Member Profile John Busst

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John BUSST

Johnny Busst was one of the most popular members of the Club for many years through the late forties, fifties and sixties.

John served as a stretcher bearer in New Guinea in WW2. Upon his return home he was discharged from the army with his health being in quite a parlous state. He joined Collingwood Harriers as a form of therapy.

John eventually took up walking and became one of the top ultra-long distance walkers in the state. He also enjoyed competing on the track for the Club and often walked in one of the lower grades, always gaining terrific support from his fellow club members for his efforts.

He was a participant in the 1956 5ok Australian Walk Championship and Olympic Trial held over the course designed for the Melbourne Games. John finished in 11th place. The field included two New Zealanders, one of whom, Norman Read, went on to win the Gold Medal at the Games.

For a short time John actually lived in the (old) clubrooms at Coulson Reserve, with then secretary Ray Coverdale providing him with a small allowance to keep the rooms clean and tidy. This arrangement almost turned sour when a representative of the department concerned questioned Ray about whether the payment should affect the pension Johnny was receiving from the government. It would seem that Ray pointed out, that with what John had suffered in serving his country perhaps the couple of pounds could and should be overlooked. Fortunately nothing eventuated, however John did find alternate lodgings not long after.

John was made a Life Member of the Club in 1970. Nobody in attendance at the meeting when John was presented with his award will ever forget his reaction. Had there ever been a more proud recipient?

He later lived with his elderly mother in Oakleigh, but spent the last few years of his life at the R.S.L. village in Frankston.

Johnny pass├ęd away on August 21st 1995 at the age of 81.

July 2014