Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

Costume and Equipment

Role of Myles Dunphy

For overnight recreational bushwalking to be possible, it was necessary to develop light weight gear. 

The October 1914 walk down the Kowmung River valley was instrumental to art of recreational bushwalking because Myles Dunphy developed two articles of lightweight gear for the trip. The 'dungal' swag (see plan on right) and a waterproof cotton tent made from japara, a finely woven cotton cloth manufactured in India.

Once plans for basic bushwalking gear were produced by Myles, it was inevitable that recreational bushwalking would become popular.

Sydney's residents are spoilt with scenic bushland, much of it accessible by public transport. Basic lightweight equipment was the catalyst that enabled the community to explore and enjoy their local environment. For some it was a trip to what was then National Park, for others it was the wild expanse of the Blue Mountains.

Role of Paddy Pallin

Swag

By 1930 several bushwalking clubs had become established, and Paddy Pallin recognised the growing needs of these walkers. He commenced making high quality bushwalking equipment and soon people realised that bushwalking was a cheap and enjoyable activity.

In 1933 Pallin wrote and published the book Bushwalking and Camping which he sold in his stores (the book is still being published today and is in its 14th edition). Bushwalking became extremely popular during the interwar years and 'Paddy-made' gear was synonymous with serious bushwalking.

Rather than demand creating supply, Paddy's gear created demand! If fact modern gear manufacturers have only recently rediscovered two things of primary concern to the serious bushwalker - good gear is light-weight and water proof. The days of the 3.5 kilogram backpack are perhaps numbered.

A gallery of historical camping equipment.