Home' Journeys : Feb Mar 2015 Contents When did you join RACT?
It must be going back 15 years or so. We’ve
had house and car insurance with RACT and
always been very happy.
What’s the most memorable time you’ve
been helped by being a member of RACT?
When we were in a head-on collision on the
Frankford Highway. It was very frightening.
We were in our near-new car and another
came round the corner, hit the rail then came
straight into us. The R ACT were wonderful.
They picked up the car, organised repairs
promptly and looked after us very well.
Tell me about your first car.
It was a 1928 Graham Paige – a square-
shaped, American-made sedan.
Let’s talk about bushwalking. How did your
love of walking begin?
I first started walking in the 1950s. We did
several off-track wild country walks, one from
the Lyell Highway to Maydena. In those days
you had to be self-sufficient. There were just
two of us, no EPIRB, no GPS, no helicopters.
You had to look after yourself and your mate
very well. There was no regulation and a lot
of individuality to walking back then.
Over 50-60 years, we’ve walked many places,
mainly with my wife Fran and often our
children too. I recall well a trip with Deny
King – when he found out we were going to
Nepal he wanted to come, even though his
doctor advised against it. Deny badgered him
until he was allowed and we took off into the
high country, r ight under the Annapurna
Range, around 13,500 feet.
Deny was a powerhouse. He was 72 at the
time. He managed the hills like you wouldn’t
believe. When we went rafting, Deny was in
his element. We camped on the river bank
during the rafting trip west of Kathmandu.
The Chinese were building a road and we
came down some rapids round a bend
and they were waving at us like crazy. We
thought they were just extra friendly, but
they let an enormous charge off and rocks
Walking in Tasmania is so special to you.
Tell us about some of your adventures.
Back in the 50s, there were quite a few
unclimbed peaks around the place. It wasn’t
so much because they were super-difficult,
often just that they were hard to access. One
such peak was Mt Geryon, north of Lake St
Clair. Another two friends and I were the
first to go from Waldheim to Cynthia Bay in
one day on the Overland Track. We averaged
around four kilometres an hour including
rest stops, and the total trip took 20 hours.
A stand-out walk for me was climbing
Federation Peak in the late 1950s. We were
like novices, carrying just an ordinary map
with no contours. We thrashed around trying
to find out where to go up Moss Ridge and
around 10am we found it. We left our camp,
packed a few sandwiches in our pockets
and were back down to camp by evening for
dinner. We certainly didn’t plan like modern-
day walkers, but we had a fantastic time up
You’ve also taken to the seas?
I made contact with the Endeavour replica in
WA. They were calling for people aged 18 to
35. I was 65 at the time, but they took me on
any way. One reporter from the UK said that
I could work up the rigging with the best of
the 20 year-olds. Perhaps it was a childhood
dream, wanting to work on a boat like this. I
had some fantastic trips, including one from
Mackay to Cook Town, following Captain
Cook ’s route. At one point we were sailing
on the same day of the month that he was
there. His notes talked of naming a particular
cape, and we would look up and there it
was. I think the replica will be in Hobart in
February for the Wooden Boat Festival – so I
look forward to seeing it again.
Any more travel plans?
‘ We limp around these days, but I’m sure we have
more travel in us,’ Dave says as I hear a smile
through the phone.
For a husband and wife team who walked 30
days, nearly to the base camp of Mount Everest
in thick snow, these days Dave takes it a little
easier. I caught him reading the morning paper
and sitting in the sunshine at his Devonport home
when I rang.
I can only hope this adventurer steps out on a
few more trails. And even more so, that his
footsteps are followed by those who appreciate
the Tassie wilderness as much as Dave Pinkard.
Member in focus
RACT member David Pinkard is a walker. He’s walked his way across Tasmania,
mainland Australia, around the world – and into the pages of Deny King’s book
King of the Wilderness. Where’s his favourite place to walk? The much-loved wilds of
Tasmania. Since the 1950s, he’s trekked deep into the wilderness, in some cases carving
paths to the top of peaks never climbed before. Call him an adventurer, call him mad
to be the first to complete the Overland Track in a day; I like to call him the man whose
boots I walked behind on countless bushwalking journeys as a child. And never once
did we ever get lost.
Interview by Alice Hansen
Dave wets a line; Himalayan adventures
Photos Pinkard family collection
February / March 2015 13
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