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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)

Nevertheless, some Club members continue to contribute as individuals. Geoff Law emigrated to Tasmania to make a career with the Wilderness Society; others work directly with local conservation groups. Sometimes a collective effort is required for instance, when a letter-writing campaign is mounted on a topical issue (highly effective with politicians, but difficult to get members to actually participate). More visible are the organised street-marches and/or large gatherings with guest speakers.

Such 'demos' can be highly effective, and while they are generally accepted these days, they caused quite a commotion when they were first introduced. Even in 1978 they were somewhat novel, as at the street march in support of an alpine national park on Friday 9 May 1978, which drew many 'respectable citizens', MBW members included. Most of these walkers had never been in a public rally before in their lives. Arthur Francis mentioned to one of his colleagues that he was about to take part in the Bourke Street march to protest against the Land Conservation Council's recommendations. 'So you're one of those PINKO GREENIES are you?' was the good-natured reply. Arthur was surprised though pleased to be so classified.

A tortuous battle-royal between President Graham Wills-Johnson and Gerry McPhee occurred in 1978, each observing strict protocol. In effect, the row was over a point of order, for Gerry wanted to include the ALP's policy on the Alpine National Park in the News, June, for discussion. No, said Graham; that brings the Club into the arena of party politics. If you want to do that, you have to change the constitution.

The first constitutional amendment proposed by Gerry at the June 28 General Meeting was rejected by Graham as unconstitutional. Gerry disagreed; Graham offered to resign, and Gerry withdrew the motion. However, discussions continued and a revised motion was put to the half-yearly General Meeting on 27 September 1978 that 'this meeting recognises that the conservation policies of parliamentarians and government bodies are a fit subject for discussion in the News, provided that these views are clearly identified as being the personal views of a member and not those of the Club' was passed by a large majority. Gerry McPhee did much to further the cause of conservation within the Club in close association with the FWVC.

The moral of this story is that, with rare exceptions, it has been ordinary folks like us bushwalkers, artists, writers and others who love these wild places who have got together to fight for their preservation, rather than the professional politicians and bureaucrats whom we pay supposedly to safeguard our interests.