A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalker, The N.S.W. Nurses' Association Rooms “Northcote Building,” Reiby Place, Sydney.
Box No. 4476, G.P.O. Sydney. Phone 843985.
|Editor||Frank Rigby, 3/24 Ocean Street, Cronulla. 5234475.|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford. 865617.|
|Typist||Shirley Dean, 30 Hannah St., Beecroft.|
|Sales & Subscriptions||Neville Page, 22 Hayward St. Kingsford. 343536.|
|The April General Meeting||W. Brown||3|
|April Federation Report||5|
|Bicycle Trip Cartoon||6|
|One More Month||Observer||7|
|“A Trip I'll Never Forget” No 1.||J. Brown||8|
|Lamington National Park||Don Finch||12|
|Bendethera - Anzac Weekend||D. Butler||15|
|Don't Read this - It's the Way to Get Lost||C. Harding||19|
At the September Meeting we will have to decide on a site for the 1967 Reunion. Remembering the uncertainty, controversy and the rumblings about the 1966 proposals, it might be wise for us to put a little More preparation into the business this time.
Between now and then, we could perhaps keep our eyes open for potential Reunion sites during our normal walking activities, and be ready to put the case for them when the time arrives. No doubt many people would not go past MacArthur's Flat, while others will be plugging for a return to Wood's Creek. However, there is nothing like a unanimous opinion about either of these places.
Provided enough suitable sites are available, (and this is by no means certain), there is a lot to be said for the idea of rotating the Reunion venue around a number of different spots. Why not? Most people tend to get tired of the same old places.
What then do we require of a Reunion site? Firstly, it must not be too far from Sydney (Hilltop, for MacArthur's Flat, is about 70 miles and anywhere much further would probably be voted out); but access by public transport would not seem to be so essential these days; strangely enough, it should be all legal and above board; being a reasonable distance from any civilisation is important, and yet not so far or so rugged as to cause trouble for the not-so-active and the family groups in getting there - certainly there is a majority feeling that you should not be able to drive cars right to the site; it must be spacious, with plenty of room for 150 people and their tents without any suggestion of overcrowding, and with lots of good tent sites; there must be abundant firewood, a suitable “amphitheatre” for the campfire, good water and preferably a place to swim. Attractive surroundings such as at MacArthur's Flat would be an advantage.
All this is a pretty tall order but not impossible. It will be interesting to see what we can come up with.
On May 18, Henry Gold will be showing us some of his slides of “Scenic California”. Henry lived for two years in Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, and made many excursions into the wild and not-so-wild parts thereabouts. Knowing Henry's prowess as a photographer, it should be an entertaining evening.
On May 25th, there will be some P.N.G. movies.
A new President's first General Meeting is always a source of interest to the back benchers - and generally something of an ordeal for the incumbent. I know my nightmares go back to the General Meeting of April '54, my first in the chair, with two Past Presidents, both of whom I regarded with respect and affection, pulling points of order on one another. Take my word for it this White bloke is going to settle in, and like another mild-mannered cove call Bill Rodgers, will soon be telling us to pull our heads in.
Two new members were there to be welcomed - Muriel Goldstein and George Williams. No one had any quarrel with the Minutes of the Annual Meeting, so we dodged right on to Correspondence.
This contained several enquiries re membership, and the usual Bovril and in addition a crop of letters from the Lands Department (1) about a possible Faunal Reserve at La Perouse (2) about the Prison Farm on the plateau above Newnes, which seems unlikely to block access to the Wolgan Valley by that route, and (3) telling us that Thiess Bros are authorised to prospect for limestone in the Church Creek area, but “the public interest would be protected.” There was also a prospectus from Associated Sports Clubs.
Gordon Redmond presented a glowing financial statement showing that the March influx of subscriptions produced a total income of $256 bringing a concluding balance of $572 in the old oak chest. The Walks Report held only two items - one saying that Barbara Evans had 11 members and 10 prospectives on a Blue Gum trip while Ed. Stretton's day walk starting from Bundeena was redirected as the ferries were not behaving. No other leaders had come clean.
Socially it was advised that a campfire singing group had been assembled and others interested in vocalising should contact either Ruth Constable or Barbara Evans.
There would seem to be a need for greater lung power because practically all office-bearers were evidently suffering from Easter Larynx and were almost inaudible. To spare the Secretary's throat, Alan Rigby presented a Federation Report which has been summarised in the previous magazine. Additional information related to a scheme of the Aust. Speliological Association to have control placed on access to caves on private property. In the case of the “orienteering” contest it was emphasized it couldn't be a race - more like a car trial sans cars. Enquiries were being made regarding the right of way on Black Jerry's Ridge.
Neither Conservation nor Parks/Playgrounds reports were to hand, so we came to an item of unfinished business for the Annual Meeting - election of an Assistant Secretary. Sandra Bardwell was nominated, and as there is seldom heavy competition for the position, elected. John White announced that the resultant vacancy on Committee would be filled in May, and went on to a couple of Presidential announcements.
First the Assistant office bearers appointed by Committee. Librarian, Ern French: Curator of Maps and Timetables - Mick Elfick, with a vote of $20 to improve map coverages: Assistant Walks - Don Finch: Asst. Membership - Greg Reading together with a committee of Neryl Smith, David Constable and Joanna Hallman: Asst. Treasurer - Audrey Kenway: and Asst. Social Edna Stretton.
The Financial Committee had considered investment of some of the Clubs funds and as a result $400 invested in Special Commonwealth Bonds. These yielded a good rate of interest, could be cashed on one month's notice after February 1967, and would pay 103% when finally redeemed.
Finally John announced that supper would be provided in the Club Room on several occasions each year, usually to coincide with a guest speaker.
Frank Ashdown felt the Bonds investment was out of order as a General Meeting had not authorised it - the discussion at the Annual Meeting had only asked Committee to look into it. Others held it was an administrative decision proper to Committee. Finally Frank moved that no money be invested without sanction of the Club: there was no seconder and the motion lapsed.
A supper Social Committee comprising Gordon Redmond, Ruth Constable, Barbara Evans, Muriel Goldstein, George Williams and Owen Marks was appointed.
Now the President sounded a dour-note. The Committee deplored the indiscreet drinking of liquor at the Reunion and particularly at the camp fire. Ron Knightley moved the Club's endorsement, saying he was no wowser, but the raucous laughter, clatter of bottles and broken glass around the fire was right out of bushwalking character. Carried.
Also, said the President, some cooking fires at the Reunion had not been fully extinguished. On a more cheerful note, the Committee had thanked Jack Perry for the provision of horse transport and the Farquhars for their work on children's events.
Questions were asked about the cost borne by Jack Perry in providing the pack animals and John White said the contributor was keeping mum on this. It was moved and carried that a letter of appreciation be sent: David Constable said he had been impressed by the Reunion arrangements, and Ron Khightley replied that this was an annual event, but the initiation of new members had been eliminated this time. Maybe they would up with David next year.
Kath Brown mentioned that it was two years now since a Swimming Carnival had been held and suggested that Committee look into the return of the trophies so they would be available if the event were resumed. When this was carried all that was left was election of Room Stewards and walks announcements and at 9.10 p.m. the President, with perhaps a small sigh of relief, said it was all over.
The Trust advised that cabins were available in the Park at Dawson's Springs at very reasonable letting rates. Enquiries should be addressed to the Park Secretary, Mr. G.L. Hunt, 14 Balonne St, Narrabri.
The Federation was advised privately that it may be possible to lease a portion of the State Forest, the suggestion being made that it may be a good site for Search and Rescue Practice operations as some rugged country was involved. The matter is being investigated.
The date of this event has been amended to 3/4th Sept.
Affiliated Clubs now number 21. The funds now stand at $1,100.
Will meet at the Big Sister Rooms, Penfold Place at 6.30 p.m. on June 6. A Club representative is required to attend.
The Federation Conservation Committee has written to the Park Trust strongly advocating the establishment of areas suitable for bushwalking to fall between areas known as Unique Areas and Wilderness Areas neither of which are suitable for bushwalking purposes owing to the restrictions imposed.
A practice weekend will be held 16/17 July at a place to which car transport is no problem. Volunteers are required to make up “Lost Parties” and “Rescue Parties.” Names should be forwarded to Miss Heather Joyce as soon as practicable. Address - 36 Beresford Road, Strathfield. Telephone No. 768942.
This new map should be available shortly through Paddy Pallin. It covers the area roughly bounded by Kiandra, Wee Jasper and Lake George and includes the Tindery Range and the Upper Deua River.
Mr. Wilf Hilder advised that these maps were not reliable in many details and that caution should be observed.
Another Club alleged that the S.B.W. party at The Castle over Easter erected a purloined traffic sign. Our delegates were requested to report back at the May Meeting on the matter.
Notice was given that the Annual General Meeting would be held on Tuesday July 19 when new Officers would be elected for the forthcoming Federation Year.
Following the S.B.W. representations to Federation in the matter of access road, it is now advised that the Department of Lands map shows the existing road as a subdivisional access road. The Federation has written to the Department of Lands drawing attention to the sign “private Road” on the gate and requesting that the District Surveyor make on-the-spot investigations of interference with walkers using this road.
Week-end 21st-22nd May.
See Ross Wyborn or any of the mob for details.
There's a rumour going the rounds that Snow Brown, at present touring Europe, has gone and got himself spliced. How this started is anybody's guess, but unless Snow is a bigger (and faster) dark horse than what we think, there's not the slightest foundation in it.
However, there's one wedding we are sure about. Phil Butt and Sandra Bardwell were married on April 16. All best wishes from the Club, Phil and Sandra, for a bright and happy future together.
Jerry Sinzig is off to Toronto, Canada, for 12 months, to gain experience with his firm over there. Take your Buckley's and a good supply of Beenleigh or Old Soldier, Jerry.
The S.B.W. and the Canberra University Potholers, going in opposite directions, met on the divide between the Shoalhaven and Deua valleys. After the usual courtesies and exchange of chatter or destinations, the following conversation took place:
Leader S.B.W.: “How came we're heading for the same place and yet walking in opposite directions?”
Leader C.U.P.: “That's the way it goes, mate”.
Which seems to prove something but we're not quite game to say what.
A short time ago, someone was predicting that the way roads were going in, right, left and centre into the Castle area, it would only be a matter of time before we would see cars, bars and high heels on the top of the Castle. Now, that traffic sign ….???
A pretty vigorous Easter Parade, surely! Forty or so to the Wolgan Valley, twenty-four on the Renwick-Castle trip, twenty to the Deua River / Big Badja area and a dozen to Nadgee and maybe others we haven't heard about. Obviously the bushwalking movement would flourish mightily if only we had the three day week.
Two impeccable fried eggs neatly laid out with strips of bacon in an alfoil tray, the whole coming to perfection on the hot coals. Says a bright morning spark, “Now surely that must be a T.V. breakfast.” Come to think of it, not a bad idea for those quick getaways.
Talking of quick getaways, ever been on one of Ross Wyborn's walks? On a trip last month, Ross (still in fleabag) made the traditional announcement, “Moving off in ten minutes!” The innocents guffawed and started on their cooking in leisurely fashion. Ten minutes later Ross was away while the innocents were still trying to boil the billy.
The Editor wants the story of “The trip I'll never forget”. On this subject how can one write in terms of the definite article? The trip? Which trip? Dip into the lucky bag….
Ah, yes, there it is. That, only a day walk? Just a simple day walk in familiar country. Nothing exciting, nothing particularly funny, just a walk. One I'll never forget….
Saturday January 14, 1939 - Black Saturday. Sydney's temperature rose to 113.6° early in the afternoon. Dry and searing hot, with a restless scorching west wind. At Penrose on the Southern Highlands the State Forest was an inferno. People died. Houses and stock and bush animals died. The southerly buster came at 9 p.m.
All through the night of 14-15th January the temperature continued to fall. By 9.40 a.m. Sunday it was a cool grey day, with a slight mizzle of rain, and the mercury stood at 68.3°. Under the leaden sky a pall of smoke hung over coastal N.S.W. - a drab cloud of death and destruction.
At that moment the 8.25 a.m. train from Sydney arrived at Helensburgh - 10 American type cars hauled by 3327, and amongst those who alighted were Bill and myself. We had an ambitious programme for the day - a 20 mile jaunt to get into condition for our first overnight walking venture - Wentworth Falls to Picton via Burragorang - to be tackled on the Anniversary Holiday weekend, a fortnight later.
In those days the roads were relatively clear, but the hiking tracks near Sydney usually had a mildly Pitt Streetish look on summer Sundays. Not that day - I guess Sydney's all time heat record of the previous day had dissuaded a lot of hikers. At all events we were almost all alone as we strode out along the road that leads to the Helensburgh sanitary depot, becomes a track, goes over the Helensburgh No. 1 Railway tunnel, and finally drops down into the green valley of the Port Hacking River.
That part of our way was still green and the hardy bush plants were already reviving from the scorch of the Saturday. Across the Hacking River it was a different story. The hill up from the River Road - which was then in course of being cut out of the rain forest along the banks - was a ruin of black and grey with sometimes a few orange coloured, fire-seared leaves. The earth was covered with ash and fallen timber, and smoke rose silently. At one point we stopped agape to look at a shattered tree, the lower forty feet of its bole still standing, with smoke issuing as from a chimney from its broken, blackened crown and a couple of hollow limbs. As we moved around to the up-hill side we saw the whole core of the trunk was laid open, smouldering red and black. Did we imagine it, or did the wrecked tree stagger as an odd gust of the southerly stirred the warm ashes around our feet? We moved on quickly.
Near Bola Creek on top of the hill, there was a patch of stunted red gums whose tortured trunks had survived the burn, but the outer bark seemed to have stripped away leaving the dull red under-layers exposed, while the leaves were almost white. Maynards farmhouse was a twisted tangle of blackened iron and charred wood.
We were glad to be out of this depressing scene of ruin, and hurried south along the top track to the Squeeze Hole trail into Burning Palms. For a time we had forgotten that the day's target was a fast 20 miles to bring up our condition and once we were down through the upper sandstone ledges, ran down the track, discussing whether we would lunch at the Palms or at Era. The sea was grey and lumpy with a southerly shoving it away up the beach.
Near the foot of the hill, skittering down a shale slope, I caught a heel of my sneaker on a tree root and felt the wrench all the way up my right leg. Bill looked back and I sung out something about “It's all right. Just a broken a knee cap” and ran on down.
Over to Era for lunch. There were probably not more than forty shacks at South Era then, and not many occupied that weekend. Over at Stockyard Creek where we lunched - cold meat, salad, billy of tea - we had the place to ourselves. Forty minutes for lunch and off up the ridge to Governor Game Lookout, Bill saying “No, I don't think I'll have an apple now. They give me indigestion if I eat 'em when I'm climbing.” Up to the Lookout by 1.30 p.m.
We walked down the road to the Causeway - some of the way through burned patches that were yet smoking. It was still overcast but the wind was beginning to disperse the cloud a little. Now that we could walk abreast on a falling grade we began to discuss very earnestly the food for our first big trip. Would it be fried eggs and bacon for breakfast, or just boiled eggs? Bill was not so happy as I about the prospect of sleeping under the stars - someone had told him you could hire light tents from a chap called Paddy who had a shop near Wynyard.
Nearing the Hacking River I called a halt and examined my right knee. It looked all right - perhaps a mite puffy and swollen, but it seemed to dislike taking my weight going downhill. Oh well, you can't expect to go hiking without a few bumps and abrasions! On to the Causeway where, at 3 p.m, we turned up river to follow the new road formation being cut through to Lilyvale - and thence to Bald Hill via Otford Gap. Lilyvale would suffice for us.
I remember that most of our way along River Road was pleasant enough going. Only a few places - like the point where we had crossed in the morning - were badly fired, though there were smaller areas bearing testimony to the ferocity of the previous day. The sky was clearing to a friendly blue, we were making good time and should reach Lilyvale for a brew up by 5.30, and the only real hitch was my right knee which was being perverse and couldn't go downhill properly. In fact it had a vaguely uncontrolled feeling.
At one halt between the Helensburgh track and Lilyvale, Bill was bitten on the forearm by a bull ant. I explained from my fund of bush lore that the right thing to ease the pain was to find a frong of young bracken and squeeze the juice on the affected part. We did just this and because we were watching our times closely, discovered that the operation took seven or eight minutes. It was then I realised that, whether or not the bracken juice does any good, the whole messy business distracts the victim until the sting has eased anyway.
Came to Lilyvale at 5.35 p.m. with a train almost right away and another at 6.46. We opted to have a billy of tea and biscuits, and after sitting for almost an hour, I could barely force my right leg to take the final hill, while the descent on to the up platform was quite an excruciating affair. Bill suggested bracken juice, which seemed most unfunny to me.
Then- the 6.46 came in, eight corridor cars and two empty box carriages at the rear, worked by 3293. Between Lilyvale and Helensburgh I leaned out the window to look at a blazing tree stump up the hillside and was hit in the eye by a ripe blackberry growing from the cutting wall.
And so home. Quite uneventful. Except….
Two weeks later the knee broke down in Burragorang and we bussed out from there.
A year later I came back from the Cox River via Kedumba Pass on my left leg alone.
Once in 1944 I spent a lousy week at Lae hobbling between a set of disposition maps, my tent, the ablution block and the latrines, while some of my cronies toured around the Bulolo area, mostly on two sound legs.
And in 1946, when I was trying to make sure I could walk well enough to risk joining SBW, I ruined the knee again on the Grose and just made the last train out of Faulconbridge.
So I still go quietly down hill.
So I'm never likely to forget that walk.
It is a pleasure to study the thoroughbred camper at his pastime.
Everything he does when on the track or in camp, bears the stamp of experience. You soon feel that this fellow can make himself comfortable almost anywhere.
You recognise his ability to cope with adverse conditions and be fed, warm and comfortable when others would be utterly miserable.
Then you examine his equipment you see that it is practical, well made and well thought out. Once again you will recognise the stamp of experience in his choice, and nine times out of ten you will see that it is “Paddymade” - the equipment experienced walkers and campers have preferred for over 30 years.
You can learn to be comfortable when camping.
You will find it easiest when using Paddymade gear.
Paddy Pallin Pty. Limited,
109A Bathurst Street, 1st Floor, Cnr. George Street, Sydney. Phone 26-2685.
Going skiing this winter. See Paddy for accommodation bookings, also clothing and ski hire.
(Due to an Unfortunate Circumstance, the publication of the account of this ambitious adventure was delayed for 12 months. However, it has not lost any of its interest in the meantime - Editor.)
Thursday, March 18: We had all found our seats on the 7.30 train. To our dismay we found that our reserved seats were not all in the same compartment as they should have been. Brian Matterson who has bought the tickets and arranged the reserved seats pleaded “Not Guilty” and promptly dragged under the Commissioner's servants. Bill O'Neill, our Maximun Leader, was persuading:
(i) an old lady with no teeth and
(ii) a partly intoxicated man
to swap places with the two members of our party who lacked seats in our compartment. Due to Bill's sympathetic pleas, the lady's kindly nature and the worsening condition of the man the swap was rapidly and thankfully completed. Now there was only one seat left, which if one can believe a train conductor, was reserved for a person at Maitland. Bill would have to stay up and use his wits.
The starters for the trip were Bill O'Neill, Kerry Horo, Brian Matterson, Bob Smith, Don Finch and Bob, John and Elvis from the Melbourne Bushwalking Club. The arrangements for sleeping were made and everyone except myself went up to the buffet. I made myself comfortable and waited for the hoard to come back. The train came to a stop, there were ants running in the corridor like people. The door opened, a voice said “here it is love”. “Love” was the person in the last seat. I came off the luggage rack, the man threw a suitcase at my bed and another at me while he said “Will you put this up there, son?” He disappeared, the train was moving again. I stuck my head round the corner and whistled. Bill. He came. I retired to the compartment and listened to the conversation.
Bill: “I'm afraid there has been a mix up in the seats.”
Bill (in best London Fog accent, purringly): “Your seat has been transferred to the rear compartment. Let me carry your bag.”
“Love” (with a confused expression, follows Our Maximun Leader. I carried the other bag. The people in the compartment were sprawled everywhere. Bill frantically sorted out the mess to see if there was a spare seat. In a surprisingly loud voice “Love” said) “Let's find out what the conductor has to say about all this.”
Bill's face fell several feet, quickly recovered and said to the Lady, “The conductor's compartment is at the end of the train which in this case is twelve carriages away,”
The lady looked as though she might go into hysterics. Bill found her a seat, put her luggage on the rack. We bowed and said Good Night. Meanwhile back in our compartment the others were eating supper. I scrounged what I could, which was a reasonable amount, and then climbed back to my luggage racks. In no more than several hours all was quiet.
Friday March 19. It was well after dawn and well after everyone else when I awoke. Breakfast was had at Grafton. The train was stopping for twenty minutes so Bill decided he would ring the taxi company at Murwillumbah. We found a phone and to our surprise and for four bob organised taxis to meet us at the Border Gate at Numinbah at twelve noon on Easter Monday. The train arrived at Border Loop about 12.30. The signal man showed us the way - straight up a very steep hill. Just before we started the climb, Bill, Our Universal Provider, felt something dripping down his leg. He disembowelled his pack and found an inverted corkless bottle. The vocabulary of Our Knowledgeable Guardian is astounding. One must serve before the mast not to repeat oneself in five minutes.
We climbed over the Border Fence at the top of the hill and had lunch. Bill took out the map and showed us the intended route and camp site for the night. The photographers delayed us until 3.00 when we took off and followed a likely ridge down to the valley. Even though it was late in the afternoon the valley was uncomfortably hot. We followed the creek until we came to a road which split the party. Some, Kerry, Bob Smith, Bill and myself followed the road to camp opposite Black Snake Ridge. The others followed the creek beside which the original track was supposed to go. Since everyone walks along the road these days the track is practically non-existent. The creek followers arrived at the camp an hour after the vanguard, covered in lawyer vine and lantana scratches. The tents were set up. Kerry, Chief Organiser of Dehi, started organising. Tea was made several times over. This was necessary as people, not knowing that Kerry was wanting the fire to die down, kept rebuilding it as soon as the flames showed an uncertain flicker. This painful process was repeated until Madam told us severally and jointly in no uncertain terms that she wished to cook upon ashes.
By 7.30 the fire had developed a mass of coals and the evening meal was well on the way. An old man came into the camp. He had been out driving with his son and his son's family when their car became stuck in the mud. He was walking to a farm about two miles away to get mechanical help. Ten minutes after he left the family came along the road. We offered them tea and biscuits. They sat and watched in fascination as Kerry stirred up our tea.
The tea was just about ready when the old man came back - in a farmer's table-top Landrover. Most of us piled on and went to the scene of the crime where the car was quickly bounced out. We turned in at ten and didn't move off next day until nine.
Saturday, March 20th. The track led up a step ridge on top of which the stretcher track ran. We were to follow it to the east until it hit the Border track six miles away. The track ran up a steep grassy hill; a monstrous hill which separated us into two neat categories - sheep and goats. The stretcher track was very faint with only a blaze on a tree now and then to tell us we were on the thing at all. Several times we lost it and it proved very hard to find again. The staghorn and crowfeather ferns hung precariously in every tree, adding a strange beauty to the green void where the sun is almost a stranger. Lunch was taken in bits and pieces when we stopped for a rest or for a check of the map when marked tracks entering the main stretcher track. It was getting on in the afternoon and we were still miles from our intended lunch spot at the junction with the main border track. Bill decided that some of us should go on to the junction and prepare a camp site while the others come along as quickly as conditions would allow. Four of us with Bill out in front went on. We lost the track only once but it took us half an hour to find it again and were scratched to bits in the process. We saw only one snake on this track, a small two feet, light brown specimen. The cobwebs across the track were very thick; the bod out in front continually tearing them off his face. Bill and I arrived at the junction of the Stretcher track with the Stinson Wreck track about 3 p.m. The junction is about 100 yards from the main border track junction. We found water the first since breakfast in a shallow soak in a creek. There was a superb campsite. We went out to the lookout which afforded a view north along the Scenic Rim to Mt. Hobwee in the distance. Immediately below, the range of rolling hills went out to meet the blue Pacific with its fringe of golden sand stretching south until hidden by the bulk of Mt. Warning. Any view south was blocked by a ridge running into the valley.
We returned to our packs to find the others had not arrived, although it was over an hour since we had stopped. Bill decided that we should go back to see what was up. Half a mile back we found the others indulging in afternoon tea. They soon packed up when we told them about the lush campsite ahead and stories of cool mountain water mixed with fizzle-guzz1e drew words of approval from parched lips eager to end personal suffering.
It was 5 when we got back to our packs. The evening meal was prepared with none of the trouble and interruptions of the previous evening. The quality of the meal had improved 100%. The dessert was the best of all and of course there was none left for seconds. All were in bed by nine and after a discussion of what the moon looked like if you had sufficient imagination, we went to sleep.
Sunday March 21. Eight o'clock start. The track was followed north and found to be much better than the day before. Bill had told us at breakfast that we were at least half a day behind. The cool of the forest made walking quite pleasant and good time was made to Rat-a-Tat Camp where we devoted an hour to the worthy cause of lunch. Several leeches were roasted to the sadistic delight of every one with bloodstains on their socks. Our Estimable Navigator consulted his map again and gave his conservative estimate of forty minutes to the graded track. This was not just the idle chatter of a Frustrated Leader. The graded track ranged in width from three to six feet with a good surface of fallen leaves. We arrived at East Canungra Creek about five, but still three miles from the night camp. In the dark we took a wrong turning and walked a total of four miles out of our way. When we did get to Mt. Hobwee lack of water prevented us from making up our dehi. A miserable night.
Monday, March 22. We were all up at dawn to prepare breakfast and then to admire the view. Moved off at seven. The graded track ended at Wagawn Lookout and it was a case of following tree blazes down to the bushrangers cave. The track was lost again while Brian and John stood in the middle of a Gympie patch trying to convince us that this was the right way. There was a giant stinging tree about five feet through and fully seventy feet high. We followed the track to the border gate and climbed back into NSW around eleven o'clock. Bill rang the cab company again and we spread out on the grass. The gateman let us use his bathroom to clean up so by the time the cabs arrived we were once more presentable. The ride to Murwillimbah cost 50 shillings per taxi. One of the drivers arranged for us to have a shower at an hotel where we were to sample the ale and counter lunches.
The train left at 2:15. A thousand mile trip to the Sunshine State was over.
Thirteen of us set out from Sydney. Roger's car of 5 went direct and eight of us called in en route for a dinner extorted from Robert of Camden. This, actually, was quite a meal, including a full bottle of red wine, and Duncan hoped that as a quid pro quo he would be fed by all of his good friends for the rest of the weekend, but unfortunately he didn't put this pious hope into words, so he starved. (You've got to be as vocal as Donnie Finch when it comes to scrounging.)
We got away from Camden about 9 p.m. “I know a short cut to Goulburn” quoth Duncan, “Just follow my car.” Moans and groans from Rosso who has done just this thing in the past and ended up in the cactus.
After miles and miles of dark back roads and being forced off the intended route by a Detour notice, Duncan pulls up suddenly on a little used dirt road and leaps out to study the stars to see which way south is. Wywozzi's jeering contingent grind to a halt behind. “What did I tell you,” groans Ross; “It always happens!”
We leap into the cars again and continue in the same direction, Duncan navigating by the Southern Cross which appears on our bow. The road suddenly ends at a T-shaped cross-road. This confuses our navigator more than somewhat and he goes round and round and round in circles with his flicker flicking till Wozziborn's chariot comes up and gets in the way. Rosso demands a showdown, and after much argument we all set off again heading for a line of traffic lights. Hurrah! This is the Hume Highway and we are saved.
On we go through Goulburn, through Braidwood, out along the Captain's Flat road and at the first bridge across the Shoalhaven we pull up for the night. Roger, of course, has been here for some hours and his party is already bedded down in the tussocky grass on the high river-bank. It is somewhere around midnight and the weather looks a bit threatening, but it is too far for anyone except Duncan to go across the river looking for tentpoles so we less prudent mortals just roll into our sleeping bags and pull tents or plastic sheets over us and hope for the best. Our luck is with us; despite the fact that it had rained a deluge on the way down, the clouds passed over and we had a dry night.
We awake about 8 a.m. to see Digby arriving in his little car from Canberra. The party is roused out of bed. We cook breakfast and by 9 a.m. are whirling southwards again following Ross down a little-used country road to a station property called Khan Unis where we are to park the cars and the walking begins. But this can't come off without incident - (Remember, this is a Wyborn trip). Everyone has been told to follow on till they meet Ross's car parked on the road - “You can't go wrong!”
Well, all that happens is that our dependable leader leaves the road and drives in half a mile to gossip with the farmer; meanwhile the three following cars pass by, all unaware, and keep going. Roger disappears over the horizon in a cloud of dust. Five miles beyond Khan Unis Duncan's car gives up the chase and returns. Eventually Rosso turns up and makes his explanation, “You've got to be sociable. What's wrong with stopping to talk to the farmers?” No apologies, mark you!
While we are waiting for Roger to discover his error and return, Digby and Ross take their cars back to a little post office, 6 miles north, and here they leave the Digby vehicle to be available for driving the drivers back to their cars when the trip is over.
About 11 o'clock Roger returns, just about out of petrol, having gone on till his road petered out in the bush some 12 miles away.
Well, now we're all together, all 16 of us, so we shoulder our packs and away. There is a north-south running range which we have to go over, and Bendethera lies on the other side.
“The first thing an explorer does,” says Rosso, “is he makes for high ground to have a look around.” So we all climb up a conical hill, and, of course, all climb down again on the other side. However, we have picked out a likely spur which will lead us to our N/S ridge and we head towards it. We haven't been walking for more than an hour when we have to cross a nice little clear stream oozing through the marshland. Digby remembers his proud title of 'most successful white-ant in the Club' and gives voice: “Lunch stop. You couldn't do better than right here.”
An hour later we are pushing on up the spur. From the top of the ridge we look down into the Deua Valley and there is the Bendethera clearing marked by a beautiful burnished cottonwood in all its glory of autumn gold. All we need to do is pick the most effective spur that will lead us down. As we are proceeding south along the ridge we meet a party of six Canberra spelios heading north, also looking for the easiest way down. We exchange a few pleasantries and continue on our respective ways. Eventually we plunge off down a steep ridge (on the map this is the Con Ridge, about 2 miles long). Halfway down is a limestone outcrop marked by a cairn topped by the whitened skull of a cow. The trogo-minded types scatter with torches and acetylene lamps and whoops of delight and disappear one by one into the bowels of the earth. After about an hour of this Rosso collects and counts his party - still 16 - and, appointing Duncan Whipper-in, we shoot off on the final one-mile of descent into the valley below.
Down by the river we wait around idly counting arrivals till Duncan shows up. “What's this! Only 15! Who's missing?” Who, indeed, but Charley, only three weeks out from the Mother country. What does he know about the perils of the Australian bush? (Read the following article and you'll find out.)
After repeated proddings (“Aw, nobody could go off a dead straight ridge”), Rosso is reluctantly urged up the ridge again to look for our lost lamb. It was now approaching sundown and no sign of the wanderers, so most of the party went on to set up camp in the shelter of the trees above the river flats where there was plenty of wood for a campfire. The new owners of Bendethera were spraying fertilizer from a tractor and clearing out rabbits with the aid of two yellow ferrets and set nets over all the exit holes. A pair of glorious horses gallopped round the flat, making Margaret's eyes gleam with delight. It wasn't long before she had wheedled permission out of the owner to have a ride next morning.
Rosso didn't join us till after dark. He had gone back up the ridge to where we had last seen Charley, shouting all the way, and had poked his head in all the caves and sinkholes and hollered “Charley!” but without result. There was nothing else for it but to wait till morning and organise a search party.
We spent a nice warm night around the campfire - a few spots of rain were not enough to drive us to the tents - and after breakfast next morning we planned our search: one party to go up the left-hand creek bed, another to go up the right-hand creek bed, and a bigger one to go back up the ridge to the caves, split up into two, and descend down the two creeks coming the sides of the ridge as they went. This way we should cover the whole area. We mould all shout “Char-ley” as we went, and at a pre-arranged recall signal we would all return if Charley was found.
Roger and I set off first, and as we had a half-hour start on the others we decided to prospect down the Deua for a few miles before going up our creek. We hadn't gone very far before we met good old Charley surging along the jeep trail. He looked mighty relieved to see us and poured out the whole tale.
Roger raced back to recall the others. Charley and I returned to our base and by 11 o'clock all the searchers had returned. So here we had another day of starting off late and having to gradually increase the temp to complete the day's milage.
We were escorted beyond the next flat by one of the cattlemen who had a herd of wild cattle collected there, ready to drive out to Braidwood the next day, and he wanted us to sidle round the hillside so we wouldn't frighten and scatter them. It was quite exciting, stealthily creeping round the hillside till we saw a great torrent of brown hides and tossing horns surging down the hillsides to the riverflats.
The Deua is a beautiful, unspoilt river, with crystal clear water, fed by little green streams oozing through thickly vegetated marshland. The riverflats of untrodden virgin grass, tall casuarinas and river gums, furnish food and shelter for flocks of parrots, crows, eagles, hawks, cockatoos and galahs. Kangaroos feed on the hillsides, dingos howl at night; we saw fox prints and lots of wombat holes, and Wade found a nest in a blackthorn thicket in which slept a little pigmy possum. Walkers wishing to see this glorious river had better be quick because it is doomed, like most of the country's other waterways. There is a proposal to build a road down the Deua (goodness knows why - only about three properties could benefit from it) - and then all the virgin solitude will be just a memory and the birds and animals will vanish.
By 5 p.m. Rosso felt that something must be done about the 30% of his party that was still missing, so he and Gerry took a run back and just on dark discovered Duncan, Digby and Co. camped by the wayside and refusing to move till morning. Rosso borrowed an acetylene lamp from them and returned to the main body of his party. An S.S.S. member, Tom, now living at Goulburn, was camped here with his wife and family. They put the little ones to bed and joined us at a sociable campfire, then we all bedded down for the night under a huge-fir-type tree.
Two stockmen were camped in the old-broken-down homestead nearby. While we were preparing breakfast next morning they rode past, accompanied by a collection of dogs, up river to help bring out the cattle from Bendethera. A jaunty little black bitch with dancing eyes and a flaunting plume of a tail trotted delicately through our camp, and without pausing in her stride she picked up Peter's loaf of bread and continued on her way with a wicked toss of her head.
“Hey! That's all the bread we've got left!” we wailed.
“Haw, haw, haw! You'll never see that again,” said the stockman, and we never did.
About 8.30 Duncan and Co. joined us and we left the Deua and began the long 5 mile climb up the ridge, then over the top and down to Womboyne Caves. There are lots of ups and downs over the spurs, but there is a fairly well graded trail made by an old runholder.
We got water from inside the caves and had lunch in the sunny clearing, then those who were so inclined had a 3-hour exploration of the muddy caves while others of us walked about 7 miles to get Digby's car, driven down to Khan Unis, and bring back the three other cars. The mob was re-united about 6 p.m, Roger syphoned petrol out of Rosso's tank to get him as far as Braidwood where we all refuelled, then the long drive home by midnight.
Another magnificent Whywozziborn trip!
(Chubb is a cheerful Prospective who has been out here from England only about three weeks. The wild experiences he relates here happened on only his second or third bushwalk - Editor.)
Didn't you see the title? It told you clearly not to read this rubbish. But you are reading, so I might as well begin.
The trouble all began on Ross Wyborn's Deua River trip, Anzac week-end. Richard, the bod in front, disappeared over the brow of Con Ridge. Waiting its chance, a black and red snake now made its appearance from a charred tree trunk. Having never seen a live snake so close before, it seemed to hold me in a form of trance for what seemed to be a lifetime. Eventually the snake made its mind up that it didn't feel like fresh meat today and wriggled off. This was just the beginning of the fun as you will see.
What had become of Ross and the others was the next problem that hit me between the eyes. It seems so easy when one is with the group to follow a bush track. Now all alone the bush took on a new dimension. The trees and scrub had now turned into a wall around me. Calling out, in the far distance came back a faint reply. Following where I thought the sound had come from I went into the bush, but it was not very much like a track. The gums and scrub became harder to get through with each step taken. Then under my feet I saw what looked like a snake. My first reaction was to scream and jump in the air. Only when it was too late did I see the snake turn out to be a 'Roo. But I was already in orbit and about to crash land through a clump of thistles and bushes, so the fact that it was not a snake didn't help much. The bushes collapsed under my weight and thistles stuck into my never mind. When I came to, my legs seamed to be hanging in the air. Really it was no wonder for I had jumped into a pothole shaft and only my wedged pack holding me up. Eventually crawling out I kept on walking deeper down into the sides of the creek below. By now my mind had turned to what might happen if no one found me. I had thoughts of having to light fires at night all around me to keep the dingos at bay. The only thing was, would they find my charred remains in the morning? Saved! I could hear someone coming through the scrub. Then the big surprise - they turned out to be Canberra University Potholors. I had followed their call which had in fact been meant for two of their members who had also gone astray. After talking things over they felt it would be unwise for me to carry on looking for the S.B.W. till the morning.
Making camp on the sloping bank of the creek, we then settled down around a fire for our dinner. Late into the night a discussion was held on what creature would have found me first. It wasn't so good to know how many.
Parting company with a grand bunch of lads early in the morning, I made my way down to the end of the creek. Finding a clearing and then a track, I was nearly sure this would lead to Ross and Company. After walking only a short way who should appear round the next bend but Dot and Roger. Both at seeing me burst out with big smiles. I told them my tale of the events which led up to my meeting them. Roger made off to call in the search parties.
Maybe you might think you can't got lost in one weekend twice, but you're wrong for it can happen and it did, but that's another tale.
The latest latest news of Snow Brown and Bill Ketas is that they were involved in a car accident somewhere in Yugoslavia. Bill ended up in hospital with a broken pelvis and internal injuries and Snow with shock etc. The address to send them messages of cheer is below -
C/- Flat 2, 37 Primrose Gardens, Belsize Park, London. N.W.3.
Philosophy as a subject comes from great antiquity. It means the love, study and pursuit of wisdom or of the knowledge of things and their causes. Such things may be theoretical or practical. The basis of science or of religion comes from philosophy. It lies behind and above all other knowledge we have or use.
Customarily reserved for the halls of learning and the intellectual, the subject, to a remarkable degree, has been denied the man in the street. Surrounded by protective coatings of impenetrable scholarliness, philosophy has been reserved to the priveleged few.
For any philosophy to be worth consideration it must be meant for anybody at all who wishes to reach for it. It is the servant of the commoner and king alike and not something to be regarded with awe.
The second principle of such a philosophy is that it must be capable of being applied. Learning locked away in antiquated books is not much value to anyone unless it can be used. The Third principle is that any philosophic knowledge is only valuable if it is true or if it works.
A philosophy can only be a route to knowledge. It cannot be crammed down anybody's throat. If one has a route, he can then find what is true for him. Know Theyself…. and the truth shall set you free.
Common man likes to be happy and well. He likes to be able to understand things and he knows his route to freedom lies through knowledge.
Scientology (Latin: Scio - knowing, Greek: logos - study) is a system of organised axioms resolving problems of the spirit, life and thought, developed by a Doctor of Philosophy through the application of the Scientific Method to the Humanities.
It is a new form of applied philosophy and bushwalkers, often inclined to the philosophic vein, may be interest to join me in a visit to a Scientology Meeting.
New Address: We have a permanent display room at 1/69 Werona Avenue, Gordon (100 yards from Gordon Railway Station).
Regular trading hours: 7-30 - 10-00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. (Other times by arrangement).
New Stocks: Ultra thick NZ Wool Shirts in Heavy Check Pattern - These have to be seen to be appreciated. $11.00. Black Oiled Japara Parkas. $15.00.
Fairy Down: Announcement: Everest and Explorer Sleeping Bags now come with optional Japara covering,
Look forward to seeing you.