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CSIRO Conducts an Ecological Change Project and You Can Help

A national online survey is being conducted by the CSIRO and the Department of the Environment and Energy.

The survey will help them to understand how Australia’s bushland and biodiversity has been changing in recent years, and whether the 1°C increase in surface temperature experienced over the past century may have contributed to these changes.

If you have a strong, long-term relationship with the land and are passionate about the future of Australia’s special plants and animals then the CSIRO would love to hear from you. The survey will collect first hand observations, insights and stories about places that are changing and places that aren’t changing. For example, you may have observed new species appearing, plants flowering at unusual times, or trees dying in your area. This will provide a unique and important historical record for Australia and the CSIRO would love for you to participate.

To participate, you would need to be able to select a natural area (e.g. your local region or farm, a Nature Reserve, urban bushland) that you have been familiar with for at least the last 10 years. Note that they are interested both in areas where change has been observed and where change has not been observed.

The survey would take about 30 minutes. If this has sparked your interest, additional information about the full project can be found here.

Springwood Bushwalking Club Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Memoir Launch

Springwood Bushwalking Club is concluding a year of celebrations for its 50th anniversary with the launch of their Club memoir entitled “Adventures, Friends and Memories,” on 27th August 2017 at Wentworth Falls.

This book captures some of the many adventures SBC members have experienced, and celebrates the wonderful memories those adventures have provided. Through the Club and its activities, members have formed many lifelong friendships. This 250+ page book is full of amusing stories, anecdotes and photos from throughout its life. It includes the way the Club has changed over the years, as well as reminiscences from former and current members. Each decade of the club is covered extensively, including details of day and extended trips, travel, conservation and social activities, membership, gear and incidents. The final chapters highlight the Life members of SBC and its 50 year celebrations to date.

Anyone who has been a member of SBC will enjoy reading and remembering some of these sojourns into the bush. Those who are not SBC members will be inspired to enjoy the outdoors in a similar way.

You can order your own copy of “Adventures, Friends and Memories” for $25 (+$12 for postage if required). To order, send a bank transfer to:

SBC Special Purpose Account
St George Bank
BSB 112 879
Acc. No. 412 429 591

Along with an email advising your name, contact number, address and how many books (+ postage if required) you have ordered to info@springwoodbushwalker.org.au.

If you would like to attend the book launch, please get in touch with SBC by email for more details.

Splendour Rock – The Bushwalkers Who Fought For Australia

Splendour Rock in the Wild Dog Mountains is a bushwalkers’ war memorial in the spirit of bushwalking. Though not a difficult walk, even the least challenging path typically demands more than half a day and route finding.  On approach, accessing the last rock and plaque requires a confident leap over a short deep slot.

The bushwalkers of 1946 chose this spot well; Splendour Rock can also be a cross roads. The vast view extends from Kings Tableland (east) to Kanangra Walls and the High Gangerangs (west) and southwards towards Lake Burragorang / Blue Breaks. The dedication in 1948 must have been extra special as some bushwalkers, along with some of the fallen, had opened up the country in view to bushwalking prior to WWII.

In true bushwalker style the plaque is simple, but with fabulous wording.

There is great camaraderie as neither wealth or pr estige makes it any easier to get there.  All attendees have to share the limited rock platforms for the simple secular service.  The fallen bushwalkers are listed by name and club before a piper and trumpeter (with the ‘Last Post’) help to focus thoughts and feelings.  Typically, a glorious sunrise slowly lights the sky.

Breakfast almost seems hum drum before breaking camp and the walk out.

In 2018, Bushwalking NSW would like to make the remembrance a little more special for the 70th anniversary of the plaques dedication.  I trust that you can join us on ANZAC Day 2018.

Guest author: Keith Maxwell

Bushwalking: Get There and Back Safely – NavShield 2017

NavShield – Teams from clubs of BNSW achieved good results in the 29th NavShield held at Marramarra National Park on the edge of Sydney.  Over 400 persons participated in this annual remote area map and compass navigation training event for emergency services.  Bush Search and Rescue NSW (BSAR) would love to accept more BNSW Club teams into their great navigation event that is designed for all levels of navigator fro m beginner to very competent.

NavShield 2018-  Personnel from SES, RFS, VRA, NSW Police, NSW Ambulance plus bushwalking clubs all participate in a friendly atmosphere at NavShield in either the ONE day or TWO  day event.

June 25th & 26th 2018 will be our 30th NavShield.  Mark your diary now but be aware that NavShield is addictive.  This year BSAR handed out 25 year Attendance Awards!

First Aid – As well as encouraging navigation skills, BSAR would like to encourage First Aid skills in bushwalking clubs.

Shortly, registration will open for November courses in St John Ambulance “Provide First Aid” (one day course) or “Remote Area First Aid” (RAFA a three day course).  All enrolment and FA course details will eventually be at the BSAR website – www.bsar.org.au  Be quick; don’t wait to enrol in these popular courses.

Take time at this website to explore information on bush safety, distress beacons (Personal Locator Beacons – PLB), GPS receivers, outdoors communication, NavShield results plus how you can be part of that great community service of Bushwalking NSW, Bush Search and Rescue NSW.

Guest Author: Keith Maxwell

The History and Future of Kedumba Hut

Over 150 years ago, the Kedumba Valley in Blue Mountains National Park was first settled.

In 1832, Thomas Maxwell, an Irish convict, arrived in Sydney and married fellow convict, Elizabeth Osborne, soon after. The couple gave birth to twin boys, one of whom was named William James Maxwell. Born on April 27th 1832, William Maxwell later moved out to the Burragorang area (in modern times home to Warragamba Dam) where he met and married Mary Thompson in 1855. In the 1860s, Maxwell worked as a stockman and ran his own cattle farm to earn a living.

Whether Maxwell first applied for a land grant in Kedumba Valley in 1859 or 1889 is not entirely clear, but the family left a particularly lasting legacy in the form of Kedumba Hut. Three generations of the Maxwell family lived in Kedumba Valley until 1992. During these years, the family constructed five different timber slab huts, as well as other utility buildings. Of the huts, only one is still standing today, and this ‘Kedumba Hut’ has become a place of historical significance.

Built in 1925, Kedumba Hut is an outstanding example of Australian pastoral life removed from larger settlements. According to National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS), the hut is an “excellent example of vernacular bush craft” with “timber detailing… of exceptionally high technical… and archaeological potential.” The site is also a prime research target to learn more about vernacular buildings from the 1890s to the 1920s in New South Wales. Very few buildings of its type and age have survived, giving it significance as a “rare and endangered species.”

Kedumba Hut with Mt Solitary behind.  Photo: NPWS

In 2001, a report into the heritage value of the hut was commissioned. The results suggested that Kedumba Hut had considerable state, and possibly even national, significance. The report also detailed that the hut needed urgent stabilisation work or it was at risk of collapsing further. Maintenance to stall the hut’s fall into disrepair was completed in 2004. Over a decade later, a second report was commissioned, this time to determine if the hut could be re-used and better preserved. In order to achieve both ends, the report suggested that the best strategy was to fully restore the site to the condition and function it had in 1925.

With the above in mind, NPWS has put together a plan to restore and refurbish Kedumba Hut to ensure it remains for generations to come. Working with a number of partners, NPWS plans to raise $350,000 for restoration as well as ongoing maintenance. Upon completion, the site will be heritage listed and its preservation guaranteed. Keduma Hut will also be made available as free overnight accommodation for bushwalking groups that can be booked on request. NPWS propose to ensure the hut is weather-tight and hold simple camp-style beds. Water, gas and electricity will not be provided.

Kedumba Hut.  Photo: NPWS

Once the hut has been restored, it could be the perfect opportunity for bushwalkers to take a rest, enjoy the beauty of Kedumba Valley and reflect on what life might have been like for the Maxwell family over 150 years ago.

You can visit Kedumba Hut in the Blue Mountains National Park on the 19km Kedumba Valley Loop track.

Sources

Jack, Ian. ‘Of the hut I builded’: the Maxwells’ slab structures in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. Australian Historical Archaeology 27, 2009. Pp 55-66.

Blue Mountains Community. “Maxwell’s Slab Hut” Kedumba Valley: Restoration & Re-use overview. 2016.

Thanks to guest writer: Andrew Barker

Your say on our focus

Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey in January, 2017! It was a biggie!

To begin sharing the results and our actions with you, here’s the ordered response to the question:

What should be the current focus of Bushwalking NSW?

  1. Safety, rescue, risk management
  2. Tracks and access (defined walks)
  3. Conservation (natural places to walk in)
  4. Public promotion of bushwalking
  5. Training
  6. Services to clubs

Interestingly, these options were presented in quite a different order in the survey:

  1. Services to clubs
  2. Public promotion of bushwalking
  3. Conservation
  4. Tracks and access
  5. Safety, rescue, risk management
  6. Training

So it was a good question to ask!

If you would like to send us your thoughts, you can still respond to our survey here.

This information will ultimately go into our strategic plan, however we have already responded with work in these areas:

  • more work on our Risk Management Guidelines
  • met with NPWS and members about tracks and walk promotion
  • visited the historic, Kedumba Valley hut with NPWS and talked about tracks and access (one member specifically asked for huts)
  • delivered an excellent minimal impact bushwalking presentation
  • and more!

While we could never do everything that can be imagined, members also made the following suggestions which we could may be able to  on if we find the resources: “Collate an inventory of walks”

Also, one members suggested we “monitor insurance suitability each year” which we do with the help of Bushwalking Australia.

Our Community Liaison Officer, Alexandra Davidson has been working tirelessly to analyse your results so we will be continuing to bring you more details of the results.

Bush Search and Rescue (BSAR) NSW is the new name for BWRS

Bushwalkers Wilderness Rescue Squad have today announced a change of squad name to Bush Search and Rescue (BSAR) NSW.

The name change reflects the skills, experience and resources available within this specialist squad of the Volunteer Rescue Association.

Squad President Keith Maxwell explains, “Over recent years, it’s become apparent that our previous name was not only a mouthful to say and remember, but didn’t accurately reflect the broader range of services that we offer to the Police and people of NSW in our capacity as volunteers.”

With a history that dates back to 1936 (then referred to as the Search & Rescue arm of the NSW Confederation of Bushwalking Clubs) Bush Search and Rescue NSW work closely with the NSW Police Force, specifically the Police Rescue Squad, to provide fit, experienced and highly competent personnel who specialise in the area of wilderness search and rescue.

“The truth is, we don’t only search for missing bushwalkers. Our more recent work has included canyoners, dementia patients, small children or tourists who’ve wandered off into bushland areas,” continues Maxwell.

Bush Search and Rescue’s skills include a high level of bushcraft and self-sufficiency in a wilderness setting, vertical rescue and roping techniques, wilderness first aid, land search techniques, remote communications and remote area transport.

“It is our hope that the adoption of this new name will see us referred to colloquially as ‘BSAR’ and is yet another indication of our ability to change and modernise, whilst fulfilling the needs of the public and the emergency services community.

For further information on Bush Search and Rescue (NSW) , please contact publicity@bsar.org.au or secretary@bsar.org.au.

Two Valley Trail, Sunday 6 August, 2017

The Two Valley Trail is a loop walk along Cooks River and Wolli Creek, for a total length of about 12km.  While many are familiar with the bicycle and pedestrian path following Cooks River, the bushland along Wolli Creek in this part of inner south west Sydney is less well known.  Indeed it’s nothing short of a miracle that this gem has been preserved at all.  If you would like to get to know it, come along on Sunday 6 August.

The walk starts and finishes at Tempe Station.  For detailed information and to book, please email Ute Foster or call 0424 646 877.

Inclusiveness

Recently a member ask us about ‘member protection’ – she was referring to the terms used in Sport & Recreation: http://www.ausport.gov.au/supporting/integrity_in_sport/member_and_child_protection

To use the Sport & Recreation phrasing, bushwalking should also be “safe, fair and inclusive for everyone involved…..[and clubs should seek to] to prevent and address discrimination and harassment and to protect children from abuse.”

These attitudes and behaviours are deeply ingrained in our clubs.  The fact that bushwalking clubs welcome all members of society, and provide social interaction and recreation for all people, is one of the reasons why I work for Bushwalking NSW!

Clubs have reached out to Bushwalking NSW for assistance on these matters and we have helped these clubs out on these sensitive matters.  If you have any concerns or suggestions in this area, feel free to contact us for assistance.  You can reach me using my personal email or use our form on the contact us page.

To describe some of the ways that Bushwalking NSW is safe, fair and inclusive:

Our clubs also practice inclusivity in may ways, the most common is that clubs promote the culture of always pacing the walk to the slowest walker.  Members have even benighted themselves for the safety of their fellow walkers and the group.

 

Save the Trees and Animals Rally and March this Sunday 4 December

 

www.savethetreesandanimalscampaign.com

www.savethetreesandanimalscampaign.com

Save the Trees and Animals Network is running a Rally and March this Sunday 4 December 2-4pm Belmore Park, then 5-8pm Hyde Park North in the city. The objective is to gather community support for and raise awareness of trees and animals in Sydney in light of urban development plans. There will be stalls on the day and speeches – John would like to invite you to hold a stall (card table and flyers) or speak.

Dedicated to actively saving trees & animals