It is part
of convention to break the history of clubs into decades, and
though most of us shun convention, it is perhaps difficult to
find a more convenient way of comparing eras in the Club.
the 1960's arrived you would have expected that the then committee
would have said, 'Let us make this the best 10 years of the Club's
history' -, but as the writer was the President at the time he
could vouch that no such thought crossed their minds. They were
only concerned with running the Club, and enjoying themselves
tramping and climbing. It is true that they had the interest of
the Club at heart, and whilst they were there they hoped the Club
would prosper. Membership at the start of this period was 125
and they were determined to build this number up.
The early '60's
saw a great deal of activity in property develop merit and maintenance
- Ben Rudd's hut received new bunks, Jubilee Hut had top bunks
added, and the Club took over the maintenance of Dart Hut. The
Club property on Flagstaff was finally surveyed by Ron Keen and
a detailed topographic map drawn of the area. Many thousands of
trees were planted with a great deal of encouragement from Bruce
Campbell and Eddie Cutler. It is noted with interest that in this
early period of the '60's vandalism to our huts was a continuing
source of worry to members, but it was known that this had also
been a problem in the early days of Green Peak Hut, and in fact,
when the contractors built the hut in two parts - one for males
and one for females - so much "hanky-panky" went on that the partition
was eventually removed.
1961, the Club moved out of its rooms in Upper Dowling Street
and shifted to Broadway, where Dr Cotton had generously given
us the use of a room next to his surgery. Almost overnight attendance
doubled, and about this time the Club started its Advanced Instruction
Course to provide plenty of capable leaders for the future. The
emphasis was on climbing as this was thought to be the best way
of strengthening the Club. This arrangement continued to the mid
1960's when a change in attitude became noticeable in the committee.
However, individual climbers still brought climbing to an important
stage during this period.
The Easter trip
in 1962 saw 35 members tramping and climbing in the Hopkins Valley
area, the largest number since 1958.
In late 1962
the South Otago Branch of the Otago Tramping Club was formed with
people like Russell Gregory, Clarry McNie and Jim. Kinnamond providing
the driving force. On July 3rd, 1963, another Branch was formed,
this time at Mosgiel. The organisers were John Armstrong, Graeme
Hasler, Trevor Pullar and Eric Donaldson, names that proved how
valuable the formation of this Branch was. It is also interesting
to note that at about this time Jim Cowie was given the task of
leading a group to climb Mt Cargill, Mihiwaka and Moponui, so
future "guns" - take note and don't scoff when you are asked to
lead a trip to Mt Cargill. About this time the Club took over
the repair and maintenance of Twenty-five Mile Hut; and no-one
will ever forget the sterling efforts that Gerry Kampjes put in
to getting the Club's own transport established.
It is interesting
to note just how advanced the Club had become by the end of '63,
with parties as far afield as Cook, Homer, Harrison, Tutoko, Matukituki,
Dart and Rees. A considerable number of peaks were climbed in
these areas, and while this may be commonplace today, it was then
regarded as another milestone in the Club's history. In November
1963, the Club moved into its (then) present premises in Lower
Dowling Street. By 1964 the Club was under the capable control
of President Gerry Kampjes who initiated skiing within the Club,
and expressed a desire for the Club to build a hut at Coronet
Peak. Models, plans and specifications were prepared, but even
up until 1968 " red tape foiled all plans to go ahead with this.
showed 62 members up Mistake Creek at Easter, and the Club roll
had risen to 226.
1965, the Club purchased a '49 Morris Commercial truck. This replaced
the one owned by Gerry Kampjes and which had been so generously
loaned on many occasions for official trips. It had certainly
had a chequered career, having run into a ditch near Lawrence,
gone head over heels down Stuart Street, run out of road on Swampy,
got stuck in the Matukituki, cracked its block in the Eglinton
and nearly lost its deck crossing Muddy Creek. It was sadly missed,
and no doubt its " misadventures" would have provided enough material
for a first-rate book.
1965 saw the
Club enter politics with its famous freedom walk on the Milford
Track. This, of course, is now history and was adequately covered
in the 1955 "Outdoors"; but it should not be forgotten that the
action the Club took then has had far reaching consequences for
all trampers and climbers in New Zealand.
On January 8th
and 9th, 1966, six Club members climbed Mt Cook - M. Jones, G.
Kampjes, J. Armstrong, G. Hasler, I. Meyer and H. Laing. Although
Club members had climbed Cook before, and have since climbed far
more formidable peaks, this does serve to give some idea of the
standards reached during this period.
A change in
attitudes was noticed in 1966, and is evidenced in the following
report which is worth a place in history:
At a lively
extraordinary general meeting held on October 26, 1966, the grandiose
plans of the committee, led by radical President John Armstrong,
were amended. Chief Guide James consented to remain in the cabinet,
as tramping is still an 'approved' sport.
motion was passed after hours of discussion and much amendment.
"This Club should continue to encourage tramping, climbing, ski
mountaineering and ski-ing without detriment to the Club's prime
aim of tramping."
" There has been a considerable change in the last five years.
There was next to no climbing up until that time."
" Five or six years ago there was little ambition in the Club
and less than half the number of people."
"Safety is of paramount importance. We must have a balanced club"
"Something must suffer if we run a climbing course"
" People now have more money and are able to spread out into areas
and sports not previously possible. Now less scope for tramping.
Climbing is the natural outcome of tramping"
"Need to support tramping"
" Far better to have a small specialist club where you know most
of the people rather than a large social ski-ing and climbing
" If the O.T.C. does not run an instruction course in climbing
there is little incentive for the likes of me to remain in the
" Let's change the name to the Otago Tramping and Mountaineering
"Too much advertising on ski-ing by word of mouth and publications"
Here the President
made some extremely sensible and pertinent remarks. He also pointed
out that the visit of President Johnson was in no way connected
with the Otago Tramping Club's Extraordinary General Meeting!
Easter '67 still
saw climbing being carried out with Bruce and Ken Mason, Heather
and Stu. Thorne, Logan McGhie and Dick Brasier climbing Mt McKenzie.
Mt Strauchon was climbed by Stu. Thorne, Logan McGhie and Dick
Brasier, and Mt Huxley by Bob McKerrow, Graeme Lockett, Jim Cowie
and Keith McIvor. Bruce and Dick became Club Presidents in the
saw John Armstrong finish his two years of Presidency. His enthusiasm
and concerted drive did much to popularise tramping, climbing
and ski-ing, the latter becoming firmly established during his
term of office. This was helped along by Graeme Hasler's booklet
on "Ski Touring Notes ".
year Lyall Campbell and Marie McDonald started the Family Tramping
Group. This group continues to thrive and provides a valuable
adjunct to the Club. Also, Dave Still helped to set up an older
members' group. Mr and Mrs P. L. Moore played an important part,
but the group did not get the support it deserved.
also be made that at this time Bruce Campbell retired as Secretary,
a position he had held for many years. In one way or another Bruce
has influenced the Club since the early 1950's.
saw Club trips led by John Armstrong and Bruce Mason to the North
Routeburn, North Col and Rockburn, other's going on to Fohn Saddle
and the Beansburn. Parties led by John Fitzgerald went to Martins
Bay, Big Bay, Pyke, Alabaster Pass, Olivines, Cox Saddle, Hidden
Falls, Park Pass and Rockkburn. Trevor Pullar looked after a party
from the Arawata River to Mlilford Heads, Laurie Kennedy's party
went into the Olivines whilst Jim Cowie spent 10 days in the Cook
region and 10 days at Aspiring. Graeme Hasler also ,was back in
the Cook area. All in all, a fantastic amount of tramping and
climbing was achieved during this season - on a scale which was
to continue until the end of the '60's.
Boh McKerrow was a member of the 196S Andean Expedition, and in
return for some assistance from the Club, provided interesting
accounts of his exploits.
began to climb again from the 235 in 1967 to 271 in 1969. Judy
Knewstubb (now Knox) was the second woman President in the 1960's,
the first being Jean Armfield (now Payne). There had been only
one woman President prior to the '60's, Miss Agnes Edmond, who
filled this position in 1934 and again in 1941. Both women had
similar capacities for hard work, and knew how to get the most
out of members of both sexes. Judy is particularly remembered
for her sterling efforts during the campaign to "Save our Lakes".
Mention also should be made of Henry Stoddart who helped to get
the Dunedin Mountain Safety Committee off the ground.
saw the Taieri Branch fading out, the South Otago Branch having
already disbanded. The era of the Club's own transport also closed
and this is probably a fitting place to record members' thanks
to the small band of "mechanics" who helped to keep it running.
The 1969 Annual General Meeting saw a move to change the Club's
name, but this was not to be achieved for a few more years. Although
unsuccessful, this move did serve to show where the Club's future
It is impossible
to mention all trips, people and events that have helped make
history for the Club. If anyone wishes to delve further, it is
suggested they make the effort to read old bulletins and back
numbers of "Outdoors". There is a wealth of information there.
be made here of "Outdoors". In 1963 it changed its format and
continued to improve year by year until 1970, when members received
the first printed copy for some 20 years. It has always been a
worthwhile publication, despite the fact that the Editor has often
had to bludgeon articles from unwilling writers.
The number of
Club members who went south to the Antarctic during the '60s included
Ken Gousmett, Keith McIvor, Bob McKerrow and Frank Graveson. A
large number of members have tramped and toured overseas, with
some distinguishing themselves on the climbing scene. Two names
that spring to mind readily are Bob McKerrow and Murray Jones.
In the writer's
search for information for this chapter, he has never ceased to
wonder at the number of engagements and marriages that have taken
place within the Club. He started to write all the names down,
but there were just too many for the available space. What is
evident is that the partnerships formed within the Club are very
stable indeed-divorce is non-existent. It is suspected that this
is the result of both parties having got to know what their future
spouses look like first thing in the morning, as they emerge from
their sleeping bags, unwashed and unkempt!