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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)

Protesters' Butler Island Camp, Gordon River, February 1983.
Protesters' Butler Island Camp, Gordon River, February 1983. Protesters bidding farewell to the J.Lee M. ferry to Strahan. Members of the Club played an important part in the protest.
Bill Metzenthen

The reaction within the MBW was perhaps typical of most clubs. By 1972 the Lake Pedder dispute had become a major national controversy, and the Club decided at their April meeting to affiliate with the Australian Conservation Foundation - a political act in itself. As conservation issues gathered momentum, more time was devoted to them. Now bushwalkers are a conservative species, and there were 'mutterings from the dim dark recesses of the clubroom' that the committee was paying too much attention to conservation at the 'expense' of traditional issues.

The News of September 1976 solicited members' opinions, which were soon forthcoming. Michael Griffin argued that the conservation voice of MBW should be directed through the 'Federation' (Federation of Victorian Walking Clubs, or FVWC). Jerry Grandage and Dave Oldfield (the then President) argued for this view; after all, wasn't our constitution concerned with assisting the preservation of the wildlife and natural beauty of the country? So the MBW set up a Conservation Group on 20 January 1975 but, by the following year, the group's membership had so dwindled that it was ineffective and its members decided to channel more of their work through the 'Federation' .

The FVWC represents over 50 clubs, and so carries some weight with politicians. It has been a major vehicle through which concerned Club members have been able to focus their efforts on a multitude of conservation issues - especially in the fight for a major alpine national park, and in curbing the excesses of commercial forestry and the Forests Commission.