A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bushwalker, 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards.
Postal Address: Box 4476 G.P.O., Sydney, N.S.W., 2000.
Meetings at the Club Room on Wednesday evenings after 7.30 p.m.
Enquiries regarding Club - Marcia Shappert, Tele, 30-2028.
|Editor||Spiro Ketas, 104/10 Wylde Street, Pott's Point, 2011. Tel. 357-1381 (Home)|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118|
|The May General Meeting||Jim Brown||2|
|Mount St. Elias||Ross Wyborn||3|
|Aboriginal Man and Environment in Australia - Book Review||Bill Gillam||8|
|Sweet and Low||Jim Brown||10|
|Federation Notes - May, 1972||Ray Hookway|
|July Walk Notes||Wilf Hilder||20|
by Jim Brown.
The meeting opened to a rather small assemblage - about 25, although the numbers increased slightly later. Five new members were named; Margaret Merrotsy, Joan and Dudley Finlay were welcomed, but Jan Studdert and George Catchpole were not present. However the President caught up with Valerie Hannaford, an admission of February vintage.
Having disposed of the April Minutes, nominations were invited for the vacancy of Vice President, in lieu of Dot Butler, about to depart for overseas. John Campbell inherited her mantle in the Club's hierarchy. Correspondence contained nothing of moment, and with the meeting only seven or eight minutes old we came to the Reports, beginning with the Treasurer's advice that we entered May with a working fund of $783.
Came next the Walks Report: there were two months to catalogue, which was as well perhaps, as very little else happened during the rest of the meeting. Wilf was able to record that the March activities opened with Ross Hughes' trip into the Morong Deep, carried out in almost incessant rain, the river being high and cold and the rocks slippery. On the same week-end Sam Hinde had the day walk to Burning Palms, a pleasant enough day, with some showers.
On the second week-end Ross Hughes was at it again, once more in the Kanangra country, but the route of the programmed trip was amended to go out via Ti Willa and back via Gingra Range: there were six starters. Roger Gowing's projected trip had been deferred, so the remaining jaunt for the week-end was Wilf's energetic day walk in the Illawarra Range south of Mount Kembla. The party went up and down like ants much of the day to cover an estimated 18 miles with about 3,000-ft climbing, and finished after dark. Next week-end the Reunion - the President declined to venture an opinion on the attendance, but it was agreed that it went off quite well.
For the last normal week-end of March Ross Hughes was thumping the Kanangra-Kowmung terrain again, out over Cambage Spire, a dash into the Scotts Main Range country near Chiddy Obelisk, and back over Colboyd Range. Sunday's trip was Elaine Brown's walk out from Cowan, with about 12 present, but a dearth of other information.
Then Easter, with one fairly leisurely tour to the Warrumbungles taken by Jim Vatiliotis, and attended by 14 people, while Don Finch and Doone Wyborn conducted a tour of the cumulus lying over the Blue Breaks in company with 17 others (19 in all): the trip story was given in the May magazine.
So into April, and the spell of Indian Summer: John Campbell's team went to Splendour Rock and down Merrigal Creek, and found leeches in some of the gullies. On Saturday/Sunday 8th/9th April Roger Gowing's deferred Blue Gum walk was undertaken, but went in very leisurely style, and didn't go down as far as the Forest. Bill Hall leading about 15 people went out west from Waterfall on the Sunday for an enjoyable day in very good weather.
Followed Federation Reunion, with (for a change) almost 50 S.B.W. present at one stage or another, including those who came up mainly for Owen harks' day walk on the Sunday. The less energetic (some of them) joined in the various competitions at the Reunion site. For that weekend Peter Levander had a programmed trip in the Wolgan valley, but as there were few starters the trip was altered into an exploratory one.
April 21/23 when John Campbell tackled the Gerringong Falls country, with six in party, and reported most enthusiastically about the valley and falls. Over Saturday/Sunday Alan Pike's party made it over Lockley's to the Grose, “Y” Creek and Mount Hay, where they encountered the usual electric storm, this time without any near casualty. Bob Younger had the day walk, 15 people, and found rather dense growth in the creek beds near South West Arm. To conclude the recital, there was a party of 8 for Bill Burke's Shoalhaven walk, from which there was a report that the limestone miners seem to have suspended dumping spoil in the creeks at present, and even Cedar Flat was in clean condition. Roger Gowing had about 20 people out on an easy jaunt to admire the autumn tones at Mount Wilson, and for Sunday there was a Callaway trip out from Helensburgh, starting with 15 and shedding people at two or three points en route. It was summed up as “a solid day”.
Well, that was about it. There was no Federation Report available, no one wanted to discuss any General Business, and the May meeting a one-man performance if over there were one - was closed.
by Ross Wyborn.
While living in Vancouver, my wife, Margriet and I joined an expedition to Mt. St. Elias organized by members of the British Columbia Mountaineering Club. Other members of the party were: Alice Culbert, Jack Bryceland, Fred Douglas, Steve Heim, Jim Craig and Dictmar Setzer.
We were impressed by the size of the mountain. Its official height is 18,008 ft. and it is only 19 miles from the coast at the nearest point. Being on the Yukon-Alaska border it rates as the second highest peak in Canada and also the second highest in the U.S.A. The area is heavily glaciated with glaciers flowing all the way into the sea.
On 10th July, 1971 we flew to the small Alaskan fishing town of Yakutat. On the same day we were flown by float plane to Oily Lake at an altitude of 1,400 ft. This lake is backed up by the ice of the Malaspina Glacier which is about 40 miles wide and 28 miles long. With 4 days food we set out the next morning and climbed over a 4,000 ft. pass in the Samovar Hills behind the lake. We were able to ski across The Agassiz Glacier and up a small glacier on the other side. Camping at 4,250 ft we crossed a 5,700 ft. pass the next day. We had chosen this route to miss a large ice fall in the main glacier. It looked good from the air but the easy slopes on either side didn't join and the ridge was difficult to traverse. An 80 ft. abseil into a schrund solved the problem and we were rewarded by a downhill ski run on the other side. We used short downhill skis with bindings to fit our climbing boots. Most people had double boots.
Now we only had about 4 miles up the Newton Glacier to reach our base camp site. We skied past the first icefall without difficulty but skiing roped up can only be described as a bind. There were numerous crevasses and many narrow snow bridges. We camped before an icefall at 5,500 ft. This icefall proved difficult. A one hundred yard stretch took 6 hours of shovelling and pack hauling etc. We reached a good airdrop site at 6,200 ft. that night and set up camp. The weather had been perfect but now clouds covered the peak and we worried about our airdrop which was planned for the next day. We waited four hungry days for our drop to arrive. We lived on one days rations supplemented by some food we found of an old base camp of an Italian Expedition which had helicoptered out as we were walking in.
With food in our bellies we started on the remaining 12,000 feet of mountain. Already behind schedule, we decided not to attempt the un-climbed cast ridge which had been our original intention. (We also thought the Italians had climbed it but apparently they were unsuccessful). We chose the route via Russel Col which was the route taken by the Duke of Abruzzi on the first ascent in 1897. We pitched our two tents (4 man pyramid tents) at 8,500 ft. to make our first camp. This camp was reached on skis except for a 100 ft. pitch where we used a fixed rope. The camp was located at the base of the headwall which leads to Russel Col but far enough back to be out of avalanche danger.
The headwall was threatened by ice cliffs on both sides and the only safe route lay directly up the centre to the col. On the 19th July, Dietmar and Alice climbed to the same altitude as the col but did not get on to it because of a schrund. Next day 15 inches of snow fell, covering their tracks and burying fixed ropes they had set up. We spent days carrying loads to finish stocking Camp 1. On the 22nd July the whole party sot out for the col. Leads were exchanged so that the two leaders could carry lighter loads and the rest carried full loads. Fixed lines were placed on the steeper sections to assist load carrying. Jumar handles were used on the fixed lines. All loads were dumped before the col schrund and we descended to Camp 1.
We knew our tracks would soon be covered so we decided to take all we could and set up a camp on the col next day and not return to Camp 1.
A late start was made next morning. It was snowing lightly as we started up. On the ascent a huge avalanche rushed down an avalanche shute very close to our route. A number of us were ascending fixed ropes at the time and we had to hang on as the wind covered us with avalanche dust. When the dust finally cleared we continued on. Using our old tracks we made good time to our dump and finding a route across the schrund, continued to the col.
Our altitude - 12,300 ft.; our food - enough for 7 days; our equipment - all personal and climbing gear, one tent and two primuses. In 3½ hours we had a comfortable 4 man snow cave dug and the tent pitched a short diStance away. That night it started. For five days the wind roared and now fell. Winds up to 50 MPH shook the tent dwellers and snow threatened to bury their tent. An estimated eight feet of snow accumulated but it was difficult to tell how much fell because of the wind. The tent dwellers repitched the tent once before they gave up and enlarged the snow cave to fit all eight. On the third day a brief glimpse of the sun gave false hopes as the blizzard recommenced with added fury.
Finally on the 29th July we started on the 6000 ft. summit ridge. We didn't have enough food for a second attempt so we all moved up carrying sleeping bags, 2 shovels and most of the remaining food. The ridge was not technically difficult but soft snow and a strong wind made it demanding. At 14,500 ft. we found a filled in crevasse. We dug it out and crawled in. It was after midnight before we were finally settled. No one got much sleep because snow continued to drift in through the crack in the roof.
At 6.30 AM next morning we started up. The weather was perfectly clear and we looked out onto a sea of glaciers and peaks. We could see all the highest peaks in the range: Mt. Logan 19,850 ft., Mt. Vancouver 15,700 ft., Mt. Augusta 14,070 ft. and Mt. Cook 13,760 ft. (yes, another one). We could oven see Mt. Fairweather, 160 miles away. It is interesting to compare Mt. Cook with its New Zealand sister peak. Although its altitude is somewhat less than the higher peaks, it is a large massiff which stands on its own. Its rounded summit has been ascended from the Seward Glacier but its unclimbed southern approaches would probably prove quite a challenge.
By the time we reached 16,000 ft. the weather had deteriorated badly. We were whipped by 40 mile/hr. winds and visibility was reduced to only about 50 yards. Fred and Dietmar led on through the soft snow with seemingly unending reserves of energy. At 17,200 ft. we suddenly found ourselves above the clouds. By the time we reached the summit the cloud had completely cleared and we were rewarded with a vista of glaciers and peaks stretching away into the distance.
During the upper 500 ft. of climbing I had increasing difficulty in breathing. I had assumed it to be mainly exhaustion but on the summit I found I couldn't breath at all while lying in the snow - classical signs of pulmonary oedema. It was imperative I descend immediately so Margriet started down with me while the others spent almost an hour on top. After descending 2,000 ft, my breathing difficulties turned to a mammoth case of hic-ups. We descended to our snow cave on the col that night and after a good night's sleep I felt well again though a little weak.
A storm appeared to be brewing so we descended from the col that morning. Tho headwall had changed completely since our ascent. Many of the fixed ropes were buried. We had marked them with wands so we found most of them. The lower section of the headwall was strewn with masses of avalanche debris. It was on this section that Steve broke his leg in an unfortunate accident when he was jumping a crevasse. Leaving Alice with him we went to get the skis to make a stretcher. We found the area where we left our skis covered with hundreds of thousands of tons of avalanche debris. There was no chance of finding the skis. We soon had the radio set up in Camp 1. There were no replies from our messages so I stayed by the radio while the others went back up to bring Steve down. They improvised a good stretcher from a large snow shovel and a pack frame. Sitting in the shovel with his legs lashed to the pack frame along the handle, Steve was quickly lowered about 500 ft. to the bottom of the headwall. By this time I had established radio contact and a helicopter was on its way from Yakutat. By the time I reached the rescue party the helicopter was in sight. Steve was bundled aboard and soon disappeared down the valley. It was not until later that we learnt of the pilot's problems crossing Yakutat Bay in low cloud.
We were not looking forward to the trip back to Oily Lake without skis. On the 1st August we descended to base camp, two days later started down the glacier. We found the snow much better than we thought and had no trouble walking. One abseil took us over most of the difficult section. We reached the col between the Newton and Agassiz Glaciers at the lowest point and descended a 500 ft. snow couloir between the rocks. A 500 ft, fixed rope was used for the upper section and a few abseils were done at the bottom. In two days from base camp we were back at Oily Lake. The lake had grown tremendously while we were away and while we waited for the float plane we wandered around in the lush vegetation which had sprung up in the short summer.
Lightweight bushwalking and camp gear.
This 'shaped' rucksack is excellent for children. Useful day pack. Weight 14ozs.
A single pocket, shaped rucksack. Suitable for overnight camping. Weight 1½lbs.
Have sewn-in curved bottom for extra comfort in carrying. Will hold 30 lbs. 2 pocket model 1¼lbs. 3 pocket model 1½lbs.
is an extra large bag with four external pockets and will carry about 40lbs of camp gear. Weight 2¼lbs.
Mountaineer De Luxe
Can carry 70lbs or more. Tough lightweight terylene/cotton, proofed fabric with special P.V.C. reinforced base. 20“ x 17” x 9“ proofed nylon extension throat with double draw cord for positive closure. Flap has full sized zip pocket of waterproof nylon. Outside pocket. Bag is easily detached from the frame to form a 3' sleeping bag cover for cold, wet conditions. Weight 6lbs.
Same features as de luxe model except for P.V.C. bottom reinforcing. Weight 5¼lbs.
Tramper Frame Rucksack
Young people and ladies will find this pack a good one. It will carry sufficient camping equipment and food for 3 or 4 days or more. Has 3 pockets, capacity about 30 lbs. Weight 4lbs.
Hooded bag. Extra well filled. Very compact. Approx 3¾lbs.
Super warm. Box quilted. Added leg room. Approx 4½lbs.
P.V.C. or nylon.
One, two or three man. From 2½ to 3¾lbs.
Two, three or four man. From 3½ to 4½lbs.
Compasses dry, oil filled or wrist types. Maps. Large range. Bushwalking books. Freeze dried and dehydrated foods. Stoves and lamps. Aluminium cook ware. Ground sheets. Everything for the bushwalker.
69 Liverpool St., Sydney. 26-2686, 61-7215.
Bill Gillam's phone number is incorrect on the Walks Programme. It should read 520-8423.
Book Review - by Bill Gillam.
One of my earliest bushwalks was with a friend of similarly tender years along the coast from Bundeena to Otford. A gale of Wagnerian proportions persuaded us that there was no comfort in pushing against cold rain and hostile scrub. We found a clump of trees in a sheltered valley, running water and then, wonder of wonders, dry wood in an overhang. Innocently we camped on 7000 years of pre-history, and then retreated the next day to the comforts of modern shelters and relieved parents.
The utility of the cave was remembered recently when reading of a seminar conducted by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies in 1969. The cave, at Cuuracorang, had been excavated recently, artifacts recovered and “carbon-dating” of the charcoal at many levels made. A similar dig at Gymea Bay gave similar results; occupation more or less continuously from 7000 to 200 years ago and showing three discernibly different variations in culture based on the stone and bone implements found. Other sites, Curraong and Capertee show the same time-span and with minor, but of unknown importance, difference in tools. More rigorous examination of a site at Burrill Lake establishes the pervading figure of 20,000 years for the minimum number of years that the aborigine had occupied or used the site.
If these purely archealogical methods were all we had to unravel the pre-history progress would be extremely slow. By the use of more “pure” scientific methods there is more hope that the future will be more productive. The use of the methods of geology to establish climatic change and time shows that the earliest occupation of the continent could have proceeded from the Malaysan archipelago at the appropriate time. Botanical studies make it believable that these first colonisers would have found a flora not markedly different to sustain them while they adapted to the hunting of the fauna and that, given the Australian climate, a nomadic hunter gatherer would not only have ensured survival, but that the colonisers would have been measurably “better-off” than if they had become sedentary. Once established in Arnhem Land as wanderers lightly using the land they were able to move swiftly over the whole continent including Tasmania within a few thousand years of their arrival.
If the reasonable assumption is made that contact with the source of their migration was lost at this period, due to a well-documented rise in ocean levels following the last major Ice-age, the evidence of genetic analysis based on blood typeing indicates a divergence which can be counted-back to strengthen the date of arrival. Blood-typing, of the serum and cells is possibly one of tho most widespread statistics available on the whole of the earth's population. Using very sophisticated mathematical models it has been used to attempt an elucidation of such diverse and baffling people as the Ainus of Japan, non-Slavic Russians and the Veddhas of India as well as our own aborigines. Over simplified there is some possibility that the Veddhas, Nigerian negros and the aborigine are of homogenous stock which began to diverge about 100,000 years ago, migrating from somewhere in India.
One of the problems limiting prehistorical research in Australia is the small number of sites and the “richness” of these sites as compared with some of the classic archealogical sites. Only six sites in the whole of Australia have been excavated, most of these are open or at the best in overhangs and only one site, Koonalda Cave in the Nullarbour is a deep location where climate has helped preservation. Much evidence of occupation of the Darling-Murray system is indirect and derived from soil studies undertaken to establish whether the climate could support a long term population. The combination of arid land, increasing salinity of water supplies and the wildly fluctuating severity of dry seasons are a combination not found in other areas of prehistoric interest (they are, in fact, problems of real concern to present day colonists of the area). Fish trapping, on stone weirs in drought years and brush and true nets in flood seasons is feasible. The major inland fish species, the Murray Cod, needs increasing water level and a temperature rise of two to three degrees Celcius before spawning takes place and the fry are yegetatire grazers for six weeks after hatching, dependent on one particular weed for food during this period. These conditions were all met by snow melt in the Murray and monsoonal rains in the Darling causing flooding in early summer. The ease with which these western rivers cover the countryside enable mature, very often enormous fish to be caught miles from the river bed. The mature fish and the crayfish forming the food of the mature fish are capable of tolerating changing salinities in either direction, increasing and decreasing salinity, an attribute not very common in fish. Inland water fowl have also been shown, recently, to depend on the same flooding and temperature increase to be able to breed. Historically the Coopers Creek area supported a more or less sedentary tribe based on fishing and the hunting of water birds and the marsupials dependent on the waterholes. With more results from carbon dating there is a possibility that human occupation coexisted with the giant marsupials in a climate less harsh than the present in south west Queensland.
The Koonalda Cave, near the South Australian - West Australian border appears to “imprison” its users between the unproductive sea and the fiercest and driest of deserts. However at the time of its initial occupation a lower sea level would have given it a coastal seaward plain of roughly 180 kms which would have been lost at the rate of one metre per year, ample time for even the conservative aborigine to adapt.
In the sites dated so far the earliest known occurrence of the dingo is 7000 years ago its association with aborigines appearing to have spread rapidly and to have been associated with renewed cultural contacts either with New Guinea or Macassan wanderers. It is, perhaps, a measure of the aborigines' conservatism that while the dingo was accepted enthusiastically as an aid to hunting the outrigger canoe and harpoon was rejected though peoples only fifty kilometres away, in Torres Strait, were expert in these tools.
Since the establishment of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies many diverse fields of study have been brought together to unravel the aborigines' history. Whether more information can be discovered by further digging, discovery of sites and native art gallery “shrines” remains to be seen. The use of modern methods of thought and analysis have certainly shown the complexity of the problems while showing the benefits of apparently diverse disciplines. Obviously even the vastly increased body of knowledge now available leaves tremendous gaps through which whole schools of theories could be driven. Tentatively it seems the origins of the people in our northwest, the migration route and the initial ability to become established and then spread throughout the continent can be assessed as possible. Tho length of occupation of a not overly nurturing land is remarkable. That a silent forgotten people can only be invoked by Geiger counters, matrix algebra and computers should be cautionary to us all.
(Aboriginal Man and. Environment in Australia. Editors, D.J. Mulvaney and J. Golson, ANU Press 1971.)
by Jim Brown.
“I was talking to Spiro to-night”, said Kath, “about the Tasmanian trip they did in March”.
“Oh, yes?” I said sleepily. “How did it go?”
“Well, Spiro only went over for the second part of the trip. I asked him if he had a very heavy pack. Do you know what he said?”
“No,” I said, pummelling my pillow into submission, “What?”
“He said he took over two 10-pound tins of honey,”
“Two of 'em?”
“Yes, that's 20-pounds of honey, though. What would they do with it?”
“Eat it, I suppose. How many of them were there?”
“Six, I think.”
I tried to work it out, 20-lbs. of honey, that's 400 fluid ounces. Six wouldn't divide evenly into it. I was too drowsy to come up with an answer. I said “They must like honey……… O.K. to douse the light?… 'Night.”
There I was, standing at Mascot Airport, with a reporter's note book in my hand. A big commercial aircraft taxied up to the terminal, and instantly sets of stops were wheeled into position. The door opened and Spiro stepped out, followed by three or four others, all carrying rucksacks. It was just like that advertisement for economy group air travel.
Flourishing the note book, I said to Spiro, “What was the trip like?”
He flashed the Ketas smile, “Good,” he said laconically, then evidently feeling he should elaborate - “The tucker was specially good though.”
“What did you take?” I asked.
“Oh,” he said, “Salami, dehy. veg., scroggin, soups, tea, coffee, milk and honey.”
I found myself saying, “I've heard - twenty pounds of honey?”
“That's right”. Again the Ketas beam. “Good stuff, honey.”
“You didn't use all of that for spreads, though?”
“Well, we didn't have much to spread it on, of course. But we used it for flavouring - in drinks, and so on. Good stuff, honey.”
He shouldered his pack and moved on, and Don Finch strolled up. They were being most co-operative coming past me one at a time, I thought. I asked “How did you like the food?”
“All right,” said Don. “Of course, we had to use the honey as a substitute for some things. You know, dried apricots boiled in honey syrup. That was good. So was the tea and coffee with honey sweetening. It wasn't so hot in the dehy. veg. though. The potato used to get gluey!”
Heather came up and said, “It really made the salami, though. We cut the sausage in thin slices and spread it thickly with honey. I can't say I liked it so much in the soup, except in the pea soup. In the chicken noodle soup it formed a kind of thick sludge on the bottom.”
“It was funny,” chipped in Don, “when one of the honey pots came uncapped. I had about four pounds of honey slopping around in the bottom of my pack. It didn't matter about the food, because we were having lashings of honey on everything, but it got all over.”
“That was funny, too,” chimed in Heather. “Every time Donny put up the tent it would be covered with flies and ants. Lots of them are still sticking to it.”
“Yes, and there were some bees trying to pick up a bit of easy honey, too,” said Dot Butler who had come into range.
“How did you find the honey diet, Dot?” I said, poising my pencil.
“Absolute nectar!” she said enthusiastically. “Especially the night we got to Queenstown and bought big steaks, and found some mushrooms growing by the roadside.” Confidentially she whispered, “It's going to be the big taste thrill - steak and mushrooms marinated in honey.”
I said, “I suppose you could get rid of a good deal if you used it as freely as that. Did you go through the whole 20 pounds?”
Dot said roguishly, “I suppose you could say it went through us. Well, we only had to buy another pound or two over there. You see, they kept telling us how good their local leatherwood honey was, so we lot our heads go.”
The last of the group was approaching. It was Bill Burke. I swung around on him, “How did you like the feeding?”
He glared at me morosely. “Bloody honey,” ho said. “It's coming out of my pores. Over twenty pounds of the sticky goo. At the end they were holding me down and pouring spoonfuls of it into me…” He started to utter an angry buzzing sound….. buzz-buzz….. buzz-buzz.. buzz-buzz…….
The voice on the telephone asked “Is that 817-2565?”
“Wrong number, I'm afraid,” I told him.
“I'm sorry”, said the caller.
“That's all right,” I said magnanimously, “I was having a lousy dream anyway…….”
I wonder what they did do with 20-lbs. of honey?
by Ray Hookway
Elections for the Federation executive are held at the July monthly meeting. Any person interested in shaping Federation policy still has time to become a SBW delegate to Federation. During this last year SBW members have filled the positions of President, Secretary, S/R Co-ordinator, S/R Secretary and of Information Officer, but new blood is always welcome.
The Roundhouse has been booked for the next Federation Ball but the future of subsequent balls will depend on member clubs interest. If the ball is to serve its original purpose of raising money for Federation as well as providing a social occasion for members, ticket prices will need to be raised. If member clubs feel that its prime purpose is a social one than the balls will continue but they will need more support. In the past the ball has not been well patronized by SBW members but as the club membership changes this attitude might also change.
Federation is still seeking member clubs' views on proposals to publish a Bushwalker Magazine. Such a magazine could play its part in fostering interest in the outdoors and in rallying support for conservation, but to be a success it requires more than casual support from qualified and interested people on the production as well as on the financial management side. Those SBW members who recently expressed strong interest in the production by SBW of a similar magazine may still be keen enough to transfer their support to a Federation publication. It would not be necessary for such people to be club delegates but they could be co-opted directly to produce the magazine. Interested parties can contact me.
Federation have written to the Water Board protesting the proposed construction of a private riding trail by Mr Bert Carlon down Yellow Pup to the Cox [Coxs River].
Federation has voted $170.00 to replace the chains on Carlons Head [Carlon Head] and on Walls Pass. These have been giving concern for some time. A working party will be arranged on the weekend of August 26th/27th and about 100 volunteers will be required.
The Sydney Rock Climbers have arranged another interesting film evening of superb climbing and snow films taken in Patagonia, Yosemite and the French Riviera. Films are to be shown in Theatre 6 of the Central Theatre Block at the U.N.S.W, at 8 p m. on June 15th and tickets will be $1.20 each. The previous films shown have been outstanding and these are stated to be of equal quality.
About 60 bushwalkers turned out on April 21st at Wentworth Falls to search for an old man who had wandered off into the bush. He was found safely on the second sweep by bush fire volunteers but the day was most significant for the excellent cooperation shown between Federation S.& R. and the Blue Mountains police.
Meetings of the S. & R. group of interest to all bushwalkers are held in the main hall of Science House, Gloucester Street at 7 p m. on the second Thursday of every month. Supper is served and you are assured of an interesting and informative evening.
If you are…
Buying or hiring. Hiring or buying. Buying or hiring. Hiring or buying…
Walking… Camping… Climbing… Canoeing… Waling… Camping… Climbing… Canoeing…
Think of Mountain Equipment.
17 Alexander Street, Crow's Nest. 2065. (On the corner of Falcon Street) Telephone 439-3454.
Fairydown sleeping bags, high load packs (weight 3-lb. 10-oz.) and all other things you could possibly need.
by Bill Burke.
Clubhouse Wednesday 10th July. “Who's going on your trip, Don?” - “All the very best people.” My social consciousness immediately rose to the fore and not wishing to be classed as something lower than best I nominated myself.
Friday 7 p.m. picked up at home no less; then to Nora Freeman's house, then to pick up Spiro at Don's sister's home at Haberfield and finally five bods set off for another routine weekend walk.
Desultary chatter in the car, of Tasmania, of skiing, of old walks and projected walks of odd bods, queer bods and of course normal sane intelligent bods like S.B.W. members, and so to Nowra and a cup of excellent coffee at the mainstreet cafe.
We camped for the night at Sassafras, some in tents, some in cars - there were other car loads -. Spiro, Nora and myself decided for the old barn to be greeted by chained dogs as we nosed our way through the ricketty entrance. Fortunately they were reasonably friendly dogs - at least they didn't bark or bite as we eased our way past to a flat dry place to spend what was left of the night.
Morning, the dogs were still friendly (well, at least one was). The leader had said 7 a.m. but no sound emanated from the Finch vehicle. Nevertheless another more compelling reason forced us to vacate our warm sleeping bags. Smoke and a parked landrover from a nearby hut brought to mind previous stories of most unfriendly landowners in this area. Even so we needed the water from the barn plus a lovely green meadow for breakfast purposes, so Spiro the courageous boarded the lion in his den and so we met the Major - Major Sturgiss that is - local landowner extraordinaire and friend to all who love the bush.
“Be my guest”, says he; “I'll put the old black kettle on and there's tea, sugar and milk on the table”. And so on a chilly, windy morn we adjourned to the warm hut and cooked a leisurely breakfast round the fire-side while the Major regaled us with tales of the past - of living and loving on the Ettrema, Bundundah and Yalwall Creeks in the days of the Major's youth. Of wild brumby hunting; of a woman with a two-weeks old babe travelling by coach from Braidwood to Nerriga and thence by horseback to Yalwal to be with the man she loved; of a young girl lost for five days near Nerriga; and of Sally Akins and her two daughters living alone at Atkins Flat who having built a dingo-proof henhouse to protect her fowls used it to pen an over-ambitious hen hunter with designs on her two daughters. The story as told by the Major is a classic and perhaps one day we will be able to print the full version for our readers.
Doone and Leslie roared in just as we were ready to leave. “Breakfast?” says Doone, “We've had it”, reply. The various papers, magazines, assorted camping gear, clothing and food littering his car errupts over the landscape; he races, complete with black billy, in to see the Major, races back, pours some Meusley into a heap of brown sugar, a quick stir, shares mouthful for mouthful with Les and we are away for our starting point three miles further along the road.
Despite the wind it was a lovely morning, the sun brightly shining, the country fresh and green and the city far away. We parked the cars in a beautiful green meadow ringed by tall timbers, then out along the old bush road. First through the mixture of timbered and cleared land of the rich basalt crown and then on and on over an undulating sandstone plateau to Cinch Creek. A ninety degree turn to the west and we were on the rim, Point Possibility reaching out to our right and the cliffs on the far side of the Ettrema standing up stark and clear. We wandered along the tops, past the cairns pointing the way to Paul's Pass down the squeezeway - no room for fat people or fat packs here - to below the cliff line and then on down the steeply sloping mountainside. Time slips away as we slither and slide down grassy chutes and over greasy rock faces to Cinch Creek. Fast members race ahead to establish camp while we lesser mortals boulder hop and jump and scramble by torchlight.
Camp at last to find a beaut fire, a “cuppa” ready and sundry smells of goodies all around us. Spiro, our self-appointed chaperone, enquires of the doings of a couple missing for ten minutes or so - “Stuffing a chook”, says the forthright young lady in question and promptly throws the said chook complete in alfoil on to the fire. I well remember another occasion when the same forthright young lady declined to assist in dousing our luncheon fire on a dry ridge; “The steam rises and cooks us”, her explanation.
Baked chicken, cheese cake with lemon sauce, rice piloff, pork and lamb chops, cherries in 1iqueur, hot mulled spiced burgundy and thick rich Turkish coffee; one by one the goodies appeared, added their aromatic fragrance to the wood smoke scented night air, were shared and discussed and consumed. One would have thought we were dining at the Wentworth rather than by the rushing noisy waters at the junction of Cinch and Ettrema Creeks. Replete at last we lazed around the fire watching the flames, the stars and the dark shadows of the night, discussing the state of the nation, politics, migration, any and all topics and one by one drifted off to bed. Dreamtime, not Aboriginal perhaps, but even so the original inhabitants must have sat dreaming around similar fires on their trek along this route from the Shoalhaven flats to the Braidwood uplands in the days of long ago.
Morning dawned cloudy and cold. John Campbell, our hero, was up early to produce a lovely blaze. He then made the fatal mistake of attempting to arouse our slumbering leader with a trickle from his water bucket - result, two drenched bodies around the breakfast fire.
“Rabbits” checked out early, to be followed by “lesser rabbits”, two of whom, Jim V. and Barry W. for some unknown reason elected to spend an hour or two up some little known side creek. Must have needed the exercise. However they did finally catch up before lunch.
The Ettrema here has cut down to a granite bed and is fairly wide and clear. Even so there is no respite from boulder hopping save paddling in the cold creek bed. Nora found the going rather slow. Between watching the ordinary wet granite and the dark greasy granite boulders and occasional passing showers of rain we found time to admire the lovely colourful craggy sandstone rim high above us and the crystal clear rock pools scattered along the creek. We even tentatively planned a midsummer trip to take advantage of the pools.
Lunch at our exit point, Jones Creek junction, was belated and cool - the fire as always was warm.
The stragglers had caught up; packs emptied and food consumed in a rather hurried stop as we speculated on the possibility of being out of the gorge by dark. On again as we waded and hopped and skipped and climbed our way up the creek. The boulders got bigger, granite gave way to sandstone and lovely waterfalls appeared, were sidled and passed behind. Jerry Sinzig bombed 50' into a large pool just for practice. The old mine and the flying fox were all given a brief but cursory glance as we hurried on. The party started to stretch out and our front runners disappeared into the distance. Shadows lengthened, the boulders got even bigger, comparatively shallow pools became wells of inky blackness over which trial and error became the only basis of negotiation; dark greasy sandstone became inseparable from safe clean sandstone; jumping became a hazard. Torches appeared and “day o” echoed up and down the creek. And then our leaders' voices yahooing from the sandstone rim way above and finally Jerry's voice guiding us to the break in the cliff line.
We gathered together on the rim round 6 p.m., the night even colder than the day, the bushes all wet from passing showers, and munched some chocolates and other sweets. Maps and compasses were produced. Much mumbling by the intelligensia; “There is an old road”, “very indistinct”, “may be hard to locate”, “crosses rocky ledges”, “should be on bearing ?” “perhaps if we head due –”, “cars only 6 miles”, “twenty minutes to the road”, “piece of cake”, “only a couple of hours late”. Eventually we headed off into the blackness nose to tail with instructions to yell if we lost contact and with implicit faith in Doone's trusty compass and torch.
The road failed to appear. Voiceless shapes we wandered on, by wet bushes and dripping trees, over low ridges and sandy washes, over rocky ledges and no ledges, by swamp flats, by fading torch light and no torches - batteries were running low and some were ordered off for emergency use, grotesque black shapes we shared the night with the mist and the rain and the stars. Bearings were checked and counter checked, we swung sharp right under the lie of a big hill which wasn't on the agenda - “road must be this side” - stopped and pondered and pushed on and finally our leader's voice from the blackness interrupted the sound of our stumbling feet - “What do you think?” Time 7.30 p.m. “Push on,” was the almost unanimous verdict. Spiro has a butcher shop to open, John and Barry can't afford a day off, Jerry thinks of a nice warm bed, Nora has her doubts, Jim V. declares the body willing but declines to accept responsibility for his legs. Your scribe has visions of wartime New Guinea and the cutting of scrub to form a platform to lay on the boggy mess under foot. We march on.
The mass of the hill on our left drops lower and lower and lo! THE ROAD right where our leader said it should be - in the saddle as the hill finally disappeared. A hurried consultation; tea break decreed at first reasonably dry ground, some water picked up by a roadside pool and soon a fire blazed forth. Billies were filled - a lone tadpole emerged from the water bucket and by common consent it was decided that it should not die that night, and a generous soul promptly transported him back down the road to his former home. Soup and milo and coffee were made for all, odd scraps of food produced and consumed; dry bread scorned at lunch break became a delicacy graciously accepted by those who had no remnants.
Time 9 p.m. and still 5 miles to go. We hated to destroy the fire but our spirits were up and now there was no further thoughts of a halt for the night. The errant road meandered on, disappearing on the rocky ledges and grassy flats and appearing again amongst the bushes and timber on the other side. Torches were dimmer and it became ever harder to locate and hold. We developed a system of “tail enders” holding the last known trace whilst the forward scouts deployed over the landscape and time passed and the rain had cleared and the stars were out in force and snatches of song disturbed the stillness of the night. Our wayward road finally joined up with another more distinct - the cars seemed ever so much closer. Torches were no longer essential to follow the sandy ruts.
Our stride lengthened, now energy appeared, the singing became louder and more prolonged and we were away at the gallop for the home run. The front trio arrived back at midnight, Don a few minutes later and he promptly turned his car round and set off back down the road to pick up the stragglers. In ones and twos we dribbled in and finally Don again at 12.48. A hurried clothing change and we were on our way to a dawn arrival in Sydney town.
P.S. Brickbats to a leader who quotes the daily mileage instead of the total mileage. Bouquets to a new lady member, Nora Freeman, on her second weekend walk who managed to stop on her feet and keep walking for 17 hours.
June 28th - Mrs. Dulcie Flower, a member of the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs and an aborigine herself, is coming to give a talk on “Bushwalking with aboriginal awareness”.
July 19th - Eric Rowen, one of our non-active members, will tell us about “Timber Harvesting in South-east Asia”.
July 26th - A new member, Alistair Battye, has some very interesting information about the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition - 1964.
by Wilf Hilder.
June 30, July 1, 2 - Uncle Phil Butt lays it on the fall line in the Snowy Alps - first rate ski touring tuition for beginners who know a klister from a christie. Get in early - while the transport lasts.
June 30, July 1, 2 - Laurie Quaken's Cox's River walk takes in excellent scenery and good going apart from the scrub on Blackhorse Range and rock hopping in Merrigal Creek. The elusive Mobbs Soak Cave is well worth inspecting.
July 1, 2 - Roger Gowing leads this gentle stroll to Garie. Ideal for beginners or bathchairs. Easy camping at Era.
July 2, Sunday - John Campbell our two-legged racehorse leads this very hard Solitary Special - glorious golden sandstone walls - shimmering blue peaks - and the rhythmic pounding of overdriven leg muscles and the blue haze of burning rubber, what more could you ask for.
July 2, Sunday - Uncle Jim Brown (who earned his bushman's thong when most of us were cubs) shows how sweet it can be in ye olde Labyrinth - the quiet peace of St. Helena crater has to be felt to be believed. An ideal test walk.
July 2, Sunday - Sam Hinde, another accomplished leader, leads this easy saunter into National Park. Captivating ferry trip to and from Bundeena across lovely Port Hacking - get Sam to show you the aboriginal carvings.
July 7, 8, 9 - Ray Hookway leads the Pat Harrison classic walk to Yerranderie. Toe up the massive trig on Big Rick - sorry, Mt. Colong - marvel at those million dollar views both here and at Yerranderie Peak. Pat could have put it so much better - but you have the message. Reach for your blower and book in early - it will be a popular walk.
July 9, Sunday - Roger Gowing slays the Dharug dragon on this scenic walk - with scores of aboriginal carvings and early wildflowers. Reasonable scrub on the ridges, with some tracks or easy going. Excellent test walk country.
July 9, Sunday - Nancy Alderson's historical walk is easy and interesting. Admire the graceful lines of convict built Lennox Bridge and John Whitton's masterpiece Knapsack Bridge. Note now departure time of train from central is 09.15 hours.
July 14, 15, 16 - Wild Wiif “leads?” this weekend cross country practice weekend. Langlauf locale is Munyang or Guthega - ideal for learners who have had at least two weekends cross country experience. Transport is limited - book early.
July 14, 15, 16 - Max (the mighty) Crisp carries the banner on this picturesque test walk in the wild blue yonder - the northern Blue Mountains. Legendary views from Pantonys - an easy scramble and the sacred mountain of the north, Tyan the tremendous.
July 16, Sunday - Uncle Sam Hinde leads this easy Sunday saunter to the unbelievable Pindar Cave with its “carpeted” floor. Very nice scenery - light to moderate scrub, but good tracks for half the way.
July 21, 22, 23 - Bearded Bill Gillam is organiser for this downhill skiing weekend - base camp as usual at salubrious Sawpit Creek. Please note Bill's correct phone no. is 520,8423 not as shown on programme.
July 21, 22, 23 - Smiling Spiro Ketas leads this mighty walk from Kanangra to Colong. Going could be scrubby along Lannigan Range and naturally along parts of Bullhead Range, but good tracks most of the way. Excellent views and company. Remember to sign the visitor's book on Mt. Colong.
July 23, Sunday - Elaine Brown leads this “piece of cake” walk along Cowan Creek from the Sphinx. Tracks all the way with very pleasant scenery.
July 28, 29, 30 - Mile Short wields the baton on his grandfather's old stamping ground. Some boulder hopping in Martins Creek, but first rate scenery. Slow going to the Crag but spellbinding views of the bush campsites far below. Sandbanks and wading are the quickest way up the Nattai - but its well worth the effort on this classic test walk.
July 30, Sunday - Max Crisp leads this ever popular test walk to Gunyah Bay. Excellent indeed are the views from the many first-rate lookouts. Don't miss the plaque on east side of Taffy's Rock or the aboriginal carvings nearby.
July 30, Sunday - Kath Brown is your leader on this tried and tested classic to the Palms, with its glorious beach and views. Good graded tracks all the way. Ideal walk for novices.
This trip was unfortunately left off the programme when printed, but will be led by Geoff Mattingley on 15/16 July. A Saturday morning start, private transport. The locale - McArthur's Flat on the Nattai River.
Although primarily for prospective members all club members will be very welcome and can assist in passing on their knowledge to newcomers.
Please see Geoff in the clubroom if you would like to come. His phone no. at work is 73,Q422, ext.456, but he is pretty busy during office hours, and prefers to make trip arrangements at the club. Please pass on this information to any prospective members who may need an Instructional Week-end.
Members are reminded that annual subscriptions have been due since the Annual General Meeting in March.
The rates for this year remain unchanged. They are:-
Full member $6.00
Married couple $8.00
Student member $3.00
Non-active member $1.00 plus $1.50 for magazine if required.
Subscriptions may be paid to Alan Hedstrom or John Holly in the clubrooms or may be posted to
The Treasurer, The Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476 G.P.O., Sydney. 2001.
Cheques, money orders or postal orders should be made payable to “The Sydney Bush Walkers”.
Don Finch and Heather Smith were married last Friday 16th June.
A barbecue reception was held at Snow Brown's home last Saturday.
We wish them a long and happy life together.
Another adjustment to the Walks Programme!
The Sunday walk 25th June, led by Gladys Roberts, will not now be led on that date. Gladys transferred it to 11th June to cater for people who wanted a day walk on the holiday weekend.