by Stephen Whittaker (Trip Leader)

This year’s Christmas Party took a slightly different shape to other years.  While there was still a great deal of celebration and a fantastic day held by all on the Sunday, there was an added feature for those with a little more time up their sleeve.

The added feature was an optional drive and overnight camp in the Brisbane Ranges National Park the night before the Christmas Party.  The Brisbane Ranges are located essentially halfway between Geelong and Ballarat.  Jessica, Michael H and Stephen met in Bacchus Marsh for lunch on the Saturday.  The weather was perfect, in fact, quite warm.  Once fed and energised, we headed for the park, entering from the north via Reids Road.

The driving was easy, just undulating 2WD roads which crept up, over, down and around valleys and mountain ranges through the picturesque park.  Very little fauna to report, unfortunately – just the one wallaby and a loud birds nest above the campsite.  We stopped at many picnic and camping spots throughout the park and finished the loop at the Boar Gully Campsite.  The three of us enjoyed some lively conversation and relaxed as the sun went down.  A little light rain made for an early night.

In the morning, after Michael and I waited for Jessica to enjoy her sleep-in, we packed up camp and headed, via Anakie, to Steiglitz Historic Area and the Bert Boardman Recreation Area where we awaited the arrival of everyone to the ‘official’ Christmas Party.  We picked the best spot, assessed where the sun would go to ensure we had ample shade all day and settled in.  Damian was first to arrive with BBQ in tow.  After a quick setup of the BBQ, everyone else arrived promptly and the food was a cooking.

Martin taught the boys (and everyone for that matter!) the game of Kubb.  It was a lot of fun and it became quite competitive at various stages.  It will, no doubt, get a good run at more upcoming trips.

The spread of food brought by everyone was incredible.  The laughter and entertainment never died.  Until… Damian had an announcement to make.  He had just been over to his car and noticed a note had been left on his windscreen.  “What did it say?”, we all wondered.  The boys gathered around and listened intently as a letter from Santa was read out.  He had paid a quick visit but couldn’t stay and had left some pressies hidden in a sack somewhere nearby.  The boys were on a mission to find them!  Less than 90 seconds later, the sack was back to the group and the boys were ripping paper apart as quick as they could.  Needless to say, there were smiles all round.

Thank you to everyone who helped make it a fantastic day with great food and perfect company.  In particular, thanks to Damian and Angela for bringing the BBQ and the meat and Bev for bringing the drinks.  We look forward to many more for the club.



Stephen Whittaker (Forester)

Jessica Walsh (Outback)

Michael Hartshorne (Forester)

Damian & Angela Stock & grandson Brendon (Forester)

Martin Foot & Dot Greiveson (Forester)

Bev Davison (Forester)

Bob & Ruth Marshall (arrived with Bev)

Cynthia & Michael Rennolds & grandson Lachlan (Forester)

David, Antoinette, Anthony & Justin Wilson (Outback)

Dale & Jan Rebgetz (Forester)