In September 1986 the 'The Bush Telegraph, Shoalhaven's Awareness Magazine' was produced by the Shoalhaven Conservation Society. Soon the Shoalhaven Bushwalker's Club was subscribing, as were the Jervis Bay Protection Committee, People for Peace, birdwatchers, historians and other walking groups. Voluntary workers produced the newsletter which ran on a 'break even' basis and contained much important local news. Soon renamed 'The New Bush Telegraph - Shoalhaven's Environment and Peace Magazine' (the NBT) the Club now had its own Walks Program pages and notices of forthcoming events. Members contributed an increased number of articles on equipment and bushcraft, maps and photos. One of the Club's leaders, May Leatch, was the editor and on the coordinating committee and her regular contributions and attractive art work are still an important feature of the NBT.
Brief descriptions of the walks (day, overnight back-packing, base-camping, caving, etc.), names and contact numbers of the leaders, and the grading of the walks (easy, moderate, difficult hard, etc.) were also included. By October 1988 the Club was filling over three pages in the NBT with the most prolific contributors of walks reports and Club news being Dawn Evans and Stuart Leslie.
After years of including the Club's walks programs and other information in the 'New Bush Telegraph' it was felt that the Club, with a membership of 150 could now produce its own newsletter. Also there had been criticism of some material contained in the NBT considered to be extremist and politically oriented. It was agreed that members be surveyed to decide if the Club would continue with a separate insert in the NBT or have its own newsletter. A sample copy of what was to be called 'The Ettremist' was circulated to members to assist in making a choice.
At the meeting in 1993 it was moved and carried that "Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc. produce its own independent newsletter." In July 1993 the first copy of 'The Ettremist, a bi-monthly Newsletter of the Shoalhaven Bushwalkers Inc.', was distributed. There were four pages of news and relevant articles and details of the week-end walks calendar. It was very well received with Fred Backer as editor and many members contributing to its success. A monthly mid-week program was a separate single page hand distributed to walkers until October 1996 when it also was included in the newsletter. At the time of launching Fred Backer said, "I feel that having a newsletter of our own would strengthen the Club's identity and create a valuable forum for our members. Regardless of the personal persuasions or affiliations of our members individually, I feel that our Club, as an organisation, should be seen to be politically and religiously neutral."
(The drawing above was part of the Ettremist letterhead until 1995)
'The Ettremist' continues most successfully to inform members of all Club activities with items of general interest and a mixed bag of jottings. Our thanks to local businesses who have been sponsors and to members who contribute a wide variety of articles.
In 2000 Shoalhaven Bushwalkers embraced the Internet and established its own website, administered by Brett Davis. The web address is www.shoalhavenbushwalkers.org.au. The site not only mirrors the contents of the Ettremist newsletter, including all walks programs, but also includes pages detailing upcoming meetings, the social calendar, walk reports, an extensive section of walk photographs, bushwalking guidelines, the committee, the membership phone list, the library catalogue and the Nav Shield history. It also includes a page where the music to the club song can be heard, and also incorporates this history. An increasing number of club members and external websurfers are accessing the site.