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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)

the greater proportion of the responsibility and temper the 'insensate pacemakers' without breaking their spirit. Another pointed out that, after all, 'we are supposed to be Bush Walkers' (From the President's Pen', News, April 1976).

In an open letter published in the News, the Committee was very critical of nine walkers who went on ahead late in the day, negotiating a difficult cliff scramble on Marijke Mascas's walk in the Lerderderg Gorge in May 1970, leaving the other eleven to spend the night in the bush. 'After much crossing of the river with several wettings, some complete, the nine managed to reach the Ford by 9 p.m., aided by a bright moon and much cajoling by Alex. Faced with no van, they set off briskly for Bacchus Marsh, six miles away, where, to their delight, they found the Gronow's van, having all but given up and just about to depart for Melbourne'. (News, June 1970). The Mt Cole - Ben Nevis weekend walkers, led by Art Terry, had spent three and a half hours searching fruitlessly for the day walkers. Meanwhile the eleven in the bush spent a fairly comfortable night warmed by two fires and providentially dry weather, walking out the following day, none the worse for wear. In fact, they quite enjoyed the adventure.

Charles Knight recorded in the News, May 1970, that 'it is noticeable on walks that status is accorded to those who arrive at different sections first'. He suggested a handicapping system whereby the 'racehorses' could, by mutual agreement with the Walks Secretary, be given extra weight to carry. The walker's agreed weight could be emblazoned on pack and person, thus ensuring the desired status at all times. Obviously the heavier the load the greater the status. This, however, did not catch on. Despite censure the problem did not go away and debate over the 'racehorse' issue waxed and waned. In an article in the News, December 1977, W-J pointed out, 'if the strong are pushed under by the super-strong a break opens up in the continuum and the resulting groups get smaller and more exclusive'. Michael Griffin's thought-provoking article 'Competition and Co-operation' in the News, April 1977, has some valuable comments on this question. Michael encapsulates the principles of the all-important 'Club spirit', which can be selfish and divisive, or co-operative and encouraging.

Towards the end of the decade weekend walking had dwindled to a hard core of no more than 20-30 walkers, less than 10 per cent of membership, with no new walkers coming up the ranks. The Walks Secretary viewed the situation as serious, reporting that the weekend programme had not been financially viable for many months past. The following