decade in the Club's history has been an eventful one.
Now, in our
sixtieth year, we see a tramping club as active as ever, and a
mountaineering club growing in maturity and accomplishment to
compete with any other.
The first fifty
years of the OTMC's history were described in "Outdoors 1973".
The further ten years of the story reveals continued overall growth
and confidence, and a lessening of the cyclic pattern of growth
and decline in Club affairs and spirit that was expected. A series
of competent and enthusiastic committees promptly dealt with any
hints of decline.
members have come and gone, the Club's spirit has been continued
by people with similar enthusiasm, so the atmosphere at any meet-ing
has retained its vitality. The half dozen or so members who have
remain-ed active from 1973 to 1983 would agree that "although
faces change, the Club remains the same."
Let's go back
to the Annual Report of 1973, produced just after the 50th Anniversary
celebrations. During that year President Bruce Mason resigned
and was replaced by Dick Brasier. Over summer, many Club members
had visited the Olivine Ice Plateau. They were supported by air-dropped
food supplies, something which today's members would frown on
as we have grown to appreciate wilderness qualities. Ben Rudds
shelter on our land behind Flagstaff was finished "at long last",
but the Plane Table for the summit of Flagstaff, which was the
Club's 50th Anniversary Project, was "not ready to be officially
opened" at the time of the celebrations. During the 1972-73 year
Castle Rock Hut or "Leaning Lodge" was bought by the Club. It
wasn't a particularly active year: Clive Donaldson's bushcraft
'73 attracted only nineteen pupils, and there were only two 'away'
weekend trips with more than sixteen attending. However, the anniversary
celebrations saw a huge revival of interest in the Club. 130 members
or ex-members "highly praised" Ken Mason's slide show on the Friday
night, and a staggering 230 on the Saturday night enjoyed the
dinner and speeches by Scott Gilkison, Bruce Moors, Ralph Markby,
Dave Bond, Peter Johnstone, Wilf Broughton, and M.C., Horace Tilly.
30/6/73 is stated 194 "Financial", 69 un-financial". Notwithstanding
this the general funds profited for the year by 863. At the Annual
General Meeting Dick Brasier was elected President, and Ron Keen,
who had organised both 40th and 50th Anniversary celebrations,
was appointed a Life Member.
committee was a young one, but with growing enthusiasm in the
wake of the anniversary celebrations, it rose to a challenge by
a member of the previous committee to "do something about" the
waning in the Club's energy. Richard Pettinger and Peter Marr
advertised around local High Schools for pupils to attend a membership
drive weekend at Poplar Hut. Club members rallied but only 6 pupils
joined. They were all there, but so was a dreaded lurgy that laid
low half the members at the camp with the exception of some trail
bike enthusiasts who rode around and around the campfire while
dedicat-ed Club members were attempting to lead newcomers through
the O.T.C. Song-book. Trail bikes were a problem at many of our
14th Jim Freeman, perhaps our most active life member, a man of
unbounded enthusiasm and knowledge of the local hills - formed
the Over Thirt-ies Club, to help get older people out walking.
On the 25th the new O.T.C. had its first outing, a day trip to
the Craiglowan Falls area.
The 50th Anniversary
Christmas Camp was held in the Rees, an important haunt of Club
members for decades. Bryan Freeman organised the event for at
least sixty, members and friends and families. The weather was
excellent except for a downpour one night. It was highly successful
and a natural extension of the anniversary celebrations.
succeeded in being the membership drive the young committee still
felt was needed. The Silver Peaks were assaulted by a huge number.
On the second trip, 102 pupils swarmed after their leader up the
Taieri Gorge. The last instructor up thye gorge Course Director
Richard Pettinger, was alarmed to find himself collecting a number
of straggIers from in front. The leaders, not all of whom were
Club members, were reminded of their duty to uphold the teachings
of the Mountain Safety Council and on the final weekend 144 Otago
trampers took to the Takitimu Mountains, Lake Mavora and Green
Lake areas, without mishap. It was thought that the happy atmosphere
of a friendly, enthusiastic Club, after a fairly informal course
was the incentive that attracted 22 new members from the pupils.
Report notes the increase in activity. The membership stood at
213, but the Club managed to make a loss of $336 from general
funds, al though trips as usual made a profit. At the AGM Murray
Kokich was elected to begin what was to become 2 years in the
chair. On the 15th October the committee decided it hadn't the
time nor the experience to get into writing submissions on "matters
affecting outdoor recreation" and the "Outdoor Recreation Subcommittee"
was formed. One of the big issues they were concerned with was
aired in the December '74 Bulletin. It was a proposal to install
two large pole aerials for an N.Z.E.D. repeater station and a
road to service it, on the Scenic Reserve, near the summit of
Flagstaff. We joined many other groups in opposing what would
have been an eyesore from the city and the proposed Flagstaff
walkway. The Club became very active, even getting involved in
a "sit-in" overnight at the site. Also in late 1974 a proposed
Remarkables Skifield came to the attention of the Outdoor Recreation
Sub- committee. Trampers and Mountaineers felt the Rastus Burn
was a most in- appropriate place for a skifield, and a great deal
of evidence supported this view. The battle with the Mount Cook
Company gathered momentum over the years to follow and much energy
was put into it by Club members, in particular Bruce Mason, Russell
George.and John Begg. Plans to road the Greenstone Valley, the
valley that has delighted family groups who have walked it over
many decades, was another concern at this time. The Club felt
threatened by many such issues, often quite minor losses but which
spelt a gradual whittling away of Otago tramping country, but
there was one positive note in 1974. The Dunedin Metropolitan
Regional Planning Authority was looking at trampers' interests
in the Silver Peaks.
A lighter note
at the time of these struggles came with a Christmas Social at
the Trotters Gorge University Hut. The peaceful atmosphere in
this delightful setting was once again marred by the incessant
drone of trail bikes, the most memorable feature of this social.
ran smoothly with none of the problems of the '74 course. Only
39 enrolled and the leaders were all OTMC members. Of the 39 only
10 were males and the oldest on the course was 25. Whare Creek
in the Takitimu Mountains was a pleasant but restricted venue
for the final weekend.
the 1975 Annual Report, the Club's membership was 212 and nine
trips went away over 74/75 with 25 or more taking part. Loss for
the year from General Funds was $89. At the Annual General Meeting,
Murray continued in the chair, subscriptions were raised to $6
for members, $4.50 for the less active "postal" membership, and
the name "Leaning Lodge" was officially accepted as the name for
the hut we were busy renovating for our use on the Rock and Pillar
Dave Still let the Club use his property at Mahinerangi, the "Pick
and Shovel", for the Christmas Social and the Christmas Trip was
Martins Bay - Big Bay round trip.
was directed by Ross Davies. With 48 pupils, Ross took the final
weekend to the Eglinton Valley where the many side valleys provide
scope for a great range of trips, some only lightly tracked so
providing valuable opportunity for teaching routefinding. At the
time of the course a fire swept through the tussock of the Flagstaff
Scenic Reserve. It was a spectacular sight from Dunedin. Club
members were involved in fighting the fire which resulted in the
destruction of 56% of the 1971 plantings of Douglas Firs in spite
of hurriedly bulldozed firebreaks. It was an occasion that upset
many Club members: some were shocked at the damage by the fire
and bulldozers, while others were despairing privately that the
pine plantation had been saved. The Club began to question its
policy concerning exotic trees on Flagstaff. Some thought we should
manage the area with regard to the adjacent scenic reserve and
ignore the original objective of planting for fundraising. Poor
management of the plantation after the initial enthusiastic planting
had meant that any funds raised would already be minimal anyway.
before Easter saw the Club's first 'Pre-Easter Social. Organised
by Sarah Glasson, it was a most enjoyable fondue party in the
Old Stone Cottage at the foot of Grant's run on the Rock and Pillar.
Another tradition was begun!
with the wording of some of the Constitution led some members
to begin trying to get changes made to the Objects of the Club
so that they would reflect new feelings in the Club. The Club
was arguing against the development of certain areas as "resorts",
so that it seemed inappropriate and even embarrassing that we
had as an object "to open up and develop resorts." Ross Davies
was the first to attempt changing the objects out it was not to
be until 1981 that a General Meeting agreed to delete the offending
The 1976 Annual
Report shows the first profit to General funds for a while - $90.
Membership stood at 172, and over 75/76 there had been 4 away
trips of 20, or more, The Annual General Meeting decided to remove
trees on Flagstaff, Club members expressed disappointment about
the closure of the, Otago Central Railcar Service. The trips we
had taken leaving town on Friday evening to go to Hindon or Middlemarch,
and returning Sunday night, were really enjoyable; it was a much
used service - especially during the crisis of 1974. The closing
of the service meant the end of another era in the Club's history.
was elected President for 76/77. Early in 1977 news reached the
Club about 25 Mile Hut in the Rees suffering some damage. Apparently
more than ten girls, suffering from cold, had attempted to sit
on the top bunk. The sudden collapse saw a subsequent embarrassed
letter and a cheque from a girl's high school in Southland and
was followed later by a number of workparties to fix undo the
damage. Geoff Jackson's Gypsy held a starring role in the repair
of this, our most distant hut. It's character (and rodent colony)
took Bushcraft '77 back to the Eglinton for a weekend that was
blessed with a perfect Sunday, the type of day in the mountains
that inspires many to begin a lifetime of tramping.
In April and
May of 77, $120 was spent by a work party under the guidance of
Disk Brasier to put in a plywood floor and a new chimney at Green
Hut. The Jackson Gypsy was seen at Pulpit Rock getting the gear
to the Site This was the last any amount of money was spent on
report for 76/77 makes interesting reading. 157 members returned
a profit of $118 for the year to the General Funds. There were
3 trips away of 30 or more participating: Bushcraft, labour weekend
and a Ski Instruction weekend at Coronet Peak. Sarah Glasson had
printed a new song book during the year, an OTMC one to replace
Linda Mercier's by now rare OTC publication. The Family Tramping
Group, still organised by Marie McDonald and Lyall Campbell, had
been active for 10 years and members had had the first organised
Ski Week, something that has since become another tradition.
that year, a Club photo was taken. As not everybody could attend
the photography session by the Queens Gardens Cenotaph one Saturday
afternoon it was taken in two parts. Intended as a centrefold,
the printers misjudged the page numbers so it missed the middle
At the AGM Richard
Pettinger became President, a decision was made to remove the
last of the Douglas Firs that had survived the Flagstaff fire,
subs went up to $10 for full members and $7 for country (postal)
members. Dave Still was now added to the list of Life Members.
1977 the Remarkables Action Council was formed. Club members played
a major role in the action and a lengthy legal battle was begun.
On 5-6 November
John Cocks ran a Snowcraft course at Homer for Club members who
might encounter alpine conditions when tramping. In the report
he said he believed there was 'surely a place for a Snowcraft
course in the O.T.M.C annual programme' Yet another tradition
Camp was the venue for the Christmas Social, at which the local
"Ginger Minge Bush Band", assisted by OTMC musicians kept Club
members on their feet till all hours.
On the 3rd February
'78 the Dunedin Metropolitan Regional Planning Authority advised
the OTMC that a Silver Peaks study they had done with the future
of Dunedin's recreation interests in mind had been rejected by
the powers that be. The Silver Peaks however, ought from then
on to be recognised by the decision makers as a recreational asset
of great importance. The Silver Peaks have certainly been important
to the keen young trampers of Dunedin who perhaps couldn't afford
trips to the mountains. A group of Club members inspired by these
hills privately continued a series of "Silver Peaks Expeditions",
that ranged from the birth of the tradition in Fiddlers Gully
in 1971, to the Olivine Ice Plateau in February '78, and beyond.
saw the subletting of the Dowling St clubrooms to the Otago Section
of the Alpine Club. We had several years earlier subletted to
the Otago Motorcycle Club, but they had bought their own building.
The Alpine Club was obviously a more compatible bunch of roommates.
In early 78
Dave Crew began work on resurrecting Yellow Hut which had blown
from its moorings during a Westerly gale and had been left for
some time as a crumpled mess at the bush edge near the top- of
Yellow Spur. The hut was built by Geoff Williamson in 1963 with
help from Club member John Fitzgerald. Now it was up to Dave to
restore it to its original, site and it would become an OTMC hut.
This was done by June at a cost of $40 to the Club.
was organised by Russell George. His 45 pupils enjoyed a weekend
in the valleys at the head of Lake Ohau. The course followed the
same general format that the Club had used for the last decade,
This was in spite of the fact that each year the Taieri Gorge
was becoming more of a challenge to routefinders.
began to look at possible vehicles for Club transport. This work
culminated on June 22nd with a Special General Meeting, which
was to decide the purchase of a vehicle. The meeting approved
the principle but so much caution was expressed that Geoff's and
Dave Levick's sub committee lapsed subsequently "through lack
In July '78
creeping conservationism in the Club became more evident. With
the Remarkables Action Council and the then almost defunct Outdoor
Recreation Group setting the example that we fight for our land,
the committee passed the following motion: "THAT the committee
supports the banning of air access in National Parks other than
for purposes of emergency, protection and management." On the
17th August Mr Cuddihy of NZFS spoke to the Club on their attitude
to the Dart State Forest. Thus begun a big issue that ended in
the Club, under Ross Davies, calling a public meeting on 26/2/79.
August '78 also
saw the second Ski Week . Organised by Hank Lockhart for a private
group, it was held at Craigieburn. Some Club members had long
felt strongly that the skiers in the Club were bringing the demise
of winter tramping. Ski Weeks were a cheap way to go skiing and
many of the less financial members of the Club took advantage
of them and. as it turned out, kept winter weekends aside for
tramping or for cross-country skiing which is cheaper, and more
akin to the spirit of tramping than downhill.
The Annual Report
for 77/78 lists 5 trips away with a, least 36 attending, a membership
of 144, and records a profit to funds of $32. At the AGM Ross
Davies became President, and the Club supported the Committee's
motion on air access in National Parks but was happy as long as
it was "consistent with National Parks Authority Policy and the
Management Plan." The Club has always maintained a responsible
attitude to National Parks as it appears that the greatest hope
of guaranteeing our continued use of mountain lands lies with
that form of management.
feature of the 1978 Christmas Social was the music, supplied by
the OTMC Bluegrass Band. They kept the 65 people present at Waiora
square dancing and boogying along to a very professional sound.
The band was fronted by Russell George, banjo and calling the
dances, Martha Vosselert, Gaye Johnstone and Kelvin Liggett on
fiddle. Geoff Markby on mandoline, Nicki Hodgson guitar, and Peter
Mason on tea chest bass.
Christmas Camp was held in the Hopkins Valley, an area that was
getting alot of attention from the Club. Richard Pettinger took
the final weekend of his Bushcraft '79 back there. There were
52 pupils on this course which was the last to take the trip through
the Taieri Gorge, on a river crossing, compass reading and routefinding
of 144 is once again recorded. in the Annual Report of August
1979, there were four bus trips including Bushcraft, and a loss
of $530 to general funds. Some saw the low ebb in tramping activity
caused by this year's being perhaps the most active one, for environment
issues. The Club was, however, rightly proud of its conservation
The AGM elected
Steve Milne President and gave life membership to Phyllis i-iardie
and Trevor Pullar.
December 1979 were busy months. After years of searching for cheaper
clubrooms the Club moved into 3 Clark Street, the former Lodge
building now owned by the Otago Motorcycle Club. A concrete pad
and room were installed in the basement. All our old furniture
except 30 or so stacking chairs, a projector table and a table
tennis table were dumped. The first meeting in the new rooms was
held on Thursday 6th December. At the same time the Club organised
the first 'Tramperama', a guided public walk over Flagstaff visiting
Ben Rudds for lunch, for the Dunedin Mountain Safety Committee.
On the 15th December the 50th Anniversary Plane Table was finally
installed on Flagstaff. Six years late, it's production finally
brought to an end both the lengthy debating of its desirability,
and the session of fundraising that received donations from both
active and non-active members.
Social at Lee Downs, organised by Wendy Milne, and a camp in the
East Matukituki with climbs of Sisyphus and Dragonfly from a base
by the old homestead, saw the year out.
and yet another float in the Festival Procession. As usual the
opportunity was taken to advertise the forthcoming Bushcraft Course,
but this time the shambolic tent on the truck surrounded by naked
legs and placards gained second place in the Sporting Section.
Apparently it had happened once before'.
must have been effective, as Bushcraft '80 directed by Stu Mathieson,
attracted 94 pupils. Once again the Ohau area was the venue for
the final weekend.
The 15th and
16th March will be remembered as the "Jarvis Bay Trip" Members
who wanted to know where this obscure bay was were invited to
attend to find out. It turned out that Don Greer and a group of
OTMC members were taking a large number of Australian Navy mid-shipmen
through the Silver Peaks. Club members were pleased to see these
sea lubbers have the time of their lives. In return they were
invited back to a cocktail party on board the Jarvis Bay, where
the girls received plenty of attention and, a little shield with
the ship's coat of arms.
At noon on 20th
March (or thereabouts) nine Club members met outside the Chief
Post Office in Kathmandu. Tour guide was Ross Davies and the trip,
known as the Silver Peaks Himalayan Expedition was open to any
Club member who was silly enough to apply for it using form PS
17A. Members were away for approximately half a year and did trips
in Nepal, and other Asian countries, and ski trips, car tours
and cycling tours in Europe and Britain. Mention of the Silver
Peaks had now been made in hut, hotel and visitors books from
Andorra to Tangboche, from Brisbane to Base Camp.
In April 1980,
the army territorials offered to remove our trees on Ben Rudds
property "as an exercise." The committee was still wondering how
to respond when the offer was withdrawn. As a result Dave Craw
prepared an essay on the Ben Rudds property, its history, its
problems and possible solutions, which was published in the May
Later on, the
Planning Tribunal dismissed the Combined Remarkables Protection
Group's case and appeal. The Mt Cook Company would go ahead and
develop their "skifield" on this important mountain range. The
group was expected to pay $19,000 costs.
Annual Report shows membership of 157 and a profit of $17 to general
funds. At the AGM the President elect was described as "Dongala
- more commonly known as Donald McKellar." Shortly afterwards,
on the 9th October a Special General Meeting raised the subscriptions
to $15 for full members, $9 for postal.
Christmas Camp was held in the Rees Valley, with members visiting
the Dart Glacier, Cascade Saddle, the head of 25 Mile Creek, completing
Rees - Dart crossings, climbing the East Peak of Earnslaw and
Leary, from a base at 25 Mile Hut.
On 26th February
1981 Donald McKellar's resignation was accepted and Janet Girvan
became President. Donald had left Dunedin.
was director of Bushcraft 181. Seventy one pupils took part, and
many joined the Club as a result of our first attempt to attract
Bushcraftees on a cheap subs deal. The final weekend trip went
to the Eglinton.
In May of this
year a Club President was taken from a camp on snow near Fraser
Col in a basket slung under a helicopter...
The Annual Report
made no mention of this, but it did report a membership increase
to 187, 12 trips with 20 or more over the 12 months, and a huge
$795 profit to general funds. During the year Tasman Forestry
reduced our Silver Peaks playground by about a third. Mt Allen
Station, for the previous 58 years a popular venue for Club trips,
with its Big Stream and Poplar Huts, Long Ridge, Mts. John and
Allen, was to become a roaded pine plantation. The Poplar Hut
Book was deposited in the Hocken Library, along with other Silver
Peaks hut books. It tells of an enjoyable and interesting era
in the Club's history, now sadly closed. A dedicated Silver Peaks
lover, Richard Pettinger was elected President by the Annual General
Meeting, for his second go.
This years Ski
Week became an official Club trip. The weekend of the 22nd-24th
August was the 50th Anniversary of Federated Mountain Clubs. To
mark the occasion the Federation held a "Wilderness Conference"
in Nelson, at Rotoiti. The OTMC sent perhaps the largest contingent
of any club not directly involved in the organisation of the weekend
demonstrating our concern for wilderness and countryside protection
in general. At a Special General Meeting on 10/9/81, the Club
finally changed the objects as in the Constitution to delete the
object to develop resorts.
saw a number of Club members tramping in the Wilkin. The 'official'
Club trip was cancelled due to lack of leaders, but groups went
privately anyway. Peaks climbed included Mts Jumbo, Twilight and
1982 has to
be remembered as the year of the Silver Peaks, with the Club getting
upset by plans to zone the whole of the traditional tramping area,
except for reserves, for Commercial Afforestation as a predominant
use. If we lost any more of the Peaks as we had Mt Allen Station,
Dunedin's future trampers would lose this inspiring training ground.
Firebreaks, fencelines and farm tracks had already ruined many
old haunts but now, planning provisions would mark the final demise
of the bulk of it. After a hearing of objections at which Bruce
Mason and Bruce Chapman presented evidence, the Silver Peaks County
Council decided to recognise the recreational use of a small core
area of the Silver Peaks. However, other uses are also recognised,
and some aren't compatible with tramping. The Club will still
need to keep a watch on developments, and participate in the administration
of Walkways and Reserves. It was felt that maintaining goodwill
with farmers and decision makers would be very wise, indeed.
In early 1982
Alister Metherell directed Bushcraft on which 77 Pupils went back
to the Eglinton. The Easter Trip visited Arthurs Pass, a distant
trip that was well attended and turned out very successful.
a Glacier Travel course was held. Dave Manson organised the trip
to de la Beche corner of the Tasman Glacier, and John Cocks led
a group of Alpine Club members who instructed crevasse rescue
techniques to the growing number of climbers in the Club. This
year was to see the instigation of a Mountaineering Group in the
Club, convened by a committee member, the first convenor being
Euan Paterson. Under his enthusiastic leadership, Euan organised
regular climbing trips. The standard of rock climbing among Club
members improved greatly after evening climbing sessions at Long
Beach over the following summer.
In August '82
the Annual Report was published, a document that detailed a busy
year, 194 members now belonged to the Club, numbers boosted by
a major "fast track" drive at the end of Alister's course. The
general funds however, suffered a loss of $428. At the AGM Michelle
Green was elected President, following a meteoric rise in the
Club's ranks. Michelle had been a Club member for only 16 months.
The '82 Christmas
Social was held at Galloway near Alexandra, at which the Club
completely tired out the "Pioneer Pog'n' Scroggin Band" and called
for taped music to satisfy its exuberance. The Club was getting
Trip that followed was to the Paparoa Range. The first official
Club trip to this range, we were blessed with fine weather for
most of our stay. We discovered a really beautiful area, which
we all agreed was of National Park quality.
1983, major rebuilding of Jubilee Hut was begun and a pot belly
stove is intended to replace the heavy fire place and chimney.
was directed by Ross Davies and Paul Olsen. It began with a weekend
at Tirohanga Camp, at which practical skills were demonstrated
and practised. That weekend was a success both in its instruction
as well as socially, and it is hoped that it will become an annual
feature of Bushcraft. The final weekend took the 52 pupils, whose
average age was probably 30+ to the Ohau area.
On the free
weekend during the Bushcraft Course, the OTMC took part in a joint
tramp and camp in the Glenorchy area where we met members from
Fiordland, Southland, Hokonui and Wakitipu Tramping Clubs. This
weekend grew out of an idea at an F.M.C seminar in early 1982
when the various Club Presidents got together. The weekend at
Glenorchy was one of tramps, climbs, conversation, singing and
partying around a bonfire, and an inter-club games competition
day. Another annual event, it is hoped!
An annual event
that has increased in popularity markedly is now the ski-week.
1983 found 55 at Craigieburn.
The Annual Report
for 82/83 records 219 members, an increase due largely to a big
influx after Bushcraft. There was profit of $647 to general funds,
due, it is felt, to a resourceful Committee. 14 trips of 25 or
more took place over the twelve months, , indication of a healthy
Club. Some Clubrooms have been found and the Club will move into
a Stuart Street house belonging to the Polytechnic very soon.
Our own rooms should help to produce an even better Club identity
At the Annual
General Meeting, Alister Metherell was elected President, and
subs were increased to $19 for full members and $11 for postal
August, immediately after the AGM, the Sixtieth Anniversary Celebrations
were held. Over 160 members, past members and their partners,
including a founder member Mr George Pearson attended the weekend.
George and other members; from the 20's and 30's had fascinating
stories to tell, and useful information for those historians in
the Club. Those currently active members who attended the weekend
will remember the spirit that is peculiar to the O.T.C/0.T.M.C,
and will look forward to it continuing in the future.