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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)

Up with the stretcher onto our shoulders and off we moved. I would not have liked to have been her, lashed into the stretcher, probably feeling awful, couldn't see a thing and being unavoidably rocked about as she was carried around, over and under trees, and over holes. Sometimes we had to let go of the stretcher and duck around a tree we were heading straight for, other times we seemed to be carrying no weight, the next moment we each felt we had it all.

At last, there in front of us, was the road and an MMBW 4WD vehicle. With a sigh of relief we put down the stretcher, unstrapped our patient and lifted her into the vehicle. The boy was put in beside her and they were taken to hospital. We returned to our packs and awaited our transport. Sixteen of us plus packs crowded into the vehicle and slowly made our way down the mountain. It was dark before we got very far and at times it rained, but finally we arrived at the search headquarters, then on back to Warburton and a hot meal before returning to Melbourne by police bus.

Search and Rescue practices were held once a year to get people familiar with search procedures. They were often hard work and it seemed to me as I pushed through thick scrub trying to keep in line with those on either side of me, constantly falling down holes, getting tangled in wire grass and climbing through fallen trees that it was just as well we were making an awful lot of noise as even at this slow pace it was difficult to search the area adequately. Hopefully the lost person would hear us and call out.

As visits to the snow became more popular with the general public, it was obvious that eventually Search and Rescue would increasingly be called out to search for someone lost in the snow. With this in mind a practice search on skis was arranged in July 1977. It was to take place behind Mt St Gwinear in the Baw Baws. Graham Wills-Johnson went along:

Friday night we slept in a hall in Rawson and Saturday morning we were taken to the advance base at the mill site on the road to Mt St Gwinear. Like most others I suppose, I was wondering whether my poor skiing technique was going to disgrace me, or even prevent me from being able to keep up. So when we were moved off I was surprised to find that two of us had quite a long wait at the top of the steep part of the climb before the rest of our section caught up.

We had been assigned an area to search and our leader had to mark where we'd been by making purple patches in the snow by dropping Condy's crystals as we went. This, I think, was meant to show other searchers that these were our tracks, not those of the lost people.

We came together after finishing the first section and the police commented