Bush Club Policies for walks
Prospective members on walks
Prospective members must contact the leader of any
walk before attending it to obtain his or her permission.
should ask about the prospective's bushwalking experience, level of
fitness etc to assess their ability to complete the walk.
There is no restriction on the grade or type of walk the prospective
A reasonable level of physical fitness is expected, but not necessarily
to the level needed for the more difficult walks on the program.
The leader will determine and report to the prospective member and the committee as to whether the prospective member has completed the walk satisfactorily.
A prospective member must complete three qualifying walks in the twelve (12) months preceding application for full membership, irrespective of the number of any other walks done before that.
Can a prospective member lead a Bush Club walk?
No, a prospective member is not eligible to lead a Bush Club walk.
However, a prospective member may be a co-leader of a Bush Club walk
(as long as the other co-leader is a full Bush Club member).
Guests/visitors and under 18's on walks
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Persons under 18 cannot be members of the Bush Club. Although children
have on occasion come on walks as guests of members, the club is more
suited to adult members.
The Bush Club does not prevent the attendance of those under 18 as
guests, ie. attending at the invitation of and under the care and
responsibility of a Bush Club member, with the prior approval of the
Any guest can attend a walk only at the invitation of a member and
accompanied by that member, who must contact the leader for approval
prior to the start of the walk.
Guests cannot be part of an official Bush club walk unless the Guest
Waiver form has been signed. This allows them to be regarded as temporary
The guest waiver form is page 2 of the Walk Report Form.
If there are more than three guests you'll need more forms.
A walker can only participate three times as a guest. After that,
he/she must become a prospective member.
A guest of a member may only join walks on a maximum of three occasions.
Membership Qualifying walks
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Qualifying walks are intended to allow prospective members to assess
- whether the Club’s activities are suitable for them, and
- from the Club’s viewpoint that the incoming member is able
to participate safely in its activities and is in sympathy with
A Membership qualifying walk must:
- be nominated as such (M) by the walks leader in the program.
- have at least four members or prospective members of the Bush
- be at least of grade 3 standard.
- not substantially (in time, duration or distance) on roads, streets,
fire trails, cultivated parkland, beaches, canoeing or swimming.
Leaders are encouraged to include some off-track in their qualifying
walks. This enhances a walker’s ability to handle difficulties
in the bush.
Although a walk substantially using fire trials is generally outside
the definition of qualifying walks, an exception is made for walks
that require a high degree of walking stamina (eg Woodford to Glenbrook
via the Oaks).
Changing the classification and grading of walks
A walk's qualifying status (M) and/or its grading (1-6) may be changed
on the Walks Program prior to the day of the walk. They cannot however
be changed on or after the day of the walk.
The four may consist of full and/or prospective members, but not guests.
If fewer than 4 members or prospective members of the Bush Club participate
in a walk that is advertised as a qualifying walk, then the activity
cannot be an official Bush club walk, and the qualifying status cannot
be applied and will be rescinded.
Official walk - what is this?
To be covered by insurance all bush walks conducted under the auspices
of the Bush Club must be listed on the Bush Club Walks Program.
For any other unpublished change eg a change
of route, a second leader, contact with the Walks Secretary or a committee
member must be made prior to the walk commencing in order to ensure
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A minimum of four (4), including leader, is required for a Club walk.
If there are fewer than four, including leader, a walk, if continued,
is not an official Club activity and the Club’s insurance arrangements
do not apply.
However, a recce will still be covered by Bush Club insurance if
there is a total of at least 2 Bush Club members and you notify the
Walks Secretary by email prior to the walk.
You must be a full member, not a prospective member, at the time
of the walk you lead.
Co-leaders & assistant leaders must also be full Bush Club Members.
The Bush Club has no other prerequisites or tests for leaders. See
for more information.
Contact leader or not
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It is Bush Club policy to provide walks which are easily accessible by public transport and for which members can 'just turn up' on the day.
If you are happy to do this, the "Meeting arrangements" will simply give a time and place to meet, usually, but not always, tying in with public transport. Some 'non-contact' walks might be by car only. You still need to include your name and contact details for enquiries and prospectives.
However, even if the above is true, there may be occasions where you prefer to know who is coming eg
- you want to limit the number of people on the walk
- you need to ensure that all walkers will be able to do the walk comfortably
- you need to arrange car-pooling or car shuffles
- you'd just feel more comfortable knowing who's coming
In this case, put any relevant details in the 'Meeting' box, or just leave it blank.
Meeting arrangements for walks
Generally, if a time and meeting place are specified on the program
then walkers, apart from prospectives or guests, do not have to contact
the leader prior to the walk.
Leaders are not required to wait beyond the advertised time but should
thoroughly check the advertised meeting place before leaving.
Taking bookings for walks
When a walk or trip is listed as Contact leader, leaders should not take bookings before the walk/trip is published for the whole club (not from the draft or leaders' program or by word-of-mouth). This gives new members in particular, who may not know the leader, an equal chance to get on some of the more popular walks/trips.
Walk cancellation and Leader substitutes
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New policy March 2017
The leader must advise the cancellation of a walk via the online program. This can be done without waiting for the update email.
- The Leader has no responsibility to turn up at the start of a walk if a cancellation notice has been recorded with the online program, even for a non-contact walk.
- Walkers need to check for cancellations with the online program. The small number of members relying on hard copy need to check with leaders or other members to confirm that walks have not been cancelled.
Before the walk is cancelled, the leader should try to find a substitute
(list available from the online program) or advertise for one in the Program updates email (contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
An alternative walk can also be offered if there is a substitute
leader who is not familiar with the original walk.
Some of the more difficult walks cannot have leader substitutes.
In such cases these walks should be listed as Contact Leader Walks
and all members notified that the walk has been cancelled.
Joint walks can be listed on the program of the Bush Club only if
they are held in conjunction with another club that:
- agrees to hold joint walks:
- is affiliated with Bushwalking NSW (formerly the Confederation
of Bushwalking Clubs), and
- holds approriate insurances (check at http://www.bushwalkingnsw.org.au/clubs/)
If this is not the case, the activity cannot be listed as a Bush
There can only be one leader, and that leader must be a member of
the respective clubs, and authorised by the clubs through listing
of the joint walk on the walks program (or as a short notice walk).
Advertising a joint walk
The Bush Club will advertise joint walks as such, and with whom
they are being held. It is important that members are aware of the
arrangements that will apply, especially when there may be participants
from other than The Bush Club.
It is absolutely essential that prior to the commencement of the
walk, everyone participating completes, as a minimum, the sign-on
form for the club of which they are a member (or guest). The leader
provides the form. Without it both the leader and the member may be
vulnerable to claims, and not protected by relevant insurance arrangements.
Completion of the form is absolutely essential to ensure the protection
Participants need only sign one form, but if they are members of
both clubs, they can sign both forms (and perhaps should be encouraged
to do so if this can make it a qualifying walk for a prospective member).
Requirements and guidelines
If the joint walk is a joint walk with the Bush Club, then the requirements
and guidelines of the Bush Club are to apply, as a minimum. If the
requirements of the other club are more stringent in any respect,
then they are to aply.
Joint walk as a Bush Club qualifying walk
A walk that proceeds with at least four members or prospective members
of the Bush Club can be considered an official Bush Club activity
and a qualifying walk. The Bush Club sign-on form needs to be signed
by at least four members or prospective members of the Bush Club.
Implications if Bush Club requirements and guidelines are not followed
If club requirements and guidelines are not followed and there is
an incident involving a claim, then there is a risk that the leader,
another club member or the club itself may be held accountable. It
is important that the requirements and guidelines are followed so
that cover under the Bush Club's liability policy may protect all
Click here to download a pdf of our Joint Walks policies.
If you wish to do a recce for a Bush Club walk, you will be covered
by Bush Club insurance if you notify the Walks Secretary by email
beforehand and have a total of at least two Bush Club members or prospective
members on the walk. However, such walks cannot be qualifying walks.
Travelling by train to a walk
It is suggested that members travel to a walk in the second last carriage of a train to meet up with other members.
This is a change from our previous suggestion of the 2nd carriage because many stations with short platforms (SP4) require you to alight from the last four carriages.
Wondabyne is an exception to this and you have to alight from the back door of the last carriage, which is a quiet carriage. You can move from the 2nd last to the back as you near Wondayne.
Overseas and commercial trips
Individual forms need to be signed by all participants on club non-commercial
trips. For commercial trips, please contact the Insurance Officer
who will explain the procedures. Please ask the Insurance Officer
if you are unsure whether a trip is a club trip or a commercial trip.
See forms list for overseas forms.
Walks by commercial operators, here or overseas, will not be graded
using club guidelines.
Walking in Closed areas
Any Bush Club programmed walk that is within, or passes through,
a closed area, must be cancelled as a club walk. Such a walk cannot
be advertised as a Bush Club walk and insurance arrangements will
The club respects the rights of the owners of private properties
and it respects the decisions made by professional managers of public
lands. This position is consistent with the values of the club and
the Bushwalkers’ Code of the Confederation of Bushwalking Clubs
(of which we are a member club).
Walkers and leaders participating in Bush Club activities should not
enter a park if it is closed and should not walk on tracks that are
closed, nor should they enter land where access is permanently restricted,
such as water catchment areas and Department of Defence and other
Any fines and penalties incurred are the responsibility of the individual
The cover provided by most insurance policies can be reduced or nullified
by unlawful activities. The club has received advice from Confederation
that if an act is illegal, any amount payable under the club’s
Public Liability policy would be substantially reduced, possibly to
zero, and in relation to the club’s Personal Accident policy,
nothing would be payable.
Fire Bans and Park Closures:
Some parks are closed during fire bans and some aren’t. Leaders
need to check with NPWS re status of the specific park in question.
If the tracks are not closed then it is up to the leader to make a
final judgment call re walking when there is a total fire ban.
For walks in NSW National Parks, details of park and track closures
can be found at http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/alert/state-alerts
NPWS Fire and track closures
Rural Fire Service - areas listed for upcoming hazard reduction burns
Total fire ban information (pdf 170kb)
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