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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)

recalls how in May, congratulating themselves on having achieved their objective - Wilky - the party left the cars at the barrier with the conviction that getting them out on Sunday would be no trouble. The cars stayed there for five days, snowbound. To cut a long story short, the party ended up walking to Falls Creek on the Monday. The drivers collected their vehicles the following Thursday at a cost of $20 per car, and lost three days' work as well. What Geoff got was his own long-awaited 'epic'.

Mt Bogong was the epicentre of many a good shake-up in the seventies, notwithstanding its belittling brush with metric conversion. 'A piddling 1983 metres instead of 6508 feet. It robs the mountain of its character. Why can't we stick with the good old British Foot?' asks Rod in the News, October 1972. In an exercise of controlled endurance one of the service clubs in the Kiewa Valley held a Bogong Conquest-a-thon on 9 March 1975. The route was up the 'Staircase' and down the 'Eskdale' spur, then back to the starting point. Our Tim Dent accomplished this in two hours nineteen minutes. He was third. The winner took two hours two minutes.


June 1975 saw the Barmah Forest host to yet another memorable occasion: Geoff Crapper's base camp. It was reliably reported that four bright green canoes were hired at the Doncaster Shopping Town and transported together with a gaggle of Bushies in the fabled Gronow's van to the vicinity of the 'battlefield'. After various aquatic reconnaissance exercises of dubious merit, the party found a camp site and 'dug in'. It wasn't until breakfast-time Monday that the furore broke out. The official report was gruesome. Graham Hodgson had declared a vegetable war from the shelter of his Flinders Ranges fortress. His sneak attack was quickly repulsed as everyone gathered their wits and anything else to hand and entered the fray. Brussels sprouts, onions, carrots and pumpkin began to rain down from both sides. The carnage was awful. Finally an exhausted Graham was routed from his fortress home and put 'to latrine duties' for the remainder of the sojourn.


Glancing through the notes that I have left, I see loads of interesting material untouched. For example, the Mascas family used to go away together with Club members every August-September school holidays to places like the Flinders Ranges, Ayers Rock and Alice Springs, the latter via a journey on the famed Ghan train; mid-air 'snap-frozen' bush-