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Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.

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Over the years Club meetings were held in a number of venues from private homes to rented rooms around Nowra such as the Community House (Toy Library), Nowra Technical College and the City Library in Berry Street and, since 1988, in the Nowra Public School.

Before 1988 these meetings that were both informal and, at the start, irregular. Office bearers, the President, Secretary and Treasurer, shared the duties of organising the Club's business such as keeping the correspondence, funds and membership lists. They also arranged additional activities and social events and wrote the newsletter.

Like most organisations attendance at meetings has always been low with members preferring to 'walk' rather than 'talk'. So be it.

As one walker wrote...

Come Walking!
You can talk of things to do
In the club room;
You can listen to an earbash
All night long;
But if walking is your aim;
It's an outdoor, fresh air game,
Come along,
Stop talking,
Come walking!
You can learn first aid or mapping
In your spare time;
You can read of mountaineering
When at home;
But if you're feeling fit
It's time to pack your kit -
Step lively,
Less dreaming,
Come walking!

(from the Coast and Mountain Walkers Journal)

Stuart Leslie wrote to the Ettremist in July 1993, "Quite understandably, most members are in the Club for the walks and are not interested in spending their evenings debating the future direction of the club ... I believe we should scrap the idea of general meetings and instead make our gatherings purely social evenings ... the day-to-day business would be dealt with by the Committee at program meetings." Nothing came of this suggestion but interesting guest speakers and the inclusion of more activities that involve members has increased attendance.

The main item of business has always been the preparation of the monthly Walks Programs. Leaders select destinations within the Shoalhaven area and beyond. At first these walks were held every weekend with the group meeting the leader at a nominated starting point. Later, walks seemed to have been less frequent but more detailed programs were drawn up. These were roneoed off as a newsletter and distributed to members. They contained notices of coming meetings and functions and general information of interest to the Club. To cover any possibility of a compensation claim following an accident, leaders had to have a disclaimer form signed by every participating walker. Leaders also wrote a report of their walk that was presented at the following meeting. We no longer have to fill in a disclaimer (* disclaimers were re-introduced in 2001) and the Walks coordinator now presents a report covering all walks done in the previous two months. Fees in 1985 were $5 per person and $8 a family. At the August 1988 meeting fees were raised to $10 for both an individual and family.

Early in 1988 the President, Stuart Leslie raised the matter of the Shoalhaven Bushwalkers becoming an incorporated club. Incorporation had become necessary to acquire public risk liability insurance for members participating in Club activities. He agreed to investigate the matter through other similar clubs such as the NSW Bushwalkers and the Coast and Mountains Walkers and with the Corporate Affairs Commission. A necessary preliminary to incorporation would be to have a formalised structure of administrating Club affairs. An election of office bearers was held and there was also discussion on the need for a Club constitution, a requirement for incorporation. To prepare this a sub-committee was elected consisting of Stuart Leslie, Dot Gallagher and Wally Eastwood. At the meeting on 6th April 1989 the Club agreed to affiliate with the Federation of Bushwalking Clubs of NSW. The President then moved "that club members be given three weeks notice that the Shoalhaven Bushwalking Club incorporate with the Corporate Affairs Commission and that a Public Officer be appointed".

The motion "that the Shoalhaven Bushwalkers become incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission" was passed unanimously at the June meeting. The secretary, Brian Kenny was nominated as Public Officer and duly elected. The Club received a certificate of Incorporation (Reg.No.Y8978-32) certifying that "Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Incorporated is on and from 19 December 1989 incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1984." The matter of allocation of funds, a requirement of incorporation, was discussed at the AGM on 2nd August 1990. It was moved and passed "that in the event of this Club winding up, its funds are to be forwarded to the Nowra Historical Society."

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