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Start
Contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18

Photogallery
Archive
1940-99


Walk
Magazine
Archive
1949-87


Newsletter
Archive
1949-
The Melbourne Bushies - Fifty years along the track (1940-90)

classical music, and we enjoyed the many concerts that were available in Melbourne during those years. Sometimes we would meet at someone's house and play old 78 records. For some of my friends it was their first experience of classical music, and for this they were always grateful."

The Quaker Society of Friends regarded it as their duty to make refugees welcome and assist them where possible. Egon made contact with them and they kindly supplied the first Club meeting rooms in their premises at 20 Russell Street. In the winter of 1941 they also supplied the venue for the first Melbourne Bushwalkers' concert. At this occasion Egon remembers knowing everyone - the audience were all parents and friends of his little band except for two male strangers sitting at the back. Who were they? Men from the Secret Service .. .

The first official walk, led by Egon Donath in April 1940, was from Ferntree Gully Station and went up Mt Morton. In the early walks programmes (1944 onwards) the MBW always had a 20-kilometre walk as well as one of 13 kilometres; the easier ones were often led by Egon, which he cheerfully refers to as his `sissy' walks. In the height of summer when it was deemed too hot to walk, they took the last train out on a Saturday night and went on night walks. These sometimes included seeing the lyrebirds at dawn in Sherbrooke forest. A swim was often the order of the day and certainly a stop by water was a feature on many walks. At the beginning of every walk they formed a circle and introduced themselves, just as we do today. Cakes would be taken to share and a billy always boiled at lunchtime.

Favourite walking places emerged and traditions were set up. Canadian Bay, Mt Eliza (train to Frankston), was a place much visited. Another popular walk was from Greensborough to St Helena. The latter was a small settlement started by pioneers and had an old picturesque church which still stands. The walkers would study the tomb-stones. The place was completely isolated; it was also among the very few that had a village pump, a great asset to bushwalkers.

Perhaps the most famous early tradition was set up by Egon, the annual `cream hunt'. Cream in wartime years was almost unobtainable but at Waldheim, a guest house at Bayswater (still standing as a Greek club), accessible from Ringwood, Mitcham and Bayswater Stations, an old German fellow called Busch kept a couple of cows and was keen to develop his daytime trade. Some walkers would go on a long walk that ended there, while others were happy just to stroll in gently to Waldheim; all would then have afternoon tea together. The MBW, being mindful of the relative prosperity in which they lived, contributed to the `Food for Britain'. Alan Patching organised the monthly parcel that was