A monthly bulletin of matters of interest to the Sydney Bush Walkers, Box 4476, G.P.O. Sydney, N.S.W. 2001. Club meetings are held every Wednesday evening from 7.45 p.m. at Ella Community Centre, 58a Dalhousie Street, Haberfield (next to the Post Office). Prospective members and visitors are invited to visit the Club on any Wednesday. To advertise in the magazine please contact the Business Manager.
|Editor||Patrick James, P.O. Box 170, Kogarah, 2217. Telephone 588 2614.|
|Business Manager||Stan Madden, 9 Florence Avenue, Gosford, 2250. Telephone (043) 25 7203.|
|Production Manager||Helen Gray. Telephone 86 6263.|
|Editorial - Safety||2|
|Friction, Fusion, Failure||Rik King||3|
|Serious Accidents During Day Walks Around Sydney||Jan Mohandas||4|
|Walking Alone||Veronique Crowther||7|
|“As He Treads the Burning Sands”||Don Finch||8|
|If You Are Going to Have an Accident….||Peter Miller||9|
|“How Not to Sprain One's Ankle”||Christine Scott||10|
|Letter to the Editor||Ainslie Morris||11|
|Letter to the Editor||Errol Sheedy||11|
|Letter to the Editor||Alex Colley||11|
|N.S.W. Federation of Bushwalking Clubs||Spiro Hajinakitas||13|
|A Message From One of Our Friends||Jim Brown||15|
|The August General Meeting||Barry Wallace||16|
|New Members etc.||17|
|1927 S.B.W. 60 Years 1987||18|
|1988 N.S.W. Wilderness Calendar||3|
|Eastwood Camping Centre||6|
|Belvedere Taxis, Blackheath||9|
|Canoe & Camping, Gladesville||14|
The theme for this edition is Safety in all its many aspects; a theme prompted by the accidents we have had this year. With such a large club the laws of probability are such that accidents will happen. The trick is to be prepared and to minimise the accidents when they do happen.
Getting to and from a walk especially by private transport is an obvious safety hazard. Insufficient directions/instructions and not filling with petrol at the last (open) petrol station can lead to being lost or stranded and missing the walk. Leaded and unleaded petrol and diesel are three incompatible fuels and make it important for all to carry spare fuel. Driving home tired and weary and dreaming of a nice warm shower with a friend may cause the driver's attention to wander and the trip to become an accident statistic.
Bushwalking is definitely a sport which requires the ability to walk, thus sound legs. Sprains and fractures can easily happen and have happened this year; definitely a case of more haste less speed. In rock-hopping the bicycle approach does work - if you go fast enough you stay upright - but if you slip then what? And talking of slipping the far end of one's sound legs should be enclosed in a pair of suitable footwear, suitable for the terrain with non-slip the most important property.
Safety in numbers is usually true but what if you want to get away from it all and opt out of the rat race for a couple of hours. A peaceful solo walk in the bush may not end as such!
For general bushwalking equipment failures are not a threat to safety; so what if your pack falls to pieces or your sleeping bag zipper malfunctions, difficult and maybe a wet bed but nothing serious. A fault with the abseil rope is of concern. Watch out for packs which are high at the neck and prevent you from looking up and hats which block your view and like me cause you to walk into a tree. People wearing bifocals have a special problem; their map is in focus, distances are in focus but their feet are optically fuzzy.
At lunch or dinner how easy it is around the fire to trip, stumble or bump into someone and tip or nearly tip a boiling billy over the nearest foot or leg.
The accidents described here did happen and my thanks to the authors and to the subjects of the accidents (the accidentees); in many cases it could have been the person in front or behind who was hurt, that's kismet. Whether accidents just happen or are caused can be debated but they do occur and that is the reason for our first aid tests.
by Rik King.
Recently, I was one of a party which did an abseiling trip down Castle Head (off Narrow Neck at Katoomba) where an interesting incident occurred. I mention it here in the hope that others who may be on abseiling trips will be somewhat cautious.
All was going well on our trip until the last one of a number of very exposed abseils, about 45 metres. At this point the ropes jammed when attempts were made to retrieve them. The two ropes (both 11 mm kernmantle) were running through an 8 m kernmantlel sling placed around a large rock at the top of the abseil. At first, four people applied considerable weight to one of the ropes, yet it did not budge. Eventually, the usual trick of crossing and uncrossing the rope with some movement back and forth plus flicking was tried. Our party was fortunate to have two rockclimbers as members, and they climbed to the top without the use of the ropes, by another route. At last, two people were able to pull down about 10 m of rope, when suddenly, the whole lot came down! Our rockclimbers returned with a broken sling: it had melted at the point where the abseiling ropes passed through it.
A post mortem was held in a backyard after the walk. The sling was tied around a tree and an old climbing rope put through it. When this rope was pulled on both sides with some force, no wearing of the sling was noticed. When, however, slightly unequal forces were applied on each side, some movement in the ropes was produced, and it took only about 30 seconds of this treatment before the outer sheath of the sling began to melt. Clearly, this was what had happened earlier in the day.
To my knowledge, it has been standard practice either to climb up or prussik up ropes which won't come down. If the rope has been “worked on” rather heavily, both of these practices could be exceedingly dangerous when kernmantle rope (or even nylon sling?) is being used for belaying purposes.
A bit of forgotten wisdom was never to let nylon run over nylon - to use hemp as belay sling for nylon rope. Although the theory is all there in the books (cf. “Single Rope Techniques”, by Neil R. Montgomery), it is still none the less astonishing, and sobering, to see slings melt before your very eyes!
Henry Gold's calendar is now available, complete with superb 12“ x 10” colour photographs of Antarctic Beechforest, the Grose Valley, Beecroft Peninsula, Werrikimbe, Barrington, Mungo, Main Range Kosciusko, Tantawanglo, Namadji, Gibraltar Range, Mann River and the Border Ranges.
Spaced date tabulation to enable noting of engagements. Phases of the moon.
Price $8 from Alex Colley in the clubroom or $9.50 posted from the Colong Foundation 18 Argyle Street, Sydney 2000.
Proceeds from sales in the clubroom or from the Foundation will be used for preservation of wilderness.
by Jan Mohandas.
In and around Sydney there are hundreds of walks one can do within two hours driving distance. Most of the walks are on tracks and hence usually do not lead to serious accidents. There are also several walks one can do in some of the more rugged and spectacular regions near Sydney. When a serious accident occurs during one of these walks, getting the injured to safety becomes a problem. One such incident is described below.
This accident occurred in March 1986 during a medium/hard day walk I led from Leura golf course, through Robert's Pass, Lindeman's Pass and Federal Pass to reach the top of walking track near the Scenic Railway in Katoomba. Medium/Hard day walks are designated as such in order to inform the participants of the rugged nature of the area as well as the expected effort one has to put in to complete the walk before the end of the day. It often involves distances of 20 to 30 km. Lindeman's Pass was very popular some 30 or 40 years ago and then fell out of favour. Recently Jim Smith and his friends reopened this area for experienced bushwalkers. It is not an area for easy walking. The route has certain areas where the track is good and other areas where one has to scramble up and down quite a bit. I had done this walk twice before, one as a semi-exploratory before Jim Smith and his friends reopened this area fully, and on another occasion led a S.B.W. medium/hard day walk in April the previous year. During the first attempt it certainly was a very difficult walk.
In 1986 we had excellent weather for the walk. At about 11.30 am the track appeared to have got washed off during heavy rain several days prior to the walk. I decided to go ahead in the direction of our route and look for signs of the track with another walker. The party was given instructions to wait for us before proceeding. After I had gone for about 100 metres, we heard a noise where the party was and some of them called me to return. When I went back to the spot where the party was, Margaret Wood was lying down with a head injury with blood pouring from her head. I was told that a big rock, about the size of a soccer ball, had slid down and landed on her head. What had happened was that one of the walkers scrambled up to look for signs of the track and while returning, accidentally dislodged a loose rock. Meanwhile, those who were standing at the front of the party, including Margaret Wood, were asked by people at the rear to make a move to try to find another route below in the gully. If both the incidents had not proceeded at the same time, everything would probably have been fine.
Margaret by now was resting on the branches of some bushes due to the slope of that area; there was no level ground in sight. Jim Oxley , who was just behind her and had run, saw the rock fall on Margaret's head and pressed hard his handkerchief on the cut. Several members of the party started to move to do the necessary first-aid. One person with training in nursing took Margaret's pulse and said that it was normal. Blood was still flowing from Margaret's head wound. More padding was placed on the cut and bandage was put around her head and underneath her chin. She looked very pale and naturally shaken up. However we all told her that she looked well and tried to keep her alert. I asked her whether she had a headache. She replied that she did not have a headache, but had pain near the wound and around her neck. It was evident that the rock had also jarred the neck. She did not become unconscious at any stage, feel giddy or become sick. Margaret rested there for another five minutes. The bleeding from the head stopped. She was asked again whether she had double vision. She said “No”. We had to move her from the spot where she was desperately trying to manage to stay still. After consulting Margaret, she was helped to stand up. Two other walkers helped her to walk slowly towards the gully to get around that difficult region of Lindeman's Pass. All we could do was to look for a level spot where she could have proper rest. A decision could then be made about the best approach to get Margaret to safety after observing her condition after a short rest.
We had walked for about three hours and the party was moving at a fair pace. There was no way out into civilization in the immediate vicinity. Either we had to go back the way we had come or we had to walk for another four hours to get out near Leura waterfalls. If two people were sent to get help it was still going to take about six hours for help to arrive and it would be dark by then, and the injured would not get to hospital until morning of the next day. At that time of the year it could get extremely cold at night and none of the party had extra warm clothing to survive the night in relative comfort. I was thinking that unless the injury is serious enough to keep the injured down in the valley, every effort should be made to get the injured and the rest of the party out of that area, the injured to the nearest hospital and the rest of the party to their destination. There were several experienced walkers in the party.
Bill Capon and Geoff McIntosh volunteered to stay overnight to be with the patient. About 10 minutes after we left the site of the accident, we found a nice level spot near an overhang and made a comfortable resting spot with a number of jumpers and packs for Margaret to have a rest. Morag Ryder and others made some hot tea for the injured and the rest of the party had an early lunch. We had a general discussion about the course of action. Several participants were of the view that the best approach would be to send a couple of walkers for help. I decided to find out whether as a group we could help Margaret to walk out to a location nearer to Leura where we could get help more readily.
We got Margaret a walking stick and her day pack was carried by one of the other walkers. We still had to go up and down rocks, down gullies, up steep hills, and slippery rocks near waterfalls. We had a talk to Margaret and explained to her the plan. Bill Capon would walk just in front of her and I would walk close behind her. If she felt giddy or too tired, she should hold on to Bill and me immediately. Whenever we had to go through difficult parts, both of us would help her or carry her across. This plan worked very well. Bill Capon, Geoff McIntosh and I talked continuously to Margaret to keep her spirits up as well as to ensure that we would know if her condition deteriorated in any way. After about an hour, Margaret said that she was feeling slightly better.
On the way we had several stops to prevent Margaret feeling exhausted. For Margaret, Leura was the appropriate destination since her parents lived there. By the time we reached the bottom of the Leura walking track, Margaret was feeling a bit better and suggested that the rest of the party could head towards their destination. Bill Capon and Geoff McIntosh helped Margaret to walk up the Leura walking track and telephoned Margaret's father. Luckily he was at home and took her to see their friendly GP. Several stitches were put to close the head wound. The rest of the party walked up the walking track near the Scenic Railway, drove to Blue's Cafe and waited to hear about the condition of the injured. Margaret and her father came to see us at the Cafe and informed us that apart from the cut on the head she was all right.
Margaret had a persistent light-headedness for a number of weeks and she consulted a physician and had neurological examinations to ensure that there were no complications. Margaret was found to have had no after effects from that accident.
In order to learn from an experience of this kind, I would like to highlight the following points:
Note. Lost going up the Col, Blue Mountains, one old green cloth hat with some sentimental value decorated with a S.B.W. badge of immense sentimental value. If/when found, return to the Editor.
by Veronique Crowther
It was hot and I was tired as I made my way up the steep track from Blue Pool to Glenbrook Station.
I looked up and there he was, this naked young man in track shoes with a small pack on his back. The reason I was here was because of the reports of the rapist rumoured to be roaming the Royal National Park and my consequent discomfort at walking there alone as I am sometimes want to do. My quick mental checklist told me that although his hair was long and straggly, bleached on top in the latest two-tone style, his face wasn't really evil. Though wearing a pack it wasn't of a usual bushwalking type and he didn't look like a “regular”. My heart sank, there was no one else around and I hadn't seen anyone for quite a while.
Nothing for it but to keep going in a business-like manner, ready to kick and run if required and hope for the best. Once again I thanked God for my sturdy walking boots!
He said “Good day, excuse me” and my heart slowed down a little as I responded. But when we were about to pass he stopped, in the ascendant position, and I was trapped - on a narrow path all alone with my eyes at the critical level! He engaged me in some inconsequential conversation about the track and my brain ticked over like a racing car - which escape is better, up the hill to civilisation or back down to Blue Pool? Could I outrun him in my boots and pack against his track shoes and if he got me did I have the strength left to fight him off and land some telling kicks? It was very hot and I was very tired having walked from Glenbrook Station up Red Hand Gully to Kanuka Brook and Glenbrook Creek non stop and at a fast pace. I wasn't sure.
He asked me if I knew of another track in the area as he was sure there was one but he couldn't find it. Like a fool I said I didn't know. Eventually he turned around and took off up the path the way I was going and I could see his little white bum going through the bush before me. Whew - the situation was much improved and I felt safe again. And then it disappeared. Oh God, what now? Had he gone or was he lying in wait for me somewhere? I made my way slowly up with my eyes out on stalks and darting everywhere, my heart racing again and my breath choking me. I was scared, really scared.
I never saw him again and made it to civilisation and the station without incident.
Another hazard to walking alone? Another constraint on my freedom? What are the odds? The worst part (of it) is that I no longer feel comfortable and at ease walking alone in the bush - a pity!
Note: Articles and notes for the October magazine should be submitted early (no later than 28th September) so the magazine can be issued in time for the 60th Anniversary celebrations.
by Don Finch.
“How hot is sand?” Sunday morning, 12th July 1987, we had camped on a sand bank on the Little River approximately 3 km upstream from its junction with Blue Gum Creek. The campfire which had been set on sand was put out with the combined efforts of many wine-skin-equipped bushwalkers. An apple core which had not been in the fire long enough to disintegrate caught my eye and a firm poke with the toe of my sandshoe to bury the core under the now defunct coals and ash proved ineffective. Not enough coal and ash to bury the core, a firmer push into the sand underneath was obviously required.
What happened next was not quite so obvious. A firm crust of sand wetted down by the wine skins had formed under the coals and ash layer, this now gave way and I found my left foot standing in extremely soft unsupporting sand to a depth of 250 mm. It was also extremely hot. In less time than it takes to shout the magic word I had my foot out of the hot sand and four quick strides later I was standing in the cold creek water. After five minutes of standing the toes of my left foot began to complain about the cold. It was time to survey the damage.
Whilst perched on a rock, the party surrounding me, the medically inclined in the front row while in the “gods” the laity. The problems of a one footed leader were already under earnest discussion. With sandshoe and sock removed the following was revealed:- No damage at all below the level of the sandshoe, a strip 100 mm wide from the top of the sandshoe up the ankle was very red, a strip 50 mm wide above this was not damaged, my thin nylon sock had been burnt off over this area. Above this but confined to the front and side of the shin another red area approx 50 mm wide, the hair in this area had been singed off by the heat of the sand. Pain - absolutely none except for very cold toes. The burnt area was treated as follows: washed off with cold water, swabbed with alcohol, no broken skin at this stage, left to dry, dry padding applied and secured with plaster followed by sock and sandshoe. I was ready to go, almost! The party took my pack apart, sharing the weight here and there and returning the disembowelled beast to me, now only 3 kgs so that I would have something to carry. Then I was ready to go, back down the Little River to the fire trail where I was fortunate enough to find the Water Board ranger who very promptly offered a lift. Several hours later I was back in Sydney mixed up with hospitals, doctors, nurses and a wonderful ointment called “Silverzine”.
Within 24 hours all of the lower burnt section was one large blister, the upper area was less affected. Nerve sensation was normal over the total lower area and most of the upper area with the exception of a 1 sq.cm area which had reduced feeling. Burning pain, absolutely none at any time. Six days later as tender skin is forced to stretch over ankle bones, but considering the possibilities nothing to complain about.
At the end of the first week the blistered skin was removed to expose a very raw layer. This was also accompanied by a considerable amount of pain. A day later with pain persisting and the first sign of infection, the best of medical advice was to become supine, stay in hospital, and have a good dose of penicillin. A week later with a raw pink shin, a tube of Vitamin A cream and a bunch of flowers I left hospital. Just for effect I'll relate the excesses of several medical opinions, but first remember that the time from my burning in the hot sand to standing in the creek was in the order of 2 - 3 seconds and in that time I in fact suffered a second degree circumferential burn. How many seconds for a third degree burn? The opinion, third degree burns disrupt blood supply to a critical level. Circumferential third degree burns could disrupt the critical blood supply to the point where gangrene and amputation are distinct possibilities.
Well, what did I learn? Fires built on sand are to be treated with extra caution when they are put out. Consider the possibility of someone walking over the fireplace 1 hour after it is left with the top completely out but the sand underneath hot enough to singe hair. That the advice to “immerse the affected area in cold water as soon as possible” must be taken literally. The fact that severe damage was sustained by the outer layers of my skin while the inner layers and nerves were relatively unaffected can only be attributed to the fact that I was standing in cold water within a couple of seconds after being burnt.
It was also reaffirmed that bushwalkers are kind and considerate and make great companions.
by Peter Miller.
If you are going to have an accident, have it with the Sydney Bush Walkers.
To celebrate 35 years of bushwalking I managed to fall two metres over a large boulder and land on my head. I did this on a walk led by Bill Capon as we were negotiating a very rough creek below Blayden's Pass.
My next piece of advice is, if you have made up your mind to have an accident, do as I did and choose a walk where there are seven ladies to look after you. How many S.B.W. men can claim to have had seven ladies at their beck and call, making them cups of tea, keeping them warm, preparing food, supplying bandages and catering to their every whim?
I had barely landed on a very hard and unyielding rock when the rescue effort swung into action. Barbara Bruce whipped off her T-shirt to staunch the flow of blood; I was made comfortable with warm clothes and Bill and Joan Cooper went off to find a way out of the valley.
The first thing for the injured person to realise is that there is no point in trying to be a hero. Let the party decide what is best, and if they decide to carry your gear, then let them. It is silly for the injured person trying to be tough and then collapsing and having to be carried.
I felt fine when we set off with all my gear being carried, but when we came to Blayden's Pass I felt awful and was very glad that the party was carrying everything for me. The injured person is being most helpful if he or she can remain mobile and does not agonise over holding up the party or making them carry extra weight.
An accident can happen to anyone and when it does just thank your lucky stars that you are with the S.B.W.s.
by Christine Scott.
Easier done than said!! My disaster came along this year one Easter afternoon coming down off Broken Rock Range, a very rocky and scrubby ridge. About a third of the way down heading for Butcher's Creek, it happened. I've never been able to remember exactly how, so several maybe's have been put together:
Should I have been going down a bit slower?
Had I misjudged my footing, presuming a bit of scrub had solid ground under it?
Had I slipped?
Maybe it was just bad luck?
Could Bill be right - I just wanted to get out of doing Narrowneck?
Whatever the case, I was glad to be with a group of walkers who knew how to cope with the situation.
My foot was examined for any possible blood or broken bones and while doing this it was discovered that my ankle was badly swollen. It was bandaged immediately and my shoe put on.
My foot was raised for half an hour or so in the hope of preventing more swelling. During this time I was kept warm and given aspirin for the pain. Unfortunately we were a fair way from water, so it was some hours of travelling down hill keeping the weight off my foot with the support of various shoulders, before I could soak my oversized ankle in the creek.
Not long after the walk I was given a memoir, a map showing the route of the walk. On one particular section there's a rather large red arrow with X marks the spot. I think this'll end up at the back of a drawer, it's something I hope never happens again. To anyone.
Many thanks go to those on the walk for the endless supply of help and support. As Fazeley had written previously “A Team Effort”.
1. Sergeant Sports store at Chatswood resoled my Nilse joggers for $20 with a herringbone pattern good-grip sole. It is starting to lift off one heel. Another member asked for the same sole but it is not the same; it is too soft and tore easily. I would recommend the Deodora shoes at $40-$45 for comfort and support, strong upper, and good gripping herringbone sole.
2. In reply to Michael Christie's article “The Bush is Not a Rubbish Dump” I would like to support his recommendation that signs be placed at track entrances by the N.P. & W.L. Service and other authorities such as the Forestry Commission, Blue Mountains Council, etc. The sign I would like to suggest is Kath McKay's verse:
“The tins you carry in your pack
Are lighter on the journey back.
Though empties are a bore to hump
The bush is not a rubbish dump.”
This could well be news to many people, and is put pleasantly but with a strong message. It could get lots of walkers cooperating.
Maybe our Committee and members would consider sending a recommendation to the relevant authorities? It's time our Club had another conservation cause!
I also would like to extend my congratulations re the excellent layout of the Walks Program. Its legibility and presentation are first-rate.
However, I would be grateful if the abridging of Leaders' notes could be a little less drastic. For example, when my 18th October Test Walk is described as: Cronulla - Bundeena - Couranga Track - Waterfall, and the vital Curracurrong Creek is omitted, it's anybody's guess how the walk would go from Bundeena to the Couranga Track. Yes, participants could phone me but I really do not want every one of the thirty people who may attend, phoning. The Prospective Members do phone, but most other members know that I do not want to answer the phone thirty times in the space of a few days regarding a day walk with public transport. Which brings me to my next point.
The details re train times have been omitted from both my Spring walks. If the problem concerns space, I would gladly see the embellishments about wildflowers etc. dispensed with. In the hope that I may be spared a deluge of phone calls, here are the train times:-
September 20: (Goomera Ridge Walk) - 7.57 am Country train from Central.
October 18: (Curracurrong Creek Walk: Bundeena - Waterfall) - 7.16 am Electric train to Cronulla from Central.
(The Walks Secretary, Alan Doherty, has done an excellent job with the new format Walks Program and I join Errol in congratulating Alan. Any new system has teething problems, but only two faults in 67 items is pretty good. Editor.)
I am getting together a complete series of S.B.W. magazines, which will eventually be kept at the Total Environment Centre (18 Argyle Street) along with the 73 journals of Myles Dunphy's diaries.
My collection is complete excepting for the following issues:
These can't be copied from the copies in the Club archives because the bound volumes are too thick to lay flat on the plate of a photocopier.
If anyone would lend me the missing issues, I should be glad to photocopy them and return them together with the cost of postage.
My phone number is 44 2707. Yours sincerely -
by Wal Liddle.
Demons were lurking on the edges of darkness. They slipped back into my consciousness to confront me with my own fears, as with each step I penetrated deeper into the jungle which surrounded me on all sides. The earthy smells, the gloomy haze produced by the over-hanging canopy of trees, the oppressive heat and humidity, the weird noises of birds and beasts unseen didn't help the feeling of claustrophobia that was creeping up on me.
I had been walking for hours in trackless bush trying to find a trail or signs of civilization that would lead me out of the mess I'd got myself into. I was without map or compass in some of the toughest terrain in the world, an area in Queensland used by the army for training troops in jungle warfare. This was the home of the green python and the taipan, one of Australia's deadliest snakes.
Suddenly, I felt a coil wrapping around my right leg. Instinctively I tried to retreat but this only made matters worse as claws dug into my clothing and flesh. The next minute I was pitched down the slope, hitting my head as I fell.
Demons appeared again, shapeless but with shape, intangible apparitions in colours of red, purple and green. The huge forms towered over me, gaping mouths ready to devour me. Each figure lunged and retreated, uttering harsh guttural sounds as the pain wracked my body. My mind went blank and darkness reigned or a short time. The blackness turned into a long tunnel that led nowhere, the light at the end was receding!
I lay upside down against a rock, my arms pinned under my body. The weight of the haversack was driving my face into the earth bank. My mouth and nostrils were filled with dirt. Without air I would suffocate! I was going to die. No, no, I didn't want to die!
Spluttering and spitting I raised my head to gulp in air. Again my body position and the weight on my back forced me downwards. The soft earth kept falling! I would be buried alive. I would remain here forever. My flesh would turn putrid. The birds would pick at my eyes. The small bush animals would eat the meat and break my bones. I would become a grisly white skeleton. My soul would join the legion of the lost floating in space.
Again I raised my head but this time my body movements allowed me to breathe more freely. The earth had stopped falling. The lawyer vine which had wrapped itself around me made all movement difficult. Wriggling from side to side I was able to straighten one leg but my arms were still trapped under me. The vine did not allow me to move into an upright position so that I could release the haversack straps. I struggled against the thorns that were cutting into my flesh. Each movement brought incredible agony but finally I was able to reach the knife at my belt and cut myself free.
As I was bandaging my leg I recognised a pile of rocks in the distance. “Weren't these the ones I'd massed, early in the morning?” I had been walking in circles!
My fears again enveloped me. The demon was there, only this time it took the form of an ugly black gorilla with a distorted mongoloid face, its large penis dragging on the ground. Around its middle hung a bunch of keys, in one paw was a hypodermic syringe, whilst the other held a white straitjacket. The top of the head had been cut away allowing part of the grey matter to ooze out over the skull. It was coming straight for me, making strange grunts, its evil eyes fixed in a hypnotic stare.
Suddenly a branch knocked my hat to the ground bringing me back to my senses.
What did these strange apparitions mean? Was I going mad? Would I be able to retain my sanity? Were they the result of my inner panic? How was I to get out of this tangled web? If I could sight ahead to one distant tree and having reached that point, take another bearing, there was hope. If I could find a river, this would lead to civilization.
The sweat poured out of me as I walked, so that within an hour I was stripped down to shorts, boots and hat. As I climbed to the top of a ridge storm clouds were gathering on the horizon; the further I travelled, the more ominous they became.
By late afternoon the devil's fury was almost upon me - a vast cauldron of swirling black, purple and grey masses torn apart by thunderclaps and lightning flashes. The sunlight had been replaced by inky gloom, making it difficult to see ahead.
A cyclonic wind sprang up, with huge vortexes of air sweeping through the jungle, sucking the forest debris heavenwards. The trees bent under its force, small bushes were uprooted. Then came torrential rain - cascading down, turning the dry earth into a raging watercourse. The rain gave way to a hail storm; the ice pelted through the branches, stripping the leaves from the trees. The forest floor became a thick green carpet which rapidly changed colour as the hailstones piled on top of each other. The temperature dropped rapidly and the icy wind chilled my body.
A light drizzle was falling as I set up camp for the night. The damp wood only allowed me to make a small fire so I went to bed in sodden clothes and a wet sleeping bag. I drifted off under the shelter of a groundsheet, feeling miserable and depressed. My last lucid thought was of catching pneumonia.
I dreamt of the straight broad road that led to heaven and the narrow crooked path that led to hell. Monsters and demons were waiting at the side of the path, frothing at the mouth with green slime and horrible smells coming from their bodies.
I awoke to find the sun streaming down on me with a beautiful blue sky overhead, my clothes and sleeping bag were nearly dry because of the heat generated by my body. The sound of a rifle bird echoed around the clearing. Two ringtail possums were searching for crumbs around the ashes of the campfire. My spirits soared, I had survived in this inhospitable environment. I had conquered the demons which were no more than past life experiences and fear of self.
Later that day I came to a river which led south.
by Spiro Hajinakitas.
Clubs are to be asked for volunteers to form a “Kowmung Committee” to investigate fears that the level of Warragamba Dam is to be raised resulting in flooding of the Kowmung River.
F.B.W. is writing to both the Water Board and National Parks & Wildlife Service about the intrusion of helicopters flying in tourist fishermen to the upper reaches of the Warragamba catchment.
60 volunteers are required for bucket brigade to collect money from tourists as they watch Peter Treseder attempt to break the record for climbing west wall of the Three Sisters. Volunteers are required for the first, second or third day (or the whole of) the October long weekend. Peter's attempt will take place on the Saturday but the collection will continue on the remaining days. Money is to go to the Search & Rescue Radio Account.
Federation is writing to Scots College drawing their attention to the amount of gear and rubbish left behind on the Cox's River when their cadets were rescued.
Gordon Lee would like all interesting snippets of “Club News” from all Clubs for inclusion on the “Club News” page of “The Bushwalker”.
This will be held on the weekend of 31st October/1st November. Examination on Monday 9th November. Venue: Marrickville Police Rescue Headquarters. Cost $41.00.
by Jim Brown.
Recently I received a letter from Ron Compagnoni, a long-time member of the Coast and Mountain Walkers, and an enthusiastic worker for Federation over many years. His letter is reproduced below -
“My dear Jim,
Earlier this year I wandered with friends over Kanangra Tops. Inevitably my thoughts went back to tracks I had travelled before, to walkers with whom I had walked, and to bushwalking history. The party descended part of the way down Gordon Smith's Pass and watched more agile friends traversing Kilpatrick Causeway.
Later I browsed over the Kanangra Topographic Map, following our trail and refreshing myself with more names and memories. However this perusal has aroused a feeling of disquiet which is still with me. It is therefore in this belief that something should be done that I am moved to communicate my concern to one of the elder statesmen of S.B.W.
Alan Doherty in an article in S.B.W. Magazine of May 1987 mentions those early members of your Club, Gordon Smith, Peter Page and Frank Craft. Page's Pinnacle and Craft's Wall are on the map, but why no Gordon Smith's Pass or Gentle's Pass? Both passes are shown and named on the “Blue Mountains and Burragorang” Tourist Map, Lands Department 1937. Both are shown and named on Myles Dunphy's “Gangerang and Wild Dog Mountains” map of 1953, but neither is shown on the current Topographic Sheet.
How is it that the discoveries of two giants of S.B.W. and bushwalking history have been omitted from the current map? Can something be done to restore them?
With very kind regards,
As a result of this prompting, I moved at the August General Meeting two motions which were carried:-
It is perhaps worth mentioning that Ron Comp. has a place on the Kanangra map named for him - “Compagnoni Pass” at the north-eastern end of Ti Willa. There is also a story that once a S.8.W. party had trouble finding the top of the Pass in misty weather, and some of the members later “complained” to Ron, who replied, “Oh, but you're not supposed to go down the Pass - you come up it.”
That sounds like Ron Comp. - the impish, lovable pioneering walker I know from chance bushland meetings, and from some years together on the Blue Gum Forest Trust, before Blue Gum was embodied in the Blue Mountains National Park.
by Barry Wallace.
You could have been forgiven for thinking that you had arrived at a 60th Anniversary celebratory sale evening if it had not been for the President, restored safety to our bosom after his peregrinations overseas, gonging the gong and calling the meeting to order. There were four stalls and 30 or so members present and the clock lounged in a corner at 2022 hours.
New members Frances Tylman, John Jansons and David Lloyd were called for welcome but David was a no show. There were no apologies and the Minutes were read and received.
Correspondence comprised a notice of the F.B.W. Reunion and A.G.M., and a copy of the revised F.B.W. Constitution, a letter of resignation from Bruce Hart and a letter from Jim Brown regarding place names in bush areas. In matters arising Jim Brown moved two motions related to his letter. It seems that Jim had, in turn, received a letter from Ron Compagnoni pointing out that the names for Gentle's Pass and Gordon Smith Pass have both been omitted from later C.M.A. maps. The meeting duly resolved (a) To write to the Geographical Names Board requesting that these names be restored to use, and (b) To publish Ron Compagnoni's letter in the Club magazine.
The Treasurer's Report was next with advice that we began the month with $6243, received $3893, spent $705 and closed with $9431. The Treasurer also revealed that one of our longer term bonds (Coolana funds) had matured and required re-investment. Accounts for payment were passed.
Then it was the turn of the stall-holders. We received the 60th Anniversary Committee expenditure and income report and were admonished to buy those tickets, tee-shirts and port… now folks.
Walks Reports were next. Over the weekend of 10,11,12 July Ian Debert led a party of 6 on his Wollondilly area walk. They had a slow trip up Murruin Creek, and despite cutting the route somewhat arrived back at the cars in the dark. Don Finch led the other walk that weekend. The party of 14 proceeded from Thirlmere Lakes to Little River, but on the Sunday morning Don suffered a severe burn to the foot and the walk was abandoned. Belinda McKenzie led a party of 9 on her Mill Creek Circuit day walk on the Sunday.
Over the following weekend Oliver Crawford led a party of 12 which dwindled to 10 on a trip of three days which grew to four as a result of some difficulties in locating a pass. On Sunday Jim Callaway had 14 people out in the Waterfall-Heathcote area on a rather warm day and Alan Mewett led a party of 29 people on his Patonga Beach to Wondabyne trip. The walk went to program. Gordon Lee's Rock-Scrambling and Abseiling Instructional weekend attracted crowds of 12 for the scrambling and more than 20 for the abseiling.
Over the weekend 24,25,26 July Barrie Murdoch's Kanangra Walls trip was cancelled, but Carol Bruce led a party, variously reported as 12 or 25 people on her Newnes area walk. There was no report of Ralph Penglis's Coogee to Bondi walk.
The following weekend saw Ian Wolfe leading a party of 11 on his cross-country ski trip. They had a fine day with good ski-ing on the Saturday but encountered deteriorating conditions on the Sunday. Oliver Crawford reduced his walk to a normal weekend, but the 10 or so starters had some navigational problems. Jim Percy led 19 people on a wet and treacherous walk from Waterfall to Engadine. Gordon Lee had 4 starters on his Bundeena to Otford to Bundeena stroll. They were pleasantly cooled by the rain, and cheated slightly by using a car instead of the ferry.
Jim Laing's Red Rocks walk attracted 12 starters in gloriously fine weather over the weekend 7,8,9 August. Jan Mohandas was sick, but Maurie Bloom stepped in and led the party of 13 on his Long Point-Bungonia trip. Of the day walks Bill Holland had 35 on his Eloura bushland walk and another 20 at the barbecue that followed. It must have been strenuous as Bill reports many of the people became quite sleepy, and some even remained overnight. Errol Sheedy's Sunday walk from Waterfall to Sutherland attracted 12 plus 1 walkers on a rather scrubby walk in good weather to end the Walks Report.
Federation Report brought advice that Gordon Lee had been elected F.B.W. President, that there is a proposal to delete Associate Membership and that the S. & R. section will be conducting a climbathon over the October long weekend to raise funds for new radios.
The Conservation Report brought news of a general meeting of the various conservation bodies which has resolved to write to the N.S.W. Premier asking that the government take action on the proposed Wilderness Act. Our meeting resolved to write a supporting letter.
The 60th Anniversary Report revealed that Paddy Pallin has agreed to be guest speaker at the Nostalgia Night on Wednesday, 21st October. The Friday night dinner will feature dance music and a smorgasbord dinner. Once more we were exhorted to buy, buy….
General Business dealt with the hand over of the membership list to your author. It recommended that the committee consider a donation to the S. & R. committee for radios. We also dealt with the proposal to set up a Provident Fund; you will have read the notice in the previous magazine. The meeting resolved to purchase a stand for the Club projector screen.
After that it was just a matter of the announcements, and the meeting closed at 2216.
Please add the following names to your List Of Members:-
|Bradley, Geoff||151 LIvingstones Avenue, Pymble, 2073||(H) 498 5506|
|Chan, Kay (Ms)||4/34 Busaco Road, Marsfield, 2122||(H) 868 2208|
|Caskey, William||79 Bungan Head Road, Newport, 2106||(H) 997 5293|
|Graf, Madeliene||45 Hinkler Crescent, Lane Cove, 2066||(B) 922 2433 (H) 427 1785|
|Jansons, John||P.O. Box 145, Padstown, 2211||(H) 774 2690|
|Lippmann, Herbert||34 Inkerman Street, Parramatta, 2150||(H) 635 3220|
|Lim, Yok Chu (Ms)||Nurses Home, Royal Women's Hospital, 188 Oxford Street, Paddington, 2021||(H) 339 4294|
|Narayanan, Thana (Ms)||ditto||(H) 339 4294|
|Lloyd, David||254 St.Johns Road, Glebe, 2137||(H) 692 9773|
|Lubbers, Carol||23/104 Raglan Street, Waterloo, 2017||(H) 699 5450|
|O'Shea, John||Edgar Street, Strathfield, C/- St.Patrick's College, PMB Strathfield, 2135||(H) 764 3796 (B) 763 1000|
|Porter, John||10/19 Shirley Toad, Wollstonecraft, 2085|
|Shapira, Deborah||8/1 Blackwood Avenue, Ashfield, 2131||(H) 798 0309|
|Tylman, Frances (Ms)||8/72 Bundarra Road, Bellevue Hill, 2023||(H) 327 1047|
|Ward, Morris||76 Alvona Avenue, St.Ives, 2075||(H) 449 6381|
|Seenivasagam, Serala (Ms)||2 Selle House, Arundel Street, Glebe, 2035||(H) 660 6410|
|Austin, Chris & Craig||(H) 484 1519|
|Dean, Shirley||(H) 484 3985|
|Duncan, Roslyn & Bob||(H) 484 1375|
|Crawford, Oliver||(H) 437 9492|
|Holland, Fran, Bill & Karen||(H) 484 6636|
|Lee, Gordon||(H) 744 1824|
|Longfoot, Catherine||(H) 484 6636|
|Matthews, Don & Tine||(H) 484 3514|
|Noble, John||(H) 484 4497|
|Rigby, Jeff||(H) 953 7513|
|Wallace, Barry||(W) 645 9159|
|Webb, Jean & Gil||(H) 953 5937|
|Winthorpe, R. & V.||(H) 484 1519|
|Rigby, Joan||1/2 Adam Street, Tamworth, 2340|
(Joan has moved to Tamworth to take up a new job.)
Please notify Joy Hynes (H) 982 2615 about any changes, alterations or additions to the List of Members.
We are now 59 years and 11 months old, one month to go and we collect our diamond jubilee. It is not too late to start or finish your plans to join with the throng from S.B.W. to celebrate the first sixty years. So organise the baby sitter, get a new battery for the pacemaker, polish-up the walking stick or oil the roller skates and keep the last 10 days of next month, i.e. October, completely free (and while you are at it keep October 1992 also free).
This is the actual anniversary day of that most eventful day sixty years ago when a group of very smart people formed the Sydney Bush Walkers. On this Nostalgia Night members and ex-members are asked to bring along themselves plus old photos, old pieces of equipment, souvenirs, trinkets and whatever tickles your fancy. Come along and meet up with all those people you haven't seen for ages. Wendy Aliana, our social secretary, is organising a scrumptious supper, you may bring along your favourite dish if you wish - scroggin and hot rum and barley water sounds good. During the evening young Paddy Pallin will talk about some of his (bushwalking) experiences and proudly display some of the gear he designed back in the days when Goretex and Nylon were just gleams in their inventors' eyes.
Tickets are available and will be available up to a couple of days beforehand. The Nostalgia Evening really would be the latest that tickets could be purchased. So still plenty of room. Tickets are $30 each, perhaps a bit expensive but at 50 cents a year that's not bad. All of our official guests have replied and accepted our invitation; our guests in alphabetical order are:
At the dinner you will have the opportunity to talk to our guests, to each other and to dance.
To mark the anniversary the Club has written and published a book entitled “The Sydney Bush Walkers: The First Sixty Years”. The book will be launched at the dinner and you will have the opportunity to have the authors autograph your copy at no extra fee. The book is in six chapters, one per decade, each written by a different author.
Originally we planned to go to Era but have found a more suitable venue. We are now having our campfire at Stan Madden's place at Gosford, a map of how to get there is in this issue. Any time after noon Saturday is OK, just make sure you have enough time to pitch your tent and prepare dinner, or dispense with dinner and have an all night happy hour.
On Sunday a couple of youngsters from the Club will co-lead a walk in Bouddi National Park, the leaders are Dot Butler and Bill Hall. The walk is designed to suit the young and old, the fit and less fit. All are welcome.
A whole weekend at the Club's own land in the beautiful Kangaroo Valley. Come along and celebrate the first sixty years of the S.B.W. with a dance on the Saturday night with music from our own Bushwackers and on Sunday a local walk.
For all information contact Ian Debert - phone 982 2615.