Hard Walks and Happy Times
by Audrey Eastwood
My first contact with the Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Club was sometime in 1984 when Wal and I, together with Don and Ursula Turner, attended a meeting of the Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Club at the Shoalhaven Library. The meetings were held monthly on a Thursday night. Stuart Leslie was the President and there were about ten people at the meeting. Other than Stuart, the only ones I remember being there were Alwyn Martin and May Leatch. It was May's first meeting also.
The first walk that Wal and I went on was on a Sunday along the escarpment near Yerriyong and I remember thinking - this is hard work! I'd only been used to walking with Wal and the family at our own pace. However it didn't take long to get into the stride of things and we went on some wonderful walks over the next five years or so, and saw so much of this beautiful area we live in.
I would say the most exciting experience that comes to mind was my first whale sighting while on a walk from Summercloud to St Georges Head. We'd stopped off at a little beach on our way for lunch and a swim, and while we were relaxing John Waddell called out "whale." As he was a practical joker nobody took any notice at first, but John insisted that there was a whale out there, and sure enough there it was. Wonderful.
Another incident I recall was walking along an overgrown track past Manning's Lookout near Fitzroy Falls, and brushing past a tree with a green tree snake hanging on one of it branches. Other than these two incidents, I just remember happy times and wonderful walks with lovely people and the Christmas parties we had on the banks of the Shoalhaven River with Stuart playing the concertina (or accordion, I'm not sure which) and the bush dancing. I wish I could think of more to tell you - I'm sure if Wal was here he could remember much more than I can.
(A dear friend to all, Wally died in July 1990. A long-time member of Shoalhaven Bushwalkers, Wally will be remembered for his energy and cheerfulness. He had a great love of the bush and often entertained us around the campfire with tales of his travels and experiences. We will all miss him. - Stuart Leslie.)