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Childhood memories

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MUMC

Echo Flat

Sugarloaf

Grampians

Potholing

Mountaineers in the Grampians

Anton Cook on left, Eric Webb standing

As a child I had walked all over Mount Dandenong, and later ridden further afield on my push bike, but I had done all my exploring alone. I started at the University in 1951, but for the first year I was fully occupied in finding my feet at the University. However the following year I became more adventurous, and discovered the Melbourne University Mountaineering Club.

I joined, and at Easter I went on my first trip with them to Echo Flat, near Lake Mountain, north-east of Marysville. They travelled in a furniture van which had a wooden bench down each side, and another double bench down the middle. Safety belts had not been invented, and if the boys started to get bored they could "accidentally" slide along the benches and bump into the nearest girl.

I enjoyed the experience, so I went on several bush walks in the Grampians and the Alps, and a number of rock climbing weekends at the Sugarloaf, near Buxton. In May 1953 we were at the top of the Sugarloaf when someone arrived with the news that Hillary and Tenzing had reached the top of Mount Everest, just in time for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

When I went to England I joined the Bowline Climbing Club in Coventry, and continued to climb, mostly in the Peaks district, North Wales and the Lakes. I also tried "Pot holing" once, but it was not a good experience.

When I returned to Australia I rejoined the Mountaineering Club, where I helped to edit the first edition of "Equipment for Mountaineering", and I also did a number of walks with the bushwalking group of the YHA, though I never officially joined them.

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 © Roger Riordan 2004-2017

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