A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, The N.S.W. Nurses' Association Rooms, “Northcote Building”, Reiby Place, Sydney. Box No 4476 G.P.O., Sydney. 'Phone JW-1462.
|Editor||Don Matthews, 33 Pomona Street, Pennant Hills. W3514.|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales & Subs.||Eileen Taylor|
|Typed by||Jean Harvey|
|“High Hale||Geoffrey Winthrop Young||1|
|At Our Annual Meeting||Alex Colley||2|
|Office Bearers 1961-2||3|
|Social Doings - Past and Coming||4|
|For the Ladies||“Kybo”||4|
|Their Splendour Shall Never Fade||Brian G. Harvey||6|
|When Men Were Men!||Taro||7|
|Reunion 1961||By one who was there||8|
|Public Opinion and Bushwalkers||Colin Putt||10|
|From Bullmoose to the Editor||14|
|Day Walks||David Ingram||15|
|The Time We Climbed Mt. Fletcher||Geof Wagg||16|
|Hatswell's Taxi & Tourist Service||7|
|Sanitarium Health Food||9|
There is much comfort in high hills
And a great easing of the heart.
We look upon them, and our nature fills
With loftier images from their life apart.
They set our feet on curves of freedom,
bent To snap the circles of our discontent.
Mountains are moods: of larger rhythm and line,
Moving between the eternal mode and mine.
Moments in thought, of which I too am part,
I lose in them my instant of brief ills -
There is great easing of the heart
And cumulance of comfort on high hills.
Geoffrey Winthrop Young.
- Alex Colley.
Our thirty-third Annual General Meeting commenced with a welcome to two new members, Giesler Kowlowski and Vince Aitken. Apologies were received from Tan McKenzie, Joe Turner, Edna Garrad and Morrie Berry.
Another successful social month was reported. Some 40 members attended the theatre party and 15 had dinner together before going to the theatre. Our Walks Secretary reported that the commando trip along the Kowmumg, led by Colin Putt, had been a success, though some had exceeded instructions in the matter of equipment and the trip had not turned out as tough as expected.
The swimming carnival had been marred by rain. Although there were enough present to have a race or two, some were tired, others wouldn't come out of their tents, and others slept. To get everyone into action at once was more than could be organised. Altogether 42 members, 10 prospectives and 15 visitors had attended walks during the month.
Brian Harvey described for us the closing chapter of bushwalking on the Cox. The Water Board is to build a series of barrage dams on the River, to catch the silt as it comes down. As one dam fills another will be constructed up river. A road will be constructed from Black Jerry's Ridge to the junction of Mouin Creek.
At this stage scrutineers were appointed and the election of officers commenced (see results of election page 3).
Referring to the Club finances Brian Harvey said that the record magazine profit was due to the good work of the staff. The magazine had now come out regularly for 25 years.
Next we discussed the Club subscription to “Walkabout”. After a brief discussion it was decided to renew our subscription and to let members take copies home for a meek. It took us about an hour to decide they couldn't take it home last time the subject was debated.
A motion for the re-investment of the Era fund was deferred pending investigation by the Committee. This prompted Frank Barlow to move that a proper index be prepared to the minutes of Club meetings, so that we could easily refer to past decisions. Brian Harvey and Jim Brown pointed out that this had been attempted when they had prepared a list of by-laws, but the by-laws had been abolished in toto by a general meeting. Nevertheless they could be brought up to date with a little more effort and would then represent a record of motions with continuing effect. As an example of the scope of our deliberations the President, at Jim Brown's request, read us ex by-law K9, which is “Dogs shall not be taken on official walks”.
Brian Harvey then moved that we vote the President an honorarium of £5 to cover some of the expenses inseparable from his office, in particular journeying round in his car on club affairs. Jack Gentle prepared to leave the chair while the motion was debated, but when it was pointed out that he wouldn't get an honorarium anyway, he remained. Clem Hallstrom was of the opinion that we couldn't single out any one office bearer, since most incurred some expense and out-of-pocket expenses were covered in any case. Allan Hardie told us that he had tried to give a certain female Secretary an honorarium of £10, but she wouldn't take it (wolf whistles). Bill Gillam thought we should vote money for the purpose from time to time as we deemed necessary. Jack thanked the meeting for its sentiments, but said that he considered that the privilege of being President was sufficient reward.
After this the President terminated the meeting with the time-honoured cry “Let us re-une”, advice which members started to take right away, until they were pushed out of the Club room at 10.30.
|Vice Presidents||Jack Gentle, John Waite|
|Social Secretary||Pam Baker|
|Membership Secretary||Helen Barrett|
|Walks Secretary||Wilf Hilder|
|Conservation Secretary||Brian Harvey|
|Committee||Molly Rodgers, Lyndsey Gray, Arnold Fleischman, Eric Adcock|
|Literary Editor||Don Matthews|
|Federation Delegates||Geof Wagg, Brian Harvey, Heather Joyce, One to be elected|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Keeper of Maps & Time Tables||Jim Brown|
|N.P.A. Delegate||John White|
|Parks & Playgrounds Delegate||Mrs. Hilda Stoddart|
|Hon. Auditor||Nan Bourke|
|Hon. Solicitor||C. Broad|
The Blue Mountains City Council recently decided to prohibit the discharging of firearms in the Blue Mountains area, to try to eliminate indiscriminate shootings. Aldermen unanimously supported the recommendation of the Council's legal officer, that shooting be prohibited for a distance of 10 miles on each side of the Great Western, Highway (presumably from Emu Plains to Mt. Victoria).
Theoretically therefore, we need no longer fear being shot at in Megalong! On second thoughts, however, leaders should play safe and walk in the middle of the party when traversing known dangerous areas.
March 15th. The Bushies T.V. film was shown. This time including all cuts and expurgated portions.
March 22nd. The theme of Michael Sawtell's talk was “The Ideal for Australia”. “At present our Australia is a great country foundering without an Ideal. Whether it is the nation, the organisation or the individual, we must have an Ideal, for without a vision the people perish in more ways than one.
The men who give a nation its true Ideals are the great poets. Follow the poets, for they know more than the politicians. The poet who gave Australia its Ideal most clearly was Henry Lawson, who once wrote these majestic words:-
“The dream of the poet of the Southern Cross
Will never be realised,
Until the country is irrigated
And the people humanised”.
That means Water and Culture, our two most pressing needs. Make those words as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and you will be good Australians. Ideals are like stars; you cannot grasp them, but you can steer a coarse by them. I declare that out there in the Lake Eyre river basin, the largest river basin in Australia, we have to develop a new type of desert civilisation that can only be made possible by modern mechanisation. The so-called “Dead Heart”, the stone rejected by the builder, will yet become the cornerstone of our national building and honourable to the builder…”
April 19th. Bunny Tring will speak on Aden, illustrated with slides taken during her residence there.
April 26th. Olympic Tyres film of 1956 Olympic Games (Melbourne) and of the 1960 Winter Sports.
It was at the January meeting that Woods' Creek was again nominated and chosen as the Reunion site and subsequently a committee chosen to carry out the perfunctory tasks associated with so signal an event.
One duty was paramount - the construction of that stately edifice to serve les femmes charmantes. The duty, my readers, fell upon me!
On the appointed day, with the sun high - as well as the spirits - a silent team of four with a leader on perfection bent set off along a time honoured cul-de-sac and approaching the intended site with reverential awe thought of John Batman, whereupon the leader immediately exclaimed “It is indeed the very spot!”
The ground was at once marked out and the proposed building delineated by plan, section and elevation. Spades were called for by the Jack of Knaves and with all their Hearts, four Diamonds of virtue Clubbed together and dug the foundations and other necessary earthworks.
The first post was placed in the north east corner as should all foundation stones be so situated, and the other three soon followed. An embarrassment-proof screen was soon thrown around the posts and la piece-de-resistance solemnly placed into position. FAIT ACCOMPLI!
Note: The structure was pre-tested and found to comply with the Standards Association Rules and Regulations and all Local and State Ordinances. After the Re-union and before dismantling took place we all could say Q.E.D.
The Scene: A hillock at Woods' Creek. George Gray's car cover (the largest size made) is strung up to farm the biggest tent, yet, and harbours at least a dozen campers. The fire is smoking bravely under a great mass of billies and frying pans.
Says Putto: (still N.Z. to the core): Funny how those Australians fight fire with food instead of with water”.
Bookings for Illawong Ski Lodge are made at World Travel Headquarters, Kindersley House, 33 Bligh Street, Sydney.
Weekly rate, including basic food: £8 each for members; £12.10.0 each for non-members; Foundation Membership available, £25 each.
(See the February issue far the full story of Illawong.)
We report, with regret, the death in America of Suzanne Richard. Suzanne was a member of the Club in the early 1930's and will be well remembered by older S.B.W's. She went to America to further her studies and returned home only once for a visit about 8 years ago, when she entertained the Club with folk songs and guitar accompaniment. During these years she still kept in touch with a number of friends in the Club.
We have recently heard from Phil Mason's father that Phil (Treasurer 1952) is not likely to return home from England in the near future. He now has a good job in London and hasn't had the urge to return to a warmer climate - yet!
- Brian G. Harvey.
Anzac Day, this year falling on a Wednesday, does not give us the opportunity of a long weekend to visit Splendour Rock, that lofty crag where the N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs placed a bronze plaque to honour for all time the Bushwalkers - whoever they may be - who fell in World War II.
At the Tenth Anniversary Commemoration Service, held at sunrise on Anzac Day, 1958, I had the honour of laying the wreath. During last Anzac weekend, on the occasion of my official walk to Splendour Rock, I again performed that duty.
As it will be impracticable for me to visit the Rock this year, I feel it mould be very appropriate to remind the Old Hands, and to acquaint the New Hands, of the honour due to those unsung heroes of the Club who have no perpetuating memorial to their services for the meritorious tasks during the war - Maurie Berry, Doreen Harris, Winifred (“Dunkie”) Duncombe and Joan Savage and, I think, Grace Jolly - who composed the bulk of the Services Committee of the Federation. Forgive me if I have overlooked anyone, through lack of knowledge by absence.
May I explain that the Services Committee was formed from the Federated Clubs to post mental and physical “comforts” to the many members of the Clubs serving with the Armed Forces in the more distant parts of Australia and training and combat zones throughout the world - in the Navy, Army and Air Force. The girls were there too - in the AWAS, WAAFS and the Land Amy.
Funds were raised by various resorts - barbecues, raffles, anyhow. Members picked peas and dug potatoes at farms near Liverpool - and donated their wages to the fund. This backbreaking work was on a production basis - and not easy.
Photographers in the Clubs ran off thousands of contact prints and enlargements. Others gathered up the precious scarce cigarettes, chocolate, lollies and chewing gum. Others knitted socks, gloves, balaclavas. “Dunkie” undertook the self-imposed task of keeping in touch by letter with every Serviceman and Servicewoman of the S.B.W. - sending them news of the Club doings - and passing in turn their letters round the diminished Club. And, above all, there was the gratis issue every month of the never-failing copy of “The Sydney Bushwalker”.
Speaking for myself (and I'm sure I echo the sentiments of the others), it was a great day when something arrived in the mail from the Services Committee - whether a photo, packet or the rolled-up magazine, for me - from Whyalla in S.A. to bomb-bashed Darwin or in the ship's mail-bag in Milne Bay. And to those in blacked-out England, the Western Desert or New Guinea jungle it meant as much - or more. Yes, THEIR splendour shall never fade - for those of us who came back.
And for those club-mates who did not cone back - Gordon Smith, Gordon Mannell, Reg Hewitt and Norm Saill, THEIR splendour is perpetuated in bronze in that plaque at Splendour Rock - where they once stood gazing across the Cox Valley at the mighty Gangerang Range and the distant Kanangra - the country they loved so well - in the last line of the plaque -
“Their splendour shall never fade
They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We shall remember them.”
From “John 0' London” September 22nd, 1960.
“Tibbie Reed for many years editor of the B.O.P. (boy's own paper) was the tall handsome athletic son of Sir Chas. Reed, a well known M.P.” Tibbie wrote his first sketch for the B.O.P. in '79! which leads me to
Other times - other Walkers.
In the summer months Reed regularly walked to Cambridge if he was playing in an all day cricket match on the Saturday - the 55 miles walk from London was then a regular hike for many students, who thought nothing of it. Reed's time was 16 hours dead, and he would arrive in Cambridge for breakfast on Saturday. Then came 8 hours of cricket starting at 11 a.m. followed in the evening by a “literary tea party” which went on until the early hours of Sunday morning. On Sunday, he would go to church and meet friends for lunch before walking back to London in time to start his B.O.P. duties on Monday morn. His stamina was a by-word even in an age when athletic feats were commonplace“.
Concentrate on this last word, and then ponder on toddy's super picked limelight T.V. posing actors - groomed for Olympia! What a posterior propulsion for the many sleep addicts of the S.B.W.
I have a book all about another great (civilian) walker of a century ago - George Borrow. (The Romany addict). He strolled from bottom to top of Wales. He would stop and talk to any man, woman, child, or animile. His entire swag - a small satchel and an umbrella - yes, I said UMBRELLA.
With this outfit he ignored the weather no matter how soaked - his night time pub always had a log fire.
30 miles per day was quite normal, and he would plug on in the dark in strange uninhabited roads. No torch! Even with the gamp he could turn on 6 m.p.h. and not in the 600 pages does he mention foot trouble. The bootmakers of a century ago must have been artists.
He found Wales a singularly contented though poverty ridden place. One farm hand he talked to was a married man on 7/- per week!
Barrow was a fine, sample from that fountain of fine men they call England! He found these ignorant (save in poetry and sense) Welshies so good - it kept him apologising for most of his countrymen.
By One who was there.
In the year 2000 there will be at least four people, then only forty, who will be able to say “I attended the Reunion in 1961”. For the most astonishing feature about recent reunions has been the change in the age groups. There are more and younger children which is a very fine trend indeed. It means more and more parents are retaining their bonds with the Club.
There were, however, some notable absences - Edna Garrad, Dorothy Hasluck, the Gilroys, the Crokers, Marion Ellis - to name a few. Some had legitimate excuses but no doubt the weather discouraged others. A storm on Saturday afternoon forced a few to hasten their leisurely erecting of tents. There was an awful moment soon after the beginning of the campfire when a few more drops would have caused most people to gather up their belongings and flee to their tents. But the rain held off until some hour in the early morning when, if anyone was caught in it, it served him (or her or them) right. Not only did the rain hold off but the air was warm and still and seemed to me the pleasantest atmospheric conditions for the Reunion for many a long day.
We must hand it to the organisers - we loafers - they do a mighty job. Sometimes when I feel a little critical I suddenly break out into a lather of shame. When you consider all the fetching and carrying which goes on behind your back - but it has to be done on someone else's back!
This year everything seemed to go right. The Colo Shire had improved the road and provided a parking space at the end. I am not going to invite a spate of letters to the Editor by expressing an opinion on the desirability of this use of the Shire's funds. The river was clear but very low so that the kids could play in the water with absolute safety, and they did.
I suspect that the Campfire Captains were in the predicament of having too many items up their sleeves. Too many? Good heavens, what to do when it comes to this! Shall we have a selection committee (and perhaps co-opt Senator Henty) after the style of the Archibald? Or shall we say “At a certain time, we have the initiation and the new president, then supper and that's that”.
Someone made a suggestion worth considering that, as the initiation generally caused a breaking of the barriers, it should be the last event before supper.
There was a wide gamut of entertainment on the programme, though community singing was notably short due, I suppose, to the number of items. On the serious side we had some fine recorder playing by Christine Kirkby and songs by Scotty Malcolm, Mildred Huntington, Renee Browne, Eric Rowen and Brian Harvey.
Sketches were topical, typical and sometimes epileptical. The young children were organised by Pam Baker into a presentation of “Clementine” and I hope that we shall see more efforts by the children. Some older children (Nobles plus friend) put on a very creditable sketch based on Little Red Riding Hood. Bravo, let's have some more.
Robert Duncan of Camden (or is it now of Boulder?) was the butt of several sketches - allying as he did a provocative personality with an almost immediate departure far America. (God bless America.) We were very grateful for some of the lines in these sketches though the execution faltered at times. But if you have had a script shoved under your nose for the first time two minutes before you go on stage and you have lost the place, or never found it in the first place, and the torch won't work, it is difficult to know what the author intended.
The children loved Ray Bean's flea but I hope it will be some years before the boys so sincerely leer “Have some madeira, m'dear” as did Jim Brown. Old stagers like Malcolm McGregor, Geof Wagg, Dot English and Edna Stretton were all in good form. Poor Brian Harvey was muttering “I am passé, I am passé”. Lor lumme, I think not, Brian. You show no sign of being like an old soldier and fading away.
Sunday is the relaxing day for the Reunion. The worst of the work for the common labourers is over, the feverish quiverings of the hypersensitive artists have dissipated and, without shining examples all around, the drones may drone away without twinges of conscience. It is so pleasant wafting from group to group.
But even on Sunday we had damper making to keep us interested. And when the Organiser wins first prize we may yet see Mr. Tallentire winning fir at prize in an Opera House lottery. Along the path I saw Alex Colley going campwards with his damper tucked underneath his arm and looking a little apologetic (the damper looked mildly edible). Alex is one of those cottage-industry, do-it-yourself, Ruskin sort of people but I don't think he was going to stop the baker calling.
I liked this Reunion the most ever. I have been trying to work out why. I think it was because it had all the essentials of a good Reunion but more variety than usual - even the rain didn't dampen us but only kept us on our toes.
Our recorder reports that there were 190 present at the Reunion, 59 of whom were children.
The well known quotation :-
“Would some Power the giftie gie us,
To see ourselves as ithers see us”
is oft perverted to -
“I would to ither s the giftie gie'
To see myself as I see me”,
and nowhere more effectively than in Bushwalkers' thoughts about the Public's opinion of them. This old favourite crops up in one form or another at General Meetings and, I believe, was recently aired again.
It has never been clear just why so many bushwalkers worry about what the public thinks about them. Speaking from a statistical basis, the public doesn't. Only some 40% of the public, if asked in a T.V. quiz “What is a Bushwalker”? would get their station sedan, washing machine, or what have you out of it. But worse still for our collective ego, even of that 40%, 90% would never recognise a bushwalker on seeing one. About half of them would fail to even register the fact that we are Different. 45%, more observant, would say inwardly, “Bags on their backs, hikers!” and some of these would then proceed to a mental image of us sauntering along a tar-sealed road, Wally-and-the-Major style. The remaining 5% of the 40% fail to see the packs but see the bare knees and functional clothing and say to themselves “Sanitary Carters”! One or two of these may even notice that there are girls present… “Gorblimey, FEMALE Sanitary Carters!”
The 6% of the population who do recognise us for what we are, are probably sufficiently intelligent to be of little account in public affairs, and their opinion of us would matter not one iota if it were not for the fact that people distrust what they don't understand; the public is therefore always ready to distrust us. Even our name has a suspicious Teutonic construction, which like that of “sauertuff” is nowadays often wide of the mark.
The way to arouse their suspicion at once, and eventually their anger, is to appear suspicious, or rather, suspect. Incalculable harm is done to our almost unknown name, for instance, by the practice of adopting, in buses and trains, a disguise of well creased trousers, stiff collar and tie, and a recent shave. The immediate reaction is “that fellow's got something to hide” and Freud sees to the subsequent thoughts.
Carrying this method to extremes doesn't work either; full evening dress, with top hat, is immediately given the lie by your pack; John Citizen thinks “That bloke's crackers” and he's right. Unless these disguises give the wearer a deep personal satisfaction, there is no point in adopting them.
The best way to give the public the idea that we are a happy, healthy, moral and patriotic group, is to act as freely and naturally as possible, short of stamping on their corns. Coat yourselves with charcoal to the eyeballs and do square dances in hobnailed boots on the platform while waiting for trains; the public will love it, and you, if you're careful not to knock them into the path of an oncoming locomotive.
If Bushwalking is ever to be recognised as a Good Thing by the public, it will be through some activity other than our weekend walking. It will be, alas, many many years before the public even begins to appreciate our conservation efforts, although that is no reason to let them slacken. But it is always possible that some daring and successful expedition, discovery, or reserve by bushwalkers might catch the public's fancy one day, and may the Lord help the Membership Secretary!
While the public think of us very little, we think of ourselves quite a lot, and this is where it does behove us to watch our behaviour a little more closely. Internal Intolerance is our greatest danger, and as I sit, at the time of writing, pretty squarely on the half way fence of our threescore years and ten, I feel exceptionally well fitted to explain to Older Members that boys will be boys, and to Younger Members that Older Members will be Older Members, and to all that the only way to justify your claims to consideration is to do something for the Club. A club, fortunately, tends to form itself into internally compatible groups, but if a Club is to remain as such, these groups must make frequent contact, and here we get the minor annoyances of less nature groups making their presence too suddenly and physically felt# by their seniors, and of over-ripe groups## getting, by cunning and constitutional means, to force mature younger members like crated oranges, with an atmosphere of gas###.
What our club, and on the larger scale the Bushwalking movement needs, is a lot more people making the effort to occasionally get out with other groups and other clubs, to find out how the other half lives. The conclusion to which I have so laboriously waded is, Sir, that charity begins at home, and by way of shaking the gravel out of my boots after this effort, I will reiterate, that most of our public posturing is worse than useless, showing us up as a pack of ratbags, and that, until we show, amongst ourselves, some more interest in each other, that is just what we are.
# See A.A. Milne – Tigger.
## See A.A. Milne – Eeyore.
### Most people die before they're mature anyway.
Sheer Walls of the limestone gorge rise over a thousand feet from Bungonia Creek. From Adams Lookout, views of the Gorge, the Sawtooth and of Jerarra Falls. From the Lookdown, views North down the Shoalhaven - See beautiful Lake Louise on the Shoalhaven from the ridge to Cedar Flat.
Take Hume Highway to a point two miles south of Marulan, take road marked “Bungonia 11 Miles”, turn left at junction of Goulburn Road, cross bridge, take first turn left and proceed six miles to Reserve! The tank at the Reserve is unreliable (punctured with bullet holes) so carry some drinking water.
Please contact Len Fall, JA5959, if you wish to attend.
Most S.B.W. trips were centred around the Currockbilly-Ettrema area. The notable exception was Alex Theakston's party of 6 - Bowraville near Nambucca Heads for a week down on the farm.
The official Easter walk, led by Eric Adcock, was Jerricknorra Creek - Mt. Renwick - The Castle, and return. Good, weather, good walking, everyone (as far as we know) reached the top of the Castle. 18 attended.
Alex Colley and party of 7 did a round trip in the Currockvilly - Yadbora Creek - Wog Wog area.
Frank Leyden led a party of 5 from Sassafras along the Eastern tops of Ettrema to Cinch Creek, then down Ettrema Gorge and out to Burrier!
The N.P.A. attracted 28 adults and 25 children (including many S.B.W's) to the pleasant camp at the TSR at Endrick River crossing. Day trips to Endrick Falls and Currockbilly. The Falls were at their best with a good flow of water following recent heavy rain.
Visitors to Paddy's will see a change from summer equipment for the shelves are stacked with winter gear for walker and skiers.
Plenty of Hotham model sleeping bags, the super bag everyone wants for winter camping in the mountains and alps. Made to defy Jack Frost!
Air beds in all sizes and weights. Well worth the extra weight for snow camping.
Down filled jackets if you really feel the cold on some remote high peak.
String vests, the wonder insulator; ask anyone who has ore.
A range of woollen clothing including socks and pullovers from Norway, to satisfy all winter 'out-of-doors' people.
Japara and ninoflex windproof jackets and parkas.
Waterpoof, windproof, super light, superstrong nylon, hip length and knee length parkas. The latest in lightweight waterproof clothing.
For skiers, the works, from skis, bindings and boots to goggles and caps, so if it's winter gear you need drop down to Paddy's for a look see.
Stop Press: Just landed from England - 'Premier' Acetylene lamps. Cap model and hand lamps.
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St Sydney BM2685
Having been asked by some of your roving reporters for material for your magazine while contentedly lazing around some of the old campsites, the trash below was scribbled and as I don't seem able to make the clubrooms these days, forwarded to you in the hope of filling up half a page as well as letting interested members (if any) know how I feel on returning with my sense of humour a little farther warped.
“Home - for better or for verse.”
(That is attempted free verse).
It is said “The greater part of travel
Is returning to the hills of home.”
How true - For hills and streams hold memories of
days unmatched and nights spent under stars
One finds no matter what life's state,
The place where one can live with friends finding peace and happiness
It is indeed stimulating to experiment in
free verse. - no need for stirring rhythm
Descriptive similies - regular metre
Nor for it to rhyme or even
And it is a rewarding experience to write
And see the last one start at the left and go all the way across the
|April 21/22/23||King Pin - Shoalhaven River - Badgery's - Tolwong Plateau - Lake Louise - King Pin. Private transport via Tallong to Long Point Lookout. Views of the Shoalhaven Gorge (1800') and River, pleasant river traverse of Tolwong Plateau. See leader Arnold Fleishman for further details. Maps: Sketch map of Shoalhaven River (Badgery's to the Block-Up) by Stuart Brooks, Bill Carter, Ron Knightley (1947) and Yalwal Military Map.|
- David Ingram.
|April 23rd||Campbelltown - Woolwash - Fire Lookout Tower - O'Hare's Creek - Campbelltown. 15 miles. This is a genuine test walk with a little scrub bashing and a rock hop along O'Hare's Creek. Passes through some unspoilt country. 8.25 a.m. Goulburn train from Central Steam Station. Tickets: Campbelltown Return @ 7/6d. Map: Camden Military Leader: David Ingram.|
|April 30th||Waterfall - Uloola Falls - Heathcote. 9 miles. Recommended for new walkers. Traverses the Western side of the Royal National Park. If there is a good shower of rain during the preceding week, Uloola Cascades and Falls will be particularly attractive. Some aboriginal carvings en route. 8.50 a.m. Electric Train Central to Sutherland. CHANGE at Sutherland for rail motor to Waterfall. Tickets: Waterfall Return 5/9d. Map: Port Hacking or National Park Tourist. Leader: Dick Child.|
|May 7th||Heathcote - Kangaroo Creek - Audley. 7 miles. Suitable for new members. This walk enters the Royal National Park where last week's came out. Attractive scenery along Kangaroo Creek. Train time / Travel instructions / Maps: exactly the same as for April 30. Tickets: Heathcote Return @ 5/3d. Leader: Greg Grennan.|
|May 14th||Berowra - Want Trig - Jerusalem Bay - Cowan. 9 miles. Something a little different from the routine walks. Scratchy in parts with one scramble down to Cowan Creek. Suitable for new walkers. 8.40 a.m. Electric train Central - Hornsby via Bridge. CHANGE at Hornsby for Cowan. Tickets: Cowan via Bridge @ 6/3d. approx. Map: Broken Bay Military or Hawkesbury River Tourist. Leader: David Ingram.|
|April 22-22||Blackheath - Car to Perry's - Blue Gum - Grand Canyon - Blackheath. Drop 2,000' to Blue Gum Forest. Comfortable camping in forest of stately gums. Mostly track walk out (steep climb to Canyon) past Syncarpia, Beauchamp Falls and the scenic Grand Canyon. Leader: John Cambon. Map: Katoomba Military.|
- Geof Wagg.
It was the second evening of a 3-day weekend and we were camped in an enormous open-sided cave in the maze behind Mt. Renwick. We felt quite sheltered here from the day-long biting wind although great gusts and eddies still swept the cave from end to end, sending the fires frantic.
The snow had stopped by the previous morning and the sleet had stopped about midday. Even the covering blanket of the clouds had been torn apart and the few remaining tatters now dreadfully harassed by the wind. Soon we slept snuggly, tucked into various sheltered crannies while in our narrow strip of sky great stars blazed firelessly, and yet it seemed sleepily strange the wind did not blow them out.
Those last two days seemed to me then to have been empty and frustrating. Grace and Snow and I were out with some Tech. boys, proposing to go from the Vines over Renwick and the Castle then up the Clyde River and back to the Vines via Castle Point. Harried by rain showers and the bleak wind on the first day, we seemed to be doing well when we lunched sheltered by the cliffs of Tarn Mountain. Later in the afternoon we were making our way towards the southern point of Mt. Renwick with the close scrub clawing at our knees and groundsheets snapping and cracking in the mind. Before us lay an awful void of blue-black where the massif of Currockbilly merged with the deeply shadowed valley of the Clyde. As we watched, a single sunbeam driven by the wind fled like a hunted thing across the dark folding ridges, rested a moment on Pidgeon House then on to vanish in the depths of a distant gorge. Suddenly it seemed the cloud behind us split showing thru' a depth of turquoise sky where red-gold clouds swam like tropic fish in a transparent pool. And through this rent there poured a flood of light engulfing all of us and sweeping on to reach the Castle walls which flared up in a blaze of orange like a gigantic tinder pile touched with a match. The crackling of our groundsheets was the flames.
“It's fining up!” we said and happily made our way back to find a camp spot. The snow commenced a few minutes later. Luckily Michael had found us a very cosy cave where we camped and cooked on a roasting fire beyond which we saw blackness and snow flakes. The mind whined like a dog on the doorstep.
The next morning we moved out rather late, into a world of black and white. The sky was white as the snow and the trees, black as the rocks. We were cold in our shorts and sandshoes. In the open valley the faintest breath of wind seemed to saw with teeth of ice into our flesh, so we hunched our shoulders and tucked in our hands and tried to cross the marshy floor of the valley without breaking thru' the ice crust into the water beneath.
To reach the Castle we left the valley and climbing among the intervening pinnacles, crossed down on to the ridge that becomes the tail. Here the sleeting wind came with vicious fury; howling along the upper battlements of the mountain and driving into our faces as we sidled towards the climbing chimney. Half an hour later we were still sitting in the cave below the chimney where we had taken shelter. Outside the wind-rain-sleet mixture still roared by.
“Well are we going to climb this mountain?” demanded John Manning for the third time and still no one liked to tell him.
Whilst John and Peter were away up the mountain we built a small fire and warmed ourselves, in the resulting clouds of choking smoke. Later some of us built another fire in the next cave which had better ventilation and as we prepared lunch on this a shout announced the return of the climbing party. Investigation showed that not only had they returned but they had actually been drying their clothes by the fire when Peter backed a little too close and set his pants alight. This was responsible for the shout. Thereafter he walked behind Grace.
Lunch eaten in the ventilated cave only led to haggling and indecision. Forthright statements by Manning such as:-
“That sleet has stopped there's no reason why we can't go on and finish the trip!” were not parried but buried under an avalanche of :-
“It's too cold!”
“0 Snow in the chimneys - !” ” - Frozen rope - !“
“No caves on the Clyde!”
Yes, that was it. No caves on the Clyde. Comfort against Conquest. Eloquence versus Reluctance. Reduced to these, of course the result was foregone and that's how we came to be in our cave in the maze behind Mt. Renwick.
This was the difference however; that evening we had seen Mt. Fletcher. Seen it for the first time as a mountain I mean, rather than a hummock amongst others on the horizon. Cold it looked from here when across the massive precipice of the western face the freezing wind growled, slashing at the straggling clouds that strayed like unkempt sheep under the cold sky. We hadn't said anything at the time except “Wow!”, but later on that evening by the fire the image was conjured up again and this time Manning's exhortation wasn't necessary.
This morning is cold too; not the biting cold of the wind bit a pervading chill that you feel all over. The dark silver of the morning sky still holds a pale gleam where an unspent star lingers. The stillness holds us down like a weight. But stillness is a brittle thing and splintered with a shout: we have escaped, flitting grey shapes padding the firmness of damp sand. Ferns brush our legs like feathers but hold as well such snags as fire sharpened logs.
First find your mountain. Manning plunges into a choked gully and we follow wading waist deep in ferns and meshed sticks. The head is a cul-de-sac where we climb out on to rock and up a convenient log to the top of the first dome. Here we see a maze; no well planned ridges - no order. A tangle; rocks thrown down anyhow. Humps and hummocks, domes, gaps, slots and chasms and the top of Fletcher just visible half a mile away. We didn't think of this when we allowed ourselves 3 hours altogether.
We skip and jump from dome to hummock and frequently back from hummock to dome. We plough the fern and leaf mould and swing on tangled branches in the gullies. At every view we are nearer but never arriving.
“Look”, says Manning at last, “if we go right down there and skirt that mess altogether we should be able to get into the slot just this side of Fletcher”.
“Let's have a try!” we say.
Once more we slip and swing and jump but by the time we are furrowing the trough of this gully with our backs to the open window of its steep descending side we know at last we can touch our mountain. Touch it! “You must rub your nose on it”, the climbers say, “before you know it will go”.
“Yair, this is where Doug Doughnut climbed 'er” says Famous Higgins as we stand at the head of this gully on the short causeway of rock that butts against the mountain like a stool against the wall of a house. Our eyes follow up the fine cut line of the crack running at a slight angle up the smooth face. My estimation of Doug Doughnut's climbing ability soars. Not more than 60 feet I suppose but one straight pitch, fingers and toes most of the way, and never more than a knee and an elbow.
“She looks O.K.”. says Pete.
I say nothing.
“It seems a bit wet”, says Michael, and we all eye the big wet patch halfway up and estimate for ourselves the sliminess of the spreading green stain.
“I think we'll do better around on the eastern face” says Manning. “It seemed more broken when I was looking at it yesterday afternoon”. Yesterday afternoon no other of us had even known which mountain was Fletcher; still, that was Manning all over.
When it comes to the point Famous Higgins wants to try the conventional route and some stay with him while John, Pete, Mike, Snow and myself rope down the overhang into the gully opposite the way we came. We haven't a spare rope to leave fixed here so we use the other group's climbing rope and exhort them not to forget to leave it fixed for us should they go before we return. F.H's candid reply to this pursues us as we scuff up through the leaf mould to reach the foot of the cliff and follow it round a corner out of sight and eventually earshot.
It's so late now that we know we haven't time to try in more than one spot so we intend to choose a likely one and give it our best. Passing two promising places we take the third which seems broken into at least three pitches and lays back all the way or so it appears. It's only a moment then before we're all up on the pedestal of rock at the base of the first pitch and untangling the rope.
“Right! Who's going up?”
“No, I don't .. ” before he completes his formal complaint he has the rope around him. As it is a big step up to start, John boosts him, then his feet disappear from our sight and he's working his way up the steep sloping slab, finding holds in a centre crack. Minutes fade by with no sound but the muffled movements above our heads. The rope slides silently over the rock. The rope stops a movement, jerks spasmodically, then Mike's voice.
“Righto! The rope's clear.”
John and I go up in quick succession. John brings the others up while I belay Mike up the next stage, a short, wide open chimney with a steep, treacherous slope of loose stuff above. Shoes that grip like limpets on rock will glide off this smooth dry grass as if greased and the loose sandy, shale slope moves under you like quicksand. The danger is as Putt puts it.
“You feel so safe just because it isn't vertical.” Safe that is, until you start to slide. Mike treads gently until he's safe on rock again then with the rope fast we come up quickly to be all together beneath what looks like the last pitch. We're well back into the mountain now. No sunlight reaches us and we begin to feel cold. This section looks about fifty feet and an obvious route lies right before us. A deep narrow chimney curving out of sight above, undercut at the bottom too, for about eight feet.
“That makes it hard to get into.”
“Hmm -. Let's see if there's anything else”.
Alternatives are scarce. To our right a vertical right angle inside corner with a projecting wedge at the top and on our left the ledge blends back into the cliff face.
“Alright”, says Mike.
A large tree, its trunk blackened by past fires, grows in the very mouth of the chimney trying to look as though it were responsible for splitting this mighty rock and Mike embraces this to get him through the undercut section. I see him scuffling and scraping on the other side of the tree. Dust and flakes of charred bark fall in a continuous shower as he moves. After a few moments he braces himself and swings his camera behind him out of the way.
“Don't know why I bring this camera, I never use it!!”
Now comes the delicate manoeuvre of disengaging from the tree and into the chimney. A final shower of charcoal and it's achieved.
“Nice going Mike”.
“Hmmm. Looks wider further in and I can see daylight above. Think I'll try it there”. Again he disappears and his movements are indicated by the paying out of the rope.
“What's the matter Mike?”
“Ah, there's some rubbish on the rock up here. Looks like tar or something”.
“Oh well, stick to it ”
“No option I'm afraid.” And one by one we run the gauntlet of the charcoal and the tar.
When I finally slip into sunlight trough the grimy lips of this crevice and see the others I realise even more fully what we have in common. We're filthy! Smeared black and sticky with this stuff, smudged with charcoal too and this on top of a normal two days bushwalking grime in weather then it's too cold to wash. But we feel clean.
Clean as the taste of the fresh morning sunlight in our mouths. Clean as the clear, blue, rainwashed distance rushing away from us in every direction. Clean as the feel of the crisp rock under our feet. This cleanness is deep and real.
We leapt and skipped like young animals, on the spreading terraces of the summit. This was living. This was us. Then we watched far a little while quietly, then turned and went dawn.
|April 28-29-30||Blackheath - car to Megalong - Black Jerry's - Galong Creek - Carlon's Head - Katoomba. Easy going down to Cox's - pleasant river scenery at foot of Black Jerry's. Rock hop up Galong, scramble up the seven cascades of Box Canyon (pink granite, rubbers recommended). Steep climb to Carlon's Head, steady nerves needed for the chains up the rock face, then easy walking to Katoomba with extensive views from Narrow Neck. Leader: Pam Baker. Maps: Myles Dunphy's Gangerang Map, Katoomba Military, Jenolan Military.|
|April 29-30||Kanangra Walls - Murdering Gully - Kanangra Creek - Thurat Spires - Big Misty - Kanangra Walls. Private Transport to the Walls. We quote Bill Gillam's description (May 1950)… “The Spires are no more than 50-100 feet wide at most and are connected by a knife edge a mere yard wide. They fall on on side to Kanangra Deep, and on the other to the similar Danae Brook. The vision of the immense deeps, purple in afternoon shadow, cut by innumerable waterfalls with the glorious yellow of the Walls dominating ail, is a wonderful sight.” This is a rugged day-trip, including a good deal of scree scrambling and some rope work. See Leader Bob Jones for further details.|
|May 5-6-7||George Gray will lead a trip to Bungonia Gorge - Private Transport.|
|May 6-7||Reg Meakins will lead a walk well known for its scenic attractions. Train to St. Anthony's (near Robertson) - Carrington Falls - the Barren Grounds - Saddle Back - Kiama.|
See the new walks programme for further details.