window
Looks on the flame-blackened ruins of beautiful woodland!
From the New York Herald Tribune, 1941.
Kempsey - Point Lookout - Nambucca Head
by Doreen Helmrich
Early one morning we arrived at Kempsey and found a taxi-driver who, having been too ill to use his petrol ration was consequently delighted to take us 32 miles along the Macleay River to Nulla Nulla turn off and the beginning of our walking. We hadn't finished sorting our possessions when a farmer rode up to talk, and in explaining our route to us mentioned a certain other farmer who would give us directions, adding - “He's not right in the head, but he knows his geography.” (When we told Gordon Edgecombe this he said, “How about that as a description of Bushwalkers?”).
Then lightly(?) swinging our 7 day packs to our backs we wandered off along the valley till dusk; the long slopes of Andersons Sugar-loaf on our right for miles, the peaked fringe of the Coastal Ranges to the left and ahead. The creek ran swiftly, crystal clear - the valley was green, splashed with the more vivid green of crops, and sometimes the rose and gold of different grasses.
On the road we met the Schoolteacher, who told us of the brilliantly coloured birds that fly down from the tropics in August.
Next morning we turned left up a long timbered ridge to cross to Five Day Creek, steep gullies on either side. We reached the top at a grassy knob where mauve peaflowers, yellow daisies and giant maiden hair greeted us: where green-brown Bell birds chimed, and bright Rosellas flashed thro' the trees. Thinking upon the joy of camping in this superlative place Alex (Colley) donned all the clothes he had and plunged into the tangle of vines and stinging things in the nearest ravine to look for water, but there wasn't any - there never is in them thar hills - so we went on and down to Upper Five Day Creek with its wide valley rimmed by mountains of fascinating folds. There were still farmhouses though so we retreated to the foothills and camped far above the hurly burly. Heading upstream next morning we passed the last habitation and picked a campsite by a rocky pool, visited by Kingfishes (and cows) and fringed by wild violets and ferns.
After lunch Alex took his empty pack back to meet John Noble and Gordon Edgecombe, but instead of seeing their staggering forms he encountered a sulky weighed down by two enormous packs. The driver volunteered the information that a horse had been loaned to the “walkers”, who were taking turns to ride. The steed, duly returned to it's owner in the meantime, had been so slow that we didn't see the lads till lunch time next day - John just visible under his 45lb pack!
We walked fully four miles that afternoon upstream, and on the way raided an old cultivation paddock, securing a very colourful plunder of pink pumpkin and tawny coloured marrows. Altogether we lived very well off the land, adding numerous oranges, mandarins and mushrooms to our vegetable soils. Two nights we spent in this peaceful solitude taking a whole day to meander about four miles further up the winding creek.
The path lead sometimes through a moist, dim jungle of vine decked trees, then crossing a pebbly stream, on through a sloping parkland of grass and fern beneath tall Bluegums. At one such spot we came upon a large black snake basking, and thought it such a good idea that we did likewise and sun-baked for several hours.
Next morning began the long but extraordinarily well graded climb along Tellegram Range, very narrow and similar to the ridge from Nulla Nulla except that we were now further into the heart of the mountains looking out over range after range and down deep richly jungled gullies on to ferny shelves - very inviting but with no water to offer the thirsty. Then the land flattened to the South and at 4 o'clock we came upon a natural clearing of about 30 acres sheltered by hills - Diamond Flat; where a herd of well fed Herefords was grazing among the tall tufts of yellow grass and clumps of dark foliaged trees. There was a stream which should have yielded trout but did not - to us. However, overlooking this inhospitality we decided to stay and found a perfect home on a small rise among Bluegums. That night we heard the distant howling of Dingoes.
Another easy 1500ft. climb next day with views extending now nearly to the Coast, brought us to the New England Tableland; where an icy breeze was blowing, and to the Moseley homestead. After collecting the food we had sent up we went into New England National Park to camp in a sheltered valley looking across to a waterfall and a belt of brush timber.
We spent three days in the “other world” atmosphere of these high lands, among jungle paths, trout streams and waterfalls. The temperature changed quickly with the mood of the weather and we were continually putting on or taking off slacks over shorts. We had an encounter with a gold and black eaglehawk of 6ft. wingspread, and in the moonlight saw a flying squirrel gliding down to a lower tree, front limb webbed to body, long bushy tail out-stretched.
While we stood on Point Lockout (5250 ft.) thick clouds blew round us and same snow flakes fell, but gradually the sun broke through and the whole scene was dappled with tiny cloud shadows. It seemed as though we were looking over a sea of peaked mountains. The valleys and ridges like long rollers reaching to the coastal plain and the beaches 50 miles away.
The Moseleys whom we visited several times were most helpful, gave us a lot of valuable advice, bought more food for us in Armidale, and entertained us with strange tales of country people, motorists and walkers.
One morning about 11 o'clock we began our homeward journey down Ten Mile Ridge to the Bellingen, and we knew not what. After a few miles we were tempted off this straight and narrow path by a track leading left, and although we soon felt that we had done the wrong thing, we kept on down a zig-zag till, to our dismay we turned a corner and saw the deserted Antimony mine we had heard so much about - the ridge, hundreds of feet above. Our volatile spirits soon rose again as we examined the crazy bark huts sloping with the hillside and covered with pumpkin, choko and passion fruit vines, all bearing fruit or vegetables as the case may be. We went on our way richer for half a pumpkin and a choko (passion fruit not ripe) after seeing vividly coloured birds and hearing “something” with a human cry. Luckily the track led on past water and we carried some up to a delightful shelf under tall timber and giant grass trees, where we camped.
After a steep climb next morning we reached our track on the ridge top again, and nothing would have induced us to leave it. Going on over a whole corrigation of steep knobs, we looked back to Point Lookout on our left, across the depths of Platypus Creek gorge and to the heights of Mount Killiecrankie on our right, till finally we raced down a steep grade right on to Platypus Creek at a pixillated dank spot where an old bark hut had collapsed into a dejected heap. The Creek was choked with weeds; the bank a tangle of stinging nettles; the jungle came down to the river stones and everything was wet. Alex heard an animal rustle as he had never heard an animal rustle before, and was just about to make a great discovery when I fell off a log and frightened it away - but then I had seen a four inch Tiger snake coiled on the log, head up inquiringly. After a few hundred yards of floundering through the wet weedy tangle on the banks of the river we cut up the side, crossed a large bend and arrived at a clearing where two mandarin trees laden with fruit gladdened us. A flat on the next bend by a blue green rocky pool and a group of fragile saplings, provided a perfect campsite for our first night on the Bellingen.
Late next morning we strolled along till we arrived at the first hut in the valley and visited its owner, one Hector McLeod and dog, and many were the tales he told us! In a few minutes we were steeped in the atmosphere of the remote places of the earth, where men live close to nature, among ghosts of the Aboriginees and thoughts of strange wild creatures; where valley feuds assume a vast importance. Hector caught his horse by cajoling it with a piece of sweet potato and rode along for miles with us till we decided to take to the hills again and try to find our way to still another river - the South Bellingen or Nambucca. To do this we knew we must reach Mt. Killiecrankie, where the ridges spread like fingers from the palm of a hand and each lead down to a river. This involved quite a neat piece of direction finding - to arrive at an unseen object in unknown country, without a map! After nearly abandoning hope several times next day, because our ridge was not a ridge but a series of cones each higher than the one before, we came within sight of the elusive mountain, seemingly about a mile away. We walked for another 1½ hours along a spectacular knife edge and were still only among the tangled undergrowth of its slopes - the rocky peak towering somewhere above. It was now nearly 4 o'clock and all we knew about the water supply in that vicinity was that there was “some in a fold” as Mr. Moseley had said, so we had to turn our attention to finding a way down, and again had the amazing luck to come upon a timber track leading gently down to a river - name unknown. In the morning we startled a woman minding cattle and from her discovered that we were on the North Arm of the Nambucca, which was most gratifying except that Walkers had never been seen there before and as we went innocently on our way admiring the beauty of nature, the valley telephone wire was running hot. Nobody would just walk about without a motive - we were spying out paths for the enemy - the police must be informed….
So while we were having lunch in the sun by a water lily pool the Sergeant's car drew up. Identity cards saved the situation, and we became so friendly that he drove us back 8 miles along the valley, with the pleasing result that we were able to walk right to the coast that night, and camp at Warrill Creek within sound of the surf.
After navigating ourselves across the creek in a small punt, we spent our last day of freedom sunbaking in the solitude of a perfectly unspoiled beach, then into Macksville to catch the North Coast Mail to Sydney.
As we walked back along the river, an uneasy sensation came over me, a hunted feeling - there were police in Macksville…. I tried to brush these disturbing thoughts aside, but when we turned into the main street, there was the Sergeant sitting nonchalantly in his car, outside the Post Office. I looked at him courageously as we passed, but he and his Constable (presumably according to prearranged plan) followed us into a tea shop and began their questionnaire. By this time we were furious, but Sergeant Love disarmed us when he told us that he had the amazing theory that we were “Bushwalkers”. He told us that he had heard of our progress down valley for days, and had asked the anxious farmers whether we were wearing white flannel flower badges. Of course they didn't know. If we were, he said we were All Right!!! So after staying with us while we had tea, he wished to be remembered to all his Bushwalker friends and drove us to the station, away from the glaring light of public interest, and back to comfortable obscurity among a city's millions.
by Ray Birt
“The pretty brave things thro the coldest days
Imprisoned in vale of brown,
They never lost heart, tho the blast shrieked loud
and the hail and the snow came down.
But patiently each wrought her wonderful dress,
Or fashioned her beautiful crown,
And now they are coming to lighten the world
Still shadowed by winter's frown.”
The Springelia Incarnate (Swamp Heath) is one of the “pretty brave things” brightening the world this month. It is an erect small shrub, with leaves tapering from a broad base. Each pale pink flower has a very short corolla tube and long narrow lobes and the narrow white sepels are as long as the corolla lobes. Another one of the brave army is the Dillwynia Drecifolia (Parrot Pea or Eggs and Bacon). The latter name, to my mind is far too prosaic for its golden loveliness. It is one of the commonest of the bush plants, the leaves are fine and heath like and the flowers small, peashaped and so profuse that the small bushes rarely more than 3 ft. high, are literally a mass of yellow. The large back petal has a splash of red.
The Acacia longiflora also joins the band, flowering in great profusion on the lower Mountains at the present time, it has bright yellow flower heads arranged in a dense spike, often more than l“ long. Which calls to mind a marvellous picture which burst upon our sight last September. As we wended our way up Con Creek prior to climbing on to the Dampier Range a golden glory met our delighted gaze, proving to be whole hillsides of wattle in full bloom. And the perfume! Lastly comes the Epacris Longiflora (Native Fuchsia). An erect straggling shrub with slender crimson and white tubular flowers, growing singly on short stalks and dropping from the axils of the leaves. As Emerson so beautifully puts it. May we also like the flowers bring forth from the bitterness and strife “a beautiful crown”.
Thursday July 16th was a great day for the Club's stargazers. Often we had looked at the stars and wondered perhaps what that blurred patch was, or how such and such a star could possibly be, in reality, two stars. Often we had read of the many beautiful objects visible through a large telescope, and few of us had ever seen them.
At 8 o'clock, as the sirens wailed for the commencement of a full test black-out, fifteen of us were groping our way through the dark to the door of the Observatory. A perfectly clear night and a blackout - perfect conditions for observation. We were admitted by Mr. Rayner, who took us up a dark spiral staircase to the big copper dome where the six-inch telescope is housed. Through the top of the dome we could see a strip of the sky, and within the dome was one small light - all we could use in the blackout. Soon the telescope was trained on a part of the sky and one by one we looked into regions of space far beyond the reach of ordinary eyesight. As we looked, an intricate mechanism turned the telescope so as to follow the curved path of the stars under observation. The stars are continually moving across the sky, and would soon move out of sight in so large a telescope, if it were fixed.
The telescope was trained on a region in Argo where few, if any, stars are visible to the naked eye. In the eyepiece we could see scores of bright stars over the whole circle of vision. Next we looked at a well known nebula about Eta Argus. We could see a great number of small stars and, beyond the clouds of luminous matter which form the nebula. Then we looked at the triple star, Alpha Crucis (at the foot of the Cross). This star, which to the naked eye appears to be one bright star, is really three stars. Through the telescope two bright stars could be seen, appearing almost to touch one another, although actually they are thousands of millions of miles apart. Further away was another faint star. Next we looked at Alpha Centaurus (the larger of the two pointers) which is the second nearest star to the earth. I was interested to see whether it would look round in shape, like a small sun, but it still appeared like a bright, flashing, far-away light. Mr. Rayner told us that it is only with the largest telescope, of 100 inches diameter, that it is possible to measure the diameter of any of the stars.
Next we looked at a star cluster not far from the Cross. This can be seen with the naked eye and looks to be a faint blue in the sky. Seen through the small sighting telescope attached to the six-inch telescope it was like a small round cloud, or a light seen at a distance through a mist. In the large telescope it filled the whole field of vision and was revealed as a vast number of pin-points of light against a nebulous background. We were now looking at a great aggregation of stars, so far away as to appear to the naked eye as a faint blur, but actually an enormous group of stars far beyond any of the stars we can see individually with the naked eye. It takes 20,000 years for the light of this star cluster to reach us. When the light waves of these stars started on their journey through space our stone age ancestors were living in caves and hunting mammoth and bison on the forested plains of Europe. When you look at this cluster you may reflect that for 20,000 years the light waves have travelled through space, and the first solid object they have encountered in their journey is the retina of your eye.
Lastly we looked at Antares, the first magnitude red star in Scorpio. This is an immense star 500 times the diameter of our sun and 4,000 times more luminous. The light waves from this star take 380 years to reach us, so that left about the time Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne of England. Antares flashed violet and yellow in the telescope and seemed to fill the whole circle of vision with its light, to the exclusion of most other stars. Mr. Rayner said that its light did not exclude other stars from our sight, but that there happened to be few other stars in its vicinity. It seemed as if a special place had been reserved in space for this blazing jewel. For a brief space I forgot I was on solid earth and dwelt far out in space in the light of this other great blazing sun.
For nearly two hours we had been taking it in turn to look through the eyepiece of the telescope, and for two hours Mr. Rayner had described and explained and had answered an almost continuous barrage of questions about almost everything in the sky, as well as the workings of the telescope.
After this he took us down to the library and showed us some lantern slides. These slides are of particular interest as they reveal on a large scale detailed photographs taken through large telescopes. A photograph of the star clister Tucanae 47, for instance, revealed a great mass of stars grouped so closely as to appear like a swarm of bees. The great nebula in Andromeda looked an almost solid mass of light, and a spiral nebula, invisible to the naked eye, occupied the whole screen. Photographs of the moon and planets showed a great deal of detail also. Mountains, craters and plains could be clearly seen on the moon.
We had to be practically pushed out Of the observatory at 11 o'clock, still asking questions in particular when the planets would be visible. November is the best month this year and we have hoped of another evening.
Our thanks are due to Mr. Rayner for devoting his evening to our visit, and I am sure he has never spoken to a more fascinated audience.
Members are hiding their sins very cleverly these days, or the publicity has sent them to earth. In spite of snooping round regularly on Friday nights we can't raise a thing.
No engagements, no. marriages, definitely not the mating season for bushwalkers, though we did notice a strong tendency to touchiness in those recently engaged.
The latest male recruit to the ranks of the engaged, took exception to the way we spelt his fiancée's name, and we would like to say here and now that it was just as Irish as her own, and as someone mentioned, she will be changing it soon anyway, so why worry.
Can't think what we have done to Joan Atthill, but she is another who reproved us for misspelling her name. In this case we left a T out of it and couldn't think how it happened, till someone suggested that the shortage of tea!!!
Dot English tells us she visited Brian and Jean Harvey on two successive Sundays. “Isn't Brian getting beautifully FAT!” says Jean. “Fatter” gurgles Brian deep down in his 7th chin. They are quite pleased with the life and Jean is developing into some cook.
|Sept. 16th||Wednesday||Theatre or Picture Party - if there is anything worth seeing|
|Sept. 25th||Friday||Lecture with slides “On the Barrier Reef” by Miss Dorothy Taylor|
|Oct. 16th||Friday||The Bushwalker Services Committee will entertain|
|Oct. 30th||Friday||Epidiascope Night - please bring lots of interesting photographs|
The 10th Annual Meeting of the N.S.W. Federation of Bush Walking Clubs, was held on Tuesday 21st July 1942. The officers elected for the ensuing year were:
|President:||Mr. Oliver Wyndham (Rucksack Club)|
|Vice President:||Mr. Vial Roots (S.B.Walkers)|
|Hon. Secretary:||Miss D. Song (Rucksack Club)|
|Hon. Treasurer:||Mr. W.(Bill) Watson (Rover Ramblers)|
|Parks & Playground Delegate:||Mr. E.G. Jacobs (W.E.A.Ramblers)|
As a result of the war, several of the smaller clubs are now scarcely breathing but all except one paid their affiliation fees for the past year. The exception was the Bushlanders.
Miss Lawry drew attention to the fact that Mr. Pallin has a small room which for some considerable time past, he has placed at the disposal of the bush walkers for meetings, absolutely without charge. This room has been and is being very much used. As a mark of appreciation of Mr.Pallin's generosity it was decided that the Federation should purchase six folding chairs for this room.
Authority was also given for an advance of £3 to be made to the V.D.C. Guide and Reconnaissance Corps, Bushwalkers Section, to meet its expenses pending reimbursement by the V.D.C.
Letters were received from the Rucksack and Mountain Trails Clubs thanking us for our invitation to their members to attend our lectures.
The Services Committee reported that, in response to their request for photographs, Reg. Alder and Roley Cotter had donated 270 prints. Photographs sent are really appreciated and almost every serviceman or woman in touch with the Committee particularly mentions them. The Committee is making 180 copies of the winners of the S.B.W. photographic competition.
Mr. Tod Sloane of the Rucksack Club has offered £20 to the Garrawarra Trust for the erection of a fence to prevent cattle from roaming over the parkland so enable reafforestation to be carried out. Marie Byles moved that we support this project and that the Club raise £10 by voluntary subscription from members. She herself would give £l. The motion was carried and Flo Allsworth is collecting the £10.
The President said that the Committee was concerned at the large number of Official walks cancelled recently. She pointed out that leaders have a responsibility to club members to carry out the walks as promised.
Four delegates were appointed to the Youth Parliament. These were Ruby Payne-Scott and Joyce Kennedy, Ray Kirkby and Charles Jones.
11th August 1942
I weep sorrow tears of chagrin in as little as I failed to write to you last month as promised, but O my dear what is there to write about I ask you, other than the wind and the rain, the hail the sleet and the fog!
I'm not a woman to moan, but this weather would give anyone the holy horrors, How long have I been down here? over 4 months! Ha, that's what you think but NUMERO NON SED SUNNY HORAS so the answer is approximately 6 days, of which about two have been at the week-end. I don't know whether our weather news finds its way to Sydney, but last week it was 29° (twenty-nine degrees! TWENTY-nine!!) most of the week until well after 9 a.m. This means I ride to work through a sub-arctic atmosphere most mornings, but it is better than riding 8 miles in the trams which are so crowded that everyone (he's and she's alike) arrive at work with distinct sensations of morning sickness. One of the lads in our section whose wife is expecting an infant next Christmas thinks he caught his by proximity, but it's the overcrowding and stale atmosphere of the trams that is the cause.
Lost in the Fog, Part I.
A deep, dense, all-snuffing, totally obliterating cotton-wool pall blots out the whole landscape at 7.30 a.m. when I wheel my bike out quietly so as not to wake my landlady who is a semi-invalid and doesn't get up till 9 a.m. I am mufflered, coated, gloved, booted and spurred for the ordeal, complete with brazen boots and pigiron mittens. One of those muddy bliserable days (alas too frequent) when I arrive at work coated with a liberal plastering of brown glutinous surface soil collected from all the 8 miles of cross-country between East Melbourne and Maribyrnong.
We put the heaters on full blast and shudder over them till about 10 o'clock, when maybe the mist lifts a little and we can almost see the other side of the street.
And so the day passes.
Lost in the Fog, Part II.
A cotton-woolly, totally-oblitterating, all-snuffing, dense, deep super-pall slowly begins to settle over the landscape, augmented by coaldust and factory smoke accumulated from all over all and everywhere throughout the day. We wheel our bike out from the strongroom where it is now stabled as a preventative against a second theft, (my benza super Speedwell that brought me all the way to Melbourne was stolen, did you know?), and waft our wavering way homeward through the murk. Then we have a hot shower (We are speaking of Us in the Second Person Plural - Author's Privilege, comprennez?) where was 1? O yes, hot shower (except during last week when the Gas Company chose to close down and we were rationed to gas between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and at no other period under pain of penalty not exceeding £100). Then we draw the curtains to block out the clammy view, turn on the gas-heater (or radiator when said g.h. is impermissible) and warm our backs and freeze our fronts - or vice versa warm our f's and freeze our b's, until such time as the sandman throws mud in our eyes and we shuffle off to our snowcold shuddersome sheets.
Bushfires on the Balcony
When, they cut off the gas last week one had to improvise, so Rally-rally-rally!! Boys and Girls!! What for were we born a Bushwalker if we don't bring our hard-earned knowledge to the fore! With the help of a sheet of corrugated iron and half a dozen bricks I constructed a fireplace on the balcony of the third floor back on which I cooked the evening chops and potatoes. My landlady decided it was a bit unconventional and proceeded to set me an example by trying to boil a kettle on the upturned radiator, but it took a whole helluva while merely to take the chill off it, so the external bonfire took the prize one hand kneeling. We're back to normal again now, with only the black bottoms of the pots to show for this deviation from everyday routine.
Time's up. U.P. up. I must away. I hear the shivering sweatslaves clockingoff in the corridor, which is my cue to vanish in a cloud of dust - I mean a slather of mud. More shall be added to this anon.
Here we come with the latest gush of news. 17th August.
Alas the news aforesaid failed to gush. Was just preparing to get into my stride when the boss interrupted with some work (how inconsiderate)! and I was forced to postpone. In the meantime my bike and I have had a little bout of non-co-operation and I have been home most of last week nursing a broken neck, poulticing the damn thing every hour all day and all night. I couldn't lie down with it so have sat up for 4 nights, and spent one night in the broom cupboard out on the landing with my chin supported over the soft end of the hair broom which, all things considered, was about the most comfortable night I spent but wouldn't be so good if one suffered from weak ankles. I had visions of myself dying alone in that unsavory little 6 by 8 kennel that is rented to me as a room at an exhorbitant fabulous price, with no hot water, (a chip heater but no chips), no radiator, no fire, no sanitary paper only tram tickets, no nothing except the smells of 6 different kinds of cheap cooking (stale), the ditto of 6 elderly spinsters and the same again of 6 elderly spinters' cats. I'm as skinny as a lathe and my pants just drop off me, due to the fact that I can't eat (mechanical defect only - the appetite is there), but nevertheless I'm looking remarkably beautiful so let there be no cries of dismay from my friends, etc.
I wired Momma AM IN PAIN AND AM COMING HOME TO DIE STOP PREPARE PLOT OF EARTH UNDER GUMTREE WHERE SUN SHINES BY DAY AND STARS SHINE BY NIGHT STOP, however the Pain in the Neck (and how!!) has now abated and I am back at work with a poultice round my neck fore and aft tied on with a red-white-and-blue crepe-de-chine scarf and feel that it is now only a matter of time before the torn muscles sew themselves up. If I was a centipede with one neck and one hundred ankles, and if He Who Thundereth From On High said: “Sinner Take Your Choice! Will you have all your necks or all your ankles sprained?” …my decision would unquestionably be in favour of sprained ankles.
There has been another surge of Bushwalking folk into Melbourne. We had a party at Perce Woodman's place to welcome the ex-president of…what?….The Warrigals?….The Coast & Mountain Walkers?….Rover Ramblers? Alas, I have forgotten the lad's testimonials, but he is a very pleasant youth. From him we learn that Ray (?) Mitchell (plus wife) are down here also the young Savage brother (plus wife also, if I have my information correct or maybe wife to be, or something like that - the old memory seems to be failing somewhat) also several other bushwalking pals of his (plus wives newly acquired). He was a bit perturbed at this toomuchness, this fartoomanyness in the way of matrimonial engagements, but boasted that he would be able to withstand the general rot from single blessedness. I was tempted to tell him that bushwalking folk from Sydney get married in Melbourne because there's nothing else to do, and felt like adding the story about the Esquimeaux who have only two furms of entertainment and they can't fish in the winter time. However it seemed a pity to damp his enthusiasm too early in the piece, and no doubt he will hope to do some bushwalking in Melbourne, and will hope, and will hope until the scales fall from his disillusioned eyes. Then I guess he'll get married like all his other pals.
The little young Ruth McLaren is waafing it down here and we are going skating next week on her Wednesday evening off. I didn't see Stoddy Jnr. before she whisked off to the inland Somewhere in Australia. Their noses are kept well and thoroughly to the grindstone during their training period.
John Hunter's sojourn in Melbourne has been indefinitely extended. He hoped to be back in Sydney by August, but no go. Is the one called Blondie weeping salt tears? (Never mind, cheer up wench. John is looking remarkably well with milk and roses complexion and starry eyes particularly when he contemplates the latest photo of Joan, nursing her little niece or nephew. it's a WOW!)
Read the name of our chief old Tiger pal Smithy listed among the missing from Malaya. I hope he's only a prisoner.
Several of my Alpine Club friends have climbed their last mountain since last I saw them in the Alps. It's hard to realise it.
New Additions to the Library
“AUSTRALIA'S ALPS” by Elyne Mitchell
“PACIFIC WONDERLAND” by Charles Barrett.
Received during August
Have seen some new falls not yet on the programme with some dense forest thrown in. If we had Marie up here we would send her down some of the ridges with a barometer,. Also had plenty of rain which is a contrast to the drought conditions of only two months since.
Quite a long chatty letter. Arthur appears to be well supplied with club news.
Here we are, tucked away in the bush, with green tents scattered haphazardly in and about the fairly heavy timber, none of which has been cut. The surrounding district is rather good with miles and miles of beautiful forest land containing some trees, so huge that they make Bluegum seem like a suburban nursery. Behind the forest rise rugged mountains, mostly tree clad, but in parts open grassland plateaus. The forests are really magnificent, of course there is a good deal of timber taken out, but its cutting is strictly controlled and should the cutter damage another tree when he is felling, he has to pay a royalty on the damaged tree, also. Consequently the appearance of the bush changes but little with the loss of a giant.
A Holiday Trip. We started off from Tel Aviv, went through Bayrouth, saw the beautiful homes, orchards, and gardens in the city's outskirts, which formed a striking contrast to the conglomerate collection of muddled squalid buildings and the cosmopolitan crowd that scurried backwards and forwards along the sidewalks that constituted the city proper. Then on to Tripoli. The deep blue of the Mediterranean on one hand, then orchards, green fields and running water, gradually giving way to a few trees and shrubs, that dotted the barren mountain sides which climbed ever upwards, as far as the eye could see. Along the foreshores were to be seen numerous shallow concrete pans from which the local salt supply is evidently derived.
We pulled up at a little wayside inn, if one could call it that. The inn, a whitewashed mudwalled hovel, about 12 feet square, containing a counter, primus, table and chairs, did not look very inviting to us. Nor did the half a sheep on which numerous flies were dining that was suspended from the roof. A few bottles of wine were all that reposed upon the somewhat filthy shelf behind the counter. The meal mutton it was a shame to disturb the flies chopped up fine and fried, bread, young cucumbers, roasted nuts, somewhat similar to Barcelonas and curdled milk or cheese, as they prefer to call it over here. The bread was handed to us folded up like a serviette. Was disappointed on arrival at Damascus to find that the magnificent avenue of Australian gums from Doummar to the city were all nearly dead, due to the exceptionally severe winter just experienced.
BILL CAWOOD - PRISONER OF WAR - GERMANY
We are now enjoying our first few days of good weather. Fine and sunny, just as Era days, only of course without the surf. I am determined to keep fit and well during this enforced confinement, and also to keep my mind active. Basket ball is the popular game here, so I have taken an interest in the sport and play at least three times a week, it is a clean, fast and energetic game. The lads in this camp staged a good variety show this week. As you can well imagine all types of entertainment are most welcome. Popular also are the weekly talks and debates, it is amazing, if you seek information on any subject it can be found. The fellows here come from all walks of life and all parts of the world. One sees the most weird and wonderful dishes cooked, especially when the Red Cross issue arrives, even Gordon Pritchard would be hard put to maintain his title. Our thoughts are with you all and we hope that Australia remains the same good clean land. Cheers, Bill.
Since my query as to why the mountains south of the Cox cannot be seen from Sydney, Spring has come to greet us, the winter mists have cleared and Gouougang stands supreme in the sky. So my advice to “Choco” now is to get himself a soldier and for both of them to look to the westward, as poring over unpublished maps will do no good. Or perhaps “Choco” is a soldier who has wrongly studied maps not available to the public. Then my advice is get out and see for yourself and do not theorise.
What do you think?
So.Sec. hereby gently reproves the Sour Puss for it's allegations re the use of milk bottles in quenching the thirst of Lecturers, and asks it not to further embarrass the Editor of “The Bushwalker” by causing her to publish such false statements.
So.Sec. also wishes to assure Sour Puss that it would have felt much less sour if, instead of composing a feline paragraph it had taken the same amount of time to pause one day in Woolworths and buy a new glass to replace the one broken at the Clubroom, secure in the knowledge that the 6d would be repaid with gratitude, perhaps even with interest.
Hasn't the Sour Puss noticed that copious draughts of tea are poured for Lecturers after lectures? If however it desires to make any closer investigation, it may come to supper one night where it will be suitably served with a saucer of milk.
What do you think?
Self-interest again is evident in the submission to the May general meeting by Charlie Jones that the Club send delegates to some Youth Parliament affair next Easter. There is no doubt that Mr. Jones was more concerned in furthering the objects of his organisation by swelling the number of delegates than by considering what a waste of time he was putting Club members to. In the “Hints to Prospective Members” it is clearly stated that the club is non-political and here we are, going to send delegates to an organisation which must favour one party more than the other if it is going to achieve anything. Perhaps it may turn out another Hitler Youth movement for all we know. Let us stick to our walking, it's a walking club, not a debating society. The Federation and the National Parks and Primitive Areas Council can do more for us than this mushroom organisation, which like political Younger Sets, never achieved anything and were a laughing stock when they submitted proposals to their constituency members. I do not think youth is in the least interested in conservation, particularly if one studies the more popular one-day walk reports. It is amusing to read that we should be ashamed if we could not find four delegates for next Easter. We ought to feel ashamed that four members should be such suckers. Let us find enthusiastic delegates to our own affiliated bodies who understand the subject. Whilst many of our members are on Active Service and unable to have a say, don't let the Club run riot with these nebulous schemes!
If you go to Darwin watch your camping gear. The white ants will get it if you don't watch out.
Last week into Paddy's shop came a sun bronzed soldier with his Paddymade Poncho. The poncho was riddled with holes in two large patches.
“White ants” said the soldier in reply to Paddy's unspoken query.
“If you leave your shirt on a log for a few hours the white ants will get it up at Darwin”.
His poncho had been lying on the ground for a few days and the busy termites had done the rest. He was anxious to have it repaired for it had been a good friend to him in the frequent bivouacs in tropical storms.
The Paddymade Poncho is a favourite with the troops. It is a flat proofed japara sheet 71 x 6'. Fitted with eyelets, it can be used as a fly. Folded over and press-studded up, it makes a snug proofed bag which keeps out searching wind or driving rain. True being airtight it sweats a bit but that is a minor fault. They cost 24/9.
Tune in next month for more news of “Paddymade Camp gear for soldiers”,
PADDY PALLIN, 327 George Street, SYDNEY. Phone B.3101.