Archive for the ‘Trip reports’ Category

The Mystery Tobacco Tin

Mystery Tobacco Tin

The Australian alpine country has many old huts spread throughout, these huts were built by cattle and sheep graziers, miners and the Snowy Mountain Authority (hydro power scheme), most of the alpine country is now National Parks, cattle and sheep no longer graze, the miners are long gone. Over the years many huts have gone the victims of neglect, bushfires and National Parks policy. The huts that survive are under the care of the Kosciuszko Hut Association, bushwalking and Ski clubs. I do most of my bushwalking and skiing in the Alpine country and regularly visit many of the surviving huts.

A couple of weekends ago my mate Dave and I where camped near an old cattleman’s hut somewhere in Kosciuszko National Park (New South Wales), it was raining, we had just eaten dinner and where enjoying a mug of Port while sitting around the fire place, when Dave noticed and pointed out a mouse running across the floor, I saw the mouse go down a gap in the floor boards. Out of interest I grabbed my torch and had a look down the hole, the mouse was gone but I saw a dusty, rusty old tin, I grabbed a stick and lifted the tin so I could grab it with my hand. When I got the tin out, I could see that it was an old tobacco tin.

Tobacco Tin

On opening the tin I found an old news paper cutting and an opened packet of cigarette papers, both in very good condition. The cigarette papers where an Australian Zig-Zag brand but made in France but the news paper cutting got my interest, the cutting had been torn out of a news paper, on one side there was an advertisement for baldness and dandruff cure, the other side had some general information about a the paper sponsored Sun (news paper) toy fund, an announcement about a new restaurant that had just opened, and an announcement about up coming Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force Association Smoke concert.

The opened Tobacco Tin

Cigarette papers

I took photos of the tin and contents and placed the contents back into the tin and the tin back into the hole where I got it from, hoping that it is another very long time before it is found again and that the next finder puts it back for the then next person to find.

Baldness and Dandruff ad

Back of the ad

When I arrived home I wanted to see if I could find how old the tin and contents were and if I could when the tin found its way in the hole, the news paper cutting was a clue, there is mention of the “Sun toy fund”, I tried to do some research on the net. The National Library of Australia has a large collection old news papers some have been scanned and are available on the web. My search for the Sun News paper came up with many choices, I did find a reference to a paper called the Sun that was published from 1910 to 1988 but no Sun newspapers papers where on line. Another clue was that in the Toy fund article a Rev. Jas. McLeod was named as making a donation of one Pound, I did a search on a Rev. Mcleod and there was a Reverend James McLeod that was working in Sydney in the early thirties, another clue could be the article on the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force Association Smoke concert. The Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force (AN&MEF) was a small volunteer force of approximately 2,000 men, raised in Australia shortly after the outbreak of the First World War to seize and destroy German wireless stations in German New Guinea in the south-west Pacific. The final clue and a good one is the Town talk brand tobacco tin, a search of 1930’s tobacco tins came up with this site, http://www.carters.com.au/index.cfm/item/17147-various-framed-australian-tobacco-tins/, note the middle tin at the top.

My current thinking is that this tobacco tin may have been under the hut floor undiscovered for around 80 years, since the early to mid 1930’s. Back in the 1930’s using old tobacco tins to store small items was very common, I would conclude that the owner had the tin next to his bed, when he was near his bed he knocked the tin into the hole, probably without knowing, with nothing of value in the tin he soon forgot about it.



EDIT: Apologies, since originally posting this article some of the links had disappeared, but some of the links are traceable but some like the Town Talk tobacco tin seems to have gone forever, several of the links are on Wikipedea but they seem to change the link from time to time so I will leave it up to the their own search.


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The Castle

The Castle walk inthe Budawangs National Park, New South Wales, in my opinion it is one of the best day walks around, it has just about every thing that one could want in a walk with some climbing, some scrambling through a cave, walking along a narrow ledge with a big drop and brilliant views, the day we did the Castle we had a clear sky and there was not a breath of wind

Start of the climbing

some more climbing

The view from the Castle, Pidgeon House Mountain in the distanceThe view from the Castle is one of the best around, the peak in the distance is Pidgeon House Mountain and recieved this name from Captain Cook in 1770, the walk up Pidgeon House is an interesting walk also.

With a bit of rope

 A few meters behind me we had to walk over a ledge with a slope on it, with no hand grips and a very large drop, it was quite scary for a non climber.

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This is a story and some pictures from a  fishing trip in 2008.

Late last year Andrew rang me , have you been to Dunns Flat, it sounded familiar, where is Dunns Flat I replied, off Mt Ginini on the Goodradigbee River Andrew said, yes I replied, along time ago though. What’s the fishing like Andrew asks, it was good we had no trouble catching a few small trout. What is the track like he asks, its called Harry’s Spur and was quite good when I did it, but a bit steep in places 300 meters climb in the first k on the way back, about 900 meters in all in 8K, do you want to come Andrew ask, no sorry can’t make it, going in to hospital to have my heart rewired will be out of action for a while, have fun I jealously said.

A week later I picked up my ringing phone, Andrew here again did Dunns flat on the weekend got 50 fish absolutely brilliant trip, the track is a bit over grown in places after the big fires of 2003 we had trouble finding our way in places.

Six weeks later I picked up my phone again Andrew here went to Dunns flat again we caught so many fish we lost count another great trip and went to the waterfall that is 2k down stream, I replied that I have never heard of the waterfall, when I looked at the map I saw that there is an unnamed waterfall down stream from the campsite.

A few days later when I opened up my e-mail there was one from my walking/fishing partner Dave saying that it has been a while since New Zealand and that he needs to go for a walk soon, I replied that Andrew had just rang about his trip to Dunns flat and that we should go there, his reply was lets go soon as possible.

We left on Saturday morning two weeks ago at the late hour of 7 am for the two hour drive the track head knowing that it will be a fairly easy walk into Dunns Flat. When we arrived at the track head car park there was another vehicle parked there which was not really expected as this is generally tough country and this track is not visited by many people, they must be down at Dunns Flat as there was no other track that started from this point. We started walking the track was quite good but after about 1.5k it started to get a bit over grown. The first part was steep decent but the middle is flattish as the trail follows a ridge line, when we arrived at the middle section the trail became very over grown and in several place we lost it completely, one step it was there and the next it was gone. Wattles and Eucalypts grow back with a vengeance after fire and only the fittest survive in the end but they take many years to thin out. When we lost the track Dave and I went in different directions and if track found yelled out for the other to follow, as the trail followed the ridge line the track was not too hard to find.

After 2 hour 45 minutes we found camp, nobody was there, we guest that they must have walked up or down stream. We dumped our packs put our waders on as the water was very cold got the fishing rods sorted and then decided to walk down stream to the water fall and fish back upstream to camp, we had to walk in the river itself as the scrub on the sides was too thick to travel though, this was not that hard as the river is not very deep at this time of the year.

After an hour slow walking down stream we found the waterfall it was two tiered fall of probably 20 meters tall with very steep sides. We had lunch and then started to fish, I decided to spin for a change while Dave fly fished. I threw a few casts while Dave was tying his flies on, third cast bang a nice Rainbow but compared to NZ small. Dave started fishing and was pulling in Rainbows at will, Dave was using a dry fly with a nymph trailing, it was not long before he had a tally of twenty my spinning was going a bit slower but after while Dave suggested that I modify my setup a bit and away I went, the day was getting warmer and by mid afternoon I was matching Dave’s fly fishing, at one stage I caught three fish in four casts.

About half way back to our camp site we heard a voice yell out from behind us, it went something like this “bloody hell we thought we where in the wilderness and would not see anybody else” Gidday we said we saw your 4wd up at the car park and was surprised that you were not at the camp site. The reply was startling “we tried to come down in the dark last night got lost in the thick scrub, found the river down stream it had very steep sides and we had to setup camp on a small island in the middle of the river, I came down about 10 years ago and the track was good.” Are you going to stay the night at the camp site I asked, the reply was “ naah we drank a bottle of whisky last night, me mates been sick all morning and besides he forgot his reel and I just broke my rod, we want to get back to the car as soon as possible and get home, how do we find the track” we told them how to find the track an off they went hangovers and all. Bloody hell we said this country is tough enough when sober though when hung-over and besides they had a very tough walk up the hill to the car park.

We fished until just before dark as we left some time to set up our camp and get some wood for a fire to cook the fish, Dave caught about 50+ fish and I had about 30. We kept three of the bigger ones for dinner, that night we cooked up the chilly concarne for the taco’s that I had made the night before and threw the trout in the fire to cook, we finished the night off with some nice Port, I had the best nights sleep that I have ever had in the bush.

The next morning after breakfast Dave was ready to fish before me and off he went, I still had to put my waders on a few minutes later I wandered down to the river Dave had already caught 5 fish from the nearest pool, I got three from the same pool the day before.
Things started off a bit slow for me, the fish just where not taking the Celtas, Dave had about 20 trout for the morning before I caught my first after about two hours we turned around as we had to get home before dark and we had a good climb to get out. Dave had caught another 30or so fish and I had 5 more fish, the fish that I caught with the Celta’s where generally a bit larger that what Dave was catching with his flies.

We went back to camp packed up and had a three hour walk back to the car, on the way up we found the track harder to follow at one place I got stuck in some Eucalypt fire re-growth that was as thick as I have ever experienced, I could not see past my nose and was walking blind at one stage I found myself flat on my face as I tripped over a fallen tree that I did not see, Dave found the track and yelled out to me, I eventually made my way over to him and we resumed our walking. When we arrived at the trail head ours was the only vehicle there so our hung-over mates had made it out.

Dave and I both have said that his was one of the best fishing tips that we have ever been on and are planning a longer trip next year starting below the waterfall.

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After talking about doing MT Scabby trip for twenty years last Friday with friends Andrew and Gavin I finally did it, Andrew was returning for the first time in 37 years, and wow we where surprised by the beauty of the place and the brilliant views from the Main Range KNP in the south to the Tinderry Range to the east and the Bogong range to the NE and nearly every main peak in the Namadgi National Park could be seen. There was so much to see and as this was a day walk time was short, an overnight trip to explore more is planned soon.

We started at Rowleys Hut in the Yaouk Valley, the walk up was through moderately thick scrub and took about three hours.

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Last weekend along with my regular walking mate we did a great little walk up the northern face of Mt Jagungal (2061m) in the Jagungal Wilderness Area Kosciuszko National Park. Mt Jagungal is the highest peak outside of the Main Range and the adjacent Mt Gungartan.

We arrived at the Round Mountain car park at about 7 pm Friday Night after a very wet, windy and foggy drive from Canberra, it was raining so we put our wet weather gear on for the one and a half kilometer walk to the Round Mountain hut, where we planned to spend the night, Dave got the hut fire going while I cooked the rice and heated up the curry and cracked the bottle of wine, We had a very pleasant evening sitting around the fire while it rained heavily and gale force winds blew outside. The hut has some bunks that are attached to the frame and during the night we where woken up several times by roaring gale force winds, one gust shook us quite violently in our bunks, we had originally planned to sleep in our tents but I recon if I we had we would have ended up being blown off the side of Round Mountain.

Saturday morning, Dave filling the log book at Round Mountain Hut just before we set off to Mt Jagungal

Crossing a icy cold swollen Tumut River, it was also raining at the time which did not help us in trying to stay dry

Looking back to the Tumut river from the Farmyard Ridge Trail, that is snow in the background

On top of the ridges we where covered in thick fog so not much was to be had with views, after a about 4 hours of easy walking we made it to the newly rebuilt O’Keefes hut, O’Keefes hut had burnt down it the January 2003 bushfires, we had lunch and then emptied our packs in preparation for the walk up the Northern side of Mt Jagungal. Mt Jagungal was still covered in fog but as we have both been up the top in good weather we decided to go up anyway if anything just for the experience. We had not been up the northern side before and being in thick fog we where doing it a bit blind, the way we went had a lot of boulders and some rock climbing.

Dave climbing up a steep face, after trying we decided that in the wet conditions not pursue this route any further, and easier way was just around the corner.

Me on top of Mt Jagungal, note the great view or lack of it.

We descended via the easier south western route and this is a view of Mt Jagungal peak from just below

This is the view from Mt Jagungal just below the cloud cover looking west

The newly rebuilt O'Keefes Hut

The fire place at O'Keefes, and comfortable chairs (no we did not bring the chairs in) the hut has been lined with some old news papers from the 1930's that have been donated to the hut, it gave us some very interesting reading, but unfortunately some are getting damaged and vandalized already.

On Sunday we woke to a beautiful sunny day but unfortunately we had to go back, this is the view of Mt Jagungal from north on the Grey Mare Trail, the water in the foreground was frozen solid, we walked back the way we came via farmyard Ridge and Tumut River.

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