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. 'Phone: JW 1462.
|Editor||Frank Rigby, 70 Beach Road, Darling Point. MU 4411 (B).|
|Business Manager||Jack Gentle.|
|Sales and Subs||Jess Martin.|
|Typed by||Elsie Bruggy.|
|At our Annual General Meeting||Alex Colley||2|
|Social Notable - April||5|
|Letter to the Editor||6|
|White Ant Borings||8|
|Committee - 1957/8||9|
|Federation Report - March||Allen Strom||10|
|Wild Creatures||Henry Ford||12|
|Re-Union 1957||Geoff Wagg||13|
|Seven Weeks in N.Z. - Part 2.||Dot Butler||18|
|Siedlecky's Taxi and Tourist Service||3|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop||7|
|Hattswell's Taxi & Tourist Service||9|
|Leica Photo Service||11|
|The Moon and You (Paddy's Advt.)||22|
The philosophers are always telling us that “you will only gain from something in proportion to what you put into it”. Nothing could be truer as far as our Magazine is concerned - it's success largely depends on the co-operation of Club members as a whole; and that means each and everyone of you!
This would seem to be so obvious that mention of it is unnecessary. And yet, generally speaking, the great majority of members (and prospectives) seem content to take their monthly ration from the hands of the few. Now, despite how talented these regular contributors may be, a situation such as this is not always in the best interests of the Club. All too easily we can tend to become somewhat too confined almost without realising it. Conversely, as the field of contributors widens, each with his own individual material and style, so the interest-value of the Magazine must widen with it; and for the same reasons a healthy balance between the different types of items can more easily be maintained.
Now just in case you're saying, “But I haven't got any literary talent”, let us hasten to reply that firstly, it's probably untrue (nearly everyone who can read and write has potential literary talent) and secondly, it's not so important anyway. Don't be misled by any highbrow interpretation of that word “literary”. This is a Club Of bushwalkers, not journalists, and we will certainly not use the blue pencil because your contribution does not rate with Walter Murdoch's essays. In fact, our aim is to reflect your bushwalker personalities to the fullest degree, so you see, you just have to be your natural selves, nothing more than that.
Having got that off our chests, you may well ask what sort of material is needed. The answer is simple. Anything and everything that is of interest to bushwalkers, and to our own Club members in particular, in humorous or in serious vein and all shades between. We could mention things like trip accounts, information on walks and walking country, gossip items, personal bits and pieces and jokes concerning members and walking, humorous tales and verse, conservation items, articles on fauna, flora and geology, cartoons, and of course, letters to the Editor (what scope that gives you!). You can probably think of a few more as well, so you've got a ton of stuff to work on.
It's mainly a case of becoming “magazine-conscious”. Maybe you've just completed an interesting or adventurous trip - well, the Club would like to hear about the doings. Or perhaps you know about some good walking country that should be exploited. Don't forget the little bits of humour - they're always popular, and useful for filling up odd corners (jot them down as soon as you get home). Let's have that hunk of bushwalking philosophy you've been wanting down in print; and to Leaders, a special appeal is made (see March issue) - get some advance publicity by advertising your coming walk in these pages.
To sum up, your Magazine will be as good as you like to make it - and the more contributors, the merrier. Let us all be reporters and we will gain that versatility that will truly make it a magazine of the Club, by the Club and for the Club.
- A.G. Colley
The President occupied the Chair and some 90 members were present at our well attended Annual General Meeting. Apologies were received from Allen Strom, Peter Stitt and Win McKenzie. Four new members, John and Betty Quigley, Georgia Antoinides and Maureen Beckett, were welcomed. The President extended a warm welcome to the old members who attended. They included Frank Cramp, Kath Mackay, Brenda White, Bob Savage, Paddy Pallin and Bill Cosgrove.
In correspondence we learned that the Rationalist Association was doing its best to prevent people bringing in to the Ingersoll Hall the red crayon which had discoloured the raiment of Frank Ashdown and others. But it could do no more than request users of the hall not to bring it in.
Then came the customary suspension of standing orders while voting proceeded for Club officers. George Gray, Paddy Pallin, Brian Anderson, Jim Hooper and Geoff Wagg were elected scrutineers.
On the recommendation of the Treasurer (Jim Brown) subscriptions and entrance fee were left at the same rate as last year, despite added expense's, notab1y rent. Jim warned us that this year's surplus was partly the result of a large number of members paying their subs in advance and that it would be “a battle” to make ends meet over the next year.
Clem Hallstrom asked why we had £200 invested in bonds, and the President explained that that was a good place to have our money, as it earned interest and would be repaid for sure. Bill Cosgrove, however, had other designs for the £200. Hearing from Tom Moppett of the National Parks deputation to the Minister on March 27th. he said that an association such as ours should not be old and decrepit, but full of juvenile enthusiasm. We should do something to encourage other people and clubs. The National Parks Association wanted money and we had it. The £200 was losing value year after year, and in 10 years would not be worth 200 pence. The Club should take out 50 £1 memberships in the National Parks Association.
Tom Moppett explained that membership of the Association was open only to individuals, but would probably be open to associations when the final constitution was drawn up. He therefore suggested that Bill Cosgrove foreshadow a motion along the lines suggested at our September half-yearly meeting, by which time the National Parks Association Constitution would be complete.
Heather Joyce (Social Sec.) thanked members for their co-operation in arranging and carrying out the social programme and expressed the hope that the re-union would be well attended. This prompted Jack Wren to express the view that “members were getting lazier and lazier”. Too many arrived “in glory” on Saturday afternoon, expecting everything to be arranged for their enjoyment. The Club was becoming a group that sits around waiting to be entertained. At the camp-fire little was presented except the opera itself. Members should ask themselves “Am I doing something or just sitting about?”
After this the President left the Chair, (which was taken by Tom Moppett) in order to move two motions. The first was that a committee of four be elected to assist the Membership Secretary. The four would not be members of the Club committee. The work of the new committee would be to look after new members. Many had drifted away because they were not properly looked after and it was quite beyond the Membership Secretary, however energetic, to shepherd them all into the Club. The work should be spread and it was necessary to have people on the membership Committee who did not have to attend Club Committee meetings. The scheme had worked well in pre-war days.
The motion was supported by Jim Brown, who stressed the need of individual attention to prospectives. Jack Wren was afraid that the members would revert to their slothful habits and leave it all to the membership committee instead of being friendly to, and interested in, the prospectives. Kath Brown thought that some would be attentive to new members and some wouldn't, but that the membership secretary should have three or four people that could be relied upon. John Quigley said he heartily endorsed the proposal. New members did feel a bit strange - like an actor on the stage - and would appreciate some attention. The drive for membership should be going on continually. If every member aimed to introduce one new member in 12 months it was possible to inflate numbers by 75 per cent in a year, as had been done in an organisation to which he belonged. Grace Aird said it was impossible for one person to do the job really well, but it should not all be left to the membership committee - other people should be helping them. Jess Martin stressed the importance of parties keeping together and getting to know each other on trips. A special effort should be made to be friendly in the bush. Edna Stretton said that, though it was the duty of every member to help, she was very grateful for the motion.
So it seemed that practically everyone agreed that a membership committee would be a good thing. But this was no ordinary meeting, it was the Annual General Meeting, and one word was enough to start a really good argument. Who, asked Allan Hardie, elects, or selects, the Committee? Some thought the membership secretary should select. Some thought the meeting should elect. Tom Moppett, from the chair, amended the motion to accord with Club procedure. The Membership Secretary should select and the Committee appoint. Others thought four assistant membership secretaries should be appointed. The only one who didn't mind whether the committee was elected, selected, appointed, or just set up, was Brian Harvey, the mover. Motions were formed, amended, ruled out of order and generally scrambled until about half an hour later it was decided that four assistant membership secretaries be appointed.
Brian Harvey then moved that a similar committee be created to assist the Social Secretary. This proposal had been a sound working arrangement in the past. So four assistant social secretaries were appointed too.
In the general business the newly elected Editor pointed out that the change of editors meant the loss of the magazine typiste and issued a call to all typistes for assistance.
It was decided to ask the re-union committee to move the camp site to a more level place. Colin Putt said that he had inspected the camp site at the last week end and that a new site was in mind. He remarked that the pasture at Wood's Creek was excellent and if he had been a cow he would have stayed there. Bill Henley said he had a good spot in mind - a bigger bowl with a level floor.
After an inquiry by Frank Ashdown as to why we didn't elect a librarian had been answered by the President explaining that librarians were appointed, not elected, the meeting drew to a close at 10.30 p.m.
(The result of the annual election for Club officers appears on page 9. One position, that of Secretary, remains unfilled.)
Bushwalkers requiring transport from Blackheath, any hour, ring, write or call…
Siedlecky's Taxi and Tourist Service.
116 Station Street, Blackheath.
24 hour service.
Bushwalkers arriving at Blackheath late at night without transport booking can ring for car from Railway Station or call at above address - it's never too late!
'Phone Blackheath 81, or Sydney No. LU3563 after hours, or MA3467.
Look for T.C.3210 or Packhard T.V.270.
You must not believe all you're taught at school. No sir! We used to be told there was nothing on the Nullabor except salt bush and spinifex - it was dry, barren, monotonous, they said. But wait for it, folks, that was only on the top - they didn't look underneath!
Well, it takes the troggos (and the bushwalkers gone troggy) to discover the real truth about the Nullabor.
Come and see for yourself on April 17th.
Margaret Innes, Heather Joyce, Joan Walker and Keith Renwick are showing a set of caving slides taken on their recent expedition.
You can't afford to miss them.
8 Congewoi Road,
Re: Intrusion into Club Meetings by Non-Members, and Unfinancial Members.
Whilst I have been in all respects a Financial member, and, I believe, a reasonable minded member of the Club over the last nine years, I feel that the time has come when I must consider a number of alternatives, including the severance of further relations with the Club.
Tonight, as is my custom, I joined the assembly to watch a members' slide-night. Although my attention is usually devoted wholly to the excellence of the slide showings, I was tonight vaguely aware of certain individuals entering through the door.
Within a matter of seconds my view was obscured, and I received a sharp and painful blow on the right ankle. Whilst indignant at such treatment, I was prepared to receive an apology from the member concerned. No such apology was forthcoming however, and rather than being sorry, the individual responsible appeared both amused and pleased with himself. I have since ascertained that he is an unfinancial member, and along with certain other individuals, I propose naming him below.
Following very shortly on this painful disregard of my person, three other individuals gathered about me in the darkness. Again I received an excruciating blow, this time in the region of the Seventh Dorsal Vertebrae. Subsequently, I was thrown forcefully and viciously to the floor and then stood on in such manner as to prevent me from voicing audible protest. Unfortunately, I had been seated on the rear-most bench behind the audience.
I now have the names of the individuals concerned in this outrageous misconduct. I find that two of them are Unfinancial Members, whilst the others are not even members of the Club.
On arriving home I immediately rang my solicitors with a view to taking out legal proceedings for assault and occasioning actual bodily harm. On later consideration,. I believe that such proceedings may occasion the Club some very damaging publicity and I am prepared to acquiesce in an out of court settlement, provided the members involved are forthwith expelled from the Club.
Although only two of the individuals were members (unfinancial ones), I cannot help holding the opinion that the Committee was very lax in allowing them into the Club in the first place, and may, in fact, be open to severe censure. The individuals concerned are low-witted, and are not even walking-types. Furthermore they are undesirably common – Yes indeed! – They are common Fleas!
A sincere member,
For health foods at their best.
Ovaltine tablets - in light metal containers. Dried fruits - delicious and energy-giving. Nuts - in infinite range to suit all tastes. Biscuits - ideal for that 'tween meals snack.
And many other exciting foods ideal for the walker.
See our recipe page for meatless meals. All these available at our store:
13 Hunter Street, Sydney. 'Phone: BW 1725.
It's later than you think, so please keep that in mind.
If you wish your item to be published in a particular issue of the magazine…
Then it should be in the editor's hands not later than a fortnight before the Committee Meeting of the month of issue.
The Editors address is wrongfully stated as 72 Beach Street, Darling Point, in the recent “list of Members”. Please change to 70 Beach Road, Darling Point.
It is respectfully pointed out that, should some of your contributions find their way to No. 72 the effect on the occupants would be rather stunning, to say the least!
This time our roving termite got stuck into the doings at Wood's Creek and digested some juicy morsels. Any reference to members still living is purely intentional.
Overheard after the Opera: The Prompter seemed to have a bigger part than the Black Duke.
The Man They Couldn't Hang: Bob Duncan, when asked at the camp-fire to produce his now famous “Red-Bummed Baggely Beetle”, shouldered a well-known lass resplendent in bright red slacks for all to see. Is he really in meditation on the Otherness of Things when he seems to be, or is he craftily conjuring up answers to his ultra-scientific theories?
Couldn't help noticing how far from the water supply one Re-union group had camped. On closer investigation, the reason was revealed - they had brought their own water supply with them in bottles. Well, that is, if you subtract the alcohol percentage from 100, the rest is water, I guess.
It was interesting to observe the expressions of the “chucker-inners” at the river on Sunday morning. Each phase of their victimisation was so faithfully recorded on their little angel faces - first the conspiracy, then the selection of the victim, and finally the execution. The beachcombers certainly knew what was coming - but in which direction? That was the sheer mental torture of suspense. The neatest bit of skulduggery seen was when Don Matthews made his demise - six slithering sods suddenly slid up and said “Can we take your camera, sir? Thank you, sir”, and before Don could bat an eyelid, he was getting free jet rides up and down the river.
How to lose friends and influence people dept: One character we know so well invited some of his former friends to partake of a little of the Cup that Cheers at a private fire after the Main Show. He succeeded in drinking them all into their tents in very short order. One sip of the plonk was enough to provide the reason - and a little research proved it's the cheapest burgundy that money can buy.
The price of slumming: Joan Walker, reclining in tent and turning restlessly from side to side, “I turn this way and see Donnie (Newis); I turn that way and there's Snow; and when I sit up I have to look at Digby – I tell you, I can't stand it!!!”.
Just how many transformations can Duncan manage? Apparently we are still learning the measure of his talents - Scientist, Meditator Supreme, Ultra-ultra Lightweight Walker (what's that, Snow?), Daily Lama, Famous Inventor of Original Species, and now – yes, the Yogi! To witness the disrobing of a sweater from underneath a parker, while the latter stays in bodily situ, is to see a performance fit for Royalty. If he keeps on evolving like this, he'll end up as a One-Man Opera.
How late can you be?: Our special scout on the wee small hours watch reports that a certain member was seen to arrive at the Re-union at some unthinkable hour. Oh yes, how silly of us, we nearly forgot - of course, you had an unimpeachable excuse, didn't you, Jim?
For all your transport problems contact Hattswell's Taxi and Tourist Service. Ring, write, wire or call any hour, day or night.
Telephone: Blackheath 129 or 249. Booking Office - 4 doors from Gardner's Inn Hote1 (look for the neon sign.)
Speedy 5 or 8 passenger cars available. Large or small parties catered for.
We will be pleased to quote other trips or special parties on application.
|Vice-Presidents||Malcolm McGregor, Alex Colley|
|Hon. Sec||Position vacant|
|Hon. Treasurer||Jim Brown|
|Hon. Walks. Sec||Brian Anderson|
|Hon. Social Sec||Heather Joyce|
|Hon. Membership sec||Edna Stretton|
|Hon. Conservation Sec||Tom Moppett|
|Literary Editor||Frank Rigby|
|Committee||Colin Putt, John White, Joan Walker, Mary Walton|
|Federation Delegates||Ron Knightley, Paul Barnes, Jean Golding, Tina Matthews (Ron Knightley and Paul Barnes to sit on S.B.W. Committee)|
|Substitute Delegates||Brian Harvey, Tom Moppett|
|Delegate to Parks & Playgrounds Movement||Mrs. Hilda Stoddart|
|Business Manager S.B.W. Magazine||Jack Gentle|
|Trustees||Maurie Berry, Wal Roots, Joe Turner|
|Hon. Auditor||Mrs. Nanette Bourke|
|Hon. solicitor||Mr. Colin Broad|
- Allen A. Strom
Bushwalkers' Huts at Point Lookout (The New England National Park): It is proposed to erect two Huts, each accommodating eight people; there will be bunks at either end of the hut and fire and cooking facilities will be provided. Blankets will be available at the Ranger's Cottage, nearby. The architect, Mr, A.W. Harris, 128 Faulkner Street, Armidale, thinks bushwalkers might have some special designs or measurements that they would like to submit. Federation will offer certain recommendations; if there are any others, please forward them to Mr. Harris.
Davidson Park (Middle Harbour Creek): Following recommendations made by Paddy Pallin, the Federation has agreed to inform the Trustees of the Park that it is willing to provide a Work Party to erect signs and clear tracks in the Davidson Park.
Search & Rescue: Fourteen bushwalkers from Sydney took part in a search at Barrington recently. Walkie-talkie equipment was used in the search and found to be very efficient. Fortunately, the search did not proceed very extensively as the “lost” party was able to walk to safety after the waters of the Williams River had subsided a little.
A letter to hand contained the resignation of the secretary of the Search and Rescue Section. In consequence, the Council of Federation has asked that Clubs screen members in order to locate a new Secretary to the Section.
Publicity: Three advertisements have been placed in the Sydney Morning Herald netting about thirty four enquiries. There has also been a request from an organisation for a lecture on bushwalking.
Social: The 1956 Ball brought an income of £160 from tickets and £7.19.6 from other sources. Allowing for an expenditure of £128.5.1O, the profit to the Federation amounted to £39.13.8.
Camp Committee: The Annual Camp of the Federation will be held on April 6/7 at Euroka Clearing. Mr. F.A. Pallin has agreed to act as Campfire Leader, but he wants every Club to help with Campfire items.
Without the benefit of “tow-away” facilities, without signs or threatening notices, the drivers of the 46 (or was it 48?) cars in the Car Park above Woods Creek for the Re-union, placed their cars in neat, disciplined ranks, so that any one could pull out without undue backing and filling. All did we say? Well, not quite. Right at the head of the column was a grey spacemaster which looked as though it had been parked by an inebriate in the small hours. When we identified it, we knew that was quite true. Anyway, the only vehicle hemmed in was the Colley Land Rover, and no one worries about Land Rovers.
The Opera performers suffered greatly and encouraged migraine in tight-fitting “antennae” to find most of the audience couldn't see them. Maybe scotch light on the tips is necessary - and/or a “wiggling” attachment, or maybe Geoff just dressed his “ants” too well in other ways.
You press the button, we'll do the rest!
Finegrain Developing. Sparkling Prints. Perfect Enlargements. Your Rollfilms or Leica films deserve the best service.
Leica Photo Service.
31 Macquarie Place, Sydney, N.S.W.
By courtesy of N.T.C.U.B. Magazine.
“All bushwalkers should not under any circumstances pass through the village of Upper Allyn which is situated on private property owned by Pender and Foster until further notice. If proceeding to Barrington Tops by the Allyn River route it is pointed out that the road reserve (not yet constructed) is on the opposite side of the river to the village (This road reserve is not trafficable for any vehicle so that cars have to be left at the end of the existing public road)”.
Ed's Note: We have heard that dire consequences will be the lot of any walkers trespassing this private property. If you insist, we would advise the wearing of a suit of bullet-proof armour (especially made for wearing with packs).
- Henry Ford
It all happened at Moorabinda at the Instructional week-end, 23rd - 24th February.
Having a free morning John Logan and I went by an early train and getting off at Heathcote, ambled up the creek to a pleasant spot just above the campsite, where we had lunch. It was here we came across a goanna which ran up a tree. It was beautifully marked and was a picture to behold, not only as it climbed, but as it paused, perfectly still, with head erect and surveyed us suspiciously. With a little encouragement it ran around the trunk out of our reach demonstrating its wisdom and its power and agility in climbing.
Peter and Georgia, who were on holidays and stayed over until Monday, reported having also seen a big goanna hunting around the camp looking for titbits.
As we all at around the campfire on the Saturday night, something seemed to drop out of one of the tall trees close by, and yet it did not drop, but seemed to float or fly. “Phalangers” shouted Geoffo, and when we shone our torches on the trees, we all agreed. There were several of the beautiful little grey glider possums and they delighted us all with their arboreal manoeuvers, jumping, gliding, racing up the trees, racing down again, turning, stopping, starting, always just out of reach of our outstretched hands. One remained head downwards in the same spot for quite a long time, seeming not to care that he was in the centre of the beams from our torchs.
The next diversion came when Gwen, on returning to her tent, discovered that she had been robbed. Something had helped itself liberally to her loaf of bread. “Phi1angers!” shouted Geoffo, and again we all agreed.
Later investigations proved how wrong we were, for we found a half-tame wallaby on the outskirts of the camp. Nothing Gwen could do would induce him to help himself again to the loaf of bread she held out to him in her hand. He came quite close, but those who followed him around for some time and sought to induce him to come closer, did so in vain.
Amongst the many yarns which were passed round the campfire was a good one that Frank told about a yabbie. It was shortly after this that I went to the creek for water where I saw a large shadow move a few feet from the bank. It was the largest crayfish I have ever seen. With a torch in one hand and a long stick in the other I persuaded him to back towards the bank, which he did with his large clippers raised to protect himself from the stick. So busy was he doing this that I managed to grab him behind the ears (yes! with my third hand) and hold him tightly so that he could not move or do any damage with his powerful clippers. I carried him triumphantly up to the camp with visions of lobster for supper, but the President, with a stern look in his eye, said, “They're protected Henry!” After a while, I did the only thing I could do in the circumstances, and as we all clustered around, I put him down on the bank and we watched him scuttle away into the water and swim to the protection of some rocks.
I was soundly asleep in my tent and sleeping bag long before some of the other members of the mob had had enough. About 1 or 2 a.m. I was awakened by a terrific commotion and a scuffling and a noise which sounded like someone whacking the bushes and the ground and the trees with a stick, when all of a sudden I was given a terrible wallop on my knee which was pushing the side of the tent out. Now quite awake I shouted “Philangers!” “No”, said Geoff, “I was just protecting you from some wild creature that was attacking you.”
He could not give me a description of my attacker and nothing he could say at the time or has said since, would convince me that on this occasion the wild creature was not himself.
Geoffo: Geoff Wagg
Frank: Frank Quigley
Gwen: Gwen Quigley
(We can't help wondering about that loaf of bread, Henry. Was it Philangers or the Wallaby, or was it “that other wild creature” gone lightweight for the week-end? - Ed.)
- Geoff Wagg
The early autumn dawns as crisp as a slice of watermelon. The cool sun drifts soundlessly above the eastern ridges striking up long highlights on the river, which rise like searchlight beams to break among the trees along the bank and fall in fragments on the dew-bright grass. The Bellbird hangs his tiny notes along the high tree branches and that is all the sound there is.
Not far away on a ridgetop a large blue and grey vehicle sweeps along, apparently riding on a plume of soft grey dust. Nearer and nearer it draws to the tranquil clearing by the river; nearer and nearer, ploughing its cloud of dust to the road end.
Onk-hu-u-u-r-r-rk-gurr!!! (A sound reminiscent of a cracked saxaphone disgorging an irate concertina) eminates from the bonnet of the Puttmobile and drifts out across the gullies. Doors fly open; bushwalkers pour out. The S.B.W. Reunion is on and Nature retreats to the top of her highest gumtree.
Almost from that moment the river bank became the scene of much activity. Putt, with his team of tireless toilers, whisked great logs, cut on the previous weekend, to the campfire site and stacked them with precision to the design of Bill Henley, the Campfire Architect. All kinds of conveniences were erected, not to mention windbreaks to protect the unwary kidney from a sneaking ground-draft and stage back-drops to protect the unwary actor from a well aimed tomato. Mosquitoes had previously been warned off the area and all the standing water made unfit for habitation.
No milk and Sunday paper delivery - next year perhaps!
And during all this came the tents… Big ones, small ones, golden, green and “used to be some colour” in every conceivable shape and location. With the tents came the walkers - big ones, small ones etc. including tots, visitors and prospectives to a total of 189 bods - we think a record. (This figure hasn't been checked by Nan Bourke, our Auditor, but I think we might believe Malcolm because he was very careful and used all his fingers and toes.
When the last ice chest, lounge chair and baby cot had been humped down the ridge, daylight began to disappear, swirling into a sunset flush and rushing through the western gap like water down a drain. On the darkened earth, cooking fires winked like stars and on the darkened sky, stars winked like cooking fires. Nature at the top of her gumtree shifted into a more comfortable crotch and settled down for the night.
As the pungent odour of Stitt's incinerated repast faded into the cool night air, the mood of expectancy began to spring from one group to the next. Something must surely happen soon - everyone's here (except Jim Hooper, of course) - something must surely happen - yes! There it is glowing like a monster jewel with a million facets and throwing up a million sparks to rival the stars.
The Campfire is on!!
After we'd sung the rounds it was time for the current Chronic Opera, “White Antics”, which brought forth some rare moments of melodious warbling and the natural comedy team of Digby Rigby, the master white ant, as the Black Duke of Anthracite, and Brian Anderson as Admiral Antidote, his dim but willing accomplice. These two arch plotters are attempting and very nearly succeeding to establish the Black Duke as consort to the Queen of Antdom. Unfortunately, in his moment of triumph, the Duke is eaten by a rampaging Anteater, much to the secret disgust of the Queen, who'll tell you she preferred him to the hero anyday. For his part in the plot Admiral Antidote is relegated to a post in the Municipal Garbage Service and everyone lives happily ever after. There is a considerably body of opinion to the effect that, though unseen, the prompter played the best part of the evening.
After some particularly good singing from Paddy and the kids and a touch of harmony from the Ray Bean Trio it got to be time to initiate the new members. Now initiations of the previous year, though they had been a great source of fun to most people (including, strangely enough, the initiates) had brought forth some adverse criticism from those gentler souls. Unkind opinion has it that these are the people who when crowding for a better view were splashed with mud, but this is not necessarily supported by fact. This year it was decided there would be no room for adverse comment. Initiations would be the soul of gentility, and it was so.
First initiates were assembled before the members and asked to state what was wrong when etiquette demands a walker should get the leader's permission before removing his shirt while he can remove his pants at his own discretion.
No-one knew. Answer of course is “You take care of the pinneys and the pants will take care of themselves”.
Next idea, to see if 8 new members could erect a tent, was effectively white anted when one of them mislaid the tent pegs. No-one seemed too sure what happened after that. Some other people came and made appeals to the audience for ideas on how these should be dealt with. Most proffered ideas were “hang 'em from the yard arm high” or “boil 'em in pitch”, and couldn't be used because the necessary equipment wasn't available so it was finally settled to set each of them a labour to be performed by eleven o'clock the next morning. Some of these were quite dangerous like discovering how many bods per tent and who snored. The task arousing most comment was to find a pair of the Bagley Beetle, species Red-bummed. The new member Lynette Baber, a keen field naturalist hadn't heard of this creature and immediately challenged it's existence. Bob Duncan who was the first person to identify the beetle was called on to verify the fact and did so conclusively by producing one he happened to have with him. Judy of course denies being a Bagley Beetle, but her slacks (and face) were definitely red.
This initiation seemed to prove the truth of the statement made by one hardened type. “Just you give them new members half a chance, and they'll initiate you!”
After all this had been dealt with we had some more songs and swore in the President, Brian Harvey, for his second year in that post. This swearing in of the President is an interesting and ancient custom with its origin pleasantly wreathed in antiquity. Though some of our senior members seem to be in danger of taking it seriously, youth will always keep such things in their correct perspective, although the only one of the venerable symbols that can touch their imagination now-a-days, seems to be the Order of the Boot.
More items followed though attention began to stray a little to the other side of the fire whence came the dull gleam of coffee-full kerosene tins and the clunk-clunk of rock cakes rolling together.
This brought the assembly to its feet and queues materialized in a flash, each walker with mug at the ready. Then with brimming mug and rock cake in hand dispersing into chatting groups to relive old days and plan for those to come.
About this time that popular girl, Bo-Peep, put in an appearance only to have her escutcheon trampled on once more.
Now some were reluctantly moving bedwards carrying sleeping tinies, some were singing sweetly by the fire, some were… they were… well, I can't quite see what they're doing. It's the young mob up there in the dark corner by the wind break. It looks like some kind of a rough house, no, it's Bob Duncan demonstrating how to take off a sweather under a parka with-out shifting the parka.
Nature, who had been tossing and turning at the top of her gum tree, decided she would suffer her disturbed rest no longer, and climbed down to punish the culprit. The Admiral was making the most noise, so she siezed his shirt and sprang to the top of her tree. The Admiral made still more noise.
But, roll up, roll up, roll up! See Dare Devil Duncan fly through a blazing sheet of currugated cardboard and land in a palpitating heap on the other side.
“Awl I thought you were going to catch me, Wagg!”
This sort of thing was too energetic to last, though. The tumult and the shouting had to die. One by one the revellers faded away trailing sleeping bag and ground sheet, to seek a quiet spot. Only the small group by the fire left, still sipping coffee and listening to Henry play Old Austrian airs on the mouth organ - - Peace at last.
Re-union Sunday mornings always start about 3 hours earlier than most people feel they should. After such a late night, it would seem that an eleven o'clock lay-in was the right thing, but – no chance. All tinies go to sleep with the sparrows, leap up with the larks, give piercing shouts, wake grumbling Daddies,
“Wake up Daddy!”
“Daddy, wake up!”,
who trip over billy - Dang! Bang! Curse! and break sticks for fire with great force of expression - Smash, crash, snap!!
So starts a Re-union Sunday. As soon as there is a fire alight a group will gather and chatter and with the chatter you lose your last chance of sleep. Those half heard conversations sound so tantalising you have to roll as far as the tent flap and peer out to see what you're missing. The sunlight hurts at first, but soon it burns away the film of sleep, the soft cool whisper of a breeze clears away the fuzzy feeling in your tread, and Taro comes along and looks down at you and says,
“You know what you are? You're a life murderer. Y're sleeping away the best minutes of y're life”,
and you climb out of your sleeping bag and into the world.
When breakfast was over and everyone was well rested from the effort of getting up, some folk drifted from camp to camp, hand shaking, back slapping, renewing old acquaintances, while some wandered up stream in search of a spot deep enough to swim. The Grose generally was reduced to a depth of 2 inches of water and 2 feet of sand, a little too thin to walk on and a little too thick to swim. Eventually a spot was found where the body could be totally immersed, though, as this was only a little larger than the average bath tub, conditions were sometimes a little cramped.
George Gray, while attempting to break the underwater record for the pool, was rudely surprised when another bod came sliding down a steep rock above and landed with a resounding splat in the small of his back. On second thoughts, I feel George may have been suffering from a surfiet of the rock-cakes Colin was still handing around on Sunday morning and was laying scuppered at the bottom of the pool when the shock occurred.
Digby, the Black Duke, having been bested the previous evening only by the unfair intervention of a spiny anteaters now saw his opportunity clear for revenge. Wagg, or Anthony (they're both the same) was prostrate on the sand absorbing sun, so he conceived the idea of tramping over him at high speed. The victim is snoozing, unsuspecting. The villian advances at high velocity. Admiral Antidote, became a cohort of the Queen, since recognition of his efforts in the Garbage Disposal Service, cries, “Now!” Anthony raises himself a fraction, but too late for the Black Duke to stop or swerve. He trips, describes a graceful arc through air and lands on his ear.
“Curses, foiled. again!”
Soon it was eleven o'clock and time to hear the new member answers to the questions they'd been given, and once more it seemed that everything was being made easy for them. Whatever their answer it was right, so each one won a prize. For John Scott and Henry Gold it was a beauty treatment beginning with a mud pack. This meant they were really in the dough (face first) and the beauticians made a special point of rubbing it well into the hair. Georgia Antoniades won a shave and was unkind enough to inquire if the 'Dirty Dora' they lathered her with was hygenic. 'Nuff sed!“ Mary Walton and Shirley Hackworthy also won a free shave and were given the opportunity of shaving each other (blindfold). This would have been a dual femacide if they'd had razors instead of pieces of bark. Lynette Baber and Dot Barr sat down to build a castle in the sand, but something went wrong with the system and they were lucky not to be entombed. Finally Margaret Innes won a free application of lipstick and eyebrow pencil by Lynette and Dot. That certainly was a free application. Goodness knows how she got it off.
Next we had a tug of war in which every time the mens' team took the strain, the rope wouldn't. It landed them in a heap on three consecutive occasions. After a few more items of general athletics, three legged races etc. it was time for lunch.
A few hardy walking types combined to finish the last of the rock cakes, but these, even in their depleted numbers were more than a match for walker's jaws and the remains (of the rock cakes) were disposed of in a deep hole.
It doesn't take long for a Re-union to break up after lunch on Sunday. The rabbits check out, then the mob for the bus, until only a few stragglers remain. Despondently they dismantle the little tents, stamp out the remaining coals among the ashes, shoulder their packs and walk away among the now silent corridors of the trees.
Silence immerses the whole scene, drowns rocks and trees and grasses in a sea of utter stillness. The gentlest of evening breezes breaths coolly into the stillness to send it drifting gently between the trees, which set up a languid swaying like seaweeds in an underwater current. The sunset fades, the sky turns to dark silver and the first white glittering star is born. The breeze dies - once more all is still.
Like a shadow, Nature slips down the smooth trunk of her gum tree. At the bottom she pauses a moment and looks around with cautious eyes, then stretches; luxuriously easing the kinks out of cramped muscles. A great big yawn then,
“Thank God! Peace for another 12 months!”
- Dot Butler.
Having spent a week sightseeing and climbing in the North Island, we returned to our headquarters at Wellington, then at 8.30 next morning caught the “Hinemoa” for Christchurch and the South Island.
We took up a great deal of deck space sorting out our gear and provisions, to the great interest of all the passengers, then 50% of the party went to sleep on a bale of life belts while Donnie (the Man with the Mo) doctored up his blistered face and brooded over his blistered heel and I wrote our diary up to date. We sent a telegram from the boat to Garth saying where we would meet him at Christchurch, and after landing a mutual search went on around the city and its camping grounds, but eventually seekers and sought met and Garth drove us out to the motor camp, where we spent the night. Next morning the Coulter chariot arrived and we sent the day driving round the Port Hills, then, after being very hospitably entertained at several homes, we caught the train that night for Dunedin and the Coulter flat, which was to be our headquarters for a couple of days. It was now Christmas Eve. We did some necessary shopping and railed off a fortnight's provisions for our Mt. Cook session, hoping that they would arrive safely or we should starve to death - that wouldn't take long, especially for George and Snow.
On Christmas Day we went up Flagstaff Hill - a thousand or so ft. hill at the back of the town, and had a wonderful view of Dunedin spread out below. We had Christmas dinner up there, and hoped our friends back home were having just as good down the Kowmung. Home for afternoon tea - crystalised fruits and nuts and beer - after which the boys flaked out. They revived in time to have a hot bath (Gee, this is a tough trip!) - Snow read a book for half an hour in the bath - then had tea and at 10 p.m. he tottered off to bed again because we had to be up at 6 in the morning (Shame!) to catch the bus to Te Anau and the Milford Sound walk.
We left Dunedin 8.30 a.m. on Boxing Day - this time we managed to locate the bus departure place and catch the bus with 10 minutes to spare, in place of the usual minus 2 seconds, which was somewhat phenomenal. We whizzed out of the lovely little green town on a beautiful fine sunny day, and so to the township of Te Anau on the lake of the same name. Here we got into a launch - about 20 Track walkers and 14 deer shooters - and ran for several hours up the lake. The deer shooters Were a powerful rugged bunch of blokes with the wild winds and storms of their wild world making their hair stand on end and whistling through their wild whiskers. Snow and I contemplated the gentle pink and white types of humanity who were to be our companions on the track and wished we were going with the deer hunters. As a matter of fact, after a few whiskies with them (the water for which was obtained by tying a green plastic bucket to a string and hurling it overboard into the lake), and a few rounds of old time waltzing with one of the leaders of the band on the rain-swept deck in parkas and hobnails, an invitation was extended to come with them, but as this invitation didn't seem to include the mob I had to decline. One of the younger chaps played a piano-accordian and we roared out songs with them and stamped round the boat in the pouring rain and had a marvellous time. We unloaded them and their guns and their tucker in tea chests at various points along the way. The launch would draw in as close as possible to some rugged, rain-festooned point in the Sounds and a little row boat would be loaded with gear and four or five bods, then a Tess of the Storm Country lass in a blue sou'wester - probably the Captain's wife - would punt them to shore with one oar and they would unload, then she would return and the boat would be hoisted to the davitts and as we chugged on our way the small figures would get smaller and smaller and be blotted out finally by a mist of rain.
At last we said goodbye to the last of the lusty lot and got out at our wharf and tripped up the track to Glade House and a floral tablecloth and a knife-fork-spoon-and-fork and another spoon for soup. The bunks had sponge rubber mattresses and pillows and neatly folded blankets and we all had been issued with a sheet and pillowslip sleeping bag in a cellophane cover and in the girls' dormitory out came the talcum powder and the lace undies and the tapered trousers and ornamental jumpers and the nail files and the lipstick, and I thought of the wild wild deerstalkers in their sou'westers in the wild wild weather with their whisky and hard tack for tea and hobnailed boots for a pillow and felt sissy. However, we soon all got friendly with the boys and girls on the track and it was like saying goodbye to part of the family when the three days were up.
The first day was fine and it was a lovely walk through beech forests with glimpses of watercourses and waterfalls through the trees. There was enough sunshine for photos, so you shall see the results in due course. That night we stayed at Pompalona hut after about ten miles of walking. We ate a huge meal and had quite a gay evening of dancing and singing and games. Snow organised the show with Donnie running a close second and excelling himself as a wit, and if noise is any indication of quality then it was a first class entertainment, and all that got broken was one window.
Next day another 10 miles to Quinton hut. It spotted with rain but was pleasant walking. We climbed several thousand feet to McKinnon Pass where we were whipped by sago hail and all huddled in a little tin hut for lunch, then down to the Quinton hut for a hot shower and tea. And what a meal!!! Nobody raised an eyebrow at third helpings, so we just went right ahead. There was a piano and one of the boys played, so we had a gay evening.
Next day it really rained. The annual rainfall at Milford is 250” (i.e. about 21 feet! 7 yds.!!! Hell!!!) and we had it all. We sloshed the 13 miles of track through mud and watercourses called trails, with high mountains all around festooned with plunging waterfalls. At 4.30 we got into a launch which took us to Milford Hostel - the most magnificent White Elephant in the southern hemisphere they tell us. Here we lined up transport to take us 20 odd miles to Howden hut turn-off; then we had a hot bath on the house, and a meal for 5/- in the staff kitchen, then piled our gear into the taxi and so off into the deluge and the night.
Going through the Homer tunnel was an experience. It is a huge unlined hole about three quarters of a mile long and the water just cascaded through the roof like a firehose. Pouring down over one of the surrounding iron grey mountains I counted over fifty waterfalls. The sky and the mountains and the river were all one pouring deluge. In the midst of all this the taxi man somewhat unhappily unloaded us at 7.30, and us not knowing where the hut was except that a signpost pointed 2 1/2 miles to Lake Howden up the mountain and down the other side and look for the hut on the northern end of the lake. It was going to be dark by the time we got there, and there was an atmosphere of haste and tension as we plugged up into the deluge. The track was eroded some three or four feet deep and roared with water as we squelched down it with increasing speed - and suddenly there was the hut right under our noses with smoke coming out of the chimney. We dripped inside. Everything we owned was wet; you could wring half the water supply of the South Island out of our boots and socks and parkas, and the other half was inside our packs. We learnt that the annual rainfall just hereabouts is 400“ (i.e. 11 yards. Think of that!). In this hut we stayed all the next day while the rain darkened the universe, and we felt like fish at the bottom of deep pond. There were nine other bods in occupation who helped us pass the time away. We planned that next day, come what may, we would push off or our schedule would be upset. We voted against going over the high pass of the Routeburn track and instead went down the easier Greenstone valley. The weather was kind and we had a wonderful day. The track skirts Lakes Howden and MacKellar, then goes quietly through clean open beech forest past Rere Lake and so to Elfin Bay ferry wharf. A beaut big tin shed gave us shelter for the night and we didn't get up till the ferry was almost due at 11 a.m. There were crowds of holidaymakers and trampers on the boat. (This is from George, with his passion for detail: “The ferry s.s. “Earnslaw”, holds 1100 passengers. Its displacement is 300 tons - twin-screw - triple expansion steam engines - power steering. I got that from the Captain. I tried to get more from the engineer, but he only said Har Hum.”) Most of the tramping types got off at Kinloch and caught tourist coaches up the valley. When we were unloaded at Glenorchy on the other side of the lake everyone piled into two buses, but as we had to buy stores we reluctantly watched them depart, with visions of ourselves having to walk 10 to 15 miles with a fortnight's provisions to the Rees Bridge, then 4 or 5 hours up the Rees Valley to our hut. We did a rapid bit of shopping at the store, with the result that over the next fortnight we found ourselves with far too much butter to put on far too few biscuits, then off we rushed and got a lorry which had offered to take us to the Rees Bridge. The tucker was just stuffed into our packs and we each carried our ex-Milford-Track-mosquito-nets filled with food too, and as we staggered off up the Valley, down came the rain. We walked in swimming trunks and bare feet to keep our long pants and socks dry, and in neck-to-knee parkas were a unique and intriguing sight for a party of 3 trampers who encountered us on the track. They told us 25-Mile hut was still several hours away - and us hoping we were almost there! - so when we came to a shepherd's hut within another mile we decided that was our destination for the night and settled ourselves in forthwith. It was a nice comfortable little hut with bunks and mattresses and a good fireplace. Before leaving we gave it the ultimate in spring cleaning to show our gratitude.
Next day in fine weather we walked the couple of hours to 25-Mile hut set high up on a terrace with the Rees river winding below like scattered green ribbons and Paradise ducks flapping their way in pairs up and down the valley, and flocks of sea gulls (or lake gulls) soaring and drifting aimlessly in the clear air like bits of white paper dropped from an aeroplane. The hut water supply comes from 25-Mile creek which drops into the deepest, narrowest gorge you can possibly conceive. Arathusa Canyon is just catsmeat in comparison. It reminds me of Kubla Kahn…
”… and here the sacred river ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.“
A young married couple in occupation (N.Z.A.C. members) had seen us coming up the valley and had the kettle on for a “cuppa” as soon as we got in. We spent the afternoon sunbaking and snoozing among the sunny tussocks. Beaut!!
We'll continue our adventures in the South Island in the next issue.
Naughty. Mr. Matthews. After all, the pains to which the comperes went to provide a “clean” show, he skulks behind the curtain with the RampANT ANTS, and produces an awfully blue remark. The worst of it is - with Matthews you can't be quite sure just how innocent his intent.
'Vonny Renwick was given the Hercularean task of seeing that the character to play the Black Duke in the opera arrived in sober condition. But the producer was worried. “I know Yvonne,” he said, “I said 'not more than half an hour', but after half an hour she'll start to say, 'I wonder if I ought to go in there after him?' ” Just as the producer was getting all worked up about it, they arrived - before 3 p.m. - with the Black Duke in ridiculously teetotal state. Not as Black as he's painted.
At one stage on Saturday, Ray Bean was lamenting encroaching senility and explaining he'd “mislaid” his pack. Sympathy was strenuously resisted. “No”, he said regretfully, “It isn't my memory. I'm getting old if I can't take two schooners of Windsor beer without losing a pack”.
Well, now that we've slaughtered the Re-Union, let's set our sights on the Easter Parade!
Heather Joyce says her Bendethra Caves has all the possibilities if half her probabilities come off. So to anyone with a problematical mind, this should be right down their alley. Come and join in the fun and games at Bendethra - it's sure to be different!!!
The Moon & You
There are some folks who know how the date of Easter is fixed, but for Paddy it is all wrapped up in mystery and magic. The fixing of the date certainly goes back to the pre-Christian Era and is connected with the magic rites associated with planting ceremonies of Spring in the northern hemisphere and timed by the lunar calendar.
All of the above is merely a verbose preface to a thought that we usually have a moon with us at Easter, but this year most of us will be asleep before the moon comes up.
A few last minute thoughts for Easter. Unexpected new shipment of “Chuffer” Stoves in - price £2.13.6.
Quart tins of Shellite… 3/9 tin
Aluminium Screw Top Jars… 2/6 each
Good supplies of dried vegetables ready.
“Proofall” proofing compound 4/11 – and “Drumstick” wax 2/-, for reproofing garments or tent.
Note to skiers.
Bookings of Skis, Stocks, & Boots for Queen's Birthday Weekend and rest of season open on 2nd April.
New ski gear price list now ready.
M.J Dunphy's map of Warrumbungles ready. Price 4/-.
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney.