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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)

This weekend was memorable in many ways. One man had brought along his young son, and the boy had gone to bed early, leaving a candle alight in the doorway of the tent. The rest of us were sitting around the fire talking. Someone happened to look up and notice that the tent had caught fire! We all rushed over, some people grabbing the tent and tearing it down while others grabbed the boy and pulled him out! The boy was very lucky to escape with just some singed hair.

Graham Wills-Johnson arranged a President's Weekend on the Avon in 1978, with the usual bit of walking, lots of swimming and lazing about, and food! On this occasion, we were sitting around the camp fire, relaxed after our feast, when a nude figure came bounding out of the bush, leapt over the fire and disappeared into the darkness! It was Graham Hodgson. Some of the girls leapt up and chased after him, and this was where Graham nearly ended his career, crashing into a wire fence, invisible in the dark! Fortunately it was just a couple of strands of plain, not barbed, wire. However, he was left with rather nasty-looking weals across his abdomen and chest. Later in the evening, G W-J went for a stroll along the river before retiring for the night, and a number of the girls piled into his tent to await his return. All was quiet as he approached and prepared to enter his tent. What a surprise he got to find it wall-to-wall with girls!

The first weekend at the Avon, however, was in 1976 when Dave Oldfield was President. Sue Oldfield was working at Melbourne University's Mt Derrimut Research Station, and was able to get a pig that we could use in a pit roast. A sizeable group of us headed out of Melbourne on a Friday night, camped by the cars, then walked to the flat the next morning. Rod and Geoff Mattingley drove their 4WD vehicles down and unloaded tables, chairs, the pig (already slaughtered and prepared for roasting) and other paraphernalia including camp ovens. A big hole was dug and a fire lit in the hole. When the fire had burned down to hot coals, the meat was wrapped in wet bags, put in the hole and covered with soil. Meanwhile vegetables were prepared and put in the camp ovens ready for cooking later; while waiting for the meat to cook, we disported ourselves in the river!

When we thought the pork should be ready, we uncovered the pit and pulled out the roast. It wasn't fully cooked so we cut it up and continued the cooking in camp ovens. It all worked out in the end and we had an enjoyable meal.

Another President's Weekend that I organised was at Parker River near Cape Otway. We were able to park on the top of the cliffs above the inlet and walk down a steep track to the beach where we set up camp in the sandy hollows behind the beach. Rod Mattingley brought a big steel