If there was ever a book to get a person psyched up about trying old style bushwalking using the old gear it’s this one. Melissa Harper is a self-admitted “non-bushwalker” but has gone and written the definitive history of bushwalking as recreation in Australia, from the time of the First Fleet to the 1960s. You’ll learn about people like JLG Brereton, Tompkins and Hamlet, Paddy Pallin, Dot Butler, Bob Croll, Myles Dunphy, Guide Alice and more. A great book which certainly helps to put the League of Bushmen into perspective. Click on the book cover to go to Amazon.com.
The Bundian Way is a route from Kosciusko to Twofold Bay near Eden in NSW which is currently being developed as a 360-odd km bushwalking route. Originally it was an Aboriginal trading route, where the Yuin-Monaro people would move between the mountains and the coast. Being the easiest route, the Bundian Way was eventually adopted by drovers and bullockys before being all but lost. Author John Blay traced the original route on the ground and wrote a book about it. On Track is an amazing exploration of the Indigenous and European history of the area and of John’s expeditions to find the old tracks and link them once more into an authentic and viable route from Eden to the Snowys. Click on the book cover to go to Amazon.com.
A “Landloper” is a wanderer, adventurer or vagabond. Brereton’s book details a swag walk from Sydney to Jenolan, to Wombeyan, to Kangaroo Valley and back again to Sydney but it’s not about the walk. It’s about the freedom of life on the track. JLG Brereton was, like his contemporary and good mate Henry Lawson, a literary genius who often donned walking boots and upped swag to take off for months at a time to see the real Australia as it was. It’s a pretty instructive book too if you’re into the idea of bushwalking with a swag and nosebag. Click on the book cover to go to Amazon.com.
Author HJ (Henry) Tompkins and his good mate William Mogford Hamlet were founding members of the Warragamba Walking club, the first bushwalking club in NSW. In order to help popularise bushwalking as a recreational activity for tourists, Tompkins persuaded the NSW Tourism Department to commission and publish a little guidebook which would show people new to the pastime not only where to walk in NSW, but how to do it safely and comfortably. First published in 1906, With Swag and Billy was the bible for many of our early bushwalking clubs and without a doubt it inspired Myles Dunphy to establish the Mountain Trails Club in order to head deeper into the wilderness to get away from the throngs of neophyte walkers attracted to the easily-accessible areas on the coast and near main roads. How things change and how they stay the same… Click on the book cover to go to Amazon.com.