Wellington Cave Notes - an explanation
In early 1970 Roger Newman and John Lewin joined DSIR and decided to go flatting together. Roger had been a member of CCG while we were both at the University of Canterbury and while he was active in the Hutt Valley Tramping Club, still yearned to return to caving. Every now and then he would get a trip to Waitomo with a group of Wellington Tramping and Mountaineering Club members who had been introduced to caving by HTG member, Algy Watson. These people were Gordon and Rosemary Fox and Ian MacGregor.
One day soon after Roger and John moved into 39A Buick Street, Petone (hereinafter known as “39A”) Roger was told of a cave “across the road from Mt Bruce Bird Sanctuary”. On 10 October 1970 he planned a trip there with Ros Hadden, another CCG member who’d come up to work in the laboratory at Unilever. To cut a long story short, this trip was John’s introduction to caving: dark, wet, cave photography (when Roger asks you to lie in a stream so he can get a photo of you coming out of a hole, you’d better learn fast that you need to carry a spare pair of clothes otherwise the trip home is still very wet!) and absolutely enjoyable, exciting and otherworldly – and that was Bathtub!!!!
After this trip and others with it, including combined trips with MSG which had just started, a group of cavers who’d come from all parts of NZ, started meeting at 39A regularly, indeed fortnightly! During this time, Roger deemed that there was a need for a newsletter to keep all these people informed and so, having roped in John’s assistance, started to write an irregular newsletter, which for want of a better title he called “Wellington Cave Notes”.
In May 1972, having decided that the group was stable enough to survive, Roger called a meeting and with the agreement of the assembled “multitude” applied to NZSS for affiliation as the Wellington Tomo Group. This latter name was agreed on because for many years, mostly because of the enthusiasm of Algy Watson, that small group of Wellingtonians had been an unofficial branch of HTG.
At the next meeting, Roger suggested that now that we were a proper group, our newsletter should have a proper name. After a frustrating evening of serious and less than serious suggestions, none of which we accepted, Roger threw up his hands, and cries “We have to call it something!” “That’s it”, cried Tim Brown, “SUMPTHINK!” (At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)