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 JW1462.
|Editor||Stuart Brooks, 5 Ingalara Rd, Wahroonga. 484343.|
|Business Manager||Brian Harvey|
|Sales & Subs.||Lola Wedlock|
|Typed by||Shirley Dean|
|Letters to the Editor - Greyhound Pacific Ltd.||3|
|Letters to the Editor - Taro||4|
|Sonnet to the Long Week-end||Thornigah||4|
|May General Meeting||Alex Colley||5|
|Ascent of N.W. Face of Federation Peak||“Strawb” Jones||7|
|“Sittin' on Seven”||12|
|Report on 1961 Expedition to the Carstensz Mountains (continued)||C.Putt||16|
|The Saws are Silent Now||Jim Brown||19|
|Roy's Friendly Service Ad||11|
You may, or may not, know Frank Smythe. A fine mountaineer, a good walker, a competent photographer and an able writer. If you enjoy any of these things (or all) you should read his books.
It was he, with Eric Shipton, who made the final assault on Mt. Everest in 1933, and after Eric had dropped out sick at about 27000 feet, had climbed alone, unaided by any mechanical assistance, such as oxygen to 28,100 feet on the extremely difficult North face.
To my mind, and I don't think that I am alone here, this feat ranks ahead of any subsequent (albeit successful) attempt on that mountain or any other.
This is all incidental, and I am sure Frank Smythe would be the first to agree. He was a man who loved Nature for her own sake, and revelled in the great untamed spaces. To quote his own words (referring to a walking holiday in the Alps) -
“The best way of seeing any country is to journey through it on foot. In the case of the Alps this means passing from one valley to another over the intervening peaks and ranges and spending nights at inns or huts. To perform the journey successfully and enjoyably it is essential to travel lightly laden and carry everything needful in a rucksack, but Sybarites, among whom I number myself, may artfully contrive to send a clean shirt on ahead by post to await them at some village en route.
Clean shirts aside, the charm of such travel lies in unexpectedness. Even in a well trodden and accurately mapped country like Switzerland it is possible to experience the thrills of pioneering.
No valley, no pass, no peak has been explored until you have set your foot there, and he who sets out from a valley in the morning to cross a range into another valley is as much an explorer in spirit as the more fortunate person who first sets eyes on the dazzling splendour of hitherto untrodden mountains.”
Let this be the spirit with which you attack your own walking! So thousands of walker's have been to Bluegum. So what! Until you, yourself, have gone there, it has never been discovered!
There are countless places awaiting your eager, pioneering footsteps - Cox River, Kanangra Creek, Bungonia Gorge, Lockley's, Korrowal Buttress, Walgan Creek, Bawley Point, Barrington Tops, Ettrema Gorge - the list is endless.
The lifeblood of any walking club is the old homespun pioneering outlook. So go to it!
And incidentally, drop us a few lines and let us know how you get on.
“Further to my previous correspondence advising your Club of Camping Tours being operated through out Australia by this Company, I would now advise that owing to the large number of applications by members of Bushwalking Clubs for accommodation on the 3 weeks Central Australian Tours, including Ayers Rocks and Mt. Olga, that another tour is being organised to depart Sydney on Saturday, 11th August, 1962.
A few vacancies are still available on the 4 weeks Northern Territory and Central Australian Tour “J”, which includes Darwin, and is scheduled to also depart Sydney on Saturday, 11th August,
In a letter from an old friend of mine - Alan Rigby, one of the active founders of the S.B.W. and still walking as ever, is an account of the recent rescue operation at Leura, it should be of interest to all our club members. We have read all the details in the press reports, but here is the tragedy as seen by the loftier vision of a poet - Taro.
“I was one of the search and rescue party that went to Leura last weekend to search for the lost boy. 50 men searched for a week and our crowd found his body in 90 minutes. It was exactly where I had figured it would be from the details of his movements. However, I was in a party detailed to search Leura Creek. Police squad came up on Saturday afternoon with gear. We helped to transport and erect it and later hauled up the body on a stretcher from 400' below.
It was an extraordinary experience - all the afternoon a storm had milled around Kedumba valley below Korrowal and just as we were raising the body - it came over us - not so much rain - but swirling mist racing up the cliff face writhing and twisting until there was no visibility over the valley - or below. Then as we pulled the stretcher came into sight above the cliff just as if it had come from a world of nothingness - there was not a person there who was not moved by the scene.
It seemed as though some supernatural force tried to hide the grievous wrong, there was something Valkyrian-Wagnerian about it. We don't know how it happened, but he was a studious boy - somewhat moody and anti-social as many boys of 17 are. It was a habit to go for a walk along the Prince Henry cliff track after studies.
It is a beautiful walk and he loved to stand on the very cliff edge and look down. As there is a ledge 100' below the top you cannot see right to the foot of the main cliff - and my theory is that he found his way down through one of the very steep gullies to look over the main cliff - and either slipped or fell. I feel sorry for the parents, I saw the father and he was a very fine type.
Anyway, the bushwalkers made a fine effort - there, were 97 from the different clubs of the Federation.”
I would like to say that I enjoyed your “Science Naturally” article and hope to see more of it. As you said, the field is unlimited.
I don't know if you intend to answer questions, but as a strictly amateur zoologist, I have always been intrigued by the variation in the size of crab's claws. Is there any reason for this?
(You will find, E.G, that only married crabs have little nippers. Ed).
The best time of the year, bright, waking to frost
And the warming life of a breakfast fire.
The Labrynth, The Oaks, The Wheel, energetic trip.
But it rained at The Oaks, the miserable
Steady rain of winter. We caught water
From the tent sufficient to cook, drink, talked
In subtleties (being young, uncertain, sure only
Of the winter, the rain and the sighing trees.)
We had read the Rubiyat as a testament,
Caught by the clear diction, the rigid rhymes,
The subtle reasonings, the poets intent.
An erotic King James done for modern times.
Let me leave my footprints on the Great Divide,
Or drive a car to that sweet mountain-side.
Our meeting commenced with a welcome to new member Tony Quietzch.
In correspondence as a letter from Henry Gold, now in California where, we learned, walking has all but ceased. He had been unable to locate a walking club and the furthest the citizens of Oaklands could be induced to walk was from their car to the office. Perhaps the happy days of complete inertia are even closer there than here.
Our Treasurer, Gordon Redmond, reported that, after starting the month with £139/3/6, collecting £19/14/- and disbursing £51/12/6 we finished up with £105/12/6 in the bank. Our main item of income was £19 for subs, and our main expense £35/13/3 for badges.
Next our Social Secretary, Molly Rodgers, reminded us of the Colour slide competition to be held on June 30th. There were to be 6 slides from each entrant and they should be marked clearly and handed in by not later than June 13th.
In Federation report we heard that Paddy has a new notice board outside his shop on which there will be a space 17½ inches square for each club's use.
President Bill Rodgers told us that the Committee had given a lot of consideration to the filling of the walks programme. There were always quite a few vacancies on the programme when it came before committee, and this was unfair not only to those members who did regularly put walks on the programme but to Walks Secretary, Wilf Hilder who put a lot of effort into making it up. With very little extra thought and trouble many private walks could be made into programme walks. Committee had decided, in view of the difficulty of finding leaders, that in future any vacancies on the programme when it came up for consideration would remain. No further effort would be made to fill them. (California here we come!)
Walks Secretc4ry Wilf Hilder reported that the first walk in April, Geoff Wagg's Davies Canyon walk though well attended (7 members and 1 visitor) had struck bad weather, and difficulties were increased by the disappearance of the well known ledge beneath the second waterfall. Irene Pridham's walk to Megalong and Galong Creek had also struck bad weather - but 4 members and 1 prospective had turned out. No less than 12 members, 6 prospectives and 2 visitors went with Jess Martin to Uloola Falls. Jess reported that the track was very overgrown. Jim Brown's walk in the Wondabyne area was also very popular (23 starters). Here too the scrub was thick, and care was needed to keep on course. Jean's Pools had made a very pleasant lunch spot with a good outlook. Stuart Brook's Easter trip from Tolwong through the block up was not so popular (3 starters), but swimming in the Shoalhaven at the end of April doesn't appeal to some. Less Hardy types went with Eric Adcock to the Castle (17 members, 3 prospectives and 1 visitor). It had been an excellent trip despite very thick scrub along the sides of the Seven Gods mountain. Wilf's own Easter trip down the Capertee and up the Wolgan attracted 7 starters, including some C.M.W. members. A side trip to Uraterer was abandoned a few miles short of the mountain because of the difficulty of picking the ridge in the time available, but Wilf made sure there was enough time left to erect a 6 ft. cairn on Grassy Hill to the memory of Gordon Smith, who, with Max Gentle, was probably the first bushwalker to use this route. Wilf was surprised, after reports from old hands, to find the Capertee easy going and the old track fairly close to the River. Flooding and siltation might have removed or covered many of the obstacles along the river. There was now about 5 times as much sand as water in the river bed. The easy going enabled a side trip to Mount Cameron from the true Annie Rowan's Creek. Snow Brown had led a party into interesting new country, covered in dense rain forest, on the Eastern slopes of the Apsley Ranges. Bob Godfrey led another party over the fire trails of the Barrington ad Gloucester Tops. There were 6 starters on John White's pleasant Blue Gum Forest trip and on the 29th Dave Ingram led a large party over the fire trails around the Woolwash. They enjoyed good views of the Georges and Nepean Rivers. Wilf also told us that there was to be a new fire road from Eckersley Trig to Lake Eckersley and that the army proposed to take over the country north of the Colo. There would be a road to Mount Uraterer and another from Glen Davis, down the Colo and up Wollemi Creek.
Further cheering news was that the Blue Mountains Council was going to spend its £20,000 unemployment relief grant on building a road along Narrow Neck. (How we fought to preserve that lovely escarpment!)
Towards the end of the meeting Frank Ashdown had a busy time. First he auctioned a pair of boots for 10/-. Then, to further bolster our finances, he succeeded in persuading members to cancel our subscription to “Walkabout” - (after all money saved is as good as money made). Lastly he demonstrated the advantages of Johnson's new “butterfly” closures, which take the place of stitches. Tempted to extravagance by the thought that this advice might save us a Doctor's bill, we then repaired to our 1/3 supper at “The Satellite.”
Congratulations to Bruce and Kath McInnes on the arrival of their second daughter, Heather.
Bobo (“Strawb”) Jones.
It was Monday evening, January 1st. I had just blown out the candle and I was carrying out that ritual peculiar to those who use sleeping-bags. The night was fine, and we were banking on a fine day for the morrow.
As I lay there, slowly drifting off to sleep, my thoughts ranged back over the preparations for the trip: to long letters written to Jack and doubts about there being enough people to make the trip possible. There were only four of us who finally boarded the plane on Boxing Day 1960; Jack O'Halloran, the leader Geoff Shaw, Robin Dunse and myself.
The march into Berchervaise Plateau had been a hot exhausting slog. I could still see us stretched out 'neath some bushes on that hot afternoon on the slopes of Mt. Picton. We brewed tea while we waited for the heat of the day to pass. As we slogged along the South Picton range the haze of bushfire smoke hung far to the north; an unusual sight for the south west of Tasmania. Then again, sleeping out at night during the march up Berchervaise Plateau was unusual also! Our combined thoughts then were, “If only we have this weather during our attempt at the climb.” It was also suggested that drinking water would be a problem on the climb.
Now, after a combined reconnaissance of the route, our thoughts were still mainly for good weather. Geoff and Rob had viewed the climb roughly in profile from the most eastern ridge of the peak, whilst Jack and myself had traced a route from the valley floor directly below the climb. Our findings agreed on one point - the overhand about two-thirds the way up the main face would be difficult to negotiate.
We woke the next morning to fine weather with the early morning cloud dispersing. Although our intentions of an early start were good, time was wasted as we decided what type of equipment and food would be most suitable to take. We were only setting out for a “look” at the climb, so only meagre rations were taken. It was 10 a.m. when we finally left camp.
We climbed to the Terrace and then traversed north between the Federation Massif and a large pinnacle which was visible from camp. We then descended a couloir facing north west and at 12 p.m. we began climbing on its western side; our aim being to meet the “Blade Ridge” which ascends directly from the Valley floor. I climbed with Jack, whilst Rob and Geoff climbed together.
I led up the first pitch for 120 feet over greasy, scrub-covered rock. The route led straight up from the gully, across a smooth, shallow water course and up on to a buttress. Jack followed and led 70 feet further up the buttress. I joined him and we paused to view our surroundings. Opposite to us on the other side of the main couloir on the most western ridge of the mountain was a huge gendarme. It rises straight from the valley floor and when viewed from the Devil's Ears it appears as a separate entity to the left of the Peak proper. From our vantage point we could see a magnificent climb which began from the coloir itself on good slabs, and leading into a magnificent chimney. The climb ended in a crack. It was from the top of this feature that Rob and Geoff had done their reconnaissance on 30th December.
By this time the others were drawing near, so I led down and across toward the “Blade”. An easy pitch of 70 feet up a corner brought Jack and myself to that point where the “Blade” ridge joins the north west face proper. Here we rested and waited for the other two to join us. So far we had done 350 feet of climbing. When all four of us were together we took stock of our situation. We were perched on a blade of rock which plunged away into awesome depths on either side. Immediately above loomed the gigantic north west face of Federation Peak. The scale was tremendous, and we marvelled at the view. As we munched chocolate we talked over our immediate plans. The time was 2.30 pm, which gave us at least six hours of daylight-time to reach the top. Also, the weather looked like being fine for the remainder of the day.
I started off and climbed to the top of an easy diagonal ledge one rope length away. Jack followed and then led through; first up the face for 20 feet, along a groove for about 20 feet, and then straight up to a good stance near a pinnacle. The exposure over those delicate holds was emphasised when some chocolate slipped from Jack's pocket and went spiralling into the depths. After passing my companion I began climbing up a coloir of moderate difficulty. About 40 feet up it branched and I took the right hand fork and climbed upwards for another 40 feet, well protected by large boulders. Here I encountered a grass ledge (which we later called the “Bus Stop”). I followed it left for further 20 feet. Here I belayed myself to a rock and in response to the earlier requests of the other two, I untied so that Jack could belay them over the difficult section.
Whilst these manoeuvres were taking place down below me I made a study of the overhang, 120 feet above me. It did seem that a way might be forced up it by taking a route up an overhanging chimney - if we could get into it! Unfortunately the interchange of ropes down below took quite some time and it was ages before Geoff appeared. Jack followed and leaving Geoff. to bring up Rob, we joined forces once more.
I led off, first left for 10 feet, then upwards in a groove for 50 feet. I banged in a piton and a delicate move brought me out onto the face again. From here I climbed upwards diagonally to the right for 25 feet, until I reached a large protruding flake. I fixed a runner and traversed left for 15 feet toward a corner. I was only 8 feet below the overhang. There I banged in a piton and prepared to belay the others. Jack joined me and we agreed that in order to climb into the chimney, we had to traverse around the corner. Jack set out and tried hard. He came back shaking his head. “Can't even get a piton in”. I had a look at it then decided we might force it lower down. So I climbed down to the flake and then began traversing on delicate holds. Jack's encouragement egged me on “Good on you 'Hermann', you're fairly dancing over those holds.” By painstaking steps I inched towards the corner - a delicate move, and I found myself around it, beneath the chimney. A few sure blows with my hammer and I had secured a piton and attached a runner. I yodelled to the others. Entering the chimney proper involved a few very strenuous moves relying almost entirely on the arms. I then climbed 20 feet up the chimney and anchored myself.
As neither Geoff nor Rob felt like leading Jack had to remain where he was and belay Geoff up to the flake. By now it was raining lightly. Upon reaching this Geoff's exclamation was “The bloody thing's loose!” Jack followed my traverse to the piton below the chimney, and belayed Geoff in turn. He then climbed up to me leaving Geoff to bring Rob up. It was now 8.15 p.m. and visibility was poor. Rob reached the flake and with a sterling effort, completed the traverse to Geoff in semi-darkness.
Geoff joined Jack and myself whilst Rob, who was the only person wearing a parka, remained below tied to the piton. Geoff was straddled with his legs across the chimney, Jack was squatting on a chockstone and I found myself wedged above them, half supported on one foot. Under these conditions we resolved to pass the night. We cursed loudly when we thought of the gear and food which we had left behind at camp, but fortunately we did not starve altogether. Geoff had a bag of peanuts and I had some raisins and chocolate. It was at this stage that I suddenly had an acute attack of “Dropsy” which seemed to last the remainder of the trip. First I dropped the bag of peanuts, but luckily they landed on Geoff's head and so were saved. Next I dropped my own bag of scroggin and before vanishing altogether it also struck Geoff's head. After this sequence of events I was abused in two dialects, broad Yorkshire and loud Australian. They were convinced that I had dropped off to sleep. Jack was insistent, “Bob are you asleep? Bob you must be asleep!” Later on in endeavouring to find a more comfortable position I dislodged a stone which struck Jack on the leg. After this I was strongly advised by the others not to move for the rest of the night!
Throughout the night we were subjected to periodic gusts of freezing wind blowing through the crack. About 1 a.m. we all fell silent listening with dismay to the unmistakeable sound of trickling water. From then on we passed the time deciding what we could do if our chimney was suddenly transformed into a waterfall. After what seemed an eternity we noticed that the sound of trickling water had stopped and a new sound had taken its place; the unmistakeable chirp of birds from the valley far below us. A half hour later and we were gazing out from our miserable bivouac at a bleak sky.
After we had stretched our cramped limbs our first move was to try and climb up the chimney-crack from inside, as no one relished the thought of leading straight off onto an overhanging face. Geoff was the first to try to squeeze through the crack on the inside to a chockstone about 15 feet above us. However the bulk of both he and his clothes forced him back. During this manoeuvre I found my raisins which I had dropped during the night wedged in a crevice. I decided to try the crack next, and to give myself every possible chance, I stripped off and had Jack and Geoff remove my trousers. My efforts were not in vain and after gaining the top of the chockstone, I put on my trousers, then threw down the rope weighted with Karabiners. From here I moved onto the face and climbed a pitch of 100 feet to the ledge at the top of the overhang.
Jack climbed up the face to the top of the chockstone and from there brought up Geoff. Leaving Geoff to belay Rob, he then climbed up to my ledge where we waited for them. The weather had become colder and it was sleeting lightly. Time passed and we could perceive no movement from the other two; we became impatient and finally we dropped them a top rope. A short time later they joined us, and they swore that we stood at the beginning of the ramp leading to the summit. Rob and Geoff led off and we traversed to the right for a full pitch and then climbed for two pitches up an easy couloir. A few steps led us to a cairn. Sunlight shone briefly as we shook hands, yodelling gaily. It as 8 a.m. Tuesday, 3rd January.
Geoff handed us 4 ounces chocolate apiece from the cache he had prepared two days earlier. A photograph was taken, then we grabbed our gear and hurried down to Berchervaise Gully out of the bitter wind. A short time later we were back on the Plateau. We devoured quantities of biscuits and cheese before sinking into our sleeping bags. We slept with the sleep induced by a combination of exertion, bliss and fulfilment of purpose in our 1200 ft of climbing.
An interesting sequel to the climb came just 24 hours later. The area was ravaged by a fierce storm with wind gusts reaching 70-80 miles per hour. The tent occupied by Rob and Jack was blown down three times and they only stopped it from blowing away by lying on top of it, wrapped in their plastic bivouac tubes.
The climb from the valley floor to the top of the Blade was successfully accomplished by Jack O'Halloran and myself on Saturday January 7. The climb itself was no less interesting than the one just described. We completed the 1300 ft. of climbing (actually 900 feet measured vertically), in just 8½ hours.
Do you need new roof, guttering and downpipes??
Or does the roof and guttering need re-painting??
Or perhaps a new water service or hot-water installation??
No job is too small - for any plumbing installations or alterations
You need Roy's friendly plumbing service.
Contact Roy Craggs in the S.B.W. Club-rooms or contact Joe Crags, Carpenter and Painter, 41 Rosamond Street, Hornsby, Telephone JU2203.
Remember - you need Roy's friendly service!!!
For all your transport from Blackheath contact Hatswell's Taxi & Transport Service. Ring, write, wire or call any hour - day or night.
'Phone: Blackheath W459 of W151.
Booking office: 4 doors from the Gardners Inn Hotel (look for the neon sign).
Speedy 5 or 8 passenger cars available. Large or small parties catered for.
We will be pleased to quote trips or special parties on application.
A summary of good walking techniques as advocated by Wilf Hilder.
Head forr'd, tail aft,
Thus begins the walker's craft.
Arms swingin', knees bent,
They'll never know which way you went.
Pigeon toed, knock kneed,
Now you're really gaining speed.
Weight on toes, Injun style,
Eight minutes flat for every mile.
Jarring? Toes absorb it!
Take care you don't go into orbit.
(But if you really want to shift,
Stand quite still, and thumb a lift. - Ed.)
Glenbrook - Glenbrook Gorge - Nepean Lookout - Euroka Clearing - Glenbrook. 12 miles.
Check your Walks Programme and note that this walk is the first of four to explore the Glenbrook - Blue Labyrinth area, which is full of opportunity for map reading, either to learn about it or to practice it. A rock hop down the Gorge with a sharp climb up to Nepean Lookout.
8.20 am. Lithgow train from Central Steam Station to Glenbrook. Tickets: Glenbrook @ 13/9 return.
Map: Liverpool Military.
Leader: Ern French.
Grose Wold - The Vale Lookout - Woods Creek - North Richmond. 6 miles.
Interesting country. The Vale Lookout is spectacularly situated above the junction of Burralow Creek and the Grose River. See leader regarding transport arrangements and costs.
Map: Windsor Military.
Leader : Ron Knightley.
Waterfall - Uloola Falls - Audley - Launch to Cronulla. 8 miles.
Pleasant walking mainly through the uplands of the National Park. As the launch leaves Audley at 3.45 pm, a reasonable pace will have to be maintained to reach Audley in time. The launch trip on Port Hacking is particularly good.
8.50 am Cronulla train from Central Electric Station, change at Sutherland for rail motor to Waterfall. Tickets: Waterfall return @ 5/9 plus about 3/- launch fare.
Map: Port Hacking Tourist or Military.
Leader: Dick Child.
Engadine - Woronora River - Scouters' Mountain - Woronora Trig - Waterfall. 13 miles.
The construction of an access road onto Scouters Mountain has eased the difficulty of approach. However, there is still some thick growth on parts of this trip, which has not been lessened by the wet summer. Gaiters recommended. If the party is interested - tea in the bush.
8.20 a.m. Cronulla train from Central Electric Station. Change at Sutherland for rail motor to Engadine. Tickets: Waterfall return @ 5/9.
Map: Port Hacking Tourist or Camden Military.
Leader: David Ingram.
Glenbrook - The Oaks - Erskine Creek Lookout - Breakfast Creek - Euroka - Glenbrook. 13 miles.
Not much time for sitting around on this trip. Traverses an interesting part of the Blue Labyrinth. Could be scratchy in parts.
8.54 am. Mt. Victoria train from Central Steam Station to Glenbrook. Note specially altered departure time of train. Tickets: Glenbrook return @ 13/9.
Map: Liverpool Military.
Leader: Jim Brown.
The Bushwalker Annual. A committee comprising Messrs. Wagg, Watson, Parris and Mitche1l, with power to co-opt further members as considered necessary, has been formed to produce the next issue of “The Bushwalker Annual”. The President and Secretary are ex-officio members.
The Bushwalkers Ball 1962. Paddington Town Hall, Friday 14th September.
Re-enactment of the Crossing of the Blue Mountains. Tentative dates are set down at 11th May 1963 to 28th May 1963. Volunteers are required to enact the roles of Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson, and 4 servants who accompanied them. Federation will co-operate with the Blue Mountains City Council.
New Notice Board at Paddy's, will be situated in the vestibule outside the shop and will provide a space of 17½ inches square for the display of each Club's notices. In this position, the notice board will be available at all times. Advise Paddy by May 15, 1962 if any special design is required for the strips containing the Club names.
Search and Rescue Practice Week-end. July 21 - 22, 1962. Nin. Melville says that the outing will not be designed as a picnic. See the Club's Walks Programme.
Blocks 8-9 Parish of Bulgo. It is anticipated that this land will be resumed, but it is not clear whether it will be added to Garrawarra or National Park.
Prospecting in Blue Gum Forest. The Minds Dept. has not reached any decision regarding the prospecting for coal in Blue Gum Forest area.
Bouddi Natural Park . Advice is to be sought from the Maritime Services Board and the Soil Conservation Service about the proposed work to be done at Bouddi. A date for a working bee is yet to be fixed.
Search and Rescue. A party from Newcastle Y.M.C.A., decided to come up from the Re-union at Blue Gum via Victoria Falls. Owing to a sprained ankle and illness the party did not reach their cars at Govett's Leap until 12.55 pm on Monday afternoon. In the meantime S & R had been alerted. Some recognition by the Royal Humane Society of the parts played by Russell Kippax and Graham Nelson in the rescue at Kanangra Rivulet in March is likely.
Re-Union Report. 195 attended in spite of poor weather conditions. The camp fire was voted excellent.
Heathcote Primitive Area. Application has been made by the Boy Scouts' Association for a lease of portion of the area. A move will be made to protest to the Lands Department against the proposal. A fresh set of aerial photos of the area is now available. The Electricity Commission has agreed to discontinue using poison on plants growing under the transmission lines crossing the Reserve. Access to the area by motor vehicles via the Water Board road is causing the Trustees concern.
Tracks and Access. A large cairn has been erected and some warning signs painted near the Hornsby Rifle Range in an effort to prevent walkers from wandering onto the Range.
St. Alban's Military Map, is out of print and Army Authorities state that a reprint is not intended. The Army Mapping Section in Melbourne will be asked to re-consider the matter, as this sheet is of considerable use to walkers.
The new look at Paddy's.
Ski-ing Bushwalkers will be delighted with the “new look” at Paddy's. Ski equipment is displayed to advantage for all to see and handle. Come in and drool sometime over the gorgeous jackets, husky boots, smart skis and a wealth of minor items.
Double boots come as low as £9/10/-. Kofix. soled skis at £9/19/6.
But Paddy hasn't forgotten the walker and he still has plenty of camping gear for his walking friends.
Equipment for skiers and walkers from Paddy's.
Paddy Pallin Pty. Ltd. Lightweight Camp Gear.
201 Castlereagh St., Sydney. BM2685.
Leader Colin Putt.
Less than a month before the party was due to leave for New Guinea, we were advised that the Christian and Missionary Alliance had refused permission for us to use their Ilaga airstrip.
As there was a good chance that this refusal might be reconsidered, and as it would have been very difficult for our members to change their plans at this late stage, we decided that we would press on regardless, and if we were unable to use Ilaga, we would walk from the nearest available airstrip.
Temple arrived in Hollandia on May 23 and with the help of Mr. Schorool of the Government Staff made the necessary contacts and arrangements. He worked hard on the problem of access to Ilaga, but did not at the time know of the background to the difficulties and the airfield at Ilaga was finally closed to ourselves and to another climbing party which had hoped to use it. However, permission was granted by Mr. Craig of the Australian Baptist Field Mission, to land at their Tiome station, seven days' walk through uncontrolled country from Ilaga.
The other fundamental difficulty in the execution of our plans appeared at the same time as the remaining five members of the expedition arrived in Hollandia. This arose from the shortage - completely unsuspected - of aircraft in Netherlands New Guinea at the time. N.N.G.L.M. De Kroonduif, who were to move stores and personnel to the starting point at Wamena, were unable to land DC3 aircraft there, from 6th to 9th June, because of flooding of part of the airfield, and their Twin Pioneers, which might have landed on the reduced strip, were grounded at the time with mechanical trouble. No other suitable aircraft were available in Netherlands New Guinea. At the same time, one of the Mission Aviation Fellowship's four light planes had been grounded while awaiting parts and instructions for essential repairs, and the remaining three were hardly able to keep up the really vital work of getting food and medical supplies to the outlying mission stations. No other light aircraft were available to us. In spite of the very real difficulties under which he was working, Mr. Steiger, the manager of the M.A.F. at Sentani, did manage to make flying time available to move the party and 350 pounds of food and equipment from Wamena to Tiome as soon as De Kroonduif were able to land us at Wamena on June 9, but it was not possible to pre-airdrop the main supplies as had been planned.
When we found theft we would have to walk from Tiome to Ilaga, through the North and West Baliem valleys, we consulted Mr. R. Den Haan, the Controller of the Central Highlands, and were given the following information, which we found very useful.
The Baliem valleys were inhabited by members of the Dani group of tribes. These are vigorous, intelligent, warlike and independent people, who do not consider themselves to be in any way inferior to Europeans, and who may or may not tolerate the presence of white men in their territory. The West Baleim had been nearly depopulated in a series of tribal wars in 1950 and 1960, and the survivors have a reputation of hostility toward strangers. Although many West Baleim natives have never seen white men, they are well aware of the capabilities of firearms, and of the great value of the goods which white men usually carry with them.
An arrangement was made with Mr. Den Haan, whereby we would try to make radio contact with Enarotali, on the Wissel Lakes, every evening after 11th June; if no contact was made for five days it would be assumed that we were in trouble.
On the morning of June 9 we flew by the regular DC3 service, with all our supplies, to Wamena and flew from there to Tiome in three Cessna loads, with 40 pounds each of personal and party equipment, and a total of 80 pounds of food. We were very kindly received by the staff of the Tiome mission and school, and with their help we recruited, before noon, six Christian Dani to carry with us to Ilaga for a payment of one large bush knife each and eight others to help for the first two days for three large cowrie shells each. Ijombe, a recognised native leader of very strong and good character, was appointed head carrier, and proved to be capable and conscientious. We set off up the Meleri tributary of the North Baliem at 12.30 and bought some food for the carriers on the way. In camp that evening the carriers warned us that we might meet hostile natives the next day, and the guns were unpacked and assembled. On the morning of June 10, the route lay through friendly villages, here we bought enough food for the carriers for a week, and were joined by a man and his wife wanting safe conduct to Ilaga.
At 1 p.m. as we were about to start the climb from the Meleri river to an 11,000 foot pass into the North Baleim, an unexpected arrow attack was made on the party from a village by the track. The bowmen fired indiscriminately on carriers and “tuans”, and were only driven out of arrow range by firing in their general direction. The village headman then came out, unarmed, and showed us a track which bypassed the village! We climbed on up a well marked track through jungle and then moss forest to reach the pass at 5 pm.
On the 11th we descended through dense forest to the North Baliem valley and paid off our two-day carriers where we joined the main track up the river. Carriers and tuans were now carrying loads of 40 to 45 pounds. A rough native track leads through the remains of deserted villages and gardens to a large native suspension bridge across the West Baliem, which we reached at 10 am, on June 12.
The North end of the bridge is defended by a strong stockade, and a native guard came out to talk to us. When it was seen that we were well armed, we were told that we could go up the North bank of the West Baliem which is nowadays uninhabited. The route from the bridge to the head of the river lies entirely through a great swamp which is in fact probably a fossil tundra, laid down during the last ice age. At first the swamp supports a forest, but further up the river the trees are relatively sparse and the bog is clothed with tall rushes, ferns and grasses. The valley floor lies between 8000 and 9000 feet above sea level, and in the whole of the swamp, which took us 2½ days to cross, there is no good going underfoot; the mud is often knee deep for long stretches. Towards the head of the valley the weather becomes progressively worse, with regular, cold afternoon and night rains.
On June 12 we tried to transmit a radio message, and found that the transmitter had been badly damaged, probably when the loads were thrown down in the skirmish in the Meleri valley, and could not be repaired in the field.
On June 15 we left the Baliem valley at the upper end of the great swamp, and climbed on to the 11,000 ft. high plateau which separates the headwaters of the Baleim, Ilaga and Zengilorong and Kemaboe rivers. This plateau is above the treeline, very wet and swampy, and to our surprise the country rock, the first we had seen since entering the swamps of the West Baliem, was igneous, with clear evidence of mineralisation. The afternoon weather on this plateau can be particularly unpleasant; at 4 pm on the 15th we were struck by a sudden hailstorm which so seriously affected our naked and by now rather underfed carriers that they were unable to help themselves, part of our precious half-gallon of kerosine had to be used to start a fire to prevent them from freezing to death on the spot. On the morning of June 16 the Ilaga valley mission buildings and airstrip were seen from the edge of the plateau, and the first village was reached at 2 pm. The rest of the afternoon was spent in an unavoidable triumphal procession up the valley; at 6 pm we reached the Ilaga Mission and were received with great kindness and hospitality by Mr and Mrs Larson, who gave us the use of a large building to camp in.
To be continued.
Especially planned to holiday requirements of bushwalkers & camping club members.
Tour “N” Departs Sydney Sat. 5th May. Tour “I” Departs Sydney Sat. 14th July. Travelling via Dubbo, Bourke, Cunnamulla (Q), Charleville, Blackall, Mary Kathleen, Mt. Isa, Flynn Memorial, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs (2 days), Ayers Rock (2 days), Mt. Olga, Coober Pedy, Pt. Augusta and Broken Hill. Fare £55, 0. 0.
Tour “J” Departs Sydney Saturday 11th August. Itinerary as Tours “N” and “I” and including Daly Waters, Mataranka, Darwin, and Rum Jungle. Fare £66. 0. 0.
Tour “K” Departs Sydney Saturday 15th September. Travelling via Newcastle, Kempsey, Gold Coast, Brisbane, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville (1 day), (Magnetic Is.), Paronella Park, Atherton Tablelands Area (3 days), Lake Eacham, Lake Barrine, Mareeba, Cooktown (1 day), Daintree, Cairns, (Green Is.), Charters Towers, Clermont, Toowoomba, Tenterfield and Tamworth. Fare £54. 0. 0.
Tour “E” Departs Sydney Saturday 15th September. Travelling via Albury, Bendigo, Bordertawn, “Barossa Valley”, Pt. Augusta, Ceduna, Nullabor Plains, Norseman, Esperance, “Stirling Range National Park”, “Porongorups National Park”, Albany (1 day), Frenchman's Bay, Denmark, “Valley of Giants”, Pemberton, “Kingdom of the Karri”, Cape Leeuwin, Augusta and Margaret River Caves Area (2 days), Perth (3 days), Kalgoorlie, Nullabor Plains, Renmark, Mildura and Katoomba. Fare £69.10. 0.
Tour “M” Departs Sydney Monday 6th August. Travelling via Taree, Brisbane (1 day), Rockhampton, Townsville (2 days), (Magnetic Is.), Cairns (2 days), (Green Is.), Cooktown (1 day), Atherton Tablelands (4 days), Kurumba (Gulf of Carpentaria), (1 day), Mt. Isa, Mataranka (1 day), Darwin (2 days), Rum Jungle, Wyndham, Derby, Broome (1 day), Marble Bar (1 day), Hammersley Ranges (3 days), Carnarvon (1 day), Geraldton (2 days), Perth (3 days), Margaret River Caves (2 days), Albany (1 day), Esperance, Nullabor Plains, Adelaide (1 day), Melbourne, Gundagai. Fare £125.10. 0.
Other tours to Flinders Ranges (Tour “L”) duration 19 days, departs Sydney 15th October. 1962. Fare £40.10.0.
Tour “O” Gold Coast, Lamington and Carnarvon Ranges National Parks. Duration 3 weeks. Departs Sydney 2nd June, 1962. Fare £39.10. 0.
V. C. Penfold, Greyhound Pacific Ltd., P.O. Box 50, Coolangatta. QLD.
In the magazine of September 1953, Alex Colley in a story of the pre-fire trail walk from Putty to Monundilla and beyond, wrote “As we neared Coricudgy the angry whirr of buzz-saws tearing into the remainder of the rare Eucalyptus Globulus trees that were once the glory of the mountain, became louder.”
Lately I made a kind of sentimental journey back to Coricudgy - this time the easy way from the Rylstone side - and at last the saws are silent, and the big mountain, rather like an old tired and mangy lion, crouches on his angle of the Dividing Range towering above the headwaters of three river systems - the westward flowing Cudgegong, tributary of the Macquarie; the southern feeders of the Hunter, (Blackwater Creek, Widden Brook); the north western heads of the Colo - the tops of Wollemi Creek.
If you travel the way I did, the foot of the mountain is about 170 miles from Sydney via Lithgow, the Mudgee Road as far as Iford, then Kandos and Rylstone, where a side road to the east is signposted “Glen Alice, Glen Davis, Narrango”. A mile east of Rylstone the road forks, and the northern branch marked “Narrango” leads to Olinda, Tawinbang and Corricudgy. They aren't indicated.
The road is good to Olinda, where a left hand branch goes off to Nullo Mountain, then deteriorates rapidly. It is still some 12 miles or so to the base of Coricudgy, along a road marked “Western Sawmills”, and quite negotiable for any orthodox vehicle in fair weather, although there are a few patches of slithery loose sand. Indeed, under decent weather you could take any car up the mountain as far as the fire watchers hut, only 500 ft or so below the summit.
Beyond the hut the main “road” goes on up for maybe ¼ mile, where it flattens out and begins to skirt around on a shelf along the south and eastern sides of Coricudgy.
There is a good layer of rich brown basalt soil on the top 800' or so of Coricudgy; and as the mountain is probably 2 miles north-south, and something between ¼ mile to ½ mile wide, the saw-millers had a generous area to play around in. Everywhere great stumps are being overgrown with lawyer vine and a collection of weedy growths; everywhere partially overgrown trails disappear up and down the sides of the mountain. The best views are gained from the level of the road because vegetation along the mountain top often restricts the outlook. Yet in spite of its devastated and scabby look, Coricudgy still possesses dignity of a kind.
I left the vehicle at the foot of the main climb and walked up past the Fire Watcher's Hut and along the shelf to the south-eastern corner, where the Hunter Range rears up from the east, and the fire trail parts company from the original timber cutters road. The sign on the junction reads “Fire Trail No. … (is it 34?) To Three Ways”. A nice non-committal sign, obviously designed to dissuade daring motorists from trying to go on through to Putty or Howes Valley or Denman.
Up to this corner, the main points to catch the eye are Mount Boonbourwa, south across the tops of the Cudgegong, and Mounts Darcy and Durambang in the same range. Detaching the eye from closer points, the spire of Tyan Pic dominates the south-west horizon, and further west are some of the peaky hills over toward Kandos and Capertee. To south and south-east you can see the pale splash of Uraterer's clearing, and the double-headed Wirraba. The big stuff further south probably includes the tops country from Kurrajong to Mount King George with Cameron and Tambo and the high ridge north of Lithgow. Below all this the sun glows on the orange cliffs surrounding the valley near Glen Davis.
Once you round the corner, a whole new vista takes the eye. East lies Yengo and north a little way the other big flat-top near Howes Valley, Mt. Wareng. Straight ahead the three pinnacles of the Kekeelbon Mountains; north-east Monundilla, presenting a narrow aspect like the stern of a ship (Munundilla's length, like Coricudgy is mainly north-south). Coriaday only a little lower than Coricudgy, is slightly east of north, connected to the Divide by a singularly diabolical-looking ridge. Coridudgy, more than 4000 ft, has a slight edge on the highest of all those, and stands more than 2000 ft above the most easterly of the volcanic tops in sight.
It had been something of a disappointment on the previous trip over Coricudgy that there was no time to spend on a lazy look-around, although the racket of the saw mills also discouraged one from examining the mountain. Now I had the mountain to myself and spent most of Saturday afternoon following the road around the eastern face, where the ruins of the mills still occupy the shelf.
I traced the road to the northern end-of the summit, and there it broke down into a series of logging tracks, one of which took me to the tops. Because of the vegetation the views were harder to get - one must push through to the rim: since the sun was going over toward the north-west, there was a great deal of glare, and in that direction, towards Nullo Mountain, I can't claim to have seen the landscape to best advantage.
About 4 pm. having made a full circuit of the mountain I was back to the “Fire Trail to Three Ways”. For old time's sake I decided to camp over at the Kekeelbon Peaks. Nine years ago it took us from 3 pm one day until 10 next morning - probably four hours walking - but with the aid of the jeep road I felt quite confident of making it in the opposite direction, with a generally falling grade in 1½ hours.
What I did forget was that this is very “saddliterous” country: and even going downhill you have to climb up out of each saddle. There were two en route to the Kekeelbons, and the fire trail does quite an amazing dive into a gully to dodge one: on the other the natural saddle is so narrow the trailmakers have built up an embankment of logs and earth to carry the track across. However, I didn't remember any significant saddles between the Kekeelbons and Coricudgy, so one day I must see how they got around the really big ones - the double dive between Munandella and Kekeelbons and the big hole about five miles east of Monundilla. When we walked there in '53 it took hours of looking and debate, plus some walking time to discover those saddles.
Somewhere on the way I recognised the little patch of stunted sally gum where Ray Kirkby, Ira Butler and I stood shivering in the bitter west wind at nightfall on a June day whilst Alex checked that there was water in a steep little gully before we made camp. And at the Kekeelbons I was forcibly reminded of the draughty nature of this country when the only water I could find in the darkening afternoon was a pool in a wheel rut - it was the colour of very strong tea with a dash of milk. It had to suffice.
Even with their quota of fire trails the Northern Blue Mountains still possess an indefinable quality of wildness. Even campers by a fire trail carrying recent jeep tracks, and walking back to Coricudgy next morning I felt really alone and out in the bush. It may be just a reaction to memories of other days and other trips, when it really was a lost and lonely area, but to me it still feels “some of the roughest country in the State”.
“Yukkay! Bubberah evahl bubberah!”
An old aboriginal saying, which freely translated means “Starve the lizards! my boomerang won't come back!”
“The Australian soldier will soon be able to carry in hie pack enough meat and vegetables to last him six days in an emergency and its total weight will be only about 12 lb.
The ration has been evolved at the Army Food Science Research Station at Scottsdale, Tasmania, and is now being tested under service conditions by troops of the Citizen Military Forces in that State.
At the research station, beef, mutton and vegetables are dehydrated and compressed into blocks about two inches square and half an inch thick, each weighing about 2½ ounces. The blocks are vacuum-packed into laminated foil, instead of the heavy tin-cans of old, and each block is only about one-third of the weight of the food in its original form. The blocks are soaked before being cooked, and the aim of the research station is to make the food look and taste as much like fresh food as possible.
At present the station is producing prototype ration packs for the Pacific Islands Regiment in New Guinea, where soldiers are often on jungle patrol for days at a time.”
(A recent newspaper item).
This is good stuff, but will probably leave bushwalkers a little cold. Read what Eric Shipton said 27 years ago, writing about expeditions to the Himalayas.
“The simplest method of working out the amount of food required for a given period is to allow two pounds per man per day, and to divide the total suitably between the various commodities available, (flour, rice, cheese, sugar etc.) I have nearly always found this infallible - for months at a stretch one is rarely out more than a day or two either way. The normal Artic sledging ration is 27 oz. per day, but this contains a high proportion of fat not available locally in the Himalayas.”
We know Pam Baker and Irene Pridham went through Tasmania on 28 oz per day, and look at them!
We also know a few walkers who get by on even less!
Is our Army hep?
Australia's boldest and swiftest bird of prey, the black-cheeked falcon (Falco peregrinus) or duck-hawk, is at home in coastal districts as well as far inland, though it prefers heavily timbered mountainous [illegible].