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Start
Contents
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

Photogallery
Archive
1940-99


Walk
Magazine
Archive
1949-87


Newsletter
Archive
1949-
The Melbourne Bushies - Fifty years along the track (1940-90)

Considering my reverence for Walk I was somewhat awestruck when in 1985 I found myself being appointed Editor of the magazine, a function I carried out to the best of my ability for two years. I was unable to continue for a third year, and another editor was found, but the magazine was never published again (see 'Publications' pages 164-7).

As I said in my editorial of Walk 1986, when I began bushwalking in earnest I made a lot of good friends, went to a lot of places, and in less than two years saw and enjoyed more of the outdoors than in all my four decades before.

One such trip was the great National Parks pilgrimage of the eastern states led by Jopie Bodegraven, in April 1985. The one long trip ventured to such places as Gibraltar Range, Lamington, Mt Barney, Girraween, Bald Rock, Mt Warning, and Wollomombi and Apsley Falls. It was a wonderful two-week odyssey in which fourteen people in a convoy of private vehicles travelled thousands of kilometres visiting numerous National Parks and countless waterfalls. Needless to say there was heaps of walking, lots of skinny-dipping, and countless hours of jovial comradeship. All along the way there were the unmistakable jolly shrieks of' Sylvia Wilson. And the whole trip was enormously enhanced by that meticulously efficient planning on which Jopie has since built a very successful travel business with his partner Jenny Flood.

I feel comfortable with most of the people I have met on weekend bushwalking trips, much more so than people I have met in any other environment. Maybe it is because of our shared love of that special, quiet and sometimes difficult intimacy with nature that can only be experienced on a weekend trip. Perhaps it is because the groups tend to he small (commonly around six to eight) and there is plenty of time to overcome shyness without pressure, or maybe it is due to the camaraderie that develops from working through difficulties as a small team. Yet, despite all the attractions, it is interesting to note that throughout the eighties, out of a total Club membership of well over 300 members, only about fifteen to twenty were regular weekend walkers.

This mysterious lack of interest in weekend walking among the majority of' Club members prompted Jopie Bodegraven, who was an active walks leader at the time, to conduct a survey of members in 1984. Only 85 responses were received from members and visitors (the Club membership was over 360), and of these, only 11 had never tried weekend walking, so the results were inconclusive. However, there were indications of demand for more base camps, trips with Saturday (rather than the customary Friday evening) departures, bus trips, and information