(header photographs by Harry Waite 1912-2011)

The Myth of the Sacred Brumby






Bushwalkers often use the campfire to dispose of cooking scraps, apple cores, banana and orange peels etc. This is fine when there is sufficient heat in the fire to completely incinerate the material, but it is truly awful when there are too many people suffocating the campfire with scraps that are found only partly burnt in the morning. Breakfast fires are particularly prone to this, as they are usually smaller, short term affairs. There is nothing more disgusting than seeing a fire extinguished without being dispersed, and left with unburnt or partially burnt vegetable scraps on display. This is what inspired Arthur “Darby” Munro of the Newcastle Bushwalking Club to pen the following:

To the walking fire I give this verse
The centre of his universe,
It keeps malevolent things at bay
(They wait in shadows across the way).
A focus for silent thought or talk
Of plans and hopes for tomorrow's walk,
Provider of warmth and food and light
That pierces the dark and lonely night
Cheerfully bright, benevolent
But to some, the fire's a heaven sent
Repository for foil and tins,
Dead spaghetti, orange skins -
Detritus of unsuccessful meals,
Bandaids, socks, potato peels -
Stirred and tormented-- a grisly sight
For the captive watchers - kept overnight
And in the morning, served up cold
For those who do it. Well, you've been told!

Arthur Munro
September 1979