Apparently the thing to do when half the state is ablaze on a 40 degree day is to go up a heavily wooded mountain and take pictures of a dunny.
Pictured here is the view from the Mount Donna Buang observation tower in March 2019. On the right, a massive plume of smoke rises from the Bunyip bushfires. On the left, the sky appears clear, but I can assure you that a similar cloud of noxious gases was rising from the public toilet.
Some would call such an expedition reckless, but your correspondent—Mr. Borrie—was once a member of the cub scouts, and therefore had survival skills. Over many years I learned how to break into the scout hall after hours to play spin-the-bottle. If fire threatened this peak, I would use these skills to break into this first-aid room, cover my mouth and nose with moist alcohol-based antiseptic wipes, wrap myself in several nylon-blend jumpers and tights, and head to the snow-covered toboggan slopes to wait out the inferno.
Apologies, the snow was on the other toboggan slope. As we were not threatened by fire I had no need to go and take pictures of it.
The name Mount Donna Buang comes from the Wurundjeri and loosely means “the body of the mountain“. It is a fine name, as the mountain is indeed a hulking body of a thing. Its height (an impressive 0.63 Bogongs) is even more impressive considering its proximity to Melbourne, and the fact that you can drive to the top of it and (legally) have a poo.
Of course, this proximity means that people are less likely to have run out of stickers by the time they get there. Below is a sticker that is cool because the letter “E” has been replaced by a “3”.
And here is the symbolic “body of the mountain”, as “improved” by “Steve”. I was going to comment that Steve’s misalignment of the sticker makes it highly unlikely that I would entrust the alignment of my bicycle to him, but then I noticed someone had scratched a miniature doodle onto the sign, which is way funnier.
The last time I was at the Donna Buang dunny was in 1966 when we stayed at Auntie Nora’s in Warburton. Your report makes me want to go again, literally. Back then, the hole in the ground was closer to the spring which gave the water a somewhat “dungie” bouquet with a subtle ammonia after taste. Your scouting escapades brought back memories too. My brother Neville and I were in the 1st Footscray cubs (Gerbil Pack). Unfortunately, due to the infamous waggle incident at the Tittybong jambouree in 1972, we were booted out. Crazy days!
Ah, the famed Donna Buang spring rises again. Some claim it is the very elixir of youth. Others claim it is a piece of poly pipe that diverts water away from a nearby septic. Very fine people on both sides.