THE SYDNEY BUSHWALKER
A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St. Sydney.
No.201 AUGUST 1951 Price 6d.
|Editor||Bill Gillam, Berowra Creek Road, Berowra.|
|Reporters||Tim Brown, Kath McKay|
|Sales and Subs||Shirley Evans|
|Production and Business Manager||Brian Harvey (JW1462)|
|Editorial - Management of the Club||1|
|At the July General Meeting||3|
|Social Notes for August||4|
|Letter to the Editor||5|
|Day Walk, Sunday 19th August, 1951||5|
|A Hut Is Built, by Alex Colley.||6|
|The Tasmanian Scenic Reserve, by A. Hardie||7|
|“The Colo Gorge” - Reprint||10|
Management of the Club.
Any organisation with a reasonable number of members must find that, sooner or later, it will be necessary to give to some few of its members the task of regulating its affairs. Such a delegation of powers is perhaps an evil but necessary compromise; obviously it is far better for one person having the special knowledge required to manage the financial affairs for a certain period; again, for the sake of continuity a secretary is essential to guide the more work-a-day aspects of management. A committee so formed must always bear in mind that their power is only derived from the expediency of allowing a few members to do efficiently that which the general body could only do with difficulty.
Our own constitution provides that the committee “shall arrange all activities, keep a record of the same, keep members informed and generally manage affairs as provided for in the constitution”. There is no mention of regulating the affairs in a manner which the committee thinks fit. It can only act on the powers delegated to it by a general meeting and has no power in itself to act in a fashion other 1 than strictly laid down in its charter. This is a very laudable \insertion by the framers of the constitution, for no organisation can flourish, or even exist, one the initiative for deciding policy no longer remains with the majority of its members. Having elected the committee the general meeting has a definite right to be kept informed of the committee's deliberations, and should not have to wait until one of its acts is challenged to be allowed to debate their actions.
The committee cannot be judged alone on the tangible evidence such as slide nights and lectures which it arranges.So long as there is a favourable financial report most members are apathetic towards the conduct of affairs. Contributing markedly to this apathy are “precedence” and the election year after year of the same committee members. It has been the practice to hold committee meetings in camera and to regard the 1 minutes as closed to everyone. This very secretiveness, with the implication that “you mustn't talk of what goes on” is the very reason these acts have gone unquestioned. Precedence can never be advanced in i defence of an unconstitutional act, nor can the lack of protest be regarded as an endorsement of any action.
We must beware then of building a club in which nothing counts but the will of a few determined people. We must see that no action taken independently of the members will restrict the rights of future members, nor that present members be deprived of their rights.
The Club does not take its strength from those members who have been walking for years and hope to for some time yet, nor from those who feel an obligation to work for the Club. Our strength lies in those who are active for two or three years and then find more pressing things, such as a career, rearing a family, or building a home, to occupy their weekends. Our esteem as a club will be judged on how we impress these people who in time will pass on their judgment. If we appear to them as a group of earnest people willing to share our knowledge and appreciation of the bush we shall have “passed'. But if we appear to welcome them only for their enthusiasm or whether they are potential treasurers or secretaries, we shall have failed badly.
Social notes missed last month were the wedding of Don and Gwen Frost, and the engagement of Roy Bruggy and Elsie Toy. Congratulations and best wishes to all concerned. (The Editor requests those “intending” to decide before the third Friday in the month. Production of documentary evidence is not necessary.
About 50 members were present when Alex Colley, chairing the July General Meeting, opened proceedings. There were no new members present to be welcomed, minutes were read and confirmed, correspondence was read and was challenged. One item was missing, a letter to John Cotter.
The Chairman enquired if he wished to appeal against the Committee's decision and, as he did, the letter was read. It notified that, in view of his failure to carry out a promise to attend an Instructional Walk, given to Committee on his admission to membership in October 1950, Committee had decided that he was no longer a member, but may re-apply as a prospective. The Chairman stated that letters of this kind were normally withheld from the General Meeting to avoid any embarrassment, unless the member involved wished to appeal.
Correspondence was now received, after a brush in which the Chairman was charged with bias, and the appeal proceeded. The following forty minutes were so charged with invective, abuse, points of order and counter charges that it was impossible to take complete notes. Summing up, Committee was accused of exceeding its constitutional powers in demanding that prospectives must attend an Instructional Walk or that members could be admitted conditionally. It was suggested in several quarters that Committee had been actuated by an ulterior motive.
Others took the view that there had been instances of prospectives admitted without attending an Instructional Walk. On the other hand, it was argued that a contract entered into by two parties was binding, even if such a course of action was unconstitutional: that the member concerned had definitely given a promise to comply with a regulation being enforced by the Committee during 1950, and had failed to honour it.
It was held by some that Instructional Walks were of little value, especially in cases where the member already had considerable knowledge of map and compass work and first aid. In reply it was maintained that in the case under dispute, the actual attendance at a Field Weekend was no longer the issue - it was the failure to carry out a promise.
Several members who had been on Committee during the previous year were of the opinion that Committee had acted honestly according to its rights, and one appealed for the attacks on Committee officers to cease. The closure was finally applied with the meeting still full of fight, and John Cotter's appeal was upheld.
The remainder of the meeting was most docile. The usual reports were read, together with one prepared by Mrs. Stoddart on the encroachment on city parks and the efforts of the Parks and Playgrounds Movement to resist it. As a result it was resolved that the Secretary of the Movement should be asked to address a subsequent General Meeting.
A canvass of Club opinion an the date for the Federation Re-Union brought only Len Scotland's comment that he thought May quite suitable.
In General Business Len was again on his feet to draw attention to a number of trees along the track to Euroka Clearing had been slashed apparently with an axe about the date of this year's Federation Re-Union. He thought someone may have done this to mark the trail, and urged that we write Federation enquiring. It was felt this may imply that we suspected Federation of conniving to cut trees, and the motion was lost.
Edna Stretton reminded us of the Christmas Party at the Coronet to be held Wednesday December 12th, and prepared us for the worst with the news that tickets may cost 12/6d this time. Then the meeting closed at 9.45 p m.
Since an epidiascope could not be procured for Harry Whitehouse on 27th July, the “Overseas Slides” night set down for 17th August was moved forward to 27th July. However, on l7th August there will be a film night with material supplied by the N.S.W. Film Council. The selection is excellent and some are in technicolour and with sound. Just to mention a few, there is “Trungunya” dealing with Central Australia, American Grand Canyon, Winter Sports on Mount Cook, Glaciers, Soil Erosion, etc.
On the 24th August we have an interesting debate lined up about a most controversial subject of great interest to all walkers.
The dance on 31st August will supply the same high class entertainment as our previous Good music, good floor, good M.O.!
Those people in the lower income group should start saving their pennies for the Christmas Party on 12th December at the Coronet, dancing 8 p m. to 1 am. Tickets this year will be 12/6d. (including tax). Ed. Stretton, Social Secretary.
About 40 members and their friends attended a slap-up birthday party at Moorabinda on 21st-22nd July. That with John Bookluck's scarlet dressing gown, the activities of the Moorabinda Temperance Society, Jack Perry's acting in the sketches at Bill Henley's super camp fire, Vora Matasin's “matronly embarrassment, the mysterious articles of feminine attire which were found in Ernie French's tent,Jen Bransdon's zoological specimens, “Nurse” Steenbohm's first aid and Bob Chapman's horoscope readings to the consternation of his victims, things were light and bright.
Did you hear about the character who brought sandwiches for breakfast on Roley's recent Blue Labyrinth walk? He was anxious to be ready in time for the 8 a m. start from The Oaks.
“Sir: In the Editorial for April the opinion was expressed that the leader of an official walk should not have power to decline a member's request to attend that walk. Editorial comment, in this case, does not actually reflect Club policy, which has been defined by Committee and confirmed by the April General Meeting in the terms: “The leader is responsible for the safety of the party and, if he thinks necessary, may refuse any person's request to attend the walk”. This statement appears on the official Walks Programme.
It is also desired to point out that every walk appearing on the programme is not necessarily designed to suit the capacity of all members, as the Walks Secretary endeavours to cater for the tastes and capabilities of all members by providing walks of varying types, mileages and severity.
(Sgd) J. Brown
(On behalf of the Committee
(It can reasonably be argued that when a member places his name on a Walks Program that he is inviting members to join a walk. His right to refuse any personal request can only be held in respect if it is not used indiscriminately. The editorial in question was to protest against an indiscriminate and unjust application. - Ed.)
Day Walk Sunday 19th August 1951
Parramatta (bus to) Rouse Hill - Annangrove - Blue Gum Creek - Cattai Creek - Cataract Creek - Vineyard Station. 15 miles.
Return tickets to Vineyard (Richmond Line) NOT Wynyard (City). at 4.4d. each, plus bus fare about 2/-. 8.44 a m. Parramatta train from Central Electric Station. Detrain at Parramatta and proceed immediately at North side of the station for Rouse Hill bus. D. Ingram, Leader.
by Alex Colley.
“Girls”, said the rooster to the hens when he found the ostrich egg, “I don't want to draw comparisons, nor to cast any aspersions, I merely want to point out what is being done in other places.”
At the annual meeting of the West Coast Alpine Club (New Zealand) held in May 1946, it was resolved that the Club raise funds for the construction of a hut at Arthur's Pass. At that time the Club had about 80 members and funds amounting to 15. Various activities were undertaken to raise funds. In the words of one of their members, Mr. F.A. Foster (see Official Magazine of the West Coast Alpine Club, August 1949) various raffles were brought into, business people in Greymouth were canvassed for donations, a successful shop day was held, hut fees and life memberships were sold, while several dances and a ball were conducted. Much hard work by members, and also by non-members during the next two years, helped to bring the Hut Fund to a balance of 175. In addition we had a grant of 100 from the Departmeat of Internal Affairs. Had it not been for the assistance given by this Department, I feel sure we should not now be the owners of the comfortable hut at Arthur's Pass”.
The hut was designed by Sim Smith (now S.B.W.) and Section No.62 at Arthur's Pass was leased from the National Park Board, but there was some delay in obtaining a building permit. The hut was prefabricated in Greymouth and the Club was fortunate in having the use of a factory in which to do the work. Work commenced at the end of 1948 and parties worked on the site at weekends and at Christmas, New Year and Easter. The official opening took place at King's Birthday weekend 1949 and the building “withstood all the merriment the occasion warranted”. '“I often think”, reflected Mr. Foster, “when gazing in rapture at our hut, that it really is a great achievement, especially when I consider the motley crew responsible for its erection.' (So even for the S B.W. there may be hope.) The total cost was just over L300; Fees for financial members of the Club are 1/6d. a night, L1 a year, or L5 for permanent hut fees. Non-members pay 2/6d. a night.
The hut is watched by the National Park Ranger at Arthur's Pass who holds a key. Those wanting to use the Hut get the key from the Club Secretary and pay their fees to him. its capacity is 18 people. It is not the Club's only hut - it owns another an the Kelly Range.
Why is it that in N.S.W. a club with assets worth 831.2.5d, and 276 members, is unable to erect a hut for 6 or 8 people? To the solution of this problem further researches will be addressed. The opening move, a visit to the Department of Lands to obtain a copy of the regulations governing the erection of huts in the Kosciusko area has yielded no results. A letter has been written to the Under Secretary for Lands re the same, as per instructions, and, whether or not it yields results, more will be penned on the subject.
(No comparison can rightly be drawn between the two schemes. The hut at Arthur's Pass is presumably close enough to Greymouth for easy weekend access. In addition. most of its member could visit it regularly, not as in our case, half a dozen members at scattered intervals. – Ed.)
by A. Hardie.
When first I visited Tasmania, towards the end of 1933, a trip through the area now known as the Scenic Reserve was something spoken of in a tense whisper, as being full of dramatic excitement and adventure. No one would dare to go through without a guide, and one, would hear hair-raising stories of Tasmanian wolves and devils, and of herds of wild cattle marshalled by aggressive bulls. That these stories belong to the fabulous past I proved to my own satisfaction in November and December of 1945 when, without fear of personal danger, risk, or going astray, I walked alone through the same area on my demobilisation leave. The credit of opening up this country, and for making this walk a safe one, must be given to two rangers, Messrs. Fergusson and L. Connell, as being the parties chiefly responsible.
No visit to the Scenic Reserve is complete without a stay for at least a week at both the Cradle Mountain and the Lake St.Clair end. At the latter one has the mystery and charm of seeking lakes hidden away midst dense vegetation, and of viewing mountains through trellised arches of giant fern trees. Shadow Lake and Lake Marion are instances of lakes challengingly tucked away and, generally one has in this end of the Reserve the “ferny dells and secret shades” sung about in Tales from the Vienna Woods. But in the vicinity of Cradle Mountain one loses all sense of being hemmed in, for here, instead of dense vegetation, the wayfarer beholds nature in the massive from a track nearly four thousand feet above sea level. Here he is overawed by the vastness and majesty of the geophysical and, as he reflects on the genesis of glaciers and snow-water lakes, his pleasure is that of an H.D. Thoreau meditating upon the dynamics and physics of his “Pond in Winter”. A walk alongside Crater Lake keeps you guessing as to the height of the mountains above and the depth of the water beneath.
Commencing my trip from the Lake St.Clair end I, in all good faith and perfect innocence, called on Mr. Fergusson, and sought from him a night's lodging and tea and breakfast. Immediately he began to question me as to my intentions, indicating by the way that it was customary for people to walk through from Cradle Mountain and to stop with him for a few days. But, when I tried to assure him that I was an exception to the general rule, purposing to spend a few days at the Cradle Mountain end, he accused me of belonging to a class that made a convenience of him. In view I pleaded that having no means of refrigeration, I was anxious to proceed before my meat went bad. However he was good enough to let me have one of his huts free of charge, although from that time on he maintained a chilly distance. And yet, when I heard him summoning his lodgers at break of the next day to go on one of his famous bush-excursions, I felt a little thankful that I was outside the pale of his affection, so I went off to sleep again.
I was soon to find, however, that Mr Fergusson was a very competent bushman and ranger. I had no trouble whatever in following his tracks through the Lake St.Clair section of the composite reserve. Every fifteen yards or so he had either a stake firmly planted, or else a tree unmistakably blazed with a red and a white spot recently painted on! I could well imagine him sedulously laying his tracks and trusting none but himself to do the job faithfully, for twelve years previously I had seen him doing similar work near Lake St.Clair when, with an axe almost as large as himself poised over his shoulder he paced through the forest like the Lord High Executioner out of The Mikado”. It was marvellous what he had accomplished with that axe of his, the bridge over the Cuvier River was so solidly built, with all due allowance for stresses an strains, that it would have done credit to Dorman, Long and Company. As a bush architect, his reputation rests on his Pine Valley Hut, erected right in the heart of the Du.Cane Range.
I strongly advise anyone to take six, instead of the usual five, days over the trip, in order to make a digression to this shelter, not only to enjoy its comfort, but also to marvel at the uncanny majesty of the mountains surrounding it. When one has established one's title as against bush-rats, and opossums, the skilfully placed pieces of linoleum and furs of animals make the place very homely.
But I was particularly thankful for those blazes and signs. They kept me strictly to the track, and did not let me wander at all. Unnecessary walking in that country would have been a nightmare for whereas in New South WalesI can do from,, three to three and a half miles to the hour without any conscious strain, over there my maximum speed was one and three-quarters of a mile to the hour. The ground was never other than wet, slushy or boggy: sometimes sank to my knees in either mud or snow, and I sighed for the terra firma of New South. Wales. Therefore, it was with no feeling of regret that red and white spots still danced before my eyes, as I prepared my meal that first night in the Narcissus Hut. These unfailing blazes and spots continued until the fourth day when, with Mount Pelion East on my right and Mounts Doris, and Ossa on my left, I came to the half-way signpost. It clearly indicated that it signified the and of the Lake St.Clair Reserve, and another sign a few yards further an gave notice that the Cradle Mountain, Reserve was beginning.
To me it was like crossing from the United States into Canada. The difference was at once apparent. From there on there were few identification marks and to find my way from the old hut near the Douglas River to the Innes Track, I was obliged to use my map and compass.
As I forged ahead over swampy plains and through wind and rain on to Lake Windemere, may times I could only just discern the next guidepost through the mist, and felt thankful for not being shortsighted. Later on, at the end of my trip, what I had suspected was verified for me, when Mr. Connell admitted that he had employed men to stake the track, but that operations he had undergone had rendered him physically incapable of exercising supervision.
The most arduous part of my trip was the section from the Du Cane Hut, opposite Cathedral Mountain, to Windermere Hut near the lake of the same name. It was over this stretch that I encountered all the inclemency of Tasmanian weather, as I ploughed through snow and rainstorms. At times the sun broke through for intervals only just long enough to permit me to take some pictures, before the next whirlwind of snowflakes, tearing down the mountainside, enveloped me, and made me appreciate the utility of a “Daddymade” groundsheet. Sometimes I thought that one might just as well go to the South Pole for a holiday; and, on one occasion, having walked over so much water, I imagined in my comatose frame of mind that I was gazing on the submarine growths of the Great Barrier Reef. Mount Oakleigh in the sunset was a glorious sight, but I was in the mood to enjoy it only when I was standing; at the doorway of a hut with a good fire burning at the back of me. Naturally, in all my trials and tribulations I kept on wondering just what kind of a reception I was going to get at “Waldheim”. Even when I sat down on the damp ground to rest myself, the earth beneath me seemed unfriendly and inhospitable, insofar as I could see countless small leeches making their way toward me to suck my blood, a nuisance comparable to that of the small ants in our warmer climate.
After lunch an the sixth day, leaving the fury of Fury Gorge behind me, I descried “Waldheim” and its outhouses peacefully established amidst the tall pines of the valley below. It was about three oclock when I knocked at the door, and my mind was at once disabused about any hostile reception. A grey-haired lady, whose face radiated kindness and sympathy, welcomed me so graciously with the words: 'You are just in time for some coffee and hot scones”. Mrs. Connell then conducted me to my bedroom, the neatly-made beds of which, with their floral pattern covers, made me think I was being ushered into the attic-bedroom of a Grimms fair castle. Later, I took stock of the comforts and general lay-out of the place. In design and structure it reflected great credit on the vision and ingenuity of the founder, an Austrian named Gustav Weindorfer, whose grave nearby indicated that he lived from 23/2/1874 to 5/5/1932. Apparently he saw in the surroundings some resemblance to the Austrian Tyrol, and the best years of his life had been spent in trying to complete the simulacrum, for the architecture of “Waldheim” does remind one of a Swiss or Austrian inn. What amused me most of all was the clever way in which he had diverted the natural watercourse alongside by means of drain-pipes and sluice-gates to supply the house with water and toilet facilities.
I stayed for a week at “Waldheim”, enjoying the ambrosial food and genial company there. When the weather was good, I filled in time by climbing Cradle Mountain and Barn Bluff, or by walking around or rowing upon the many lakes and tarns. On the other hand, when the weather was not so good, I stopped by the log fire, and read “Lassetter's Last Ride” by Ion Idriess.
(Tune: It Ain't Gartner Rain No Mo!.)
This is the yarn of Dune and her friends who thought they were all very tough,
When they left one day in spirit so gay to tackle the Colo rough.
They were loaded with food and cameras galore, which filled their old packs to the brim,
But their hearts were light though they looked such a sight, and they all were in 'very good trim.
They went for two weeks with the object in view of ambling along at their leisure,
With never a thought in the time so short, of anything else by their pleasure.
But the vines lay thick in the valley bed, with their armour of bramble and thorn,
And so in dismay they made their way, all bloody and scratched and torn'.
There was Ninian in front and he hacked a path from dawn to the close of each day,
With Dune at the back to flatten the track and form a permanent way
While Auntie and Roxy and the rest of the gang came trundling along behind,
All doing their best to survive the test and Ray to preserve his mind.
The days flew past and the miles crawled by, the party getting thinner and thinner,
And the day came at last when they had to fast and go without any dinner.
They were down to some aspros, some tea and some rice, and it was hours since they'd last been fed,
When Dunc caught an eel and they made a good meal off the bones and the skin of the head.
At last quite,exhausted they broke from the scrub like seven grey ghosts from the west,
After ninety miles odd, and they thanked their God that at last they'd be able to rest.
Their boots were worn from right off their feet and their clothes were hanging in tatters,
But they've all stood it well, and they're back now from hell, which really is all that matters.
BARNEY. (Reprint from Magazine No.17 - February 1934.)
by Brian G. Harvey.
THE Annual and General Monthly Meetings of the Federation were held on 17th July. The annual report will be duplicated and distributed to all affiliated bodies. Mr. Paul Barnes was re-elected President, Mr. on Compagnoni - Senior Vice President, and Mr. Allen Strom - Junior Vice-President. Stan Cottier has continued as Hon. Secretary, whilst Mr. J. Ashburner is the new Hon. Treasurer. The position of Hon. Minute Secretary remains unfilled and a nomination is sought among the clubs for a young lady typiste-stenographer. It is regrettable that the Annual Meeting was so poorly attended, some clubs having no representation whatever.
THE ANNUAL RE-UNION date was reviewed and the fixture will now be held each year a fortnight before Easter to ensure warmer weather. This should meet the approval of walkers with young children who were reluctant to camp out in the frost.
TREE-PLANTING SCHEME. In the absence of any definite proposition, it was decided to call for a report from the Bouddi Natural Park Trust on the feasibility of preventing sand-encroachment in the Park which, however,would be a long range scheme beginning with suitable scrub, etc.
THE KATOOMBA JUBILEE CELEBRATION COMMITTEE kindly donated 5.5.0 to 7-67-5-17tioir funds as a gesture-of appreciation of the bush walkers re-enactment of the Blue Mountains crossing. The families of the descendants of Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth have indicated the wish to present trophies to the personnel who took part. These will be presented at the Annual General Meeting of the Youth Hostel Association.
THE PARKS AND PLAYGROUNDS MOVEMENT has arranged for a delegation to wait upon the Minister to submit a request for the consideration of reserving portions of Narrow Neck Peninsula and the Ruined Castle area. The P. and P.M. have suggested a conference of all bodies interested in the formation of the proposed Parks Board.
THE FORESTRY ADVISORY COUNCIL will send a deputation to submit to the Minister that the sale of wild flowers be prohibited in this State.
The Sydney Bushwalkers need not become alarmed that the Federation Reunion will clash with the S.B.W. Annual Reunion. Only once in the next ten years will Easter be in March, and that is 1959, when the two reunions are scheduled to occur an the same date. As the Federation & Reunion fixture has been altered three times in the last four years, I do not anticipate by 1959 that the clash is likely to take place. Such things as eclipses of the moon can be predicted with a great degree of accuracy, but to anticipate the feelings of bushwalkers eight years hence is beyond my wildest imagination.
Ski Gear for Walkers
Whether you are one of those who pronounce skis like shees or one of those different people who pronounce shees like skis you ought to know that Paddy has good stocks of ski gear. There's whacks of wax and stocks of socks and even stocks of stockes, and if you want a tip you'll get it from Paddy (that's a private pun for skiers only). There's a price list waiting for you - call or send for it.
All Walkers Please Note
Paddy has an illustrated catalogue and separate price list available to all walkers, but especially prepared for those who cannot easily visit the shop. Posted free on request. SLEEPING BAGS. A small number of feather down sleeping bags available assorted sizes. Order now ready for the end of August. PADDY PALLIN Still at 1st Floor, Y.M.C.A.: 325 Pitt Street, SYDNEY