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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)

parents' farm at Gisborne for the weekend, camping in their garden. Some people went horse-riding, others played tennis, some went yabbying in a dam and some just sat around and talked. We had a big feed in the evening around a fire, with a spit roast.

The Club had two separate trips on a 54-foot ketch, the Aztec, on Port Phillip Bay. We met at the Ferguson St Pier in Williamstown; about 30 people boarded the yacht for a four-hour cruise down the bay for a few kilometres and return. The first trip was on a fairly calm day with light winds so we mainly motored but the crew raised the sails and we sailed for a short while. Most people lay out on deck in the sun. The ketch was well equipped with about eight berths, including a big state-room aft with its own en-suite. The large saloon had a fully equipped galley (kitchen) complete with microwave oven. Everyone enjoyed the trip so much that we organised another. Unfortunately the weather on the second trip was not so good - cool, cloudy and quite windy. I enjoyed the sailing into a 20-knot south-westerly, but some were not so pleased, and a few were seasick.

I remember a fine warm Saturday afternoon when a big group of us boarded the jolly Roger at Princes Bridge for a three-hour cruise up the Yarra to somewhere in the vicinity of Abbotsford and return to Princes Bridge. It was interesting seeing these parts of Melbourne from the river. There was a barbecue on board and we had a pleasant meal as we slowly made our way past boat sheds, rowers, cyclists on the bike track, and some quite impressive riverside homes. We even spotted a small kangaroo in the riverfront garden of one house.

Another time we cruised up the Maribyrnong River. We were picked up near the World Trade Centre, and motored down the Yarra past big cargo ships and container vessels to the Westgate Bridge, then back and up the Maribyrnong to about Avondale Heights and returned to Spencer Street. Seeing this industrial part of Melbourne from the river was interesting but at times depressing.

On two occasions in the early 1980s we organised weekend trips to Ballarat, with the primary objective of visiting the observatory, but also combining with other activities such as visiting Sovereign Hill and walking. The Ballarat Observatory, situated on Mt Pleasant, was established in 1886 by James Oddie and Henry Baker, and is now run by the Ballarat Astronomical Society. They talked to us about the objects we might see in the cosmos, and gave illustrations with slides taken by members. They then showed and operated for us their telescopes and talked about their history. Apart from the amazing views of the stars and galaxies, what sticks most in my memory is how cold it was, especially in the open-roofed buildings!