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Heels 1976

The Imperial Conquest of Mt. Arthur

page 56

The Imperial Conquest of Mt. Arthur

Nelson, the final frontier. This is a journey of Alf's Inperial Army. Its five-day mission: to explore strange new lands, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to to go where no British Imperialist has gone before...

In the Easter of '76, a specially trained contingent of our colonial forces penetrated the wilds of that hitherto little explored region of Nelson Province, now known as Northwest Nelson Forest Park, in an exploratory survey in order to map the area and open it up for colonization by settlers. Due to difficulties encountered with the local (so-called civilized) natives who refused to transport us to the foot of the climb, the Imperial troops found it necessary to march eight miles afore breakfast. At this stage the first problem of the ascent was tackled with enthusiasm. This was a three thousand foot vertical forced march under the fearsome blistering sun (which shall never set on the British Empire) up the gravel track to Flora Saddle. High tea was served at Flora Hut and the troops there set up camp.

The next day dawned bright and clear. The troops were up and away by 0600 hours (well nearly), much to the lesser mortals' (pit bashers') disgust, and were off at a fast pace, reaching the summit of Mt. Arthur by 1100 hours, where a group portrait was composed and the Flag uplifted. This naturally made them the first group that Easter to reach the summit. On the descent our contingent met the straggling ranks of colonial bearers battling upwards against lack of initiative. After this invigorating stroll our troops advanced on Salisbury Lodge, taking the position at 183O hours against light resistance. Here the bearers had been really efficient, bringing in gas stoves, sumptuous sleeping quarters and many of the finer essentials of life. A brilliant sunset and reminiscences on the glory of the British Empire (Pom jokes and shaggy dog stories) heralded the setting up of the mosquito nets and a restful night.

Another fine day dawned and again the Imperial troops sallied forth, this day over the tablelands and into the valley

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of the Cobb and then back over the Bullock Track to camp at Upper Junction - a trip of nearly twenty miles. The camp was set up, supper cooked and eaten, and at precisely 2000 hours the hills around rang to a rendition of "Land of Hope and Glory" loud enough to stir the hearts and minds of any Englishmen within many miles' radius. The fourth day of the expedition was also blessed with fine weather, allowing the troops to regain Flora Hut by 1130 hours, and allowing an afternoon's excursion to the then little-known Mt. Lodestone to be successfully accomplished. Then on the last day it was a long tramp back down to the natives who live in the lowlands of the Nelson Province.

Much mapping and breaking-in of new territory was begun by the exploits of these our glorious heroes, and their story will be told from generation to generation in these times of the rebirth of the British Empire. This brings to a close the wondrous conquests achieved by the humble yet glorious followers of the Queen.

They were:-

Captain P. J. Tree

Lieutenant Michael Drake (who wrote this)

Corporal Steven Litton

Corporal Simon Litton

drawing of outcrops