There are well over 200 kilometres of bush walking tracks through Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges, and a trail called “1000 Steps” is one of the more challenging.
It begins in Upper Ferntree Gully picnic ground and is a Kokoda Memorial Walk that pays homage to lives lost, and battles fought in the jungles of Papua New Guinea, during World War Two. The steps represent the ‘Golden Staircase’ which was created by Australian Army engineers to build a walkway up a mountain, during the war.
There are also plaques along the route depicting the lives of those who fought and died on the trail during the 1942 campaign. But the 3km path is often used by serious walkers who are training to walk the Kokoda Track, so they don’t stop too often.
Neither would the Victorian cricket team. Recently retired Australian all-rounder John Hastings says the Bushrangers would use this climb for training. “There’s three or four different tracks here, so it’s nice to mix it up, rather than run around the MCG. We’d do it in teams and take turns in running up and back. It was pretty steep in parts but just as I said, it’s pretty nice to just get out in the outdoors.”
“The Duke” was an Australian rugby union school boy representative, before he chose cricket as the sport he wanted to pursue.
He was contracted to play in the 2018/19 BBL season but retired from cricket because of a mystery illness.
“Yeah it’s just really unfortunate, it just sort of crept in over a few years. Essentially what it is that pressure at the bowling crease, I just burst blood vessels in my lungs, and just there was a lot of grey area and I wasn’t too comfortable with where it was at, whether something too sinister on the field was going to happen.
Apart from when he’s bowling, The Duke’s all good. He’s an outdoors man, who has his own boat and enjoys fishing in Port Phillip Bay. So over summer, along with opening a new café, he hopes to wet a line.