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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)

However, in 1966 Robin Mitchell began making lightweight packs. Darrell Sullivan made a jig for bending aluminium frames, and terylene spinnaker fabric was used for the body. Ties were used instead of leather straps. The total pack weighed 1 lb 12 oz (800 g). Robin and Darrell produced about 40 packs.

Robin also experimented with making skis from spotted gum (Eucalyptus maculata), painted with Estapol. He found the experiment somewhat of a failure commercially, but extremely good experience for repairing skis. One member started the season with 190 cm skis and, after many repairs, finished with 120s.


Early tents were very simple lightweight japara affairs, japara being a closely woven cotton fabric. Japara tents worked well in wet weather, except that very heavy rain could cause some spray inside. Problems developed if the inside of a wet tent were touched. This would break the 'seal' and allow a drip to start. To counteract this, the walker could run a finger clown the tent and the drip would then run clown the finger line to the ground, thus illustrating one advantage of not having a sewn-in floor.

Tents were often home-made. One Club member obtained a roll of japara, and many tents were made from the same pattern. Some members dyed their tents, so that they could identify their own by its colour.

These early tents were simple A-shaped or tapered models. Tapered tents were excellent in fine weather, but in wet weather it was hard not to touch the walls, especially at the tapered end. The walled tents that became available later were much better in wet weather. Aluminium tent poles were not carried until the early sixties. Until then, one of the first tasks at a camp spot was to search for suitable tent poles.

In 1960 a new tent came on the market - a system of cords and eyelets in a rectangular nylon sheet. It was claimed that this could he pitched in a variety of ways as a closed tent or an open shelter. However it did not catch on with bushwalkers.

Some home-made tents featured entrance tunnels, rather than tape-tied doors. These were better in adverse weather, but the advantage of tied doors was that the tent could be 'abdulled' in hot weather. This meant pitching a tent with one side pegged down and the other side open, using two or more poles.

Built-in floors and tents with poles began to appear in the late seventies; domed tents appeared in the early eighties.