Vale Warren Bonython
Some years ago, in the mid-1990s, my childhood interest in bushwalking and camping was reignited as an adult by reading a copy of Walking in the Flinders Ranges by C Warren Bonython.
The book meant a lot to me as I read and personally walked a few of the trails in the Flinders, and was able to relate to much of the text and photographs that Mr Bonython had included in his now-reprinted book, formerly out of print for some years.
Never being backward in coming forward, I plucked up the courage to telephone Mr Bonython asking him if we could meet, chat a little more about the Flinders, thank him for all the enjoyment his book had bought me and hopefully have him personally sign my copy.
I am delighted to say that Mr Bonython was only too happy to both accept my telephone call and make a time to meet late morning one Sunday after he had been to church with his wife, Bunty.
Our morning tea in the magnificent lounge room of Mr and Mrs Bonython’s timeless residence, Romalo at Magill, was an hour I will never forget.
Warren (as he insisted I call him) took great delight in personally engaging with me, reminiscing about his time in the Flinders Ranges and, after disappearing for a few minutes, presented me with a pristine copy of another of his books, Walking the Simpson Desert, which he signed along with my old copy of Walking the Flinders Ranges.
Mr Bonython also revealed when I asked about his beautiful home, that he and his beloved wife Bunty had lived there since they were married, having bought the home from her parents. He proudly told me of his devotion to his wife and family and laughed about the fact that his wife – as a child, teenager, young adult, wife, mother and grandmother – had only ever lived in one home!
Conversation led to Mr Bonython’s understated (by him) role in the creation of the Heysen Trail together with the late Terry Lavender, and his ongoing involvement with the Friends of the Heysen Trail as their Patron. The Friends of the Heysen credit the combined efforts of Warren Bonython and Terry Lavender with the concept and creation of the Heysen Trail – an achievement that many generations of South Australians will be forever grateful.
I am happy to say that I have had the pleasure of meeting up with Mr Bonython and his wife Bunty again at two recent Annual General Meetings of the Friends of the Heysen Trail where Warren proudly served as the Patron.
As I reminded him of our meeting some 15 or so years earlier, he was genuinely pleased that our meeting and conversation had led to my joining the Friends of the Heysen Trail, and to the enjoyment that membership of such an organisation can bring.
Vale C Warren Bonython AO (1916 to 2012), a great South Australian and co-creator of the Heysen Trail. I extend my most sincere condolences to Mrs Bunty Bonython and the Bonython family.
Council Member, Friends of the Heysen Trail
3 April 2012