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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)

Swandri coat, somewhat like a horse blanket, favoured by some walkers. In the early sixties the black, oiled japara New Zealand parka came into favour and became practically standard dress. Another development from the American space programme was Goretex material, which became available around 1980. Early coats of this material were expensive and not reliable, but they have improved and are now very popular.

Cooking gear

While stoves made their appearance in 1955 (then called jimpies, now called choofers), the open fire was still the main way of cooking. Until the seventies walkers tended to cook individually on small fires, gravitating to one fire that could be built up for an evening's singing. Few walkers carried choofers, but those who did were envied on cold, wet mornings. In the early sixties lightweight gas stoves appeared. The gas cylinders had a rubber seal that was pierced with a hollow needle and that resealed when the needle was withdrawn. (One of these stoves was purchased for Wilky in 1962 for easy tea-making.) However white spirit stoves, such as the Optimus, Primus and Svea, were the most popular. In the eighties the lightweight MSR and the methylated spirit Trangia stoves became available.

Billies have been fairly standard for many years though, for a while, home-made billies (jam tins with handles) were in vogue. In the early days a set of billies was often a bought one, a jam tin, and a peach tin, one inside the other. Ex-Army mess tins were sometimes used, but were never popular.


Early photographs of Club day trips show members in ordinary street clothes - men with jackets and ties and women in skirts. Weekend walkers dressed in a style closer to the way we dress today except for their jackets. Ex-Army trousers, being pure wool, were very popular, as were woollen ex-Army shirts. On cold-weather trips walkers would wear woollen 'long johns' (also known as 'passion busters') on the lower body and, for a while, string singlets were popular. Loch Wilson began importing and selling New Zealand woollen shirts in 1966. Clothing remained fairly standard until the introduction of chlorofibre under-clothing in the seventies. This gave us the fashion of shorts over tights instead of long trousers. Fibrepile jackets, which became available in the late seventies, were lighter and warmer than jumpers, but bulkier.