KOSCIUSZKO HUTS ASSOCIATION

charles warnerBurwood Scout Group, which also produced Len Beadell, writer of several books, and surveyor and builder of roads in Central Australia (including the Gunbarrel Highway), nurtured Charles'

In 1935 he made acquaintance with Paddy Pallin in his small shop on the first floor above Wynyard Station. Between the wars there was not much gear available excepting ex-disposal from WWI. Only the wealthier types could afford to purchase an oily Japara Kiwi Jacket, and until Paddy started manufacturing them in Australia, a cape groundsheet of oiled Japara was the only other option. Down sleeping bags cost more than two weeks wages, and those that couldn't afford this luxury took instead two blankets off their own bed held together with two blanket pins. In those days bushwalking was a cheap entertainment for most people.

In 1957/58 Charles took his first trip to the Snowy after his return from the UK. The scouts conducted a Snowy Venture from Three Mile at Cabramurra to Johns Plain below Charlotte Pass. This gave him his first taste of the High Country. Navigation was by a sketch map put out by the Tourist Board 1" to the mile. The Australian Army map (1:63.360) with 50ft. contours, available at the time of the Snowy Scheme, with as much detail or more as on the present 1:50000 maps. Around the time Guthega was half completed, the SMA one inch to the mile map, with 200 ft contours, covered the Snowy Mountains with some extensions into areas such as the Pilot Wilderness, with obvious concentration on places of interest to the dam builders, and a bit uninformative elsewhere. He took up ski touring from Alpine Hut, where there was usually enough snow for beginners, visiting Whites River Camp, several fibro huts with raised wooden floors and ablution blocks on concrete. Some slabs of concrete, odd bricks and bits of corrugated iron remain at the site. Charles used manufactured skis with a hooked binding although some could afford Norwegian skis.

There was agitation among most users of the huts; rumours of huts being burnt and removed. Charles attended the first meeting of KHA at Sawpit Creek.  Paddy Pallin was one of the instigators concerned by the loss of huts.

When caretaker groups were talked of, the North Kuring-Gai Venturers Unit opted to look after Alpine. It had been used by Outward Bound and had a huge food dump. This had to be checked out. It included 4 gall tins of dried onions, several tins dried potatoes, and 4 gall tins custard powder, some flour, rolled oats and soup powder. The hut was cleaned and organised and poly pipe installed from a nearby spring to provide running water. At that time a vehicle could be driven as far as Kidman's; everything was then backpacked to Alpine. After Alpine Hut burnt down in 1978, there was no great enthusiasm for Charles in helping to caretake another hut. Instead he became interested in the compilation of the Huts Lists. A couple had been made up, but Charles would spend between 2 to 7 days wandering around