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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)

then in use had the same shape as the present 75 mm 'Nordic Norm' but had four pins rather than the present three. The skis were wooden and would be regarded today as 'light touring', so light in fact that they provided Wilky residents with a new evening activity - ski by day, repair by night. Breakages were frequent and some ski pairs ended the season with one ski considerably shorter than its mate.

The arrival of the langlauf bits and pieces was only the beginning: all components had to be assembled and prepared. The skis had to be drilled and bindings screwed on, hopefully in the correct place on the ski. Even the boots had to be prepared. Holes had to be drilled in the soles at places matching the four pins of the bindings. Some reinforced the rubber sole with steel plates in order to slow down, if not eliminate, wear and tear.

This activity must have been quite a social event for, to quote Bob Steel, 'We all assembled at John Brownlie's place in Elsternwick one Saturday afternoon and prepared our skis. Much fun and consternation occurred as we melted the Stockholm tar into the bases of the skis with blow torches, occasionally setting fire to the tar or the skis or both.'

The Stockholm tar on the base of the skis provided a surface that would hold the grip-glide waxes; it also protected the wooden skis against moisture. Unfortunately it did both these tasks relatively poorly and had to be scraped off and renewed periodically, sometimes several times a season. The arrival of 'P-Tex' (plastic) skis in the mid-seventies simplified the waxing process considerably. No longer was it necessary to prepare the base, and the grip-glide waxes held on much better too.

The introduction and acceptance of the 75 mm 'Nordic Norm' ski binding significantly reduced the confusion and difficulty surrounding matching boots to bindings to skis. Up until the late sixties people still frequently adapted their walking boots to ski boots by using special bindings. Loch Wilson (later Bushgear) was making such adaptors up until 1968-69.

Mt Stirling was a popular venue for trying out the newly acquired langlauf skis and waxing technique. There wasn't a large range of waxes available commercially in the mid- to late-sixties. The only wax was a certain klister 'voks'. Klister 'voks' was a cross between a hard stick wax and a normal semi-liquid klister wax. It had the unfortunate attribute of sticking very well to everything it made contact with except for skis or snow. Rod Mattingley remembers one of the first test runs up from Woolybutt Saddle. The ski from the car park at Telephone Box junction along the road to Woolybutt Saddle was easy enough, but Klister 'voks' just wasn't up to the steep climb toward the summit under