Walk­ing tall

The Advocate (Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Sarah Brookes

IT’S been nearly 50 years since a hardy band of bushies came to­gether to es­tab­lish what is now WA’s largest bush­walk­ing group.

IT has been nearly 50 years since a hardy band of bushies came to­gether to es­tab­lish what is now WA’s largest bush­walk­ing group.

And now, to mark the mile­stone of the Perth Bush­walk­ers Club, its pres­i­dent Joe Mal­pas said a raft of cel­e­bra­tions were planned.

“One of our more am­bi­tious un­der­tak­ings is to walk the Bib­bul­mun Track, end to end, in short in­stal­ments over 18 months start­ing this month,” she said.

“The Bib­bul­mun Track, be­sides be­ing a won­der­ful track show­cas­ing some of WA's beautiful out­doors, has a spe­cial place in the club’s heart be­cause it was our found­ing mem­ber, Ge­off Scha­ef­fer, who ini­ti­ated the devel­op­ment of the track some 46 years ago.

“Ge­off was a vet­eran of the 650km walk through the Vic­to­rian Alps and he was dis­mayed that WA had no com­pa­ra­ble track.

“In July 1972 he walked into the of­fice of the then Min­is­ter for Forests, H.D. Evans, with an idea de­signed to prompt ur­ban peo­ple to go bush.

“The Min­is­ter lis­tened, liked what he heard and sent Ge­off and his idea to the Forests Depart­ment with a green light to go ahead with his pro­posed Perth to Al­bany walk track.”

Mr Mal­pas said the club had grown to 400 odd mem­bers since form­ing in 1969.

“It was not Perth's first hik­ing club, but it was the first club com­mit­ted to back­pack­ing walks in ad­di­tion to day walks,” she said.

“Over re­cent years our mem­ber­ship num­bers have fluc­tu­ated typ­i­cally be­tween 300 to 400 mem­bers, mak­ing us WA's largest bush­walk­ing club.

“We have well over 100 ac­tiv­i­ties each year,

in­clud­ing half-day walks, day walks, overnight back­pack­ing and ad­ven­tur­ous multi-day ex­pe­di­tions last­ing up to 10 days or even longer.

“Our lo­cal sum­mer ac­tiv­i­ties also in­clude eas­ier river and beach walks, cy­cling and ca­noe­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit perth­bush­walk­ers.asn.au.

Pic­ture: David Baylis www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d482269

Perth Bush Walk­ers Club mem­bers Allan Heath, Mike Barnes, Alan Green, Alan Wells, Alison Bunker, Cathryn Sal and Jenny Young.

Pic­ture: David www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d482269

Mike Barnes and Alan Wells with other mem­bers of the Perth Bush Walk­ers Club set­ting off on a bush walk. Baylis

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