Cross country with Ted Winter from Bett's Camp to Pretty Plain and finally to the Boardman's at Khancoban.
A 10 day adventure and after 60 years these are my memories:
Being a physical education student at Melbourne University with Fritz Duras (the German Doctor), our professor of Olympic skiing fame, we had just to learn to ski. So two 10 day schools were organised with Ted Winter our lecturer and mentor who knew every hut, hill and hollow on Kosciuszko, he explained to me how he funded his skiing trips to the Hotel Kosciuszko by trapping foxes with butter and strychnine poison. No wonder he was out so early on the snow and knew all the huts to peg out the skins and store them. The skins paid his hotel bill.
We had booked out Bett' s camp and Rock Creek hut so we learnt to ski away from the ski tows. We also had to make all our gear, skis, stocks, (from bamboo from the Botanical Gardens in Melbourne) parkas, greasy wool socks, mittens and jumpers. We smelt like a well bred merino ram but it saved our lives on several occasions.
Ted's knowledge of the mountain and his practical help in getting our gear together gave us great faith and a friend for ever, celebrating his 100th birthday last year was a memorable occasion.
After our 20 days schooling, Ted set off across the mountain with Joe Scarlett, Vern Crocker and yours truly Jeff Weston. First we had to take a stack of food to the first 2 cattlemans huts Pounds Creek and White's River. A lovely run from Betts Camp, we left at 8am and soon dumped food at Pounds Creek Hut then on up to the rolling ground where icicles were horizontal on the old fence posts. Very icy most snow had blown away, then a beaut run down to White' s river hut where we dumped our load and had lunch. The next part is vague after 60 years but we stumbled back into Pounds Creek Hut totally exhausted at midnight, 16 hours skiing a marathon.
On our way home a blizzard hit us and we side stepped down into the Snowy River made a bridge with our skis and crossed the Snowy below Pounds Creek Hut. We clambered up and started skiing but totally lost in the dark. Luckily we found ski tracks which were our own left in the morning so we came back to the hut totally buggered. Ted, Vern and I were exhausted. We hauled each others Parkas off and they stood up by themselves solid ice. We three collapsed but Joe Scarlet kept going, went outside found wood started a fire boiled the billy and what a great cup of tea. A true Christian Salvation Army warrior (See Appendix at end). I couldn' t go any further so Ted, Joe and Vern continued on leaving me to sleep between 2 straw mattresses with every muscle aching. I didn't sleep much as I wanted to leave the hut before Professor Fritz (The doctor) arrived. We weren' t great friends so I struggled to get into my frozen boots and into my skis and I managed to slide away from the hut and hide in the trees. I smiled as the Professor skied past and checked the hut, I relieved his worry and called out \"I' m alive and well - Eureka'
The overland trip went without a hitch with Ted in full control 10 days of paradise. Beautiful skiing, great warm huts, plenty of tea and tucker and more tea for Ted (Ted drank gallons of tea). Then the last day we were hit by a blizzard approaching Pretty Plains Hut. We headed straight into the shelter of the trees and made camp with the snow tumbling down. We cleared a space for our two man Paddy Pallin tent and 3 of us crashed down for a warm cosy night. We had a huge fire burning and Ted slept in the hollow log near the fire and in his poem he states that he slept so close to the fire that he burnt the sleeve of his greasy wool sweater.
In the morning we carried our skis and plodded up out of the Saplings and searched for the elusive log cabin. What a thrill to get the huge fire going, more tea and dry out at Pretty Plains Hut.
I can't remember what we ate but I do remember tumbling down the long spur to meet Ernie Boardman and his wife where we were fed like royalty and are still treated as VIPs by Joan. I have a photographic memory and can still see the young girl with flowing hair hooning around flat out on a horse in the house paddock, Joan Boardman is a legend.
Back here after 60 years. Thank you for the adventure
St Helens TAS 7216
Appendix - Joe's Salvation Army Fire Lighting Feat
Another Joe Scarlet tea making epic.
In 1950 on our first attempt at canoeing the Franklin River with John Hawkins, John Dean, Joe Scarlet and myself, Joe came to the fore with another amazing cup of tea.
We arrived to find a broken half submerged canoe jammed into the rapids. No sign of John Dean or Dr John Hawkins. Eventually John pulled Hawkins out half drowned and scrambled back up to our canoe and rough camp. We had no dry matches so had a meal of dates and cheese and river water. We had a horrible night worrying about whether Hawkins would survive. He was grey, white and shaky but in the morning I awoke to smell a fire burning and Joe came in with the goods; a hot cup of Tea.
The obvious question "How did you light the fire?" Joe's answer "I took the cordite out of a 303 bullet and with my glasses I got enough heat to ignite it and start the fire." A True Friend RIP
Ref: 'Shooting the Franklin' Johnson Dean