A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, C/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown St., Sydney. Box No.4476 G.P.O., Sydney.
|Co-Editors||Dot Butler, Boundary Road, Wahroonga (JW2208). Geof Wagg, 19 Mary Street, Blacktown.|
|Business Manager||Alex Colley (XAl255)|
|Sales & Subscriptions||Jess Martin|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|Production||Alan Wilson (FY2047)|
|At Our Monthly Meeting||2|
|Beware the White Ant||“Bull Ant”||3|
|Those Were The Days||“The Gent In The Tent”||5|
|When The Sun Doesn't Shine||Jim Brown||9|
|Alpine Adventure||Dot Butler||12|
|Federation Notes - January||Allen A. Strom||15|
|The Pallin Farewell Party||16|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop||3|
|Scenic Motor Tours||5|
|Leica Photo Service||7|
|Siedlecky's Taxi & Tourist Service||11|
|A “Wrinkle” For Boots (Paddy's Advertisement)||18|
A practice search will be carried out on the weekend of 4/5/6th March, in conjunction with the Police, Army Signallers and R.A.A.F. The search area will be Black Dog Track and Policeman Range. Will all those willing to take part please notify your Club Contact man, Jim Hooper, or Brian Anderson.
In company with many other people, now that Christmas is over, we had a review of the Christmas cards sent us. It is very gratifying that people should remember us, but Elsie pointed out that the matter of sending “return” cards will some time have to be considered by the Club.
We were pleased to hear from those responsible that there will probably be no race track on Narrow Neck. The terrain has been surveyed and the entrepreneurs fear that the cost would be prohibitive.
The Treasurer read her report and the Club was pleasantly surprised to find we are in a much more healthy financial state than we were at this time last year.
The matter of the mooted national forest in the Erskine Creek area is still a source of anxiety to bush lovers, and we must see to it that the Minister for Lands, the Minister for Conservation and other interested bodies are given our point of view.
Only two suggestions for an Annual Reunion site were forthcoming: Woods Creek and Cattai Creek. Woods Creek won easily.
A Sub-Comittee was appointed to help organise the Reunion entertainments, consisting of the following members:- Geof Wagg, Frank Barr, Dot Butler, Beryl Christensen, Frank Rigby and Kan Meadows, with Ken as Convenor. If anyone has suggestions to offer, any of the abovementioned folk will be pleased to receive them.
The President pointed out that any proposed amendments to the Constitution must be handed in in writing, and in ample time for all members to be notified of the proposed amendment. He also informed the Meeting that the Bushwalker Magazine will soon need a new Business Manager as Alex will be unable to carry on the job when he moves out to his new farm. If the Club possesses amongst its members someone who is capable of cutting stencils the magazine staff will be pleased to enlist his or her servies and so give Jean Harvey a break from the job which she has carried on continuously for the past 8 years.
Please, if anyone has changed their address since last year, let the Secretary have the new address for the List of Members you will get attached to the Annual Report.
Frank Ashdown complained about the cows at Era. They are multiplying till they could become a menace. Moved by Alan Hardy that we ask the Trustees of National Park (through Federation) just what restrictions there are to the pasturing of cattle at Era.
While on his feet Dormo also thought fit to mention that a very nasty fellow, who is proprietor of a Guest House at Barrington, objects to Bushwalkers going past his house, objects to their monopolising his conveniences, and ordered Dormo out of the place when he went in for afternoon tea, which is all very sad.
Dick Hoffman, on behalf of the C.S.I.R.O. Ski Club, invited members of the S.B.W. to join his Club (£20 for life membership), and to join them at a camp at Era during the forthcoming weekend.
- “Bull Ant”.
As Sydney's largest bushwalking club we have many problems with conservation, walkers who won't walk, scouts, etc., but I fear we are about to meet our greatest problem that the Club has ever had to fight against. You may laugh at this, but if some action isn't taken within the next few months the Club will gradually develop into a mob of spine-bashing hikers. (Not that I'm objecting, of course, but you must remember we are a bushwalking club - aren't we?). And what is this crisis caused by? - White Ants!
One bright member has suggested that we call in Flick & Co. to rid us of the menace, but obviously he doesn't realise that this white ant is human. You have all probably walked with him, talked with him, and thought what a nice sweet innocent fellow he is, but before I accuse this creature of his white ant tendencies I will describe a trip he was an recently and show you how this “mastermind” works.
Our medium sized party of five - three males and two of the other kind - boarded the “dogsbody Express” to Bludgevale set in the middle of the Nullabor Plains. No sooner has the train departed than the white ant immediately begins to undermine the morale of the party. His first objective is to hoodwink the girls into believing the leader is nothing but a bash-artist whose only delight is to hear his party calling for mercy. After about an hour the weaker sex are convinced the leader is a cad. Thus starts his first problem.
As the party alights from the train the leader, (we will call him Mr. Barrbonno), informs his party that he has a nice camp spot 16 miles up the road where they can sleep the night. The white ant, who has just changed into slippers, is terror stricken, but after five minutes smooth talking convinces the party and leader that they should stay at the Royal Grogon Hotel for the night.
Next morning the sun is slowly climbing into the blue sky when our mighty leader, Mr. Barrbonno, looks at his watch - 10 o'clock! Immediately panic breaks out in the bedroom, but through the air floats the smooth, quiet voice of the White ant calming the party with the news that he has arranged for a taxi to pick them up at 2 o'clock so that any time lost now can be made up by the car.
The sun is slowly sinking in the west when the cab-load of intrepid walkers piles out at Whisky Waters, the last waterhole this side of the black stump. Mr. Barrbonno, typical of all simple-minded leaders who fall victim to this white ant, is becoming a little worried as his quiet 40-mile weekend trip has not yet started as it's already Saturday night. Remembering the “come and doing” type of walking he decides that he will not be defeated - they will walk through the night. At this stage the white ant colours into a very red ant and accuses the leader of being a clot, slave driver, and many other names which the Editor has warned me I can't use. With the girls backing the white ant, Mr. Barrbonno is forced to make camp at Whisky Waters.
Sunday morning, our somewhat harrassed Mr. Barrbonno, who realises the hopelessness of the situation, is found arguing with his party over what they consider the worst trip they have ever been on. During the height of the argument a brand new yellow convertible is seen approaching the party with a big, bronzed, handsome character smoking “a la Terry Meal” cigars. In a flash the white ant, who is used to such situations, rushes out on to the road and waves his thumb in his best hitch-hiking style. As the car speeds past on its way back to Bludgevale the white ant is heard calling out “suckers”, and the Admiral, who is driving the car, laughs.
Although some may doubt this story I assure you it's true (hic!). I suppose many of you may want to know how to stop this menace. Well, after ten weeks intensive research I have found out that there is no way so it looks like we'll all be getting into the habit of taxis and putting up at hotels (whacko!).
Oh, and who is this white ant? Well, I only know him as just Digby.
Starters for Cowan Creek trip on 13th February are asked to advise leader - Brian Harvey immediately. JW1462. BU1611.
- “The Gent in the Tent”.
In a small book entitled “Hiking for Health” published in July 1936 by the Port Jackson & Manly S.S. Co. Ltd., setting out details of a number of day walks in the Warringah District, a neat summary of the activities of the early 30's is given. I quote –
“About 4 years ago the whole Commonwealth was seized with the craze; young ard old indulged in this “new” and fascinating pastime; every City and large town had its “hike trains” and “mystery hikes”, and Hiking Clubs were formed, many of them still being in existence. Almost everyone indulged in what then appealed as a raw, novel, educational and health-promoting recreation. Many were under the impression that “hiking” was a new recreation, while, truth to tell, it has been pursued for decades past by its devotees. Its advent as a “recreation” for the multitude proved more than a mere “nine days' wonder”, for its influence pervaded the atmosphere for a considerable time after its “introduction”.
“The craze eventually died out to some extent, and there were those to whom walking completely faded out of their interest and activities. Another section (although not worthy of the distinction of “all weather walkers”) maintain their interest in the recreation, and look forward to the return of Autumn and Winter, so that they may resume bush-walking in comfort, and derive its full benefits. Still another section of walkers have become so engrossed with the pastime that they have adopted it as a serious and regular form of recreation for all time. Their motto is apparently “once a walker, always a walker” and these can rightly claim that they deserve the distinction of “all-the-year-round-walkers”; they have accustomed themselves to bushwalking in Summer's heat and Winter's cold, and in this way can be likened to the Winter “iceberg” bather and the tennis or golf fan to whom heat is apparently no detriment.
“Lastly, we have that type of walker who no longer indulges in the pastime, due to the fact that his knowledge of the walking districts around our City are very limited. He has covered most of the well known byways in the near vicinity of Sydney, but lacking sufficient enthusiasm to plan his own tours with the aid of a reliable topographical map, the real hidden beauty of the country remains a closed book to him. He is ever willing to undertake new walks if he is authoritatively advised thereon.”
Many of the above remarks still apply 18 years later. The book goes on to describe various walks in the Manly-Palm Beach area such as:- Brookvale - Beacon Hill - Oxford Falls - Middle Creek - Narrabeen and The Spit - Dalwood Homes - Burnt Bridge Creek - Manly Vale - Brookvale, which are not now available to us owing to the rapid housing development in these areas or to the construction of express motor roads near the routes of the old tracks. However, the Western part of Deep Creek and Mount Terrey (Terrey Hills) are still good areas for day excursions.
The earliest publication of this nature which appeared during the early 30's was entitled Bush Walks and Byways Around Sydney compiled by The Sydney Bushwalkers and published by the Boy Scouts' Association of N.S.W. An extract from the preface is of interest:
“Some of our friends did not want us to write it. They said you were vandals, who would litter the bush with your papers and scraps, cut down trees and start bush-fires. We are sure they are wrong. You may have been untidy and destructive in the past, but it was, we feel, only through ignorance and the bad example of your fellow-picnickers. We were ignorant ourselves once. We believe you are not vandals, but decent folk like ourselves, who have only to be properly introduced to the bush and its ways to join us in protecting its beauties everywhere in every way. Why, by buying this book you have started! The royalties from its sale are dedicated towards the purchase of the Blue Gum Forest, and other beautiful camping spots “far from the madding crowd”, which would otherwise be destroyed.”
From another book entitled “The Hiking Guide” published in 1932, the following quotation is given:
“Blue Gum Forest Appeal. Out in the depths of the Grose Valley is a beautiful Blue Gum Forest, which is being reserved for the people for all time. But the reservation has cost money, and the debt is not yet paid. Walkers who are bush lovers are appealed to for help. That forest is one of the most impressive pieces of highland scenery in the State. It was within an ace of being torn down in order that the ground might be used for a walnut plantation.
“Bush lovers who know the spot were deeply concerned. A committee consisting of members of the Mountain Trails Club and The Sydney Bushwalkers was formed to see what could be done. The Wild Life Preservation Society and the Australian Forest League gave support.
“Negotiations with the land owner resulted in a deal for its Purchase for £130 - a wonderfully low price considering that the area involved is 40 acres of good land carrying magnificent timber. The immediate response to an appeal to the public was the raising of £50. A generous citizen who wished to remain anonymous made £80 available on loan without interest, and the land was secured. The deeds are held in trust, and when the whole of the money has been paid off, they will be handed to the State, and the area dedicated as a public recreation reserve.
“It is the desire of The Sydney Bushwalkers and the Mountain Trails Club to give the £80 back to the person whose generosity prevented the land from being lost to the people, and they appeal to all who claim to be the faintest bit interested in the bush to contribute to the fund being raised for that purpose.”
The article goes on to suggest a “bob” in, pointing out that if 1600 bush lovers contributed 1/- each, the debt would be paid; a list of persons to whom donations may be sent is also given. It will be obvious from both of the above quotations, what an effort must have been put forward to secure Blue Gum Forest, especially when we remember how difficult it was to raise £130 during a depression period for a project, the like of which had not been heard before, and we consider the value of £130 in those days (about £500 now).
Quoting again from this volume:
“Of late years hiking has become an increasingly popular pastime and its general appeal would be probably even greater if the public had some idea of the where and how of the many walking routes that can be undertaken. This long felt need the publishers of this little book are endeavouring to fill.”
An advertisement in the same publication is set out thus:
Palmer's Community Hiking Association. Join now! Join now! Annual subscription 2/-.
Amongst the walks suggested are:
Bundeena - Flat Rock - Audley, and Waterfall - Lady Carrington Drive - Audley
which are no longer available owing to heavy weekend motor traffic oh the roads which have since been reconstructed. However, such walks as Waterfall - Uloola Falls- Heathcote, or Katoomba - Nellie's Glen - Megalong - Jenolan Caves (the 6-ft. track) may still be enjoyed. During visits to Uloola Falls this year I have been surprised at the lack of visitors and delighted to see Waratahs and other native flowers almost an the edge of the falls.
There is an advertisement for “Paddymade” in the book telling of the advantages of lightweight walking gear. The prices are of interest. Steel frame rucksacks were priced from 45/-, Tents from 22/6d., Sleeping Bags from 30/-, and Groundsheets, 6ft x 3ft. were 6/6d. each. It is interesting to note that Ordinance (Military) Maps were the same as now, 2/- each sheet.
In 1933, in an effort to stimulate business, the Department of Railways published two maps with for about 30 day walks in each. The first took in an area between Sutherland and Stanwell Park Stations, and the cover is illustrated by a picture of the old Sutherland Railway Station where a train is disgorging a large crowd of enthusiasts for a Palmer's “Mystery Hike” (see advert, quoted above). I think the multitude walked from Sutherland to North West Arm and National Park Station on that occasion, but am relying on memory. The second map took in an area between Epping, Turramurra and Hawkesbury River Stations and the cover illustration is of another “Mystery Hike” train load alighting at Cowan Station. I think the route on that occasion was along Old Peate's Ferry Road through what is now Mouogomarra Sanctuary to Peate's Ferry and Hawkesbury River Station. I am often reminded of this picture when I note now few usually leave the train at Cowan. The day of the “Mystery Hike” must have been one of Cowan's really busy days as there were eight or nine trainloads to be dealt with. Later, the Railways Department published two more maps, one of the area from Penrith to Wentworth Falls and the other from Wentworth Falls to Lithgow, giving details of suitable walks for energetic tourists, but no information about the more remote mountainous country in the area familiar to most members of this Club. These maps are now out of print, but I understand that a few senior members have copies. I would suggest that they get them out and see whether any of the suggested walks will provide a suitable day walk to help the flagging Walks' Programme.
One more apt quotation:
“We ask you one thing. Remember these places are sanctified. Let your reverence for them stay your hand from marring them. Guard them jealously, so that their loveliness will be kept unsullied for the generations to come. For they are for all eternity.”
- Jim Brown.
A popular song of perhaps 15 years ago contained the happy thought, “We'll make hay while the sun shines, we'll make love when it rains”. Ah, yes, but what about it when you have to make Hay and it rains?
At the end of September IpProgrammed a Grade-A scrub-shove from Hazlebrook, crossing Wentworth Creek, attacking Mt. Hay by the ridge from the east, then by track to Leura. From old club magazines I gathered that a party had traversed the ridge leading north from Hazlebrook back in the 30's, and found it pretty scrubby. I knew another party had been east from Mt. Hay to descend to the Grose near the junction of Wentworth Creek and the Grose. That was also bushy. I visualised the country as being similar to the normal ridge-top stuff in the Blue Labyrinth. You know, long pants country, not everybody's meat, but quite negotiable by an average party if the members don't object to a fairly constant bush-bashing.
Up to the Wednesday preceding the trip, it looked as though it might be cancelled for lack of starters, then Alex Colley decided he would definitely like to walk the connecting link between the two trips aforementioned. It says much for Alex's imperviousness to scrubby going that he was game to venture it again. On the Thursday came another starter in prospective Ted Smith.
Walking out from Hazlebrook on a mild Friday evening, we camped at about 10 o'clock an the edge of the swamp west of Blue Mountain Trig. Saturday morning was again mild, even a little sultry, and we were surprised by the extensive view to be had from the Trig - not really a photographer's landscape, but a huge sweep of country, with mountain towns scattered along the ridge. Around the trig fine pink boronias dotted the rocky top.
A little after 8 o'clock we were away from the Trig point on a ridge which was bushy, but quite fair going for a couple of miles. In some of the gullies, one of the dillwynnias formed a golden mist, and a few creamy rock-lilies sprouted attractively along the rim rocks of our spur. Towards 10 o'clock the scrub grew heavier, particularly on the northern slope of the numerous knobs we had to traverse, and at times we were swimming through shrubbery fifteen or twenty feet high, with visibility nil. A few of the bushes were NOT prickly. At about 10.30 there was one Particularly thick saddle, from which I emerged with a fixation that we were on the wrong ridge. Mt. Hay appeared to be at least ninety degrees away from its right position.
After I had been persuaded that all was well we persevered through several more dense saddles and up on to the knolls, which were sufficiently open to allow us to look down into the cliffy defile of Wentworth Creek. The sky was darker, some grey cloud clung about the summit of Mt. Hay. It was 12.40 when we came to the pre-selected point to plunge down into the rift, and a gentle rain began. The descent was steep, but not extremely difficult.
A very shallow overhang with half a dozen large boulders for a floor provided us with shelter during lunch, and the rain continued. The steep hill across the creek didn't look attractive, but we were virtually at the point of no return. We'd come some seven miles along the ridge, five of 'em through scrub worse than I'd ever met in the Labyrinth: to the end of the track beyond Mt. Hay was only another six miles or so. Bush-pushing was going to be rather evil in rain, but surely the miles before us couldn't be much worse than those behind. It was as easy to go forward as to retreat, and it was morally better to go forward.
Leaving the doubtful shelter of our overhang at 2.30, we started the crawl up the dripping slope opposite. I question if the term “slope” fairly applies to something so nearly vertical, and I believe I would have spent the rest of the afternoon creeping along the ledges if Alex hadn't aided me in a couple of the stickiest places. A wet ground-sheet which persistently dragged its press-studs apart as one wrestled through wet brush wasn't helpful. After we'd climbed 500 feet the gradient eased to 45-degrees, the vegetation became thicker, the rain increasing in sympathy. Thunder rumbled along the valley. Before long we were as wet as the proverbial shags, so wet it didn't matter anyway. The total climb to the plateau was about 1,200-feet and it took more than an hour and a half. Pushing through a patch of drenched prickly moses we came to a last small rocky outcrop and ….
Quite miraculously we broke into a patch of open heathy scrub, with reedy grasses and flat weathered slabs of sandstone underfoot. There were literally thousands of sun orchids there, but in the absence of the sun they had their blue eyes firmly closed to our sufferings. For five minutes or so we could actually stride along in the drizzle, with a view out over a great stretch of weeping country, lonely, broken gorges. Then we were back in the scrub again not quite as dense as before. Once we were off our ridge for a few minutes and, as we corrected our coarse, we noted it was past five o'clook and decided to look for (a) a decent cave, or (b) some good rock pools or an accessible creek, or © both. A few indifferent overhangs were inspected and passed and at 5.30 we decided to relax our standards for a night camp. We came to some well filled holes on a rock platform, with more clear going beyond, and there we camped at the edge of the timber. The rain stopped for a while, long enough for us to pitch the tent, start a roaring fire, dry some of our wet clothes and cook our tea.
Soon after 7.30 the rain resumed its tapping on the tent, so we hastily turned in. We were about half a mile from the north end of the plateau formation which appears on the map three miles east from Mt. Hay, and only a mile or so short of the anticipated spot for the night's camp. During the night it rained intermittently, and at times we could hear a wind rustling, but we must have been reasonably sheltered for the tent only flapped lazily…. a good thing, for our pegs were not very secure in the damp sand.
We were off again at 7.30 an Sunday. There had been no rain for several hours and the scrub was reasonably dry where the wind could reach it, but in the saddles and thicker patches, water clung heavily to the foliage. A few minutes brought us to the north end of the plateau, looking across to the yellow cliffs of Mt. Caley, with the Grose River gorge very deep and sombre under the overcast sky.
Down off the plateau into the first saddle. Since it wasn't actually raining, we had left off our groundsheets for greater freedom of movement, and in twenty minutes we were thoroughly soaked again. The scrub was as bad as we had struck the day before, and we had only occasional glimpses of the way ahead from higher. points. Shortly before nine o'clock we came to a place which must have a small capping of basalt soil, for it was grown with a miniature jungle, complete with ferns and lawyer vines; for some fifteen minutes we struggled through this litter, being considerably torn about, and with no clue to our direction of progress. The patch of rain forest yielded to typical sandstone country vegetation, with saturated scrub growing densely fifteen feet tall. All told it took us more than half an hour to push through the thickets on to some fairly clear rock and sand.
There was Hay, sitting square and huge before us, not much more than a mile distant. We sat down for a breather very close to the point where parties climbing out of the Grose usually emerge on the tops. A little feeble sunlight broke through the overcast, but my hands were so cold and swollen I had to get Ted to unbutton my saturated shirt before I could pull it over my head. Our hardships were practically at an end.
We were on the mountain at 11.15, lunched in the saddle west of it from 12 to 1.30, walked ourselves dry during the afternoon, enjoying the track, passing the Pinnacles at 3 o'clock and resting briefly at the soak below Flat Top before we came to Leura at 5.40.
Looking back on it, we're glad we were only three. Given very favourable weather - fine and cool - it would have been a difficult trip for a large party. In the unkind conditions we met, I believe a large party would have been home on Monday. Maybe I exaggerate the severity of the going because I was out of condition, but that scrub seems taller and thicker than I remember striking in the Labyrinth. In any case it isn't a trip for the mob, but for those, as Alex would, put it, who “suffer well”.
- Dot Butler.
We had been five weeks in New Zealand, covering the lakes and valleys and mountain country of the southern part of the South Island, and now our itinerary was to take us to the Mt. Cook area - goal of every Bushwalker and Mountaineer's dreams. We left Glendhu Bay, where we had been swimming and sunbaking for several days, and got a lift into Pembroke where we caught the bus for Mt. Cook Hermitage. For over 100 miles we passed through the most desolate country imaginable - some dry rocky hills and a profusion of broken stones and miserable looking grass. Then we passed Lake Pukaki, and for the next 30 miles the mountains, with Mt. Cook in the centre, were always ahead of us. We reached the Hermitage at 6 p.m. The camping ground was nicely situated amongst a clump of trees - a regular Alpine forest. We were lucky enough to bag a small hut, and were soon settled in comfortably for the night.
Leaving the Hermitage camping ground next morning Bert, Gordon and I lugged our packs out to the roadway to be picked up by the bus which was to take us 14 miles or so to Ball Hut. Besides our camping gear we had a fortnight's provisions aboard the packs - and were they a weight!
We waited at the Ball Hut till the cool of the afternoon, then about 4 p.m. we struggled into our packs and set off up the Tasman Glacier 6 miles to De la Beche Hut. It took us about 3 1/2 hours to do the 6 miles, over ice-hummocks and heaped up rock moraines, making us an excuse to put our packs down and rest the tact that we wanted to look down into the blue depths of crevasses, through which the snow-cold glacier waters tinkled in crystal purity.
We reached the hut about 7.30. Here we found a spring scale and weighed our packs and impedimenta. Mine was a mere 53 lbs., but both the boys had over 100 lbs.
We had made plans to climb the Hochstetter Dom (9,179 feet), which is the great mound of snow lying at the head of the Tasman Glacier. This would necessitate an early rising of 3 a.m. on the morrow, but it was going on for 11 p.m. when we finally retired and we didn't wake up till 4.45 a.m. when the glow in the sky, which should have been the moon but was annually the sun, awoke Gordon. He and Bert had slept outside among the boulders, it being reputed to be cooler outside, while I enjoyed the comfort of a bunk inside, but I was soon rudely awakened and mechanically struggled into my clothes and pulled on the hobnailed boots, the while we consumed lukewarm porridge, slightly overdone, in the murky light of a candle while dawn endeavoured to break outside.
One of the hardest parts of mountaineering is to drag oneself out of a nice warm bunk and a sound slumber at some God forsaken unearthly hour in the morning and try to pretend you like it. However it has to be done if one is to get the advantage of hard snow, and nothing slows up progress so much as soft snow, caused, of course, by the heat of the sun.
We were ready to set out by 5.55 a.m. It was now quite light. We followed up the Tasman Glacier for some miles and found the going fairly good. The whole expanse of the glacier is criss-crossed every square yard or so by innumerable cracks and crevasses, but as these were not more than a yard or two deep in most instances it was easy enough to jump or step over them, and the surface was good solid frozen snow.
The glacier now gave way to vast undulating snowfields very generously furnished with crevasses, but a negotiable route was found through these by dint of much zig-zagging and making use of questionable snow bridges. On either side of a bridge some 18 inches to 2 ft. wide a glacier would yawn, but one kept one's eyes fixed straight ahead till the several yards of crossing were effected, not daring to look down into the blue gaping depths, hundreds of feet deep, where icy pinnacles gleamed eerily in the unearthly soft blue light. As we gained the higher levels the crevasses decreased in number but increased in width, some of them being over 50 feet wide and deep in proportion. They are fascinatingly beautiful.
There were no great hazards to try our skill on this climb, other than the crevasses just mentioned, and eventually we gained the summit. Here Bert produced a map and we located as many of the landmarks as were within our field of vision, then wended our way downward again with long strides and slides to where we had left the packs on a level field below.
Bert and Gordon now prepared for a good meal, about the fourth since breakfast, and it was hardly yet midday. I felt that I was not yet in need of nourishment, so I hied me off to the lower levels to get a drink and fill our whisky bottle with glacier water for future consumption.
It was further than I thought to the level of the glacier, and when I had filled the bottle, and myself, with ice water I looked back to where the boys were still eating - mere little black dots on a great expanse of white.
It was quite hot walking, but one soon became chilly with inactivity, so I decided to continue on my way down the glacier and the boys would catch up later. The sun had been shining fiercely on the snow all the morning and in consequence quite a lot of it had melted and was running in cheerful gurgling little channels down all the cracks in the glacier. The surface snow too, in contrast to its morning hardness, was now quite soft and yielding, and many times I broke through the surface into the water below, but it wasn't very deep and as I only wet my boots and socks I didn't mind much, it was such a pleasure to see the happy little runnels of water all rushing and leaping along their separate ways in an intricate network, pouring their contents into larger and deeper and still deeper channels where the water swept along in great eddies and swirls making a hissing, swishing sound.
I followed the hurrying water fascinated, not conscious of the significance that the crevasses were becoming deeper and more frequent, and that the water now rumbled on with an ominous hollow boom.
Suddenly, without warning, the great torrent I had been following disappeared with a muffled roar into the very bowels of the earth. I found myself standing on a thin overhanging sheet of ice and gazing down horror stricken into a bottomless hole whose glassy smooth fluted sides gleamed coldly blue and sinister and almost seemed to drag me in…. I recalled tales I had read in my childhood, of bottomless pools where evil spirits lurked and waited their chance to drag down unsuspecting passers-by, and how the locals avoided such places, especially after dark, or if alone, or when the sky was dull and heavy. I shuddered and backed away hastily and hurried on with the din of the tumbling waters in my ears. The weather had now turned cold and overcast - and where were Gordon and Bert?
I had glanced back some time ago and noticed that they had finished their lunch and followed down to the glacier where they had been less than half a mile behind me, but now my straining eyes could see no sign of them on that wide white sea of ice hummocks. They must be there. They couldn't suddenly disappear like that. What is that black object away up there? Is it moving? Oh, it must be moving! But it wasn't! It's only a fallen avalanche stone, and all those other black spots, none of them are moving - not one - they are all only fallen stones. Oh my God, supposing they walked on to an overhanging ice rim and it collapsed and they have fallen into a yawning bottomless hole like….. But they couldn't both fall in! Why couldn't they both fall in? - they were walking together… God, they might both have fallen into the icy water of a deep cave and even now be struggling in the dark water with their packs bearing them under. “We're done, Smithy”, pants Bert. “Jesus!” gasps Gordon as the wild waters race them away into the ghostly blue underground ice caverns.
“I must go back and look for them” I thought while my eyes still feverishly sought the glacier in vain for some movement. I called again and again but no voice answered my shouts from the expanse of desolate white, only the ice cracked and shattered and splintered, and the water sucked and gurgled away into the bottomless depths with the noise like a drowning man.
I was about to step into a slight depression where the water was running only a few inches deep, when suddenly the sides and floor caved in, the water disappeared with a quiet whispery sigh, and in deathly silence a deep bottomless chasm yawned at my feet. I jumped like a scalded cat. My heart seemed to be beating suffocatingly in my throat and I set off in a wild uncontrolled run for the side of the glacier. What did it matter if I was thus exposing myself to the dangers of falling avalanches! What did it matter if the going was much more difficult and chopped up at the sides! Anything to be off this treacherous accursed glacier! - it was only a shell of hummocky ice over a roaring torrent beneath, and liable to collapse any minute and hurl me into the depths below as it has done the two boys. Poor old Gordon and Bert. Oh my God!!!
I reached the lateral moraine trembling and panting. “Hi, there” called Bert “what's your hurry? We thought you'd take to the side eventually. Gordon and I have been following the side for the last couple of miles. Too wet and sloppy further out, eh?” “Ye-e-s' I said weakly and followed in silence to the hut.
- Allen A. Strom.
A report was received on the accident leading to the death of Bob Thomas, President of The Kameruka Club, whilst on a walking tour in Tasmania. Delegates stood as a mark of respect to the dead bushwalker.
The Austrian Foreign Trade Representative in Australia, Dr. W. Brauneis, 537 New South Head Road, Double Bay, has some first class 16mm sound films on skiing, mountaineering and rock climbing in Europe, available free to Clubs.
The Railway Department has indicated that the matter of replacing the tank will be given attention.
It was reported to Federation that the Proprietor of Barrington House was refusing to allow walkers to pass through his property, to and from the Carey's Peak Track. This had arisen following incidents in which users of the track had spread rubbish on lawns and used bathrooms at the House. The Federation will inquire further into the matter.
Mr. John Cotter was elected Vice President to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Mr. Lionel Fleming.
is due to take place on the weekend March 26/27th. A Camp Committee has been appointed and will hold its first meeting at 6 p.m. on February 3rd in the Federation's Meeting Room. First matter to be decided will be the Re-union site.
More than 120 S.B.W's turned up at the Harvey's place on Saturday (January 22nd) to farewell Paddy and May, who are now on the high sea on their way to England. Sydney's long drought had at last broken and there was a mild patter of rain all the evening, but rain seems to do something to Bushwalkers - makes them determined to enjoy themselves and go through with their programme in spite of it - and when people began to arrive at 7.30 it was to find a large portion of the Harvey backyard covered with great abdulled tents, the work of Brian, Tom and Malcolm. The tents faced towards the campfire, blazing merrily away sheltered by sheets of corrugated iron. Several arc lamps lit up the “stage” area and the gum trees in the banground.
Everyone greeted everyone as, with groundsheets and sleeping bags they packed into the tents, and a gay evening of campfire songs and entertainment ensued, Malcolm's opera on Paddy Pallin Inc. being the highlight, with Paddy as star performer.
Jim Brown, as President, gave a very moving and sincere speech of Farewell to Paddy and May, then May cut the large iced cake and everyone (we hope) got a bit. Supper, prepared by Jean and her visitor, Margaret, Jess, Grace and Yvonne was served under canvas to the accompaniment of a really heavy downpour, which made the hot tea and savouries taste all the better. Members old and new moved around greeting each other, and much personal news and gossip was exchanged. Paddy takes away very pleasant memories of his Bushwalking friends, and of course we will see him back again before the end of the year.
This is the time of year when the Crown Street Composers enter their sanctum, put their heads together, and find that they haven't a sound idea between them, but console themselves with the thought that the new production will probably be a success in the chummy and not too critical atmosphere of the Annual Reunion, especially if it is put on just before supper.
It's a nerve-wrecking time for sensitive souls, such as we four all are. Why last year we had to forcibly restrain G.W. with a piece of four by two (hardwood) - all because we put his Finale at the end of the opera, instead of nearer the beginning, where he wanted it.
If you compose your own tunes, bright and gay, you must be prepared to have them put over like a Gregorian chant, and have the accent put on the wrong syllable to boot.
Don't for a moment imagine that I'm complaining, but:
Exhausted of ideas, you sit and ponder on a theme,
You scribble down a lot of notes, you fill about a ream,
Your mind is in a turmoil as you struggle for a rhyme,
And then you think “Should this be sung or rendered as a mime”.
You know the tunes you put to them are pretty good but that
The singers will soon change them - at the dropping of a hat -
They don't like notes that are too high, or notes that are too low,
But they can't hear their own voices, so I s'pose they're not to know
That they couldn't sing in tune, much less find a semi-tone,
And the overall effect is like the Dying Stockman's groan.
At last you get inspired and you write a bit of verse,
They're not enthusiastic and you're fast becoming terse,
Until you find that someone else, inspired more than you
Has had the same ideas, and the tune is bright and new,
And the gang all get together and you rend it with a swing
And “rend's” the word I mean, but they wreck the blooming thing!
But I guess I should be patient, philosophical let's say,
For the time will surely come when this dog will have its day,
And they'll come to me all humble, and they'll say “look here, old chap,
We want a song on “this” or “that”, and something with a snap,
Your tunes are really wonderful, we've always thought them so
If you'don't lend us your genius we'll never have a “show” -
Ah, you think that I'm an egotist? that may be clear to see,
But I'm always on the note, I'm sure - er I think - er I hope - er maybe?
Or rather how to avoid the wrinkles that sometimes develop in the leather lining of boots.
As we had one or two complaints on this annoying development in some of our boots we passed it on (with suitable sample) to the manufacturers. Of course they had an alibi, but seriously it sounded a good common sense to us so we are giving you the hint.
As most of us do quite a lot of creek wading, etc. that saturates boots into a sodden squelching shape of leather, you can imagine (if you think about it) how stretched and distorted leather gets. This actually happens but especially to the light leather lining of the boots and while it is in such a condition it is likely to stretch more than the outside upper and the toes force it into wrinkles which are not so irritating when soft and wet but if allowed to dry become painfully hard lumps that do not make a happy contact with your metatarsul extremities. So don't forget to look after your boots. If they get sodden, feel down to the toe and smooth out the lining with your fingers then stuff them with paper to dry out and keep away from the fire. Also remember to clean your boots and rub leather dressing in straight after a trip, not just before, because water washes a lot of oil out of the leather during a walk and this should be replaced as soon as possible.
If you need a good pair of boots now then see our boots in range of sizes from 3 to 10 - Price 52/6 to 59/6 per pair.
G.Y. Leather Dressing 2/3d. Tin. Dubbin 1/8 tin. Kiwi Wetpruf 1/6d. tin.
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd. 201 Castlereagh Street, Sydney. M2678.