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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)

paces away. Perhaps it is the vegetation awaking after a winter's hibernation. It may even be the presence of the odd enormous snow gums with buttresses 4-5 metres around that clearly have survived for a century or so. They look so serene having survived all and living as they do on the highest limits of survival. Of course it is all these things together, and a place to return to time and again.

That year the weather turned bleak and it snowed heavily for a day, resulting in our camp being 500 metres above the snowline rather than 10 metres below it. Our delight and smiles broadened at our good for-tune. At the same time the walking party was having a fairly severe time of it and had to retreat from the Main Range. To complicate matters the Alpine Way was blocked by a rock, mud and tree slide on the Khancoban side of the Geehi turnoff, thus forcing everyone (including us) to make a very long detour home along the Snowy River via Suggan Buggan and Buchan. Geoff and Graham were both afflicted with a rather painful bout of snow blindness, most likely due to the extra long hours of intense sunlight at that time of the year.

A feature of the mid-eighties was the instigation of 'Rawson's ski weekend' at Mt St Gwinear in the Baw Baw National Park. Given fair snow (not guaranteed at Baw Baw), touring in that area is a delight. Set amid snow gums and granite boulders it epitomises cross-country skiing in Australia. The Bushies are generally ensconced in the Corranderk Lodge at Rawson. Mostly we are the sole occupants of that lodge but occasionally other unfortunates are given some of the spare rooms. One year half a dozen 'bikies' turned up on Saturday night and the Bushies had thoughts of a noisy sleepless night. As it transpired half a dozen 'bides' were no match for one and a half dozen Bushies and the 'bikies' retired relatively early and peaceably.

Sandra Mutimer was the organiser of most of these trips. She would generally divide the group up into beginners, intermediates and advanced. The latter two groups were left to look after themselves but Sandra stoically took the beginners - at least for the Saturday if not the Sunday. Some of these Saturdays must have been quite stressful for on one particular Sunday morning an advanced group were en route toward Mt Baw Baw when they heard a noise coming from deep within the 'Shelter Rock' east of Mt St Phillack. Upon investigation it was found to be coming from a single occupant, Sandra, setting out her groundsheet. She claimed she wasn't reacting to the strain of the previous day by doing a Marlene Dietrich 'I-wish-to-be-alone' impersonation, but was just sheltering from the wind.