A monthly Bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, c/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St. Sydney.
|Assists||Elsa McGregor, Norma Barden|
|Bus. Manager||Maurie Berry|
|Sales & Subs.||Jean Harvey|
|Timber Shortage||“Abores Australis”||5|
|Night On Bald Mountain||“Prolix”||8|
|That Man Again|
Bushwalking is of course The Game,
But it is positively tame
When Federation Social comes:
Boy! then the gossip really hums
And this year's “do” was just as gay
As that of any by-gone day,
When round and round the rocking floor.
The couples wheeled and shouted, “More!”
So dancing just went on and on,
Till ankles, thighs and breath were gone.
A relay race is very well,
And our team - they were simply swell!
But just who won I couldn't see,
For damsels standing on my knee
And screaming, “Oh, we'll win! you see!!
Quite blocked the view of all from me.
Yet what was this within the door -
Some flowing gowns across the floor?
Arrayed in scarlet, black and white:
The loveliest of all? Oh, quite;
'Twas Christa, Norma, Dot and Bet
In evening dress - the sweetest yet.
Next in my gossip-book I wrote
Some names of other folks of note:
Ray Kirkby with his nose half off,
And Alex Colley, quite a toff,
Returned from Queensland, both of them
With Edna Garrad, just protem
A dancing girl; but Edward C.
Stayed home, to seek recovery.
Now in a corner dim hid we,
Imbibing on the strict Q.T.:
Committee and its sweetest wife,
Ex-Pres and spouse, with lower life
Among the throng (no names, of course)
Drank just a roundl, then tottered forth
Once more a round the floor to go,
With merry smile and cheeks aglow.
But this must be the end, I fear -
My vision blotted out, my dear!
“So you're going to join the Bushwalkers?” quavered the old man to his great grand-niece and nephew.
“Well, I remember the day, back in the summer of '45 - or let me see now, was it the winter of '46? No, now let me see….” . . . .
And the gist of his story is in this wise.
“Back in the winter of '46 I was a. prospective. I well remember that walk, as it was my first weekend walk as a new chum.
“The train started from Central Station at 1.25 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon, and at that time I was cursing to myself in a tram in Pitt Street. You may have seen pictures of trams somewhere children.”
I missed that train by five minutes, and had to wait 55 minutes for the next. When it pulled in I grabbed a window seat and wondered what would eventually sit next to me.
“It was a girl in slacks. Nothing to remark about these days, but conservative people like me used to label them as 'doubtful' then. No, it wasn't your great grand-aunt. Please don't interrupt, child.
So I whiled away the three hours to Blackheath chatting with her and eating her carbohydrates. Barley Sugar they called it. At Blackheath I de-trained and hastily entered the nearest room, which contained a beautiful fire. There I put on all the spare clothing I could, for it was cold. It had snowed the night before.
“The station master directed me to the nearest estate agents, where I had a look at his maps. It was six o'clock, pitch dark, -50°F. in the sun and my destination Blue Gum Forest. 'Govett's' leapt to my mind. But first I thought I'd see all the taxi drivers because the agent said he remembered seeing a “mob of hikers” catching one.
“The first place I went to owned a large luxurious Chrysler which didn't sound like the Bush walkers to me. While I waited for the driver to return from a journey a massive female shrilled at me from the cold outer world -
'Ey, you! you one of them Sydney 'ikers?' “Not knowing any better I said “Yes”, so she promptly pirated me from waiting post, and relieved me of 5/- for a trip to the other side of the aerodrome. She was a good soul and told me of the party's intentions, detailed the route to Perry's, and told me a lot about her daughter.
“It was pitch black when she dumped me, but half way to Perry's the moon rose. It was a clear night. The lights of Sydney glowed softly in the east, and the threatening clouds rolled away. No snow - I breathed a sigh of relief.
“From the edge of the cliff just below Perry's I saw the lights of camp fires in the valley below. It didn't seem far away so I stayed there some little while yelling now and again in the hope that some kind hearted walker, who'd finished his tea would take his constitutional and come up and lead me down. Ah, how blissful is ignorance. I arrived at Blue Gum two hours later,”
“The party was rather surprised to see me and kindly offered to help me cook my tea. To which I made reply 'Salt of the earth! Backbone of the nation! It's young men like you we need in the government running this country!” They heard that a few times too during the walk.
“Sleep wasn't at all pleasant. I tried a day previously to hire a sleeping bag. The result was a foregone conclusion, I found two blankets to substitute whatsoever.”
As the morn awoke so did some other cold footed-walker. Calculatingly, I lay abed until the strategic moment when the fire was at its peak and the cold footed one had departed to collect fuel. I then debedded.
Later the sun made its appearance for about ten minutes. We saw it again 8 hours later. This brought to light two more males from our party. Another tent surrounded three ladies who were forcibly ejected so that the tent might be rolled up when it started spitting, later.
Breakfast over, seven of us, plus seven others from three other parties set out in a slight drizzle with lunch time objective something that bounds like Beacham's Falls. I was rather glad to get there. The track, easy at first, found it had no alternative but to take umpteen twists, turns and ups and downs - mostly with steps, which I abhor. En route we temporarily mislaid the track once or twice and startled quite a few lyrebirds.
Lunch at the falls was a cold affair. The place was damp and so was the weather. However a cup of brew - tea, my children - warmed the troops.
After lunch, more steps, and then the spectacular scenery of the Grand Canyon, and then more steps up Neate's Glen. At the top of this was the road to Blackheath. It took quite some time for the party to collect there, only for it to become strung out again on the road.
With home in my nostrils, or rather the imaginary odours of a delightful Devonshire Tea at Blackheath that all the ladies extolled, I gave way to a little exhibitionism and spurted ahead, reaching Blackheath first with another. But such delights were not yet to be.
Follow the leader was the law then, children, and so we took ourselves to the station, where we cleaned ourselves up. In the middle of this process a city bound train drew in. A wild scream or two and the train drew out, taking the ladies with it.
“By process of elimination we found the Devonshire Tea place and proceeded to sample its wares. Out of kindness to the readers, children, I'll not describe it. Two latecomers made their appearance and with a minute to spare appeared on the platform with a scone and cream or rather cream and scone in each hand and bulging mouth.
There is one thing, my children, that still is and will ever remain a mystery to me. You remember I told you that on first arriving at Blackheath I entered a room wherein a fire was burning? Well when waiting for the train to take us back home I sought the warm comfort of this same room, I had to be forcibly restrained from entering. Some one then directed my attention to the notice above the door. It said, quite simply:
“Ladies Waiting Room”.
“And the storal of this mory is” droned on the ancient voice of great great Uncle who in his old age was occasionally inclined to split an infinitive and mix his metaphors “never to have Devonshire Tea in Blackheath whilst there's a fire in the ladies waiting room.”
Before Fraser Ratcliffe left on his gold hunting expedition twelve Bushwalkers and others foregathered one night at the Tai-ping Chinese Restaurant to say au-revoir. (With FOOD naturally).
Staggering under the weight of various “extras” liquid and solid, we arrived and were ushered into our private Blue Room with mysterious Chinese symbols over the door, which the smiling waiter said meant “The room of the floating clouds.”
Phyllis Ratcliffe had brought flowers and a large white iced Xmas cake with Chinese letters etched on it in chocolate. She said she didn't know what they meant - they were copied from a Japanese card and might mean anything, but they looked artistic!!
We asked our waiter to come to our rescue again and felt somewhat nervous as we awaited the verdict. Then, with an even broader smile he said it meant, “How do you call it - MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY”. (Was this just another example of Oriental politeness, I wonder?).
He wanted to know whose birthday, so we said it was Fraser's and were invited to come again next year, whereupon we made a pact that if our prospector makes his fortune he is to take us all; if he comes back “broke” well - we shall take him.
After coping with ten sumptuous courses, the happy band took itself (Yes, it did too!) to the Helmrich mansion for SUPPER. (We only surmise why no details are given here - Ed.)
by Arbores Australis.
Do you realize that the importation of timber from America has been stopped, that importation from Canada will also stop because Canada will have a high-price market in America without black market dangers because price restrictions there have been lifted, and finally, do you realize that we have only three months' supply of imported timber in N.S.W.?
On the top of this did you know that the Forestry Commission has undertaken to supply the N.S.W. Railways with sleeDers which will require 10% of the total hardwood production in N.S.W at the present time, plus another 10% which will be produced as offcuts from the sleepers, so that the existing production of timber will have to be increased by 20% to provide the sleepers, though it has to be admitted that this 10% of offcuts will be available for you and me who want to build homes.
Only a small decimal percentage of all this timber will come from State Forests under proper management and fire-control where trees will be regrown as soon as they are cut.
The other ninety-nine point something per cent will come from forests where the trees will not be regrown. It will come from:-
(a) State Forests which are not under forestry management because for the last 30 years there have not been enough trained foresters to manage them.
(b) Crown lands, which have not been set aside for any special purpose.
© “Forest Reserves”, which have been set aside for future consideration, and anyhow not to be alienated until despoiled of their timber. They just might ultimately be made into State Forests which just might ultimately come under forest management.
(d) Private lands which very often go over to bracken when the timber is taken and where re-forestation is almost unknown.
(e) And lastly - if bushwalkers are not very vigilent - from our beloved and hardly-won reserves.
When you get out the plans and a specification of your new home, remember that you are contributing to the spoliation of the forests. But even if you patriotically decided to give up your new home idea and go on living with the in-laws, it would not help greatly, because there are still those sleepers. You must also give up train-travelling to your favourite bush-walking haunts and persuade your friends to do the same.
Obviously these remedies are fantastic. But what other remedy is there?
The only sound solution is the long-range-one. More young men and women must aspire to graduate in the science of forestry, and more money must be made available to pay their salaries afterwards and buy up suitable land, so that the forests now being depleted may be brought under forestry management and fire-control as soon as these young people can write B.Sc.Dip.For. after their names. In the meantime the situation might be eased if young men (not women) who are not graduates decided to take up forestry. They could be got on to the job of re-forestation right away.
That is the position - very soon it will not be primitive areas we shall be worrying about; it will be properly protected State Forests, because they will be the only areas on which a single decent tree remains. And if now you hear of a stretch of forest that the Commission wants, and which it will guarantee to place under forest management, well, work your hardest to see it gets it.
Without worrying whether my last contribution got past the censors or not, I'm embarking once again into an egoistical thesis on a week end in the bush a la S.B.W. I'm in a creative mood. Paper in one hand, pen in the other - voila, I create! Ask what you will my pretty sweetings, this is what you get, (Editor permitting).
To make up for being an hour late on my previous trip, I was an hour early for this one. Having once more got a window seat - an habitual ambition - I just sat and waited. Edna Garrad appeared next and soon the carriage was full. (no slight upon Edna intended - Ed.)
I have little to say of the train trip. It was blissfully uneventful. The men of the party, or anyway, the ones that counted, did their duty by the Refreshment Room at Penrith, two of the ladies doing likewise. On the other side of the partition, naturally.
At Katoomba we found ourselves, thirteen strong I think (Haziness was not the result of Penrith Plank) headed for Diamond Falls. Narrow Neck Peninsula, bent. The local populace seemed to think hell bent. We set off at a goodly pace, and arrived at the beginnings of said Peninsula just at Sundown.
Most people prefer a sunset of different hues, with delicately tinted clouds and all the trimmings. But that evening's sunset, the sunless western horizon a blue black silhouette of rounded mountains against a cloudless golden background arching above us and beyond us into the deep blue behind seemed far more beautiful to me than any of your pretty pretty ones.
That cloudless sky gave promise of a fair morrow, but also of a frosty night. Now, I have no objections to a frosty night; but never again shall I sleep with my head outside the tent - not on purpose - when mother nature has given me due and fair warning. Oh by dose, oh boy!
Breakfast over, we started out down the Neck. A beautiful day and no kidding. We even dumped our packs and walked most of the day without them.
First leg of the trip was Coral Swamp. Where the creek leaves the neck, so did we.
Well; we did at the second try. We were informed that we were treading the “Red Ledge Track” once used by miners who hacked the coal from the cliff side, and just to substantiate this claim, lo and behold we soon saw evidence of a well used track, much loose coal, and quite a lot of corrugated iron. I left my lump of coal behind, too. Alas.
At this point we were on a ridge. An hour later we were still on it. We did at last reach Mitchell's Creek. No sooner did we than we were on another ridge, going up. At last we came back to the cliff face, proceeded to skirt same, scramble about same, and soon, O Joy, we lunched.
For two hours the walk went on perfectly - on our backs. The sun was slowly descending and forced us to regain an upright position unfortunately. Being on a creek we followed same and by devious means - nails in trees etc., we gained the top of the Peninsula.
Then back to base for our packs, Katoomba welcomed (?) us at sunset, so we bid farewell to the beautiful Blue Mountains. Brrrrr! You Beaut!
Well, well! He's no longer President, but he still provides the walkers of the future! Yes, even as we danced at the Federation Social, Wal Roots became a daddy once again! Miriam delivered unto him a son.
By special arrangement with the National Art Gallery, we print a famous painting of the Official Party arriving at Cowan for the Official Walk on a recent Saturday arvo:
Wot - No Leader?
Those of you who walk in shoes may be interested to know…
Leather sandshoes - crepe rubber soles, size 8 - 8 1/2. If you would like to purchase same, ring Miss Joyce Fisher, WL1837 - first come, first served.
Colin Lloyd advises as follows:-
Peg Bransden's Glenbrook - The Oaks walk on August 31st - Sept. 1 is via 12.25 train not 1.25.
Ray Birt's Wild-flowers walk, on September 7-8: Watch notice board for details.
By Prolix (with apologies to Moussorgsky)
Central Station, 1.30 p.m. Saturday, gloomy, cold and with fine rain drizzling down, found my good friend Antilix and self making a last minute decision. “Galong Creek should look good after this rain”, and sundry other such urging remarks won the day and two tickets were purchased for Katoomba.
Penrith slid by, and still miserable outside. Nepean River presented a frightening spectacle of angry swirling waters - yellow with its unnatural load of man-wasted soil and debris - tearing at the banks in its fury to reach the sea and leaving a deep fringe of sand high on the banks. Glenbrook Creek had suffered severely from the recent rains and was scarred by landslides and strewn with rocks and boulders, many tons of which it had disgorged into the Nepean effectively distorting its flow and eating into the opposite bank. Never had we seen it so high.
We spoke as two minute voices in the wilderness as we compared the present devastation with what might have been had our forefathers shown the foresight which is now all too necessary if we are to “stop the rot”.
The slow upward grind eventually found us at Katoomba - still drizzling in late afternoon though it might have been morning, or any other time, with the sameness of the dull light filtering through the mist from all sides.
Warmed up by hot coffee and toast we headed for Devil's Hole, amid the same conditions and with the light fast fading. Our idea of Galong Creek gradually receded from our minds, but we were in high spirits (oddly enough) and determined to enjoy the fun, come what may.
The turn-off negotiated, we contemplated a camp site. Nothing but soggy wet ground, small pools of water linked with thin streamlets and all vegetation both dead and alive simply dripping with water - not very inviting at dusk or any hour. Our search was finally rewarded by a nice, just tent-sized, patch of green springy plant life which grows close to the ground, and on this limited area we erected our shelter - to wit one Willesden.
Still shielded by ground sheets from the wet trees etc., the rain having temporarily ceased, we hunted for fuel. This required an almost individual selection of tinder from the sodden mass. Under a dome of groundsheets and us, a small fire was coaxed to sufficient proportions in three quarters of an hour to justify our boiling the billy. Quite a good hot dinner followed, thanks to said fire which behaved wonderfully, and so to bed as the rain came on again.
Believe it or not we were very comfortable, warm and dry thanks to that little patch of greenery - under which we could hear the water trickling as with heads to the ground we drifted to sleep. Outside was quietness, as only the bush can be at night, broken by the monotonous and rather sleepy sound of a myriad drops of water as they fell from leaf to earth again and again as the misty rain fed the leaves.
Late next morning, “ceiling Zero” and no rain, we turned back to Katoomba Station where we joyfully noted a train due at two o'clock; but on closer scrutiny found two followed by a.m. - too bad.
We lunched in the waiting room with the aid of the N.S.W.R. coal and fireplace, and decided to beat the next train to Blackheath where it was due in two hours. The afternoon had cleared somewhat and in bracing coolness we stepped it out along the main road - hobnails tearing and skidding.
The distance was covered in one and three quarter hours - not bad we think - so we returned to the metropolis feeling strangely contented with our night out above Devil's Hole.
Weren't Wombat's articles enough to ruin any man's hopes of finding gold? Oh, no! John Battye is hot on the scent. John has gone west, to join Fraser Ratcliff in the search for the treasured metal. Gold mines soon to be on sale to bushwalkers at bargain prices.
A Hunter awoke in the Wood one morn, and soliloquised on the day ahead; “Methinks it might Rayner bit”, he said, “if not today, then to-Maurie at least: for the Evans are Shirley and black”. As the sun a-Rose in the Pallin sky, the Dennis-ons of the bush were heard, he saw a Lambkin in a field, gambolling by a river's Marj-in. On a Russel-ing bough he heard a bird: a Mavis trilling its morning song.
He gazed up the road by which he lay - se-Rene and Browne it wound along in the sun - and gave a gulp at what he saw: “Holy saccharin! Santa Christa! Surely my eyes have not gone wrong! They Norma-ly function well.” Just what he was seeing was quite obscure so he Stuckey's head from his blankets out: just a wopping big rucsac lurching along, and to carry the thing there appeared to be neither Edna torso, just shapely legs as it puffed up the hill like a Garrad locomotive.
Then a flurry of dust down the winding road, and a roar like a Leon disturbed his muse. Was it a Laurie? No, a huge Rolls-Royce, a-Rayed-in colours simply choice. The essence of speed, it was Bolton along, and at the wheel was a really smooth Sundy-hikin' type of bloke: in the Blumer youth, but Wilkins somewhat with attacks of the Ricketts - to be quite Frank, his Jeanes and chromosomes were hay-wire.
Sw-Irving to left, the limousine pulled up by aforesaid rucsac, and as this turned about, the Hunter saw it all: 'twas a woman beneath it, and Oh! what a peach. A woman, indeed, and half blotted out by the Paddy-made pack; Younger by far than the driving toff, with the sweetest smile, and hair Bob'd short.
But the Hunter disliked the set-up, and mentally voiced his doubt: “Wyborn on her back, and not on her head, like a comely young Indian wench with a pitcher, whose Steady and Gentle tread allows her to carry the Max-imum weight, in the land where he-men are Strom.”
Then quoth the driver bloke to the girl: “Where are you bound for, my pretty maid? Can I help you?”
“Over the Hilma lad”, she replied with a mental wink, for she knew he lied about helping her (this system is hackneyed, these days, and she was wake-up).
The Hunter turned to cook his food, and as he started to Stuart, the car gained speed with the luscious lass inside. When the meal was over, be Doug a pit, and Barry-ed his tins in a manner fit for a young Boy Scout (that unfortunate breed who are blamed for anything not quite good). Then: “Hey! What's this?” he acclaimed as he looked up the road again, “the aforesaid damsel coming back? With Paddy-made rucsac Leyden still? She sure does look het-up.” As she came abreast he enquired, “Anything Ron, miss?”
That started it! “That bloke is an absolute wolf!” she cried. “Some girls may like his system a lot, but it gives me a Payne, great Scott!” (and her cheeks flushed dark to a Ruby red). “Yes, I thought to myself as we started off: I'll Betty's intent on Phil-andering. But I'll Peggy's ears back.”
Well, surely enough he started up: “You look very cute”, was his first bold Sally. This didn't work, so he stopped the car and turned on his No. 1 System - the Cave-man tactics. (“Go to it, my lad! Be master-ful”, kind of thing - apologies to the Play Night). His wooing sure was ardent; to the back of the seat he fiercely Pinder, “My darling (with passion), my heart is a cinder, etc. etc. A kiss for my kindness?. Just one, now, at least?” She struggled at first, but then got cunning, and lay relaxed in his arms for a bit.
“I Cotter!” cried he, “By Colley, how Jolly!” (Sotto voce, of course).
Then a slap! and she'd hit him, and blood rushed warm to the very Roots of his hair. She wal-lowed in his discomfiture and chortled: “It'd be just the same if you Dryden tried again.”
The unhappy chappie blushed, and looked Savage with anger, preparing for words that would give her a jar. The aged ultimatum, his one last resort: “A kiss, now! (with menace) or Elsa you'll walk.”
Here-the Hunter broke in upon the yarn - she Luke'd very Hardie, and not the least Harris-ed (of Spartan constituents she was a-Lloyd): “My Gordon I think it a Haynes sin! The police should hear of this Felsho.”
“Yes, but don't you get it?” chuckled the maid: “as a lover Isaacs him, but that's not Hall, for at any old time I'd be pleased to call his Ig-Noble bluff. I'm a bushwalker, see - and he told me to walk.
Mild days are producing further promise of Spring. A gompholobium (golden pear bush) planted 3 years ago is at last going to flower. It has grown to a not very dense bush about 3 feet high but it is smothered in the almost black buds which will soon I hope, burst into glorious flower. The red spider flower is blooming well. A Christmas bell planted months ago has sent up a tiny grasslike shoot which one day will (we hope) produce flowers. The lemon scented gum is smothered in a creamy foam of fragrant bloom and the bees are well pleased. They should produce some nice flavoured honey!
Paddy is pleased to report that at long last he has full stocks of 1” military maps for N.S.W. and can obtain similar sheets for other States. The four mile to the inch sheets are also available. Drop in some time and have a looksee.
Camp gear for Walkers.
327 George Street, Sydney. Phone B3101.