The Society
Last Update:
Sat 26 Aug 2023

The Society

Introduction & Brief history

"The Sydney Speleological Society's Foundation Meeting was held on the 23 March, 1954 in the YMCA Building, Pitt Street, Sydney.... At that time only two caving societies existed in Australia..."

That was fifty years ago!

"... and over the intervening period, the Sydney Speleological Society has had a considerable impact on caving, being involved in many of the significant events and proceedings regarding caving, caving standards, caving publications, cave equipment, caving safety, cave rescue and the formation of the Australian Speleological Federation.... Many caving societies, who have made useful contribution to caving, have disappeared from the scene, but the Sydney Speleological Society has kept going...."

Presidents report for the year 2002-2003 - Ben Nurse, Journal of The Sydney Speleological Society, Year Book, 2002-2003, 47(5):126

Society Activities

With its very diverse membership from all age groups, the Society caters for environmentally conscious cavers as well as for a wide range of special interests such as:

Cave Rescue
Single Rope Technique

and much more....

Society Contributions

Over the years the Sydney Speleological Society Inc. has contributed greatly to the national and international World of Caving, the following are just some of the major contributions:

A member invented and made the first working Radio Directional Equipment.
ZIMIC, R., 1965. Radio Direction Finding Equipment in Caves Communications (SSS Occasional Paper No 2). Sydney, October 1965, pp. 1-7.

A member invented the Michie Phones, a no-nonsense cave communications system.
MICHIE, N. A., 1974 The Incredible Long Distance Underground Talking Machine. J.Syd.Speleol.Soc. 18(11):295-302

First Society to tag caves in NSW.
LANE, E. A. and NURSE, B., 1961. Cave Numbering of Cave Entrances. Communications, 5(8):45

A member produced a detailed article about the techniques and advantages of Photo-tagging cave entrances.
BONWICK, J., 1980. Photo-Tagging of Cave Entrances. J.Syd.Speleol.Soc. 24 (6):133- 139

First Scaling Pole work in Australia.
BONWICK, J., 1954. How I Found the New Cave at Jenolan, The Silver Jacket, February, 1954 pp. 32-33. Reprinted in J.Syd.Speleol.Soc. 28(12):214-215

The largest speleological excavation in Australia leading to break in to the Efflux Cave at Bungonia.
LEWIS, W.C., 1994. The longest Running Cave Dig, Efflux Cave, Bungonia Reserve. NSS News 52(10):302-308

First Cave Area Listing in Australia, for caves in NSW.
ANDERSON, R., 1955. Cave Areas of New South Wales. Communications (Annual) No 2. SC: Sydney, pp. 24-56

First Australian Cave Map Index
HAWKINS, R. and L., 1972. Australian Speleo Map Index No 1. SSS Occasional Paper No 5. SSS: Sydney 33 pp.

Premier Publisher of Caving Publications in Australia.
ELLIS, R. and NURSE, B., Publications of The Sydney Speleological Society Brochure. SSS: Sydney. 4pp CLICK HERE for full list.

Extensive work done on CO2 measurements and low cost equipment to explore high CO2 in caves in NSW.
CRAWSHAW, R. and MOLEMAN, D., 1970. Experiments with Cave Atmospheres. The CO2 Problem. J.Syd.Speleol., Soc.,14(8):177-185.

First to use cave diving to find cave extensions in NSW.
ANON., 1957. Drama In Icy Cave. Pix, July 20, 1957, pp44-47. Reprinted in .J.Syd.Speleol., Soc.,39 (10:206-208.

Members have made significant contributions to Cave Meteorology.
HALBERT, E and MICHIE, N., 1979. Meteorological Behaviour in the North Deep Creek, East Deep Creek and Eagles Nest Systems at Yarrangobilly, Part II.J.Syd.Speleol., Soc.,16(12): 336-341

Copyright Sydney Speleological Society Inc.