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 November Meeting||Alex Colley||3|
|Your Walking Guide||4|
|The Troglodytes||Paddy Pallin||5|
|Caution - The Guffaw Listens!||8|
|October Walks Report, Goon Type||Brian Anderson||10|
|White Ant Borings||14|
|To Normanton in the Gulf Country||Jack Perry||16|
|Christmas Party Advt.||21|
|News from Wee McGregor||22|
|Sanitarium Health Food Shop||7|
|Hattswell's Taxi & Tourist Service||9|
|Leica Photo Service||13|
|Christmas Shopping at Paddy's (Paddy's Advt.)||24|
When a Car Trial, of all things, first appeared on our Walks Programme, many people raised their eyebrows and looked askance at an idea which somehow seemed remote from our normal walking activities. “Are we a bushwalking club or a hotch-potch club?” someone was heard to say. Never before in the Club's thirty years of history had anything quite so revolutionary been dared.
As the event turned out, it was an outstanding success, and although the leaders could scarcely have foreseen it, the Car Trial couldn't have come at a better time. Just when widespread bushfires and the fire-lighting ban had made ordinary bushwalking extremely unpleasant, if not impossible, thirty odd members in eight cars were able to get away from the city and enjoy a weekend to remember. Nor was the bushwalking flavour absent by a long shot - there was excellent camping and swimming, a sing song - folk dance evening, the relaxation of the open countryside and the bush, the usual S.B.W. warm companionship and gay frivolity and the added novelty of competition in solving the many hilarious problems set by the enterprising organisers. You could have almost called it bushwalking on wheels.
Perhaps there is a moral to be learned from this event. Perhaps it is that we should not be afraid of reasonable innovations, particularly when times are bad. Let us not squash the new idea simply because it is new or unorthodox - let's give it a fair hearing and a fair trial. The Club which can keep its members active and interested while sailing through the stagnant doldrums is the Club which will sail back into favourable winds with flying colours.
The “Sydney Bushwalker” heartily wishes all its readers a Really Joyous Christmas and the very best of walking in 1958.
- Frank Rigby. Editor.
Due to a misunderstanding, the date of our Christmas party was wrongly given in the November issue as Saturday, 14th December. This should have been Wednesday, 18th December. Please see page 21 for details.
Has anyone a spare copy of the “Sydney Bushwalker”, No. 183, February, 1950. This magazine would make the Club's Magazine File complete.
If you can oblige, please contact librarians George Gray or Frank Young.
A member who signed herself “Water Bag” has sent in an addition to “Bull Moose's” glossary of Bushwalking Terms.
Permanent Soak - A rum-carrying walker.
Can you think of any?
- Alex Colley.
At the start of the meeting the President announced that no fewer than five new members had been admitted and he welcomed the three who were present - Thelma Phillips, Georgina Langley and Marion White. The others were Pat Cole and Michael Elphick.
In matters arising from correspondence, Tom Moppett told us that a State Forest is being dedicated on Erskine Creek. The area north of Erskine Creek - to the railway - is being reserved as part of the Blue Mountains National Park. There is a proposal for a road across the Labyrinth from the lower part of Erskine Creek to Glenbrook. More information is being sought. Good news came from the Kosciusko front. The Minister for Lands and the Minister for Conservation, who previously did not see eye to eye on erosion problems, had jointly announced that no more leases would be granted above the 4,500 ft. level. (Just how much influence the S.B.W. had in this decision will never be known, but, long before the problem engaged the attention of scientists or hit the headlines, our members, who didn't need scientists to point it out, could see the damage of grazing and burning, and helped finance Jocelyn Henderson's booklet on the subject). News from the North was not good. The Trustees of the New England National Park had been forced by lack of funds to sell timber from the Park. But the N.P.A. had protested and the President of the Trust had agreed with their views, said it would not occur again, and applied for membership of the N.P.A. The Club would soon have to elect a delegate to the N.P.A.
Brian Anderson then brought up the subject of walks reports. It was a matter of great difficulty to extract reports from leaders, and Brian thought we should decide, firstly, whether we wanted a walks report, and secondly, if we did, how to get the information from leaders. It rapidly transpired that nobody wanted to be deprived of our monthly report. Kath Brown said they were particularly interesting to those who didn't go on many walks themselves. Heather Joyce described them as “the bright spot of our meetings”, and suggested sending leaders forms setting out the information required. The discussion, therefore, came round to the problem of wringing reports out of leaders. It was generally agreed that a by-law on the subject would have only moral force, which, in the S.B.W. at least, would not be very potent. The idea of forms had been tried by the Federation, but only 4% (2 out of 50) had been returned. Jim Hooper suggested that those who didn't return forms be called before the Committee to give the information verbally. Dot Butler said that if someone went round interviewing leaders in the Club room the interesting happenings on walks could be reported. She offered to do this herself, and was promptly given the job.
Tom Moppett who is a member of the K.A.C., and was asked by members of the Ski Lodge Committee to find out whether White's Hut was for sale, said that the K.A.C. Committee had decided it was for sale. They wanted to recover the money they had spent on it - £400 - plus perhaps £80 which individual members of the Club had spent on the Hut. Tom said that the K.A.C. members had ceased to be interested in touring and were now more interested in their ski lodge near the Chalet. It was resolved to ask our ski committee for a report on the condition of the hut.
The Secretaries asked that changes of addresses and phone numbers be notified in time for the next annual report.
The Membership Secretary, Edna Stretton, asked for more consideration for prospectives on walks. She said that some prospectives had lost their confidence and been browned off on walks because of lack of consideration by leaders and inadequate rest pauses. Some never turned up again.
At the conclusion of the meeting Allan Hardie moved that we donate £5 to the Opera House. This would be valuable publicity because our name would appear in the “Herald” and would be placed on a parchment roll in the Opera House. It would further the objects of the club by “promoting social activity amongst members”. Members were interested in the arts, in fact he estimated that 50% of their discussion on walks was on music and art, 45% on photography, and 5% on sex. After all £5 wasn't much. It was only half of £10 and smaller cities on the continent supported two opera houses. The proposal, however, was received in Aberdonian silence. There was no seconder. Maybe Dormie transposed his statistics.
|December 14-15||Bundeena to Burning Palms. Tracks most of the way except for a few burnt out scrub patches on the headlands. Approx half a dozen beaches will be passed, providing good swimming. Good coastal shots for the photographer. Remember to take your sun-burn cream and hat. Approx cost 10/-.|
|15||Rudolf Cup Boat Race - Audley. See Colin Putt re transport. As in previous years meet at boat shed approximately 9.30 a.m. Crews will be organised then. Make sure your gear is wrapped in a suitable waterproof material as chances of getting wet are guaranteed. Approx. cost 15/- inclusive of fares.|
|24-25-26-27-28-29||Davies Canyon Trip as advertised in November issue.|
We like to take a summer nap,
But locusts do defeat it -
We wish that double drummer chap
Would take his drums and beat it.
(Positively not connected with the Speleologists)
(A report 18 months late of the doings of the Old Buffers at Easter 1956)
- Paddy Pallin.
The ambition of certain members of the Old Buffers Club is to have an Easter Trip where the four days is spent on a three day walk and this year we had it all lined up. From the Castle we had looked across the Clyde and had seen Talaterang squatting like a toad on the other side of the gorge. One of these days we'd have a look at it we said. A few weeks before Easter I got out the maps and started plotting routes (That word plotting is just right isn't it?) When the boys were assembled I told them I'd got it - the perfect trip - a three day walk in four days. Thursday night Yatte-Yatah to Pointer Mountain. Friday - Talaterang, Saturday - The Castle, Sunday - Pigeon House and Monday - spine bash. If things didn't work out right we could leave out Pigeon House and spine-bash on Monday but def! spine-bash on Monday. The old fellows put on their bi focals, looked at the maps skeptically and agreed. It was on!
True enough the bus picked us up at Nowra and tipped us out at Yatte Yatah on the Princes Highway and we camped that night in the moonlight a few miles closer to the Pointer Mountain. Next morning we pushed on but the Pointer Mountain eluded us (there's only one fault with the old buffers, there are too many experts. You've only got to suggest that you don't know to a hundred yards where you are, when out come prismatics, sighting compasses, incident light photometers, protractors and maps). Cross bearings were duly taken and after the proper correction had been made for deflection caused by wire fences, rucksack frames and photo-electric cells we resolved the triangle of error and made the unnerving discovery we were standing right on the Mountain we were looking for. (Well I still don't think it looks much of a mountain).
Behind the mountain we picked up the track we sought. It led across a saddle and through heavily timbered country through the Pointer Gap on to the plateau. The weather suddenly remembered it was Easter and the mist came down and it rained. We tramped over the sodden moorlands and were suddenly startled by the appearance of a mob of half wild horses led by a magnificent grey mare. They looked a fine sight with manes and tails streaming as they galloped across the treacherous ground. We kept working westward until we struck the cliff at the edge of the gorge and followed this southward. We were glad of such a definite landmark for visibility was very restricted, We eventually came to a promontory on the plateau which we had to descend to reach the saddle leading to the north end of Talaterang. We got down after a little trouble and started looking for a camp site. It was inhospitable country and we finally decided to camp in a cave in the cliff. That was No.1 cave, It was nice, but nobbly.
Next day (a little behind schedule you'll notice) we decided we'd go over Talaterang (only 2 miles) down to the Clyde and then decide whether we'd go towards Pigeon House or the Castle (we spine-bash on Monday don't forget). Talaterang is an exasperating mountain. It had more leeches per acre than any other mountain I know. Does anyone know what they live on when they can't get Ber-lud? We finally got tired of pulling them off or touching them with the hot end of a cigarette. While we got one off three more got on. It was easier we found to let them gorge and fall off.
Talaterang has three highest points. We were on all of them. The first was wrapped in shroud-like gloom. (The view from Talaterang shouldn't be mist). On the second we had lunch which was finished very hurriedly as it started to pour down and from the third we actually saw a view across the Clyde with the Castle in magnificent profile against the skyline. Byangee Wall athwart the Valley looked even more impregnable than before. We saw the green flats on the river where we had hoped to lunch but now despaired of camping on, because where-ever we looked we saw nothing but sheer cliffs descending into the valley. We descended to the southern tip of Talaterang hoping against hope that we might find a break, but alas we saw cliffs everywhere comparable to Kanangra Walls. We couldn't even find a place to camp for the only flat spots were bare rocks. “A cave's the thing” said Rob, (who has a low opinion of the merits of Paddymade tents). The party deployed and sure enough there soon came a hail and we had a shelter for the night with a little stream just in front of us. Cave No. 2 was a little less uncomfortable than No. 1.
(The chances of a spine-bash for Monday were now rated very low)
Next morning the weather was perfect and the Kodak dividends went up as triggers were pressed in all directions. But the cliff! How do we get down. Realising we had a problem to solve we got away at 8.30 and started a systematic search for a way down. From our observation the previous day, the West side was hopeless so we worked to the East. I will not give details of the laborious business of the next few hours but at 12 noon we were still at the top and discussing whether we'd give it away and retrace our steps over the mountain! One more try we decided. We had got so far down a promising sort of lead but we landed out on a rocky shelf and everywhere below us was a sheer drop of 40 or 50 feet. However Rob and I kept poking about and suddenly we saw it! At some time or another a huge boulder had fallen and lodged at the foot of the cliff reducing the drop to a mere 20 feet or so. With Reg's trusty sashcord (which had got us out of trouble before) we could do it easily. We called the others and they agreed (somewhat dubiously I thought). A little wattle fully 3“ in diameter acted as a belay. The rope was secured in no time. “Who'll go first?” said Reg. Suddenly it seemed a long way down. Suppose the rope broke. Suppose that absurd little bush didn't hold. But Ken was made of sterner stuff. “I'll go” said he, and away he went. It was easy! The real heroes of the descent were Reg and Rob who had to go down the rope (sodden and slimy by this time) hand over hand.
We had a quick lunch and then it took us 2 1/2 hours to cover a leech infested tangled half mile to the edge of the Pigeon House Creek gorge. It took us an hour to get down this wall and so into the creek, with less than half an hour of daylight to spare. We seemed doomed to inhospitable ground for our camps. We went upstream and downstream and found nothing but boulders and rocks and beetling cliffs. We were very tired. It started to rain.
It was Rob, of course, who spotted the cave. He and I went to inspect it. A tricky creek crossing was made more so by flapping cape. The cave was big, the floor was level, but made of very coarse conglomerate - and the “pebbles” were the size of oranges. “Impossible”, we both decided, but on the way back to the party the shower turned to a cloud burst. “A beaut cave” we shouted and we grabbed our packs and leapt boldly over the creek into the grateful shelter of the cave. Despite the rocky protuberances of the floor and despite the brawling stream below us which rose steadily as the rain drummed down, we had a good night's sleep, for we were very tired. Except of course for the two who slept in a place where the cave leaked and who had to retire to an upper cave.
Next day (Monday) we had to climb out of the other side of Pigeon House Creek gorge which we had so laboriously descended the previous afternoon. This we did, found a track along the Wombat Ridge and so to Pigeon House and Drury's Farm where the bus awaited us.
That spine-bash? Yes we got it in the bus on the way home.
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.
The following document, or part thereof of a document, was found on the Club-room floor at 2139 hours on the night of Wednesday, 13th Nov. 1957. It was discovered by one of our members, and passed immediately to our President. The member reported that he heard an evil guffaw behind him, quite audibly, but when he looked around, there was not a soul in sight. Instead he found the document which is reproduced below. It is feared that the document may have some obscure connection with the forthcoming Rudolf Cup Boat Race.
This document is FLOP SECRET. It must NOT fall into ENEMY hands, or the hands of any other Club. If found somewhere else, tear off and report to the President who will give a due-lly signed receipt.
Plans & Specifications for:
Type: Mark I 0.5 Flour
Short Title: The MACBOP Mark One
Maximum Range: 30 yards
Effective Range: With FD Type Bomb (Dry) 10 yds. With FW Type Bomb (Wet) 20 yds.
Height of Trajectory at maximum range: 20 feet.
Effective rate of fire (without interference): 20 Bombs per Hour, 3360 Bombs per week.
Effect on Enemy Morale:
With such a trajectory the weapon is essentially a weapon of surprise. Using both types of bomb the effect on enemy morale is devastating. On first indications they turn PALE. Provided the M.A.C.B.O.P. is used to best tactical advantage they are also likely to turn TALE and run.
Effective “Burst” area: Head and shoulders.
Weight of Charge: Standard - Half pound. Supercharge - Pound. Surcharge - sixpence per round.
Medical Indications (Genevieve Convention 1955).
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The President views this discovery with some concern. On cross-checking with our “Scientific Development Sub-Committee” he gleaned that we have no offensive-weapon projects under way, due, in part, to a temporary lack of revenue. Such being the case, we are forced to draw the very serious conclusion that we have an unknown enemy within the camp. Further to such discovery, it would appear that the said enemy is already well advanced in the development of the said weapons-project.
Due to the extreme seriousness of the situation, the Editor and several members have been clubbed together. As a result, they have offered the following reward:
A Reward of One Thousand (1000) Hobs is offered for the apprehension, within the precincts of the Club-rooms, of the unknown person, or member, with the Evil Guffaw.
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.
Written by that “Charlie” B. Anderson - Walks Secretary
The Place: In the lounge room of Mr. Anderson's home at Coogee. Mr. Anderson is in his favourite lounge chair reading the Sunday papers.
The Time: It's 7.30 p.m., Sunday evening.
The Action: His son, Brian turns on the radio.
The Result: A riot. Because from the radio is heard - “This is the Home Service of the B.B.C. We present, (pause) the highly esteemed GOON SHOW”. (Burp) And from Mr Anderson, (no pause) “Turn that b—- programme off. It's nothing more than unadulterated ridiculous trash and nonsense, only fit for the minds of ratbags”.
Which of course brings me back to the October Walks Report. Actually this is where the report really begins.
My friend, spy and also famed international idiot, Count Moriarty has reported to me strange carrying-ons, concerning a party of twelve Charlies who dilly-dallied down the Dilly during the October long weekend. It would appear that Major Bloodknock's niece, Miss Margaret Ryan (especially imported from Ireland to do this job) had surreptitiously poured vast volumes of Creme de Menthe and Benedictine into her innocent fellow walkers and talkers. In fact, this campaign was so successful, the leaders and party were rendered powerless against the fantastic forces of white antism. Needless to say, the party didn't go over Beloon Pass into the Nattai River, but carried on down the Wollondilly to Central Burragorang.
At this stage I'd like to point out that Beloon Pass is not to be confused with the South Col of Everest. This has been a very common mistake with many of our members. Probably this mistake is due to the fact that the number of unsuccessful S.B.W. attempts to find and climb Baloon Pass is equal to the number of attempts on the South Col.
However, getting back to the subject, these now vanishing quantities of spirits were not the only contributing factors which changed the route of this trip. Pictures of bushfires and samples of water from dry creeks, not to mention the parties habitual habit of arguing on two vital subjects from daylight to dark also had a big part in influencing this solid party. These two controversial subjects may interest you, Miss Social Secretary, for a club evening. After seeing how twelve people argued, over them, heaven only knows what would happen at a club meeting. They were -
a) Should a bushwalker marry another bushwalker? (of the opposite sex of course).
b) Do Dance Halls lead to sin and sex? (and they mean more than 5% too).
Now this is where the report really begins.
The other two long weekend walks failed to start due to lack of starters.
During the second weekend of October, Major Bloodknock of the Royal 5th Deserters (I have already mentioned this slob) summoned his car driven chauffeur and proceeded west to cover Colin Putt's walk in the south and John Noble's walk in the north. It goes without saying that the only report forthcoming was in the newspaper the other day where an army major was seen at Ayres Rock in a hysterical condition shouting Putto! Putto! Putto!
Dear readers, I agree with you, this Bloodknock character has the ear marks of being an ideal S.B.W. leader.
Getting back to vital statistics, Colin was accompanied by ten members and two prospective Charlies. The trip has been reported as going per programme. However on the other hand John Noble's party of two prospectives were forced to turn back due to bushfires in the surrounding Cowan area.
With only one walk going as per programme so far, I ventured forth with mixed feelings and Neddy Seagoon to investigate the following weekends walking activities. On our way there, Neddy in his usual sophisticated way kept mumbling about some Charlie who when asked, “How did your walk go?”, always broke out into operatic song.
Of course, knowing Neddy to be just a poor twisted boy I refused to be dragged into conversation by such a ridiculous statement. Leaders reporting their walks by song. What next?
To save time we stopped at the first telephone box. I had reached a stage now with this festering report, that the vital statistics (how many went etc.) of the walk, would be enough for me to complete the report.
So I rang the first leader's number. The phone rang with a sexy 5% type purr. When the receiver was finally lifted I asked in my usual manner, “Would you give me the vital statistics of your walk last weekend?” To my horror a soft female voice answered, “34-24-34 with a wobble”.
Neddy, seeing my face turn red, knew I apparently had the wrong number.
Finally at last I found out that Brian Harvey on his mountain trip had three members and three prospectives. The Sunday walk in the now burnt out area between Bundeena and Audley which was led by Frank Leyden was also attended by three members and three prospectives. Both walks went as planned.
Although I knew the Saturday walk led by a certain member had three members and three prospectives also and that the way had been altered a little, I decided to ring for further details.
Making sure I had the right party this time I asked, “How did your walk go?”
To my horror again the leader broke out in to an operatic song as follows -
This bloody trip's too bloody hot,
This Summer walking's bloody rot,
Here's a party who'd rather not,
Oh bloody, bloody, bloody!
The bloody guard on the mountain train
Was up to his bloody tricks again
And we couldn't reach the bloody chain,
Oh bloody, bloody, bloody!
The bloody way is bloody long,
The road we took was bloody wrong,
I'd sell my pack for a bloody song,
Oh bloody, bloody, bloody!
The bloody Nepean's too thick to drink,
Take a swim - you couldn't sink,
We've made the bloody creek -1 think,
Oh bloody, bloody, bloody!
There's a bloody ban on bloody fires,
Won't someone chase these bloody flies,
Lookout! There's more bloody fencing wires,
Oh bloody, bloody, bloody!
This bloody primus is bloody good -
A hot cuppa with our cold food,
And you don't have to carry firewood,
Oh, bloody, bloody, bloody!
The bloody creek's too bloody low,
There's hardly water to cover my toe
and the bloody party's too bloody slow,
Oh bloody, bloody, bloody!
We'll never make the bloody bend,
We'll climb this bloody ridge instead,
And lunch is by the Grose's bed,
Oh bloody, bloody, bloody!
The best laid plans of mice and men -
I'll never lead a walk again,
Will reach the Grose tonight at ten
Oh, bloody, bloody, bloody!
Well, I was flabbergasted I was amazed, singing walks reports, what next?
You poor twisted leader. (The leader who wrote the above musical report wishes to remain anonymous).
In order to finish this report I sent that bird-brain Bluebottle and his delinquent friend Eccles out to cover the last two walks. Actually I should have known better than to send these two as you can see from the following recorded interview.
“Well, how did you get on?” inquired the Walks Sec.
“Fine! Fine!” replied Eccles in his juvenile voice.
“I know you probably got on fine, but what did you find out?” inquired the Walks Sec. again, keeping his voice down to a shout.
“Nothing, my Capytain's chipped in Bluebottle.
“Nothing?” roared the Walks Sec.
“No, my Capytain” replied Bluebottle again, “The Carrington Falls walk didn't go and the other led by John White ended up in Blue Gum”.
“By the great measurements of Sabrina”, thundered the Walks Sec. “is there no walk that can go as per programme?”
“Now, my poor frustrated Walks Sec. calm down”, soothed Eccles, “actually John and his party of five were forced to change their walk due to bushfires, but from here I must confess, confusion over an alternate trip prevailed to such an extent that John didn't know whether he was going to Colong Caves or walking backwards to Christmas across the Blue Labyrinth.
The Walks Sec. tired by the Club's walking activities during October, Settled back in peace to smoke a gorilla.
Dear readers, you have just read the last of the Goon Type October Walks Report.
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.
This month our roving termite was sent to cover the fabulous S.B.W. Car Trial. With seven or eight cars competing, he came home with some quaint morsels of Car Trial doings.
Faced with the task of measuring the width of Wheeny Ck. bridge without a tape, the Renault crew decided to use Henry Gold as a standard of length and laid him out several times across the bridge. The answer of 2.78 Henrys was not accepted by the organisers as it was ruled that a “henry” was a measure used in electricity and not in length. On converting to feet and inches the answer was still wrong so they couldn't win either way.
One of the crafty questions concerned the number of blades on a windmill at a certain property along the Comleroy Road. However, there was one big fly in this particular ointment - the windmill was rotating. The first competitor along pulled up and asked the lady of the house, “Excuse me, but could you tell us how many blades on your windmill?” Somewhat mystified but very obligingly the lady replied that she didn't know but would stop the windmill so they could be counted. We believe that the last competitor to come by met with a somewhat different reception; on slowing down they were assailed by the screaming voice of a little boy from the front garden - “Yes, Mister, no need to stop, I can tell yer. There's sixteen!”
Along the Colo River road lay an old and abandoned chaff cutter. It seemed a simple matter for the competitors to estimate the weight of the counterweight on said machine. But everyone reckoned without Duncan. Arriving on the spot first, he robbed the derelict of its vital part and hid it in his car. You can imagine the terrific struggle for possession that followed when the skulduggery was exposed.
P.S. Duncan finished last!
“What is the number on the gear-box of the hand-punt at …..?” Picture the wide unbelieving eyes of the sorely-tried Car Trialers when they discovered that the required hand-punt was on the opposite side of the Colo River. Amid a wild clamour of threats and oaths, off came clothes and on went costumes as rivals had to swim the drink to get the clue. It was a long number and several memories, of course, wilted under the strain on the swim back - all that effort for a wrong answer! It was fortunate for the organisers that they were already in the water when the mob arrived - perhaps they had some misgivings after all.
Any outsider visiting Richmond cemetery at about 1600 hours on Saturday, 30th November could have been excused for concluding that the world had suddenly gone crackers. He would have witnessed an extraordinary sight - about twenty bods running up and down among those silent tombs, examining each and every headstone, looking intently for just one belonging to a “pioneer” who passed away in 1840! Needless to say, our pioneer rested in the longest grass in the farthest corner of the graveyard, his epitaph almost indecipherable through the ravages of time. The things people do for fun!
[ Cartoon of car trial vehicle No. 10 ]
“Next Course Please, Mr. Navigator!”
(Well, there certainly were some interesting and varied versions on our Car Trial from the competitors, but we sure didn't expect to see the one portrayed above by our Cartoonist. We're not allowed to tell who belongs to Car No. 10; but most people will agree it bears a striking resemblance to a well-known bomb driven by one of our scientific members with a degree in Meditation - Ed.)
Hot, dry and dusty, the competitors drove up to North Richmond Hostelry where stood the organisers at their “secret control”. There was Snow with a tantalising long cold pale ale in his mitt and a superior leer from ear to ear and shouting to the parched competitors - “You can't stop here or you'll be penalised”. This was the most unkindest cut of all - et tu Brute!.
There's no doubt that bushwalkers choose some odd out-of-the-way places to pop that important question. So it was with Ken Angel, who was accepted by Beverley Fletcher (of the Newcastle Tech. College & Uni Bushwalking Club) on the top of Ayer's Rock. And Beverley says she wasn't held on the edge, either.
Congratulations and best wishes to both of you from everyone in S.B.W.
- Jack Perry.
“For one as cannot sleep in one bed too long, must get 'ence, the same as I 'ave done an' go on observing things until they die.” Kipling's Tramp.
It was on the 15th September, 1955, that I struck camp at the Cairns camping ground and headed off along the “Gillies Highway”, bound for the Gulf country; my equipment a rucksack, my transport “shank's pony” well shod with a stout pair of walking boots.
The road is bounded by endless fields of sugar cane, the harvest of which is in full swing. The weather in these tropical parts is a trifle humid.
After walking a few miles a taxi, on its way to collect a fare at Kuranda, gave me a lift to that town. Kuranda Railway Station is famous for its fine show of ferns and plant life. At 1000 ft. altitude the climate is more bearable than Cairns.
Once more afoot on the way to Mareeba the landscape had changed from rain forest to open parkland; the soil from rich red to poor white, the latter being suitable for Tobacco Plants which thrive in a “hungry” soil.
The country here was dotted with bloodwood, box and white gum trees. The termite mounds or ant hills, like headstones in a cemetery, were arrayed everywhere. The mounds have their uses however, They are gathered and pulverised then scattered over the land that is to be planted out with tobacco. Set alight they burn with a fierce heat and destroy the Eelworms that are parasites of the tobacco plant.
I arrived at the township of Atherton by lunch time. From Cairns to Atherton is considered one of the best scenic drives in Australia, as it goes through the exotic rain forests. There are dangers for the unwary here, such as the Gympie Bush, or stinging tree; the effects of contact with this large leafed tree are felt for weeks. If one unwittingly sits upon the numerous half-rotten logs in the jungle one is attacked by hosts of microscopic mites that burrow into the skin and cause an itch to develop. They are also carriers of the deadly Scrub Typhus.
Shouldering my pack once more, a few miles walking plus a lift, brought MB to the Crater, a volcanic rent about 350' deep, covered with green scum. If a stone is tossed in it disturbs 'the scum making a perfect mirror; one can watch the changing patterns made by the clouds overhead.
Between walking and lifts I arrived at Ravenshoe,situated on the western boundary of the Atherton Tablelands, at an altitude of 3000 ft. It has a refreshing coolness after the humidity of Cairns.
Covered 100 miles for the day, walking 12 miles.
Five miles from the town is the Millstream River and Falls the site of a large army camp during the war where I spent a year. If one moves quietly along the river bank Platypus can be seen playing in the water. A light rain was falling as I packed up in the early morning. From Ravenshoe the country drops away to the flatter cattle country of the west, with ironbark, box and sheoaks along the creek margins - crossed the Wild River and had lunch at Innot Springs. I walked about a mile after lunch when a truck gave MB a lift to the tin-mining town of Mt. Garnet - a town with a future judging by. the large power line that is being erected.
Before leaving town I filled my canvas water bag, as I was now entering a dry stretch of country. Cypress Pine (Callitris) was much in evidence, a good building timber resistant to termites. Making camp at sundown my log book records that I travelled 36 miles for the day, walking twelve. Earlier in the day I had inspected the site of the army camp on the Millstream River by the Falls; however it was hard to pick out any landmarks as the bush had claimed its own again.
In this area I have seen seemingly endless lines of Flying Foxes or Phlangers - as a rule nocturnal - probably returning late from foraging.
As I turned out at dawn with misty rain falling I replenished my water supply from the run-off of the tent. By the time I had breakfast it had cleared, so I walked about six miles towards Mt. Surprise.
The Patron who watches over travellers was smiling on me this day as a utility truck pulled up and after treating me to morning tea my host carried me over 50 miles of very dry country, mostly Mulga scrub, and a few Bottle Trees belonging to the Kurrajongs (Brachychiton). It stores water in its large bole and many a bushman's life has been saved by tapping these trees for their water supply.
Passed Conjuboy Station and on to the Lynd Station - one of the best cattle stations in Queensland - with the Flinders and Mitchell grasses much in evidence. Crossed the Lynd River. Leichardt, the explorer, caught a saltwater fish in this river and thought he had reached the sea. However, he had another 200 miles to go. Fish are also great wanderers - most of the rivers in this area flow into the Gulf.
My friends insisted that I have lunch with them - the North is noted for its hospitality. Another 20 miles and we arrived at the' Hughenden turn-off and I left my good friends here.
Turning north I was now on Carpentaria Downs Station. After a short walk across the black soil plain I met a truck with some roadworkers(it was Saturday. afternoon) on their way harm to Eingsleigh for the weekend. They pulled up and I clambered aboard. We passed several lagoons or “Gilgais” (also word for “waterhole”) swarming with wild fowl and covered with water-lilies in bloom. There were a few brumbies or wild horses around the lagoons, also inhabited by fresh water Crocodiles. The truck in this area ran over a large brown snake about seven feet long and as thick as a man's forearm, a King Brown, considered to be one of the most deadly and aggressive snakes of the North. I asked one of the roadworkers what steps I would take if I came upon one in the bush. His reply was “Long ones in the opposite direction!”
The country was very flat hereabouts and one could see where large squares of land had been cleared and levelled. These were for Aerodromes, but however they were not used as the war receded from our shores, the construction being done by the Americans.
Arrived at the tin-mining township of Einsaleigh - a typical western town - with a range of blue hills in the background. The river here is called the Copperfield, reduced to a trickle in the dry season, but a raging torrent in the wet. This rule applies to most of the rivers that flow into the Gulf. Camped for the night' under one of the large river gums that lined the banks of the stream. My log book shows that I travelled 144 miles for the day - walking seven miles.
Up with the dawn, had a refreshing dip in the stream. The branches of the river gums were bedecked with large flocks of Galahs greeting the dawn with their raucous cries, their pink coats making vivid splashes of colour against the green background of the trees.
After buying a few stores and inquiring as to the best route I decided to follow the railway line to Forsayth, so I set off with a full water-bag across the treeless black-soil plain, covered with foot high Mitchell and Flinders grass. Saw a few Plain Turkeys or at least their heads. One sees a long neck and head projecting like a periscope above the ocean of grass. Belonging to the “Bustard” family, grey in colour, about the size of a game-foul, they are good eating with rich red flesh.
After walking a few miles along the line I regretted my choice of route as the coarse gravel and the wooden-sleepers made walking very awkward. After walking about six miles the country changed to undulating red soil, covered with ironbark scrub. Noticed some large outcrops of “quartz” rock with large veins of amber coloured mica running through it. There were no signs of water all day, so I had to ration my small supply.
I camped about sundown, after cooking and eating my supper. Was relaxing on my sleeping bag debating with myself as to whether I would have another drink of water or save it until the morning, as my only certain supply was at Forsayth, another good day's walk away. My reverie was ended by the buzzing of a mosquito, soon there were several, all coming from the one direction on my right. As a rule they are never far from water, so arising I brewed a billy of tea - the only time I have ever welcomed mosquitos. Walked about 16 miles for the day.
Up before dawn, as it is cooler walking in the early hours in this sub-tropical climate. Making a 'sweep around my campsite I cut across a dry watercourse and after, following it for a few yards came upon a soak with about eight inches of water in it. It was of interest to note that the water was in the direction from whence the mossies were coming the previous night. I had a welcome wash, filled the waterbag, shouldered my pack and made haste.
There are a few Dingoes or wild dogs in the gulf country - one can get close to them if the wind is favourable. However once they pick up the human scent they are gone in a flash.
Lunched at a deserted siding named Wirra-Wirra. Soon after lunch the road came in parallel with the line - it was a relief to get away from the line. In the soft dust there were Some large snake tracks. I had walked to within two miles of Forsayth when a small truck pulled up and offered me a lift to Georgetown, 28 miles distant. After a few miles the truck picked up another walker, a lean bearded person, one of the “old school swagmen”; his possessions in a chaff sack with a huge black billy in his hand. He claimed to be over 80 years of age.
It was dusk as I alighted on the outskirts of Georgetown. After cooking supper I was not long in seeking oblivion. Travelled 50 miles, walking 23.
In the dry season in the Gulf country there is no need for a tent, the nights are dewless, the atmosphere the clearest I have seen and in fact the stars seem to be actually blazing in the sky.
Up at dawn for a dip in Etheridge River - a large stream in the “wet” judging from the sandy bed - which was about half a mile wide. Its now only a chain of waterholes. The banks are lined with huge river gums, also the paperbark guns, with white trunks and graceful pendulous foliage. There was a large variety of bird life around the pools.
Georgetown is one of the many ghost towns in the Gulf area, born at the turn of the century when gold was discovered - it is now a sleepy cattle town.
While buying some food at the only store I met a chap in the drapery trade. He owned a large bus converted into a caravan. He was going to Normanton the following day and if I was on the road I would be welcome to a lift, which I snapped up the offer with alacrity.
I had an easy day in the shade of a large Mango tree on my way to find a camp; passed a cemetery and noticed many of the epitaphs were simply “Died in the Bush”.
Another perfect night, with a brilliant starlit sky - enough wind blowing to keep the mosquitoes grounded.
Early the following morning my lift arrived in due course, passed the abandoned town of Durham, the smokestack of the ore treatment plant still standing. After crossing the Gilbert River I noticed many “Brolgas” or native companions - a large bird of the Crane family. They can be seen in the early morning performing their stately dances mostly around the waterholes.
Arrived at Croydon in the afternoon - quite a city in the eighties - with 30 hotels.dotted around the many mine shafts were heaps of rusty machinery; there was still gold to be won. However, one of the 'leads' must have tapped an underground stream bringing the water table to within six feet of the surface, thus making it too costly, Most of the houses are gone. Still to be seen are the red ironstone kerb and guttering of the streets, with the old lampposts still standing.
The following afternoon we set off once more over open plain country. After crossing the Norman River arrived at Normanton at nine o'clock: alongside the camping spot is an artesian bore of boiling mineral water which empties into the local swimming pool - very pleasant to bathe in.
Normanton is a town of windmills, practically every house owns one. The river and wharf are about a mile from the town, Craft of shallow draught such as L.S.T.'s sail up the river via the gulf bringing stores and departing with a load of cattle. The actual “Gulf” is 44 miles from here, fringed with Mangrove swamps. Karumba the headquarters of the Crocodile shooters was an airforce base during the war.
This was my furthest point North in this area - my next stage being south to Cloncurry.
sacrificio pro bono publico?
DBBS News:- (Extract)
“It is reliably reported the bushwalkers have been sighted carrying hot food with them in special light-weight containers. This averts the risk of lighting fires in a bushfire danger period. Your favourite radio-frequency cooker is now available at _ _ _ _”
R.S.L. Hall, Elizabeth Street.
Wednesday, 18th December. 8 p.m. - 1 a.m.
Heather Joyce, Social Sec. - UM8942.
9905 Wildwood Road,
Kensington. Maryland. U.S.A.
10th November, 1957.
Dear Everybody at S.B.W.
Well, things have certainly been different since I left Sydney. The plane trip had its moments - after leaving Fiji we ran into the tail of a cyclone and got thrown around quite a lot. The plane developed a sick engine at the same time and this part of the trip was interesting to say the least.
I spent a day in San Francisco (plans for several more days on the way home) and this place has got something. After breakfast I wandered about for a bit, then booked a ride on a bus around the city. You've heard about the hills and the steep roads in San Francisco - well don't you believe them any more. The places I saw were much steeper than any of the stories had led me to believe - they're terrific. The cable cars - Oh boy - Oh boy - the Scenic Railway at Katoomba is kid stuff to these cars and these run in the modern city streets. Up and down the hills they go with the customers hanging on like hell. It was great. In the evening I went with Nina and Mark (Nina is a niece of Dr. Harris) to the top of the Mark (Mark Hopkins Hotel, 19 stories up on top of one of these hills) for cocktails. The sight from the top as the lights of the city began to glow is undescribable - the patterns of lights - the movement of cars - the colours - a sight I shall never forget. I'm glad that San Francisco is on the return track.
Washington itself is a government city - it is beautiful but unattractive. The buildings are superb, but it is the trees and parks that carry the place in my eyes. The trees are everywhere and there is plenty of grass to play on. When I arrived the leaves had begun to turn colour and the day to day pageant was wonderful to behold. The soft yellows, the bold oranges and reds and the browns all took turns before one's eyes until any individual colour became lost in the overall beauty of the scene. Then comes the fall - the grass is patterned then covered, then buried in the falling leaves. It is truly an experience to follow the story of the leaves.
The countryside generally is flat and featureless - there is very little of the ruggedness seen around Sydney. Travelling out of Washington into Virginia is mostly flat going with rolling grass lands (milk country) everywhere. The farm buildings are very pretty, but the tree colouring is the thing that one sees at this time of year. About 70 miles to the west the ridges of the Appalachians begin to rise and I have been on part of the Sky Line Drive. A car trip admittedly, but we have nothing like it in Australia. It is designed so that the customers can see every beauty spot on its 120 mile length, and the look out points are quite unobtrusive. The planners have done a fine job. The scenery is superb, the Virginia dairy lands to the east and to the west is the Shanandoah River Valley. I hope my slides can give you some idea of tree colours and the terrain.
There has been too much to do to spend enough time in Washington itself yet, to get a full picture of all its beauties. One feature that I have examined is the Rock Creek Park. Rock Creek is a little dribble of water which starts up in Maryland and runs right through Washington to join the Potomac River. The whole of the banks of the creek are reserved and extensive bush walks can be made right through the centre of the city. It is possible, I am told, to go for a whole day and have no sight of any buildings, cars, etc. I've visited some of its places and roamed about. Everywhere the autumn colours and the leaf carpet, so different from our land.
Elsa and Bobby arrived a week ago, in time to see the latter part of the tree colours. It was good to have them here with me. At the moment Bobby and I have colds, but they will go soon and then more trips into the country.
So far the days are warm enough, but don't think about the mornings. We're not half way through autumn yet, but now we have to scrape the ICE off the windscreen of the car before setting out for the Lab. in the mornings. I'll let you know later what it is like in the winter!!!
The people here are as friendly and hospitable as any we have ever met and the food! Where we are living food is definitely one of the finer things in life. They spend more time on its preparation than we do, but the result is really something. Figures will need watching or we will really come rolling home.
We are living with Dr. Harris in a fairly new house in Maryland about 15 miles from the centre of Washington. It is a bit like the magazine pictures - washing machine - T.V. - 3 radios - 2 bathrooms rumpus room with bar etc. We are extremely lucky to have been invited here and Dr. Harris is truly one of the best.
My work at the Laboratory is going very well and with luck the job will be finished when we leave for home.
Wherever I've been so far I've been impressed by the cleanliness of the-parks etc. I have not seen any litter by the roadsides as we see only too often in Sydney. The cities and towns are clean and the picnic grounds used by car travellers are delightful. The people as a whole are more conscious of the surroundings than we are. It is something to aim for in Australia. The impact on me when strolling around these litter free areas was very noticeable and I imagine the reverse impact must be solid on visitors to our country.
However, we are very conscious of the beauties of our own homeland. From our short experience, travelling is wonderful, it is exciting, but homecoming will be satisfying.
Elsa Bobby and I would like to convey through the Magazine our very best wishes for the Christmas season to all the gang at the Club.
So long for now,
If you want gifts for outdoor types where better could you go than Paddy's? There's an enormous selection of plastic bottles, jars and containers and aluminium goods of all kinds.
The Paddymade factory has been working overtime to cope with Christmas demands and there are good supplies of everything right now, but shop early to avoid delay and make sure of your choice.
Sydney Bushwalkers will be spread far and wide over the map over the Christmas holidays. Wherever you are Paddy wishes you good camping and good fellowship for Christmas and the coming year.
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear.
210 Castlereagh St., Sydney. 'Phone: BM 2685.