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  Hashing in Oz      Written by 69er Noosa Hash House Harriers

While Asia was the original cradle of Hashdom, Australia was an early entry as the “running club with a drinking problem” began to spread across the world.  In 1967, enormous bushfires devastated Tasmania and 70 lives and many buildings were destroyed.  Aboriginals got citizenship but in this state full-blooded Aboriginals had gone the way of the Tassie Tiger.  The 6 o’clock swill had just become extinct as well when Chris Eden & Fred Whitaker met again in Hobart where they had relocated after postings in Penang & Singapore respectively.  They’d last seen each other swimming through tin mine pools on a Singapore H3 run.

 “You couldn’t exist in Hobart without the Hash!”, said Whitaker so Hobart H3 was formed on October 2nd, 1967 – probably the 20th kennel in the world.  Most of the original pack of around 18 were members of the Harlequins Rugby Club, calling “On On!!” for the first time in Australia halfway up Mt Wellington.  Following tradition, beer & ginger beer were mixed in a bucket – with frankfurts to soak up the piss and warm the belly.  At first they only ran in the summer months and coincidentally 1967 was one of the coldest years on record with 105 days of snowfall being recorded in the CradleMountain area.  Whitaker, later named “God’s Father”, thought H4 would be lucky to make 100 runs “but it caught on in a big way – we had the right sort of people generating the right sort of spirit”.

 In Sydney, Phil Riddell and Mike Miall, both Pommie Hashers on the run from KL and Singapore respectively, got together from time to time for drinks etc.  When Miall’s wife Bridget said: “Well, at least you’ll be home on a Monday night”, that was it … and Sydney H3 came into being.  There may have been a couple of runs that actually pre-dated the formation of Hobart H3 but they were never given a number so officially Run #1 was held in Gordon at the golf course some weeks after Hobart had been established.

 The 3rd Hash in Oz was established in the capital.  Karl Henne, who was miscarried from the “Mother Hash” in KL, contacted some of his old mates on his return to Canberra (pop then 65,000) as he felt he couldn’t carry on with life without the Hash. On Dec 1st 1969 the newspapers carried the ugly story of the My Lai village massacre in Vietnam , everyone was singing along to the Beatle’s Come Together and Peter, Paul & Mary’s Leaving on a Jet Plane, and Easy Rider was screening at the movies.  Rod Laver lifted the US Open Tennis trophy for the second time.

 The 3rd run on Dec 1st 1969 was, in typical Hash style, officially dubbed the “Inaugural Run” with 12 other founding members (including Graham “ 69er” Bowtell) as disciples of Karl “The Animal” Henne.  Membership grew quickly, reaching 40 almost immediately, requiring some 10 X 32oz bottles of ginger beer and a similar amount of beer for the bucket – actually a large red garbage bin.  Absolute informality was the order of the day and the AGM was to be “a complete shambles”.  In March 1970 the sacrosanct Monday night runs were moved to Sunday mornings “due to failing light conditions and a certain morbid preoccupation with study and football”.  An ABC documentary was aired in 1970 across the nation, ruining most of the pack’s chances of ever running for public office.

 Canberra ’s first official T-shirt was for the Centenary Run in 1977 – “100 years of Hashing: 1969-1977” – the theory being that we might as well celebrate our Centenary after 8 years because not too many of us would be around in 2069.

Officially, Perth H3 was kicked off on 16 Feb 1970 by Mike Farrer, just a month after the first direct flight by 747 from New York to London made the headlines.  Run #1 was around KingsPark .  It wasn’t long before returning service and diplomatic personnel, along with Hashers indulging in further (On On upward??) social mobility created a rash of Hash kennels in every State and Territory of the Nation.

 (Due acknowledgement in fine print to:  Hare of the Dog by Stu “The Colonel” Lloyd, 2002)