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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 4 April 17, 1946

Veteran Tararua Tramper Shows Slides of Early Days

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Veteran Tararua Tramper Shows Slides of Early Days

At the Annual General Meeting on Thursday, March 28, the Tramping Club elected the following officers:—
  • President: Prof. Boyd Wilson.
  • Vice-Presidents: Prof. Gordon, Dr. Danilov, Mr. J. B. Butchers.
  • Chairman: Alec McLeod.
  • Vice-Chairman: Frank Evison.
  • Hon. Sec.: Midge McLaughlin.
  • Chief Guide: Mike Murray.
  • Committee: Jean Priest, Jean Hawthorn, Ted Bradstock, Bruce Milburn.

The Question of purchase of a club truck was raised, but it was decided that such a step was beyond the means of the club at present. Mr. McLaughlin explained that the truck hired fortnightly was allocated by the Combined Clubs' Transport Committee at arranged dates to various Wellington tramping clubs.

Mr. Stubley, Vice-President of the Tararua Tramping Club and a tramper with 23 years' experience, showed some slides and entertained the meeting with many intriguing details of local tramping history. Wellington is fortunate, Mr. Stubley claimed, in having ready access at moderate cost to some of the best tramping country in New Zealand. Tramping in this area dated back officially to 1919, before which anyone eccentric enough to take to the hills was regarded as very, very mad. There were several such lunatics, however, 25 of whom attended the first meeting to form the Tararua Tramping Club. The Varsity Club was probably the second to be formed. Today Wellington boasts more tramping clubs than does any other district in the country.

Trampers, Mr. Stubley believes, are the most unselfish people in any sport anywhere in the world. Tracks have been opened up and huts built by the willing toil of bush-carpenters, like the famous Joe Gibbs, for the benefit of their fellow-trampers. All Tararua huts are unlocked and open to trampers and shooters, whether free-lancers or members of recognised clubs. Some remarkable slides were shown of the building of Kime Hut, a job on which Joe Gibbs and a friend spent a whole summer, relying on pack-horses for supplies and material.

Early women trampers apparently respected the conventions. A chaperone in any party was essential to safeguard propriety and soothe the mothers. Shorts were never worn, gym. tunics apparently being the popular tramping dress, but Mr. Stubley recalls being startled at meeting women of a Varsity party attired in long shapeless blouses and bloomers to the knee. Tramping wear has fortunately evolved with the rest of civilisation to brighter and briefer things.

The first issue of a club newsletter, to be issued free to members three times a year, has been distributed. This bulletin features reports of past trips and the programme for future ones, and even includes a taste of stirring epic poetry.

The club looks forward to an active and exciting season.