UQMC Historic Timeline
UQMC has a long and slightly complicated history, as it is a merge of several other UQ related clubs. It also underwent some name changes, which makes the historic timeline very comprehensive. However, the timeline below should give you a good idea. So, sit down, relax, and dig into our fabulous history!
1950: UQBWC founded
1950: First Ascent of "The Steamers"
1959: UQBWC "Rules"
1959: First "Hey Bob" Magazine
1965: More areas were explored
1966: Parents of Fresher and Fresherettes become worried
1968: UQBWC abseiling demo on EXPO at UQ
1969: UQBWC gets into Conservation
1969: UQBWC decline in experienced members
1971: UQBWC first Annual "Bushies Dinner"
1975: UQRCC founded
1977: UQBWC role in Federation Mountain Rescue
1997: UQBWC disbanded
2007: UQMC founded
University of Queensland Bushwalking Club (UQBWC, or as this is impossible to say, “Uhk-Bwok” for short) was formed in 1950 John Comino and Jon Stephenson, a geologist who was known for his part in the Fuch’s expedition to the Antarctic, and under the Presidency of David Stewart (Hey Bob, Volume 1, 1959). Jon and John shared many first ascents of prominent mountains and cliff faces around Queensland, and overseas. Comino bagged the first ascend of “The Thumb” on Mount Hinchinbrook (Far North Queensland), and Stephenson being the first Australian to make it to the South Pole and the first person to traverse Antarctica.
The UQBWC Annual Report of 1950 informs that a letter was first written to "Semper" (One can only assume this was the UQ Newspaper), to check if there were students interested in camping and hiking. A meeting was organised and a temporary commission was elected to draft the constitution (see below) and initiate activities. The inaugural meeting was held on the 26th of April 1950, and the constitution was then approved by the Union Council. UQBWC became a formal Club.
See the UQBWC Constitution below.
In 1950, during August and December, the first ascends of the “Steamers” were made by members of UQBWC, being an important contribution to the progress of Queensland rock climbing (Hey Bob, Volume 5, 1963). The first attempt on “The Mast” was made on August the 24th 1950 by Bob Waring and Jon Stephenson (a large trip report can be found here). The second first ascend was on “The Funnel” on the 2nd of December 1950 by Bob Waring and Kemp Fowler (a large trip report can be found here) (Hey Bob, Volume 5, 1963).
In those early days, most of the members had some association with other bushwalking clubs in Brisbane, but within a few years, the position had changes. UQBWC had come to take its part in the University’s social activities (Hey Bob, Volume 1, 1959). However, the UQBWC had some rules as well, see below:
The motto of the UQBWC in 1959 was that “unlike most bushwalking clubs, we [UQBWC] have an annual influx of new members – people new to the University, looking for a recreation to provide athletic experience, and with it aesthetic pleasure and friendship. It is then the job of the established members to help instill confidence and independence; to teach, to guide, and to accept” (Hey Bob, Volume 1, 1959). It was in 1959 that the president of the UQBWC, Keith Scott, established the first UQBWC magazine, called “Hey Bob”.
The name “Hey Bob” might be a bit strange, but it covers a whole range of meanings, from “Where are you?” to “Ha! I am up first!” to pseudo-civilised means of communications, whistles, and bike horns (Hey Bob, Volume 5, 1963).
In 1966, UQBWC was a well established university club, and getting more active! Many more walking areas such as the Wollomombi Gorge, the Nandewar Ranges and Eungella National Park were visited, and more trips were arranged to go to the Many Peaks and Fraser Island (Hey Bob, Volume 8, 1966). Parties were also becoming more of a feature in the Club’s activities!
However, most of the members were young, as UQBWC was a university club and in the 60s were different times, their parents were much involved in what their child could do (Hey Bob, Volume 8, 1966).
The UQBWC members were urged to convince the “general public, and particularly the parents, that we [UQBWC] are sensible people, capable of shouldering responsibility, whist still being adventurous and enthusiastic in our love of nature and the freedom of the bush.”. The members were not making an effort. According to the Hey Bob Volume 8 of 1966: “Already in the bushwalking circles, we [UQBWC] have a name for being a casual group with a couldn’t-care-less attitude to rules and regulations. There is a dangerous tendency within the club to forget responsibility, especially responsibility to new members and their parents. Not many freshers will continue to walk with us [UQBWC] if we cannot undertake to give them an enjoyable weekend’s walking without alarming their parents by not returning to Brisbane at a reasonable hour”.
In 1969, it was the first time that UQBWC had staged spectacular demonstration of abseiling and climbing on the main tower during the EXPO University Science week display – which could potentially have been the predecessor of the UQ Market Day. As described by the editorial of Hey Bob 1969, this created a lot of interest among spectators and gave the club a good reason to prepare for an enthusiastic influx of freshers (called “newbies” now) in 1970. (Hey Bob, Volume 11, 1969).
Luckily, the UQBWC was able to turn this "bad-club-attitude" around and got into more serious topics.
During 1969, conservation was becoming a major concern involving many UQBWC members, some of whom started helping establish the South Queensland Conservation Coordinating Committee. Others with dual membership of both spelios and bushwalkers were assisting the continuing campaign to save caves at Mount Etna and elsewhere. (Hey Bob, Volume 11, 1969).
In this same edition of the “Hey Bob” magazine in 1969, an ongoing issue was mentioned again.
Despite the growing membership, many experienced members were leaving Brisbane and there seem few sufficiently experienced or motivated younger members to take over their leadership. The lack of training in leadership was mentioned in the meetings by the executive team, and they wanted to train more freshers in aspects of “bushcraft” such as navigation, equipment and first aid, as this will help with practical experience (Hey Bob, Volume 11, 1969). These problems still maintain to this day, although the current UQMC members count is much higher. We can only conclude that UQMC has the same spirit, problems, and issues today as it had in 1969 – which is either really good (same vibes!) or we are not able to learn from our mistakes, take your pick…
In 1971, the first annual “Bushies Dinner” was held at a local restaurant, which could very well be the predecessor of the “UQMC Awards Night”.
UQ Rock Climbing Club (UQRCC) which was founded by Fred From in 1975. Fred From was by all accounts a very talented and bold climber, with many of his ascents involving no shoes, no chalk, and no rope. Tragically, Fred fell to his death from Everest’s West Ridge in 1984 when he slipped, tripping on his crampons. At the time, he was searching for another Australian climber, 23-year-old medical student Craig Nottle, who had fallen in the same way, at the same place. The generous and good-natured climber had just completed his PhD in physics and tragically died on his 28th birthday — 9 October (Meadows, 2005).
In 1977, the UQBWC had a decline of rock-climbing aspects within the club, which seems to be possibly by the formation of the UQRCC (Hey Bob Volume 19, 1977). However, the UQBWC did have a more decisive role in the Federation Mountain Rescue (Hey Bob Volume 19, 1977). Something that was noted was, that the number of members of UQBWC did not decline in 1977, but it was more or less the same as previous years. It seemed that UQRCC did not “take away” any members from UQBWC.
In 1997, UQBWC was disbanded for unknown reasons. It might simply be because of the lacking numbers, no interest in bush walking at that time or the members were becoming more interested in other sports which they were participating in. Many of the UQBWC members were also with the UQRCC for example. UQRCC continued to exist.
To fill the gap between rock climbing and other outdoor pursuits, the UQRCC officially changed its name to the UQ Mountain Club (UQMC) in 2007, to reflect the other outdoor activities it is involved in, such as hiking, and to potentially expand to other outdoor sports. In this way, the club is able to honour the traditions of the UQBWC.
UQMC is a well-established University Club within UQ and Brisbane itself. UQMC has a very tight knit community, with all types of people from all over the world. UQMC continues to work with the climbing community and various sponsors to maintain the wonderful outdoor areas, which all members can use. One major downside though. new UQMC members are not called "Freshers" or "Fresherettes" anymore, but newbies - a terrible loss...