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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)

summer, 1947-48, the van took a group to Kosciusko, the first of the very long trips. Edna Richards's trip to Tasmania at Christmas in 1948-49 was the first using cars as transport.

Egon, never a tough walker, did go on one weekend trip to Wilsons Promontory in 1948. The van was used. It was a night drive; they left at midnight and took six hours. Everyone had tents except Egon, who didn't really fancy camping. There were still two old wartime training huts that had been used by the Australians and Canadians. Egon was friendly with the ranger and managed to make use of a hut, a move viewed with amusement by the rest!

Sketchy inaccurate maps were always a problem and from time to time the MBW got lost. In December 1945 Norm Richards took a Club trip into the Tali Karng area, and another group was going in too; when they didn't rendezvous at a specified time and place the alarm was set off back in Melbourne. But Edna Richards (Norm's wife) said not to worry, and sure enough the group met up with the Women's Walking Club soon afterwards; the latter reassured those in Melbourne when they got back. They eventually reached the point of rendezvous where there was a cache of food that had been brought in on packhorses by Julius Sweetapple, a cattleman from Glen Cairn. The group was very hungry. Gordon Coutts remembers his 21st birthday well: a dry camp, not even enough water for his oatmeal to make porridge. Always a slight man, his mother was shocked on his return, he had lost so much more weight than is usual on a long trip.

Jock Low and Jack Morrison 'lost' their party on the Blue Rag Range - or at least they wouldn't tell their group where they were for two days. The lie of the creeks and valleys did not match up with the map. Fay Pitt remembers this, and Jack making beautiful damper. This trip was also remarkable for the lyrebirds, dozens of them, up on the ridges and not in the gullies where they are usually found.

The cattlemen were of great assistance in those early days, taking the carefully packed food in boxes; each box contained two 'kero' tins soldered up. The horse carried two boxes, one on either side, up into the mountains; thus walks could be extended. Packing for such trips, back in Melbourne, was notorious for the meticulous weighing and exact allocation of space that it entailed.

Bushwalkers became very ingenious in overcoming obstacles. On one occasion they found that the train they wished to use had been cancelled from Warragul onwards. An elderly Club member, Charlie Greenhill, was a builder and knew the timber millers in the area. So the walkers travelled by timber jinker from Warragul to Heyfield.