Some numbers are beyond calculation, but any mathematical savant who might care to give a really big one a go would be most welcome at Echuca Moama Bushwalkers.
The club this month celebrated its 30th anniversary (including more than 700 events trudged along the way) and more than one member could be heard wondering just how many steps that might represent. Mathematics beyond the ken of most members, but no question a lot of shoe leather has paid the price for the enthusiasm of the hundreds of walkers who have at various times been part of the organisation.
Club president Julie Smith, explaining they are talking about many more than 100 members, put it more scientifically: “We are probably talking about a lot of steps across those three decades”.Julie says the club might have had a small, low-key launch with a few interested bushwalkers, back in 1993, but once up and running – well, walking – its numbers grew rapidly and its range of activities expanded with the enthusiasm of its growing ranks.
“We were delighted so many past and present members were able to attend our celebratory lunch in the function room at Echuca Workers,” Julie says.
“Some of them came from as far afield as Ocean Grove (but didn’t walk) to share in this milestone,” she says. “But our footprint extends way beyond that – we received apologies from past members who still keep in contact with the club, and its members have spread as far as Mt Barker in the (appropriately) Adelaide Hills, which is 652 km due west.”
A highlight of the anniversary lunch was the presentation of Certificates of Appreciation to:
- Manfred Lindner, who joined in 1994, and has been the club photographer for many years, regularly producing comprehensive photo albums with locations, dates and names of the people on the walk. He has led 43 walks and participated in many more.
- Richard Wearne, who also joined in 1994, recognising his ingenuity on many walks. Richard has led 33 walks and stepped out in many more.
- Frank Bassett, who became part of the club in 1996, was recognised for persevering across eight years to complete the Great Dividing Trail, despite many Covid setbacks.
- AnneMaree Crosby was also acknowledged for her dedication to the club, being a long-term committee member since 1996 and for making sure club members have a newsletter every month.
- Annette Cowan was surprised and honoured to receive her Life Membership.
Julie says Annette was at the club’s inaugural meeting 30 years ago and has been a paid up and active member ever since. “Annette has been a cornerstone of the club, active in so many ways and always contributing – including two years as president, another year as treasurer and 14 long years as walks coordinator,” Julie added. “Not only has she led 68 walks – and that’s more than two a year, every year – she has been an equally active participant in so many others,” she says. “She has also been an amazing resource for the club, such as her years of volunteer work as a mentor to many of our new leaders over the three decades.”
People at the lunch also got to watch a photo presentation of a variety of activities and walks its members have been involved in during the past 30 years.
As well as crisscrossing Victoria, the club has always understood those members’ boots were made for walking, so that’s just what they do – with events organised in Tasmania, central Australia, South Australia, Queensland and northern NSW, as well as a few trips to New Zealand.
Echuca Moama Bushwalkers is affiliated with Bushwalking Victoria.
Further details and membership enquiries are available at www.echucamoamabushwalkers.org.au