(header photographs by Harry Waite 1912-2011)

The Myth of the Sacred Brumby






T h e   "P o e t h i c s"   o f   B u s h w a l k i n g

A discussion of bushwalking ethics in verse.
Poems by various
Comments by Col Gibson


Burn or bury all your rubbish and your tins, And hide your bottles as you would your sins.”

The above little message could for many years be seen painted on a side wall of the old Woronora Weir (Lake Kolora) at the junction of Heathcote Creek and Woronora River. This was a very popular swimming hole until the weir (and the message) was blown up by the army in 1986. I’m not sure why this was done, but there were concerns at the time over car accidents at the entrance to the very small car park at the Woronora Bridge on Heathcote Road. And of course it borders on Military Reserve, and must have given the Army a great opportunity, with all the high explosives they have at their disposal, to blow something up.

Before it was destroyed and the car park and swimming hole closed, I made a point of removing bucket loads of smashed bottles, plastic etc that had, despite the exhortations of the slogan, accumulated in the surrounds in great quantity over many years. But of the slogan itself a little research revealed that it was for a long time nothing less than the slogan of the Sydney Bush Walkers, that club of great renown founded by Myles Dunphy and others in 1927.

The slogan is in fact a couplet from a little piece of spontaneous verse making by Kath McKay, who, with Marie Byles’ family and friends, rented the historic Bett’s Camp in the Snowy Mountains one Christmas in the late 1930’s. At the end of a ten day stay, while Kath and Marie were out roaming around, the others (quite possibly led the way by Marie’s dad
Cyril) undertook repairs to the old building and a thorough general clean up. So inspired by the transformation of the hut, Kath, a practised versifier, “with occasional help or hindrance from the others” according to Marie Byles, wrote a tribute to the undertaking (presumably in the visitors book of the hut). It was printed (without title) in the club’s magazine in January 1941. I have taken the liberty here to call it… “Hide Your Bottles”.
 The "Poethics" of bushwalking.