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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



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

Into greater things: weekend walks, extended walks .. .

Percy Woodman, with his knowledge of bushcraft, of maps and map-making, was keen to take Club members on longer trips. In fact, from 1941 the MBW went further afield. Most people worked on Saturday mornings so trips commenced at 1.00 p.m., 'meeting under the clocks' at Flinders Street Station.

At first weekend walks were at Warburton, Gembrook, Woori Yallock, Powelltown, Gladysdale, Macclesfield, Cockatoo and the Brisbane Ranges. Walkers took the train to Healesville (which was a holiday place then), to Lilydale and walked to Christmas Hills, to Yering Gorge and to Kangaroo Ground.

First-time walkers made mistakes as we still do. A female member's first long Christmas trip from Buller to Cobbler and return was memorable as she had a 56-pound (22.5-kilogram) pack that was just too heavy for her. So other members of the party unpacked it and found everything was being carried in glass jars. One wit said, 'She'd have her sleeping bag in a glass jar if there were one big enough'.

Leaders emerged from among the ranks: Fay Pitt, Gordon Coutts, Norm Richards, Paul Lederer, Bill Buchanan, Ken Middleton, Ken Grant, Edna Richards, Tess Maddison, Lorraine Richey and Stuart Brookes, to name a few.

To get to more inaccessible places a van from Gronow's was hired (see 'The Van', page 119). On occasion the van had been used for day walks too as some Sunday rail services were being closed down, for example the Sunday train to Whittlesea. During the week it was a furniture van; the seats were bolted in at the sides and up the middle for the weekend. Don Smellie, a most obliging fellow, was the driver who subsequently joined the Club and was an active member for years. There was singing on the van to while away the long uncomfortable hours; musicians joined in. Frank Pitt had a wooden whistle, someone else a mouth organ and Felix his piccolo. (There was always singing around the camp fire, but not while walking. It was a stated principle of the Club that there should be no noise and no brightly coloured clothing; the wildlife must not be disturbed.)

Signing up for a walk and paying for a seat on the van was a problem then, as it is now, when people dropped out at the last minute. The Club took the van to the Baw Baws for a three-day Christmas trip in 1946; in March 1947 for another three-day trip to Phillip Island. In February 1947 the van was taken to Werribee Gorge on a day trip and by the autumn of that year was used for day trips at least once a month. That