21 January 2005, 0700 hours, an overcast morning and one vehicle short – only two of the problems we were to face on our youth survival outing. After a phone call and some slight modifications, we had a car. There were some small delays as we waited for new faces, then we were on our way.
A two car convoy left from Laverton, another from Melton. Rendezvous point one was beside a small creek; car one and two arrived at 11:30 (1.5 hours late) expecting to find car three, which had not yet arrived. After a lengthy wait, some attempted phone calls and a waylaid search, car three had been found, just a few kilometres from our horse-petting detour.
For the occupants of car three it really had been "Survival 101", they had been in an accident. Thanks be to God that not one occupant had suffered any injury. After a conversation around a makeshift fire (lit by some of the boys) we were off again, looking for a new spot to continue with our day.
After some fire-lighting lessons, which utilized the conventional match, the not so conventional flint and steel and the rarely successful bow drill (to which Luke Kneebone made a valiant and almost successful attempt), it was a short lunch around the fire. The group was then divided.
One company was under the watchful eye of "General" L. T. Kneebone. The other under the command of his brother "Colonel" A. B. Kneebone. The task: "to build a shelter in as short a time as possible." Luke marched his men… and women off into the bush, while Adam decided to keep his company closer to civilization.
Chop, chop, chop, machetes and bush knives were flying. People were dragging materials from all directions. The weather got worse and we were now building shelters for real. Not one seemed to be deterred by the rain, and after some deliberation a little counsel and a little thought, Adam, who started out constructing two smaller shelters (separate girls and boys quarters), decided 'bigger is better', so in came the demolishing crew and down they came. It was all hands on deck for the new ridge beam of the bigger larger shelter, while Luke decides to go more conventional and construct four walls and a ceiling. All construction ground to a halt as we were running out of time and light so it was a quick inspection of the huts by opposite parties, a few photos, a hymn in the rain around what was left of the fire and then we were off.
After some stops to drop off passengers and return our borrowed car, our day was at an end. In case any are curious as to what happened to the passengers of the other vehicle, nine in a car is a noisy but fun trip.
God bless from the Victorian youth.
– L. J. Phillips