A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney.
|Editor||Ken Meadows, 103 Cooper Street, Maroubra|
|Production and Business Manager||Brian Harvey (JW1462)|
|Sales and Subs.||Shirley Evans|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|Editorial - Planning Any Big Trips?||1|
|At the February General Meeting||Jim Brown||2|
|A Bushwalker Visits the Sierra Nevada||Suzanne Reichard||5|
|Night on Pol Blue Creek||Jim Brown||8|
|Era for the Bushwalkers||T.W. Moppett||10|
|“One Ear to the Ground”||13|
|And Why Don't We Meet More Success in our Conservation Work?||Allen A. Strom||14|
|Regeneration at Broken Hill||15|
|Federation Notes||Brian G. Harvey||18|
|Paddy Pallin's Points for Particular People (Ad.)||19|
It is very pleasant to know, going to a strange place, that you are among friends. Walkers who visit interstate and overseas have only to call into a local club to be made welcome. Frequently, the well worn pack and air that only walkers can cultivate will lead to the wearer being stopped and invited to dinner.
One of the advantages of a walking holiday is the ease in making minor changes to the itinery. An invitation to dine and to perhaps stay the night does not mean cancelled hotel bookings because it was intended to stay “behind the Cascade Brewery” or some such place anyway. Pity the tourist who does things the hard way. The bus captain says “stay at this hotel tonight”, “eat at this cafe”, “admire this view”.
Despite the apparent casualness of a walking holiday there must be some organisation. Perhaps the greatest worry in arranging a trip interstate is transport to unusual places. Trains just don't run where we want to go and if a Tourist Bureau is approached nobody there has even heard of the proposed starting point, let alone know of any truck owners or hire car proprietors. The person who has been there before is called on for information. How can this position be improved?
Trying to do something through the Tourist Bureau is a waste of time. What is required is a list of the available transport to the areas in which the walker is interested. It is also useful to have a summary of the features of the area, any special equipment needed, local food supplies and so on.
It is proposed to run a series of articles in “The Sydney Bushwalker” doing just that. Reference will be made to articles in magazines describing the area. Transport required, as far as is possible, will be in detail, giving the names of people who have in the past run trucks or cars for the convenience of walkers.
This information will not duplicate information that Paddy might have. It will collate and add to it. It will also be of use to other clubs and to interstate visitors.
If this scheme meets with approval write and let the Editor know. Areas that most people are interested in will be written up first, so write in and your magazine will do the rest.
The February meeting commenced with ebb-tide figures of 35 members present, but surprisingly expanded to a maximum of about 55, with much coming and going throughout the evening. The first member of the new Club year was not present for welcoming, so we began with minutes, and Social Secretary Edna Stretton questioned the wisdom of our January decision to hold both “Quarter of the Century” Party in October, and Christmas Party in December. She moved cancellation of the latter, and was supported by Kevin Ardill who spoke of the strain on Club finances since admission seldom covered the cost. After the old suggestion of polishing up Ingersoll Hall and holding a Christmas binge there, Gwen Frost successfully gained adjournment of discussion to the Annual General Meeting when more interested people may be present.
While on the subject Brian Harvey suggested a special edition of the magazine to mark the 25th anniversary, and met with a doubt from Allan Hardie, who wondered if old members would find it difficult to say something fresh only four years after our “coming of age” edition. Phil Hall suggested some people may be able to write two articles, and we carried the motion.
Betty Hall read a report on a meeting of the sub-committee seeking Federal aid in bush fire control, indicating that letters were being drafted to the authorities and interested bodies. Dormie was disappointed to learn recent comment in Canberra could not have been inspired by our action.
After correspondence, which contained a letter to the Chief Secretary's Department, suggesting more concentrated publicity on the fire-lighting ban, Allan Hardie asked why we didn't seek a definition of “fire in the open” from the same Department. How about smoker's discarded matches and butts, what of railway engines? Weren't they also fires in the open? Why pick on a bushwalker's innocent little fire, as he brewed his invigorating cup of tea? The ban, he said, was a sop to the Chief Secretary's self-importance, derived from no particular power. Here others intervened to quote the Bush Fires Act as it applied to careless smokers, and to refer to spark arresters on locomotives. We decided NOT to write for a definition.
A letter from Marie Byles referred to our insanitary way of life. After discussion it appeared we should be unwise to pursue the matter too diligently: we might end up in Crown Street, said Eric Rowen, moving purchase of a couple of atomisers and provision of stewards to fumigate on nights we were in occupation. Atomisers it was.
Phil Hall outlined the conditions governing a Photographic Competition being conducted by the Youth Carnival for Peace and Friendship in March, and we heard the monthly Social Report for the last time, it being moved that the Social Secretary be no longer required to give account of her stewardship. Treasurer's Report was evidently beyond reproach for no one had any comment, and the Federation Report was read. Paul Barnes added to this that successful discussions had been held with the Manager of the National Park, and parties of bushwalkers were now patrolling the park during bush fire danger periods, cautioning motorists, picnickers, etc. on careless use of fire. More patrols were needed, and walkers (particularly those with a ranger's warrant) were sought.
At first Brian Harvey was grieved at the thought of reducing the Quorum for Federation Councils, but Paul Barnes explained the difficulty of securing the numbers, the problem of some virtually dormant Clubs, and Brian withdrew a motion to oppose the change. At this stage, too, the Treasurer produced, as a conjurer whisks a rabbit from a top hat, the evidence that we really had paid our affiliation fee to Federation this year. We can still look Federation in the face. It appeared, however, that the Bush Fire and Flood Rescue Section being organised under Federation auspices had suffered a reverse as the Club responsible for the suggestion had withdrawn its support.
Federation's “stop press” reported that a Mr. Kirby, owner of property on Cox's River near Little River and Galong Creek, was taking action to prevent walkers crossing his land. No further news, but we would be kept advised.
The President announced the usual limitation on attendance at the Annual Re-union - members, past and present: non-member husbands and wives of members: members' children under 16 years: permission of Committee to be sought for any other visitor. A further announcement was to the effect that the retiring Secretary and Treasurer would not seek re-election.
The Re-Union Organiser, Gil Webb, had something to say on that matter. What was our will if the ban an fire lighting was still applied in March? Someone suggested a battery of pressure lamps in lieu of the campfire, and Gil agreed, saying it may even be possible to bring a couple of motor cycles right to the camp, but he was more concerned about cooking fires. Bill Gillam quoted the precedent of the postponed re-union of 1949, and moved that the decision be left to the night of the Annual General Meeting. Objection - this left no opportunity to arrange transport from Richmond, was too great a headache to the organisers. “Mouldy” Harrison objected too: his foster child, the re-union was designed as investiture of the incoming President. He felt that anyone who would not suffer a minor inconvenience to be at the re-union “never would be missed”. So the motion of postponement was lost, and “Mouldy” substituted a positive one to hold it on the weekend immediately after the Annual General Meeting, come hell or high water, or no fire. Carried.
All this talk of the ban on fire-lighting then prompted Jack Wren to propose that the Club support the ban to the full and expel any member disregarding it. This was felt to be rather strong medicine, and it was argued that it was a matter for individual consciences, that punishment was properly the province of Fire Control authorities and Police, and that such a motion would make spies and pimps of members. Debate was prolonged, and Fred Kennedy moved the gag, which was supported. The motion itself was lost.
Going then to the other extreme, perhaps, was a motion by Betty Holdsworth that bushwalkers be asked to refrain from fire-lighting when on official trips. This was attacked on the score that it appeared to condone fire lighting on private walks, and was redundant. Kevin Ardill said the “honour system” was used in all the best penitentiaries, but the meeting evidently considered it inadequate, and that motion too was lost. Since apparently we could not find a formula to please all, the matter lapsed.
After Bill Cosgrove told us how lucky we were to be getting out of Era with our funds intact (the N.R.M.A. had stated 'there wasn't a road to Era YET') the evening wound up none too soon at 10.20 p.m.
Don't be left in the lurch! Make sure you have your copy of the new song book for the re-union! A limited number available, and those are only for members.
By Suzanne Reichard.
Like music and science, a love of the outdoors knows no national barriers. In every American city that I have visited since leaving Australia 16 years ago, I have sought out the local hiking clubs and have never failed to find kindred spirits and to make good friends. One of the finest and certainly the most unique of these organisations is the Sierra Club of California.
California is blessed by a magnificent chain of mountains, the Sierra Nevada, running north and south about 120 miles inland from the coast. They rose as the result of subterranean volcanic activity, which tilted the plateau so that its western slope rises gently, while its eastern slope falls away in sheer cliffs. The highest peak is Mt. Whitney, 14,600 feet, but there are many other peaks almost as high. The lower slopes of the range are covered with pine forests, timberline being at 11,000 feet, at which altitude one finds stunted hemlocks and fascinatingly gnarled junipers. One small, hardy flower, Polemonium, grows at altitudes of 12,000 feet or higher, where its clusters of mauve flowers cling to the rock crannies. Small glaciers are still found on some of the northern slopes. The high Sierra country, as Californians know it and love it, consists of towering granite cliffs, at whose feet lie sapphire-blue lakes fed by sparkling mountain streams or the run off from gleaming snowbanks.
The Yosemite Valley, the best-known valley in the Sierras, was discovered in the middle of the last century by John Muir, who decided that it should be taken over by the federal government to be preserved for the people in perpetuity. To this end he and Joseph Le Conte founded the Sierra Club, and, through their efforts, Yosemite was dedicated as a national park in 1890. It soon occurred to the founders of the Club that, in order to get people enthused about working for the conservation of our mountain wildernesses, they should be taken to see them. So, about 1900, they organised and carried out the first high trip. This was a rugged affair in which the participants, after being taken to the railhead by special train, had to hike for several days through broiling, shadeless desert before even beginning their ascent of the mountains. Nevertheless, the trip was such a success that an annual high trip has been conducted ever since, except for a brief lapse during the war years.
Every summer, about 150 people go on these trips: 125 paying guests and 25 commissary crew and packers. The crew consists, in addition to a director and assistant director, of young high school and college students who get a free vacation in beautiful mountain country in return for their work. A pack train of abut 70 mules carries all the dunnage (weight limit per person: 30 lbs.) plus all the cooking equipment and food. Excellent meals are served by the kitchen crew. The super-efficient chef on my last outing was a second year medical student. With such a large crowd of people in the mountains, arrangements cannot be left to chance, and here one sees the American genius for organisation at work. Women's camp is always located down stream - because they wash more: - men's upstream and married couples' in the middle - presumably to keep the two apart! Even the toilet arrangements are carefully planned. Diggers go ahead of the main party, dig holes in appropriate places and surround them with burlap, then place over the holes little wooden thrones that have been proudly carried up on muleback. Such a convenience is commonly referred to as “the burlap”. Because there is so little rain in the Sierra in summer, people do not bother to pitch tents unless there is a thunderstorm brewing, and many do not even carry them, relying on a simple nylon tarpaulin for any needed protection. On the other hand, most people have air mattresses - do I hear cries of “sissy”? For several years I refused with Bushwalker fortitude to succumb to such softness, but broke down recently after finding that in stony high-altitude camps the few soft spots are soon taken over by the first arrivals, and one is likely to have to spend the night on granite slabs. With an air mattress, one is independent of terrain.
The high trip lasts for six weeks, and one may go out for any one of the three two-week periods, or for the whole six weeks. Camp moves every day or so, but as much as three days may be spent in an especially beautiful spot, such as Bench Lake with its mirrored view, of Arrow Peak. Daily moves average about 12 miles, usually with several thousand feet of climbing, but range from 10 to 20 miles. On long moves, a crack-of-dawn start (occasionally as early as 2 a.m.) is made so that even the oldsters will have plenty of time to get into camp before dark. The day's activities always conclude with an enjoyable gathering around the evening campfire where members present a programme of plays and skits, limerick competitions, musical numbers and folksongs with guitar accompaniment. Ollo Baldauf charms the company with her German folksongs, while Tommy Jefferson, an Indian packer, wows the adolescents with Don Juan from Mexico. Bushwalkers are probably horrified at the thought of 150 people tramping through the mountains, but actually one is never aware of the crowd except at mealtimes and around the campfire. During the day, some walk fast and others walk slow; some strike across country and others' climb a peak on the way. So one usually finds one's self on the trail with just one or two friends, or alone if one wishes. Below 8,000 feet the trails are hot and dusty; Sierra Club members are happiest when they are camping above 10,000 feet amidst the awesome beauty of the high peaks.
Who goes on these trips? People from wall walks of life: accountants, artists, doctors, farmers, plumbers, university professors, secretaries, etc. The age range is from 10 to 70. A few years ago, a seventy-year-old judge decided to see the mountains for the first time in his life. We used to pass him on the trail, walking with little, short steps, and wonder how he would ever make it, but he always arrived safely in camp by nightfall. At the other extreme was little Davy Armstrong, youngest scion of the rugged Armstrong family. When there was tough cross-country going to be done, he was right up there with the best of the rockclimbers. One day, I found him trudging independently along the trail and asked him where his mother was, to which he responded “Over there”, with a nonchalant wave of the hand.
Who may join the Sierra Club? As we have seen from the brief bit of history given earlier, the Sierra Club started out primarily as a conservation organisation, and this it has remained ever since. Anyone who truly loves the mountains and is willing to work for their preservation is welcome to join. Prospective members are invited to participate in club activities so that the members may get to know them, but no test of endurance is required. The Club now has over 7,000 members, and it caters to all tastes. There are backpacking, rock-climbing and mountaineering trips for the rugged. Many outstanding first ascents have been made by club members. The high trips are for those of fair stamina. A basecamp, which remains in one location, is conducted for the benefit of the oldsters and for families with young children. In fact, basecamp is where the next generation of Sierra Clubbers get their initiation into the high Sierra. There are nature walks for nature-lovers and a ski-lodge for ski enthusiasts. A nice feature of Club life is that a member never becomes superannuated. When he is too old to do the tough stuff, he finds some gentler activity awaiting him, whereby he can still get up to his beloved mountains. Even from an invalid chair, he can continue to work for conservation. Thus the Sierra Club member never loses his sense of belongingness, and the Club retains its vitality and flexibility and continues to be a real force in the community.
Words cannot convey the beauty of the high Sierra country, and I hope that some of you will come over and see it for yourselves. If you do, I can assure you of a very warm welcome from the Sierra Club.
Extract from letter from Frank Leyden, 10/2/52:-
“I am planning another trip to the eastern Austrian Tyrol for 3 weeks ski mountaineering up in the glaciers in April with Leon Blumer and four other Sydney chaps ex Sydney Technical College Bush Walkers. We had a very enjoyable Christmas up in the English Lake District Mountains amongst the Yorks and Lancs types, the real “Chooms”…. I am forwarding by ship mail two articles on the ascent of 16,000 feet Mt. Blanc by S.B.W's, one a summer ascent by Leon Blumer, the other in winter by myself. A sketch map will also be enclosed… Leon is quite famous in the mountaineering fraternity here, having climbed Jungfrau, Wetterhorn, Zinal Rothorn from Zermatt and others to a total of 20 major peaks …”
The Annual Re-Union will be held at Woods Creek, near the junction of the Grose River with the Nepean River, about 4 1/2 miles from Richmond.
Trains ex-Central to Richmond - Saturday.
Arrangements are being made to provide 'buses to meet the 12.52 p.m. train and convey passengers to a point 1/2 mile from the campsite. It is expected to arrange 'buses to connect with the 5.17 p.m. train ex Richmond on Sunday.
By Jim Brown.
I suppose almost all walkers have shared this experience - to come suddenly on a vista so satisfying that one pauses in a mood of exhilaration, exultation, exaltation (one of those humours, or perhaps a blend of the three). Eventually you drag yourself away reluctantly from the vision splendid, but you can't banish the recollection from your mind, and you promise to return and drink in all the richness again. When you come back, a tree has been cut down, or it is overcast, or the blackberries have grown up: perhaps you simply can't seem to find the exact spot, and you begin to wonder whether it was all as superb as you've persuaded yourself for so long.
On a couple of my earliest walking trips I found something that seemed sublime. One was a distant view of the coastal plain and the sea one bright wintry morning near Robertson. The other was an approach to Kanangra Walls at dawn when the valley was brimming with hummocky clouds of steely blue-grey and the sun rose to trace a path of rosy light across the bleak, fantastic cloud mountains. On both occasions I was quite entranced and went on feeling that this sort of thing quite compensated for any hardships of bushwalking (there were plenty of tough times on those inexperienced early trips). In later years I revisited the lookout near Robertson and found it was quite a lovely view, but no finer than a dozen others up and down the Illawarra ranges.
More recently I ceased to feel these intense enthusiasms, and began to wonder if I were growing blase, and had lost the capacity to sense atmosphere and feel wonderment. You know you don't want to feel that the whole world is slowing becoming a grey, featureless place - rather like growing old in mind, perhaps. So it was very re-assuring a few summers back to fall head over heels in love with our camp site in Cotter Gap - a quiet, cool-green clearing with a tiny silent creek, the whole hemmed in by great tumbled boulders of granite, a very garden within a Stonehenge.
Confirmation of the capacity to “feel” for a place came with our annual holidays at the end of last summer. We (that is, Kath and I) approached Barrington Tops by the orthodox route up Stewart's Brook and over Meehan's Peak to Mount Barrington. We made a fixed camp at about 4,800 feet on the headwaters of Barrington River, and spent two days wandering the familiar parts of the Tops - the ruins of Crosbie's old house, Carey's Peak, the jungled valleys which cleave the mountain sides right to the grassy tops. To my mind, the gums of Barrington are quite as lovely as those of the Southern Alps, and at that time of the year the display of Austral bluebells and daisies and small terrestrial orchids on the snow meadows are a delight. We had the Tops to ourselves.
We planned to go out by the road running north to Tomalla, about 15 miles from our camp, we estimated. It meant, however, that we would be walking right off the map. Apart from the South East Tourist Sheet (about 10 miles to the inch) and the quarter scale “Tamworth” military sheet (which I'd been unable to buy) there seems to be no map coverage once you reach the edge of the Woolooma survey. We had heard, though, that motors had once made it through to Crosbie's, and unless timber cutters had obscured the way with a network of side trails, considered we should be able to find the path. At about 1 p.m. on a Tuesday, we broke camp.
The old road wandered away to the north east through alternating patches of snow gum and across highland meadows. In places tree falls had obscured the way, but always there were faint treads flanking the wreckage. Once, at the outlet of a swamp we came to the broken down ruins of an old log bridge and glimpsed far blue distances down the valley, but mostly the horizon was limited to the pastel-tinted plateau, drowsy in the warm afternoon sun, and with the sleepy sound of summer insects as musical score. Great tumbling black and white clouds welled angrily in the south west sky.
During mid afternoon we came to the edge of a plain perhaps a mile across, and we knew were on the limit of our map. Perhaps half way across our faint pad debouched on to a clear road, which showed evidence of bull-dozing at an earlier date, and marched steadily to the north. There, too, in solitary state in the centre of the big plain was a metal standard, from which a wind sock fluttered in the light airs. Plainly we were on an emergency air strip, and we learned later that the track on which we had emerged leads to a river gauge on the Upper Barrington.
There was some backing and filling to avoid isolating a large Hereford bull from his covey of cows before we completed the crossing of the plain and forded the swift, cold trout stream at its north edge. Then our way was again through open forest with lush grasses, sprinkled with blue and yellow flowers, and occasionally through swampy upland meadows, russet in the afternoon light.
An hour and a half later we began to descend gently and came to another plain with a fast clear creek flowing north west to join the Hunter. Hard by the ford was the frame of an old shanty, some old stockyards, and beyond the stream was a slope with deep grass and tall, straight timbers glowing in the stormy yellow light. There we camped. The threat of the clouds had not been realised, but there had been a light shower, enough to put a glitter on the leaves. From our camp, looking back through the fine straight trees to the meadow and the wooded hill beyond, it was a fairy tale place of gold and grey and green, with distant smoky lights in the valley and a livid sky of storm scud and sunset.
It felt strange and contradictory, somehow. The road, obviously used not long before, these calm, fertile valleys, with their placid cattle, seemed to argue habitation, yet we had not seen a human in three days, and there was an odd lost loneliness about the plateau. It was even more striking later in damp, chilly darkness, with our so tiny tent almost vanishing in tall grasses, the so tiny fire like a lone candle in a silent gloomy cathedral. The night was windless. I have camped alone in our Blue Mountains often enough, but never felt the night so oppressive - not in a fearsome way, but in a vast, lonely way. Perhaps it was because we were high, with only low black ridges as a vague skyline against a limitless darkness.
We turned in early, and as we made ready for our sleeping bags, two aircraft passed swiftly above. We could see the spurting flame from the exhaust of the nearer. If anything, the silence that followed was all the more ponderous. I can't recall feeling before such an impression of immense space coupled with crowding darkness as that night by Pol Blue Creek. One was really “off the map” - yet at hand was a fair road!
Morning was almost anti-climax. Some six or seven miles more along the road brought us to the first farm at Hunter Springs (Tubrabucca). Our expected big “drop down” from the plateau didn't occur, and we lost only a few hundred feet in elevation, walking our easy road through gracious flowery sub-alpine forest and field. The Meehan family at Hunter Springs greeted us in the open-handed fashion of country folk, and transported us the following morning to Moonan, the terminal of the 'bus from Scone. We went home on a hot, windy summer day which made it difficult to believe the small valley of Pol Blue Creek, coldly dark under brilliant stars and a black sky, had ever been.
There was a dream-like quality about that spot, and I hope to find it when I go back.
By T.W. Moppett.
“Diogenes”, in his article in the December “Bushwalker”, states that it appears “That the Club wants Era to be returned to its natural state and to become part of the adjoining area of Garawarra”. He then questions the advisability of this policy and advances arguments against it, the main ones being:- if all the shacks were removed there would be very little extra camping space: with no shacks there would be no surf lifesavers: the number of bushwalkers using the area is small: many of the later-built shacks are of good appearance: shack owners don't destroy trees: now that the land belongs to the Crown the problem of the formation of a “shanty town” does not exist.
All the points mentioned are minor ones, and have no bearing on the Club's main line of policy, which is, that Era be added to Garawarra, the whole to form a roadless primitive area controlled by the Garawarra Park Trust. This has been discussed and accepted at numerous Club meetings. The reason for having this area as a roadless, primitive area is that this is the last small section of coastline, with its natural plant and animal life, anywhere near Sydney which is still in a more or less primitive condition, and it is considered that it should be preserved for present and future generations of walkers, campers and naturalists. Roads and huts destroy the primitive characteristics. Garawarra Park Trust is considered to be the suitable governing body because of its past record in controlling Garawarra as a primitive area.
It is true that comparatively small numbers would visit the area - those who like walking and like our bushland. This would be very good for the flora and fauna, and would be one of the charms of Era and Garawarra. After all, most of the rest of the coastline is available to those who require roads, huts or cottages. One would not expect to find surf lifesavers in a primitive area - many walkers surfed there before the surf club was formed.
Concerning the “shanty town”, resumption in February 1950 has not settled the problem, as many huts have been completed since resumption.
Shack owners most certainly “have an equal right to enjoy the area with any walker” but not, as “Diogenes” says, because they own a shack nor because “before the land was resumed they paid for the privilege”. The shack owners used to pay a fee to a Mr. Grey, who held a lease of the land for grazing purposes, but they never bought any title to the land, and therefore they must have known that they had no legal or moral right to retain their shacks there should a later owner, now the Crown, order their removal.
Incidentally, the S.B.W. paid an annual rental for Portion 7 for several years before buying it, and having bought it paid rates on it - all for the privilege of keeping it as a camping area for all comers.
In any case, in spite of the shackowners having no title to the land, the Club decided on a policy for the removal of shacks, which it would recommend to the Trust, and which was designed to cause little inconvenience to the builders. That policy is -
It must be emphasised that the shacks are weekenders, not dwellings.
“Diogenes” questions whether Garawarra Park Trust policy is approved of by the Club, and mentions various actions of the Trust, with which he disagrees. I have asked Mr. Tom Herbert, Secretary of the Trust, and a member of this Club, to comment.
|“Diogenes” says:-||Mr. Herbert replies:-|
|The Trustees are trying to push out the few tents which were there when the Trust took over by increasing rents instead of doing the proper thing and buying the owners out.||There is no question of buying - they don't own the land and they can take their tents away whenever they like. They are charged a fee of 5/- per week for an annual permissive occupancy. This is quite reasonable - I believe the lowest fee charged in National Park is 10/-.|
|They charge a camping fee, which has never happened at North Era.||Why not? It helps to pay the Ranger. Mr. Grey used to collect camp fees at North Era. National Park charges a camp fee.|
|They have refused to help the volunteer lifesavers in any way.||The Trust has allowed the lifesavers to build a shed for their gear and has made donations of money.|
|They have prevented them from building a small and attractive surf shed.||This was a Club House, not a shed for gear, was not small, and was to be in a commanding position over the beach. The Trust considers it unnecessary, incompatible with a primitive area, and likely to attract as members men interested in Club House facilities rather than lifesaving activities. This matter is now being reviewed in consultation with Surf Life Saving Secretary and Federation.|
|Suggested to the Surf Life Association that they pay one lifesaver for the weekends instead of the present volunteer patrols.||Never heard of this suggestion.|
|Making the area primitive seems to have caused the marked decline in the number of people willing to patronise this area at weekends.||Hasn't been made primitive, it has been left as primitive as possible. Decline comparing with when? No marked decline generally. Figures of approximate attendances are available from the Ranger's weekly reports.|
“Diogenes” suggests that the Era Fund was collected to buy part of North Era for camping and to prevent development there, and now that the land has been resumed, the purpose of the purchase has been brought about. The full purpose will not be brought about until the area is placed under the control of a body which will see that now and for the future the whole area is kept for nature protection and camping. Portion 7 was bought because it was the key area on the floor of the valley and it was unlikely anyone would start development there without it.
The Club was committed to give the resumption money to the Government not, as stated by “Diogenes”, in exchange for one member on Garawarra Trust, but provided that “Garawarra Park be retained under a separate Trust and the recently resumed Era lands be added to it, and the Club be given representation on Garawarra Park Trust.” (As the Government did not take up the Club's offer within 30 days of receipt of a letter of 19/11/51. the Club is no longer committed.)
The minute quoted in the previous paragraph is a clear indication of the Club's policy on Era. Further, going back to the time when the funds for the purchase of Portion 7 were collected, they were donated on the understanding that they could be given to the Government if the whole of the Era lands were resumed.
“Diogenes” seems to have made a lot of objections out of nothing. I hope he has read this article and is no longer “puzzled at times by the amount of discussion that this subject can arouse”. I hope also that I am not too cynical in suggesting that “Diogenes” has chosen a suitable pen name. Diogenes was a Cynic - and the Cynics believed no one ever acted except out of self interest.
What has Middle Harbour got that Era hasn't? Bob Bull; Vera Matasin, Pat Sullivan, John Bootlace, Ken Meadows, Jean Aird and Ron Parkes now own three VJ's between them and act as shark bait every fine weekend.
If you see some Club members with a permanent stoop you will know that they were collating pages for a very important club publication when Conde pulled a blackout on them. You try sorting pages with a hurricane lamp for light.
Roy Gadlin, well known to many Club members as “the man with the violin”, has gone and got himself engaged. Exchanged one “bow” for another “beau”.
Irene Jeanes beat Elsie Coye and Roy Bruggy to the “h'altar” by a day. George Lee of the River Canoe Club was the lucky man for Irene. Congratulations and best wishes to both couples.
Eric Pegram has been looking very soulful the last three weeks. Could the Tasmanian trip of Betty Swain have anything to do with it?
Second day in Tassy and John Bootblack had to go and step on his glasses. Some of the inhabitants down there can't have heard of monocles because they thought he was sporting a new kind of photographic range finder. Don't think he had a dim time of it tough, the five in the party are already planning when they can go back.
Ross Laird will believe all the tall tales concerning the numbers and ferocity of Tasmanian leeches. One got him in the eye but salt saved the day.
John Bookcase has the new look. His fair companions operated on his hairdo with matches, and he looks like a walking advertisement for bush-fire prevention.
Since Betty has returned the Swain family's residence looks like a fruit shop. Before leaving the Apple Isle she filled her pack with samples of its produce.
Space is available in this magazine for full or half-page adverMements, at 12/6d. and 7/6d. respectively. Special concessional rates will be given to two or more consecutive insertions. Arrangements can be made to have reproduced on sensitised stencils, black and white illustrations or reproduction of printed matter, reduced or enlarged in size as may be necessary. These cost about 18/6d. Ring the Business Manager, B. G. Harvey. Business BU3131 Private JW1462.
By Allen A. Strom.
Largely, I should imagine, because we haven't enough of the population on our side; for authority will tend to fulfil the wishes of the majority when the authority must expose itself to the voter.
It is then a matter of building up our propaganda - a long range policy, the vigilance against the law-breaker and the continuing hammering for better and bigger reservations, are but temporary palliatives anyhow.
To build our propaganda - and how? Many of us are still naive enough to believe that contact with the problem of waste in our natural resources is sufficient to bring a realisation for action. To these, disappointment is assured in almost 95% of the cases. The farmer who refuses to estimate his losses by the drift of fertility; the administrator who mistakes the present sufficiency for abundance; the urban family man who blames the lazy “cockies” for the food shortage; the tourist who revels in the beauties of land unreserved and daily imperilled by commercialisation; the naturalist who knows his plants and animals but never wonders how much longer he'll have them; the bushwalker who thirsts for good mileages and good walking country, sees everything and passes on to other fads - these, these, are potentials that we miss; and should not!
Somewhere along the line we must bring the realisation that Man is part of his environment - destroy one part of that ecological balance and Man is himself affected; for civilisation as we know it and as we would hope to plan it in a better fashion depends upon, and is proportional to, the availability of our natural resources. If to none else, then a club reaching its twenty-fifth birthday needs to bring this moving conclusion before its “drifting population”.
Because of its particular position in the community, the rural population must be strongly convinced of the need for the deepest consideration in matters concerning our resources:-
(“Nothing is more vital to the success of wildlife management or of any sound water or soil management program than an informed and interested rural population. Only as such individuals can be reached and impressed with the importance and the practicality of the program, can it hope to succeed. The most brilliant research program and the best method of applying research must be largely futile unless the people who live on and work the land are informed of the results, convinced of the practicality of the proposed measures, and sufficiently interested to apply it to their lands.” – “Wildlife Management”, by Ira N. Gabrielson.)
Our contacts with the bush and the people who live in it should encourage an understanding between rural and urban that till ensure that our “people recapture their old pride in the hinterlands, and give the bush once more an honoured place in the national consciousness”. Not least amongst the influences leading to waste is the contempt, indifference, or sheer ignorance which marks the attitude of so many townspeople towards the country-dweller and this in turn has diminished the pride of the countryfolk themselves in their traditions and environment.
May we not as a gesture of our maturity, take some part in encouraging more young people (be they those who “drift in” - or some that we may bring directedly into the atmosphere) to the basic realisation of Man and his environment. We shall not then be ashamed of our origins and our spiritual home shall not be “nearer to King's Cross than to the silences of our native bush”. This, fundamentally, is the problem.
By our Special Correspondent, who was once a resident and has recently revisited the city.
Broken Hill was discovered, but not the extent of its mineral wealth by the Australian explorer, Capt. James Sturt, in 1844, while he was attempting to find a way North West from Menindee to the supposed inland sea in Central Australia. He saw a “Broken Hill” of the Barrier Ranges rising from a drought stricken waste, and noted in his diary that it stood in one of the most desolate regions he had ever seen.
After Sturt came the graziers with their flocks from South Australia in search of the extremely nutritional (for cattle) saltbush and blue-bush, which was the only secure pasturage that this country offered. Huge areas were parcelled out as sheep stations, but the sheepmen did not take much interest in the strange rocks strewn about the hillsides.
The first fossickers for minerals found silver about 20 miles South West of the present City of Broken Hill, then at Silverton, and at Purnamoota. A rush into the wilderness to stake claims followed. Silverton was the largest of the mushroom mining towns and had a population of 3,000 in the early 1880's (present population 150).
In 1883, Charles Rasp, a boundary rider on Mt. Gipps Station (the ruins still stand 12 miles North of Broken Hill on the Tibooburra Road), discovered an outcrop on the Broken Hill Range, which he believed to be tin oxide. He pegged a claim, had samples assayed, and formed a syndicate to work his claim. A year later, the existence of silver chlorides was discovered and in 1885 rich kaolin deposits came to light. The Broken Hill Proprietory Co. Ltd. was formed by the original syndicate, smelters erected, and mining begun in earnest. The chief minerals being produced now are lead and zinc, not silver as is popularly imagined.
Native trees in the surrounding hills were cut down for miles around to provide firewood for the smelter furnaces and the growing city, where Winter temperatures go down to 28 degrees F., at times. Population reached its peak in 1915 when there were over 35,000 inhabitants. It takes a lot of firewood to cook for and warm that number. The present population is about 30,500, and firewood for the city is cut in areas over 60 miles away under the supervision of the Forestry Commission.
Overstocking, rabbits, and erosion did incalculable harm to the surrounding country. The “Silver City” has produced millions of pounds in mineral wealth including some of the most momentous metallurgical discoveries in the world, yet for years the locals were preparing to abandon the city in the mistaken belief that its mines were nearly “worked out”. Up to 20 years ago it was looked upon as a place to make money and leave quickly. That feeling persisted until about 1936.
For many years prior to that date, Albert Morris, a most able botanist and authority on Desert Flora, had been insisting that this country was not a desert, but a flower garden, if given adequate water supply and planted with shrubs and trees suitable to the climate and district. He demonstrated the fact in his own garden, but few were interested.
During 1936, W.S. Robinson, a director of the Zinc Corporation Ltd. studied the ore potential of Broken Hill and came to the conclusion that there was at least another 50 years' work mining the various ores existing near the City. About the same time, the Zinc Corporation decided on a reconstruction programme, but was troubled by the clouds of red dust which the prevailing West and South West winds were blowing on to the expensive mining machinery that was being installed. Messrs. Robinson and Keast of the Zinc Corporation encouraged Albert Morris in his theories about growing suitable trees in an effort to combat the dust nuisance. An area of 18 acres was enclosed for experiments. Morris travelled long distances and worked long hours collecting seed and specimens for the nursery he had established. At the same time, in South Broken Hill, a number of houses were being slowly covered by shifting sand and had to be abandoned by their inhabitants.
Albert Morris planted saltbush around the outskirts of the 18 acres and then got busy growing hundreds of Eucalyptus and Acacia seedlings as well as Athol Pines from dry regions of Africa. Used water from the miners' shower rooms was used to irrigate the area. 3,000 seedlings were planted when ready, including some lovely Flowering Gums from Western Australia and a dry country Gum having a shiny leaf which looks as if it is wet. Within a few months young trees were growing and native grasses flourishing. Re-afforestation seemed to be the answer to arrest the shifting sand and the clouds of red dust swirled into the City by every wind storm.
By 1938 an area of 2,700 acres was in the process of regeneration and 10,000 trees had been planted and many seedlings distributed to mine employees for home beautification and to Progress Associations for street planting. (Lane and Chapple Streets, also Bonanza and Patton Streets, South Broken Hill, are outstanding examples.) At Penrose Park, Silverton, 16 miles away, where the Broken Hill Mining Companies have made a recreation ground for use of Broken Hill residents, and a hotel was already available, 4,000 trees were planted.
The original plantation was named Albert Morris Park when he died in 1939, still a comparatively young man. In a short 2 1/2 years some of the trees had grown to a height of 20 feet and a fine vegetable garden and orchard had been planted behind the Zinc Corporation's Mine, from which fruit and vegetables are still being supplied to local orphanages and charitable institutions. This represented a convincing demonstration to local residents as to the variety of fruit and vegetable that could be produced from the soil around the City provided they were willing to pay a certain amount of excess water rates for water used, because rainfall in this district is very spasmodic.
Following the initial success of the tree planting experiment, Mining Companies and the City Council combined and enclosed part of the town common on three sides of the City to a depth of up to half a mile. Native trees and grasses soon germinated, and dry country trees were planted and watered until established, so that a green belt was formed - to the South and West of the City to protect it from the prevailing winds and shifting sand. Thanks to recent good seasons the “Regeneration Area” has continued to improve, until, on windy days, it is an area of waving trees and shrubs. An artificial lake for boating, also a section comprising lawns and trees, incorporated in the area, provide a pleasant spot for picnics and outings for residents. In addition to the Regeneration Area, there are 274 acres of park in various parts of the City. Most of the parks have been planted with various native trees, which have enhanced enormously areas which were previously mainly open dusty spaces with perhaps a few “Pepper Trees” growing on them.
Recently, a further 500 acres at Broken Hill North has been added to the area for regeneration. Already Mulga, Bramble Acacia, Acacia Colletoides, “Dead Finish” (Acacia Tetragonaphylla), Hop Bush and several Cassias, together with native grasses are thriving, and all this has taken place in a district where the average yearly rainfall is about 8 inches.
Actually, adequate water supply has been a problem at Broken Hill for many years. The rate of evaporation is often extremely high. It doesn't take many months to empty both reservoirs, especially as one is badly silted. In 1945 the local Water Board decided on a scheme to draw water from the Darling River near Minindee. The pipe line will be 63 miles long and will have a capacity of 4 1/2 million gallons daily and will cost about £1 1/2 million. It should be in operation late this year. With an assured water supply, an extension of experiments in tree planting may be anticipated with optimism.
The response of the soil around Broken Hill is proof that arid lands will grow plants and trees, provided that suitable trees are used and cattle excluded from the area for a certain period, at least. It is a notable experiment and could, with advantage, be repeated in all towns in dry areas throughout Australia.
To become an Annual Subscriber to the Magazine. Copies will be held in the Clubroom until January 1953 for 4/2d., or posted to your address for 6/3d. up to that date. Don't delay, become a subscriber. Make sure of your copy.
Brian G. Harvey.
It was reported that Mr. Kirby, of Megalong Valley, had been directing walkers not to camp along the Cox from about Gibraltar Creek to the Grand Faults. The Federation Secretary is making further enquiries, and asks that any members who may have information to contact him at 287 Forest Road, Kirrawee.
Has made formal application for affiliation with the Federation.
Due to overdue subscriptions and failure to answer enquiries from Federation regarding their continued functioning, the Yunnuga, Walkabout and Campfire Clubs have been removed from the list of affiliated clubs.
Patrols have been operating for some time during weekends. It was reported that patrols have evolved a spirit of co-operation with the National Park Trust, that some good work has been done in extinguishing fires and that arrangements were in hand for the issue of insignia and card of authority. Any member wishing to volunteer for patrol duty should contact Paul Barnes. Patrols are on foot or by car. Those using the latter means of transport may be supplied with petrol.
Will be held at Euroka Clearing on 29/30th March. The S.B.W. has been allotted the task of preparing and serving (and no doubt helping to eat) the supper.
The position has again become vacant due to the office-bearer leaving the State. Volunteers for the vacancy should contact Federation delegates.
The formation of the above section is still under consideration, and a decision is to be made at the March Council Meeting.
We again wish to acquaint members of our standing offer to share on a 50/50 basis the cost of publication of any full-page photograph or group or small shots comprising a page, reproduced on art paper. The present half-share cost is about 45/-, and we make the suggestion that the members of some large annual-holiday walking party, or official weekend walk, may care to have their walk written up with accompanying pictures of the country traversed, camp scenes and the like. For a party of ten this would cost only 4/6d. per head, which would represent a very small sum in comparison with the amount expended on a trip, say, to Tasmania, and would provide a very interesting article for the readers and a permanent record for the personnel of the party. Come on, dig deep and let us have your manuscript and photos!! Nice sharp contrasty prints.
All outdoor folks are particular people. They must have the right gear, for out in the bush there is no second choice to fall back on.
Paddy Pallin has catered for outdoors men (and women of course) for over twenty years and takes pleasure in pleasing these particular people. Here are a few lines that Paddy has in stock right now :-
Aluminium and stainless steel knife, fork, spoon sets at 5/- each.
All published military maps available at Paddy's at 2/- each.
Compasses from 2/6d.
Ban on fires. Here's an item for these days when outdoor fires are banned. Spirit stoves with 2 aluminium pots complete with stand. All for £1.11.6d.
Rook Climbers please note. Paddy has Tricouni nails now available. Two sizes of clinker nails are on the water. They should arrive in a month or two.
Hot or Cold. Whether it is hot or cold you will find a sheet lining for your sleeping bag a great boon. When it is hot it will protect your sleeping bag from sweat and grease and if need be act as a light covering while using the sleeping bag as a mattress. In cold weather if pulled outside the sleeping bag it supplies extra warmth. They are 6'6“ long and weigh 11 ozs. in white japara. Price £1.15. 0.
Paddy Pallin. 'Phone M 2678.
201 Castlereagh Street, (Between Park & Bathurst Sts.) Sydney.