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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
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Chapter 5
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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)
Chapter 5 - The Eightties

Noel Tolley with research by Athol Schafer

I had gone to bed early and was almost asleep when the phone rang. 'Would you give your view of the eighties?' the voice said, and before I knew it I had volunteered.

In a way, it seemed fitting. Although my membership extended hack to some years before (to early 1976, in fact), the eighties have been my real experience of the Club. Even though there were significant personal difficulties for me during those years, it was a period filled with some of the most treasured memories of people, places and experiences of my whole life.

Being a dedicated weekend walker during that period, I only came into contact with a small minority of Club members. As a general (but by no means rigid) rule, there are basically two types of people in the Club - those who prefer weekend (or longer) pack-carrying trips in relatively small groups, and the Sunday walkers (and there are certainly a lot of them).

The Sunday walkers are a particularly social species, and during the eighties they organised a staggering variety of events in addition to the Club's normal bushwalking programme. Food was high on the list of priorities for social events, so there was a great assortment of 'eating-outings' including the traditional Christmas and mid-year dinners, and yum chas, barbecues, picnics, progressive dinners, spit roasts, wine and cheese parties, exotic restaurants, and wine bottlings. (The voracious appetite of bushwalkers has been a serious problem from time to time. On a weekend van trip in February 1980, one ravenous walker was so engrossed in feeding at the Friday night pitstop, that he actually missed the van altogether!)

Films were popular in the eighties, too, so there were not only lots of trips to the cinema, but also several jolly old home film nights which - I am told - were particularly enjoyable evenings! Other social events