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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|
|Just a Pleasant Sunday Stroll||by Ronald Knightley||2|
|So, We've Made it!||Jim Brown||5|
|“A Bush Walker's Litany”||John Baillie||6|
|The Paddy Pallin Foundation - 1984 Grants||9|
|McDonnell Ranges - 1984||David Rostron||11|
|Advertisement - Eastwood Camping Centre||16|
|The June General Meeting||Barry Wallace||17|
|Social Notes for August||Roger Browne||19|
|Amendments to the Constitution||Barrie Murdoch||20|
|The Hume and Hovell Walking Track||20|
|Editor's Quiz Question||20|
by Ronald Knightley. All of us thirty-six low quality, one-day walkers (we will never forget you, Spiro) who followed, led or deviated from Ainslie Morris on her walk down Lawson's Long Alley and up Cox's road in May had a lesson in history without tears, as well as a most enjoyable day on these two Crown Lands Office historical nature walks. On the Mount York road just 1 km beyond its turnoff from the Great Western Highway, we assembled at the “track head” of Lawson's Long Alley. You cannot miss it as you drive along the bitumen - signposts, parking, bbqs, obelisk and no toilets. Ladies uphill and men down hill, the trees are big enough to hide behind if you are skinny.
We commenced with an introductory lecture from Ainslie, who explained that Lawson was not Larsen. In a tent near Grenfell in 1867, Peter Larsen late of Norway begat a son, Henry, who later changed his name to Lawson by deed poll. But he was not the hero of Lawson's Long Alley. He did not even write poems about it when he and not it became famous.
No; we are talking.of the Lawson of Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson who crossed the Blue Mountains in 1813, scrambling down Mt. York and into the Vale of Clwydd. Our Lawson was Lieut. William Lawson of the Royal Veteran Company - soldier, explorer, landed gentleman and road builder.
When the trio came back to Sydney town and reported on their western findings, L. Macquarie Esq., as the governor of the day, instigated swift follow-ups. Surveyor General George Evans - he of Evans' Lookout - was despatched to push the exploration further westward, crossing the main divide near present-day Marangaroo and reporting that beyond lay “excellent land with the best grass I have ever seen; it might be mowed, it is so long”.
Based on his reports, Macquarie commissioned William Cox J.P., magistrate of Windsor, he of Coxs River fame, to build a road all the way “from Emu Plains across the Blue Mountains to the open plains west of them, lately discovered by Mr. Evans.” For the purpose; Mr. Cox was allotted 30 artificers and labourers and a guard of 8 solders. Moreover, the governor issued a formal prociamation making it illegal for “idle people” to cross the Nepean River without his written authority while the work was in progress. He would have no weekend traffic jams developing during his roadworks, by golly.
Cox's journal makes fascinating reading, with pithy little pars like “A clear, beautiful morning, All hands at work at 5 o'clock.” “The stone on the mountain is uncommon hard and flinty.” “Carpenter got 100 posts split and 200 rails for fencing the road down the mountain.”
“The mountain” was Mt. York; and the forcing of the road down it was two months of rain-filled misery to the builders, from mid-November 1814 to mid-January 1815. They were rewarded by reports that the 1-in-4 grade was too steep; laden carts would never get back up it.
Indeed, one Lieut. Breton later reported that going downhill “the inclination was so rapid that the carriers were in the habit of attaching to the drags a large log or billet of wood, as for example a trunk of a tree”. I had visions of Dot Butler running down Danae Brook on a Tiger walk.
Again, Macquarie wasted no time. On 25 April 1815, exactly 100 years before Gallipoli and 7 weeks before Waterloo, he was off with Mrs., numerous “gentlemen” and sundry “other people” to traverse the whole length of the new road. His journal for Sunday 7 May 1815 reads, “After breakfast, all the gentlemen and other people assembled for divine service; but previous thereto they were all mustered for the purpose of witnessing the christening of the new intended town on the beautiful spot, which I accordingly named Bathurst in honour of the noble Earl of that name, now His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies”. One can almost see him genuflecting at the mere breath of his illustrious superior's name; and overlooking that Evans had called it the Bathurst Plains the year before.
At the same time, Macquarie reported, “The Governor has here to lament that neither coals nor limestone have yet been discovered in the western country….. the want of them must be severely felt whenever, the country shall be settled.” He could not know of the future cement works at Portland, the coal of Lithgow nor the ubiquitous kerosene shale of the western valleys.
Lieut. Lawson waited not for the country to develop, for in December 1821, Deputy Surveyor General Meehan reported surveying “1000 acres for Wm. Lawson Esq. at Macquarie Plains on the south side of the Fish River”. Unhappy at the grades on Coxes road, Lawson built an alternative down the flanks of the Mt. York ridge, taking advantage of a long narrow valley, or “alley”, between it and the scarp to its north (the Darling Causeway, which carries the Mt. Victoria - Bell Road and the railway).
By 1830, commuting between Sydney and the west had reached such a volume that Governor Bourke commissioned two improvements: a more gradual road up the Lapstone hill and a third road on Mt. York. For the western detour, Major Edmund Lockyer was commissioned - that same Lockyer who saved Western Australia from settlement by the French.
But alas, poor Lockyer. That great public service innovator, unhandicapped by mock modesty, Surveyor General Sir Thomas Mitchell, happened along, ca ridge took us back into the canyon. Shortly afterwards we encountered another dry waterfall with an overhanging chockstone. We managed to shoulder Spiro up and after he determined there were no more camp site in the next 500 m, we called it a day, at 3.15 pm.
Sleeping spots were scratched out in, the sand and gravel of the canyon. The more enthusiastic filled their beds with leaves and grass. We then enjoyed a leisurely “happy hour”, primed by a rum and lemon drink and then a great night of dining, repartee (the jokes were shockers) and singing followed. We were fortunate to have two good singers, Bob and Tom, with us.
The next day we negotiated the most interesting part of Jerry's Canyon - four small dry waterfalls - and then one of about 20 m. The route up the face of this fall was straighforward. The north east branch of the canyon led us onto the South ridge of the Hogs Back. Views from the summit to the east and north were expansive, with the peaks near Alice Springs (50 km) being visible. A steep descent to the north took us into a western valley, which we followed for about 2 km to the foot of a canyon we had sighted. There was a spring at valley level. We hoped the canyon would provide access to the hanging valley which appeared to run along the southern side of Brinkley Bluff (3932 feet and the high peak of the area).
The canyon was an absolute delight - about nine dry waterfalls, quite enclosed and narrow - a cross between Galong Creek and Claustral Canyon. It was negotiated without too much difficulty and we headed west again, carrying water. From the top of the Hogs Back it had appeared as though the canyon and hanging valley drained the entire south side of Brinkley Bluff. We had hoped to cross the west saddle and descend to the river at Stuarts Pass. However, we then found there are three hanging valleys and of course, three saddles to cross. The canyon draining the second valley was another gem. Some of us descended four falls to the top of a 50' fall - slippery slide.
With heavy packs, we began to tire in the third hanging valley but there was no suitable camp site so we pressed on to Stuarts Pass - a further 2 km and a drop of about 1,000 feet. There were large pools of water in the sandy river bed and as it had been a warm afternoon, no one could resist plunging in. The river was not flowing but the water quality was good.
The next morning we saw our first dingoes -three came within about 80 metres, scrutinised us carefully and then retreated with dignity. We headed west along the river fiats, passing many corkwood trees (lakea) in bloom and one received full photographic attention. A Major Mitchell parrot objected to our presence at the morning tea stop below a large river gum. The bird life on the plains, adjacent to the range, was generally prolific, with a great variety of finches and parrots.
Further west we entered an unnamed north-south gorge which cuts almost through the range. Here the vegetation was similar to N.S.W. with melaleuca, cyprus, gums, etc in the river bed. From the northern end, we took a west valley to a saddle and then descended a very scrubby gully over about 2 km to Spencer's Gorge. A few delightful pools encouraged some to swim. Spiro made a magnificent damper that night - to celebrate his birthday on the following day.
The next morning, Tom was the only one brave enough to swim the last two pools in the gorge to gain access to the southern plains. He claimed the water was “warm:” but we were not convinced.
We headed north in Spencer's Gorge and then followed two east-west valleys to Hugh Gorge - one of the highlights. This is 3-4 km in length with the northern end comprised of red rock walls about 800 feet in height, rising straight from the water. The gorge here was 10' to 30' wide with some deep pools. The water was definitely icy and there was only some very brief swimming - almost walking on water.
Heather and I managed to sidle along these walls for a further 200 m but as the next section was of fingernail climbing standard, we retreated. Tom, Spiro and Wendy tried the same sidle but at the first bend, involving some awkward manoeuvering, Tom took an involuntary plunge in deep water - for his third wash of the day. This discouraged the others and we retreated to a good campsite about 1 km to the south. The setting, with this part of the valley being partly ringed by red cliff lines, up to 1000 feet above us, was magnificent.
That night, at about midnight, we were treated to our first dingo howls. To be woken to a high pitched, piercing wail (almost human) which continued for 1-2 minutes, was one of the most eerie experiences of my life. Heather was heard to say, “Oh, my God”. Ray Hookway responded, “I feel sick. Will we light the fire?” However, they remained in their sleeping bags. The howling and some grunting continued on and off during the night, with some dingoes coming within about 30 metres. Understandably, some of the party didn't sleep too well that night.
Ray, in fact, did have a stomach wog the next morning and we did not move off until about 11.00 am, heading south. The gorge was a series of pools and dry river bed sections Lunch was enjoyed on a sandy pool beach and then 5 minutes later, we came upon a superb campsite, near the southern exit. A sandy flat, river gums, pool and red rock wall on the other side created one of nature's masterpieces and could not be passed.
To make amends for the 5 minute walk after lunch, most of the party ascended 1,000 feet to a ridge and pinnacle, which provided extensive view south, over the Alice Valley, to the Heavitree Range. Four of us, at Heather's insistence (and how can one say “No” to a woman), dropped down a steep face and ridge to another creek and explored a small canyon we had sighted. Here the waterfalls were running. We ascended about 200 feet up a number of waterfalls to a hanging valley beyond the canyon and then returned to the creek (more running water) and camp.
That evening, a number of dingoes came to within about 30 metres of the camp fire and we were again treated to a night of howling, although they were not as vocal as on the previous night.
The next morning we were off onto the southern plain. This was the only location where a fireplace or some evidence of a previous camp was sighted. We now headed east, back towards Standley Chasm. After about 11 km we stopped to explore another canyon. This also contained running waterfalls and we went into it for about 500 m to a hanging valley. Then it was east again for lunch at the south end of Spencer's Gorge. Tom, Bill and Bob were the only ones with the necessary fortitude to swim the pools at the southern end, whilst the weak spirited (or old or sensible or something) struggled over the first ridge and dropped into the gorge upstream of the pools.
This was the only section of the trip where we retraced our steps - we headed north in Spencer's Gorge to gain access to the northern plain. We had another delightful campsite in the gorge with the only howl that evening being Bob's imitation of a dingo. A strong wind blew up and I awoke early in the morning to see our first clouds for the trip (eighth day). We headed out to the southern plain and from a saddle had great views of Brinkley Bluff and the range to the east. In the morning light, all the purple shades so evident in Namatjira's painting were apparent.
The cloud cleared but it remained cool and windy - a maximum temperature of about 17 degrees C that day. We made good time along numerous horse trails, (brumbies are in abundance on the plains and open valleys). We reached Stuarts Pass for lunch and then returned to our campsite of a few days beforehand. There was no swimming that day as strong winds gusted through the pass.
The next morning saw our earliest start - 8.00 am - for the climb of Brinkley Bluff. On this morning we found a spring with a considerable flow of water near the base of the north-west ridge. Six of the party climbed this ridge (about 2,000' vertical) whilst four of us climbed the adjacent canyon/gully. This involved some great scrambling and it was necessary to leave the gully at times to sidle chockstones and some verticals. However, most of the dry waterfalls provided exhilarating climbing and we emerged onto the face about 200' below the summit.
It had been 2 - 3 degrees C that morning and a cool south-west wind confronted us on the summit. This discouraged a lengthy stop and then we began the traverse of the summit ridge to the east. This was about 4 km in length. Views in all directions were fantastic. Lunch was enjoyed just below the ridge top, out of the wind, and after almost reaching the saddle below the Hogs Back we dropped down a steep northern ridge to a gully and began searching for campsites. The only suitable one was below Surprise Waterfall (dry) where Frank Rigby has camped before.
The cool south-west wind with some high cirrus cloud continued for the next two days. Overnight temperatures were 2 - 3 degrees C, and maximums about 17 - delightful walking weather. We were within 5 km of our finishing point and spent the next day exploring the complex system of ridges and valleys in that area, ending up at Standley Chasm and wading through the chest deep pool to the tourist area. Ray Hookway was the only one with money and ventured to the kiosk, returning with Chery Ripes for the girls. We never did learn of his reward.
On our last day, eight of the party ascended to a ridge we had not traversed before and followed this for 5 - 6 km to finish on the road south of Standley Chasm. Bill and Ray took the valley route to finish with wades through the pools. Civilisation was a rude shock after eleven days of a wilderness experience. However, in the motel that night, the mood mellowed, with some great wining and dining, which for some seemed to turn into an eating competition. The most ardent Pritikin fan, Ray Dargan, ate the most rubbish.
It was a sad group which parted company at Mascot the next night.
Low Cost Blue Mountains Holiday
Caravans are being offered for holiday hire in the upper Blue Mountains by two bushwalkers. The vans are located on a secluded bushland site, very close to 'walking tracks of the Blue Mountains National Park.
Two vans (7 m & 4 m) are available.
|Charges||Large van||Both vans|
Enquiries: 047 - 877182
by Barry Wallace
(These meeting notes were posted in Perisher Valley and came with a covering letter saying “I am presently held prisoner in a ski lodge, with poor skiing conditions and a crew of extroverts, trainee drunks and card sharps. Best wishes, Barry Wallace.” Thanks, Barry.)
The meeting began at around 2015 with some 30 or so members present and the President in the chair. There was one apology, from Spiro Hajinakitas. New members Timothy Rannard, Ian Rannard, Laurie Bore and Michael Reynolds were welcomed with constitution, badge and applause.
The Minutes were read and received with no business arising. Correspondence brought a letter to Tom Herbert advising his transfer to Honorary Membership, and from the responsible Minister, T. Sheehan, regarding membership of Advisory Committees for National Parks.
Then it was the Treasurer's turn to regale us with tales of monetary splendour. It seems we began the quarter with $2532.04, had expenditures of $2103.88, income of $3402.20, and ended up with $3830.36.
All of which brought us to the Walks Report. Although only the May walks were reported at the meeting, this report includes the March and April walks.
The Reunion has been more fully reported in an earlier issue, but just for the record it was held over the 16, 17, 18 March with 70 to 80 people in attendance and Spiro won the damper competition again. Ralph Pengliss led one of his Sydney Harbour walks that same weekend. It was reported as a pleasant walk with 5 members, 2 visitors and 3 prospectives.
The following weekend, 24, 25, 26 March saw some cancellations due to some rather wet weather. Peter Miller and Frank Woodgate owned up, but of George Walton's Kanangra walk there was no report. The two day trips, Brian Bolton's Bundeena to Sutherland with a party of 20, and Roy Braithwaite's Cowan to Brooklyn with an unspecified party size, reported rains and mud.
Peter Harris had 12 starters on his Wollangambe Crater walk over the 31 March-1 April weekend. They reported scrub, gullies and ants. There was no mention of happy hours, but they did say that it was a good weekend. Bill Capon rep6rted 20 people plus (?) Vic Lewin on his Yalwal trip over 30, 31 March, 1 April. Of the All Fools Day walks, Jim Brown's Springwood/Glenbrook Creek walk had 17 members, 2 visitors, and 8 prospectives on a beautiful walk, and Peter Christian reported 6 members, 1 visitor, “and a good time was had by all”.
Peter Miller cancelled his' Megaiong Valley walk for 6, 7 April but John Redfern led his Goulburn River National Park trip with a party of 13. Sandy Johnson had a party of 20 people and a long walk in the rain around Erskine Creek on the 8th of April. George Mawer had 13 people and a rainy but beautiful walk in Grand Canyon, Blackheath the same day.
The weekend of 13, 14, 15 April saw Joan Cooper with 15 people on a great walk in the Budawangs. Peter Christian's walk brought no report. Paul Mawhinney led 12 people on his Otford to Waterfall walk on Sunday, 15th April. John Newman probably led his Bundeena to Otford walk on 15th April and there were probably around 15 people on it in fine, sunny weather.
The Easter weekend started with heavy rain. Don Finch's Shoalhaven River walk saw the 40 starters having some early problems with excess water and some late problems with injury. Peter Miller had 9 people on his Mittagong to Mittagong via Aroneys - Classic flood Special. Vic Lewin's Budawangs base camp had 8 residents and their weather fined up on Friday. They also did some day walks but it is unclear whether they arrived back before dark.
The following weekend, 27, 28, 29 April, saw Ainslie Morris leading a party of 15 up The Castle in perfect weather. There was no report of Errol Sheedy's Waterfall to Heathcote ramble, but Jim Brown had 27 people on his Helensburgh to Otford walk which was described as an easy day.
Bill Capon led a party of 16 on his Kanangra walk of 4, 5, 6 May. It was an eventful walk, they lost one person with ankle problems, had a narrow miss involving a loose rock, Bill Capon and David Rostron, They also reported some nettles, but this is surely insignificant! Ian Debert, on that same weekend, lost all 18 starters on his Bonnum Pic Birthday walk. It all had something to do with Ian scouting ahead for the Saturday evening camp site. Hans Stichter's party of 10 cut short the Mount Solitary day walk by going out up the Golden Stairs in fairly atrocious weather. There was no report of Peter Christian's Marra Marra Creek trip that same day- - - perhaps there were no survivors.
There was no report of George Walton's 11th to 16th May Kanangra area walk, but over the weekend 11, 12, 13 May Barry Wallace led a party of 8 people on his Cloudmaker walk in near perfect weather. Which was all very well for them, but rather warm for David Rostron and his 5 member Three Peaks trip party. There were two who successfully completed the walk. Of the day walks that weekend there was no report of Paul Mawhinnry's Waterfall to Heathcote ramble. Bill Holland, however, had 25 people, an early start and beaut views on his Bluegum Forest walk.
The 18, 19, 20 May saw Barrie Murdoch with a party of 3 on his Kanangra/Kowmung trip, and Peter Harris with 23 people on his Tullyangela Labyrinth trip. Peter Miller led a party of 12 people on his bluegum Sunday trip and Ainslie Morris reported a party of 37, with an age range of 10 months to 70 years, on her Mt. York historical ramble.
Hans Stichter reported 12 people and a pleasant walk for his 25, 26, 27 May Coxs River trip and Frank Taeker had 19 starters on his Budawangs test walk. Of the day walks, Ralph Penglis had 8 or so people on his Bundeena to Otford trip, Joe Marton had an unknown party size but the walk, from Waterfall to Otford went O.K. anyway. Errol Sheedy had 13 people on his Heathcote to Waterfall trip. The area must have been somewhat crowded! Tony Marshall's Coolana instructional weekend was postponed.
The weekend of 1, 2, 3 June saw Lyn McDonald's Kanangra to Katoomba walk, sans Lyn, with a party of three. The view of the city from Kanangra indicated that our smog umbrella had been briefly dissipated. John Reddel led a party of 14 people on his Colo River Saturday start walk in near perfect Weather. There was no report of Rudy Dezelin's Bluegum day walk but Jan Mohandas reported 12 plus 1 plus 1 people on his Waterfall to Bundeena trip.
The Queen's Birthday weekend 8, 9, 10, 11 June saw a total of 6 walks programmed. Peter Harris' Dorrigo trip had 4 starters; they visited 3 parks in 3 days and drove close to 4 others. Ian Debert's Yerranderie base camp saw 14 people enjoying day trips to Yerranderie Peak, Church Creek and the Axehead Range. Bill Capon led a party of 9 people on his BUdawangs walk. They reported good viewing conditions from The Castle and took numerous photos to prove the point. Gordon Lee's Axehead Range trip had a large, but unspecified, number of starters. Roger Browne's snowshoe trip attracted 4 starters, was described as easy, and featured a magnificent sunset from Mt. Kosciusko summit. Carol Bruce led 31 people on her day walk, Waterfall to Engadine, with a minimum of fuss; to bring the Walks Reports to a conclusion.
Federation Report brought news of the F.B.W. Reunion, 42 in attendance, and that the Mount Druitt bushwalkers club is now to be known as Mount Druitt Bushwalkers, not Western Suburbs Bushwalkers.
General Business, after a long discussion, saw a decision to purchase a used offset printer, copier, and fuser for use in production of the Club magazine.
So then it was just a matter of the announcements and the meeting closed at 2190 and it was all over again for another quarter.
by Roger Browne
|August 1||Committee Meeting.|
|August 8||Members' Slide Night. The theme is People. So put together a few slides showing people bushwalking, people you.have-met on your travels, etc.|
|Dinner before this meeting at Cheezies Carvery Upstairs; which is at 116 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest. Meet outside at 6.30 pm, late arrivals ask for the “Sydney Bushwalkers” table. Australian food, fixed price includes main course and unlimited salads, bread, etc. BYO.|
|August 15||Bush Dance with Caller. All dances taught and called. Loads of fun - but it can be hot work, so it might be a good idea to bring something to drink.|
|August 22||A production Session for' the August issue of the magazine. Help with the collating, stapling, wrapping and sorting.|
|August 29||Did you know that in Alaska during summer, when the sun never sets, they still have daylight saving? Alan Dixon of C.M.W. spent three weeks last year walking around Bering Strait and Brooks Range, and has some interesting slides to show.|
for consideration at the Half Yearly General Meeting on 12th September, or any other matters that members wish to have included in the agenda for discussion at that meeting, should be submitted to the Secretary by no later than Wednesday, 8th August.
Barrie Murdoch Hon. Secretary.
The Crown Lands Office proposes to construct an identified track that will retraced as closely as practical the route of the 1824 expedition. Interested walkers are asked to fill in a questionnaire. This, with a coloured brochure, may be obtained at the Club room from Joan Cooper or Barrie Murdoch, or from the Crown Lands Office, 22-23 Bridge Street (Tel. 20579).
Who said “I have played similar games in the mountains …. Longing for a rest but determined not to be the first to suggest it. In the hills a camera provides a useful excuse for a rest with honour - must stop to get a picture!”
(a) Spiro Hajinakitas, Olympian god and camera buff.
(b) The Editor - frequently.
c) Chris Bonington, Himalayan climber and author of books on Everest.
(d) Bill Capon, when the kneeguard doesn't look so convincing.
Tom Fischhof, 13, Lytton Street, Cammeray, 2062. Te1.922.1170.
Change of Address
Errol Sheedy, 5 Kungar Road, Caringbah, 2229. Te1.525.0316.
August 5 - Leader: Jeff Bridger. Correct Tel. number 411.3948
Nikon zoom lens 36-72 f3.5 Series E
Brand new, 1 year warranty. Price below duty free
Phone: Steve Lengakis 969.8894 Mon.- Fri. after 6.00 pm.
Answer to Quiz
c) In “Quest for Adventure” - a great book for armchair adventurers - but (a), (b) and (d) are acceptable, if not entirely accurate, answers.