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 August Meeting||Alex Colley||2|
|A Tale for a Couple of Wag(g)s||Blue Gum||3|
|Your Walking Guide||4|
|Climbing Expedition - Pidgeon House, The Castle, Tallatarang||5|
|White Ant Borings||10|
|Report of Ski Lodge Committee||Colin Putt||11|
|The Kowmung Manuscript - Part II||Jim Hooper||12|
|Trip to Banda-Banda & Kemp's Pinnacle||Laurie Rayner||18|
|Seven Weeks in New Zealand - Part VII||Dot Butler||19|
|July Walks Report||Brian Anderson||22|
|Our Club||Blue Gum||23|
|Hattswell's Taxi & Tourist Service||3|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop||18|
|Leica Photo Service||23|
|A Word to Prospectives (Paddy's Advt.)||24|
Special - Extra
Committee Meeting night, Wed. 2nd October, to commence at about 8.30 p.m.
Don't stay home because there's only a Committee Meeting, because there's something more on - come in and see some very interesting slides of these fantastic mountains. Frank Rigby, Dave Brown, Henry Gold and Don Newis recently spent a week in the Wurrumbungles, and they had plenty of adventures in which you can share.
Don't forget - next Committee Meeting Night.
Two beautiful objects graced the walls of the Ingersoll Hall on August 14th. The first was the big new walks notice board, with gleaming white surround, the Club badge and ample space for notices. This was donated by John Scott. The second was the preliminary plan for the ski lodge by Laurie Rayner. Both were much admired by the small gathering which ventured into the stormy night to attend the meeting.
The first act of the meeting was a sad one. At the President's request we stood in silence to honour the memory of Betty Holdsworth, whose bright company will be missed for a long time, The President told us that the Club had sent a letter of condolence and a wreath. Twenty five members attended the funeral service.
Two new members, David Bennett and Jack Giblett were welcomed.
Tom Moppett gave us a full report of the conservation conference. Motions had been carried favouring the appointment of representatives of non-governmental organisations on the fauna panel, calling for a ban on the export of fauna, requesting the organisation of a flora and fauna exhibition, and defining a primitive area for the purpose of legislation. Our own motion - requesting the reservation of the Blue Labyrinth north of Erskine Creek - was recast by the conference, who wanted to have the whole area north of the Water Board reservation (including Erskine Creek) reserved. Tom said this was an unwise request as it would not be acceded to and, at his suggestion we deferred a decision on whether we would support a deputation to be organised by the F.A.C. on the matter. Tom had unofficial news of a 1000 acre camping reserve near the Barrington guest house, and the creation of a flora reserve along the valley of the Williams. This reserve would not be used for logging while it was used for recreational purposes.
The report of the ski-lodge committee was read by Alex Colley, in the absence of the convenor, Colin Putt (see page 11).
The President said that the Federation Ball came shortly after the date of our thirtieth anniversary and several of the old members intended to form a party to celebrate the anniversary, as we had organised no special function for this purpose.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Jim Brown drew attention to the lack of objects of beauty in the clubroom, with the possible exception of the bone and the gong, and moved a vote of thanks to John Scott for the resplendent new notice board. It was carried with acclamation.
Our congratulations to Clem and Enid Hallstrom on the birth of a baby daughter on 1st August.
From Canberra comes the news that Ian and Pat Wood have also been blessed with a brand new boy - good work, Woodies.
We know that we couldn't tender you both a better wish than that these now tender blossoms grow up into strong healthy bushwalkers in the years to come.
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.
- Blue Gum.
A Wag(g) called Geoff and a lass named Grace,
Have named the day, the time and place.
We wish them well.
Now wouldn't it be appropriate
If Bushwalkers formed up at the gate,
In a “guard-of-honour”?
Attired in shorts and hob nailed boots,
With empty packs (to carry loot -
There's sure to be some grub.)
And bring your mugs and billies too,
In case there is some potent brew (For drinking toasts)
(For drinking toasts)
Now when the Bridal Pair appear
The “Bushies” give a rousing cheer,
And raise their battered hats.
Newsreel cameras and television
Will then record with great precision
The “Wedding of the Year”.
Best Wishes to the Wag(g)s we send
Happiness and Joy that never end
Throughout the coming years.
20-21-22: Wheeny Ck. Walking is medium to rough. Wheeny Ck. is a mixture of rock-hopping and sandy banks with an interesting canyon thrown in. Good test walk although it's not an ideal walk for your first trip. Excellent views of areas north of the Grose. Combined fares approx. 23/-.
21-22: Salvation Ck. Medium to easy type of walking. Mixture of creek and ridge walking. Excellent view of Broken Bay area and Pittwater. Wildflowers. Ferry ride pleasant end to trip. Could be a little scratchy on ridges. Fares approx 10/-.
21-22: Glenbrook Gorge. Parties will be going up Saturday by trains and Sunday in Puttmobile from Foveaux St. Weekend will be devoted to climbing only. Cost 10/- to 14/-.
27-28-29: Cox River-Blackheath Ck. area. Easy to medium walking. Very pleasant open type country. Parts of Blackheath Ck. and Centennial Glen particularly pretty. Good river photography. Medium test walk. Train cost 24/9. Car approx 10/-.
28-29: Dr. Barnard Homes. For up to date details of this trip check with John White XW 6526. Cost 15/11.
29: Woola Falls - Winifred Falls. Easy to medium track walking. Wildflowers. Fairly easy test walk for prospectives. Fares 5/-.
4-5-6-7: Newnes - Wolgan Gap Area. Easy to medium walking in very scenic and interesting country - although part of Blue Mts. this section is distinctly different. Three day trip should mean a moderate pace only. Ideal for those who enjoy pleasant scenery in a leisurely manner. Fares approx. 40/-.
4-5-6-7: Kempsey Trip. – See page 18 for details.
5-6-7: Wollondilly R. - Nattai R. Easy to medium river and creek walking. Very photographic area. One major climb over Beloon Pass. Good views of Burragorang and Nattai from Pass. Fares approx. 36/3. Note this walk is leaving Saturday morning. Don't forget your swimming costume.
11-12-13: Mt. Renwick. Mainly medium walking with a little rough. Transport will be by Puttmobile. Cost to be advised. Trip more of an exploratory nature. Could be very interesting new country.
13: Cowan Way. Medium ridge and creek walking. A little scratchy. Views of Berowra Ck. Wildflowers. Cost 5/-.
Ask the four recent Wurrumbungles Trippers about the New Look in bushwalking. You'll agree that they're Past Masters at the Art when it comes to the Last Word in ultra-comfort. Here are some of the features of their sojourn -
By Malcolm, Digby, Geof and Dot.
Strange things happened to this trip before ever it left the Club room. To begin with it was down on the programme as an official walk, but this fell through at the last minute owing to prohibitive transport costs, so the official leader took her party to Katoomba. But, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new party emerged - a party of considerable magnitude as it took the Puttmobile and four private cars to transport them all to Drury's farm. To Drury's, did I say? No. That is not quite right. Snow managed to take a wrong turning in the dark and finished up on the edge of a precipice somewhere or other - for the whole weekend he was never quite sure just where it was and pointed us out two or three different plateaux on the edge of which his car was reputed to be roosting. However, sufficient to the day is the evil thereof, and when Snow and Henry eventually met up with us after taking a bee-line across the landscape he told us he didn't plan to give another thought to where his car might be until it was time to find it on the last day. George also, unintentionally or otherwise (probably otherwise if I know George) took an unknown road which landed him up practically within coo-ee of the camp spot it took the rest of us most of Saturday to reach. It didn't take us long to get settled in, and when the Saturday night meal had been put in its proper place, plans were made for Sunday. Who better able to tell of this pleasant camp scene than the old fox, McGregor. (Over to you Malcolm.)
The main aim of the trip into this area was to climb Tallatarang from the Clyde River side; Last Easter John Manning had seen a spot which he thought would go, so he was appointed leader. The party was kept small to give it every chance of success. The five to accompany John were Dot and Grace, Geoff, Mike Elphick and the Dalai Lama. Why put Dalai Lama in? You might ask. It was suggested that prayers might be needed and who better than Dun Kahn for that job?
Now the Castle Party - we would try the Eastern cliff faces from Byangee Gap - just to make it hard, and ten bods with Putto as leader decided to give it a go. Digby was one who said he'd be in it as he sat by the fire chewing his bit of dessert ironbark. White anted before we started, still -
“Now to give us plenty of time” said Colin, “we'll all pile out at 5 a.m.”.
“Righto” says Digby “5.a.m. we'll all hop - eh”, his ironbark branch twig dropped from nerveless fingers. His jaws bit on air - “5 o'clock ! no sane man would think of… ” “That's O.K.” says Colin “you aren't sane.”
So it was settled, Colin was appointed alarm clock for 5.a.m. Grace was to get Geoffo moving, Heather was listed to start George going, Digby to take the Dalai Lama his breakfast in bed; Dot would probably wake up anyway and old Malc. was in the same tent as Colin so he had no excuse. As for the others, they were young enough not to notice the early rising.
About ten the goodnight brew was brewed and shortly after the camp settled down. The fires dimmed and Jack Frost spread his icy fingers over the flats. 3 a.m. - a lone figure crept from a tent and threw a log on a fire - it disappeared - again all was quiet.
Five to five…
“Get up you lazy loafers” roared Colin's voice. What willpower! what fortitude! He stamped around the tents and bellowed in at each making sufficient noise to waken the Dalai Lama. Groans followed in his wake; again he gave his call; the young'uns tumbled out; a shrill squeal announced Grace's ejection from her cozy bag, Digby rose grumbling from his quarters, Heather and George appeared like wraiths, only old Malc stayed in his bag. This cunning old so and so had pitched his tent right by his fire, by now blazing happily due to Colin's effort.
“Put my billy on please” he says. Someone placed a billy on the fire. Digby is too benumbed by this early rising to say or do anything - yet - and the Dalai Lama is clamouring for his breakfast. “Why are we up now?” says Heather vaguely, “I don't know” says Grace. “Where are we going?” Snow chimes in. “To the hills” roars Colin.
“Take my billy off its boiling” says Malc., still in his sleeping bag. Colin glares at him, “Aren't you up yet” he says. “No”, says Malc.
“Hey, Digby”, Colin calls and Dig. trots up; “call yourself a white ant, look at this bloke”. Digby goes green with envy. “The old… ”, he murmers.
Bushwalkers at 5.a.m. on a mid-winter morning are a strange lot. I don't know how to describe them. The moans and groans, the - Oh! I wish I had a tape recorder. The comments were priceless.
The clock ticked on and food of one sort and another was consumed. All of the two parties were moving except one - the old - was still in his bag.
Six o'clock and still only 15 bods were mobile, Digby was speechless by this time at being up while another was down.
“Get up !” he cried.
“Why?” said Malc. Colin raced around and restored order. Breakfast was nearly finished and at 6.30 came the call.
“Moving off in 5 minutes.”
Now think of what has happened. Fifteen Bushwalkers are up, fed and dressed ready to go, and one fed ready to go - to sleep - no! - the whips are cracking and old Malc. slides from his bag at last. There they are, sixteen bods in mid-winter, ready to leave camp at 6.30 a.m. Not bad, eh! At twenty to seven the remaining 7 sleepers had the camp to themselves. The parties were away on time.
(Now perhaps you would like to hear from Mr. Rigby how the Castle party fared)
The Very Early Morning Kookaburras rubbed their sleepy unbelieving eyes and looked again. In the first wan light of day ten hazy half-conscious figures sleepwalked across the meadow, their frozen feet crunching into the firm white frost which lay like a giant sheet, spread over the slumbering river flats. This was incredible! Bushwalkers afoot at this ungodly hour and in this temperature. After the initial shock was over, no normal strain of Kooka could be expected to restrain itself. A whole bunch of rascals combined in a torrent of rollicking raucous laughter, which had, we felt, a fair share of nasty derision mixed up with it. Such was the beginning of the day the S.B.W., Castle Climbing Contingent, set off to do battle with that famous landmark.
When the light had brightened up a trifle, the shadowy figures could no longer hide their true identities. Out in front and egging us on as per usual, loped the Putt Machine, brandishing a spanking new red and blue nylon climbing rope. Malcolm and Heather started skipping along together in some sort of Mad Goblin's Dance, allegedly designed for a quick thaw-out. But the rest of us, still a la comatose, would not be bustled and so Alan Abbott, George, Bookie, Jack Perry, Henry Gold, Snow and Digby ambled along in silent single file. A little way further and the Castle Climbers passed a Y.M. Ramblers' Camp where nary a soul had bestired himself from the warmth of the icicled tents. Oh, how the pangs of White Antism, sleeping-bag variety, suddenly swept through our party like a plague. Miracle of miracles, we pressed on with barely a hesitating step - perhaps it was the fiery light in the ferocious eyes of the Putt Machine which won the day. And so up Yadboro Ck, we went our way and shortly Colin led off up the ridge which would land us at the Castle - Byangee Walls Saddle.
The plan was to climb the Castle from the eastern side, where a “possible” route was alleged to exist a little way back along the Castle walls behind the saddle. The sun had by now sailed up into a cloudless, windless vault of blue - it was a morn made specially for bushwalkers - and as we warmed up all over to a tingle, we began to savour the real anticipation of the unknown adventure ahead…
At 0900 hours we stood in the saddle and surveyed the sandstone cliffs towering above us - well, it certainly wouldn't “go” just there, not for us, anyway. So on we pushed along the base of the walls until we found the first promising chink in the Castle's armour, a broad gully in which some good climbing rock sloped upwards at a respectable angle. So great was our enthusiasm we were soon all over it like a rash. After the first pitch, ideal for loosening up lazy muscles, the angle became steeper and it was time to bring out the rope for a spot of belaying. Up went the bods, one by one, cautiously feeling their way in steady climbs, until it was the turn of that really outstanding mountaineer, Mr. John Ants-in-the-Pants Bookluck. And what a fantastic performance he put on, Bookie fairly tore up that pitch as though the very Devil were at his heels, arms and legs flailing in all directions at once, footholds and handholds being used and abused in extra-rapid succession. The proverbial rat in the drainpipe would be considered a tired old slowcoach compared with our hero - one could only bring to mind those movies which are speeded up to such an extent as to provoke uncontrollable laughter in the observer - for such indeed was the effect. Of course there is a rumour that certain persons at the top of the rope helped the show along, to say the least, but this was certainly not apparent from below. And so ended the brightest piece of comedy of the whole weekend.
After this episode a wee bit of exploration was called for as the next step of the mountain loomed ominously and awkwardly above. Several routes which might go were investigated by Alan, Jack and Digby but were wisely rejected in favour of the “recognised” way just then discovered by Colin further round the face. Hob marks and a cut sapling leaning into a weak gully formation pointed the way.
The party having negotiated this obstacle (with some more frantic antics by Bookie), the rest of the climbing route was obvious - there were no alternatives whichever way you looked at it. Several interesting pitches of moderate severity, a pleasant mixture of chimneying, scrambling and straight face climbing, with just the right amount of challenge, finally brought us to the top of the first big sandstone step of the mountain. The final step still remained. So far it had been good clean fun in the warm sunshine, despite a few cold shivers down several spines.
Malcolm had enjoyed the leading most of the time, but First Prize for the best laissez-faire attitude to the whole adventure must go to Snow. During the waits he would stretch out on a sunny ledge without a care in the world and dream the dreams that only Snow can dream. Only when his turn finally came to climb a pitch would he give the slightest attention to the mountain. Perhaps this is the best attitude after all if one can cultivate that sort of mountaineering temperament.
The old Enemy had by this mooched along to about 1300 hours - and with ten bods using the one rope this was not surprising. Lunchtime - and what better place for lunch than beside a tiny stream running across this wide forested ledge, with a glorious 180 panorama of that rugged and beautiful landscape to feast the eyes upon. Our gaze wandered down onto the Byangee plateau, now well below us, then across to Pidgeon House and finally to the Pacific on the horizon. And from there the eye came slowly back to the Clyde Valley way down in the blue depths on our left and then shot up the cliffs of Tallatarang on the other side, and we wondered how our comrades were facing in their new adventure over there.
A human shout from the summit of the Castle brought us back to the near-at-hand and we wondered how this could be until we remembered the other walking parties in the area - they had apparently come up by the “accepted” route on the other side. We should be on our way, but one glance at our watches was quite sufficient to convince us that we must skirt along our ledge to the beginning of the Castle “tail” and reach the summit by the orthodox route; the final step would be saved up for another day, that was for sure. At length this plan was achieved, and as we climbed to the top of the fantastic tail, we ran into a Y.H.A. party on their way down; the odd places you meet up with bushwalkers! It was a surprise to recognise familiar faces - some of us had encountered them before in all the last outposts of walking realms, even in far-off Tasmania! After a quick sojourn on the top, in which several of the very active ones made a hasty trip to the Byangee end, our party started down again at the rather latish time of 1500 hours. We would not want to dawdle but now we would descend by the usual west-side route, through that remarkable squeeze-hole passage which tunnels right through the tail, and then on down through the cursed sapling forest with its scratchy undergrowth and the torn and twisted creek courses with their obstropolis boulder beds. Cries of “Never again - give me rock-climbing any day” could be heard from front to rear, even from those who can't really make up their minds about climbing and its risks.
Finally, as the last light of day flickered and went completely out, we thankfully set foot once again in the more friendly Yadbora Creek and of course there were the usual false and frustrating leads. After crossing the Creek for the umpteenth time (we can't feel our toes any more), Colin called a halt to collect the bods together in the inky blackness. “Number off”, says Colin, but even after two attempts we can't get past nine. Whose voice was absent? Where was the missing link? Missing link? Ah, yes, it must be Bookie. “Where are you, Bookie?” we chant. For a moment the bush was silent. Then from the direction of the creek the chill night air was split asunder by an oathful, wrathful shout…
“How the blinkin' blazes did you so-and-so's get out of this b… hole?” Well, of course, not one of us had seen hide nor hair of a “hole”, let alone one which would accommodate a whole body.
Poor Bookie - the gods were agin him again. We went back and rescued him and then hit it for home and never did the warm fires and tents of our camp look more like home to us. Their glow seemed to match an inner glow deep inside us, the glow of success, the glow from a day of happy fulfilment and from a job well done. It was time to have a laugh at the Kookaburras.
(And speaking of kookaburras takes us back-again to the early hours of this same day, because we have yet to hear how the Tallatarang party fared. Next month we'll drop our fishing line into thee deep pool of Geoffo's mind and see what treasures we bring forth).
Beaded-glass screen material, 48“ x 48”, in excellent condition. Going cheaply.
If you're interested, please see Frank Rigby, 'Phone MU 4411 (Business).
How many kilowatts to kill a wart? At the Dalai Lama's castle at Camden there is a solid concrete building, situated in an isolated cow pasture, wherein is housed the electrical equipment our friend Duncan uses to fill in the gaps in his knowledge of the ionisphere, luna doings, siderial twilight and such like. At a recent “hooley party” held there the Dalai Lama entertained his guests by luring them into this structure, then, relying on the thickness of the concrete walls to drown their screams, he applied high frequency currents to such warts as they possessed, the idea being that fast-growing cells just can't stand high frequency currents, and curl up and die. He predicted that there would be a blinding flash, a searing pain and Bingo! No wart! But his own wart is still as large as life after the treatment, and so, alas, is mine, - and Oh, the pain! The pain!
The Acme of Diplomacy: Snow had stretched out luxuriously and lay basking in the sunshine on the summit of Beoulagerie Spire. The shadow of another member of the party fell across him. Snow waited with patience, but the shadow did not budge. “You know”, says Snow, “isn't it marvellous? The sunshine travels 93 million miles to reach me - and to think that it should be baulked in the last yard!”
We hear that Kath Gibbs has resigned her post at Dunedoo Memorial Hospital and will shortly be in Sydney for a month or so. Hope to see you joining your old friends again out on the track, Kath.
The Admiral has at last confessed. In a signed statement (obviously prepared in a moment of weakness) he has painted a sorry picture of his boat's nautical navigation on that Friday night of the recent boat trip from Bobbin Head. The revelations are so fantastic that we're saving them up for another month just to stretch out your curiosity.
Keith Renwick showed us a close-up of a bat during his recent slide night on Caving. We don't altogether agree with Keith's cryptic remark “Not bad looking for an old bat, eh?”. We have seen much more attractive “bats” than this one in caves, even allowing for the muddy trog suits in which they're usually attired,
The “Panel of Experts” thought up some of the corniest answers bushwalkers have ever heard for the “Any Questions” escapade at the Fun and Games night last month. Alan Wilson thought he would craftily stump the Experts when he ventured his trick question, “And what is the Panel's opinion of the double sleeping bags now being sold in New Zealand?”. The Dalai Lama didn't bat an eyelid, didn't even show a trace of embarassment. “This is a bad thing” was the unfaltering reply, “Fancy encouraging all those bludging types who are only too ready and willing to leave their weight at home, knowing there'll probably be a spare berth for them when they get out on a trip.” The Admiral was much more direct and tried to hoist the engineer with his own petard when he glared at the questioner and scathingly roared “This is just the sort of question that Wilson would ask!” All in all, the Panel squirmed quite nicely out of the trap, thank you.
- Colin Putt - Convenor.
The Committee, appointed mainly for the purpose of making inquiries on the feasibility of erecting a hut in the Kosciusko area, had held six meetings, and is of the opinion that it is not constituted to go further - i.e. to start erecting the hut.
Four visits have been made to the Kosciusko State Park - one to inspect a hut for sale, two to select a site and one to see the site in winter. Two of these visits were made for the sole purpose of the Committee's business. Members of the Committee have had frequent interviews with the Manager and Secretary of the Park Trust and have sought information from those with experience in the snow country.
Following the Committee's recommendations a site in the Perisher area - 3/4 mile off the main Kosciusko Road and 200 yards from the Snow Reveller's hut - has been selected and applied for.
The cost of a hut which would conform to the minimum requirements of the Trust was estimated at £957, exclusive of labour cost.
Laurie Rayner, architect, has consented to design a suitable hut and has conferred with the Trust architects on their requirements. A preliminary plan has been prepared by him. John Scott, builder, has agreed to cost Laurie Rayner's plan.
The steps to be taken in the construction of a hut are:
To carry the project to a conclusion hut officials are required for the following tasks:
The Committee has no suggestions for any of these officials except the latter two. One person could, of course combine two or more of these functions, but this would mean increased work.
“The Bafut Beagles” – Durrell; “Exploration Fawcett” – Fawcett; “A Reporter in Africa” (Birds & beasts) – Morehead.
Remember our appeal for suitable book donations to the Club Library a couple of months back. Well, the response has not been exactly overwhelming, so how about it, walkers?
- Jim Hooper.
Last month we saw an archaeologist, of the Guess-who variety, who was guessing his location on the Kowmung River. During his “exacting” survey, he discovers the Stumpus Charcundus (the Black Stump) on other side of River. After throwing himself inside the Stumpus during a wild electrical storm, “arch” has an altercation with a Paleolithic bushwalker (fleshless variety); grabs a roll of Papyrus (The Manuscript) and dives for the river. (So far he's been swimming for a month). Now read on…
Suddenly I was swept sideways and down - into the dip of a pressure-wave. Desperately I trod water to try and keep the manuscript up a bit higher. The stick was just too long for a comfortable “balance”, and my jaws were already beginning to ache. Lightning flashed, and in the instant I was striking out again for the opposite bank. I seemed to be in part of a channel where the current was strongest.
Gasping for air between tightly clenched teeth, I knew the manuscript would have to go if I couldn't make the other side quickly. Down I went again… another pressure-wave… more treading water. Jaws aching relentlessly, and only getting half the air I needed, it was obvious the manuscript would have to go in a few seconds. I'd try swimming with only one hand, but the current was too strong. I'd never last the distance.
Down I went again… another pressure-wave… tread, tread, tread, furiously. The manuscript might still be dry. My foot touched a rock. In a flash of light I could see two rocks jutting out of the water just a few feet away. I lunged hard towards them. Water trickled down the back of my throat. Spluttering and half-choking, I grabbed blindly at the nearest rock. My fingers round a crevice where the rock was sloping nearly flat into the water's edge. My other hand snatched the tormenting stick of wood from between the teeth. The manuscript was clear of the water, and I could breathe again.
A searing flash of lightning filled the air, and then darkness. Glancing across to the bank I saw an enormous blueish cloud of vapour shimmering and swirling in an intense circle of light about the Stumpus.
The rock upon which I was resting gave a sudden tremor and from around the Stumpus I could hear an ugly grating sound. A dull and distant rumbling drowned the growl of the river. Thoroughly awe-struck I gazed across from my little island of rock. I held tight to the manuscript.
The Stumpus itself; it's encompassing gigantic boulders and even the ridge behind it seemed alive and as if under some terrific subterranean tension. A low humming sound drifted across the river. The blueish vapour around the Stumpus changed its hue to a greenish colour, and as it did so the humming sound increased rapidly in pitch.
The vapour-cloud seemed to writhe violently about the Stumpus and then it changed abruptly to a vivid yellow burst of light accompanied by a high-pitched screaming whine… Cr-r-aa-ack! Zzw oo omm!
All hell seemed let loose… A blast of light and air flattened the water in front of me, and then, strangely, the blast-wave passed overhead and across the rock like a gentle breeze. It must have been deflected upwards from the water by the far end of the rock on which I was lying.
Trees gesticulated violently, and nearly bent themselves double in answer to the blast. Water surged up along the opposite river-bank. A swirling tumultuous red cloud rose up above the Stumpus… The Stumpus? Where is it? Is it gone? I can't see. Boulders large and small, crashed with a continuous roar down the ridge. Crash! Splash!! Some of them were falling into the river.
Pssst!… Psst! Phutt! The yellow flame spat again, flared up, then died. Darkness. Pssst! Darkness again. Pssst! The flame flickered, grew in intensity, waned, became brighter, then suddenly increased in size. Fingers despairingly closed themselves about the flame.
Sitting under the tent with legs crossed yogi-fashion, the Admiral leant forward muttering salty incantations over a spluttering primus. This was a grouse show. Pssst! Phutt! Another match gone west! He'd spent all day hunting for paleolithic sign-posts, and all he'd got for his efforts was a sting from a bee! Everything was wet; the other bloke had apparently forgotten to come back to camp, and it was raining cats and bloody dogs.
Slipping, sliding, cussing and bumping through the dark undergrowth, I sat down exhausted on a rock. That last effort had nearly cost me the manuscript, and now I sported an obominably sore toe. I had put my foot under a rock and fallen headlong towards the water's edge. The manuscript had been within inches of another watery journey. So far it was only damp, very damp, but pushing through the wet undergrowth like this would soon have it a pulpy mess. On the feet again. Forward… Stumble… Swish, and the branch of another bush bit me viciously behind the ear. The river growled back. This was no longer funny. Where was the camp, anyway?
Sand! Surely camp must be somewhere near at hand. We had a small beach “frontage” about 40 feet down from the tent… wherever it was now? Confound the ruddy dark… every rock looked the same!
An ear-splitting roar tumbled down the slope: “Scupper me! Scupper me!… I'll smash yer main bloody mizzen with a rock, if yer don't get steam up in a minute!” I think I had found the Admiral.
Scrambling on unwilling legs, I reached the top of the embankment to see “home”. A golden light shone through the tent, but the illusion of home was quickly shattered by another roar from the Admiral. His shadow proclaimed dramatic activity from within.
I struggled round to the open end of the tent. This might call for a bit of tact. It might look as if I was overdue a little. I lifted the flap of the tent. “Good evening!… Admiral Luckduckus, I presume?” Silence. The Admiral was wildly pumping at the splutterring primus. He looked up astonished. “You?… Where the hellIve you been? You're late again. I've been worried as the devil… I couldn't find the TEA!”
The primus spluttered into a fitful flame. “It's in your tobacco pouch, Admiral. I saw you putting it there this morning! I'm sorry I forgot to tell you I always carry some in the snake-bite outfit… some of the four-bob stuff… you could have used that.”
“Hell's bells, I never thought of looking there!” The Admiral adjusted a billy on the primus: “Never mind. Very Soong we'll have a brew under way. I could do with one, and I suppose you could too! I've had a lousy day… Not one paleolithic post! How'd you go with your recce?”
“Old Snoot is going to go crazy with delight when we get back. We've won the day, Admiral! I've found the Stumpus Charcundus and I've recovered a manuscript!”
“Wh a a t”, yelled the Admiral!
It took me several seconds to fathom what had happened. The walls of the tent had suddenly shrunk into a vertical plane! In the confusion I shot to my feet in time to hear the Admiral scream something about an unusual type of Primus, and I realised that we would avert the danger of a fire, because he had put his foot on it! The tent collapsed about us, and with us. The rain had stopped.
The admiral was very patient, and as he concentrated, I gave him a detailed account of what had happened at the Stumpus. After an hour and a half he completed cutting the billy off my foot with his pen-knife. The toe was sore, but so what? Tea was supposed to be good for the hot-foot. With supper under way, we would soon be able to get to with the torches and start deciphering the manuscript.
“You know, it's a pity you got the MS so wet”. The Admiral munched a hunk of garlic: “As it is now, it looks as if it's written in a derivative of the old Cuneiform… or, maybe even Chloroform. I'll have to get the magnifying glass on to it.”
“Yes”, I said, “I was worried about the effect of water when I swam across. Inside the Stumpus my first impression was that the writing was in the Munga Heiroglyphics, but I thought you'd be able to pick it straight away.”
“That's not so easy! I've been studying so many forms lately it's difficult to say which is best.”
The Admiral reached into the pocket of his pack for the magnifying glass, “By the way Admiral… That post the Prof. found in the Blue Labyrinth? Didn't he say it was marked in a new form of writing?”
“Yes, by cripes! I've got some notes on it in the other pocket. The Prof. had it named Rucksaeform… I'll bet that's it!”
a Together we worked on the breakdown of sufficient of the MS to find out it's purpose. Stifling some copious yarns, I reckoned we'd have at least 18 months work ahead of us before we could actually complete the full translation.
“We're on the right track, you know! This is Rucksaeform, but… hell… the first section of the MS is just about unreadable.”
“Perhaps we'd better leave that part until we get it back to the Prof? He'll probably get the U.V. Lamp and the camera on it anyway.”
“Yep”, said the Admiral, “That's the best idea. It's right piteous though, 'cos that means we can't start at the beginning.”
“I guess so, Admiral. These dam' perforations on the MS are giving me the wrong idea anyway!”
“Hold it fella!… These two characters on the second line in the next section?… I recognise those… Man! We've got a clue!”
“OK mate! You read 'em,” I said, “an' I'll write 'em down.”
The Admiral paused, turned a page of his Translation-guide, and said: “Hmmm!… Write this down… Be it underhob… No You'd better make that 'Understood'!”
Swinging his glasses down so they hung on one ear, the Admiral gave a prodigious yawn. “I'm tired”, he said. Diligently writing in my notebook, I repeated the words back: “Be it understood I'm tired”. “No! No!” said the Admiral. “Here, wait a minute!”
After three hours of struggling with the intricacies of translating the MS, we had made a little progress. However, we were still very much in the dark as what it was all about.
“I knew we'd be in strife by not starting at the beginning”, yawned the Admiral. “To increase Madi by Terrafak is a fundarnata1 to the Fourth Requirement” —? “It just doesn't add up!” . “Well, I don't know”; I said, “It seems to me that these “Requirements” are in relation to the Leaders of walks. If that's the the MS is referring to what they should do on walks. What does a Leader do before he goes on a walk?”
“Oh! Go Madi Terrafak your skull… I'm getting too dam' tired to concentrate”, moaned the Admiral!
“Madi”, I yawned. “Madi, Madi… a flamin' leader and his Madi. We've gone far enough with the MS tonight anyway. Far enough?? Stumpus Carrrumpus!? Admiral! Wake up ! I've got it Madi Madi is the Leader's Map Distance!”
Pulling a long face, the Admiral excitedly slammed the glasses back off the end of his nose. “Hell's Bells, you're right! To increase the Map Distance by Terrafak… Terrafak must logically be the Terrain Factor! Yep! We're on to something at last!”
“Give me that formula again, in the Fourth Requirement, Admiral!” “Mo-te equals Madi multiplied by Terrafak tae uuich adde Madi. Fuuhen thou hast fhis akkumplished, th correkt aevaluation of Mo-to shall fe obtained bye again multiplying bye 0.25. Thus th Leader's dae shall hay sftarted on th amiable fhooting”,
“OK, Admiral. Now what's that example? What's this “Mote” anyhow?”
“Dunno, fella”, yawned the Admiral, “The first figure here is 14, so I spose thats the Madi for the day. Shove this on the slide-rule: 14 multiplied by 25 percent for Terrafak… add 14 then multiply by 0.25 again… What have yougot now?”
“Double vision… just wait a sec!… The answer's 4.375 and that's Mo-to!”
“Allright, I'm none the wiser! What's the total distance for the day, allowing for the terrain?”
“I reckon it at 17.5 miles, say, 18 for the full day”. The Admiral threw his spare boots outside the tent. “Woww!… Yer clot. You hit my ruddy sore toe”, I bellowed at him. “Sorry, sorry”, said the Admiral, “I didn't see yer toe out there.”
Both looking a little more awake, the Admiral resumed: “OK. In a half-day the Leader walks 9 miles, and in a quarter-day, say 4.5 miles they strike this Mo-te? Mo-te must be some sort of ceremony?”
“Ceremony be hanged!… Man… I've just thought of it. Mo-te is not a ceremony… it's Morning Tea! These Paleolithic Walkers had the right idea… they're more human that we are!” “Look I've had the MS for tonight, Admiral. How about a cuppa and then hitting the sack?”
I awoke hazily to find a kind soul giving me my porridge (Terrys Meal) by pouring it from a billy into the top of my sleeping-bag. Another kindred spirit had energetically grabbed my big toe through the bag and was pulling my leg… just like yours!
Two of our very good friends and fellow members, Geof Wagg and Grace Aird, will jump into the common melting pot of matrimony on the night of Wednesday, 18th September. The S.B.W. sincerely wishes you, Geof and Grace, all the happiness that life can bring in your journey together through the years ahead. We know that bushwalking and the outdoor life will always play a big part in attaining that happiness, so we rest contentedly with the thought that you will still be actively among us just as you always have been in the past. (P.S. We'll allow you a little time off now and then for home-building and certain other things) - Ed.
Congratulations to Club Member Allen Strom, whose marriage to Miss Edwina Gray of the Caloola Club took place on 22nd August.
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- Laurie Rayner.
This walk on Eight-Hour weekend is breaking new and tough ground. The area which lies between the Hastings and the Macleay Rivers contains some of the best virgin bush forests of N.S.W. The valleys are easy and used for cattle grazing, but as you rise on the granite ridges at about 3000' a jungle takes over from the open gum forest. The reason for this change lies in the volcanic nature of the tops of which the highest is Banda-Banda with a superb view. The other peaks to be climbed are Rocky Peak, Spokes Hill, Camerons Bluff, Mt. Boss and last but not least Kemp's Pinnacle. A huge rocky outcrop which may or may not have been climbed, it looks a decidedly tough proposition from the side I have viewed it some years ago. The rail fares are £5 return to Kempsey. There will be additional car fares from Kempsey to Kookaburra Sawmill and from Pappinbarra to Wauchope. If we have a full car this should be approximately 30/- per head. I would not mind taking my car which would considerably cheapen the trip but would mean retracing our steps instead of a continuous ridge walk. If I do take my car I would prefer to leave straight after lunch on the Friday to avoid night driving on the road to Newcastle.
I should like to hear from those who wish to tackle this as soon as possible to be able to complete transport arrangements for this pioneering walk.
- Dot Butler.
Night, and the glory of the stars - all around the eternal mountain peaks piercing the sky - down there the grey-white glaciers coiled like sleeping serpents in their beds - here the tumbled moraine rocks, shadowy-soft in the starlight - here the little hut over which the darkness broods like a vast motherly hen - and within the hut four bodies safe and soundly sleeping.
Suddenly with shattering insistence the alarm clock whirrs and shouts and we reluctantly crawl out of our bunks, light a candle, and get the breakfast porridge on the way. We eat as we pack up. Then on with the boots. We clump outside and pick up our ice axes at the doorway and in the grey light before the dawn we make our way up the moraine heap to the first snow field on Mt. De la Beche. We have taken our first steps on the day's climb, our goal the twin snow peaks of the Minarets, ten thousand feet of sheer perfection.
A steep climb up several snowfields plastered on the rocky flanks of Mt. De la Beche, and then a long plod round a steeply inclined iced slope to the high Ranfurley Glacier while dawn touches the white summits with pink fingers suffusing them with rosy life. The Minarets are a snow climb all the way. In the thickly packed snow great crevasses open to incredible depths, hung with silver stalactites, and peering down one can see mounds and pinnacles of ice showing out in their mysterious blue depths. Great cliffs and crags of snow make up the mountain's height, and hummocks and mounds of snow cover its surface like merangue heaped indiscriminately over a wedding cake. It took us all the morning to reach a spot below a snow precipice with a deep crevasse knifed all around its base. Great chunks of snow had broken off the precipice and leaned askew in rickety precarious postures right across our route. Could we go on? We settled down in a safe position and ate lunch while we gave the matter some thought. As we munched our biscuits and cheese we did a bit of prospecting. A couple of flimsy snow bridges over the schrund looked as though they might give access to the snow cliff, but they were definitely dangerous; so we looked further afield. We crept gingerly along under some of the leaning snow masses, hardly daring to speak in case the vibration of our voices brought the thousands of tons of snow toppling down on us, and we managed to find an inclined bank of snow which gave access to the higher snowfield. From here we could see our summit peaks standing up like white pyramids from the rounded snowfield, and we knew that success would be ours. It was now getting fairly late in the afternoon so we lost no time in making for the highest summit. We successfully got over the bergschrund at its base, then cramponed up the steep side of the pyramid and stood on the top of our first 10,000 footer. George took photographs, urging Snow and myself, as unwilling “human interest”, out on to the edge of an overhanging cornice with who knows how many thousand feet of nothingness below it, the idea being that this would make a more spectacular picture. But I'm sorry to say the infinity of space below didn't come out in the picture and all that is to be seen is Snow and I crouching apprehensively on what appears to be a perfectly safe level snowfield, lashed on to a couple of ice axes in the foreground by various lengths of nylon rope. It is as difficult to photograph infinity as it is to describe it in words.
It was too late in the afternoon to think of climbing Mt. De la Beche whose rocky summit rose out of the snowfield near by. It would probably have taken another hour or so, which time we could not spare if we were to be off the mountain before dark, and in any case we felt it would be something in the nature of an anticlimax after the Minarets, so we followed back in our tracks and at sundown arrived back at the steep snow slopes above the hut. Here Whaka suggested glissading, and I watched him shoot down with the speed of a mail train till he came to a stop below looking as small as a grain of wheat. Snow and George scooted after him with terrific enthusiasm, and then I launched myself on the most thrilling and glorious glissade of a lifetime. “Glissading sure puts skiing in the shade!” says Snow.
Back to the little hut, full of contentment after our successful day. We planned to cross over Grahams Saddle next day, to the Almer hut on the Franz Josef Glacier, so after our evening meal of pemmican stew and potato powder, and dried apricots to follow, we packed up in readiness for an early start in the morning. And as we busied ourselves with these tasks, night crept quietly over the mountains and another day soundlessly slipped away.
Dawn saw us on our way, loaded with our heavy packs which by now had become part of us, creeping over the heaped moraine boulders, looking for a way down their steep slope to the Rudolf Glacier. Although it didn't look more than a half hour's climb, it took us two or three hours to get down to the glacier level. Then we followed up the glacier, the terrain getting steeper and steeper till in places it seemed not many degrees from the perpendicular. A guided party had come across the previous day, so we kept on the lookout for their footprints, but they were not always easy to see in the hard snow and rocky sections. It was not yet necessary to rope up. We had spread out looking for tracks. I was alone on a snow slope about seven thousand feet up when I heard a soft swishing noise above. Thinking it was George I looked up, to see a huge fallen pillar of rock the size of a grey nurse shark sliding swiftly towards me: the heat of the sun had melted the ice which had held it to the snow face, and now it was on its way to join other avalanche rocks way down on the glacier below. I thought, if I rush wildly to one side I might run right into the track of it, with consequences too catastrophic to contemplate. It was not obvious which way it was going to slide, so I stood my ground and watched it come at me, as a hunter would watch a charging rhinocerus, then when it was just a couple of yards off I jumped to one side and watched it whistle right through the track of my footprints which I had made only a couple of seconds ago. Wow!! The others heard it crashing down to its doom but didn't see it. Snow told me later, with a note of disappointment in his voice, that he had thought it was my pack.
Graham's Saddle is a very high pass, at about 8,000 ft, which leads from the Tasman Glacier over the Main Range to the West Coast of N.Z. Enormous masses of snow from the western slopes of the range collect in a huge basin called the Franz Josef neve, and push downwards towards the sea, consolidating to form the steep Franz Josef Glacier. From the top of the pass about midday we looked out over vast leagues of solitude. In the wide snow basin we could see MacKay rocks rising starkly like a black island out of a white sea of foam, and beyond that a rocky outcrop where the Almer hut is situated - about a thousand feet above the ice of the Franz. We were very jubilant at seeing our way so clearly laid out but were brought back to earth by the realisation that we didn't quite know where to start the descent to the snow basin. All the places we had inspected so far looked remarkably steep. Just then we heard a faint hum that grew louder and louder and then we saw, coming up the Tasman Valley, the Mt. Cook Tourist plane - a bright blue humming bird looking incredibly tiny and brave against the stark rocky walls and icy avalanche precipices of the Mt. Cook Range. It came through the pass, right over our heads, and three times it circled us and dipped its wings in greeting before flying off towards the west coast Fox Glacier. For a while we thought it was trying to show us the route through the pass, but on inspection we found that this was not so. A bit more prospecting around eventually showed us the easy way down.
All through the long afternoon we walked through the timeless land, the only living beings in the world which seemed just snow and sun and sky, and Whaka recited a poem - slowly - line by line so that I could learn it:
There is much comfort in high hills
And a great easing of the heart.
We gaze upon them and our nature fills
With loftier images from their life apart.
They set our feet on curves of freedom bent
To snap the circles of our discontent.
Mountains are moods of larger rhythm and line
Moving between the eternal mode and mine
Moments in thought of which I am but part.
I lose in them my instant of brief ills.
There is great easing of the heart
And cumulance of comfort in high hills.
The words said themselves over and over again in my mind and soaked themselves into the landscape, and the landscape gave them back with part of itself incorporated in them, so that now when I hear the words I see again the wide white solitude, the golden air, the shining breathless circle of the mountains reaching for the sky; I know again the rich companionship that imperceptibly grows - that binds a mountaineering party together as all about them the tremendous majesty of the peaks gathers closely and the glorious dreams and heroisms of all the climbers gone before them make the air seem bright with more than summer sun.
The last half mile to the hut was through deep snow. We sank into it almost up to our knees, and an inquisitive kea arrived from nowhere and padded along beside us like a little old man of the mountains, cocking his head to one side and squarking derisively whenever we would flounder forward on our faces. If we succeeded sometimes in getting ahead of him he would take to the air and fly to a spot just in front of us. Then he would turn and give us a cocky look as much as to say, “See how easy that is? I don't know why you're making such a labour of it.” George threw a chunk of snow at him at last, but they tell me this is bad luck.
There was a reception committee of several more keas to greet us as we reached the hut, and they skated along the ridge pole and slid down the iron roof on their claws as we stamped inside and dumped our packs. Here I will leave us, making ourselves at home, and the final instalment next month will tell how we fared on the Franz Josef Glacier and the few days remaining of our holiday before returning to Sydney.
- Brian Anderson - Walks Secretary.
Our walking activities during July were very quiet compared to that of the previous months. This was probably due to the Spastic Centre Working Bee which reduced 18 active bods from the field of walking and also the failure of the Sports Carnival which was to be held at Era.
Of the ten programmed walks, three failed to get under way due to insufficient starters. In all seventy-eight Walkers had joined the seven trips, the seventy-eight comprising 51 members, 21 prospectives and 6 visitors.
There were three changes in the seven programmed walks. David Brown led his walk to Splendour Rock a week earlier, Edna Garrad changed her walk from Scouters Mountain to go via Morella Karong and David Ingram's walk proceeded via the pipeline road, missing out on Woronora Trig.
David Brown has reported from his Splendour Rock walk that three members of the party had pulled out at Deberts Knob to return to Carlons Farm. From the Grand Canyon, Jack Gentle has reported all the direction arrows have been repainted a beautiful white thus making the area safe for white ants.
Except for one trip all the others seem to have gone very quietly with the minimum of blunders. Or is it that the censorship within the parties is becoming stronger, thus foiling the Walks Secretary?
Of course the exception to all these supposed quiet trips was Peter Stitt's Boat Race. However, in my very humble opinion, after examining all the facts I feel the less said about that weekend, the better for some certain parties concerned.
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- Blue Gum.
S ydney people everywhere, wonder who they are,
Y ou see them here, you see them there, they come from near and far
D ressed in shorts & hob nailed boots & rucksacks on their backs
N ot just men but ladies too, take to the rough bush tracks.
E ach one staggers neath his load of grub & sleeping bag
Y ou wonder if they are “all there” to carry such a swag
B ut you don't know the pleasures that they find in these bushwalks
U ntil you've shared their company, their camp fires and their talk
S hould a walker become lost - no matter where or when
H oopers Search & Rescue crew will be out in force again
W illing hands are always there, to share the work or play
A nd rousing songs they sing around the fire at close of day
L et others ride in shiny cars and travel the easy way
K owmung, Blue Gum, or Carlons Head, they'll walk them any day
E very bush track is a joy to these friends as they stride
R emember, if you want to roam the bushland wild and wide
“S ydney Bush Walkers”, that's their name, so let them be your guide.
It is quite a common thing for Walkers to come into Paddy's shop bewailing the fact that they have been tempted into buying “cheap” walking gear. For what seemed a bargain price they have picked up a tent or rucksack or sleeping bag only to find that under the searching test of hard conditions the article did not measure up to requirements.
Take thought, therefore, before investing money in camp gear and get the advice of the old hands first. Paddy made camp gear for Walkers offers a wide range of joys to suit individual requirements. The prices asked are the lowest prices practical for the quality of goods offered. These prices are in many cases lower than “bargains” offered elsewhere.
Paddy is the largest manufacturer of light weight camp gear in Australia and the resulting economies are passed on to the customer. Wherever you meet Walkers you will see Paddy made gear.
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney. 'Phone: DM 2685.