A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, 14 Atchison Street, St. Leonards.
Postal Address: Box 4476 G.P.O., Sydney, N.S.W. 2001.
Meetings at the Club Room on Wednesday evenings after 7.30 p.m.
Enquiries regarding the Club - Mrs. Marcia Shappert, Te1. 30-2028.
|Editor||Spiro Ketas, 104/10 Wylde Street, Pott's Point, 2011. Te1.357-1381 (Home)|
|Duplication||Mike Short and Alan Round|
|Business Manager||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118.|
|At the May General Meeting||Spiro Ketas||2|
|A Little Mellowness||Don Matthews||4|
|Lilos on the Cox||David Rostron||5|
|It's a Small World Isn't It?||Neville Page||8|
|Wa1ks Secretary's Notes for July||Wilf Hilder||9|
|The Save Colong Bulletin||10|
|More Letters from Dorothy and Alan Pike||11|
|Social Secretary's Notes||14|
by Spiro Ketas
Only twenty-five Members were present at the May General Meeting. Three new members were welcomed to the club, Helen Brett, Karl Beck and John Blackmore. No business arose from last month's minutes, enabling Sheila to move on to the correspondence received. As usual conservation issues dominated the correspondence received. The battle to save Bungonia continues and Neville Wran Q.C. made a speech in parliament advocating the preservation of the Blue Mountains Area and its protection from unnecessary and unplanned development. He urged that the State Planning Authority should take immediate steps for the preparation of a Blue Mountains Regional Planning Scheme to halt harmful and uncoordinated planning. Correspondence concluded with a reference to Myles Dunphy accepting Honorary Membership of the club.
Our new lady Treasurer, Marcia, delivered the Treasurer's Report in a confident and business-like manner - opening balance $519.05, closing balance $536.58.
Wilf then presented the Walk's Report. On April 6, 7, 8 four members and three prospectives went with Mike Short to Splendour Rock, ran out of torch light on the way back but took advantage of the moonlight to reach Medlow Gap. Bill Hall's Sunday walk, Waterfall to Heathcote, attracted 16 starters. Wilf Hilder's Colo trip on April 14th attracted 6 members; an exciting trip, Wilf bagged three fish, the party requiring extra protein and brain food to survive a flash flood, and a three hour hard scrub-bash along Escape Creek finishing rather late and with only one serviceable torch. Twenty-two people attended David Ingram's Sunday walk on the 15th April, a pleasant and satisfying day.
Easter. John Campbell's Victorian walk went, four members enjoyed themselves in the Crosscut Saw area. Don Finch's Tuross River trip enticed 23 people. A worthwhile walk, slow going on the first two days scrambling over large boulders, through rocky gorges and an occasional swim through cold pools. To make up the time lost on the river 25 road miles were walked on the last day. George Catchpole's Bimberi jaunt resulted in a stay at the Oldfields Hut for two days, then up Mt. Bimberi on Monday. A successful trip was experienced by Alan Fall's party of seven in the Mt. Kaputar National Park - easy walking and good weather.
On Anzac Day 6 members enjoyed themselves on Sam Hinde's Bundeena walk.
The next weekend, 28 and 29th April both Don Finch's and David Cotton's walks were cancelled due mainly to the fact that the previous Wednesday was a holiday (Anzac Day) and as the club was closed no contact was made with prospective starters and leaders. Neville Lupton's party oh his Sunday Test Walk missed the turn-off so proceeded back along the same route, a very wet party indeed as it rained all day, but not so on Ray Carter's walk in the Araluen Valley; his party of two people enjoyed fine weather.
May 5, 6th Rod Peters had 3 starters with him on his Bungonia trip, a hard walk in fine weather.
Dot Butler's Coolana exploratory expedition started off with two but the next day were joined by about 50 young marrieds and their children, including some members of the N.Z. Alpine Club. A surprise attendance was Bob Duncan and young family, now living in Sydney.
Wilf Hilder on May 6th changed his walk to a Colo trip as he missed his one and only starter by 5 minutes after waiting for him in Sydney. He covered 19 miles on a sunny clear day, the river was up 5 feet and in places very muddy. One 100 yd. section took 1 hour to complete.
An unfortunate accident occurred on John Holly's test walk on May 6th in the Blue Labyrinth area. Colin Ferguson fell off a rock in Glenbrook Gorge, resulting in a stretcher rescue instigated by two helpful Park Rangers. John's party, greatly inspired by the President's example, conducted themselves in a calm and unselfish manner and with the help of many serviceable torches were able to reach Glenbrook at 8.00 p.m. The patient has long since recovered after a week in hospital.
This just about wrapped up the Walks Report which, as our Walks Secretary commented, was not made easy by the failure of leaders to complete the requested Walks Report Sheet.
Then on to the Federation Report - firstly, strong rumours persist that the Water Board may allow tourists to within the 2-mile catchment area limit, but nothing official as yet. Walkers disturbed by the placing of dingo traps on Scotts Main Range. Federation persuing the matters of access roads at Vine Creek, Sassafras (Army and Lands Dept. still arguing) and also Six Foot Track, inquiry unconcluded. Twenty five people attended the Anzac ceremony at Splendour Rock. The Sydney Rock Club plans to produce a book on Abseiling to sell at $1.00 to $1.50 but desires firstly to gauge response through Federation delegates asking various members. The Mt. Tomah Society plan to erect a large reminder of some sort on top of the mountain in honour of the early explorers and also to publish a book on the history of the area. They would be grateful for any suggestions from walkers.
In General Business it was decided to write to the National Parks and Wildlife Service thanking them for rescuing Colin Ferguson. Alex Colley informed the meeting that the Colong Committee would retain its “Save Colong” Bulletin title although the conservation battlefields are indeed widespread. A sum of money was found at the Federation Reunion. Cross-country skiers were informed of an inevitable rise in price of all hickory skis due to a U.S.A. hickory shortage. The bus contract between Sawpit Creek and Perisher Valley has not been let as yet, but apparently efforts will be made to keep the road to Perisher open all through winter. Anybody wishing to attend Doone Wyborne's Watsons Crags ice instructional trip should contact Dot Butler. Notice was given that Maurie Berry's 70th birthday was to be celebrated at Girrakool Reserve in the Brisbane Waters National Park, organised by the Dungalla Club and inviting S.B.W. to attend.
It was then 9.30 p.m. and another typically quiet yet interesting and informal meeting came to an end.
by Don Matthews.
Life is full of problems. Like that of my old straw hat. It's not as old as Dot Butler's, or at least it doesn't look as old, though I've had mine for three years and a bit.
The problem is that it takes a while to impart character to such a hat, and then it takes quite an effort to make sure that it keeps its character. In fact, the only way to make sure is by not using it, but just looking at it. Which means that you really need several hats going at once. The trouble then is that you never know when you're going to experience a character building situation.
My hat got its present aura on a canoe trip down the Indi, and although the hat, or any other hat for that matter, could no doubt survive the experience again, I'm not sure that I could. Anyhow, it would be my turn to take the canoe, and although its character might not be affected, its shape probably would be. George, who took his canoe last time, now has two half canoes which he plans to make into two rather narrow rowing boats. This didn't occur on the Indi but on the Shoalhaven. I wasn't on that trip. If I had been, he'd probably still have a one piece canoe because I wouldn't have taken whatever chance led to its transformation - not unless my hat was safe first, anyhow. But then he wouldn't have finished the one-man kayak which he'd started in 1949, and who knows what new adventures this might lead him into.
Life is full of difficult decisions. Actually, it's a hell of a job deciding whether or not to go on a particular trip. I went on Bill Burke's Splendour Rock walk to get fit for an Easter trip, but then as a result decided not to go away at Easter in case I further damaged my ski-knee for this year's skiing.
Which reminds me. My cross-country skis have a wonderful mellow look about them - nearly worn out, but not quite. I can proudly claim them from the rack of the Perisher bus with the nonchalant air or an old cross-country man. Nearly worn out! It takes years to give skis a mellow look. Quick, where's the ski catalogue?
A reminder that the Annual Subscription was due and payable at the Annual General Meeting last March. If you are still unfinancial please get your money in soon!
Please note that Meryl Watman's telephone number has been changed to 570-1831.
by David Rostron.
After a frustrating lilo trip on the Cox early in January, when the river level was very low, I was determined to repeat the trip as soon as possible after heavy rain. This was provided far too amply in February with the result that a number of canyon trips were abandoned.
Came March 9 and Roy Higginbottom's trip was programmed for a Wollondilly jaunt from Bullio. Roy was called to Queensland and Don Finch, with words that “It must go as programmed”, took over. However, following some heavy handed persuasion by Heather and myself, Friday evening found eight of us camped at Carlon's farm, prepared for another assault on the Cox. Some were rudely awakened at 5.0 a.m. by the earth tremor which struck part of eastern New South Wales. However two bodies on a foam mattress in the rear of a Holden panel van slept through the event. Speculation as to what had occurred - most thought it had been a landslide in the vicinity - continued until we had almost returned to civilization on Sunday afternoon.
We headed out along the Tinpot track and reached the Cox near the Galong Greek junction after about l hours. The river was up about 12“ - 18” and the rapids were obviously going to provide exciting lilo-ing. On the first rapid there were falls of about 2 feet with pressure waves of the same height. Everyone came to grief and there were packs, lilos and bodies everywhere. This was Peter Miller's first lilo trip and he was temporarily discouraged to the degree that he walked the next few miles.
After about a mile on the river Dot Butler, Heather and my daughter Darcy started complaining about the water temperature. They all wanted to walk somewhere - Howling Dog, Yellow Dog, Splendour Rock and leave the lilos at the Breakfast Creek junction. Fortunately male logic won the day and we continued down the river. However this female trio then walked for some distance - apparently to prove a point (shades of Women's Lib).
As the confidence of some increased they took the rapids in the sitting up position. There was a reasonable water flow through the long pools and paddling was only occasionally necessary. Good time was made to Breakfast Creek where we had lunch. Dot then found that her pack waterproofing wasn't altogether satisfactory - her sleeping bag was a sodden mass.
The heat of the day - about 80ยบ - was then really apparent and all took to the water with enthusiasm after lunch. The rebel female trio at this time declined our offer to change the trip to a walk up to Splendour Rock.
On the river again and everyone was riding in the sitting-up position - all we needed would have been umbrellas to complete the picture of a flotilla of King Farouks riding in style. This was bushwalking at the ultimate - moving over all at slightly faster than a normal walking pace, yet being able to savour the scenery to the fullest degree. The banks of the Cox, following the recent rains, were at their most beautiful - where is there a river in this state to equal these parts of the Cox?
We also had the pleasure of being able to look up at those steep ridges without the necessity to be constantly watching the terrain immediately in front in order not to fall flat on one's face.
The rapids above the Merrigal Creek junction provided ample sport - the competition to stay on one's lilo, pack and all. Don scored badly - he managed to came off 5 times in this rapid.
As the afternoon shadows lengthened the number still lilo-ing diminished to four. Then we came to a rapid with a 45ยบ bend, about a mile upstream of Kanangaroo. I was first down and was promptly thrown off at a 3 - 4 foot fall followed by a pressure wave of the some height, on the bend. Don fared somewhat better, losing only his pack. We then started to return to repeat the run down, this time without packs, when just on the bend my youngest daughter Cathy (aged 10) came hurtling down this section to be thrown off at the fall. She disappeared momentarily in the pressure wave and then surfaced, looking rather startled. Don was first to her and she was dragged out of the pool below the rapid.
We reached Kanangaroo without further event and camped in a delightful location under the small casuarinas on the bank of the Kanangra River. The next morning saw the flotilla set forth again. The weather was again perfect and in this stretch of the river to White Dog there are fewer rapids. Confidence reigned supreme and we proceeded in raft formation - the lilos joined together. Down the rapids we careered - often coming to grief with much hilarity. However when there were no large obstacles in the rapids we had greater stability in the raft formation.
When proceeding sideways the appearance of the raft was similar to that of a roller coaster - going up and down over the pressure waves. Unfortunately there was no master mariner on the raft. We had up to five captains trying to direct those on the two outer lilos on the methods of controlling our craft. All this led to only one result - utter confusion.
On the long stretches we just sat back soaking up the sun and enjoying the scenery. The views to Splendour Rook, Guouogang and the Lower Gangerangs were appreciated all the more with the absence of effort in our progress down river. This near Utopian situation came to an end far too soon with the plunge of our raft over the reservoir at White Dog.
Following a leisurely lunch we started the painful trek up the White Dog road and back to Carlons. We met the Water Board ranger, Brian Hastings, en route. We had an interesting and informative discussion with this person who is a dedicated conservationist. He pointed out the survey marks for the power line from Wallerawang to Minto. He understood the road for the building of the line will be a major one in order to take low loaders. The proposed route is now through the gap between Clear Hill and Deberts Knob, not through Medlow Gap.
The ranger suggested that if walkers became aware of sources of pollution or of damage being caused in the Board's area, a complaint should be lodged, by writing direct to the Board.
Back to Carlon's and the cars. Two days of glorious escapism had come to an end.
Lightweight bushwalking and camping gear.
Pouch Parka: Pullover type hooded jacket in proofed nylon. Front zip pocket and zip at throat. Draw cord in hem. So compact it fits into its own pocket. Weight 8 ozs.
'Eidex' hooded oilskin zip front parkas, considered by experienced walkers to be an indispensible item of their gear. Weight 1 lb 7 ozs. Improved model, made to Paddy's specifications. All sizes.
Everything for the 'well dressed' bushwalker… heavy wool shirts, wind jackets, duvets, overpants, string singlets, bush hats, webbing belts etc.
Bunyip Rucksack. This 'shaped' rucksack is excellent for children. Useful day pack. Weight 14 ozs.
Senior Rucksack. A single pocket, shaped rucksack. Suitable for overnight camping. Weight 1 1/2 lbs
Bushman Rucksack. Have sewn-in curved bottom for extra comfort in carrying. Will hold 30 lbs. 2 pocket model 1 1/4 lbs. 3 pocket model 1 1/2 lbs.
Pioneer Rucksack is an extra large bag with four external pockets and will carry about 40 lbs of camp gear. Weight 2 1/4 lbs.
Hooded bag. Extra well filled. Very compact. Approx 3 3/4 lbs.
Super warm box quilted. Added leg room. Approx 4 1/2 lbs.
Super Light Model.
Half the weight and packed size of regular bags. 9“ x 5 1/2” dia. 2 lbs.
Everything for the bushwalker, from blankets and air mattresses, stretchers, boots, compasses, maps, books, stoves and lamps to cooking ware and freeze dried and dehydrated foods.
69 Liverpool St., Sydney. 26-2686, 61-7215.
Athens, 3rd May 1973.
It was about 7.30 p.m. last night when I ducked out of our hotel to post a letter and to change some travellers cheques at the bank. We had only arrived back in Athens at 5 p.m. that afternoon after a 5 day trip to Epidaurus, Olympia, etc., and Lesley was back at the hotel taking a pre-dinner snooze. Walking down Athinas Street, with the Agora on my right, I passed the street-sellers peddling their sunglasses and Turkish coffee, lottery tickets and ballpoint pens. The rush hour was just beginning to build up as people finished work and hurried off to catch bus or train, then all of a sudden out of the myriad of faces, two stood out which I recognized. I couldn't believe my eyes: it was Dot and Alan Pike. What a surprise; what a coincidence. They were just as taken aback as was I. It's a wonderful experience to see a familiar face when you're so far from home. Dot and Alan changed direction and the three of us went off together to give Lesley the surprise of her life.
We sat ourselves down and had a long talk about what had transpired since we had last seen each other back in Sydney, and then we set off to Omonia Square for food and more talk. And oh, what a story they had to tell. The Sydney Bushwalker Editor should act at once to secure exclusive publishing rights. They started their wanderings at Teheran in Iran, and then travelled through Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey. The story included tales of walks through deserts, of Middle East border clashes, of bedsheets that hadn't been washed for three months or more, of fights with an Arab hotel keeper (when he locked up their passports and lost the key). Then there was the story of the visit to a museum when they met all the school children who wanted to touch Dot. They probably thought she was a goddess because of her blonde hair. Then there were the gypsies, and how Alan got covered with yoghurt when the wheel fell off the jeep. The stories went on and on. We talked about people, about food, we compared notes about hotels and red tape; the bus which carried people at the front and sheep at the back and on the roof. When we'd worn out our welcome at the restaurant we retired to a coffee house where we ate yoghurt and drank coffee; and talked some more. We didn't finish but the time was getting late so we bade each other farewell and made our ways to our respective hotels.
Dot and Alan sail to Rhodes today and we're flying to Istanbul, so we probably won't see them again till we're back in Australia, and there'll be more stories to tell. It's a small world, isn't it?
by Wilf Hilder.
|6,7,8||Neville Lupton is leading this classic test walk to Bindock. Tremendous scenery in this great area - bring your camera and capture the breathtaking Tomat Falls - over five hundred foot sheer. Long climb up Bindook Mountain but on well graded stock track - glorious views from the top.|
|7,8||Saturday morning, start for Alan Fall's medium Blue Gum trip. Down well-worn track from Perry's after enjoying the great views - with good graded track thru Syncarpia and Neates Glen to the tops. Lush campsite and singalong campfire Saturday night. Please boil all water before drinking in this area. Maps 1:31,680 Katoomba, Mt. Wilson.|
|Sunday 8||Barry Zieren's bound for West Head on this easy walk. Good tracks to the Basin with excellent views. Tracks along foreshores to Great Mackerel Beach - a terrific lunch spot.|
|13,14,15||Ski touring this weekend with Rod Peters as head man - and it's mighty Jagungal's turn to be conquered. For those who aren't fit enough for this hard tour a good weekend's practice can be organised at Schlink Hilton. All the party must carry waterproof parkas and waterproof overtrousers. Please book early.|
|Sunday 15||Uncle Sam Hinde is great white father on this medium safari to Burning Palms. Good tracks all the way with a long climb up from the beach on a graded track. Excellent scenic views from the cliff tops.|
|20,21,22||Back to Newnes weekend with Jim Vatiliotis as your guide (and Jim Gale as mine host at Newnes). Good tracks along old Newnes Railway to Mt. Wolgan Station complete with reversing triangle for locomotives. Long climb up to Constance Gorge and then drop in to Rocky Creek for exploration.|
|20,21,22||Downhill skiing weekend at Perisher - get all the good oil from Dave Rostron.|
|Sunday 22||Bouddi at long lost - with Carl Beck as leader. This scenic traverse of this coastal gem is long overdue. Tracks most of the way on this special medium walk. Bring your colour camera.|
|27,28,29||Another ski tour - Jagungal the mighty from the east with jumping John Campbell as banner bearer. This sneaky attempt on the Big Bogong is leaving from Eucumbene - an easier way than most. In fact, it might be your last chance at this peak for the season. Waterproof parkas and overtrousers are a must. Practice skiing can be organised at Cesjacks Hut.|
|27,28,29||Barry Wallace leads this test walk to Splendour Rock from Carlons. Tracks all the way except on Blackhorse Ridge and Brown Dog. Magnificent views from the high tops. Lush campsite on the Cox complete with singalong campfire.|
|Sunday 29||West Head - this time with Carl Bock in the lead on this special medium walk. Blazed track to Bairne Trig and the Basin with excellent views and aboriginal carvings. Good tracks and views back to the cars.|
Anyhow, have a programme - a spring programme - best value in Sydney today. Well, Wilf's still at it - flogging off walks on the next programme, best time of the year for walking or ski touring - wildflowers and spring snow. Do yourself and your club a good turn - LEAD a walk soon.
Last year, as one wilderness area after another was threatened with various forms of development, the Colong Committee formed itself into a National Wilderness Society. It is now fighting for the preservation not only of Mount Armour, but of Bungonia Gorge, Barbers Creek, the Boyd Plateau, Lake Pedder, the Top End National Park, the Wollongambe Wilderness, the Cox Valley, the Deua/Tuross area, the Wiangarie Rain Forest and any other threatened area brought to its notice.
For those who would like to follow this running battle with cement companies, public utility authorities, the Forestry Commission, private developers and anybody else who threatens our few remaining wilderness areas, the Save Colong Bulletin is the one publication which prints the campaigns in detail. It is published bi-monthly, and a yearly subscription costs $2, payable to the Hon.Treasurer, The Colong Committee, 3rd Floor, 18 Argyle Street, Sydney N.S.W. 2000.
If anyone would like to add a donation to the $2, they can be assured that it will be put to good use in financing the publications of the committee and the costs the committee incurs in preparing submissions and sometimes, where essential, in paying consultants, for the purpose of presenting our case before the various inquiries on environmental issues.
Two copies of recent Bulletins have been placed on the Club noticeboard.
Well, today we got up early and after breakfast, went in search of the Museum of Archeology. Once again, as we got into the crowded city streets a young “Can-I-help-you” came along, this time a student of politics and he told us about a lady in Australia who had had 9 babies. It made headlines in the Teheran papers, he said, so we agreed that it was amazing (although we couldn't remember it). The museum was very interesting for us, and also for a group of schoolchildren, boys and girls about 12 or 13 years old. They forgot about all the glass cases, and crowded around us all the time, staring at Dot, and laughing at us. Even the teachers and museum men couldn't stop them, until they took them to a different floor.
After the museum, we had lunch - soup, tea and bread, total price 21 rials (21 cents Aust) for the two of us. The soup was cooking in a big copper pot on the foot-path. He gave Dot a taste as we went past, so we went into a dirty little room, and sat down at a ricketty table. Another man gave us bread out of a hessian bag. The soup would have been good, except that he put sour goats milk on it. Well, it's cheap enough.
In the afternoon we saw the Crown Jewels of the Shah, which are quite impressive, a huge room full - but not really interesting. Tomorrow we catch the bus to Isfahan.
Isfahan was very interesting and beautiful. The mosques are incredibly beautiful with all the inlay tile work on them. In the (covered) bazaar we saw how the tiny shops made bread, crystallised sugar, and even watched a man make a felt hat, starting from little pieces of fluff. Isfahan still very cold - (6,000 ft) so we bought coats of sheepskin. Yesterday took bus to Shiraz (400 miles for $1.40 each and free glucose sweets and free soft drinks in super tourist coach - we were the only non-locals). The coaches are covered with curtains, tassels and pompoms and look like an ancient camel caravan. Today we went to Persepolis, which as you know from Paddy, is just fabulous. Has been very dry up till now, cracked skin, nose-bleeds etc. for us both.
Baghdad, Iraq. 19/3/73.
Here we are in Iraq, land of three revolutions since 1957 when they shot the King and his relatives and Iraq became a republic. However, we have found no evidence of such violence and indeed it is hard to believe of such happy, friendly people, and the only reminder of the country's hostilities to Israel and perhaps Iran is presence of soldiers (much like Iran) toting rifles and bayonets.
Crossing the border from Abadan in Iran to Basra in Iraq was really quite a feat. We first took 2 taxis and a bus to get to Korramshire and then another taxi to a desolate outpost called “Shelamahire”, which was the Iranian border. After getting through the customs we were rather unsure what to do next, as the Persians hadn't been across the border and couldn't tell us how far to the next place, but indicated (sign language) that Iraq was ahead and that we should start walking. So we marched off into the flat desert of nothingness except for a few palm trees in the distance and a line of telegraph poles. Presently we came across a notice that said “Basra 20 km”, which is about 12 miles, and our hearts sank at the prospect of walking that far with packs and no shade. However, after about 2 miles walking we came to some low buildings of mud bricks, which turned out to be the Iraqi customs and border (apparently there is a neutral zone between countries - we weren't game to take a photo).
We walked past the army and went into the “custome office” where we spent about 1 1/2 hours while the customs man examined our passports and particularly our visa which we had got in Australia. He was apparently very unsettled by our presence and was scared of doing the wrong thing and letting us in if we weren't allowed. He was very puzzled by the word “tourism” in the visa which was the described reason for our visit. He said that “tourism” was a French word so how come it appeared in an Australian visa. The problem was that the visa didn't actually say “Australia”, only said “issued at Canberra” which the man hadn't heard of. Also he wanted to know if Australia had broken off relations with Iraq because we had no embassy there. (He was a consul in United Arab Republic embassy). We had to impress upon him that it never had an embassy; Canberra was Australia's capital city and that tourism was an English word. It didn't help that he only had about 10 words of English himself. Eventually we got everything sorted out and he was all smiles and wanted to know (so does everybody else) since we ware married, where were all our little ones? Being Alan's age himself he was very proud of his six children.
Well, after waiting another half hour, a taxi took us 10 miles or so to the to the town, travelling all the way in clouds of dust and about 4 soldiers in the car too, singing their heads off (all wailing eastern type music) and laughing and having a great old time. We arrived at a punt where we changed taxis and waited for the punt which only took two cars at a time. I forgot to mention that through all this we had a money problem. We didn't want to change money unnecessarily in Iran and we got to the border after much wangling, with about 50 cents. Once in Iraq we had no money (Iraqi dinars) and it was a Friday, which is like a Sunday in Sydney and so all banks closed. The taxi wanted 2 dinars (about 4 dollars american) to take us from the customs (20 kms) to Basra and we could only scrape together about 3 dollars using Iran and Australian money. Fortunately we were saved by a kind young man (one of three others crossing the border in the time we were there) from Kuwait who gave us 2 dinars (as a “welcome” present he said) and so we got to Basra. Once across the river by punt, the taxi took us way out of town, much to our dismay, (he spoke no English) and deposited us at a huge hotel beside the Iraqi Airways airport. It was called the Shalt-al-Arab and there we were, hobnobbing with all the wealthy businessmen, Russian spys and airlines staff and eating 4-course meals and still not a cent (Iraqi) to our names.
We spent the day around the hotel. There was a nice little park nearby on the river (Euphrates) where we met a group of young schoolgirls. They could speak a little English and we had a great conversation as they fed us on date cakes and pumpkin seeds. A soldier came along (armed to the teeth) and tried to join in but he was much ridiculed by the girls. We spent the night at the Arab hotel. It was a strange place. All very upper class English, but in fact rather untidy and in much need of paint and repairs. Next day the banks opened, so we went into the town which was absolutely terrible, got some money and bought train tickets to Baghdad for the night train. We had quite a long talk to an Englishman (motor-bike salesman) that afternoon at the hotel. It was good to talk to someone who could understand us for a change.
The train trip to Baghdad was a nightmare but we survived it. Found a cheap but passable hotel in the centre of town and now are having a look around. Baghdad has the most fantastic museum. We will probably stay a week or two more in Iraq then fly to Lebanon and then Eqypt.
by Elaine Brown.
On June 27th Mouldy Harrison was to give a talk and show slides on “Gardens Around the World”. Mouldy unfortunately for us will be in Canada and has transferred his evening to the 17th October. Frank Taeker has agreed to give a talk and show slides on New Guinea on 27th. Frank as you all know is a very good photographer so this should be an interesting evening.
On July the 18th we have “The Concert”. Those of you who missed the great actors at The Reunion will have another chance to see the Club's talent.
We have had numerous requests for Dot Butler to repeat the Andean Expedition slide night. This falls on the 15th August - these slides are first class and can be seen again and again.
We also had requests for Jim Brown to show his slides of steam trains so on August 22nd Jim will give us an evening “An End to Steam Locomotives”.
August 29th we are having a slide competition. Members are asked to bring along 6 of their best slides spotted on the bottom left hand side and with their names on. Mr. Don Mackenzie, President of the Warringah Camera Club, will be the judge. Could you please hand the slides in before 8 p.m. on the night of judging.