A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to The Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476 G.P.O. Sydney, 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.30 pm at the Cahill Community Centre (Upper Hall), 34 Falcon Street, Crow's Nest.
|EDITOR:||Ainslie Morris, 45 Austin Street, Lane Cove, 2066. Telephone 428-3178.|
|BUSINESS MANAGER:||Bill Burke, 3 Coral Tree Drive, Carlingford, 2118. Telephone 871-1207.|
|PRODUCTION MANAGER:||Helen Gray|
|DUPLICATOR OPERATORS:||Phil Butt and Barbara Evans|
|A Voyage Around Jagungal||by Tom Wenman||2|
|An Unremarkable Gorge||Peter Harris||6|
|1984 Reunion||Ronald Knightley||7|
|Social Notes for May||9|
|Eastwood Camping Centre Advertisement||10|
|The Walls of Jerusalem and the Central Plateau||Malcolm Steele||11|
|The 56th Annual General Meeting||Barry Wallace|
|S.B.W. Committee Report||18|
|Annual Subscriptions 1984||18|
by Tom Wenman
The red raw hills of the Monaro under an uncompromising blue sky, the thousands of pathetically thin sheep staggering or pushing their emaciated bodies along the roadside as they searched for any remaining feed, gave dramatic evidence of man's improvidence and nature's fickleness. That was January, 1983.
On New Year's Day, 1984, knee-high grass rippled in the wind over the rolling hills of the Monaro, and heavy clouds loomed over the mountains. The sheep were fat and complacent and we were pleased to enjoy a hot cup of coffee at the Adaminaby petrol station where we had stopped en route for Selwyn Quarry. Rain, our constant companion since leaving Sydney, had induced a desperate optimism that our week's walking would be unaffected by the weather.
Selwyn Quarry welcomed us with a cool heavy mist out of which materialised Reg Forsythe from Melbourne. An alpine dash to Round Mountain to leave one car there for our return, and we were away up the grass-covered ski slope of Selwyn Quarry and along the ridge to pick up the Tabletop Mountain Fire Trail. John Newman, Bob Hodgson, Reg and myself had the freedom of the hills for a week.
We camped that evening on soft alpine grass in a small valley through which ran a tributary to Four Mile Creek. It rained daring the night, and although secure in my tent listening to the rain drum on the fly I wondered what sort of a week it was going to be. The first morning broke dull; however it was not raining and we were soon on our way, ignoring the fire trail and following the ridge towards Tabletop. Occasionally open areas gave vistas of the country which we were to walk over during the week to come.
Up Tabletop Way.
A quick ascent of Tabletop gave us a splendid 360 degree view - cycloramic is the word according to Bob. To the south the Jagungal Wilderness, the bare light green of Happy Jack's Plain in the foreground contrasting with the darker green of the tree-clad ridges which we were to cross, whilst blue-grey and sombre in the distance was the lion couchant bulk of Jagungal. To the east Lake Eucumbene, flat and grey, bordered the park, reflecting the heavy grey-white clouds which moved across the sky occasionally revealing some blue patches. Could it be hoped that the weather was on the improve?
It was easy walking across the intervening valleys to Arsenic Ridge - what a fascinating name - along the ridge, which is open at first, and then down through the trees to Brooks Hut. One of my favourites, it is neat and clean with an excellent sleeping platform. Reg soon had the fire going and we boiled the billy for lunch.
The rounded grassy hillocks of Happy Jack's Plain had recovered well from the fire which must have taken place towards the end of last summer and we found the simple but effective one-plank bridge across Happy Jack's Creek without much difficulty. Rain was in the air as we turned off the old tourist road which bisects the plain and headed up the smooth rounded slopes on the left bank of Tibeaudo Creek. Crossing Digger's Creek, a sharp climb took us up to the tree line where we paused, and turned to look back across Happy Jack's Plain towards Far Bald Mountain and further over to our right to the northeast the sharp outline of Tabletop. John remarked on the distance which we had covered that day, and it certainly had been a good day's walking.
We pressed on up through the trees and emerged on to an elevated plateau. A strong wind was blowing and we selected a sheltered campsite in the lee of some snow gums, on soft snow grass dotted with orange Billy Buttons. Ominous heavy clouds were rolling swiftly across the sky from the west, however after each expanse of cloud a lightening of the sky gave us a hope of better weather to come. A cheerful evening was made around the fire, with Bob getting well into the music with his harmonica.
In the event it did not rain that night but a low cloud dampened the tents and with the continuing strong wind made firelighting difficult in the morning. I expended quite a few matches before I casually announced to my recumbent comrades that a fire was lit and a billy was boiling. Tibeaudo's Hut with its well-built but smoky chimney was a short distance away and we inspected this before plunging into the scrub of the ridge leading to Spencer's Peak.
A break in the vegetation gave us a clear view of Jagungal, its summit wreathed in cloud, with the tree-clad Farm Ridge marching up towards it. Behind us Tabletop and Far Bald receded further into the blue-clad distant ranges of the Bimberies.
The scrub around Spencer's Peak is not good, mind you it's worse if you venture around the eastern side; or so I told my companions, and we were pleased to leave it, dropping down into the first of the two open boggy basins, in the second of which is located the sad remains of Spencer's Peak or Mould's Hut.
Wildlife had been almost significant by its absence hitherto, but here for a few moments life became wild indeed as your scribe and leader attempted a personal levitation exercise as opposed to stepping on a copperhead who unfeelingly prolonged the situation by becoming confused and attempting a vertical retreat - upwards. Happily the resident had sorted out a more helpful line of retreat by the time I had descended to earth, thus obviating the necessity of further ascent.
We examined the unfortunate remains of Mould's Hut, and reflected on the passions which had erupted over its restoration, and the opposing capabilities of construction and destruction, then headed for the ridge and Cesjack's Hut. Here lunch was taken, as they say, in the cool dark interior away from the flies.
The strong wind still blowing from the west made my original campsite location somewhat undesirable, and at Bob's suggestion we established ourselves on a small promontory overlooking the Doubtful River, pleasantly flat on top and sheltered from the wind. An ascent of Jagungal had been planned for the afternoon and we departed across the Doubtful River relieved of the heavy weight of our packs. A somewhat over-lengthy involvement with scrub led us to the Jagungal Saddle where the final assault was made up the smooth flanks of this mighty mountain.
Jagungal at Last
The mountain dominates the area and broods over its provinces, from the stark outlines of Tabletop and the prominence of Far Bald to the northeast, to the plunging valleys of the Tumut and Lower Geehi in the south and west. To the east and south its influence is felt as far as the Kerries and the Brassy Mountains. Our whole weak was really a circumnavigation of Jagungal and we very much appreciated our relationship to this eminence as we laboured around its territory.
On our return to our camp we found a plentiful supply of wood and water had been collected by John who also had a billy of tea ready for us. The epicurean delights of that evening centred on Bob's upside-down apple cake.
A fine cold night gave birth to a clear sunny day and it was a delight to walk through the estate-like scenery towards Smith's Perisher. I always enjoy the walk along this eastern rim of the wilderness which also follows the park boundary. It is easy going along the fire trail and once you have climbed Smith's Perisher the open plateau rewards you with sweeping views. out over the Gungarten to the east and all the country towards Jagungal to the west and north. The rocky outcrops of the Bull's Peaks provide even more superb views.
The old fire trail meanders somewhat and finally fades out towards Mail Box Hill and there I fear, without much trouble, an unintended but nevertheless rewarding diversion from 'Plan A' brought us to a lunch stop alongside a pleasant creek which tumbled over the edge of the plateau down to the Burrungubugge. Our detour had brought us somewhat to the east of the Brassy's and we therefore crossed through one of the lower saddles before finding our campsite below Cup and Saucer Hill.
Why Cup and Saucer?
In the past, I have contrived all sorts of reasons for its name, however it was Bob who pointed out the very clear outline of an upturned cup, complete with handle, sitting in a saucer-like depression below the main summit. After establishing camp we climbed the hill and were rewarded once again by a magnificent cyclorama. To the north lay the bulk of Jagungal whilst to the south the Main Range showed some of its teeth in the form of Watson's Crags.
It was Reg's turn that evening to demonstrate his culinary accomplishments which he did with a number of little cakes which proved a refreshing addition to our fare. Low clouds moving up the valley of the Valentine's prepared us for a wet night.
In the event however the weather was kind to us on our fourth day as we followed roughly the course of the Valentine downstream before picking up the Valentine Fire Trail. Some magnificent views of the Grey Mare Range are revealed along this track which plunges down to the Geehi before climbing over a ridge and descending into the valley overlooked by the Grey Mare Hut. As we descended, a delightful distant view of the Valentine Falls was offered to us. After a refreshing swim in Back Flat Creek we repaired to the hut for lunch away from the flies.
“No Room! No Room!” they cried out ….
It seemed to be the day for meeting people. The first new faces we had seen since leaving Selwyn Quarry were two Scouts, journeying from Valentine Hut to Grey Mare, and these we met again at the hut together with a number of other walkers. During the time we were there it seemed to become the focus for all walkers in the vicinity as in the course of lunch some dozen people gathered. They generally displayed varying philosophies on life such as the boot-shod pair who, wondering at our flimsy sandshoes, asked how we kept our feet dry, and the parent leader of a family party who, on being told of the use of wineskins asked, rather innocently, where it was possible to obtain empty ones. I am sure you all know the answer to that one. No doubt we also revealed our philosophies. Information was also provided that some eighteen horses and goodness knows how many horse persons were bivouacked at Pretty Plain Hut - our next proposed campsite.
After this pleasant lunchtime camaraderie we climbed across the ridge at the rear of the hut to pick up the Strumbo Fire Trail which takes you to the head of Pretty Plain valley. A beautiful stand of Alpine Ash is encountered as you descend to the valley and the tall trees with the heavy scent of eucalyptus give a feeling of quietness and peace in contrast to the contorted snowgums of the higher more open country. Sure enough, on arrival at Pretty Plain Hut, that absolute epitome of the popular idea of a log cabin, we encountered the cavalry. They proved, however, hospitable, and with John's friendly blarney we soon made friends and were offered cups of tea, which were much appreciated.
Pleasures of Pretty Plain
Pugilistic Creek Hut seemed to suggest itself as a reasonable campsite and there we eventually camped alongside a noisy boisterous creek, and dined convivially under the roofed but open-sided hut. Some stargazing that night revealed a number of satellites, and a new moon made a brief appearance over the valley.
Our way now took us through the valley by easy walking track to the junction with Hell Hole Creek where we joined the fire trail of that name and ascended out of that valley through tall stands of Mountain Ash and clusters of Black Sallee up to the undulating and open Toolong Range. Here at last the wildflowers, which had not been impressive hitherto, were equal to all the descriptions which have been lavished upon them. Yellow, mauve and white swathes of flowers covered the open treeless areas.
We camped that night in the lee of some old snow gums with a superb view of Jagungal. We were now on its western side. In the same way as it had dominated our walk during the past week so it now dominated our last campsite. The sun, descending in a muted gold and red to the west, highlighted the scarred western face of the mountain and emphasised its uncompromising rocky bareness against the tree-clad ridges leading up to it.
In the morning, the constantly varying patterns and colours of the sunrise, first sombre green hues, then lightening to shades of white and grey, and finally blazing yellow merging to red, were reflected off the light clouds, whilst the black bulk of Jagungal held back the day until the sun, moving higher in the heavens, swept over it into view.
We were all up early to watch the sunrise, and on our way quickly after breakfast. Our last meals having consumed the final reserves of food and goodies our packs were featherlight and we covered the remaining miles to Round Mountain at a ranging easy pace.
by Peter Harris
There is nothing particularly remarkable about the small gorge near the, great bend of Tullyangela Creek. Or so it seems, at first. It is quiet. The stillness is only pervaded by the quiet run of cascading water and the bend of branches whistling in the wind.
A wedgetail eagle soars overhead; the updrafts carrying it almost out of view before plummeting back to tree-top level like a crashing aeroplane. Its head pivots as it passes directly above the gorge, searching for stray food on the smooth, flat bedrock of Tullyangela Creek. With no success, it leaves. There is a pair of red-capped robins nearby. Their antics amuse me as they flit about from acacia to acacia. The head of the gorge is a large pool encased on the eastern side by a substantially-high conglomerate cliff rising directly from the water. The western shore is a large area of flat land, about one acre in size and mostly clear of understory. In 1975 we named this “Paradise Camp”. It is idyllic and tranquil. An area which I still recall with fond memories as one of my favourite campsites in Ettrema/Bundundah.
Upstream from Paradise Camp, the creek is a jumbled mass of fallen boulders, jamming the creek in a close embrace, and making a thorough investigation impossible. I dare say, given ropes and wetsuits, and possibly breathing apparatus, an adventurous body may discover a route into, and through, this complex part of the Tullyangela Gorge. It was during one of these fruitless upstream forays that we came upon a large boulder, water-worn and adorned with aboriginal axe-sharpening grooves. I guess Paradise Campsite was oft-frequented long before we 'discovered' it in 1975.
It is easy to continue walking downstream into the gorge proper, but without abseiling equipment it can only be successfully bypassed on its true right side. Between Paradise Campsite and the first major cascade, a distance of probably half a mile, we found a mighty cave flanking the western-bank. Its ribbed, overhung veins of rock extend upwards of one hundred feet. The floor is flat. It resembles a crown roast. We named it the Crown Cave. There is some evidence of aboriginal occupancy thereabouts, and indeed I am unable to imagine a more peaceful and protective place to shelter in stormy weather. Between the floor Of the Crown Cave and the waters of Tullyangela Creek, the bank is covered in tall cabbage-tree ferns, and a few mallee trees.
A little way downstream begins the gorge. First is a series of deep pools, like roman baths, where the cool water cascades in at the head of each, and tumbles through an outlet into the next pool. Each pool is a little lower in height than the preceding one. There is not much to do, here but swim and relax, and contemplate nature in its finest display. The gorge here is well-worn, the bedrock smooth granite with many fine places for drying off in sunshine.
The area is accessible from a point on the road a little to the north of Tullyangela Clearing, about two hours walk from your car.
When you arrive there you too will probably agree that there is nothing remarkable about the Tullyangela Gorge. But spend a weekend there!
by Ronald Knightley
My old friend Transfuscius alerted me; and I knew I should remember. Half way up the wrong side of Murdering Gully one moonless Sunday night and heading for the last train from Katoomba (he was one of those Tigers, you see), he quietly mused, “If you go looking for trouble, it's sure to find you.” It was such an elegantly complete description of bushwalking that I forthwith recognised it as a thought to treasure.
But alas! In a moment of lapse I went to the Annual General Meeting, and allowed Dot Butler to corner me. “You're coming to the reunion?” she commanded, rather than asked. “Good. You can write it up for the mag!” “But I don't even know the editor,” I yelped. “Doesn't matter,” said Dot; and promptly introduced me to newly-elected Ainslie. Morris. Now, who can gainsay Ainslie and Dot in tandem? So, here we go. But if you are squeamish, male, wowser, racist or female do not read on. There are scenes that may not shock you. First, I must warn you that she does not let up easily, this new editress. Even at the reunion camp fire she was reminding me of my promise, sensing that no man could resist the combination of Ainslie, moonlight and moonshine.
Starting down the road from the Coolana car concourse on Saturday, we found Dot Butler and the three horses of the Apocalypse. Only three? Props for the camp fire said Dot; the fourth would apocalise later.
Near the family circle encampment was the Jim Brown group, with babywear on the ridge-rope. Babywear on Jim and Kath's ridge-rope? Were we witnessing a rebirth? In a manner, yes - there were three Brown generations in the camp, a new club record. Another old friend, Sheila Binns, had her tent at Brownsville.
Don Matthews appeared down the short cut track, looking over the Finch family nucleus and proclaiming, “Oh, to find a spot where I can look down an them without being trampled by them.” Later, we found that it was merely a cover for his telephoto camera.
Deep discourse began on locating the reunion camp fire; but in the absence of convenor Spiro Hajinakitas and the presence of subtle libations, an air of indolent procrastination supervened, This was joined by Grace Noble and Kath McInnes - the latter, in the epitome of indolence, employing son Geoffrey as an apprentice Tiger up and down the hill with her weekend's comforts.
Spiro strode purposefully through, collecting the supper table from the shed and, on reaching the sylvan river flats cleared of Scotch thistles by Ian Debert and co., pontificated that “The campfire will be 50 metres from this table.” Bob Hodgson with his bushman saw and Don Finch with his axe were aided by volunteer choppers, sawyers, cutters and draggers like Bill Burke, Lawrence Quaken, Gordon Lee, prospective Mike Reynolds, Heather Finch, Joan Rigby, Geoffrey McInnes and Malcolm Finlayson. In a trice, while Carol Bruce minded the minor Finches, the campfire like the Phoenix arose from last year's ashes.
When the sun was down and the full moon floated over the eastern ridges, silvering the grasses under the darkly crystal sky, the spangled gold of the camp fire's flames leapt high from Spiro's match. And drenched us with the smell of kerosene.
Forthwith, the throng assembled for the concert; expectant, hushed, disciplined. Led by our comperes, Geoff Wagg with built-in bullhorn and Barbara Bruce with her illuminated navel looking like the golden screw, we burst into choruses of “Fire's Burning”, “Happy Wanderer” and many another tear-jerker of yesteryear.
Yet, through our tears some rays of laughter shone, some of them intentional. Barbara Bo Peep lost her sheep and something else as well in the long grass and the moonlight as Boy Blue Matthews, Jack Horner Brown and Piper's Son Wagg each assisted her to a new knowledge of sheep and boys.
The riddle of the Apocalypse was solved by Dot Butler's version of “So faithful in love and so dauntless in war, there never was knight like the young Lochinvar”. The apocalyptic forequarters looked much like Gordon
Lee and the hinds like Brian Bolton; and in failing to take a hidden hurdle in the grass, they nearly upstaged themselves before being mounted. In tartans mostly Scottish and fashioned from Butler cast-offs, comely Carol of the long blonde mops was wooed by dastardly Don with cardboard sporran, but thwarted by Lochinvar Finch -
|“So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,|
|So light to the saddle before her he sprung;|
|She is won! We are gone! Over bank, bush and scour.|
|They'll have fleet steeds that follow the young Lochinvar.”|
But alack! Forequarters Gordon made off alone with comely Lady Ellen of Netherby.
Scarce pausing to recover breath, the peripatetic Dot was back on centre stage as the aviculture expert of Coolana in a sketch written by Jim Brown and presented by Barbara Bruce, Don Matthews and Geoff Wagg. There was a special appearance by Jim Percy as a protestor demanding.- “Save the Dodo.”, “Keep Pterodactyls Flying.”, “Don't knock the Roc.” and also as several varieties of birds, including a portrayal of a booby - very!
Amongst the original writing for performance at the reunion camp fire was a poetic monologue by Don Matthews on the theme of a tiring Tiger. (It is hoped to publish this in our next issue - Ed.)
The imminence of supper was now announced; but, first, the induction of our new President. With patriarch Jim Brown, our senior ex-president, directing ex-presidents Frank Rigby, Don Finch, Spiro Hajinakitas, Helen Gray, Bob Hodgson, Ron Knightley and outgoing President Tony Marshall ceremonially bedizenned Jim Percy with the cow-horn emblems carved 45 years ago by Harry and Joan Savage - the boot, the map, the flannel flower and the clasped hands. He was then presented with The Bone by Tony, enjoined to remember all the new lady members he kisses; and declared inducted.
When the queues for John Redfern's coffee and Spiro's homemade carrot cake died away, the sweet and low music of the stayers began. Bob Hodgson on his dulcet harmonicas, Len Newlands on his guitar (no bagpipes - perhaps they'd been used for Lochinvar's kilt) and the Canberra nightingale Jenny Alexander led us through one songbook after another as the silver moan overtopped the stars and slipped away from dawn. Melodiously on they went, yet drifting off one by one. Until, by 4.15 am, even Brian Bolton's voice was still.
While the sun was clear, Sunday dawned cloudy for some. Up on the hill the families stirred. Happy Birthday songs for George Gray awoke the late sleepers, while Helen bid fair to have her wrist-watch fried for breakfast. Down on the grass, the revelers also stirred. All save one. For a while, we thought that he aimed to sleep there till next year.
As Sunday midday approached, one after another buried billies and pans under the embers of the camp fire, later to transfer their contents to the damper-judging table. But lackaday! Security was lax. For years, they had threatened to sink our hero of heroes, Spiro. They had threatened superglue in his flour, substitution of plaster of paris and many another cowardly deed. This year, they struck; with a pressure pack of whipped cream, they transformed his entry into a gooey mess. But was our hero Spiro daunted? Nay, not he. He had several dampers in reserve!
Hirsute Len Newlands and his silver foil Ron Knightley performed the judging. Following the thump test, the dump test, the lump test and the slump test, they tried crunchability, lunchability and nubility: After all of which they declared a three way tie between - did you guess it? - Spiro Hajinakitas plus Don Finch and Finchlet Kylie. Than, with much misguided kibbitzing from Dot Butler, they awarded the children's prize for best floral decoration to tiny. Ainslie Morris!
Damper and golden syrup was soon followed by lunch and the exodus up the hill. As I paused by the shed for a breather, around the corner and up the track came steaming the table. Gordon Lee was bearing the front, while Spiro's voice was emerging from under the rear, propounding, “Say what you like about Beethoven being a rebel, but every one of his nine symphonies has the mark of genius.” “Indeed, I agree,” quoth Gordon. “But in contrast you can take Haydn's one hundred and four symphonies. Prolific, yes; but boring, every one of them.” Such classical erudition was too much for me. I headed for the esky in my car boot without another pause.
|May 2||Committee Meeting.|
|May 9||Members Slide Night. (No general meeting in May, Nov.)|
|May 16||Bush Dance. Very informal tuition ensures a good night's exercise for clod-hoppers and twinkle-toes alike.|
|May 23||Magazine Wrapping Night. Come along and help with the collating, wrapping and sorting of the May issue.|
|May 30||Musical Evening. The Blue Grass Band, with club members Gordon Lee and Len Newland, will entertain us.|
by Malcolm Steele
At 4.10 pm on Friday, 20th January, 1984, David Rostron, Craig Austin, Ray and Fusae Dargan and Malcolm Steele boarded one of East-West Airlines new F28 Jets destined for Devonport, Tasmania. (Return Apex fare $197.50) After a short delay caused by air traffic congestion at Mascot the jet was accelerating down the runway to its liftoff. Whilst in flight the captain extended an invitation to any passengers wishing to inspect the cockpit. When my turn arrived we were crossing Bass Strait and I was able to catch a good view of Flinders Island and observe the water below capped with any white crests from the strong winds for which the strait is notorious. Upon touching down at Devonport at 6 pm we disembarked to a cooler climate and knew Sydney's humidity was far behind us.
We were met at the airport by Dennis Maxwell, who provides a transport service for bushwalkers in Tasmania, and once our packs were loaded in the rear of his 9-seater Nissan van he drove us to the start of our walk at the Fish River, near Lake Rowallan, on the slopes of Howells Bluff at an elevation of 800 metres. Arriving at about 8.30 pm we unloaded our packs and each paid $25 for the lift. Although there was still dim light the location provided us with a good campsite close to water and with plenty of dry eucalypt for a fire, so we decided to remain here for the first night.
At 8.30 an an Saturday morning we commenced the walk along a steep track through a eucalypt forest on our ascent to the-Central Plateau. It was whilst walking through this forest that I was subsequently most grateful for David's suggestion to find a walking stick for the trip. After a short distance I was able to find an ideal eucalypt stick with the required degree of resilience. Our sticks served us well during the trip, fulfilling the dual function of a walking stick over the damp button grass moors, and as tent poles at night. After a little over one kilometre we arrived at Trapper's Hut and continued up hill for a further five hundred metres as light rain commenced to fall. We were now crossing very damp ground and I was envious of Fusae who had decided to wear plastic bags over her socks in anticipation of the moist ground to be encountered on the Plateau. It was in this area that I first saw small groves of pencil pines near the numerous small tarns.
Just before Lake Loane we met a signposted track fork indicating the route south to Lake Adelaide and south-east to The Walls of Jerusalem. A four kilometre walk past a group of tarns known as Solomon's Jewels and across open country with light alpine vegetation comprising snow gums and Pencil pines, then over Wild Dog Creek brought us to Herod's Gate, a pass between two walls, which provided our entry into The Walls of Jerusalem. Low level cloud and driving rain obscured our view of the area and as we rounded the south side of Lake Salome the high dolerite cliffs of the west wall of Mount Jerusalem rising abruptly from the ground, with their peaks in cloud, our imagination. With driving rain setting in, accompanied by cold conditions at this elevation of 1200 metres, a brisk pace was set through Gate of the Chain, then Jaffa Gate to Dixon's Kingdom Hut, located at the edge of a pine forest beneath a mountain known as “The Temple”.
The hut comprised at one end a bunk, which could accomodate about six people, a small wooden bench in the middle and a communal fire place in the centre of a small extension off the other and with a good ventilation system. Craig was the only member of our party to venture out of the hut that afternoon during an interval in the rain and climb The Temple. Upon his return he confirmed that we were in the best accommodation in the region, since the only alternative was a small hut perched on the exposed Temple, which was not only rather draughty but was better suited to be occupied by dwarfs.
Two other groups camping in the area sought shelter in the hut during the afternoon and prepared their meals. The conversation soon turned to bush cooking with Ray expounding upon the benefits of the Pritikin diet of low fat and grain but comprising a high level of fruit and some raw meats such as fish to obtain the benefit of enzymes which were usually lost in the cooking process. As the afternoon gave way to the evening the rain appeared to be changing from vertical to horizontal - closer inspection confirmed this to be the case - it was also changing its structure from water to snowflakes. Our packs were hung from the hut's crossbeams that night to keep their precious contents far from the reach of any uninvited guests from the surrounding forest.
At 9.am on Sunday morning I peeped out of the hut door to observe the landscape had changed overnight from green to white, with a 2 cm cover of snow on the ground and clinging to the light vegetation and scattered pine trees. A passing group of walkers provided us with an example of the determination and fierceness of the Tasmanian Devil which had dragged one of their packs 6 metres from their tent and had torn a 6“ hole in the side before being detected. Later that morning we set off from the hut and climbed to the summit of the East Wall of Mount Jerusalem (1458 m). To the east we could see hundreds of small lakes and tarns disappearing over the horizon across The Plateau, and to the west we had a view through Gate of the Chain to Lake Salome and the more dramatic West Wall with its peak still in cloud.
We returned to the hut for lunch via Zion Gate, then along the base of the East Wall. It was along the moist base of the East Wall that we first observed the bright green cushion plants - growing up to one metre in diameter. I was surprised at how compact and firm they were. In the afternoon we ventured out again, this time through Damascus Gate and up onto the West Wall. We pushed through the snow drifts scattered about an the dolerite rocks and onto the summit (1490 m) only to have our view obscured by the cloud which was now surrounding us. With sleet and hail beating down we retreated to the shelter of Lake Salome in the valley and returned to the hut for the night.
We awoke at 6.30 am on Monday morning to a dense fog after a particularly cold night. However at 9 am the fog had dissipated and for the first time we could observe this area in brilliant sunshine. Armed with all our cameras we set off for the top of The Temple (1420 m), an ideally located peak in the centre of the Jerusalem Walls region. How dramatic the West Wall looked now in the dazzling light with its vertical dolorite rocks rising sharply from the sparse green vegetation and its own scree slopes, with its outline contrasted by the bright blue sky. To the south-west Mt. Ossa, Massif Mountain and The Acropolis in the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park were all visible with their snow-covered peaks gleaming in the morning sunlight. To the south we had a clear view beyond Lake Ball over the Central Plateau and the next stage of our walk. We excitedly returned to the hut, collected our packs at 10.15 am, and shortly found ourselves walking over the yellow sphagnum moss which carpeted the east shore of Lake Ball.
Heading south over the Plateau we were treated to many small lakes and tarns with their blue waters sparkling in the sunlight and lined with small groves of deep green pencil pines. It was along this section of the walk that we encountered our first snake - a small whip snake - in the button grass. Taking a wide traverse around Lake Nugara and turning to the west brought us to a high point above Lake Adelaide and the perfect place for lunch.
With a 360 degree field of vision David commented that this was probably the best panorama he had seen anywhere in Australia. Below us lay the tranquil blue waters of Lake Adelaide with Lake Meston to the south, whilst along the skyline Mt. Oakleigh, Mt. Pelion East, Mt. Ossa and the Du Cane Range were all in view. We were almost tempted to remain here for a high camp and a ringside seat for the sunset over the Reserve peaks.
However, having heard of a superb campsite on the northern shore of Lake Meston, we pushed through the dense scrub and picked up the track along the east shore of Lake Adelaide. Whilst crossing a button grass moor between Lake Adelaide and Lake Meston we observed another snake - a red-bellied black snake swimming in one of the small tarns. The northern shore of Lake Meston did provide us with our best campsite for the trip. After a hot day's walk, during which we had applied blockout lotion, we were relieved to be wading into the lake's warm waters for a distance of 30 metres before reaching deeper cool water for a refreshing swim. The evening called for the best of our food and after a four-course meal we sat back to observe the Southern Cross, the Pot and other stars comprising the Milky Way glowing brightly in the night sky.
We awoke on Tuesday morning at 7 am only to find the area enveloped in cloud. After remaining at the campsite until 9.30 am with the hope that the cloud might lift we set off into the cloud and mist along the track a little above the west shore of Lake Meston through a beech forest. However as we came upon Meston Hut heavy rain set in forcing us to remain for the day and pass the time playing cards. Craig was the only member to venture out into the rain that afternoon for some considerable time. Upon his return we were informed that he had gone beyond Lake Louisa and over to Lake Bill.
After a good night's sleep we awoke early on Wednesday morning to an absence Of rain and good visibility. Leaving our packs in the hut we dashed up Mount Rogdona (1320 m) and across the dolerite once more for views of Ike Myrtle beneath us and Lakes Bill and Louisa to the north. The surrounding mountains took on an air of mystery with their peaks protruding above the drifts of low level cloud which lingered in the area. Back at the hut we collected our packs and continued along the track above the west shore of Lake Meston. It was delightful to experience the contrast of moving out from the beech forest across an open area comprising button grass and then entering a forest of eucalypts on our journey to Junction Lake. We paused beside another hut at this lake for lunch and to keep a watchful eye on the weather. Since conditions had not deteriorated and visibility was good, we opted for the high country and after a brief scrub bash picked up the small track which led us to Lake Artemis. From here it was another short scrub bash until we emerged upon the Mountains of Jupiter (1280 m). With a fierce wind from the west we pitched our tents on the east side of a small rock and scrub screen and prepared the evening meal. With the meal almost over rain set in and we were confined to our tents for the night.
After a long night we emerged from our bags at 6 am on Thursday morning. Conditions were cool that morning, prompting David to comment that our breakfast porridge was like receiving a transfusion of life-giving blood. Nevertheless Ray was delighted with the visibility which had obviated any need to return to Junction Lake followed by an arduous 7-hour scrub bash down the Mersey River valley. With the cold prevailing winds little encouragement was needed to start walking that morning and by 8 am we were setting a vigorous pace for Du Cane Gap.
The lemon-scented boronia was emitting a strong odour that morning as we crashed through the scrub on our descent from the Mountains of Jupiter. The red colour from several waratahs in bloom stood out in the scrub and we also came across a number of pandani plants. We clambered over the outlet for the Orion Lakes and continued along a bearing of 280 degrees to a high point above Du Cane Gap where we found shelter from the wind amongst some rocks and stopped for lunch with a close-up view of the rugged edge of Falling Mountain.
After a one hour scrub bash down Du Cane Gap we found ourselves strolling along the Overland Track. We paused at Windy Ridge Hut to examine the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park map, and after a brief discussion opted to push on for a further 8 kilometres to Pine Valley Hut, from which we had the opportunity of climbing The Acropolis, weather permitting, on Friday. With light rain falling the track along the western bank of Cephissus Creek, through a forest of intertwining trees, was very wet underfoot. The hut itself was particularly dank and firewood in the region was scarce and damp. The hut provided accommodation for a total of ten walkers that night. One Tasmanian walker read a most appropriate extract from a small book on the Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Parke “All who venture into these mountains should not only be prepared for rain, but should also learn to enjoy it!”
Whilst at the hut that evening we caught a glimpse of the timid eastern Native Cat, a small marsupial with a light grey coat dotted with white spots, which came in search of our food. Needless to say, all our food was secured that night in our packs hanging from the hut's crossbeams.
With audible rain falling on the hut's tin roof on Friday morning, we remained in our sleeping bags until 9 am, discarding any ideas of climbing the Acropolis. At noon we left the hut and trudged along Cephissus Creek track, then a branch track which brought us back to the Overland Track which in turn led us to Narcissus Hut on the northern shore of Lake St. Clair. Arriving at 2.30 pm David made a radio call from the hut to the power boat operator at the southern and of the lake. At 4.15 pm we boarded the boat powered with twin 80 h.p. outboard motors after each paying $11 and were swiftly conveyed across the lake to Cynthia Bay on the southern shore by 4.30 pm.
We set up our last night's camp amongst some eucalypt trees near the shore of Lake St. Clair and, with an abundance of wood, together with Ray's skill with an axe, we soon had our best fire blazing. Shortly after sunset a couple of bush tail possums wandered out of a tree and along the ground to investigate the availability of any of our remaining food. Fusae gave them a few items and they then decided to see what else might be available. After finding the tent empty one of them removed the billy lid to peep inside and upon finding this also empty they investigated some neighbouring campsites, only to return quietly and pull over David's pack, where one Of them found and commenced to consume our powdered milk before being detected and sent on its way, which took some considerable persuasion.
After a leisurely breakfast on Saturday morning we departed at 9 am and walked along the Lake St. Clair road for about 5 kilometres to Derwent Bridge and caught the bus at 10.10 am along the Lyell Highway to Hobart (13.60 each). In the comfort of the bus we were able to reflect upon the Central Plateau we had traversed during our wilderness expedition, and exchange experiences with another group who had spent the last 12 days on a rafting trip down the Franklin River.
(Map references: Mersey 1:100,000 and
Cradle Mountain Lake St. Clair National Park 1:100,000)
(Editor's. Note: When I Went walking with David Rostron on 18/19th February to 100-man Cave, Cloudmaker, I saw he was enjoying his Pritikin diet food, adopted after his trip to Tasmania.)
At the March Federation meeting, the delegate from the Wilderness Society gave an up-to-date report an developments in the Daintree country of North Queensland.
Just before the present wet season, work had commenced on the bulldozing of a road through the rain forest parallel to the coast. Work has been suspended during the monsoon season, but could be resumed about May. However, it is believed that funds available at present will not be sufficient to construct a road suitable even for 4-wheel drive vehicles for the whole distance involved.
The Wilderness Society has a dual objective -
(1) To prevent completion of the road, and
(2) Ultimately to secure proclamation of about 90,000 hectares as National Park - this would form the largest tropical rain forest reserve in Australia.
Meanwhile, on April 28th a rally will be held in Hyde Park, Sydney, and simultaneously in other cities of Eastern Australia. This will be observed as “DAINTREE DAY”.
by Barry Wallace
The meeting began at 1955 hours with the President in the chair persistently gonging the gong to subdue the gathering of some 35 or so members and declare the meeting open. The number of members present grew through the evening to a peak of about 70, so it seems not everyone believed the published start time of 7.45 pm. There were apologies from Fazeley Read, Heather Finch, Don and Jenny Cornell, Bob and Christa Younger, Anton Gillezeau, Gladys Roberts and John Newman.
When new members Kenn Clacher and John Williams were called to be welcomed there was no response. Kenn did arrive later, however, and was welcomed during a pause in proceedings.
The Minutes of the previous general meeting were read and received. Correspondence included letters from/to Picton High School, from F.B.W. advising of coming S&R exercises, copy of F.B.W. Minutes of Meeting, to Bob Reid regarding walking in the Budawang area and to our two new members.
At this point in the meeting Jim Brown rose to propose, as is traditional, “the suspension of such standing orders as is necessary to permit the election of office bearers to proceed concurrently with the business of the meeting”. This was passed, and after some explanation of the voting system which was to be used, we proceeded with the elections. I have no intention of fully describing the twists and turnings of the election process. Sufficient to say that there was healthy but friendly rivalry for most positions. Office bearers for the coming year will have been reported in the March issue of the magazine.
Committee and Financial Reports were taken as read and accepted: Then came the moment for which all Treasurers no doubt steel themselves: “The setting of the Annual Subscription”. There were some questions, but the wily Barrie had prepared a budget the coming year, and as deficits are not in vogue, in this organisation at least, the recommendations were accepted. You will have read of the new subs if you read the March mag. Don't keep the new Treasurer waiting, pay now, - - - you have already avoided the rush.
Then came the notified constitutional amendments. The motion to have only four general meetings per year was passed on a show of hands: The motion to change entry requirements brought forth a lively initial debate which extended into repetition, and eventually lost itself, along with the motion.
The Treasurer's Report indicated that we began the month with a balance of $3084.13, spent $552.09, had a nil income (something to do with lack of a committee meeting in January, or the books being out for audit), to end up with a balance of $2532.04.
All of which led us on to the Walks Report. David Rostron's Morong Deep walk, scheduled for 10, 11, 12 Feb was deferred to the following weekend. Bill Holland reported 20 people on his Mountain Lagoon to Tootle Creek stroll. They had a good weekend with fine, hot weather. Jim Laing's Du Faux Creek trip that same weekend did not go. Of the day walks, Jim Brown had 11 starters enjoying the pools in Heathcote Creek, and Jan Mohandas reported 19 people and a good day for his Glenbrook area walk.
On the weekend of 17, 18, 19 Feb the weather was not so clement. Tony Marshall re-arranged his Coolana Instructional to spend a day at Lane Cove National Park on the orienteering course. Two other walks were somewhat modified also. David Rostron; you remember his deferred Morong Deep walk, and Barry Wallace, who had scheduled some lazy swimming in the pools of the Konmung, pooled their resources and walked through the mist and rain to the One Hundred Man cave with a party of 16. There is still some dispute as to who was responsible for the weather that weekend, but at least it improved on Sunday afternoon and the waterfalls around Kanangra Walls were spectacular. Frank Woodgate had 4 starters on his Glenbrook day walk, Margaret Conley had 19 people and a good day for her America Bay trip, and Peter Christian had 20 people on his Waterfall to Heathcote walk.
Over the weekend of 24, 25, 26 February Gordon Lee's Danae Brook abseiling trip was cancelled due to bad weather and there was some doubt as to whether Peter Hislop's Bundeena to Otford 1 1/2-day walk went. John Redfern's Ettrema Creek walk attracted 10 starters but they all went to Yalwal instead. Ken Gould's day walk from Cowan to Eleanora Bluffs attracted 9 people on what was described as a good day, and Jan Mohandas' Waterfall to Otford trip was described simply as “0,K.” with no further details.
Alex Colley's weekdays walk of 27, 28, 29 February, 1, 2nd March had 9 starters and a complaint that the weather wasn't hot enough, and on top of that it rained for a day.
The weekend of 2, 3, 4 March saw Jim Percy in charge of a squad of 6 on his Wild Dogs Mountains trip, which was described as very good. Peter Christian's day and a half Marra Marra National Park walk was reported as covering rough terrain by a survivor out of the original party of six. There were 3 people along for the rock scrambling and 10 for abseiling on Gordon Lee's Instructional days and Brian Bolton reported 22 people and a foul-up with the trains on his Bundeena to Waterfall walk. Rudy Dezelin's Kuringai Chase walk attracted a party of three.
The following weekend, 9, 10, 11 March, Bill Holland had 9 people on his Yalwal walk, Tony Marshall reported 8 people on his Kanangra area trip; and of the day walks, Bill Burke's Wollangambie Canyon trip had 24 people and was described as a terrific walk, Paul Mawhinney had 8 people an a leisurely stroll from Waterfall to Heathcote and Peter Christian had 14 plus 4 people on a “difficult” nature walk in Brisbane Waters National Park. All of which brought the Walks Report to an end.
The first item in General Business was a move to abolish the Coolana Committee. It seems that now, with substantial funds invested to cover future land rates charges, there is little to occupy the Committee. The motion was passed.
There was also a motion requiring the incoming Committee to examine the problem of excessive membership numbers. This was also passed. The motion to add a safety note about bare feet to the cautions already on the back of the Walks Programme was not so lucky. It was lost.
There was a Federation Report covering such items as the fact that the Six Foot Track is now open from the Coxs River to Jenolan Caves, that the F.B.W. is discussing the State Rail Authority's closure of Lilyvale station, and that F.B.W. isasking anyone sighting people stealing bush rocks from the Colo or Wollangambe areas to report the matter to the Wilberforce office of N.P.LS. on (045) 751671.
So then, as is traditional, after the announcements, the retiring President closed the Meeting at 2151 with the call “Let us Re-une!”.
CONGRATULATIONS to Fiona and Jim Vatiliotis on the birth of their daughter, Anne Lilian on 31st January last.
The first meeting of the new Committee was held on 4th April and was chaired by new President, Jim Percy. The Committee discussed the question of large membership (as required by a motion at the A.G.M.) and decided not to restrict membership of our Club.
NEW MEMBERS will be welcomed at the social meeting on the second Wednesday of each month. WALKS REPORTS will also be presented at a social meeting. Leaders are requested to provide Track Notes on exploratory-type walks to the Editor.
Four.S.B.W. members were present at the meeting on 20th March last. They were Federation President, Gordon Lee, Federation Secretary, Spiro Hajinakitas, and two new delegates, Tim Coffey and Ainslie Morris.
Among several reports, the Search & Rescue Committee reported two call-outs; one was in the Budawangs, which concluded successfully with helicopter-assistance and the other in the Jenolan area. There was also an alert at Barrington Tops. An extra-hard practice was planned for 23/24 March.
Please add the following new members to your Membership List:
CIMBLERIS, Alex, 16 Winchester Street, Carlton, 2218 Phone 587 3639
CLACHER, Kenn, Leeds Place, Turramurra, 2074 Phone 449 4853
STEERS, Christiana, 15/237 Underwood Street, Paddington, 2021 321 4640
TRISSI, Frank, 11/127 Penshurst Street, Willoughby, 2068 95 6856
WILLIAMS,John, 32 Waterview Street, Five Dock, 2046 713 6515
The annual subscriptions for 1984 as follows are now due:-
|Non-active Member, with Magazine posted||$9|
The price of the Magazine (single copy) has now been raised to 60 cents.