The great burst
of post-war enthusiasm was now receding and the effect of this
was not so much a slackening of interest in the Club, but dispersal
of members' energies into more diverse fields. The Otago Ski Club
was rapidly expanding and its new building programme at Coronet
Peak claimed the attention of some of our members. Private trips
to more out-of-the-way places were popular now that some individuals
owned their own transport, even if it was only, the humble motor
cycle. Matrimony took its toll as the years and other responsibilities
combined to cause a slowing of the vigorous tempo the Club had
become accustomed to since 1945.
For the next
few years, the Club was to pursue a more leisurely pace, with
many fine cross-country trips undertaken in remote places. Great
interest was taken in the Olivine country, with Bruce Campbell
spending considerable time there. The Darrans, too, attracted
Some of the
best-known personalities who made major contributions to the post-war
revival have already been mentioned. There were many others, too,
who collectively made the Club the great success it was during
this period. George Arras, a life member and active from the '20's
until his death in the '60's was a climber and skier of note,
a guide at the Hermitage and the Club's first Chief Guide. Wilf
Broughton, Jack Hoskins and Bruce Campbell were each in their
turn President and no club could have been better served in this
capacity. And those who just tramped, skied, climbed, built huts,
cut tracks, etc. - well, there were many. Cliff Anderson, Gavin
and Daphrie Clark, John Scott, Russell Gregory, Arnold Hubbard,
Ross Adamson, Ross Lake, the O'Kane brothers, Keith Lambie, Stuart
Needs, June and Barbara Napier-to mention only some of those best
During the mid-fifties
the Club met in the TOC H rooms in upper Dowling Street. These
rooms were heated by a round pot-bellied stove in the middle of
the floor- a stove which often gave out more smoke than heat.
Furnishings were very old easy chairs and sofas and there was
an all-pervading smell of dust and old age. The practice of detailing
two members each week for clubroom duty continued, with the anonymous
organiser often using considerable skill and acumen in pairing
likely lads and lasses, who, it was felt, should get to know one
another better. It is interesting to record that the 72 male and
70 female members of 1954, had changed to 90 and 64 by the following
year. In 1955, the last Barn Dance at the Leith Valley School
was held, later years shifting to the Pukehiki Hall.
In 1954, an
appeal went out for gifts of equipment to set up a hire pool,
and to the two packs, two large billies and 80 feet of manilla
rope that was donated, the Club added two four-man tents which
it had purchased. Later on, ice axes were added and new members
were then able to enjoy weekend trips without the worry of a large
financial outlay on equipment.
New areas were
being chosen for long weekend trips. Queen's Birthday, 1954, saw
26 members in the Orari Gorge, with some of the party climbing
Mt Peel. At Labour Weekend, 34 went to the Shotover and then followed
the Moonlight to Lake Luna, finishing at Mt Creighton station
on Lake Wakatipu. There was no official. Christmas trip that year,
although private parties went to the Rees - Dart, Routeburn -
Hollyford, Hollyford - Pyke - Olivine - Rockburn, Martins Bay
- Big Bay and the Mt Cook area.
In 1955, 30
members enjoyed a round trip at Easter from the South Temple to
the Huxley, and Timaru Creek was visited at Queen's Birthday weekend.
This was only a short time before Lake Hawea was raised 70 feet
and the very pleasant camp-site that was used is now under many
feet of water. Snow-caving was first attempted in the Kakanuis
during September, and the Eyre Mountains were the venue for Labour
Day. During this period Saturday trips lost much of their former
support and were consequently no longer arranged.
were lively around this time. At the 1954 Annual General Meeting,
there were two nominations for the Presidency (something almost
unheard of), but as it turned out there was no vote. Dick Hamel
withdrew from the "contest" and Ian Pollard was elected. Ian's
tenure was to be short-lived - a transfer away from Dunedin forced
him to resign and his place was taken by Albie Green. Albie was
re-elected unopposed at the 1955 A.G.M., but resigned for personal
reasons early in 1956, with Bruce Campbell filling the gap until
the next Annual Meeting.
saw the new diamond-shaped Club badge go on sale to members. Practical,
but with little appeal.
became President at the Annual General Meeting and a vigorous
policy was begun to rid Flagstaff of some of its gorse. Forty-eight
people turned up to help and A. H. Reed presented his booklet---Walks
Around Dunedin---to those who took part. Membership at this time
was 155 and many large-scale working parties were held on track
clearing and hut repairs. Long weekends were spent at Lake Ohau,
the North Temple and the Ahuriri Valley.
By the end of
Scott Gilkison's term of office, the roll had climbed to 164,
the highest for that time. Jim Malcolm followed Scott as President
and it is worth mentioning that Jim always practised what he preached.
You could count on seeing him on nearly every Sunday trip, often
with a small slasher at the ready.
saw over 30 members spend a very wet time up the Matukituki Valley
and although very little was achieved, a few stalwarts managed
successful ascents of Liverpool and Bevan.
were still to the fore, in fact so much so that a number of active
members of the time all pleaded "wanderlust" and took off overseas.
By 1958, Club
activity was steadily increasing, with most trips being reasonably
supported. Weather during 1958 left a lot to be desired and although
it considerably reduced some activities, it was said by one active
member that if nothing else, it played a firm part in character
building. To wit, there is nothing better than sitting out a storm
for three or four days in a small tent to learn to live with your
fellow men. There may be a lot of truth in this, but it is suspected
that the member quoted was also in the habit of ensuring that
his 'fellow-men' were issued with a daily ration of " Lifebuoy
were still a part of Club life at this stage, with various parties
climbing or tramping in the Seaward Kaikouras, Hunter Hills, Mt
Grandview, Homer, Hopkins, Mt Murchison, Hunter Valley, Dart,
Whitbourn, Arawata and Matukituki Valleys.
Christmas trip for 1958/59 took nine members over the Routeburn-Rockburn-Hidden
Falls-Olivine-Pyke-Hollyford-Greenstone circuit, with more than
the usual share of fine weather. Easter, 1959, was centred on
the Ahuriri Valley. With 29 members in the valley, popular campsites
were sometimes at a premium, but the lack of serious river-crossing
problems meant all grades of experience were adequately catered
for; from an ascent of Mt Peterson to a gentle ramble to the head
of the valley.
the usual snow-caving trip to the Kakanuis gave way to igloo building.
Good snow, plus slightly-below-freezing temperatures, allowed
three to be built, with that erected by the Keen/ Cunninghame
party assuming true classical lines. One of the others was a massive
structure about 14 feet across. Shortage of time and an uncertainty
of procedure made it necessary to roof it with a tent, which caused
it to be likened to an astronomical observatory or alternatively
a convertible automobile.
A 35th Anniversary
Reunion was held between the 12th and 14th of September, 1958,
and proved to be both a great success and a triumph for the Organising
Committee. An informal evening at the clubrooms on Friday night
drew a large crowd who saw slides of past and current club activities,
looked through the old albums, and chatted over supper.
The dinner on
Saturday night at The Vedic was attended by approximately 120
members and friends. Toasts honoured were "The Queen" (Horace
Tilly), "The Club" (Bruce Moore), "The Founders" (Bill McFarland/Charles
Hayward) and "Present Members" (Jim Freeman/Bruce Campbell). Ralph
Markby was in the Chair. After some piano items by Pam Barton,
Gavin Clark showed tramping films, and dancing and supper completed
At Ben Rudd's
on the Sunday, 80 members and their families enjoyed a picnic
outing in spite of dull weather. The hope was expressed that the
large numbers of cars seen at the firebreak was not a sign of
decadence, but rather of the prosperity of the older members.
was President during this period, and those who were fortunate
in attending the 50th Anniversary Celebrations and were subjected
to his "harangue" will perhaps understand why he was so instrumental
in getting everyone back into the hills - no one wanted to be
put in the position where they might have to listen to one of
his lengthy 'speeches'. In a serious vein, though, Bruce has been
a mainstay in the Club since 1953, and his achievements were later
recognised by life membership being conferred on him.