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Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.

PO Box 403
Nowra NSW 2541

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Ettrema Gorge - September 1993

A member of a party from the Illawarra Club separated from the main group when climbing out of the Ettrema Gorge in the vicinity of Quiera Clearing (405260 Touga). The Shoalhaven Club received a callout from Wilderness Rescue that night and had a party in the field by daybreak the following day. HQ was established at Quiera under the command of Sergeant Jones of Nowra Police. Wilderness Rescue also set up a command tent. The briefing was comprehensive and the search well organised. The missing man - 'Snowy' Thoroughgood - was described as being in his late sixties, fit and in good health but deaf which limited the search to visual contact. Other searchers came from Canberra and Sydney and included SES and Bushfire personnel. Three helicopters were used throughout the operation.


The Shoalhaven party was allocated a search line to the north of Quiera Clearing and equipped with a Wilderness Rescue radio. The route was not easy and involved pushing through thick undergrowth and the crossing of some deep gullies. A major problem was navigation as the search area was on high ground with no features visible to serve as reference points. The helicopters provided a lot of background noise as they circled and re-circled the area.

Contact was made with Thoroughgood by a helicopter around noon and the nearest ground party directed to him as the terrain was too rough for an aerial pick up. The weather had been fine and mild and the lost man was in good health and spirits when found.

An interesting footnote to this operation was the donation of $3000 to the Wilderness Rescue Group of the Confederation of Bushwalking Clubs from money raised at the annual Golf Day of the Police Association held on the Nowra Golf Course. Russ Evans of the Shoalhaven Club accepted the cheque on behalf of the Confederation.

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