Date: 30.8.1946 – 9.9.1946
Was this the real beginning?
When Quentin Burke sent his Christmas card from Holtville, California in 2008 he wrote a postscript on the back – “Mal – It’s 60 years ago !!! In 1948 we were with Vern (Gilbert) and Willie (Gilder) “doing” Kosciusko. My main memory was the lamb stew at White’s River Hut!”
Needless to say I felt quite sure it was 1946 so I hunted out my old bushwalking log books only to find we were both wrong! It was 29 th January to 8 th February 1947. So much for the memory when you are over 80!
I followed up by typing with my two fingers, the old log, copying the old black and white photos and sending a copy to both to Quent in Holtville and Vern in Toronto, Canada. I had a nice surprise a couple of weeks later when both phoned their thanks and of course a little reminiscing.
In my accompanying letter I had also made the following enquiry :- “I also have a log of our Yerranderie to Katoomba walk done 30 th August – 9 th September 1946. I wondered if it was on this walk that we crystallised the idea to actually start the post war SUBW?, as our letter in Honi Soit was published in October that year? Do you agree this was the case?”
During our phone conversations mentioned above both agreed it probably was the fact. I thought it was at the camp fires we had at the end of each day’s hiking especially the last couple, that we talked about the plan to write the letter to Honi Soit and arrange a meeting to start the group. It is also interesting to note that besides Vern, Quent and myself two of the other three signatories of the six namely Bill Taylor and Fred Douch were met walking in the bush during this hike.
In their addresses to the decade SUBW reunions Ian Ross (40 th ), Vern Gilbert (50 th ), and Dennis (Twid ) Robinson (60 th ), all referred to the beginning but somehow any definite detail was missing. I think this missing link in the detail came as a result of those campfire discussions during that memorable walk when the idea crystallised into a positive objective.
Yes, the idea had been gestating from walks organised earlier by the Junior Science Association and the S.U. Rover Crew. Our first President Ian Ross and first Walks Secretary Fred Douch were members of the SU Rover crew as were three of us on the Kosiusko walk and four out of six of us on the Yerranderie – Katoomba walk in August – September 1946. I had logged this Hike as we called it then, in order to qualify for the over 50 miles hiking required for investiture into the SU Rovers. This is the reason for the apparent formality in this log.
It was interesting for me to read this old log written by a young student whose prose and humour were not very adult and to note we even recorded estimated mileages and walking times. Also in that post war era petrol rationing still existed and none of us had access to our own vehicles so we all hitch hiked back and forth from our points of take-off and return from our walks.
For your interest, another two fingered typed copy of the Yerranderie – Katoomba – CloudmakerHike, follows.
Note: this version has been edited from the pdf version of the report. Precise times and mileage have been removed, Please see the pdf version for full details.
Log of hike from Yerranderie to Katoomba
30.8.1946 – 9.9.1946
Members of Party:
K. Burke – Eng. 11. (Kay)
Q. Burke – Arts 11 (Quent)
C. Crossman – Eng 11 (Charlie)
V. Gilbert – Sc 11 (Vern)
M. Ney – Sc 11 (Mike)
M. Stewart – Sc 11 (myself)
NB Distances are given in miles as calculated from a 1”/mile map because the travelling consisted of much climbing and following of river beds. Under these circumstances I think that estimation of distance is extremely inaccurate. In general the party took compass bearings of landmarks and the position was plotted on the map.
Also times during the marching rests are not all correct but estimated as no log was kept of these. The inaccurate times will be marked by the sign in front of the time. Other times were averaged
from the party’s three watches which kept fairly well in agreement during the trip. The hitch-hiking mentioned is for log only and the hike itself exceeds the distance of fifty miles which was required for the Rover investiture into the SU Crew.
At the end of the log there is a list of personal gear and several photographs which were taken on the trip.
Another point of interest of this hike was that a full window display of Quentin’s photographs had been displayed in the main Kodak stores in Australia with a full route map and a sign mentioning the SU Rover Crew.
Friday 31 August 1946
Left Vern’s house to walk out to the Hume Highway in the dark. The air was cool so we soon covered the mile to the highway and it was not to long before we were thumbing lifts.
Near the end of the Commonwealth Munition factory fence. We sat down on the top of a convenient hill and waited. It was now light and the traffic was very sparse. The fifth a large gravel truck picked us up and took us to the Fairfield turnoff near the Landsdowne bridge. As we got going again a Burrogorang coal truck shot past and as he was tearing down hill naturally he didn’t stop but we think he picked Quent & Kay at Camden later. We walked the long flat stretch past Landsdowne bridge to the top of the hill where the Cabramatta turnoff is situated. We had just about had it by this because we couldn’t get a lift. We walked back and forth here until out of the strings of unco operative traffic came a familiar figure on a push bike. It was Frank Peters of Science 11 on his way to Canberra. Just we had said goodbye to Frank a Jeep came whizzing up the hill at about 50 mph. We thumbed him and were amazed to see him come to a halt within about 20 yds. (some brakes). I sat in the back and froze while Vern at least had a little protection from the cold air behind the windscreen. Vern gave the all clear to pass cars from his seat on the right and our army friend belted past everything until we reached the Ingelburn turnoff. We missed two and then got a truck to Camden and to the Burragorang turnoff. I was so cold that as I was writing up my notebook log I could not keep hold of it and the wind blew it off the back of the truck. I soon found some toilet paper however and continued the log notes. We made excellent time from Liverpool to Camden.
had shot past and we finally got a passing coal truck and had to stand in the back. The coal dust covered us from head to foot in no time and we were glad to get out at the garage up the range a bit and get into the drivers cabin. The driver mentioned how he was not supposed to pick up passengers because there was a bus running down to Burragorang. The driver was an interesting fellow and kept us talking by indicating various notable points along the road. When we arrived at the Burragorang Mine we found a large “BIK” scrawled on the road – this meant that Quent & Kay had raced us to Burragorang and that they couldn’t be far ahead of us.Down towards the Natai we found some morning papers and guessed that Quent & Kay had dropped them in the rush to get a hitch – this guess was nearly right. Actually they had got a ride on a sort of timber jinker and as it was so hard to hold on the papers had been lost in their desperate efforts to survive.
After some walking we decided to eat and very soon nature called so I trotted up the hill and at the most awkward moment I spied a truck coming in the distance so I quickly did up my belt etc., and raced down yelling to Vern who was just about asleep by this time. We hurled on our packs and thumbed furiously and at last we were happy again as he stopped and said “I’m going as far as Yerranderie”!So without further ado we hopped aboard and bounced our way past theWollondilly Hotel. The truck was a four wheel drive Ford which bore the inscription “Jones Brothers Yerranderie”. It is a wood truck which goes to Sydney every day except Sunday and is a very valuable asset for hitch hikers going to Yerranderie. Just near the Wollondilly bridge I saw two gesticulating figures showing strained faces under their scout hats – it was Quent and Kay – you should have seen their faces light up when they saw us on the back of the truck!
The truck stopped about 400 yds east of Basin Crk where we had some more lunch with Q & K.
We walked on again towards Y. and near the top of the hill we heard a car coming so we thumbed it. It was the mail car and he took us through east Y. and when were nearly at west Y. we saw two more scouts hiking towards us. It was Bill Taylor (Sc 11) and a friend from Ramsgate Troop. Bill’s face also underwent one of those amazing changes from sadness to happiness when he recognised us. Bill came down to the post office to see us and said he was going back up Burragorang Valley to Katoomba.
We left Yerranderie for the bush after being told by Q. that Charlie’s grandfather had died on the last Wednesday night and that Charlie couldn’t come until the next day. Vern showed me where they had slept near the Tonalli River on a previous trip and Quent looked for a knife which he had lost there. The Tonalli was very dry. A welcome rest – we were hitting the pace and had already started along the Mootic switchback. On the way again and this time we really went only stopping half heartedly to get some photos of Mt Cloudmaker which we could see well away in the distance to the north west. We made the Colong Swamp and the boys were very pleased to find they had come the right way and had arrived at the Tonalli Gap which is on the north side of Mt Colong.
Here we rested and ate chocolate and wrote a note for Charlie and Mike which we left on a split stick very close to the track. We had been passing hundreds of blackboys and it was one of their stalks which held Charlie’s note. We left again soon and shot around the Colong Switchback only stopping for a couple of photos. We only thought of climbing Mt Colong because we were too tired to go further than thinking!
The downward journey to the caves was completed quickly to the accompaniment of choral music (high exaggeration) of Vern & Quent who found themselves quite capable at rhyming verses to the tune “Take me back to old Virginia”, (Eg., Take me back to Colong Caves, etc.,)
Arrived at the caves and tidied up a camp site – including the Maori oven which they had made on the last trip. We cooked tea, went into the lower Piano cave for water and then proceeded to freeze. After some time we turned in and slept well.
Saturday August 31, 1946
Everybody awake and talking.
Vern jumps out of bed and smothers his pack which is in flames !! It happened that, as our fire was built amongst slate, every now and then small pieces would explode and send red hot sparks flying. The tent was abdulla’d facing the fire (for warmth). Vern’s pack had remained safe all night at his feet but now – calamity! – a hole about 16 x 6” appeared in the back of his pack. We thought he’d have to return but like all good scouts we found that Quent had an extra sleeping bag cover (just the right shape) and that we could sew it in with some of the string from the caves.
We soon started breakfast after watching Kay do his jerks. We cooked a damper ready for lunch, tidied up and set out for the caves.We went into King’s Cross where Quent flash photographed the large column and then moved on. We found the River Terraces etc., and did some exploring being carefut to let out some string all the way. When the candles had nearly burned out we started back – still saving the torches.
When we got out it was nearly lunch time so (as if you didn’t know) we had lunch.
3 Mounted men came down the track and disappeared. They soon reappeared on foot and the two tourists, armed with a cycle lamp, went into the cave whilst their guide – an inhabitant of the area since birth, stayed out and talked to us!!
Quent and I set off to find the lower caves – but no luck – we traversed a difficult entrance and found ourselves in the Piano cave – from here we went on and after a time we heard yells of joy like “ your’e here at last!”,etc. It was the two tourists who had not heeded our warnings about needing string!! We went on with our exploring whilst the worried tourists followed. We passed through the “Fantarini Squeeze Hole” and entered King’s Cross via the River Terraces. From here it was easy going and we soon emerged. We gave the tourists a drink and they hurried off wishing us many thanks for supposedly having saved them. We talked about the two tourists for some time till we heard distant “Biks” being yelled – it was Charlie & Mike coming down the hill. They had hiked from Upper Burragorang – some journey!
After tea 4 YMCA chaps arrived and we showed them where to get water. They had come via the Oberon stock route.
Sunday September 1 st 1946
Up and breakfast from the Maori oven.
We set off down Lannigan’s Creek to the Kowmung. We chased cows etc. When Mike fell into some nettles we started a competition – a points score. For falling over 2 pts:- for falling into nettles 3 pts:- into water 4 pts :- nettles and water 5 pts. This helped pass the time and we also looked for “The Roman Bath” as marked on the map but the granite creek bed did not allow us to come to any definite decision. Spotted a frightened lyre bird – the first I had seen outside the Zoo.
Rest. Decided we didn’t like the creek for walking. We moved on and found our calculations to be right when we reached the Kowmung very soon.
The river was wide and shallow and was very cold so we only washed and did not swim. We filled our water bottles – it was rumoured that it was dry on top of the divide around Kanangra. Moved off up Boyd’s Ridge – this was the start of the longest climb I’ve ever had. Up – up – up very seldom flat – up – up etc. I soon dragged behind Charlie and Vern who are noted for their hill climbing abilities and joined forces with Mike, Quent & Kay in turns ( perhaps). At every rest we found Charlie and Vern ready to leave as we arrived. Generally we travelled in this order – Charlie, Vern, myself, Mike, Kay & Quent at intervals varying from 10 – 100 yds. Quent’s maxim was to let “Everyone march to his own drummer,”. We could see Mt., Colong to the SE., and also Yerranderie Peak. The country here did not have any cliffs etc., as the normal sandstone country but was a series of long sloping ridges.
Reached the point where Lannigan’s Ladder joins Boyd’s Ridge and could see across to the Kanangra Range across Cristy’s Creek which intervened in a very deep valley.
Lunch was very welcome, we tried fixing our position by reading bearings on to Cloudmaker and we made the disheartening discovery that we had not come as far as we had estimated. We still had a lot of ground to cover.
Off again we passed through forests of small closely growing gums which didn’t help our speed by any means. We hit the first downgrade and had a good rest in a saddle which had sides sloping away for about 2000’ on either side. We were now looking for Misery Ridge on the left and Mt Goondel. As yet neither had appeared. Up the next slope we came upon extra thick saplings with much greenery and just above head high. We struggled up and through this stuff for the worst hour’s walking which I have ever experienced. So far we had found about 3 Misery Ridges and a similar number of Mt Goondels during the afternoon as we were sure we were getting near the road – but no! The sun was getting very low and we were now very high and had begun to turn north. Soon we came upon a marshy creek which contained very welcome water. Near the creek we saw a very large wombat again the first I had seen outside the Zoo! I was interested to find in this creek there was a species of liverwort. I had been looking for it ever since doing Botany 1. I think it was Marcantia. On leaving the creek we found we had lost the top of the ridge and we marched by compass. When nearly dark we put the vegies in to soak and carried them in turns. We were lucky that Quent’s prismatic had a luminous dial because it was now really dark and really needed it. The top of the range was composed of much pink tinted granite and in observing this we noticed what we thought could have been a quarry. Yes it was and Charlie ( always in the lead) began to run shouting “ The Road” ! What joy, happiness, bliss or what have you – we weren’t lost at all! We now followed the road ( Jenolan – Kanangra) after having put our jumpers and coats on – it was very cold up here. We had now covered about 19 miles and should have been very tired but we covered the last 3 in very quick time rating about 90 -120 paces / minute. We could see the glow of Sydney in the distance.
We reached the ruined mud hut at Kanangra Walls. Here we stopped after the toughest day’s hike I had yet done – 22 miles and 3000’ up!! We found plenty of water- freezing cold and made tea – half asleep and so to bed.
Monday September 2 nd 1946
We had got out of our bags and were walking around in our sleeping togs. Then Vern, Quent, Charlie and myself went walking down the last bit of road toward the walls. We followed down the track and could see the Katoomba Range, the Jenolan and the Gangarangs all sloping away from us. In a nearby cave there was an army ration tin containing a pudding mixture also some fat in a tin, some jam and several copies of St Mark’s gospel. Further around on top of the walls we could see back up the gorge to the falls, over to the Spires and across the Gangarangs to Cloudmaker. It was a very inspiring site and we felt that a tourist road to such a place ruined it’s secluded beauty – only bushwalkers could really achieve the satisfaction of the view from these walls. The walls were bare and grassy – we could see across to the trig on Mt. Maxwell over to Mt. Colong – we could see Colong for days – it seemed to follow us about. We found a small memorial plate which had a verse written on it to commerate the person who had first discovered these walls. Being inspired by this couplet, I myself was forced to compose something so I said “Misery Ridge comes in on the left”, this was my first attempt at any poetry and it proved to be a very popular half couplet. On the way back we found Jingery Ridge track and followed it down to the ‘dancing platform’, where signatures dated back as far as 1922. We took the pudding mixture, left a note of thanks and went back to find Kay with breakfast ready. Then we cleaned up the next door room which had more protection from the wind. Later Q and I who had been inspired by the falls decided to go and look for them so off we went leaving Vern behind to do some cooking and shaving. We found that Kanangra brook ran 0700into quite a fall itself but that we couldn’t reach the main fall without much difficulty. Mike and I went across the brook only to find a knife edge with a precipitous drop on the other side. After lunch Mike, Vern and I, in bare feet, went off to Mt Maxwell where we took more photos and were able to survey the south. We could see Mt Colong, Yerranderie Pk, Burn’s Gap and Scott’s main range etc. When we returned we found that the others had had a swim in the brook so we went down in a hurry so as not to miss the sunshine. It didn’t matter much because the water was very cold and we think not far from being ice. But it was worth the effort getting in because of the exhilarating feeling on getting out!! Soon tea was served and woe betide us – the sky clouded over and it started to rain. The tent was taken out and hastily put over the roof by means of rocks tied on to the guys. However it soon stopped after we had gone to bed and we found it very hot as Kay had built a great fire.
This fire ( stoked regularly through the night – again by Kay) kept us sweltering and we were glad to get up into the cool air —– but we were ever amazed – there was a white frost for miles and half an inch of ice on top of the billies!! After this Kay became quite a hero for having kept the fire going.
Tuesday September 3 rd 1946
In the morning before we got up we had been moaning at Kay for having put too much wood on the fire and of having kept us too hot but as already revealed Kay had done a hero’s work during the preceding night. We left the hut after a good breakfast and clean up and walked across the tops. At the eastern end we had some trouble in finding Smith’s pass but soon got on to the hobnail tracks and down to the Gangerang range proper.We stopped looked down into the canyon and back to the walls and then marched on to Craft’s Walls’ a sandstone ridge on top of the range about 1.25 miles from Smiths pass. Paddy Palin told us that the RHS of Craft’s Walls was the best so after some photos, we moved on, slicing off a large piece by climbing over the top and down again. We followed mainly animal tracks along the side of the range and soon rounded the block of sandstone and began to move down to Gabes Gap. Gabes Gap is the best saddle I have yet seen. By sitting in the middle it was possible to see the creeks winding away on both sides. Up the High & Mighty was our next effort followed by Rip, Roar & Rumble and Stormbreaker. The party got well spread out over this stage as Charlie and Vern made the pace, they easily outdistanced the rest of us and they arrived at the trig at 1311 which was not a bad effort. I arrived after some five more minutes and last of all came Quent chanting “Excelsior – excelsior —— etc.,” until he reached the top. We had all made the mistake of thinking that Stormbreaker was Cloudmaker but we kept on going up the next bump until we found the real thing. The weather was cold up here so we hurried with our lunch and after Q and Vern had finished a great game of marbles and we had put our names in the cairn we set off again towards Mt Ti – Willa. We had been rather disappointed at the view from the top as a complete 360dg.,had been obscured by trees.
Mt Ti Willa was a broad plateau and had a regular 50’ cliff all the way around. So we followed this around to the north covering much grassy and blackboy country like the top of Kanangra walls until we reached the top of a very steep cliff overlooking Ti Willa canyon. We could see Narrow Neck, Solitary, DeBert’s Knob, Ruined Castle and right up to Katoomba (see photo). Needless to say however Mt Colong was still visible in the south!! There seemed to be no way down and we were getting worried as we were still following the cliff face. I noticed that we now could see the tree tops from the slopes very close to the top of our cliff and I was wondering if we could jump on to one. Charlie and Vern, ahead as usual, found a little cairn and some arrows. ( Hurry a way down!)
We lowered our packs down the 20’ rock face and slid down without them on to the top of Ti Willa buttress. We almost followed the wrong ridge after starting our downward journey but soon changed. By keeping to the left hand ridge which seemed to have a central position we bashed on as dusk crept up on us. The ridge proved easy to follow and we made good speed. When we arrived Charlie and Vern had had a swim, had a fire going and cleared a tent site. We had a swim and found the water wasn’t bad ( we were still warm from walking). We soon had tea ready and went straight to bed after eating. We talked for some time, of the lovely scenery we had seen during the day’s walk and of tomorrow’s journey. We decided to walk to the junction of the Cox and Kowmung and to do some washing etc. Sleep came easily after another long day.
Wednesday September 4 th 1946
Breakfast was slowly prepared without the usual Maori oven and I cooked a large sized Jonny cake plus sultanas which was very well received by the boys. We cleaned ourselves, packed up and began to follow the river which I was told looked very like the Cox. We followed cows,a fox and a wombat but no snakes. We had been told that there were thousands of snakes in this part of the Kowmung. Slowly we knew that we were entering the Kowmung Canyon – which wasn’t up to expectations. We had to crawl round the very slippery rocks on the LHS of the river and going proved to be very slow. These slippery rocks were very hard and hobnails only left burn marks on them and would not scratch them. They were of a purple colour and when seen with the granite, blue basalt and green water of the river they looked very beautiful. We were pretty wrecked and it was very hot between the close canyon walls so time wore on slowly until quite suddenly the walls fell away and there was the Cox in front of us. We dumped our packs on the grassy SW corner shooed off the cattle and then went for a short swim. After the usual lunch we lay around in the sun even chasing it up the hillside and then afterwards doing some washing. We commenced tea early and had everything organised before dark. Just after dark our meal was completed and so after a very easy day we felt the urge to talk so as usual with many conversations the discussion swung on to religion, Christianity etc. The party consisted of an atheist, a SU Evangelical Union man, a Sunday school teacher, a regular church man, a not so sure and a sceptic (to quote Vernon). Well after some hours of discussion we were all very pleased with ourselves as we had really gained some benefits from this very liberal and unbiased discussion.
All went to bed feeling fit for the next day’s river walking.
Thursday September 5 th 1946
We intended to make Kanangaroo this day but as it was only about 6 miles away we decided to shoot up the Cox as far as we could. We didn’t hurry ourselves over breakfast and just as we were packing up three figures approached us from the direction of Black Dog Canyon in scout uniforms. One of them proved to be Fred Douch (at the time of writing now the new secretary of SUBW) he had fallen badly near Gentle’s Pass on the Gangerangs some twelve months back and broken his wrist. He was now going back, with some company , to see if he could find his lost gear. We wished him luck and moved off up the Cox on the left hand side until we passed a stock yard and then we crossed on to the left bank (RHS) and continued. Some distance further on we stopped to mend Vern’s boot and then saw two figures coming down the Cox on the other bank. We talked across the river and found they had followed us across the Gangarangs after coming down the Kowmung from the Oberon direction. We marched another mile and crossed back to the right bank on to a dusty track. It was very hot and we were not so surprised when we saw a fat snake basking in the sun on the track. We decided to chase it but it avoided our missiles and slithered into it’s hole under a rock. We were disappointed as we all wanted to taste baked snake! As it was hot and dry we soon called a halt. Just then we spotted two more snakes and one slithered away whilst Mike and Vern kept the attention of the other one. Then I sneaked behind it and lobbed it with large rock about nine inches behind it’s head. After a little argument Mike put it in his billy and we set out again. We arrived at the entrance to the Kanangra river and found Kanangaroo Clearing on the other side of the river. Here we stopped and had lunch in the blazing heat. We used the top rail as a boglog and it proved to be quite successful.
Off again up the Cox we saw another wombat and several wallabies on the first lap of the large S bend. The river was really beautiful – it was lined by oaks (casurinas) and it had large shaped blue, pink, grey and mauve boulders in it’s green water and the banks were of a bright green grass. The beauty of the walk here helped relieve the monotony which generally goes with river walking.
We soon decided to stop and at last found a suitable camp site at the foot of Blue Dog. Tea included snake – baked a la ashes (ie – badly burned). It was Vern’s birthday and he thought very fitting that we should have baked snake for dinner. What snake we could eat was good tasting something like chicken, fish and lobster all mixed up and having a texture like rather tough haddock.
Time quickly passed and we spent a very restful night.
Friday September 6 th 1946
An early start – we were beginning to be keen to get home. More of the usual Cox walking and it wasn’t long before we came to Breakfast Creek which we found to be dry so we filled our water bottles and set off up the stony bed of the creek. There was quite a well defined track and the going was not yet very steep. A rest was called and we tried to work out our position. We made our first blunder and soon shot up a creek to the left intending to make Carlon’s. This proved to be the wrong creek and when we got to the top we made to the left trying to find the track. The track was steep and it was very hot. The track led down into the next valley and it wasn’t very long before we realised that we were getting on to the Cox. So we moved off to the right keeping to the side of the ridge and making for an old coach track that we could see in the distance. We passed Galong Creek and started to climb the hill which we now knew to be Black Jerry’s Ridge.The hills were undulating, bare and dry, near the bottom we saw a goanna about six feet long climb up a dead tree. It was a real beaut, it’s legs were about as thick as a normal man’s wrist. The track zig zagged up and we were spread out again. We stopped at the top of the Z Z track and had lunch. The breeze was cold and we didn’t stop long.
We sighted a house and a road at the top of the ridge and then passed along to a road junction and another house. Here we saw the two blokes that we had seen yesterday on the Cox and had to undergo the embarrassment of telling them where we had been while they had been to Carlon’s. They hurried on up Megalong Valley as they wanted to get the night train from Katoomba. We followed on a terribly dusty road – the red dust was so soft in places that it covered our boots completely. It had also been sprinkling a little bit and the sky was dull and the air had become very cold. We had a rest along the shortcut and Charlie & Mike tried to buy some eggs and milk at a house but owing to drought conditions the bloke said he’d only give us food if we were really starving. We had walked up the road to where the old coachhouse clearing is just in time to see our two spruced up friends leaving for the top. Tea was nearly finished and we had a big fire going when it started to rain. We had had a good feed by trying to finish off our food which was really designed for ten days. I was making some cocoa and tasted it and told them it was the best I had made on the trip. Almost as soon as I said this a log slipped and the whole lot was spilt! It was cold too! Well the blokes didn’t mind much so turned in and the rain started to get worse. After some heated arguments about getting wet etc., the mob went to sleep
Saturday September 7 th 1946
We started off briskly up the Devil’s Hole towards Katoomba and home. The track was easy and we reached the top after only one short rest. Quent and I did some photoghaphy and after a short time of sight seeing we moved on to Katoomba. We found by definite evidence that it had snowed in Katoomba last night – hence our disturbing rain.
We drew lots for hitch hiking positions. K & Q left first. They were followed by Vern and myself in twenty minute intervals while Mike and Charlie took up the rear. We caught K & Q at Leura and Mike and Charlie sailed past in a big Packard! We then got a lift on the back of a load of 44 gallon drums but we were happy on our two square feet of tailboard. We passed Q & K who had not yet got another lift. Then we passed Mike & Charlie at Woodford.We got off at Penrith and after a milkshake got on the road again and got a lift in a ’38 Ford to St Marys. The next was a load of wood in a high sided Ford truck. Vern got out at Parramatta and I reached Central at 3.00 pm.
We broke the Katoomba to Parramatta record taking only 2 hrs 45 mins.
I arrived home and found no one at home so I broke in by my usual method and had a feed and a much wanted shave.
This was the end to a most enjoyable and educational hike.
Hitch Hiking Statistics and Food Lists, Prices and Weights Carried followed in the original log. They are contained in the PDF version of this report.