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The Chardon Award

Guest Post by Keith Maxwell

It’s almost the time of year for the annual Chardon Award.   The Award recognises those who have made a significant contribution to the bushwalking movement. However you may be wondering, who inspired the Chardon Award?

Harold Chardon, Left of 2 standing men. Photo by Alan Rigby.

The Award is named after Harold James Chardon. The bushwalker we remember for the “Chardon Award” was born in Queensland on 7 May 1905, the child of Alice Jane (Tatton) and William James Chardon.  Early on they settled in Bondi. Harold Chardon would become a surf life saver, a ‘tiger’ bushwalker, public servant and conservationist. In 1932 he played a pivotal role in the foundation of Bushwalking NSW (BNSW) and the Blue Gum Forest campaign.

In 1922 Harold started a career in the NSW Public Service as a Junior Clerk, Stamp Duties Office.

Bondi must have been a great place to grow up as he became a strong swimmer and life saver but also showed an early interest in organisation.  On 29 January 1926 Bondi and North Bondi Surf Clubs held a combined surf carnival.  Harold was the Secretary of the Bondi Club.

 

 

Harold became keenly interested in the outdoors and in 1929 was appointed an Honorary Ranger in Wild Flowers and Native Plants and in 1930, Birds and Animals.  All this as part of the newly formed Sydney Bush Walkers (SBW – formed October 1927) where for a short time in 1928 he was the Club Secretary.  It was an exciting time to go bushwalking.  So much of what we now take for granted around the towns of the Blue Mountains was being explored and mapped. In stamina he was able to join the SBW ‘tiger walkers’ who would cover big distances by travelling both light and fast.  With Wally Roots (a.k.a.Orang Utan) he joined another ‘tiger’ walker in the first bushwalker descent of Orang Utan Pass into the Grose Valley.  In 1930 he was invited to join the exclusive Mountain Trails Club.  In the lower Hollanders River, catchment of the Kowmung River, is the granite “Chardon Canyon”.

 

Yet in 1931 dark clouds were forming in the Grose Valley – Blue Gum Forest seemed to be in the gaze of an axeman.  Harold as SBW President was part of the delegation that negotiated with Mr Hungerford of Bilpin who was prepared to sell his rights in the forest for £130 (down from £150 but probably in excess of $15,000 in 2020).  Harold was then one of four SBW members as part of the subsequent Blue Gum Forest Committee.  The Blue Gum Forest Campaign is a long story where many groups had to come together, especially the bushwalking clubs.  As a respected bushwalker (and a past SBW President) he called the bushwalking clubs to a meeting on 21 July 1932.  From this meeting the “Federation of Bush Walking Clubs of New South Wales” (now BNSW) was formed.  Harold was very much the delivery man to BNSW as the meeting Secretary.  (This is why the Chardon Award has been named in his honour).

“Wilderness” was a term in the future of 1930s Australia.  Myles Dunphy formed the “National Parks and Primitive Area Council (NP&PAC)” to push for new National Parks.  In August 1934 the Katoomba Daily produced a supplement from Myles Dunphy that included a proposal for a Greater Blue Mountains National Park.  Harold as Chairman of NP&PAC assisted in preparation of this supplement.  (This dream was mostly finally realised in 1976 with the creation of Wollemi and Southern Blue Mountains National Parks.)

1936 was a busy year.  In Bexley Harold married fellow bushwalker Win (Winifred) Lewis.  Then, in October he was part of the first (informal) search by the Search and Rescue Section of Federation – now SES Bush Search and Rescue NSW.  It was an extremely strong party of eleven bushwalkers who entered the Grose Valley almost as a “who’s who” of bushwalking.

During WWII Harold served in the Second A.I.F. (army) in New Guinea as Chief Signals Officer Lines of Communication.

Post War Harold continued to rise up the Public Service fulfilling valuable roles in Workers Compensation and in 1958 as an Accountant moved from the Department of Labour and Industry to the Department of Agriculture.  He retired from this Department on 6 May 1965.  His final years were spent at Connells Point on the Georges River and he died on 26 June 1993.

Harold James Chardon is remembered as a surf life saver, strong bushwalker, public servant, ex-serviceman, strong conservationist and a guiding hand in the formation of BNSW.  BNSW is proud to have an award named in his honour that recognises outstanding bushwalkers.

Guest Post by Keith Maxwell

Adapting to new bushfire conditions

The recent unprecedented bushfire season disrupted our outdoor adventure plans and devastated national parks and wildlife. Unfortunately, with rising temperatures and drier years, this is only the start of a new trend of more frequent and destructive bushfires.

Bushwalking NSW is excited to welcome Professor David Bowman to talk at the Bushwalking NSW General Meeting about new bushfire conditions and the surprising things we need to consider to adapt to them.

David is Professor of Pyrogeography and Fire Science, University of Tasmania, and Honorary Professor Archaeology and Natural History at the Australian National University. His research is focused on the ecology,­­­ evolution, biogeography and management of fire. David is exploring the relationship between fire, landscapes and humans and has an incredibly deep and broad understanding of:

  • how bushfire affects our natural environment,
  • what future we can expect for national parks and wild places that we love to walk in, and
  • how to adapt to new conditions to continue enjoying outdoor adventure.

David is establishing the new transdisciplinary field of pyrogeography which understands landscape burning from a multi-time-space-and-disciplinary perspective and considers human, physical and biological aspects at local to global scale over the geological past into the future. David is also a bushwalker who can provide first hand insight into the future of outdoor adventure. David recently made a submission to the NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry.

The Bushwalking NSW General Meeting will be held online on Tuesday 19 May at 7pm for a 7.30pm start via Zoom or telephone. The full agenda is here and RSVPs are essential.

Learn more about Professor Bowman’s work here.

Alternate Activities COVID-19 Update

We are all spending a lot of time indoors due to COVID-19.

So we thought it was a good time to revisit our awesome alternate activity ideas!

No need to do them alone! Connect with the group you were planning to head outdoors with online using programs such as Zoom or Skype. Have fun and feel good about these ‘indoor adventures’ together!

  1. Find and schedule the walks and activities you want to lead when life returns to normal
  2. Not a leader yet? Call a current club leader and ask if you can buddy up to learn to lead later – they are friendly folk!
  3. Read the Bushwalking Manual – a great read for everyone doing all kinds of outdoor adventure 🙂
  4. Get started on a first aid course – you can do the pre-reading online for free! https://pfa.stjohn.org.au/
  5. Connect online with a club buddy to plan a club activity together for later
  6. Read our Risk Management Guidelines – it is truly worthwhile
  7. Learn all about our insurance – consider becoming an insurance officer – ask us how
  8. Start planning and coordinating a risk management online training session for your club. You don’t have to know it all – ask club members with special expertise to talk on their area.
  9. Run a online navigation theory session for your club and friends
  10. Learn how you can help our suffering wildlife: WIRES & NWC
  11. Write to members of parliament to ask for a climate action leadership: Federal Ministers, NSW Members, ACT Members.
  12. Brainstorm how to engage more youth in your club
  13. Organise your photos and send in some great ones to us so we can share them through our newsletter and website – email to admin@bushwalkingnsw.org.au.
  14. Contribute your photos and descriptions of the great walks of NSW & the ACT to manual@bushwalkingvictoria.org.au
  15. Check out all the resources available for you on the Bushwalking NSW website
  16. Ask your club management committee if they need any help
  17. Sign up for a Bushwalking NSW working group
  18. Help Bushwalking NSW develop a Hot/Extreme Weather Policy that can help all our clubs – contact us now!
  19. Schedule club social events for the new year
  20. Look for great speakers for your next club meeting
  21. Call elderly neighbours, relatives and friends and find out how they are coping with the COVID-19 crisis
  22. If you haven’t done it yet – put your Bush fire survival plan at the top of your list!

Koalas and raising Warragamba Dam Wall

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness have raised concerned about inadequate koala field assessments completed in relation to raising Warragamba Dam Wall.

On 18 March 2020 the Sydney Morning Herald reported on a leaked document that showed the NSW Government’s biodiversity assessment of the 5,700 hectare proposed World Heritage Zone was rushed with ecologists having only eight weeks to complete the task.  The Herald reports that the search for koalas during the assessment lasted only three hours and forty minutes when the search should actually have taken 112 hours.

It is extremely alarming that such little regard has been shown for the wellbeing of koalas and other species given the fight the our wildlife now faces for survival after the recent bushfires.

Colong Foundation is asking concerned readers to send a short email to Environment Minister Matt Kean telling him that he should demand a proper survey of this iconic Australian species in the Blue Mountains. The following points have been provided by the Colong Foundation to help you write your message:

  • The leaked document showed a total of 3 hours and 40 minutes was spent looking for koala’s over an impact area the size of 10,600 football fields (5,700 hectares).
  • The document also showed just 15 hours was spent looking for greater gliders over the same 5,700 hectare area.
  • The leaked assessment report did not once mention the words ‘World Heritage’.
  • All assessment field work undertaken before the bushfires is not worth the paper it is written on and needs to be re-done, as the fires have caused a dramatic redistribution of threatened species across NSW.

Paddle NSW Training

Paddle NSW is currently offering Flatwater Leadership skills training with reduced prices for successful applicants!

The Paddle NSW Flatwater Leadership Course is being held on March 28-29 at Lake Parramatta, Sydney and on 4 April in Dubbo Central Western NSW. This two day training course is sufficient for a teacher or Sport & Recreation leader to take kids out on flat water so extensive.

The Dubbo course is heavily subsidised and costs only $150 per participant!

Click here to register for both courses.

Paddle NSW can also design tailored courses for 6 to 8 people in locations across NSW to upskill club members in basic whitewater skills or to upskill club paddle leaders. Contact Paddle NSW here for more information.

Give a Dam about World Heritage Wilderness

The Colong Foundation for Wilderness is concerned that the insurance industry and developers are lobbying politicians to raise Warragamba Dam wall [1]. The Foundation believes that they are primarily doing this because raising the dam wall would generate 40,000 additional home insurance policies in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley resulting from new floodplain developments [2].

In response, the Foundation is lodging a shareholder resolution to QBE’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) requiring them to protect our Blue Mountains World Heritage listing.

The Foundation plans to submit the following resolution to QBE:

“Shareholders request that the company develop a policy which guarantees QBE does not invest in, insure or advocate for any projects or works that could result in negative impacts occurring within the boundaries of a World Heritage or Ramsar property.”

The Foundation states that to get world heritage protection on the agenda, they need 100 QBE shareholders to sign on to our resolution on world heritage before Friday.

The Foundation believes they are so close to reaching 100, and are asking that if you own QBE shares could you please sign on to this form to help get them across the line. If you experience any trouble during sign on, or have any questions, please contact the Foundation at hello@giveadam.org.au

[1] Insurance Council of Australia
[2] Infrastructure NSW

Volunteer Weeding

Volunteer! Weeding, especially of juvenile species requires excellent ID skills. Direction from an experienced bush regenerator is fundamental to getting it right.

National Parks and Wildlife staff across the state are in the process of planning how to best get on top of these invasive weed populations and the good news is we have a bit of time to get it right!

Now is not the best time to jump into burned places, as we trample much of the new growth, both good and bad.

As the fires ripped through the forest, they burned much of the vegetation. The playing field has now been levelled. However, now the battle begins as young plants fight for space, sunlight and water. By springtime most weeds will have grown to a sufficient size to identify and kill with relative ease. This is when we will deplete the seedbank and tip the balance in our favour. Preventing any new plants reaching maturity and reducing the population for generations to come.

So, what can you do? Go online or call your local National Parks office and find out what opportunities there are in your area. Councils and private Bushcare groups are also great alternatives, and don’t forget your own gardens either.

Guest note by:

Grant Purcell

Ranger

Blue Mountains Branch

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

Bushwalking NSW Photo Competition

Show us your best shots!

Here’s an opportunity to make use of your extra time at home and take some great shots of beautiful scenery and people.

Bushwalking NSW wants to share your photos with the world. Enter our photo competition to win a great prize from Paddy Pallin and see your photos featured in our newsletters and website. The photo competition closes on 30 June 2020.

We are looking for the following types of photos:

  1. NSW/ACT national park scene
  2. People bushwalking in NSW/ACT
  3. NSW/ACT wildlife
  4. Website banner sized 1000 x 250 pixels to illustrate any BNSW web page.

There are three ways to enter:

  1. Email a public link to your photos (eg google drive, dropbox or photo share apps) including your name and image name and location to Bushwalking NSW here.
  2. Upload your photos here and email the link to us.
  3. Upload your photos here and email us to let us know they are there.

Paddy Pallin Prizes valued at $170 to be won:

1 Osprey Trillium 45L Duffel in Granite Grey

2 Osprey Ultralight Zipper Sack Sets in Lime/Orange/Red

4 Light My Fire Spill-free Cups

1 Light My Fire Cup’n Spork Set

1 PP Nalgene Waterbottle

We look forward to seeing your photos!

Please note that by submitting photographs to this competition, you acknowledge that:

  • you possess copyright to the images,
  • you give Bushwalking NSW permission to use the images you supply in any Bushwalking NSW website, newsletter, social media, email, online and printed publications without attribution, and
  • you warrant that Bushwalking NSW will not infringe any copyright by using the images you have supplied in any way.

Thank you for sharing the beauty of our bushland with the world!

10,000 Koalas Dead

The Nature Conservation Council (NCC) states that shocking new analysis estimates that fire, drought and starvation have killed 10,000 koalas since October [1]. That’s one out of every three koalas in the state!

Koala numbers were already declining steeply and slipping towards extinction. The fires have made their plight even more urgent.

In the midst of this crisis, you would expect our government would do everything in its power to protect remaining forests. But it is doing the opposite.

The NSW Government has now approved logging in two state forests that fires ripped through just weeks ago.

The NCC wants you to call on Premier Berejiklian to put an immediate moratorium on logging and to conduct a wildlife and habitat assessment.

More than 5 million hectares has burnt in NSW this fire season [2], including more than 41% of the national parks estate and 40% of state forests [3].

Native forests are resilient and will recover in time. Burnt forests are living forests with trees that are sprouting fresh leaves. Animals that survived the fires will slowly move back into these forests as life regenerates, so it is critical that these areas are kept safe.

Logging burnt forests not only destroys wildlife habitat, it slows recovery and harms soil and water health. It also increases future fire risk and leaves the forest uninhabitable for decades [3].

Premier Berejiklian has the power to keep forests safe from further destruction. The NCC asks you to call on her to put a moratorium on logging and give our wildlife a fighting chance after the bushfires.

Unburnt forests are critical refuges for koalas and other threatened species. With so much of the state burnt, koalas cannot afford to have their homes and food chopped down and their lives put at risk.

Right now, the NSW Government is looking at where else can be logged, against the best scientific advice, and before carrying out a post-bushfire wildlife and habitat impact assessment.

Pressure from the community has made a difference this bushfire season already, allowing wildlife carers and ecologists into closed state forests on the North Coast where koalas were dying of starvation.

We need to keep being a voice for koalas and other threatened species.

In times like these it can be hard to hold on to hope, but tens of thousands of people are standing up for nature and we are not backing down. Burnt forests are recovering and koalas are being rescued and rehabilitated by dedicated wildlife carers.

[1] Ten thousand koalas may have died in the NSW bushfires, inquiry hears. ABC, 19 February, 2020.
[2] Understanding the impact of the 2019-2020 fires. Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, February 2020.
[3] Analysis by The Wilderness Society, 2020.[4] Post-bushfire logging makes a bad situation even worse, but the industry is ignoring the science. ABC Lindenmayer, 29 January, 2020.

Logging of Unburnt Forests

Just weeks after fires ripped through masses of NSW forests, the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) has obtained evidence of unburnt forests being logged right now.

With so much forest destroyed by the fires, the NCC states it’s critical that what’s left is protected to ensure wildlife survives. Yet some of the last prime habitat for nationally threatened species such as the Spotted-tailed Quoll and the Hastings River Mouse is currently being destroyed.

Despite unimaginable destruction from the summer of bushfire hell, the NCC states that it is business as usual for industrial logging.

The NCC says that the government is keeping people in the dark about this crisis, however the NCC has obtained video footage of logging happening last week.

The NCC is asking that we watch and share the video to help expose this outrage.

Watch and share it on Facebook.

Watch and share it on Twitter.
Or watch it on the NCC website.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared a State of Emergency when the bushfires were roaring. The truth is, for nature the state of emergency is continuing, yet the NCC believes the NSW Government is allowing industrial logging to continue.

The region around Styx River State Forest – halfway between Armidale and Nambucca Heads – was heavily burned in the catastrophic bushfires. The few healthy patches left are some of the most important unburnt habitat in the region for the Spotted-tail Quoll, Greater Glider and the Hastings River Mouse.

Over 100 hectares of Styx River State Forest has been logged since late 2019, destroying critical unburnt habitat and pushing threatened species closer to the brink of extinction.

This is a crisis and the NCC states that the NSW Government needs to take urgent action to stop the destruction of forests and protect wildlife now. The NCC states that the crisis has been exposed with video evidence of logging in threatened species habitat and this cannot go ignored by our politicians.

The NCC states that Premier Berejiklian needs to urgently stop the logging. This logging operation was approved long before the fires when there was much more healthy habitat available. The catastrophic bushfires have changed everything for nature in NSW and no approval should be accepted as current until the full ecological impact of the fires is understood.

The NCC wants your help to make this video go viral and expose the crisis to pressure the government to stop destructive logging.

The NCC states that together, we can be a voice for nature, a voice for forests and a voice for threatened species such as the Greater Glider and Powerful Owl.