During Bush Week we used to have a scavenger hunt on the Thursday night, the judging of which was on Friday morning, closing at 12:00 noon. There were also points awarded for the various stunts pulled off during the night or morning. For example we hung a For Sale sign of Telstra tower, visible from Parkes Way and Lady Denman, some other notable ones I can remember is re-directing all traffic through the ANU and telling a group of road workers that a bunch of students dressed as police were coming to disrupt their activities while telling the police a bunch of students dressed as road workers were messing with the roads, then watching the chaos. Things were a little more innocent then, and everyone was likely to laugh it off, although the road workers police incident did have some ramifications.
I don’t know exactly when the scavenger hunt started but it was some time before I started in 1983. The final year was 1987 or 1988, as the community was getting upset at the damage and disruptions that were being caused. Not that it had escalated or anything, but community perceptions were changing, and they were less inclined to accept the goings on at the ANU when it spilled outside campus. Also the other colleges were sick of being trounced by us from 1983 through to the end. In 1985 we amassed over 300,000 points and our nearest competitor had about 50,000.
I’ve included the 1984 list which I have complete, but I have another year which is in pretty bad condition, and parts of a further year.
The scavenger hunt had a number of usual items. There would always be one item and one person from each hall, that the others needed to get and you needed to protect. There were always points for ingenuity. For example the list specifies camels, 10,000 points each, someone turned up with a packet of cigarettes and showing that an obscure name for a cigarette was a camel and they had also got the Camel brand, they got 200,000 points. Later attempts would only get the 10,000 per pack. The longest Police record was awarded to someone bringing the album Synchronicity (vinyl) along and showing that it was the longest of the albums (at the time) by the Police.
In 1984 we got every item from Melbourne and Sydney, we unfortunately lost the Melbourne items when they were being flown up as someone noticed the Merrijig sign at Melbourne airport, and the students were chased through the airport by security, but managed to get away. The Pink Pussycat was a strip club in Sydney, what they managed to get was a 6’ pink painted girl/cat sign from the front of the venue. It hung in the Buttery till it was demolished, and then in my room till I passed it to a worthy recipient. I had the landing room in C block.
No prime minister ever turned up (they were always on the list) but many federal ministers did, usually for us as one of our residents was the daughter of one of the cabinet ministers.
The wheat harvester did turn up, but couldn’t get into Union Court, so no points. You’ll also notice the final item being the receipt from 9 Barry Drive. This was A Touch of Class, which I think is still operating today, but this was it’s original and 1984 address. The Welcome to Canberra signs (5 of them) were on every main road into Canberra, they were 15’-20’ long and 5’ high. We got the only one in 1984, but in 1985 we got all 5.
You’ll notice the Blade’s grey suit entry, the wanker referred to was John Hannah who now operates his own store, but he did the infuriating B
e’s adds at the time as he was a partner in the Blade’s store. He turned up and presented himself as the wanker off the ad.
You’ll see that al lot of items are marked, these were the things we did manage to get.
In one way it is a pity that this didn’t continue, as most of the items are harmless fun.