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What do Turners Frute Bloks, haversacks and snags have to do with Munibung Hill?

Back in the days pre-television, tablets and mobile phones, us kids were more inventive and self reliant – we made our own fun. We didn’t consider going to the shops to buy fun like kids do these days playing screen games, we got up and went outside.  If we didn’t then our parents kicked us out – figuratively speaking. Greg Powell is telling us about the times when he and his mates would ride their bikes to Munibung Hill.

Greg Powell lived in Charlestown Road, Kotara Heights (now Kotara South), back in the 1960s.  On weekends and during school holidays, Greg and three or four of his mates from the local neighbourhood would mount their trusty push bikes for a trip to Munibung Hill – but not before a diversion to Warners Bay, the reason for which we’ll get to in a minute..
The ride had a number of purposes.  On the way, which was down Hillsborough Road – a stretch of unsealed rough gravel back in those days – the only sign of business was a car wrecker’s yard. There were no commercial or industrial areas then, but there was a ‘well stocked’ garbage tip on the lake side of Crockett Street, South Cardiff.  Greg thinks it might have been a Council tip.  Anyway they would stop off and do some scrounging to see what goodies they could pick up, then it was back on the bikes to Warners Bay where they made a bee line for Bulls General Store to buy a Turners Famos Frute Blok  (they were a rectangular prism shape). They’re now called Turners Ice Blocks, available at IGA stores and some fuel stations.

Rehydrated, they’d jump back on their bikes for a ride to Munibung Hill, where they’d push their push bikes up the steep slope on the north-east side to the caves just below the summit.  All this time they’d be carrying an old bashed up frying pan and a couple of ‘strings’ of sausages wrapped in butchers paper, in their old WWII army surplus shoulder bags or haversacks. Frying up a batch of beef sausages was the order of the day, before packing up and heading home. 
Greg and his mates did this on a regular basis during weekends and school holidays.  They were the good ‘ole days, before the congestion of cars clogged bitumen roads, when children were allowed to roam far and wide, venturing outdoors into the bush, showing a measure of self-reliance, making their own ‘entertainment’.
Munibung Hill still has the capacity to do this. The Management Plan process has given us the opportunity to provide a conservation reserve where children and families can visit knowing that they’re in a safe well managed place. The next thing we need to ensure is that visitors are respectful of nature and her wildlife and bad behaviour is kept to a minimum.

Greg Powell is a nature lover and occasional writer for local publications. He lives in Valentine, where he loves walking in Green Point Reserve.

MMM … Issue 26, February 2022