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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)

get them into the bags. By this time some of the others had prepared some tea and we proceeded to feed them both warm sweet tea with spoons and they both appeared extremely thirsty.

The actual time of discovery of the pair was 2.15 p.m. and we had worked so rapidly that they were encased in sleeping bags and had their hot drinks by 2.50 p.m. It was shortly after this that Arthur managed to contact base long enough to pass a message back direct.

In the meantime, a group of four of the lads had sifted out from the helpers, and had commenced treatment of the pair. Nothing hot was allowed near the feet or hands and the badly frostbitten feet were not allowed to he touched but the legs and arms were massaged lightly to start circulation. This, and general massage (or rubbing), was continued by the four for some hours; warm liquids being fed to the patients at regular intervals. Instructions were issued to the four that they and their leader, Leon Langley, were not to tolerate interference from others and that all others were to be kept away.

Stretcher-making was commenced and a large fire lit; and all members, except those with definite jobs, were instructed to return to the lunch spot and make camp for the night, getting to bed as early as possible in readiness for the hard day ahead.

About this time, approximately 3.30 to 4.00 p.m., we heard the noise of the helicopter in the distance and immediately built up the fire and started adding green leaves, ferns, etc. to create a thick smoke. The helicopter soon sighted the smoke, and circled a couple of times before hovering for a moment directly above. Someone in the machine waved and then it departed, obviously satisfied that it was impossible to land or drop a cable to us.

By this time the two patients were settling down and feeling a little better, but the afternoon was quickly passing and I considered that by the time we had the patients on the stretchers and on their way we would only have an hour and a half of daylight left. It would thus be best to stay where we were for the night, especially as water was handy.

A large wall tent was pitched near the patients, two air mattresses were produced, and the patients transferred to the tent and put into sleeping bags for the night. Space was left at one side of the tent for the 'night watch' of one of the four attendants, each of whom took turns at looking after the patients during the night.

As several members were without sleeping bags, having donated them to the patients, they had to be accommodated in between other sleepers or under tents. Fortunately it was a comparatively mild night, so those people did not suffer unduly, though they had a minimum of sleep.

Next morning we were all packed up by 7.30 a.m.; but by the time the patients were fed, tidied up and lashed to their stretchers it was 8.30 before the procession moved off.

From the accounts of the various group leaders there seemed to he little choice for the best route out to Donna Buang, and we decided that the most direct route would be as good as any other. With nine or ten on Kirk's stretcher and eight on Jenny's (two down the river on a message to Bruce Graham, another