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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)

working, so he suspected the chimney. Scrambling up a precariously-perched ladder, he attempted unsuccessfully to chimney-sweep the flue. After some chimney dismantling work and with the aid of a torch, the problem was finally identified: one rather cranky ringtail possum. Manual eviction of the protesting squatter followed, and then destruction of the nest.

Doug now set his inventive mind to the improvisation and installation of some sort of special device to prevent re-entry and unintentional scorching of the unwelcome chimney squatter. This device was proudly named Pocock's Patented Possum Protector.

I was in the first winter party to arrive after Doug's visit. There was a fair cover of snow, and as I recall the weather was not all that favourable. Doug's notes in the log book were read with interest and amusement, and then the group set about preparing dinner. The stove was lit. Voluminous smoke. Open all the windows. More smoke. Vigorous attempts to get the fire roused into a smokeless blaze. More smoke. Take the burning embers out into the snow with a shovel, and investigate. The stove was alright, so was the damper. Something was poked up the chimney from below, and some straw extracted. More poking up the chimney produced more smoke, and eventually pieces of well-cooked possum. As there had been no expressions of protest and no attempted evacuation, we concluded that the possum had re-entered the chimney, become trapped, and died long before we arrived.

So, there goes another failed invention! Eventually a new possum-proof cowl was placed on the top of the chimney and there was no further trouble of' this kind.

Another great tradition of the Bushies was the annual Walk magazine, which had its demise in 1988. In my opinion, it was a great loss to the bushwalking community. Here was a magazine that I had devoured avidly for years and years. I was entranced by the fabulous stories of back-packing trips into the remotest and most enthralling country imaginable. Here were stories of rich comradeship, of exquisite scenery, of blissful enjoyment.

Through all those years when other commitments prevented me from actively participating in club trips, I was an armchair bushwalker with the help of Walk magazine. I even devoured the track notes – all of them - and visualised which trips I would take when I eventually had the opportunity. And in the eighties, when I had the chance, I did follow a lot of those track notes. I still have my beloved collection of Walk issues, and wouldn't part with them.