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Coffs Coast Regional Park – Have Your Say

Draft Master Plans for the Sandy Beach and Emerald Beach Reserves

Bushwalking NSW Inc has retracted a statement regarding Draft Master Plans for the Sandy Beach and Emerald Beach Reserves, and removed it from its website. Bushwalking NSW Inc understands that it was mis-informed, and that the statement contained views that are not those of Bushwalking NSW Inc.

Bushwalking NSW Inc. apologies to the Coffs Coast Regional Park Trust Board for any distress or damage publication of these views on the Bushwalking NSW Inc. website may have caused.

Byron Hikers – The Healing Power of Nature

The Healing Power of Nature –  Byron Hikers

“When you go out there, you don’t get away from it all. You get back to it all. You come home to what’s important. You come home to yourself.” 
Peter Dombrovkis
Tasmanian Wilderness Photographer, 1945 – 1996

Human beings have lost our connection to nature – and therefore ourselves. Convenience & consumerism has given us a taste for pleasure at the expense of deeper satisfaction. This has led to psychological issues, widespread environmental destruction and even more disconnection from nature. It’s a vicious circle.

There is significant scientific research that demonstrates the quantifiable, measurable benefits of spending time in nature: a reduction in negative thinking and mental illness, as well of course physical fitness and well-being. Interestingly however, this science often can’t explain why such benefits from spending time in nature have occurred, especially those relating to mental health. It’s very likely that human beings don’t fully understand our relationship to nature. However we know enough to know that it’s vital – literally indispensable to our existence.

The Deakin University Literature Review is a comprehensive review of the science that correlates spending time in nature with measurable mental health benefits. Some quick highlights:

  • “People possess an inherent inclination to affiliate with natural processes and diversity, and this affinity continues to be instrumental in humans’ physical and mental development.” Kellert & Derr 1988

  • “The manifold ways by which human beings are tied to the remainder of life is poorly understood.” Kellert 1993

  • “Scientists have found that merely being in an urban environment impairs our basic mental processes.” Lehrer 2009

  • “The authors concluded that neighbourhood greenness was more associated with mental health than physical health.” Sanesi & Chiarello 2006

  • “When compared with an urban scene and all its attendant features, natural settings with tree views and nature reserves with vegetation and wildlife reduced stress levels and blood pressure while improving mood and lowering anger and aggression in participants.” Laumann 2001

  • “Those closer to natural settings were more able to deal with important matters in their lives and felt more hopeful and less helpless about confronting life issues, whereas those living with minimal green or no green vegetation nearby had the opposite experience.” Kuo 2001

  • “Public housing residents whose nearby natural settings scored higher on the scale showed lower levels of mental fatigue and reported less aggression and violence than residents situated closer to the lower end of the scale.”

  • “Measures of salivary amylase activity (an indicator of sympathetic / stress response nervous system arousal) prior to and following a walk in an urban and forest environment individually, showed that salivary amylase activity of the subjects was reduced in the forest environment relative to the urban environment.” Yamaguchi 2006

  • “Nearly all of the subjects showed higher immune system activity after the three-day forest trip (about a 50 per cent increase) relative to before.” Li 2007

 

WERE YOU THERE at SPLENDOUR ROCK

You or your club may be able to help in a fabulous project.  Michael Keats and Keith Maxwell are researching Dawn Services at Splendour Rock on ANZAC Day.  There are few details for many years as to whether a Dawn Service occurred at all.  We are calling on clubs to fill in the gaps, if possible.

A book is well advanced that will contain a wealth of information about Splendour Rock but we would like to confirm details for the years below.  You could help make this publication an even better book.

Splendour Rock was dedicated on ANZAC Day in 1948.  Contributions from various club magazines and individual club members have resulted in some truly great recollections which will be included in the text. There are significant gaps in the record, such as an incomplete set of logbooks in the State Library of NSW, and anyone who can help fill these years would be most welcome to send us their stories or recollections or field notes. Years for which we seek stories are –

1949 1953 1957 1970 1977 1981 1987 2020
1950 1954 1963 1974 1978 1982 1990  
1951 1955 1964 1975 1979 1984 1991  
1952 1956 1968 1969 1980 1985 1992  

 

Please contribute your records or memories to Michael Keats at mjmkeats@easy.com.au

Keith Maxwell.

St John Ambulance First Aid Course Updates

Volunteer St John Ambulance trainer, Belinda Keir, has been instructing First Aid at Senior level since before 2000. Belinda’s practical teaching methods have helped to raise the level of First Aid knowledge within bushwalking clubs. Belinda was recently awarded the Bushwalking NSW 2020 Chardon Award.

St John Ambulance first aid courses have recently changed so it is recommended that Clubs check course codes on the Bushwalking NSW First Aid Training page. The course code for Provide First Aid is now HLTAID011 instead of HLTAID003 and for Provide First Aid in a Remote or Isolated Situation is now HLTAID013 instead of HLTAID005. The change in course codes mean that all class ID numbers have been revised. You will need to quote the correct class ID to book any course. As our next Remote course is only a few weeks away, we would be grateful if this could be done as soon as possible.

People who have a less than 12 months old HLTAID003 or HLTAID011 Provide First Aid certificate can request a credit transfer for Provide First Aid in a Remote or Isolated Situation. This gets a discount in time (you don’t need to attend day one) but not a price discount. Credit transfers can take time to arrange and need to be organised well before the course. Please request a credit transfer form when you enrol and return it with evidence of your current HLTAID003 or HLTAID011 certificate. This will be verified by St John and if a credit transfer is granted it will be attached to the class roll.

Please note that while class size limits are currently 18, this could change due to COVID. While the two remote courses are put on our calendar for bushwalkers, there is usually space in other Provide First Aid courses which are offered to members of Scouts NSW.

In 2022 it is anticipated that Provide First Aid in a Remote or Isolated Situation HLTAID013 courses for bushwalkers and Scouts will run at Barra Brui (St Ives) over two weekends in February, July and November.

Keith Maxwell has stated:

“I have always thought that an important role for Search and Rescue/Bushwalking NSW was to encourage the spread of First Aid knowledge throughout the bushwalking clubs. For example, the Bush Club runs its own stream of First Aid training. Training for their Club walks leaders is fully subsidised by the club”.

Kirsten Mayer, Executive Officer of Bushwalking NSW Inc said:

“First Aid training is important for our clubs and we are so grateful to the entire team of Scouts and St John Ambulance volunteers who facilitate and deliver this training. All of this volunteer effort keeps the price very low for our bushwalkers. We encourage our club members to undertake this training. We also encourage our clubs to consider subsidising First Aid training for walks’ leaders.”

The Bush Club – Marie Byles Commemorative Walks

 Marie Byles Commemorative Walks , The Bush Club, Walks Report by Astrid van Blerk & Kevin Yeats, Images by Astrid van Blerk and Ian Evans

The Bush Club is one of the major walking clubs in Sydney, which offers its currently over 850 members a huge variety of activities such as day and pack walks, cycles, and multi-day trips to explore areas further away. It is often referred to as “the friendly club” – its culture is supportive and inclusive, walks range from relatively easy to challenging and adventurous so everyone can find something that suits them individually, and there is a special focus on encouraging new leaders which allows interested members to try out new skills and share their favourite walks with others. Whenever you meet a Bush Club group on the track you will notice that the atmosphere is happy, open and relaxed – we sure have mastered the art of having fun outdoors! Another telltale sign that the club is healthy and thriving is how much resilience and optimism it showed in these challenging times of the pandemic. For example, during the 2019/20 financial year despite the Covid shutdown which prevented group walking for several weeks, the club managed to complete an astonishing 446 activities – predominantly weekday day walks with an average number of 9.5 paricipants each. What a wonderful way to keep moving and breathing fresh air, and to maintain one’s sanity and social contacts at the same time…!

One of the many interesting collaborative projects that the club offered to its members recently was created to commemorate its co-founder Marie Byles, who together with Paddy Pallin brought the club into existence in 1939.
Marie Byles (1900 – 1979) was the first woman to practice law in NSW, a mountaineer, explorer and avid bushwalker, a committed conservationist, feminist, author and an original member of the Buddhist Society in NSW. As a teenager at her parent’s holiday retreat at Palm Beach, she would look through her telescope across Broken Bay to the bushland on the Central Coast. She would later campaign successfully to place the former coal reserve on the Bouddi Peninsula under public ownership and in 1935 Bouddi Natural (later National) Park was formed, with Marie being elected a trustee of the board that managed the park. By 1938, she had built the house she called ‘Ahimsa’ (nonviolence), on her 3½ acre bushland property at Cheltenham, which she later bequeathed to the National Trust.

To honour Marie Byles’ achievements and contributions to the club, a series of 7 walks, ‘From Buddha to Bouddi’, were held, starting on Marie’s birthday (8th April), from ‘Ahimsa’, Cheltenham and finishing at Marie Byles Lookout in Bouddi. The walks passed through 5 National Parks, numerous council parks and reserves, as well as beaches and important wetlands, and all were suitable for public transport. Walks ranged from an ‘octogenarian friendly’ grade 2 to a more demanding grade 4, as follows:

1. Cheltenham to Lindfield via ‘Ahimsa’, GNW along Lane Cove River to Fullers Bridge, Little Blue Gum Creek, Primula Oval, Paddy Pallin Reserve, Lindfield (19km grade 3).
2. Lindfield to Seaforth Oval via Seven Little Australians Park, Two Creeks Track, Flat Rock Beach, Magazine Track, Natural Bridge, The Bluff and Bantry Bay (21km grade 4 – actual walk reversed for transport convenience).
3. Seaforth Oval to Manly via Manly Dam Reserve, Burnt Bridge Creek, Clontarf Beach, Harbour Walk to Manly (19km grade 3).
4. Manly to Collaroy via Queenscliff with side trip to the wormhole, Freshwater, Curl Curl, Dee Why, Long Reef (11km grade 2)
5. Collaroy to Avalon via Warriewood, Mona Vale, Newport, Crown of Newport Reserve, Bilgola and Avalon Beaches (17km grade 3).
6. Avalon to Palm Beach via Angophora Reserve, Clareville Beach, Bangalley, Whale Beach, Palm Beach and Barrenjoey Head (20km grade 3).
7. Palm Beach to Wagstaffe by ferry, then circuit walk in Bouddi NP visiting Hardy Bay, Allen Strom Lookout, Rocky Point trail, Mt Bouddi, Maitland Bay, Marie Byles Lookout and Pretty Beach (19km grade 3).

This walks series was a great success overall, and there are already calls to repeat the whole lot again next year. A special thanks goes to our wonderful thoughtful and innovative leaders who each led a section, in order: Jenny Donoghoe, Fiona Sonntag, John Hungerford, Bob Taffel, Astrid van Blerk, Joy Bell and Carole Beales-Evans. Also, to quote Carole, thanks to the amazing walkers who made it so special!

To find out more about the Bush Club, please see here. Membership is open to those over 18. To be part of The Bush Club, sign up as a prospective member. Our leaders will help you select activities which will suit you and your fitness. After completing three membership qualifying walks, you can apply to become a full member. We are always looking forward to welcome new members – see you on the track!

REMEMBRANCE at Splendour Rock 2021

At 6am on 25 April (ANZAC Day 2021) there will be a short ceremony of remembrance at Splendour Rock to recognise the thirteen fallen bushwalkers from WWII.  This will return the pattern of remembrance from at least 1992.  Every year since then (and perhaps even 1990 but there is insufficient evidence) on ANZAC Day there has been a Dawn Service of remembrance at Splendour Rock.  Naturally, due to the pandemic, there was no dawn service in 2020.

Bushwalkers who have previously been to Splendour Rock for ANZAC Day will know that Mt Dingo is a dry campsite that can be subject to high winds.  However, when the weather is right overnight camping on Mt Dingo can be an unforgettable experience.  Splendour Rock is in the Wild Dog Mountains whose nearest access is the Dunphy Carpark at the end of the Megalong Valley Road from Blackheath.

It is now an NP&WS requirement that you must REGISTER your intention to camp overnight in a National Park of NSW.  Please be COVID safe in your camping.  More information can be found here – camping 

The memorial plaque at Splendour Rock was installed in February 1948 by a combined group of Sydney Bush Walkers (SBW) and Coast & Mountain Walkers (CMW).  The plaque was dedicated on the following ANZAC Day.  Both clubs each lost four (4) members while the YMCA Ramblers Bushwalking Club lost two (2) members.  Three other bushwalking clubs each lost one member being the Campfire Club, Rucksack Club plus the Trampers Club.  Background details for all of these fallen service personnel can be found on the Bushwalking NSW (BNSW) website – here.

Splendour Rock photos

Splendour Rock in the Wild Dogs of the Blue Mountains with its fabulous location is a unique war memorial that has attracted visitors from all over the world.  There is value in old photos.  Your help could make a planned book on Splendour Rock even better.  I am after photos of Jack Cummings as the Convenor of ANZAC Day Dawn Services.  Jack started the current series of an annual Dawn Service at Splendour Rock but it is a tragic tale.

Around 1990 Jack lead his first Dawn Service as a member of the (ex) Nepean Bushwalking Club.  He did so each ANZAC Day until his tragic death in 2001.  Now 2001 was not a good year for the Cummings family as on Christmas Day their family home and hence many bushwalking records were destroyed as a bushfire engulfed the town of Warragamba.

I am also after photos of something that is easy to overlook.  You camp on Mt Dingo but do you take photos of it?  Photos of camping on Mt Dingo before an ANZAC Day Dawn Service would also be appreciated.

Photos must be of the highest possible resolution.  All photos that are used will be acknowledged but (of course) not all photos will necessarily be used.  The aim is diversity in photos so please look through your old photo albums for relevant photos.  The more to choose from the better.

This small memorial raises many questions.  Who were the fallen bushwalkers?  Who cast the plaque and how / when was it installed?  Which bushwalker found this site and why was it chosen for the memorial?  When were Dawn Services held and do we have any old programs?  Who were the bushwalkers who served in WWII and returned?  What was the “Bushwalkers Service Committee”?  What about the “MATES” memorial?  The planned book by Michael Keats and I will answer these and many other questions with a wealth of information about this memorial plus several other memorials in the immediate area.  Hence, it should become a valuable reference for any bushwalker.  The story of Splendour Rock and the other memorials is a fascinating part of the history of bushwalking.

Coast and Mountain Walkers (CMW) have provided many excellent early history photos.  Other clubs must also have photos.  I am keen to balance this CMW contribution with more diversity.

Send your scanned photos to history@bushwalkingnsw.org.au

Splendour Rock Memorial 1948