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, 8 Florence Avenue, Gosford, 2250. Telephone (043) 25 7203.|
|Production Manager||Helen Gray. Telephone 86 6263.|
|Printers||Fran Holland & Stan Madden.|
|Kath and Jim Brown||an Observer||2|
|N.S.W. Federation Meeting Report||Spiro Hajinakitas||4|
|Nostalgia Night||Patrick James||5|
|60th Anniversary Dinner||Patrick James||5|
|60th Anniversary Reunion Camp||Helen Gray||6|
|A New Zealand Climb, January 1987||Christine Scott||8|
|Mountain Trails Club||Jeff Rigby||10|
|October General Meeting||Barry Wallace||13|
|Central Australia, how to organise a walk||Ainslie Morris||15|
|Letter to the Editor||Alex Colley||19|
|Obituary: Bill Gillam||20|
|Social Notes||Wendy Aliano||20|
|Eastwood Camping Centre||12|
|Belvedere Taxis, Blackheath||14|
|Canoe & Camping, Gladesville||18|
by an Observer
My association with Kath [Kath Brown, Kath Hardy] and Jim goes back more than half a lifetime to the late 1940's when they became members of the Sydney Bush Walkers. Jim had been in the wartime Army, where he had been thoroughly indoctrinated in the use of the prismatic compass for military purposes. Soon after joining the S.B.W. Jim began to employ this expertise to directing fellow walkers with uncertain capabilities in this regard over various types of terrain and through our wonderful bush.
Kath walked with the Youth Hostel Association before joining the S.B.W. My earliest memory of her is at Burning Palms, where she was living it up with some of the S.B.W. “Shackite Tribe”. We were not sure whether we were entitled to a degree of sanctimony in our little tents, or whether we should envy her her superior social status as associate of the property owning class. They had a permanent shelter at this favourite haunt of ours. Kath also did some hitchhiking with friends in those innocent days.
With the passage of time Jim and Kath came together and Jim managed to wean Kath away from the hedonistic life beside the sea. They became a twosome on numerous weekend bushwalks with us and eventually came to a more permanent arrangement and married each other. I remember Kath (nee Hardy) then saying, “People always said 'how Hardy you are' and will now say 'how Brown you are'.”
For whatever reason, there was a lot of marrying going on within the S.B.W. at this time, and I think it was Jim and Kath who started the rot. After this, young families and a modest degree of affluence seemed to arrive. Such a changed state allowed us to buy our first motor cars. Jim and Kath bought an Austin A40 sedan. It had a good ground clearance, was very reliable and would go almost anywhere. It was not long before Kath and Jim organised our belated post war baby boom out on numerous family camping weekends together. These camps took place on secluded river flats and beaches which Jim had noted on his earlier and more adventurous travels. S.B.W. reunions were other occasions which gave us opportunities for further family get togethers. Through the years we were able to watch each other's children grow to maturity and, in some cases, maternity.
Kath and Jim have always loved the campfire sing songs and sketches performed on these occasions. (As far as I know they have not missed attending a reunion since they became members forty years ago.) Jim discovered a hidden talent for composing, directing, producing, collaborating and performing in many topical sketches and “Chronic Operas”. He still does, and I am sure Jim could tell you the date of his first thespian activities. I don't possess Jim's retentive memory but I can still recite some of his more noteworthy parodies of popular songs and musical comedies. Such compositions and his articles in the magazine extend over his long association with the Club. I have long suspected that Jim must be a secret diary scribbler, for he can recall what people said, to whom and under what circumstances during any of our many trips together.
During their association with the S.B.W. Kath and Jim have been amongst the most avid supporters of numerous office bearers in the management of various activities and constitutional matters. They have rarely missed a general meeting and Jim served as President, Secretary and Editor of the magazine. He was also an excellent Walks Secretary and his knowledge of the nooks and crannies of the bush is of great assistance to budding walks leaders.
For most of the S.B.W.'s existence one of the membership requirements was that prospective members should attend what was once known as a “Field Weekend” and later as an “Instructional Weekend” in the bush. Mini lectures on first aid, navigation, camp etiquette and the objectives of the walking fraternity were given by members during these rather pleasant and relaxing camps. For many years Kath and Jim arranged and participated in this form of instruction. In addition to this work, Kath made a habit of taking an interest in the more inexperienced prospective members. She would advise them on the best type of lightweight food and equipment to take along. Where necessary she would also advise them on the type of lightweight walks they should tackle, until they felt sufficiently proficient to participate in one of our dreaded “test” walks.
Statistics are notoriously unreliable but a researcher for the 60th Anniversary Book told me that, over the period of the years following Kath's decision to become a walks leader she has set a record of having led more day walks than any other. She sometimes had three or four walks on a single programme. Without any benefit of statistics I would say that Jim must also hold some kind of record for the number of walks he has led. For most of the years since he became a member each walks programme issued included at least one walk with Jim Brown as leader.
Kath is also the typist for the monthly magazine and has been for the last 15 years or more. THAT is a lot of typing. Kath is more than a typist, however, because when there is a dearth of copy she chases people up to ensure that authors, printers and business managers toe the line so that no production holdups occur. During these years the magazine collating and assembly took place for quite some time at Kath and Jim's home in Drummoyne. These evenings became quite a social event, as after the magazines had all been assembled and ready for the post, supper appeared and lots of gossip took place. Sometimes we listened to some of Jim's records or watched a special programme on the television.
Congratulations to our friends Kath and Jim on having the distinction of becoming Honorary Active Members in this Jubilee year of The Sydney Bush Walkers.
by Spiro Hajinakitas
The Daily Telegraph printed Gary Philpott's press release concerning S.& R. on the letter page on 26/9/87. Other newspapers, TV and radio stations have not responded.
Keith Maxwell will try to persuade the Police Minister to develop for distribution a form stating trip intentions and hints on preparation for skiers, bushwalkers, fishermen etc. similar to the Victorian Dept. of Sport & Recreation's.
Mike Doherty has written to N.P.& W.S. stating our opposition to horse riding in Kosciusko National Park.
The fund raising at Echo Point on Oct. holiday weekend raised $3860.53. The Federation has now decided to purchase 8 one watt Codan radios. Bob Pallin has kindly offered to pay the expected shortfall of $4000 at no interest. The next S & R practice is on 28/29 No. at Medlow Gap.
Three full page advertisements have been acquired at $50 each.
46 people attended. The 1988 reunion will be hosted by the Fairfield Club, venue will be Digger's Flat, Yalwal.
201 people attended, profit about $1000.
We, the undersigned, who for various reasons have taken on the task of editor of this magazine could not have fulfilled the task without Kath Brown. Kath started typing the magazine in 1971 and has been at it ever since. Over the 16 years Kath has set a high standard in typing, spelling and layout. She has helped us editors to set and meet deadlines. She has turned copy written with a thumb nail dipped in tar into beautiful verse and prose to live forever in the pages of the magazine. We believe Kath has earned her Honorary Active Membership many times over. We congratulate Kath and we thank her for her work as an invaluable member of the editorial team.
by Patrick James.
Young folk, old folk, everybody came.
It was standing room only as 200 people packed into the clubroom on Wednesday, 21st October exactly 60 years after the Sydney Bush Walkers first saw the light of day.
So many people, members, ex-members and friends spanning the years of the Club's existence. For this youngster to the Club it was fascinating to see, hear and meet people after whom so many topographical features of the bush around Sydney and elsewhere are named.
The night was labelled a “nostalgia night” and that it was. Oodles of photos, loose and in albums, faded sepias to glossy full colour, had been brought along to be shared with others. Some odd pieces of walking gear were also on display: to remind the old folk of how basic things were in days long past.
Besides nostalgia our guests also brought along a selection of dishes and a healthy appetite. The food was consumed with a minimum of fuss together with a baker's dozen bottles of champagne, four casks of wine and some assorted softer drinks.
During the evening Honorary Membership Certificates were presented to those people so elected. It may have taken some 10 to 15 years to organise the certificates, but we got there in the end. Paddy Pallin, the doyen of the Club, our guest speaker, talked about the early days of S.B.W. and also was one of the belated certificate receivers.
There is no doubt the evening was a success: the large turn-up of people, their reluctance to go home, and the consumption of all the food and drink are good indicators of success.
by Patrick James.
Bushwalkers certainly do scrub-up well. It was difficult to recognise some of the 220 people who attended the dinner washed and polished and bedecked in their finery. Ten years since we last graced their halls we once again gathered at the Menzies Hotel, now with a slight name change, to show the world and ourselves that we are a cultured lot who know how to eat with more than just one spoon and bowl.
As with the Nostalgia Night there were old faces and new faces, and some faces which hadn't been seen for ages. To judge from the noise of the conversation people were not shy, were happy to see each other again and were not intimidated by the plush surroundings.
Not all our “official guests” were able to attend the evening despite having accepted the invitation. Those who were there did manage to have their say in the allotted time without incurring the wrath of our M.C., young Bill Holland.
The evening had two highlights, the conferring of Honorary Active Membership on Kath Brown (nee Hardy) and Jim Brown. This charming couple were raised to this grade of membership in recognition of many, many years of service to the Club. Membership certificates were presented by the President, Barrie Murdoch, and Jim responded for them both.
The second highlight was the launching of our book “The Sydney Bush Walkers, the First Sixty Years”. The launch was made by Frank Duncan a foundation member of the Club and its second President. Frank described how he and his wife came to join the Club 60 years ago. After Frank's launch the invitation to purchase the book was taken to heart by a small mob which swamped the book's Editor who was trying to sell and record the numbers of the books (a limited edition of only 500 books were published).
Presidents are nothing special in our casual, no-titles-no-nonsense Club, but they each represent a period of S.B.W.'s history. And so it is a measure of the 60th Anniversary celebrations' success that 23 Presidents attended at least one of the functions - all except two of those Presidents living.
by Helen Gray.
It was as if Someone-Up-There had said “S.B.W. have had enough good times this week. I gave them cold threatening weather on their Nostalgia Night and that didn't deter them. The Oldies - in age not spirit - were there by the score with photos and stories from the past. Such a happy group I hadn't seen for a decade. Then for their dinner I gave them storms and traffic jams, and still they turned up in their hundreds. This weekend I'll REALLY test them.” And that someone really did.
Most of us had got to Stan's by mid-afternoon Saturday, in time to appreciate all the hard work. Stan had mowed the whole paddock and turned it into lawn; he had dug pits and built toilets; he had set a huge campfire. Dawn Greentree had turned the large shed into a house with beds, chairs, tables, etc. and erected a tarpaulin shelter outside “just in case”. Joy Hynes and Ian Debert put up an extra shelter, the tents were erected, and the campfire lit and the meals in progress when the drizzle turned to downpour. “It won't last” we thought, buttoning up already wet parkas and putting up umbrellas.
But last it did. The crowd of 50-or-so divided. One large group sheltered under Ian's tarp., singing bawdy songs and telling jokes (not one of which is suitable for print). The continuous peals of laughter from that crowd were a joy to hear that miserable night. A smaller group stood around the fire and just pretended the rain wasn't there, while a third group in Stan's shed talked the hours away - loudly, to be heard above the rain on the iron roof. No chance of quiet conversations here!
“… but you used to be such a SLIM young thing,” said Jack, a walker from the 40s and 50s, to Tine, before turning to me to say, “When I first met you in the 50s I thought you were beautiful. It's such a shock seeing you now.” “Have a cup of cocoa,” said hosts Stan and Dawn to change the subject, “but don't spill any on that bed - Dot's asleep under there somewhere.” “Impossible,” I thought, with all those people lolling on it and with all the noise. But she was! (Well, perhaps not asleep, but she was certainly claiming her place for the night.)
In dribs and drabs people went to their tents and by the early hours of Sunday the talking ceased. But not for long! At 4 am a voice could be heard, “I think we're floating!” (from a tent with a floor) and “I'm soaked!” (from a tent without). We were camped near the top of a ridge, on sloping ground, yet the water flowing past, under and over us was an inch deep.
Dot Butler and Bill Hall, our most long-standing active members, were to lead a walk in Bouddi on the Sunday. (Bouddi has a special place in our Club's history, for it was an S.B.W. member, Marie Byles who… But why tell the story here? It's in the book! “The Sydney Bush Walkers, The First Sixty Years” will tell you all.) On Sunday Dot was woken by Bill saying, “Your co-leader is going home”, and soon Dot announced she was going too, as her “transport”, Nan and Paddy Burke, were heading off and threatening to return to their home in “sunny Victoria”. (They turned up at Coolana a week later, though.)
The paddock was full of activity; people were pushing bogged cars, the worst bogged being towed by Stan in his 4-wheel-drive monster. In the midst of this, Fazeley Read and Ray Hookway arrived. Ray told us our district had had the heaviest rain in the state and over 300 mm in a few hours at one stage. As if we hadn't guessed! Fazeley, from N.Z.s South Island and therefore never bothered by rain, had come for the walk and as there were others still interested, Stan led a party of 15 or so on a short walk to Maitland Bay. The seas were wild and the beaches were, needless to say, deserted… and, when we returned to Stan's, the sun came out! Someone-Up-There had given up! The spirit of S.B.W. IS unquenchable.
Writing this, over one week later, I can only recall one “minus” from the weekend. Stan's once beautiful mowed paddock is now a ploughed field from the bogged cars. (Stan laughs his good-natured laugh as he shrugs “Who cares!”) As someone said at Coolana the next weekend: “That was a great weekend at Stan's. We were united by the rain, a common adversity, as well as by friendship”.
If ever there was a perfect weekend this was it. It was that of our childhood memories, hot, cloudless, brilliant-blue skies, gentle breezes and balmy nights. Weeks of rain had made Kangaroo Valley even greener than usual, and the wet weather streams still spilled waterfalls where usually there were none.
Nature was aided by some hard-working S.B.W.s who, two weeks before, had spent a weekend at Coolana. Bob and Margaret Niven had brought their tractor and slasher from Brookvale and mowed the river flats which were now sprouting soft green grass under the forest of wattles. Ian Debert and Joy Hynes had cleaned the hut until it gleamed and now were decorating it with bracken fronds, balloons and streamers. George Gray, after a long search, had located the air-lock in the water pipe and now the taps were running again. John Redfern fixed up the long-ago-fire-damaged toilet, and Mike Reynolds had built the campfire, British Scout style.
Saturday saw S.B.W. cars by the score heading along the expressway to Mittagong, so when the Brown's Kombi broke down en route, it was not long before they were rescued by the Reynolds and Vatiliotis families who, after depositing the Kombi at a Mittagong garage, transported Kath and Jim to Coolana.
And what would we have done without Jim! He wrote two of the sketches for the camp fire entertainment, “What's Biting You 1” (on leeches) and “What's Biting You 2” (on ticks) the latter especially relevant at Coolana. Jim also acted in the other two sketches. “Cinderella” from Dot Butler, full of spoonerisms and an actor's nightmare but carried off with true professionalism by Ugly Sisters Jim Percy and Mike Reynolds, Fairy Godmother Jim Brown, Prince Jo Van Sommers and Cinderella Don Matthews who, despite individual tuition from producer Dot, managed to get his ball-outfit torn and tangled during a quick off-stage change, and emerged for the ball scene far more ragged and dishevelled than he was among the cinders.
Don's own production “Little-Bo-Peep-cum-Red-Riding-Hood-cum-?” was not without its problems. The actors for whom it had been written were not all there (i.e. were not all at Coolana!) so there were last minute stand-ins, the same cast as for the other sketches. And what with Don's writing being difficult, if not impossible, to read by fire-light and Don himself groping in the grass for his lost reading glasses, there was a good deal of ad-libbing and confusion, all of which added to the fun.
The M.C. then announced the barn dance was on in the hut, but as I'd taken on the job at one second's notice and didn't know “The Scrub Bashers” were to perform, this event was not announced. Thus, the moment their singing started, up jumped the would-be dancers and the wild party was on! Sorry, “Scrub Bashers”. Those of us listening, and dancing, assure you you could be heard and you were thoroughly enjoyed by all. (The singers were Ailsa Hocking, Gordon Lee, Tom Wenman, Bob Hodgson and Len Newland.) 'Till 3 am the dancing continued, thanks to the music of Len Newland on guitar, Dot Newland and Gordon Lee on violins, and Bob Hodgson on mouth-organ.
At a suitable interval we had supper. Coffee, tea and cocoa were served with fruit cakes. Thanks to the cake-makers especially; Margaret Niven, Lorraine Bloomfield and Spiro Hajinakitas (who made five). The bushwalkers of the future were there too; the Hodgson and Vatiliotis girls and the Stichter and Yewdall boys, average age about 4, enjoyed themselves like the veteran campers they already are. Young Peter Yewdall, age 5, was still barn-dancing at 1 am and talking to each of his partners.
Sunday morning saw an early valley mist which soon lifted to reveal another perfect day. By 10.30 the walkers were on their way, led by Dot Butler, to explore Coolana's extensive boundaries, past the sandstone cliffs, rainforest gully and the sheltered valley full of burrawang palms. They returned to find the lazier of us still talking. (After a nostalgia night, a dinner and two reunion weekends, we can still talk. I've been told the tongue muscle is the only muscle that strengthens with age. It has been proved!)
And so, by Sunday's late afternoon, the 60th Anniversary celebrations had come to their end and people vowed to meet with their friends more often. Was it all a success? Of course it was. There were over 100 at the Nostalgia Night, over 220 at the Dinner, 61 at Stan's, and 104 at Coolana.
See you at the 75th!
by Christine Scott.
It was mid-morning, a cold wind was blowing at The Hermitage in Mount Cook where five anxious walkers had stayed overnight.
With packs and winter woollies on, we set off along the track to find the well known “Hooker Hut”.
Occasionally someone would call out “there it is”. Not the hut, but a glance at Mount Cook itself, stretching through the cloud ahead. We crossed the Hooker River (via the bridge), tackled with Spaniards (a New Zealand Spear Grass) and fought hard against the wind which could blow us off our feet in one short breath. We trudged on, not knowing what lay ahead.
Still with the occasional view of Mount Cook, we crossed the one-man bridge which took us over the river and our first sighting of the Hooker Glacier. It was cold, and crossing over one by one, watching the fast flow of water which came from under the glacier sent cold shivers up my spine.
On we marched only now the rain had started, climbing and sliding over scree and moving up the valley, every step closer to Hooker Hut.
At last a friendly sight, the hut had appeared and in the distance Mount Cook could be seen in full glory, a sigh of relief was heard from all. Two nights were spent in the hut trying to relax, waiting for a chance to go on.
It was at times hard to keep occupied, as there was not much reading matter in the hut. We put our heads together to work out puzzles in Bob's book, if desperate, reading Bill's novel, or generally chatting to others who had arrived at the hut. Luckily, Gordon had an endless supply of paper so a few of us were able to play various games like Dot-to-Dot, Battle Ships, Hand Man etc., (brought back memories) at one stage even with Bob's help, Wayne still had trouble winning. “I Spy with my Little Eye” was suggested, we hit the sack instead. That night the howling wind and rain took us off to sleep, being thankful of the warmth inside the hut.
It was 6.30 am when we set out up the ridge to meet face to face with our objective. The ridge was hard work, very exposed, with the winds blowing at full force or even worse, dead still. There were times you could have straddled the ridge. (I don't think there's another ridge I've hugged quite so tight.)
The views were something that I just can't describe. To turn around and look over the valley previously trekked, across to Mount Cook and up towards the snow-covered pass where icy blue glaciers lay either side of us - spectacular.
By this stage we'd reached the snow line and the shelter was just ahead.
We stopped to put on crampons, and with ice axe in hand, set off over the Copeland Pass. Following one another, taking care to walk in each others footsteps, tippy-toed around one or two crevasses and with a feeling of relief, we reached the top. I for one, glad of not having to go back the way we came.
Thanks guys, a climb to remember.
by Jeff Rigby.
(The Sydney Bushwalkers at 60 years old is one of the oldest active bushwalking clubs in Australia. Jeff's article gives an insight into a walking club which predates our own. In this present world it may be difficult to imagine what life was like in 1914, three score and ten years ago; it is almost impossible to comprehend the reasons for or needs to have a men only walking club.
There has been a long association between the M.T.C. and the S.B.W. Jeff's father designed the cover of our magazine; look now and you'll still find his name there. Editor.)
In the December 1986 issue of “The Sydney BUshwalker”, Alex Colley reviewed Pat Thompson's excellent book “Myles Dunphy - Selected Writings”. The book is certainly a timely one in that Myles kept a low profile during his long career as a conservationist and received very little recognition until he was awarded the O.B.E. in the last years of his life. Very few outside the walking and conservation world realise this country's debt to him, and indeed to many he was only known through his many maps, notably his wonderful 'Gangerang' sheet. To look at his maps is to gain quite a clear insight into the man; methodical, accurate, and highly romantic. In fact his cartographical activities set him apart from his successors to some extent, in that his maps became a powerful weapon in the cause of preservation of scenic wilderness. This was because they allowed generations of walkers to understand the country and its intrinsic value, and demonstrated to government that here was a man whose knowledge and expertise could not easily be denied.
But what of the Mountain Trails Club which Myles formed in 1914 with five mates, said to be Australia's first true bushwalking club (Myles' term in those days was 'mountain trailing' or 'trailering'), under whose aegis so many conservation battles were waged in the decades that followed. Alex raised the question in his review and perhaps some explanation can be made here. What did happen to the Mountain Trails Club?
My father, Alan Rigby, who designed the cover of “The Sydney Bushwalker”, was a long time member of the M.T.C., from 1923 until his death in 1966. He was also a foundation member of the S.B.W. and was a member of the National Parks Association in later life. It would have to be said, however, that his greatest loyalty was to the Mountain Trails Club and in particular to Myles Dunphy. This was demonstrated to me one day on Armours Range overlooking Mt. Milo when he was pointing out where he and his mates had carried Myles out of the Kowmung in 1934, some thirty years previously, after Myles had experienced suspected heart trouble: “Yes, we loved Myles,” he said, and as I looked at the terrain and imagined the party, struggling with Myles on his stretcher in the January heat, it seemed to me that they must have!
My elder brothers and I grew up in the 1950's and 60's with the remaining Mountain Trailers almost as uncles, certainly some as godfathers. We attended most of the monthly meetings and twice a year we camped at 'Miara' on Heathcote Creek, on a lease of some 30 acres held by the club, and now part of the National Park. We were treated to the unique spectacle of Myles arriving on Saturday morning complete with Dungal swag, and spent Saturday night under a big angophora with a roaring campfire, listening to yarns of walks, push-bike trips and canoe trips. There were the hilarious anecdotes of Albert Crandon, a locksmith by trade, and Roy Doyle's laconic delivery of tales of adventure in the bush. Above all we were hypnotised by Myles's ability as a story teller; his vivid, careful use of language, Irish sense of humour and the incisive quality of his voice, once heard never forgotten.
Theirs was the easy, certain, relationship of men who had known each other for up to 50 years - there was a wonderful sense of cameraderie with no sense of what we call 'macho' behaviour (although it is just possible that this was in deference to the presence of three small boys!). There was one aspect of the club, however, which has led to some controversy over the years, in that it was an all male outfit. It would be unacceptable now and from this distance it is difficult to explain. I suppose in 1914 a girl simply could not share a tent with a man who was not her husband and was not expected to do anything so unladylike as carry a pack and climb steep ridges. At any rate one has to remember that these were men who were of a post-Victorian era, born in the late 1890's and early 1900's, and perhaps it does not serve much of a purpose to judge them by current standards.
It is a fact, however, that the men of the Mountain Trails Club held their womenfolk in very high regard. They certainly did walk with their wives and girl friends (though perhaps not in the very early days during the First World War). My parents spent their honeymoon on the Cox and the Nattai and Margaret Dunphy was a veteran of many canoe trips and walks. There was, of course, the now legendary perambulator trip which Myles and Margaret made to Kanangra with the infant Milo! The Club was quick to support the formation of the S.B.W. and some of them became foundation members and office bearers of the new club.
In later years there were regular picnics at Audley, Royal National Park and various functions at each others' houses where club members and families met and kept alight their long-standing relationships. To this day, if the Mountain Trails Club survives in any sense at all, it is largely through the bond between the women, now mostly widows, as much as between the remaining men, even though the formality of club status has long gone.
The truth is, that, in the end, the M.T.C. was not a club in the organisational sense, but a kind of brotherhood. It was extraordinarily selective in its membership, strictly by invitation only and the vote on the new member (by secret ballot) had to be unanimous. The new member was given a certificate of membership, hand lettered and decorated by Myles, each one of them an artistic tour-de-force. There was only ever 55 members from 1914 to 1970, hardly calculated to ensure the club's survival. Myles sometimes referred, in his writings, to his “bush brothers”, and for their part it was unthinkable that anyone else could be the Hon. Secretary. No matter what, he was their unchallenged and much loved leader.
By the early 1960s very few of the older members still walked, beyond the biannual pilgrimage to Miara. Perhaps only my father, Ray Doyle, and Richard Higgin (himself a much younger man). Even in my father's case, his walking had been in partial abeyance during the late 40s and 50s because of pressures of business, family, housebuilding etc., although he was very active later on. Of course there are six or seven of us younger members and we all walked regularly. Many of us still walk and Milo carries on his father's work in the most remarkable and implacable fashion. Perhaps careers, marriages, university, prolonged absences overseas, etc. prevented us from carrying the club on, perhaps we were too few after all.
As old age and sickness claimed the senior members, the entity of the club diminished. In the late 1950s, Bert Gallop died, followed by Harry Whitehouse, Fred Rice and later on in the 60s, Ray Doyle, my father and Harry Peatfield. About this time, as Alex Colley points out, Myles retired from professional life and was winding down his conservation activities so that the club was well and truly on the wane. Despite the addition of a couple of new members in the late 1960s, the club was officially reduced to that of a social club in 1971.
It seems clear then that the club's identity was so bound up in the brotherhood of its older members that it could not survive their passing.
Today at Miara, familiar trees and rocks still bask in the sun. The campsites of various Mountain Trails Club members can still be identified; that of Myles looking as if he had left only the day before. The big angophora still stands, little has changed, but Myles has gone and with him the Mountain Trails Club.
You may have noticed that the well dressed out on the Town or out on the Track now sport the S.B.W. T-shirt, a yellow creation in cotton with flannel flowers growing on the chest.
As you tramp through the bush as free as a Platycercus flaveolus (yellow rosella) you might give some thought to the people who silk-screen printed our T-shirts especially if for whatever reason you need other silk-screen printing. The Berrima Training Centre, a part of the Department of Corrective Services did our printing. They may not be able to wander around the bush as free as we do but they do a very professional job of all stages of printing. Philip Tompkins the manager of the printing shop on 048-771241 at the Berrima Training Centre will happily discuss designs, colours, quantities, prices and delivery. The service that the B.T.C. gave us was excellent.
The meeting began at around 2018 with the President in the chair, some 30 or so members, and what appeared to be one long stall, down the western wall.
There were apologies from Ian Wolfe, Valerie Douglass, Fran Holland, Alex Colley, and two or three others (the meeting was moving at an almost frenzied pace at this stage, with the President, Secretary and floor, contributing apologies in random order). It seemed unlikely that Valerie Douglass would come forward to receive badge, but we checked, just in case.
The Minutes of the previous meeting were read, reviewed at some length, and received with minor corrections.
Correspondence comprised a letter or letters to the Ella Community Centre, variously accepting a rise in our rent, applying for corporate membership of whatever organisation we are now required to join if we want to go on renting their hall, and apologising for cookie monstering the biscuits belonging to others, with an offer to pay for the biscuits so consumed. There were other letters as well; one to L. W. Reid ordering more anniversary T-shirts, one from the N.P.W.S. confirming receipt of our letter re the damaged water tank on the Mt. Hay road and indicating that they will schedule repairs as funds permit; a letter from Alex Colley, our Conservation Secretary, to the State Premier urging that action be taken on the Wilderness Act; a letter from the Total Environment Centre requesting a donation; a letter from Tim Moore, State Liberal M.L.C., enclosing an Environment Newsletter; and a letter from Hogg Robinson Nesbitt regarding our Public Liability insurance.
The meeting also received a notice of motion from the October Committee meeting to the effect that Committee were concerned that the September General Meeting had seen fit to directly contravene a Committee ruling without the courtesy of referring the matter back to the Committee for reconsideration, and suggesting that some thought be given to returning to the previous practice of operating under a series of standing orders (motions of continuing effect they used to be called B.W.) for the purpose of maintaining an orderly system of decision making and control, particularly in financial matters.
There followed somewhat of a Q. and A. session, as people who had not been present at the September meeting attempted to establish just what had led to this situation. There were references to great emotion and turbulence, but no really rational explanation. There also seemed, to me at least, to be a general drawing back. The meeting passed a motion that the meeting take note of the Committee notice and requesting that a sub-committee be set up to review and recommend on this, and on standing orders.
The Treasurer's Report indicated that we began the month with $8666.16, acquired $2990.13, spent $2946.95 and closed with a balance of $8709.34. We also received the 60th Anniversary sub-committee financial report and activity report. The meeting authorised disbursements to cover the cost of drinks for the invited guests at the dinner. Arising from the activity report the meeting moved that clearing bushes etc. at Coolana prior to the 60th Anniversary camp be kept to the minimum necessary.
Federation Report indicated that F.B.W. are concerned at the increasing use of National Parks by horse riding parties and the changes being made to some park areas as a result. There was also some uncertainty about the exact intention behind changes to Warragamba Dam. Copies of the new S. & R. Calender, using the normal conventions for calenders this time, will be available in the near future.
In the matter of Incorporation of the Club we have now lodged our certificate of insurance and the recently amended constitution… don't hold your breath.
Then followed a Federation Ball report which consisted largely of raffle ticket numbers and prize amounts. Rather like, I imagine, a game of housie.
The Walks Report began, after we had successfully fended off Alan's offer to present two months' worth to make up for the previous meeting's lack, with no report of Wayne Steele's Byangee Walls traverse over the weekend of 11,12,13 September. Ian Debert had 6 people on his Mt. Jellore trip the same weekend, and of the day walks - there was no report of Ken Gould's Brisbane Waters walk, Alan Mewett reported 15 starters and good weather and great views on his Jenolan Canyon trip.
Maurie Bloom's Neriga walk over the weekend 18,19,20 September attracted 11 people on what was described as a good walk, apart from the absence of Maurie, who was sick. Carol Bruce did the honours. Tom Wenman had 4 people out on his Cloudmaker trip the same weekend.
There was no report of Ainslie Morris' Pearl Beach day walk but Errol Sheedy had 26 people on his Waterfall to Otford walk which was described as excellent on all counts, including wildflowers.
The following weekend 25,26,27 September saw Oliver Crawford and a party of 11 loving the exploring of the area, particularly the descent at the Yarramunmun Creek/Bungleboori Creek junction. Of Tony Marshall's Colboyd Range trip there was no report, but Barry Wallace's Bonnum Pic walk had a party of 6 enjoying the wildflowers and witnessing a curious snake dance in fine, rather warm weather. Peter Christian's day walk to West Head attracted a party of 6 for a little scrub-bashing, Paul Mawhinney had 12 on his Kangaroo Creek walk and Bill Hall led 12 people on his Wondabyne wildflower walk. Wilf Hilder's walk went - no report.
All of which brought us to October 2,3,4,5. Oliver Crawford had a party of 10 on his Axehead Range walk and Ian Debert gentled his party of 13 through the rigours of a base camp at Joadja. George Walton's day walk around Narrowneck went to program for the party of 9.
Over the weekend 9,10,11 October, Greta Davis' Blackhorse Range walk went, but there was no report and Les Powell's Ettrema Creek trip had 3 starters coping with a hot Saturday and cooler Sunday, but went to program. Jan Mohandas, starting from Saturday led an excellent gourmet weekend for his party of 9. They enjoyed an easy day on the Saturday but paid for it on the Sunday by scrub-bashing and rock-hopping their way back to catch the 4.35 pm train. Jim Percy's day test walk in the Royal N.P. attracted a party of 21, but of George Mawer's Mount Banks day walk there were few details, but we did hear that Sev Sternhell was along, testing out his leg.
Then followed the announcements, and the President released us yet again, with a gentle flick of the wrist, at 2158.
by Ainslie Morris.
I was inspired by David Rostron to organize a group to walk in the MacDonnell Ranges west of Alice Springs. Having been unable to join David's previous trips, his encouragement and detailed advice on a suitable route and the location of water for camps were all I needed. I also sought and was given reassurance from Frank Rigby, the S.B.W. pioneer of walking in the MacDonnells and author of “The MacDonnell Ranges” with photography by Henry Gold (1971). This book is out of print, but its clear map showing the general topography of this major Australian mountain range has been reduced and reproduced to illustrate this article.
The following five routes have been covered by various members and they are by no means exhaustive of the possibilities; the whole point of walking there is to explore the complex canyon country. You can take one day to walk past an area, or several days in it.
6 - 7 days Brinkley Bluff 3,950 feet a.s.l. (allow half day extra); allow 1 or 2 days extra to explore east of Standley Chasm.
6 to 7 days or 8 days to give 2 nights at Hugh Gorge. There is also a one day of hard and dreary walking which links up Mt. Giles with Hugh Gorge - better to organize transport for two separate walks if possible.
10 to 11 days.
8 to 9 days, one more if walking from Glen Helen Tourist Camp. Includes Mt. Sonder 4,417 feet.
3 to 6 days.
Also you could drive or take a coach to Kings Canyon where you can camp free, then continue beyond the end of the Tourist Track upstream and explore the extraordinary “lost City” of dome rocks which form a maze cut by narrow deep splits. Worth at least 1 night pack walk.
No camping permits. Easily seen in one day. Try the Olga Gorge for a challenging rock scramble. There are water pools.
Start by talking to previous leaders such as David Rostron , Jim Laing (knowledgable on whole area), Frank Rigby (lives in Canberra), myself, or others who have walked there.
The Sydney Bushwalker magazine articles (in the archives):-
Also Route Notes by Frank Rigby 1978 for Serpentine Gorge to Redbank Gorge.
Hermannsburg 1:250,0110 - order 3-4 months before required - useful only for very general navigation and access from the road, Laparinta Drive.
Similar scale maps of the whole area of about 200 km east to west can be obtained from N.R.M.A. and Northern Territory Tourist Office in Sydney. These show Aboriginal Land for which you need an entry permit.
No large scale maps exist except for the small area east of Standley Chasm drawn by Alice Springs Bushwalkers.
For the area from Hugh Gorge to Standley Chasm I bought 3 black and white, and for Hugh Gorge two colour as well. Total cost $27.52 (including postage of $2). Order about 3 months before required from:- Division of National Mapping, P.O. Box 31, Belconnen, 2616.
To order, state:
The scale is 1:80,000 and adequate for detailed navigation. The colour photos are even larger scale and a pleasure to use for intense exploration of very small areas, which we did. All photos are of a convenient size to put in a normal broad map case. For assistance on ordering for areas further west of Hugh Gorge or east of Standley Chasm, ring up. The office is very helpful.
Cheapest is Apex direct flight - for school holidays you need to book and pay 6 months ahead at least. In July 1987 the fare was $404 return. The walking season is winter, May to September.
Book with Northern Territory Tourist Office in Sydney which contacts suitable operators for you. Also our motel owners at Arura Safari Lodge in Alice Springs, Tanya and Bruce, would be happy to book a minibus with trailer for you if staying there. Our transfers cost $35 return each for about 65 km out.
Is not necessary but the cheapest is Arura Safari Lodge (apart from the Youth Hostel or camping area). Single $20, twin $30, share bathroom, use of kitchen and B.B.Q. and laundry - all very useful. Phone number is (089) 52,3843. Book early for school holidays; other motels $50-$65 twin minimum.
(1) For Hugh Gorge - Just before the Hugh River (signposted) - 60 km west of Alice Springs there is the 4WD road to Stuart Pass clear and obvious on the right; or you can try to pick a suitable gap in the Heavitree Range and head north (about 15 km to the Hugh River further upstream); or enter at Standley Chasm.
(ii) For further west, say Redbank Gorge, either Glen Helen Tourist Camp or if possible, about 20 km west of it; or you could start at Ormiston Gorge for Mt. Slander (no water), north into the Gorge (good water), east to Mt. Giles (water, allow 3 days for trip including one day to explore); or Serpentine Gorge and go west to Ormiston Gorge; or Ellery Creek Big Hole and go east to Hugh Gorge.
Write at least 3 to 4 months before your walk if going on to aboriginal land, e.g. for Standley Chasm you are on the Iwapataka Land Trust. Please do not bushwalk or camp without a permit as S.B.W. could be banned forever, or you could be charged and fined a large sum. They were happy to grant us a permit, but leave plenty of time. Write for application forms to:- Central Land Council, P.O. Box 3321, Alice Springs, 5750. Or ring the Manager/Administration (089) 52,3800.
Shoes or boots of leather are essential for comfort as spinifex grass will pierce canvas and even enter ventilation holes; gaiters or strong cotton work trousers are also essential for comfort.
Water bags e.g. 4 litre wine casks, one per person.
Hat, and possibly light leather gloves or gardening gloves to keep out spinifex and briar thorns when climbing up or down steep hillsides.
Tent fly is useful to keep wind out and for rain, which, although extremely rare in winter, can come down in torrents.
Sleeping bag rated minus 10 - it is usually mild to cool, but can freeze.
I hope this information helps you. Happy walking!
Map: drawn by Gerry Sinzig from the book “The MacDonnell Ranges” by Frank Rigby (1973) reproduced with permission.
“Altjira. Showing the MacDonnell Ranges from Mt Sonder to Alice Springs.”
by Ray Franklin.
Think of bushwalking in summer, particularly early summer, and invariably one thinks of… flies: small flies, hovering around the eyes and hat-band; big ones, on your fellow-walker's back (or in our case, back-pack!).
And if you've ever wondered what they were all doing there: well, the answer was in a recent edition of the “Sydney Morning Herald”. Tucked away on page 3, somewhat less prominently displayed than the budget predictions, and the latest minsteria1 scandals, it was the good oil from the C.S.I.R.O. The reasons for those irritating habits which, for the creatures concerned, are literally matters of life and death.
It seems that as far as the little beasties are concerned, the attraction is gastronomic. For them our faces, however lovely or otherwise they may seem to us humans, are nothing more than so many mobile larders, in which the tiny flies search out proteins contained in tears, nasal mucus and saliva. And we're not even very full larders: the C.S.I.R.O. says humans contribute very little to the average fly's diet, since most of it comes from the eyes and nose fluids of farm animals, particularly cattle.
But searching for a feed is not what the big flies on your back are doing. In fact, they're not doing anything: just waiting. And what they're waiting for is a somewhat delicate matter: they're mostly egg-bearing females, you see, and they need you to (ahem!) defecate, so they can have suitable material in which to lay their eggs.
And they're remarkably patient in this matter, according to the C.S.I.R.O. Its scientists say the flies are able to withhold egg-laying for several days, in readiness for a dollop of dung that's fresh enough, and big enough, to ensure maximum egg survival rates.
This suggests, of course, that the size of the bush-fly population could be controlled, to a small extent, by the exercise of severe restraint in the bowel-moving department: “More liquid concrete sandwiches!” should be our battle-cry, if we want to keep down the flies.
But none of this helps to explain why there are always more flies on the backs of people wearing blue shirts, blouses or back-packs. Is it because the flies think they produce “material”, as the C.S.I.R.O. puts it, which is superior in either quality or quantity? Or is it, perhaps, that bush-flies have a hitherto unsuspected aesthetic sense, and like to spend their waiting time on something they find visually appealing - perhaps chatting the while about bush-babies, and the latest bush ballads?
We'll just have to hope the “Sydney Morning Herald” eventually provides the answer. To that one, too.
(Info. from “Sydney Morning Herald”, Tuesday Sept. 15, 1987; p.3)
My thanks to those who responded to my letter in the September issue by making available the magazines I needed to complete my collection. I have photocopied these and my collection is now complete. They are bound in spring-back folders for easy reference or photocopying.
Jim Brown's trip index of issues 1 to 235 appears in the September and October 1954 issues. Bringing this index up-to-date would be a time-consuming but interesting and useful job for a magazine buff.
My collection will be available to any member seeking information on the past activities of the Club.
Stan Madden would love to hear from someone interested in helping to print our magazine (from December on) with a view to learning all the little tricks and to take over the fun job next March. Someone who is free during the week in the daytime who likes a little challenge will be very welcome.
The death from cancer occurred on September 27th of Club member, Bill Gillam. Bill joined the Sydney Bush Walkers in 1948 as a teenager. He was an active walker and a keen worker, becoming part of the magazine staff within two months of becoming a member, and a magazine Editor at barely 21 years old. He was a good writer with a distinctive style who continued to write for the magazine for at least another 30 years which included another stint as Editor in 1969.
Many S.B.W.s are indebted to Bill for teaching them to ski. For many winters during the 70s, Bill held ski instructional weekends at least once every month when he selflessly devoted all his time to teaching the new chums, while his former pupils were out on the slopes enjoying themselves! Even more generously he spent many summer days as a volunteer fire fighter in the Royal National Park.
Bill was an expert on native plants and a gardener with green fingers who succeeded in growing, often from a tiny slip, the most difficult of plants. There are many S.B.W.s whose gardens are full of Bill's trees, for he gave most away to his friends. When Coolana was purchased he provided hundreds of native trees for its re-afforestation. Undeterred by their almost total destruction in a bushfire, he later replanted some new trees. These are part of his memorial.
Bill was the world's fastest fire lighter! On any walk, if Bill decided it was time for a rest he'd suddenly sprint ahead of the leader and within seemingly seconds had a fire going and the billy on. What could the leader do but stop! (Bill made many grateful friends for this.)
During the 70s Bill was involved in a car accident which left him with an injured neck. Although this was finally corrected with surgery, further complications arose and his run of ill-health seemed to have commenced.
For his generosity, his gentle nature, his quiet humour and his friendship, Bill will be missed, but fondly remembered, by his many Sydney Bush Walker friends.
Please note that Anita and Alan Doherty have a new address:-
2 Marine Crescent, Hornsby Heights, 2077. Tel. 476 6531.
by Wendy Aliano.
This Wednesday is the Xmas Party to be held at the Clubroom. Please bring a plate of party food (and a glass). The Club will provide the drinks.
The Clubroom will be closed from the 18th December until 18th January, 1988.
The last meeting for the year will be our Xmas Party and the first in the new year will be a short General Meeting combined with Gordon's Abseiling & Canyoning evening, on the 20th January.
Would any fit walkers who would like to walk in South Island please contact me. It is expected that the tracks to be walked will come from the following: Stewart Island; Lake Houroko - Supper Cove - West Arm; Young River - Wilkins; Blue River (off Makarora R.); Copeland; Matukituki River. As these walks would be graded medium/hard or Hard, some hard training will be necessary before late February's departure (I've started).
Jim Oxley, P.O. Box 94, Ryde, 2112. 807 2128 (H) 282 2670 (B)
Please add the following name to your List of Members:-
Douglas, Valerie, 328 Duff Street, Turramurra, 2074 - Tel. 488 9006 (H), 816 1555 (B)