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Start
Contents
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

Photogallery
Archive
1940-99


Walk
Magazine
Archive
1949-87


Newsletter
Archive
1949-
The Melbourne Bushies - Fifty years along the track (1940-90)

two acting as radio link) only a total of five were available for track cutting.

After negotiating the stream, the slope of the ridge, with a well-cut track, was comparatively easy going and the stretchers soon caught up with the cutters so that some stretcher bearers had to go ahead to help track cutting. Eventually only eight carriers remained on each stretcher. The grade became much steeper and extremely rough, and we were glad to receive news of Gordon Coutts's [MBW] party near by (which comprised thirteen searchers who had arrived from Melbourne late that morning, and were sent in to assist when the news was received that the people had been found).

This party reached us a little before 11.00 a.m. As all the stretcher bearers were also carrying packs, but were still comparatively fresh, their packs were passed over to some of the shorter members of the new party, while the remainder were sent up to help with the track cutting. Progress was now much better for some time until the grade steepened and the logs became much more numerous and awkward. At about 1.00 p.m. the party stopped for a short, dry lunch and then carried on, shortly afterwards striking the snowline. Generally, the stretchers stopped about every ten minutes for a brief spell, but otherwise carried on over and under the numerous obstacles up the extremely steep slope, and a word of praise is due to all the bearers who struggled untiringly all day.

At about 3.15 p.m. numerous reinforcements arrived from all directions, and among these were two doctors who immediately checked the two patients quickly and gave them both two injections, one of morphia and the other to counteract frostbite.

From then on, with frequent changes of stretcher parties through clear open forest, the summit of Donna Buang was reached at approximately 4.00 p.m. where the patients were transferred to a waiting ambulance.

Kirk McLeod made a complete recovery but Jennifer Laycock lost both legs due to frostbite. It took the whole day to carry the two stretchers out just several kilometres.
Sometimes the searchers themselves got into trouble. This occurred during one of the longest and most arduous of searches on Mt Baw Baw in June 1955. Mihram Haig became lost from a Queen's Birthday weekend ski club working party and a full-scale search was instituted to find him. Melbourne Bushies were involved in this search through most difficult terrain for eight days. David Halley, a 19-year-old walker from the Catholic Walking Club, became lost himself, and his story was printed in Walk 1956.

When I found I had become separated from my party, I was not unduly worried, as I had been given instructions to proceed to Mt Mueller and I expected my companions to arrive shortly after. I had never spent a night alone in the bush, but I was not concerned, as a true bush lover never feels lonely there. When, next morning, my party did not show up, I decided I was lost and that I would have to rely on my own ability to get me back to the road. After the hard scrub-