|Carole Beales was born in London, England and then
lived in Farnham in Surrey. At the age of 19 she came to Australia on a
visit, with New Zealand planned as her next stop before returning to
England. She liked Australia so much that she stayed; and in fact
persuaded her brother and her mother to also become Australians. They
now live close to her in the Manly area.
She quickly developed a great love for the Australian environment, a concern about its preservation, and became active in various conservation groups. She joined NPA in 1981 and since then has walked with both NPA and Sydney Bushwalkers. She has enjoyed extended trips in Kakadu, Tasmania, South America and, most recently, in New Zealand (finally completing the next leg of her original intended trip!).
But her most memorable trip has been cruising the waters of Antarctica on a Russian scientific ship. This trip included close encounters with humpback whales and penguins, and a swim in a volcanic crater. The trip provided excellent material for a slide show which she has presented to several groups.
Carole has worked in the finance industry, but her interest in environmental and heritage values has increasingly drawn her towards work and study in these areas. She has almost completed an Applied Science Degree in Parks, Recreation and Heritage at Charles Sturt University, and would like to make use of this qualification in her future career. While studying, Carole works part-time for the NPWS as a tour guide at the Quarantine Station at Manly and at other NPWS centres. She enjoys this work because it allows her to teach people about our interesting history and environment.
Carole's favourite walks as a leader are those around the Sydney Harbour foreshores, the Northern Beaches, Wentworth Falls and Blue Gum Forest. These have proved very popular; all the more so because her walks are well known for a finish at a coffee shop for coffee and a meal. She also really likes pack walks into more rugged areas such as Kanangra Walls, and has completed a large number of these. She has walked a great deal with leaders such as Greg Bridge, Jan Mohandas, Henry Roda, Richard Thompson and Peter Fox.
She really values the opportunity provided by bushwalking to get out and see our wonderful national parks with a group of like-minded people. Carole considers NPA as a big happy family and has made many firm and lasting friends through it.
Warialda, some 650 north-west of Sydney on the Fossickers Way, means a "place of wild honey".
I recently visited this area and was most impressed with its natural beauty. There is a very reasonable camping area (about $3 per night) with free gas barbecues at the Cranky Rock Reserve, 8km east of the township off the Gwydir Highway on Reedy Creek.
Cranky Rock is a unique jumble of granite boulders on the edge of Reedy Creek, just a short walk from the camping area. Local legend has it that a "cranky" Chinese man, working in the area during the goldmining days, was accosted for some wrongdoing and jumped to his death from the highest balancing rock.
There is an enclosed nature reserve which provides an interesting walk around the perimeter.
Another short walk, about 4 km one way, is Koorilgur Nature Walk, which is well signposted and runs from the Apex to the Rotary parks. This area has abundantAngophora costata (known locally as tumbledown gum). Whilst it is suggested this walk be done one way, I would think NPA members would be more than happy to park their vehicle, walk the track and return the same way.
A most enjoyable and relaxed visit.
Peery National Park
We were fortunate recently to visit this new national park, the values of which were so well recorded by Dr Kingsford in the April Journal.
After making contact with the Regional Office in Broken Hill, we were given a map and directions to find the best camping place, a track to the lake, the location of the park worker, and warned that there were no facilities. We were pleased about the latter as we didn't really wish to see "facilities".
The main road from Wilcannia, either direct or via White Cliffs to Wanaaring, runs diagonally through the park from the SW corner to the NE corner. There is also a road cutting past the Peery homestead in the SW corner to several grazing properties. The gas pipeline with repeater tower and landing ground cut through the park north of Peery Lake and west of Poloko Lake. Consequently, with ten or more vehicles using the main road in 36 hours, we were certainly not in the "wilds".
The park worker was away so we had to rely upon our advice from Broken Hill. The campsite was on the northern side of Charlton waterhole, which is a creek very densely overhung with Eucalyptus camadulensis. There was quite a lot of water present and the site for two pumps indicated the water was fairly permanent. We had been warned that if it rained we should move to the western side of the creek, as it is impossible to cross when the water rises. Certainly the creek crossing, though dry, was badly eroded and full of boulders which slowed the traffic to a crawl. Out from our camp there was flood debris well above the ground.
We drove north-east along the main road for 19 km and eventually found a vehicle track leading off to the east. After three kilometres we saw Peery Lake. It did not look like the usual inland lake, perhaps because the western side was lined with trees and the shoreline had numbers of promontories, while the Peery Hills with their scattered trees gave the lake a more majestic appearance. The far shore, some 3 to 5 km away with low sand dunes, was more typical of so many inland lakes.
Leaving the car we walked south across the hills for some 6 to 7 km to Spring Paddock tank near the southern boundary, then returned along the lakeshore. The walking was not easy due to the broken stones covering the hills.
The hills were dotted with such trees as casuarinas, acacias aneura, continua, tetragonophylla, various cassias (sennas), Alectryon oleifolius, eremophilas; and around the lakeshore were Eucalyptus camaldulensis.
Though there were no large numbers of birds, we saw yellowed-billed spoonbill, black duck, great egret, silver gull, pardalotes, yellow-rumped thornbill, chirruping wedgebill, chestnut-crowned babbler, red-capped robin, grey shrike-thrush, magpielark, white-winged triller, grey butcherbird, zebra finch, mulga parrot, blue bonnet, Australian ringneck, Bourke's parrot, budgerigar, black kite, wedge-tailed eagle, and a number of others.
It was a memorable visit. We wished we had more time to spend, and that the nights were a little warmer for camping.
Issues for management
Zones: It will be difficult to find a sufficient area to declare part of the park wilderness due to the main road and the pipeline road. If it is possible to acquire more leases, such as to the south or the north-west, there may be scope for wilderness.
Tracks: An obvious area is the western section bordering the lake and perhaps going to the top of the Peery Hills. However, discussions should take place with the Aboriginal people to ensure sacred areas are not included. Along part of the Charlton waterhole is another area which may justify a track.
Camping grounds: Though the Charlton
waterhole is very attractive and provides an excellent windbreak from westerly winds, there is the danger of
pollution and flooding if camping is permitted. The western side has no shelter, though it may be
possible to plant trees with water available so close.
There may be merit in placing the camp ground near the homestead where the park keeper would have better oversight over campers, and there is an airstrip nearby for emergencies. There are possible camping sites towards Rutherford Creek.
On the western side is the
half-destroyed homestead called "Mandalay". It is rather a sad site showing what conditions some people had to
live under in the west. I doubt if there is any merit in classing it as a heritage item and conserving it,
but it could be documented and used in a display.
Though the park is not an Aboriginal park, there should be a number of Aboriginal people on the advisory committee. There should be special meetings at Wilcannia and on site to discuss any concerns the people have about sites in the park.
There are not only a huge number of flakes lying around the hills, but there appear to be several ochre quarries as well.
Roads: Besides the two main roads there are seven other tracks within the park. Again, there should be consultation with not only neighbours and Aboriginal people but the public, as to which ones are essential and which can be closed.
Value for conserving species: NPWS and Sturt University should do an intensive flora and fauna study as soon as possible. Then follow up that survey every five years for as long as possible. Only then will we know if such parks are able to conserve species over the longer period.
Three Valleys Branch