We love reading about historical characters who bushwalked in the “good old days”.
Their gear is fascinating, their clothes look so different to what we wear today, equipment such as tents and backpacks look heavy and not too waterproof. They were tough trail blazers who could improvise and live off the land.
When we think about the adventures they had, and the untouched wilderness they explored, it is with a touch of envy and a huge amount of admiration.
In this post we share some of the terrific images from the Jack Thwaites Bush Diaries website. We take a particular emphasis on his gear, clothing and tent.
Check out these great photographs and compare it to your gear. Think about the evolution of hiking gear over the last 70 years and wonder how tough it would be to tackle a long trip. Think about your current gear that is lightweight, weatherproof and quick dry. We hope it gives you a great appreciation of the toughness of these pioneer bushwalkers.
So, who was Jack Thwaites?
From his Wikipedia entry:
- Founded Hobart Walking Club with E.T. Emmett in 1929.
- Undertook early journeys to the South Coast (1928), Du Cane Range (1931), Frenchmans Cap (1934) and Federation Peak (1948/49)
- Joined the party which made the first official crossing of the Overland Track in January, 1931
- Responsible for much of Tasmania’s National Park nomenclature, particularly in the Frenchmans Cap region and the Cradle Mt-Lake St Clair National Park.
- Pushed strongly for the conservation of Tasmania’s wilderness and historic areas through his work on National Park boards and the Scenery Preservation Board.
- Made valuable contributions to the Youth Hostels movement (YHA), both in Tasmania and nationally.
That is a pretty impressive CV and one that many of today’s adventurers would be proud of. To have trail blazed many areas in Tasmania is a huge feat. To us, he is an inspiration.
We really encourage you to check out all the photographs and information on the Jack Thwaites Bush Diaries website. Frank got lost there for hours. The site is maintained by Simon Kleinig, an Australian writer presently living in London. He is the author of Jack Thwaites: Pioneer Tasmanian Bushwalker and Conservationist. The book is published by Forty Degrees South Pty Ltd and was short-listed for the 2009 Tasmanian Book Prize.
What is the oldest piece of hiking gear you still own? Do you use it? Why? Drop us a comment below, we would love to hear from you.
For our international readers, bushwalking means what it says, going for a walk in the bush! (or multi-day hiking, or treking, or tramping!)
Many thanks to Anne Thwaites, Jack’s daughter, for permission to reproduce the images here. Anne tell us there are still some copies of the book available, the details are here. Thanks also to Simon Kleinig for his terrific assistance. It was fun reminding him of the great summer weather here while he is in snowy London.