A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, c/- Ingersoll Hall, 256 Crown Street, Sydney. Box No. 4476, G.P.O. Sydney. 'Phone: JW 1462.
|Editor||Geof Wagg, 131 St. Georges Cres., Drummoyne. UW 3435 (B) 1-2 p.m.|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales & Subs||Jess Martin|
|Typed By||Grace Wagg|
|The Bush Walker||Dorothy Lawry||1|
|At Our August General Meeting||Alex Colley||3|
|Book Review - Shackleton||4|
|Ern's Trip to Newnes on Queen's Birthday||“Bookie”||6|
|Pedder to Fedder and the Huon||“Paddy”||9|
|News From Overseas||14|
|And Memories Stir||Jim Brown||16|
|Your Walking Guide||19|
|Leica Photo Service||5|
|Hatswells Taxi & Tourist Service||7|
|The Sanitarium Health Food Shop||11|
|Rubber Soled Boots (Paddy's advt.)||20|
I have been so keen a walker; filled my lungs
So deeply with the fragrance of the gums,
Their tan, their scent, their aromatic breath,
Their life invigorating, and pungent death.
These are mere words! They lack the power, the strength,
To lift the head, each step give added length,
As do the mighty trees in vibrant life.
Yet, ere the city's grim and noisy strife
Drowns all, I would shut out the noise a while
So peace can be remembered with a smile
That smooths the furrowed brow, and finds again
Friends and brothers in one's fellow-men.
Why do we fight, who are crowded here, hemmed in
By walls, machinery, and ceaseless din?
Components these of madness and despair!
Speed is a cage - we are all imprisoned there;
A curse; and we live beneath it, you and I;
The goal itself: so we rush, and slave, and die.
Yet, by the walker's road, I can escape,
And change, and almost take another shape,
And so keep sanity still, and come to peace,
Wide-spread, serene, where jealousies cease,
And simple things give pleasure; wants are few -
To soothe jangled nerves, strength renew,
Out in the empty lands, gazing, or glancing …
These I recall:
Blue wavelets, sunlit, dancing,
Chased by a breeze; a beach of golden sand;
An eagle above ma soaring; the wide land
Beneath my feet; and rest after a climb;
Oranges; and full many a view sublime;
A scarce-seen, leafy path beneath tall trees;
And trees themselves, that sway to every breeze,
Standing straight and stately, friended or alone.
Then, the fine friendliness of birds, full-grown,
Knowing not man; and the liquid notes
Of lyre-birds; butcher-birds; a song that floats,
Joyous and free, through sundrenched air; the calm
Serenity that is the mountain's charm;
The homeliness of a little fire, with tent close by;
Then hot food, and fresh tea; a darkening sky;
The comfort and joy of the big camp-fire,
Flames leaping, while the fairy sparks fly higher,
Into the night, and the cold dark …
And gay laughter, and song, and talk! Great shades,
And pleasing thoughts of lesser men are here;
Thoughts of our own; voices beautiful, or queer;
Frogs in chorus, too; on bracken beds
We sink to sleep; and the silence spreads;
Night sounds, and silvery shafts of moonlight
Slanting through trees, add magic to the night;
Fast-driving clouds, hiding the moon; the grey
Coldness of dawn; bird-calls greeting day;
Wind; and sunshine; deep pools in creeks;
Lapstones; and long, steep ridges, crowned with peaks;
The range-filled view; and trailing smoke of a train;
All these have brought me joy, and will again
Whenever I escape, by secret thought,
Or with my rucksack from the city. There's nought
Can keep me from them while I've strength to walk!
Yet do I leave them, join in the fuss and talk,
Fight the old fight for bread, enslaved by goods,
And insatiate appetites,, timid moods.
-Oh, why do I yield, when, out there, freedom waits,
And all that's left of leisure, that creates
Beauty's reflection ….
And the great god, Pan,
Retires, and watches, waits, withdraws, as man
Destroys the face of the earth, and kills, and burns
His source of food, and dies.
Then Nature returns.
O! dear, green Earth! O! Mountains, deep within
Your hearts the bushland keep! May we who win
To peace, and living Beauty, there enshrined,
Guard them, and thee, forever, from mankind!
The above poem was previously published in this magazine some time ago, but is re-printed as there are probably many newer Members who have not had the opportunity of reading it.
At the commencement of the meeting the President welcomed new member Barry Higgins to the Club.
Correspondence included a request from Mr. Jenkins of the Youth Section of the Democratic Labour Party asking advice about good places to walk. The President had guided their footsteps in the right directions. A letter from Edna Garrad mentioned the Jungfraujoch, Zermatt and other high spots. The city of Blue Mountains Council, in reply to our request for the repairing of tracks, said that its resources were committed to bush fire repair work for the time. Another letter, from the Wild Life Preservation Society, requested us to help, financially and otherwise, in an exhibition of picked wildflowers to be exhibited at the Waratah Festival. It also suggested that we list our name amongst conservation bodies wanting new members. Colin Putt was of the opinion that, since our accounts would barely balance, we didn't have money to give away. Jim Brown thought that, though the festival had a commercial basis, the exhibition might divert attention to conservation. He thought that many would not want to subscribe Club funds to outside interests. Alex Colley said that, in view of the widespread destruction of protected flowers that the festival would stimulate, we should urge the Festival Committee to adopt an advertising gimmick other than the waratah rather than lend our support. Nobody else thought so. Ron Knightly said the exhibition would help to inculcate a love of natural flowers in their natural state. It was the sort of publicity the Club wanted and, as we had some £300 in Club funds we could afford it. When the motion was put nearly everybody favoured participation in the exhibition.
The Committee on the Investment of Club funds reported that it did not recommend supporting the proposal for a David G. Stead Memorial Fund in its present form and the meeting agreed without discussion.
The President informed us that the departure of George Gray on a round Australia tour left us without a librarian and called for volunteers. Irene Pridham took on the job.
At the conclusion of the meeting the Federation President, Paul Driver, who spent the evening listening to our deliberations, urged support of the Federation Ball.
It is with deep regret that we must announce the death of Bill Henley. His presence will be sadly missed.
by Margery & James Fisher.
In these enlightened days polar exploration is done in machines. The South Pole is reached from Christchurch by “Globemasters” in fifteen hours flying time, with a stop at McMurdo Sound. Though up till ten years ago only a few hundred people had ever seen the Antarctic continent, temporary residents and visitors are now numbered in thousands. A party of six U.S. Senators has been flown over the pole, while journalists, cameramen and other not particularly rugged types, make frequent visits.
Exploration is now mainly a matter of keeping the machines running. To do so is a triumph of engineering skill where the cold contracts engine parts, hardens rubber, congeals oil and causes metals to burn the skin. Merely to exist down there is no mean feat. And how Dr. Fuchs and Sir Edmund got their tractors over the awful crevasses of the Beardmore Glacier, I cannot conceive. But when their story is written it will be largely a chronicle of oil sumps, cylinder blocks, carburettors, and the like, and I won't be amongst the readers. Nor is the Antarctic the place it was. As nothing rots, rusts, burns or decays down there, there must by now be a fair sprinkling of petrol drums, cartons, bottles, mattresses and the rest of the litter that accompanies the internal combustion engine and its operators. But there was a time, still remembered by quite a few people, when the snow was virgin, when explorers went there in small, old, wooden ships about the size of our ferries, and, when they got there, used their - ugh - legs.
After leaving their last port in the spring, exploring parties were alone for at least a year, since there was no wireless, and ships could not reach them till the next spring. Leadership and morale were all important. The members of “Operation Deep Freeze” are sifted by psychiatrists. In those days they were chosen by the leader - by judgments which the psychiatrist would eschew. Yet they seldom erred, and it is the superb morale of those expeditions, focussed by isolation, intense cold and months of darkness, that makes their story so inspiring.
When Scott wintered at the McMurdo Sound in 1902 the continent, except such parts of it as could be seen from the sea, was unknown. The expedition, mostly naval men, had no practical knowledge of sledging. In the spring of 1902, after a few experimental sorties, a party consisting of Scott, Shackleton and Nilson, with support in the early stages, set out across the great ice barrier. Despite near starvation and scurvy they kept going for three months and reached latitude 82.15 South.
Thereafter Shackleton, try though he did to settle down, lived for polar exploration. Between expeditions he was almost continuously planning, organising and raising funds for the next one, or working hard to pay off the last. He never succeeded in raising enough for an adequately equipped expedition and always finished in debt. But, though he was no financial wizard, he was complete master of the situation once they started, and a superb leader. In the 1908 expedition his party nearly reached the Pole - a feat which entailed traversing the ground covered in 1902, plus a return journey of 366 miles over unknown ground, which included a 9,000 ft. climb; hauling a sledge up what may be the world's largest, and is certainly one of its roughest, glaciers.
Perhaps his greatest feat was to extricate his party, in tact, from the Weddell sea after their ship was crushed in the ice. As an expedition it was a failure, but as a feat of leadership and seamanship it was classic.
The book is a reconstruction from a great mass of documentary evidence. It has not the direct appeal of Scott's diary - a first hand, day to day description of weather, distances, ice conditions and personalities, or of Apsley Cherry-Garrard's description of the six-weeks mid-winter journey to Cape Crozier. But it is a very good reconstruction. It is a study of the man as much as his achievements, and has no resemblance to the ever popular success stories so dear to film magnates and journalists. It is a long book (559 pages) - long enough to enable the reader to follow the pattern of his life, and to feel sorry for him as his strong imagination and romantic temperament drive him into recurring cycles of frustration during his between-expeditions life.
This book costs £2/16/3. I have had it for five weeks and it will cost me 1/3 to read it. Why anyone should ever have suggested doing away with the Club library beats me.
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.
Ernest Munns was waiting by the map at Central. So were dozens of other anxious bushwalkers, including Digby and party.
“Have you bought your ticket?” asked Ern.
“Then don't. We're travelling by car and sleeping in beds tonight.”
“Good! There's Digby over there, is he coming with us?”
I looked at him suspiciously. He looked back knitting his eyebrows. Had his influence spread among our party?
9.00 p.m. Friday, Blackheath. It had. At Jan's parents' weekender the party settled into relaxing chairs while sipping tea.
Miss B: “Switch on the radiogram please Ernie.”
Miss A: “If only there were some records.”
Miss B (gazing thoughtfully at the light bulb): “It's a dam shame to leave this warm house for the weekend. Will it be empty all the time Jan?”
Ern shifted uncomfortably in his chair.
Miss C: “Digby's trip is going to be hard.”
Miss D: “Yes, there's no turning back.”
Miss B: “Hardly to be expected of him.”
Miss C: “Remember he has a Walker with him.”
Jan answers the door - it's Digby and co.
“Thank you Jan,” says Digby.
“There are no beds left,” apologizes Jan. “You'll have to sleep on the floor.”
“You're being very unwise allowing ME to sleep on a wooden floor,” replies Digby.
10.30 the angel of sleep spread her wings over twenty bushwalkers.
5.45 a.m. Saturday - Digby's party up.
6.45 a.m. - Digby's party moves off to Kanangra in Taxi.
6.45 a.m. (continued) - Ern's party still in deep sleep.
9.30 Ernest implores.
10.30 Frost has thawed and last bod has left her sleeping bag.
11.30 We actually move off.
12.45 Arrive at end of road after many consultations of map. Lunch in drizzling rain.
1.45 Rain stops. Easy stroll along railroad track. From the track we see a wide variety of scenery. It passes through interesting cuttings and has some very high embankments. Tunnels offer variety and they are in good condition. One is called the Glow-worm Tunnel. This is a natural one with walls and ceilings covered with thousands of small worms whose phosphoresent tails glow like stars in the heavens. The track carries on a further quarter of a mile before it cuts into the cliff face. From the cliff track there are spectacular views up and down the valley. About half a mile further on Ernest drew us together and pointed out our campsite in the valley below.
3.45 p.m. Campsite - afternoon tea.
10.59 a.m. Sunday. “Moving off in one minute,” warned the determined leader, but the girls went on dawdling. However, he waited a further twenty minutes and we all went a-hiking down the road to Newness.
It was drizzling now and the road was soft underfoot. On our right the river flowed peacefully and sandstone walls towered up both sides. There were blackberries for those who like eating whilst walking.
1.00 Arrive at hotel. Girls very disappointed to find no hot meals served. A little hut came in handy while the drizzle drizzled on outside. We missed our cuppa. I have never been to the battle-front, but after watching T.V. and cowboy films I feel sure I've had a real live experience at Newnes. Shooters galore - bullets flying close overhead - bushwalkers moaning.
2.00 p.m. Rain stopped and we could stand the battle-front no longer, so it was up with our packs and back along the railroad track for 2 1/2 miles.
3.00 Afternoon tea in the 3R billy - a must on a good trip. 3R's because it is round, it can go all around and it belongs to Allen Round.
3.45 Campsite. Collected tent-fulls of bracken and heaps of wood. We meant to be comfortable and, with tents abdulled towards the campfire, we were.
9.00 Monday. Early start. We leave the railway track and follow cattle pads by the river. The coach road starts from a farm about 3 1/2 miles from Newnes. Our road proved a little strenuous after all we were used to.
11.00 a.m. Morning tea. Road along top passes through some interesting rock formations.
1.00 No sign of cars. Lunch.
2.30 Sight cars.
Ernest: “Easy trip for three days.”
Mr. A: “Terribly; I can visualise D. Ingram planning a day trip for it, but unfortunately for prospectives it shall never be a test walk - a members' walk only.”
To Bob and Christa Younger on the arrival of a daughter, Julia, on 14th August.
Just a reminder that Dorothy Lawry, who is visiting Sydney for a short period commencing 22nd September, will be very pleased to meet her old bushwalking friends at a Gipsy Tea and Camp Fire to be held in her honour on Saturday, 27th September, 1958, at the home of Brian and Jean Harvey, 12 Mahratta Avenue, Wahroonga, from 4 p.m. onwards. Take train to Warrawee Station, bus to Mahratta Avenue turn-off. See August Magazine for details. Any member not going away for that weekend is cordially invited to come along and bring his and/or her NEW song book.
- Paddy Pallin
“Do that trip to Federation now. It's later than you think” said a little voice inside me. Then I found out that Jack Thwaites of the Hobart Walking Club had a sizeable chunk of long service leave. We soon had Vic Batchler and Jock Turner also of the H.W.C. interested, and it was on! It was truly a veteran party. Average age 59.
On Jack, Vic and Jock, fell the brunt of the working out of food lists. Then great quantities of food were bought, soldered into tins, labelled, listed, packed into onion bags, and each bag clearly marked with names, dates and destination for air dropping.
I arrived in Hobart on Friday afternoon, and Jack and Jock left for Pedder in the Cessna. The clouds closed in behind them and we were left to cool our heels in Hobart until the clouds lifted. On the A.B.C. news the chief item was to the effect that the bad weather had separated a party comprising three members of Hobart Walking Club and that well known walker from the Mainland, Mr. Paddy Pallin (excuse my blushes folks). We hung around all day Saturday and most of Sunday. Then just as we were about to give up hope on Sunday we got through, our pilot flying along all the valleys to keep below the cloud ceiling.
Our trip was what is now the classic route over Federation. We started at Lake Pedder then via Huon Plains, Arthur Plains, Pass Creek, climb up Luckman's Lead on the Dial, through Stuart's Saddle (previously known as Scorparia Saddle), Goon Moor, Four Peaks, Hanging Lake, Forest Chute, Rock Slide, Bechervaise Plateau, Federation Peak (top, if possible), Moss Ridge, Burgess Bluff, Low Saddle, Picton, Huon River, Geeveston.
The whole trip is shown at a scale of two miles to the inch on the Field Nest Cox's Bight Map prepared by the indefatigable Ron Smith of the H.W.C., but a more detailed map of the area from the Dial to Moss Ridge is desirable.
At Lake Pedder we landed in a bleak wind with light rain. The plane picked up a couple of Sydney Rock Climbers and went on its way before the mist locked it in. In fine weather Pedder must be a place of many faceted beauty, but all we saw was mist so we hastily retreated to the Aero Club camp where we found more Rock Climbers and Len Long, a Sydney artist, and David Wilson of the Hobart Y.H.A.
Next morning we shared the food and our journey started. Pedder looked more attractive with the mist gone, revealing the theatrical silhouette of the Frankland Range. Our route lay over the Huon Plains. The button grass looks as though it should be easy going, but we found that after allowing for stops for occasional rests or photographs, we averaged a mile in forty minutes.
At lunch time we reached the Port Davey track and found this track very clearly defined. It was cut in l897/8 as an escape route for shipwrecked sailors who would otherwise have been marooned on the uninhabited South Coast. A number of survivors from wrecks had previously starved to death on this barren coast. The afternoon was hot and we camped at Junction Creek. Next night we camped at Strike Creek after another glorious day of brilliant sunshine. By this time we had shaken down into our camp jobs. Vic was tent pole and peg cutter and tent pitcher-in-chief. Jack was the slasher of brush and chief bed maker, Jock and I were hewers of wood and drawers of water, and camp cooks. In addition, Jock being a bank official and used to the safe custody of valuables, was entrusted with the care of billy hooks. This job was performed faithfully and he always knew in which patch of mud round the fire to search for the missing hooks.
I should explain for the benefit of those who have not camped in S.W. Tassie that the steel pegs we carry are absolutely useless in this area owing to the sloppy nature of the ground, and wooden pegs must be cut. For the same reason it is necessary to cut brush for a bed. This means that it generally takes at least two hours to make camp.
Early the following day we came to the Air Drop at Pass Creek; this we soon sorted out, took what we wanted and left the rest. Here we left the plains and started our ascent to Stuart's Saddle between East Portal and the Dial. These peaks of quartzite looked very spectacular in the sun, and we were eager to get a start on the mountain. The route goes up Luckman's Lead which is a very steep rocky ridge. The way is marked with cairns. About two-thirds of the way up the mountain the scrub starts and here there is a camp made by the Melbourne University Mountaineering Club, where we intended camping. We found the “camp”, which consisted of a fireplace and built-up platforms of logs on which to pitch the tents. More slashing of brush while Jock and I hunted for water. The ground was ankle deep in mud, but alas, potable water was not to be found. (We discovered later that the trick was to siphon water from Yabbie holes with a piece of rubber tubing!!) However, luck was with us for it started to rain and we found a tree down which a stream of water trickled and soon we had all the water we wanted. As a boost to morale in the cold and rain I decided to make a custard and soon I had a billy full of delicious custard, but alas, on the way from the camp fire I slipped in the treacherous mud and the custard was lost.
Next day we followed the cut track up to Stuart's Saddle, passing many spectacular rocky pinnacles and getting glimpses of many lakes and tarns suspended in the mountain sides. Here we got our first glimpse of Federation Peak. What a Spectacular piece of rock! No wonder it inspires men to make the arduous traverse to reach it. The skyline is fantastic. Federation with its challenging pinnacle, The Gable, Four Peaks, and near at hand the massive Dial and East Portal. The whole scene is one of primeval grandeur. The heart beats a little faster, and not merely because of exertion. The finger reaches for the camera, but all five senses are recording something which cannot be imprisoned in celluloid.
The Saddle is a bleak windswept spot and it is here John Stuart is buried. He perished from exposure on a trip a couple of years ago. His grave is marked by two crucifixes, and is a grim reminder that these mountains are not to be trifled with, and that the traveller must be properly equipped and a skilful camper to come through safely when conditions are bad.
When we got over the saddle, Jack (who had come this way ten years before) pointed to a gully on the mountainside and said we were to descent to the foot of the cliffs, sidle along the valley and ascent this gully. We descended on a fairly well defined track, crossed a rock-slide, and kept working towards the distant gully. Unfortunately we were forced further and further down the valley into the moss forest. This eerie silent world looks as old as time. Emery rock, every tree and every branch of every tree is covered with a cushion of green moss. Trees fall and do not rot away, and so one proceeds painfully on a complex raft of interlocked trees. One is never sure where the ground is, but sometimes a stream carves away the ubiquitous moss and reveals the ground twenty or thirty feet below. We scrambled labouriously through this for a couple of hours until we came to the edge of a fearsome gorge and saw Goon Moor high above us and across the other side. We turned back and after several abortive attempts to climb to the elusive gully, we decided to camp. The steady drizzle which had been falling all the afternoon, now turned to rain.
In these mountains there are two members of the heath family with which walkers soon become acquainted. They are Richea Scoparia and its cousin Richea Pandanifolia, known (more or less) affectionately to the walkers as Scoparia and Pandanni. Scoparia is a shrub from three to ten feet high, as prickly as Hakea, with branches contorted by the weather and as strong as spring steel whether green or dead. It presents an almost impenetrable barrier to one's progress, and it is this shrub which makes going so difficult. By way of compensation the foliage, if cut with a slasher, makes a bed which rivals an inner spring mattress. Its cousin, Pandanni, can offer equal opposition to progress, but it is not so prickly, nor is it so common as Scoparia. It looks somewhat like a small cabbage tree palm with a great bunch of dead leaves all the way up the trunk. These leaves make a wonderful bed and are a sure source of fire in the wet weather.
It was to Pandanni we turned for fire and bed for our camp in the moss forest.
Next day we made another attempt to reach this unattainable gully, but finally had to admit defeat and after a council of war decided to climb right up to the crest of the ridge. This we did, and on the other side found easy going on grass. During lunch I looked at the map (two miles to one inch) and found we had progressed less than one mile since lunch time yesterday. Then I asked Jack if he had any more detailed maps of the area. “Why yes”, said Jack, and produced a bundle carefully wrapped up in plastic. Amongst these was a beautiful map of the area between the Dial and Craycroft Crossing at a scale of four inches to the mile, and to my astonishment there in the corner of the map was a profile drawing of the ridge we were on and a dotted line showing the route to be followed from Stuart's Saddle to Goon Moor. There were murmurs of mutiny and incipient insurrection, but the relief of getting out of the scrub for a while made up for everything. We walked blithely over the open grass and rocks and completed the traverse of the Pinnacles, found the blazed track through the scrub and descended to Goon Moor. The day had been fine up to now, but as we landed in the open, down came the rain. There is a camp site on Lower Goon Moor but when we got to it, it was a wind-swept morass. We surveyed the bleak agglomeration of air-drop bags, tins and sodden rubbish with mute disfavour and continued down the valley into the scrub. Two and a half hours later Jack and Vic with slasher and axe had hacked out a campsite under a King Billy Pine and had built up an inner spring mattress of Scoparia. Jock and I meantime made fire and cooked a meal. That night the wind lashed at the treetops and the rain poured down, but we were well sheltered and lay in luxury in our tight little tents. Next day it poured all day so we stayed put most of the day, dozing in our sleeping bags.
The following day was clear and so we climbed up from the Moor on to the ridge leading to Four Peaks. All went well for a couple of hours, then down came the mist and rain. We followed marks and blazes along this tortuous route around the Four Peaks. Pushing through Scoparia, scrambling up rock slides, slithering down again, ad infinitum, and all in dense mist. In the afternoon it began to rain and then sleet. Finally we reached a saddle and Jack said “There's a camp somewhere around here”. This time he was right. We spread out and soon located a tin on top of a stick, a marker to a track into the scrub. What a relief to get out of the mind. It seemed like heaven at the time, but looking back it wasn't so hot. The whole place was ankle deep in mud. The tent sites had a most uncomfortable slope. Nevertheless it was shelter from the icy mind. Vic and Jack soon had tents and beds ready and Jock and I built a raft near the fireplace to keep out of the mud.
Next day it poured all morning so we stayed in bed. It cleared a little in the afternoon and so we got up to dry out our clothing. The following day we moved on along the ridge. The mist had lifted a little and we got a view of the Four Peaks we had so labouriously traversed. We had a food drop to pick up at Hanging Lake, and as this was over a mile off our route, we decided to leave our packs and enjoy the luxury of easy travel. All went well for a while and then down came the mist again. It was so dense we could not see across Hanging Lake, so we grabbed the air drop bags and hurried back on our return journey. I am ashamed to say we got bushed in the mist and blundered round for an extra hour before we regained our packs. The place at which we had left our packs was right opposite Federation Peak. It was so close we felt we could almost touch it, but between us was a great gorge. This gorge is crossed by going down the Forest Chute (a grown-over scree), crossing the valley (moss forest) and ascending the rock slide. This brought us to Bechervaise Plateau right at the foot of Federation Peak. We got momentary glimpses of the country behind us which we had traversed. The Dial, The Gable and Four Peaks standing out clear in the afternoon sun, and then bang, down came the rain. We were fed up by this time and said we'd “HAD” Federation Peak. We decided that if it was raining in the morning we'd give the peak a miss and go home. Of course, we didn't mean it. Next morning it was raining so hard we just stayed in our bags. Then at midday it suddenly cleared. We leapt out of bed, ate a meal and made for the peak.
There is a moderately hard scramble of 400 or 500 feet on to the “terrace”, and then the final pinnacle is a solid rock almost completely devoid of vegetation standing about 300 feet high. There is a vertical chimney of about 100 feet, which John Bechevaise rates (according to European standard) as Very Difficult. We got about 40 feet up the chimney and came to a part down which was running a stream of water so that every time we put our hands in the crack the water ran up our sleeves. In addition, there was a steady spray from above. In a few minutes we got thoroughly soaked, so we decided we didn't really want to get to the top that badly and anyway the sun would go soon and hadn't we better get some pictures while we could and before our cameras got too wet. In short, we funked it and descended to the terrace and enjoyed the view. It was terrific. It repaid us for all the cold and misery of the wet morning, and standing round in sodden clothes trying to coax a smoulder into a flame. It was recompense for hands cut and scarred by Scoparia and rocks. In fact it was the berries. We saw Precipitous Bluff and New River Lagoon on the South Coast. We saw Field West and Anne in the north, and we saw the whole of our route home over the Picton Range outlined against the sky. Down below we saw the blue water of Lake Geeves. We saw the terrific gorge on the west side of Federation.
We returned to camp very well satisfied.
Next day we descended Moss Ridge. We left camp at 8.30 and got to the river at 4.30, a forward distance of less than 1 1/2 miles. The first part of the journey is a bit like a traverse of Thurat Spires and then comes a long weary slog through moss forest. We had lunch on the river (at 4.30 p.m.), and thought of camping there, but there were too many mosquitoes. We pressed on about another mile downstream and camped. Next morning I estimated we had five thousand mosquitoes on the inside of the tent. This is not a guess but a calculation. There are over eight thousand square inches of material in the roof of a 7 x 5 wall tent, and there was a mosquito to nearly every square inch.
The way down West Craycroft Valley is tedious. It is button grass swamp with innumerable fallen Ti-Trees a little over knee height to step over. We camped on a saddle on the way up Wilsmicro Lead. Next day was dense mist and we had to navigate by compass. The going was good, however, and we camped at North Lake under Picton. Next day, Sunday, we reached the Huon and much to our delight we were met by Ken Newham and Bruce Davies with their respective families a few miles from Picton Hut. Thanks to their transport we were able to reach Hobart that night, just fourteen days after leaving by plane for Pedder.
Read the Hobart Walking Club's Letter of Advice (I can supply copies).
Shorts are almost useless except for camp wear.
Gaiters are essential.
A waterproof (not just showerproof) jacket reaching nearly to the knees is essential.
All spare clothing should be in plastic bags or a large plastic lining for the rucksack should be used. Separate bags preferable.
An additional outer plastic bag over the sleeping bag cover.
Boots should be new, but well broken in. Shoes are useless in the mud.
Re-proof the tent.
Use a Federation rucksack or avoid using the side pockets of a four-pocket one.
Put about 4“ loops of light cord in the eyelets of the wall of your tent. If this loop is given a couple of twists and then placed over the stick you will use as a tent peg, it will grip when the strain comes on it.
There should be a small axe (tomahawk) and a machete or Hobart Walking Club type slasher in each party.
A pair of gardening gloves will save your hands from being ripped on rocks or Scoparia.
A length of rope will help round Four Peaks and Moss Ridge and may help you to scale Federation Peak.
Writing from Edinburgh on a post card depicting Oban, Argyll, Scotland, Ed. Garrad says, “Went yesterday to Oban. Had wonderful trip through the Lakes and Western Highlands. Tomorrow going to the Kyles of Bute and looking forward to that. Had some grand days with Sheila Binns. Weather here not so good. Regards to all.”
Then “Binnsie” popped up with this news -
“By now you should have had the picture post card sent from the Lake District, so that you will know I met up with Edna Garrad. I was most fortunate having started work about mid-May, as I discovered the works closed down for holidays the very week Ed. was due at Buttermere - it was a gift from the gods for I'd been wondering how I could get round there for just Saturday and Sunday. Though it was not possible to spend the full week with her, we had three of the lovliest days I've had since returning hither. The previous week I'd had a few days at Mulham, West Yorkshire, and the weather was just B.A., but it must have been saving it up, for the sun and blue sky put in an appearance as I arrived at Keswick and didn't depart until I was leaving on the Wednesday morning. We put in some good walking - the first day went up Fleetwith Pike at the head of Buttermere from which we had colossal views over that lake, Crummock Water and Loweswater, but the main feat was Great Gable on the Monday. For a while it looked as though we might be baulked of our target as a heavy cloud capped the summit, but luck was with us and though mists billowed up from Wastwater, we got to the top and were able to take photos of the various peaks above the floating sea of cotton wool. My last day was spent ambling beside Crummock, enjoying the company of “fellow” Australian, in almost Aussie-like weather.
The first week, as stated, was bad from the weather viewpoint, which was disappointing because on the Sunday morning it had shown signs of promise. I got in one “dry” walk, a round tour of Gordale Scar, Malham Tarn and Malham Cave (where the River Aire rises). The next day I started off in the dry, but got back to the Guest House rather wet, which was followed by a “confined to barracks” day. After that I got fed up, and on my last afternoon tramped several miles in mist and rain over moorland lanes and roads, not seeing above fifty feet ahead of me, just for the sake of walking!
From the sublime to gor-blimey. I went to Blackpool for the final weekend to see old friends, but even there the weather was agin me, more rain then fine. Had intended to cycle back via the Trough of Bowland, but the weather as it was, it wasn't worth the effort of pushing the bike up several 1 in 7 hills!
How I'd love to be back - but I have the Hans Heysen up in my bedroom which assists in odd moments with a game of “pretend”. With the bad weather we have had, the house and Dad, I have not been able to get out as much as I'd have liked, and now I've voluntarily tied myself more by getting a young puppy - he is a Boxer, whom I've named Cobber, but when he gets old enough, we should be able to explore the local moors and hills, and, despite the Satanic Mills of East Lancs. towns, there is still a bit of green and pleasant land in between them.
On the way home I invested in a Zeisslkan Contina II, being soaked £17/10/- customs on landing. However, I'm getting some fun with it - roamed around Westminster in May and have some real beauts from the Lakes. Have now purchased an Argus 300 projector as well as a screen, so am completely set up for the amateur photographer, and my collection of slides is slowly but surely mounting - its grand.
Must return to household tasks now. If you can ever find time to drop me a line of Club news etc., I'd be extremely grateful. Best wishes.
I have found one sure way of stirring up old memories is to do a solo walk in well-known country. With no conversational distractions, and none of the excitements of finding the way, the recollections of other trips over the same ground come crowding back. It gets to be so realistic you may almost recreate the cadence of remembered words spoken on those earlier trips.
In March, at the fag end of an annual holiday, I spent a day and a bit in an old hunting ground, and walked practically every step of the way in the company of memories and ghosts.
I started from Katoomba about 9.30 p.m., headed towards Devil's Hole: a good, old familiar Friday night trudge, albeit usually in weather sharper than this mild evening. I was barely off the main road at the water towers when I mentally snapped my fingers. Of course! Give this night a slightly hazy full moon and it is April 1st, 1955, and I am walking this way with Kevin Ardill at the beginning of Geof Wagg's “85 miler” to Picton. We're already tailing the party and Kevin is voicing sage comment on sparing ourselves at this stage, whilst I ponder when “sparing” will give way to “driving”. And a large, dark car whips past, and its half-recognised occupants cry “Peasants!” There was the house where a dog yapped loudly, marking the passage of each group. Tonight he's silent. Wonder why? Remember, remember! That was nearly three years ago. Maybe no dog now.
Well, the top of Devil's Hole. Time to take off a layer of clothes as we did that other night. Then, the descent of the rift at the too, but very circumspectly this time, because it's a solo trip.
My word! It's almost two years since I last came this way - and then it was upward. That was the last lap of the Admiral's epic Paralyzer trip of June '56. Solo then, too, because the party was scattered all over the landscape. Just down the bottom here is the little overhang where I holed up on Sunday night, finally reconciled to being overdue. Must look into that overhang for old time's sake.
This is it - no, I don't think so. Why no one could sleep there. You just couldn't. You'd roll right out and down the cliff. Must be round the corner. No, it isn't round the corner. Well, this must be it. No use thinking it looks worse by torch light because it had been dark two hours when I reached it that night. It just goes for to show where you'll roost if it's wet enough and you're tired enough. No wonder it was a crook night, what with being saturated, and those stones and that slope - not to mention bush creatures stomping over me and mislaying my false teeth! Ah, well, onward -
On the dry leaves and twigs I slipped and sat down heavily. Now, Kevin did just that hereabouts on the marathon. Raked his shin on a bush as he went down. Hell, so have I! Careful, matey, you're solo now.
I remember chuffing up here once in the spring, with Bonoh Barr just behind. He said, pointing to a flowering shrub, “Is that an eggs and bacon?”
Between puffs I said, “I expect so. That name seems to cover a whole swag of red and yellow pea flowers.”
Here we are, down on the last swampy patch, and there are the finger posts saying “Devil's Hole” and “Nelly's Glen”. It's 11.05 p.m., one hour forty from Katoomba. No record sure, but fair enough solo and out of condition. I'll camp here - but first a cup of tea.
With the scrape of the match, the ghosts went away and I busied myself with the tent. The ghosts vanished, but in the morning the day shift took over.
Once before I had done this. Well, not exactly - on an early freelance walking trip back in 1940 I expected to be in Megalong Valley about the fourth day out. I wasn't sure of the victualling possibilities there, but doubted if I could load enough tucker for the whole trip. So a few weeks before I did a day walk from Katoomba down Nelly's Glen to the pub site and cached there a dozen tins of foodstuffs. There were even tins of baked beans and spaghetti - it was before the war years left me with an ingrained hate of those items.
Now I was doing something similar in the same place. Except that where I once concealed my food, now I stowed away the tent and sleeping bag, to be recovered on the way back that afternoon.
Off along the track to Megalong. I walked in a goodly company, for this piece of track, so often trodden by walkers, was thickly peopled with ghosts of other days. Remembered fragments of a dozen journeys piled one on the other. The Easter Monday when the track was like Pitt Street and we found (and cautioned) some teen age youths who were shooting along the track at a bottle on a stump - my second test walk when I had a loathsome cold and chased a very fast party along this same path - and once or twice later when I deliberately went “tail end Charlie” to coax a flagging newcomer up to the Pub Site. And always recollections of the Friday night of Geof's 85 miler when we leaped over patches of moonlight and slopped through shadowed puddles.
In to Megalong and across the road to the Six Foot Track. As ever, it was indefinite for a mile or so, while I recalled the first time over this stage. It was the day I retrieved my cache at the Pub Site; it was an Australia Day holiday, and stinking hot; it was a droughty season, and when I came to the Cox there was no flow - just odd pools amongst the granite boulders. I sat in one Roman bath pattern pool with just a hat on and ate lunch from the adjacent rock shelf.
During lunch two quite professional-looking walkers came down the Six Foot Track. They had big boots, with much metal studding, large framed rucksacks, and an air of proprietary experience in the bush. One asked was the Cox just around the bend. I said “This is it!” They looked their disbelief, and said cherio, and went on. I often wondered afterwards how many bends they went around before they accepted my dictum. That time I was heading up Gibraltar Creek and I saw no more of them.
On this occasion I made the Cox, flowing strongly, green and white over the pink and grey granites, at about 9.30 a.m. Too early even for morning tea, and I promised myself that luxury at the foot of Black Jerry's.
The forty-odd minutes stage from Gibraltar Creek to the base of Black Jerry's was filled with recollections of another summer journey in the opposite direction in company with Ken Meadows. It must have been the Anniversary Day of '48, and was the occasion of Ken's conversion from boots to sneakers. By the time we had made our way over the smooth granite bordering the river, Ken was convinced. Then, while he bathed in the river, I flung his now beloved sneakers for him to retrieve; and once I flung too hard, the sneaker went shooting down the Cox and Ken cursed his boots all the way to Katoomba.
I took my morning break at the bottom of the ridge and at 10.30 started the ascent of Black Jerry's. The morning was hotting up and I moved slowly - so that my ghostly companions out-distanced me and sat gibbering on the sliprails at the top whilst I sweated up the hill. At all events, the uphill slog was not charged with memories, but just over the crest and past the farmhouse came the most vivid memory of all.
Just as at the beginning of the walk I had remembered the “85 miler” of three years ago, my mind now did a back-flip to 11.30 p.m. on that Friday night. Kevin and I had reached a point near the crown of Black Jerry's. The rest were so far ahead that the dogs at the farm had ceased baying. And we suddenly discovered that Kevin had not been over Black Jerry's before, and I had once only, some ten years before. All I could remember was a gate.
We were sure we'd find traces of the other's footprints, so we got down on hands and knees inspecting the surface of the bush road with torches. And we heard a steady “clop-clop” behind us. Wheeling about, we found a good sized ram, with head down, charging at us. We up-ed and shoo-ed him away, and bent over again. He wheeled and came in on a fresh sortie, and we stood up and shoo-ed him. This went on for a solid ten minutes, till we admitted defeat and put up our tent under that very tree there. Remembering, I shook my head with disbelief at the ridiculous happening.
I looked at my watch. Hell - almost noon! If I was to be on the 3.50 train from Katoomba, it was time for me to go lads!
This time I outdistanced the ghosts. Or perhaps the mental exercise of computing time and distance remaining kept them at bay. At all events, they left me in peace while I hurried down into Megalong, through a hasty lunch at the Pub Site, and back up Nelly's Glen. I still had to run awkwardly, with rucksack bouncing on my back, the last hundred yards on to Katoomba station -
Which adds another qualification if you want those memories to stir; you mustn't work to too tight a schedule. You must leave time for the ghosts to gather. They may be out of condition too.
At least 73 Club members now support the N.P.A. by being members - 45 as full members and 28 have become or have promised to become Club N.P.A. Group members.
Len Fall and Tom Moppett are always delighted to discuss Association membership.
|94||Walking Trial. Corral Swamp to Carlon's Farm. Walkers may take any route provided they do not exceed twelve hours, with a minimum of three walkers to a group. Walk concludes with a campfire at Carlons on Saturday night. See roneo sheets for further information.|
|95||Blackheath - Blue Gum - Mt. Hay - Leura. Excellent views of Grose Valley with a 2,500' climb to Mt. Hay. Good track to Leura (12 miles).|
|96||Wondabyne - Mt. Kariong - Myron Brook - Lyre Trig - Koolewong. An easy wild flower ramble on northern side of well known Hawkesbury River.|
|97||Car to Mt. Banks - Pages Pass - Blue Gum - Mt. Caley - Mt. Banks. A good opportunity to visit this area. Good walking through upper Grose valley with a 2,500' climb to Mt. Caley.|
|98||Gosford - Fountain Ck - Somersby Falls -Mooney Ck - Mangrove Mt. - Niagara Pk. A test walk through a good wild flower area with rook hopping and ridge walking.|
|99||Minto - Bushwalkers' Basin - Punchbowl Ck - Freers Crossing - Minto. A medium test walk with mainly river walking and rock hopping.|
|100||Kanangra - Danae Brook - Thurat Spires - Kanangra. An excellent trip in the famous country west of the Cox. Abseiling and rock scrambling, with a 2,000' climb to the spectacular Thurat Spires.|
|101||Instructional Weekend. An easy walk to popular St. Helena.|
|102||Berghoffer Pass - Little Hartley - Cox R - Billy Healys - Gibralter Ck - Megalong - Katoomba. An easy walk on the delightful Upper Cox. Mainly river walking and good track. Walk recommended for prospectives and new members.|
|103||Currockbilly area. An exploratory trip to an interesting area.|
At eleven hundred hours or wedding bells on Saturday, 16th August, Brian and Dawn became Mr. & Mrs. Anderson. That is to say they were spliced.
Outside the church friends smothered them with good wishes and confetti whilst the sound of camera shutters was deafening. Someone claimed to have to make a panorama sequence to fit them both in. Then as the doubtful weather of the morning gave way to sunshine, everyone trooped aboard the Admiral's barge and set off for a most marvellous wedding-reception-at-sea. The whole afternoon was sea breezy and free and easy with a piano playing in the stern and the sun and air types on the upper deck where the delectable breakfast was served. At last the speeches were all made, the toasts drunk and the old chestnuts cracked. We docked at last under an evening sky, but for the Admiral it was Dawn - dawn of a new life and we all wish you plain sailing.
Paddy is pleased to announce that after some years of disappointment and fruitless experiment, he is at last in a position to offer rubber soled walking boots at a reasonable price.
These boots are the standard walking boots which have been sold for years at Paddys, with English commando rubber soles and heels stuck and screwed on. These high grade soles will give years of service and can be replaced.
Price is reasonable - only £5. 5. 0
Paddy Pallin. Lightweight Camp Gear. 201 Castlereagh St., Sydney