Cultural Artefact ANZAC Stick (1915 - )
The Wallaby Club ANZAC Stick is virtually the Club's only possession. Revered in our history, it is a cherished totem, our Presidential mace. For each President since 1901 there is a gold band bearing his name. As the decades rolled on, by the mid-seventies the gold bands were nearing the end of the Stick. Get a new one? Unthinkable! The Committee, threatened but ever resourceful in the face of calamity, was able to defer the problem for another eighty years, by the simple expedient of giving the stick a half turn and starting a new column on inscriptions on the backs of the old bands.
After the Annual General Meeting but before the dinner, the out-going President raises the Stick from the stand before him, holds it aloft and solomnly reads:
"It is my turn to hand on the ANZAC Stick which grew on Gallipoli. In my doing so I give a brief outline of its history:
'In 1915 General Legge, who was a Wallaby, was sent from Australia to take place of General Bridges, who had died from wounds on Gallipoli. On arriving at Gallipoli he found a twisted shrub growing on General Bridges' dug-out. This shrub he removed with its roots and gave it to Dr Springthorpe, another Wallaby, who brought it to Melbourne and delivered it to Dr Robertson, our Secretary. At this stage, Dr Robertson described it as a mass of interlacing roots resembled a badly coiled piece of rope. This shrub was later identified by CSIRO as being Rhamnus oleoides, the Buckthorn.'
'From this uncompromising material another Wallaby, Professor Ewart of the [University of Melbourne] Botany School, with great skill and patience, fashioned the handsome stick which we now so greatly treasure . . . In 1946 Professor Woodruff presented a pair of rests for the Stick made from Coastal Tea Tree, Leptospermum laevigatum (Gaertn.). F. Muell. Professor Osborne, President in 1915-1916, was the first President to receive it and pass it on to his successor . . . Each year a gold band is added bearing the name of the retiring President.'
[Page 94] adapted from Alfred Hart [page 37]
Sources used to compile this entry: Attwood, Harold (ed.), The Centenary History of the Wallaby Club, Landscape Publications, Mont Albert, 1993. References page 37, 94, 95, 101, 125, photographs page 101.
Prepared by: Gavan McCarthy
Created: 18 February 2007, Last modified: 28 October 2007
A Private Club
The Wallaby Club is a Melbourne-based walking club established in 1894 with a strong bias towards good fellowship, talking and an appreciation of both the natural and built environments. Membership is strictly limited and is by invitation only.
Dates and details of annual walks from 1894.