Photo from Warwick Willmott collection, entitled: “Psychological Belay on 2nd Pyramid”, circa 1960, taken at Wyberba, now known as  Girraween National Park.

The UQ Rockclimbers Club (UQRC) was founded by Fred From, in 1975. Fred From was by all accounts a very talented and bold climber, with many of his ascents involving no shoes, no chalk, and no rope. Tragically, Fred fell to his death from Everest’s West Ridge in 1984 when he slipped, tripping on his crampons. At the time, he was searching for another Australian climber, 23-year-old medical student Craig Nottle, who had fallen in the same way, at the same place. The generous and good-natured climber had just completed his PhD in physics and tragically died on his 28th birthday — 9 October (Meadows, 2005).

Our spiritual sibling club, the UQ Bushwalking Club (UQBWC, or “Uhk-Bwok”), was founded in 1950 by Jon Stephenson and John Comino. Stephenson and John shared many first ascents of prominent mountains and cliff faces around Queensland, Australia, and overseas, with Comino bagging the first ascent of “The Thumb” on Mt Hitchinbrook, Far North QLD, and Stephenson being the first Australian to make it to the South Pole, and the first person to traverse Antarctica. Sadly, the UQBWC disbanded in 1997.

To fill the gap between rock climbing and other outdoor pursuits, the UQRC officially changed its name to the UQ Mountain Club (UQMC) in 2007, to reflect the other outdoor activities it is involved in, such as hiking, and to potentially expand to other outdoor sports. In this way, the club is able to honour the traditions of the UQBWC.

The UQBWC has archives in the UQ Fryer Library, but the archives of the UQRC are currently unknown. Work is being done to find, document, and curate all club history and make it freely available and searchable on the internet. This endeavour is headed by Club Archivist, Nick Tierney. If you would like to help Nick out, please email him directly on [email protected] And please, if you have any information about the club, old magazines or newsletters or photos, please let us know by sending us an email at [email protected], we would love to archive them so that we can share them with everyone.

The UQMC Magazine, produced every semester starting Sem 2, 2015 features two archive sections – the first being an old trip report from the UQBWC or UQRC newsletters, and the second being a report from the club archivist detailing the status of the archives currently.

Check out the current club archives here