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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)

It was a tremendous relief to me when, after six long days in the most rugged country I have ever encountered, I heard voices and knew that help was at hand. The sight of those stalwart Forestry Commission officers was more welcome than words of mine can express. I would advise all bushwalkers that, if they must get lost, let it not be in the Baw Baws.

After finding David Halley the search for Mihram Haig was abandoned. He was never found.

Another search had tragic consequences. In January 1961 Freda Hargreaves was reported lost in The Bluff - Mt Magdala - Macalister Springs area. At the time a lot of unfavourable publicity for MBW was generated by the press misreporting and by Freda Hargreaves's refusal to accept the rules of the Club prior to going on the fatal trip. Ian Phillips takes up the story:

I never met (alive) the lady concerned but some little time before the end of 1960 she had participated as a visitor on an MBW Club walk. It was apparent that she was not suited to the rigours of an extended walking tour of the type on the Christmas programme of the Club that year, even if she had satisfied the experience hurdles then operating for participation in longer walks.

John Brownlie, in an attempt to be helpful, showed her a programme from a Sydney walking group. This included a modified fixed camp or two, moving, as I recall, from place to place by car. This, John suggested, would be very suitable for Freda.

She approached the Sydney group, using John's introduction, but put her name down for their leading Christmas trip which was something like The Bluff - Macalister Springs - Snowy Plains et al. The Sydney group accepted her on the trip in the belief that she had the support and nomination, as it were, of John Brownlie.

The party met Freda Hargreaves for the first time in Wangaratta and from there events took their course.

It was quickly apparent to the Sydney group that Freda was a handicap to the party and would probably be incapable of' completing the whole trip. Discussion began, I believe, about how she might go back from say Macalister Springs. However that did not happen, as in the vicinity of a camp site near Mt Magdala, she went missing. After a fruitless sortie, the Sydney group sent a group out for help.

The initial response was from the police, followed the next day by a call out of the Federation Search and Rescue group. I was not in the first wave but left Melbourne on the afternoon of the second day of searching.

In contrast to early searches, the organisation was good, at least from my perspective. The precursors of the State Emergency Service were in action, co-ordination and communication by the police, transport by the Army, comforts by the Salvation Army and so on. And press coverage without restraint! Further, unlike the winter searches at Mt Donna Buang and Mt Baw Baw, the weather was not a problem and the area searched was familiar to most Search and Rescue members.