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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)

There was some concern expressed that the payment of interest on a loan would cost the Club too much, and Art Terry proposed that all members be levied $37 so that the purchase could be made outright. Against this proposal, it was pointed out that more than half the Club's members were not active, and that asking them to pay a levy might result in their not renewing their memberships, thus giving the Club real financial problems. An alternative proposal by Jim involved his acting as guarantor for the Club to operate a trading bank account with overdraft facility, which would be used as the normal operating account. Interest charges would then depend on the amount of overdraft, which would vary through the year. This idea was accepted by the Committee and commenced operation in November 1984, in lieu of a loan. Concern was still being expressed about the likely cost of interest payments, and at the Annual General Meeting in February 1985, a motion to impose a levy on members was defeated. The first year's experience quickly showed that, in practice, the account balance stayed in credit for most of the year, thus incurring minimal interest charges.

Ownership and operation of the van quickly became routine, with Denis providing reliable driving and cleaning. Maintenance costs were higher than expected, with modifications being required several times over the next few years. For example, in early 1986 the service brake (foot brake) failed during a trip to Powelltown. Luckily, there was no risk to passengers, even though the handbrake proved to be inadequate in an emergency. The failure was due to accumulation of water in the braking system, caused by the van only being used once a week. After much discussion by the Committee, an emergency braking system was fitted, using components from a later model chassis. Jim Hedstrom played a major role in arranging for this work to be done, as well as for a consulting engineer to test and report on the new brake. Jim continued to take an interest in the van's operation and maintenance, as well as regularly attending day walks, until his sudden death in October 1987.

By early 1989 the overdraft facility, having been rarely used, was discontinued to avoid paying the fixed bank charges associated with it.

When Denis retired from driving in late 1989, a replacement driver had to be found at short notice, and John Dupuy took over. A full-time driver with Peninsula Bus Lines, he was able to obtain buses from his employer at short notice on occasions when the Club van suffered a breakdown. Walkers could not fail to notice how a modern bus or coach was much more comfortable than the van and how much more quickly they got to and from a walk.