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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)

Petersen. We caught the 9:05 a.m. train from Flinders Street, meeting under the clocks. The fare was 18s 6d ($1.85). We left the train at Yarragon, climbed into the Strzelecki Range, pushed our way through metre-high bracken and then descended to Trafalgar to catch a train home.

My next Sunday train trip with the Club was on 15 August 1965 when we walked across the paddocks between Tynong and Gembrook. My transport costs from Melbourne totalled 21s 3d ($2.12). It was raining at lunchtime and a kind farmer allowed us to shelter in his hayshed. After lunch he showed us his museum. While walking through the paddocks we saw a group of about a hundred kangaroos. Darrell Sullivan led this walk.

The spring programme for 1965 contained nine train trips, seven van trips, two McKenzie's bus trips and only one private (car) transport trip. The most expensive was £5 15s ($11.50) for a June long weekend train trip to Hattah Lakes and the cheapest was 6s (60c) for a Sunday walk by train to Yarra Glen.

On 24 October 1965 Maitland Vertigan led a walk titled 'Old Strzelecki Railway'. This line from Koo-Wee-Rup, built to serve farmers living in the recently drained Koo-Wee-Rup swamps and the Strzelecki Range, opened on 29 June 1922 and the mountainous Triholm to Strzelecki section was closed on 22 November 1930. The rest of the line was closed by 4 February 1959. The line was constructed through paddocks and when closed quickly reverted to paddocks. I can remember long, wet grass and frequent fences. In 1991 there is not even a shop in Strzelecki.

Other MBW walks during 1965 that used rail were Robin Petersen's on 28 November 1965 from Pinchgut Hill to Anglesea River to Wensleydale Station and on to Layard (the line to Wensleydale opened on 17 March 1890 and closed on 20 October 1948) and Tyrone Thomas's walk on Cup Day from Diggers Rest Station to the Organ Pipes, which are hexagonal basalt formations alongside a creek. We followed the creek downstream, catching the train at Sydenham.

My twenty-third walk with the Club was led by John Richards along the Powelltown Bush line and High Lead. The walk was through tall timber, thick fern and clear creeks with some remaining bridges, sleepers, dog spikes and steel rails. This was my introduction to the fascinating series of timber tramways that during the thirties and forties provided rail links between Yarra Junction, Powelltown, Ada Valley, Big Pats Creek and Warburton. The last broad-gauge (5 foot 3 inches) passenger train to Warburton was in 1965, just weeks before I joined the Club.