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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)

section. The present Melba Highway did not exist so the options from the eastern suburbs were either the Maroondah Highway over the Black Spur or the very rough Mount Slide Road. Having reached Wangaratta, the choices were Bright and the Tawonga Gap (notoriously rough) or the Yackandandah route, as the Dederang Gap Road was not as yet constructed. At Mount Beauty it was necessary to report to the SEC before beginning the slow, rough trip up to Falls Creek. There was a barrier at Langfords Gap and often people would have to walk from there. It could easily take over eight hours to reach Wilky from Melbourne.

The Club decided not to buy Wilky, but a group of thirty or so members came together independently, bought Wilky for £50 and then donated it to the MBW, still leaving some money in kitty for repairs. The sale was ratified on 10 September 1961.

Wilky was weatherboard clad and caneite lined, with a malthoid (tarred felt) roof. The living room had an open fireplace and a partitioned bunkroom. Opening from the living room was another bunkroom, now the storeroom. This was dank and mouldy, with an earthen floor. The bathroom had a bath and toilet, the toilet flushing into a wood-lined septic tank. The kitchen was divided into two rooms, one being a pantry. The stove, measuring 56cm by 40cm and in poor repair, was in a small alcove. A water pipe from the spring above Wilky, which fed into a header tank in the attic, was not working well. There had been a hot-water service in the fireplace, but this had burst or rusted.

Many of the first parties to make trips to Wilky during the lease period were for cleaning the lodge. Gwynnyth Taylor recalls shovelling sodden mouldy caneite out of the entrance hall and cleaning up piles of tins and bottles from the bushes around the lodge, where they had been dumped by winter occupants. There are many references in the log book to rat damage and dirt around this time. The first 'official work party' in March 1959 made repairs to the roof, investigated the water supply and septic tank, and began painting. The roof still had some leaks. In December 1960 Alan Bennett went up to the area in the hope of obtaining roofing iron from the Rocky Valley camp, then being demolished. Unfortunately the iron had already been taken down to Mt Beauty. Alan finally tracked down the supply and was able to buy some at 7s 0d per sheet. During the next (Christmas) work party, Alan made two return trips to Mt Beauty, bringing back the roofing iron, which was then fixed to the roof. The iron proved to be in 2-foot widths instead of the usual 2 foot 6 inches, so the party was short of 13 sheets. These were obtained for the Foundation Day (Australia Day) weekend work party of 1961 and