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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)

points were raised in the subsequent Iengthy discussions during the November 1977 Committee meeting:

  • bridging-type activities such as the 'Saturday start' day walk were flagging;
  • newcomers found the attitudes of a small group of 'heavies' intimidating;
  • weekend leaders no longer approached people in the Club room in an attempt to assure reasonable numbers on their walks.

However, no definite conclusions were reached.

In his write-up of Geoff Law's hard trip to Spion Kopje in November 1979, Bob Douglas asked where the old walkers were, and more importantly where was the fresh blood to sustain such trips. 'The Club does not seem to be attracting and/or retaining enough people to make up the numbers of a few years ago. And does this really matter anyway? Are the participants on hard walks just a small, exclusive sub-set of the vast membership of the Club, arcane in their customs, frightening to potential newcomers? It would be a pity if that is the image.' ('The Last of the Hard Walks?', News, December 1979)

Bob had been promoting the joys of weekend walking for some time. In the News, December 1977, he wrote an article 'On Becoming a Weekend Walker'. Here are some of his sentiments: '. . . the camaraderie around a camp fire, the fantastic beauty of walking through a mountain forest, the joy of camping beside a stream and of cooking on a good gum wood fire, the challenge of the elements and the terrain, the feeling of achievement at the end of a weekend'.

An interesting hypothesis has been put forward with regard to the demise of the hard weekend walker burnout. The walking of the Victorian section of the Alpine Walking Track (AWT) had finished them off. In fact it was the swan song of many a fine walker. Most had married anyway and their responsibilities lay elsewhere. Thus the decade, ushered in on a membership boom with a bumper crop of young people, had matured and settled down. Numbers of both weekend and day walkers were declining. Overall, however, membership numbers had roughly doubled, with 190 members at the end of 1969 and 378 members at the end of 1979.

The monthly newsletter is a vital link between members, keeping everyone au fait with the Club's activities. It was no less so in the seventies. Gossip columnists came and went. 'Sue's Snippets' by Sue Filson ran until April 1971 when 'Mummajong' by Alex Stirkul took over until July 1972. 'Shady Scorpion' by Geoff Crapper ran from August 1972 to