The origins of the Hash House Harriers
This letter was addressed to the Kuala Lumpur HHH in 1958 by Cecil Lee, one of the co-founders of the Hash House Harriers. He was a regular harrier 1938-41, and after the war, 1946-51, then in Borneo for three years before returning to KL to finish his hashing 1954-57.
“The Hash House Harriers were founded in a moment of post-prandial inspiration at the Selangor Club Chambers in late 1938, by the inmates, who included myself, Horse Thompson, EJ Galvin, HM Doig and AS Gispert.
Gispert was the real founder – a man of great wit and charm, who was killed on Singapore Island in February 1942 whilst serving with the Argylls having only just returned from leave in Australia to rejoin the volunteers.
I am glad of this opportunity to salute his memory. He was a splendid fellow and would be happy to know the Harriers are still going strong, and are as merry and bright as ever – or more so.
Gispert was not an athlete, and stress was laid as much on the subsequent refreshment etc. as on the pure and austere running. It was non-competitive, and abounded in slow packs. Life was then conservative rather than competitive.
The name was a mock allusion to the institution that housed and fed us. Later Torch Bennet returned from leave, and produced order out of chaos – a bank account, balance sheet and some system. But we pride ourselves on being rather disorganised – or the minimum organization sufficed.
The original joint masters were myself and Horse Thompson, still running somewhere – a past master at short cuts and the conservation of energy.
We started up again after the war due to Torch Bennet who discovered a Bank Balance and put in a claim for War Damage on one tin bath, and two dozen mugs and two carrying bags. We started by a small run in reduced circumstances around the race course – then the horses were not much better. The Emergency cramped our style but did not diminish our activities, and we were called in for information on various by-ways in Selangor , but our usefulness to MI5 was brief, and our information probably otiose. But the hares ran into two Bandits at Cheras, who were later copped.
An Irish accountant Kennedy, drew up the Rules we had to register as a club, and he seems to have preserved the old traditions just as you do now.
Selemat Tinggal HHH (Cecil Lee, KL, 24 October 1958)”
From these solid roots of the “Mother” Hash, Kuala Lumpur Hash House Harriers, the hashing fraternity later spread. Singapore Hash House Harriers was founded by ex-KL members in 1962, and thereafter spread rapidly, some 18 Hashes being formed in West and East Malaysia as well as Australia in the next few years. The first in Australia was Perth HHH in 1965, then Hobart HHH in 1967, followed by Sydney HHH a week later. The first European Hash was in England, Longmoor HHH in 1970, followed the first Hash in Africa, Durban in late 1971 and the first in the Americas was in Washington six months later. There are now over 1000 Hashes around the world in 100+ different countries, and Interhash , held every two years, attracts over 5000 hashers.
The Running Sharks
The Northern Beaches HHH was formed in April 2001. Also known as The Running Sharks Hash, it was started by Nick DONGA Gorshenin, ex Medan HHH, Indonesia, Lesley LSD Dellit, Peter RUSKI DOODLE , and Pauline FLOSS Barnard partly to get a Hash going on the beaches, but also to provide RUSKI DOODLE with the avenue to meet potential mates, without having to travel to Russia every three months as he was doing. Some of the hashers who participated on the first run to become foundation and long term members were: Neil CRUM Crummy ex Casuarina HHH (Darwin), Lesley GEOGRAPHICALLY NAÏVE Carrington of the Sydney Harriettes, Catherine STIFF ONE O’Shea, (exMedan Harriettes), Victoria SIBERIA Godwin, Colin SEAMAN Tansley and Di STORMWATER Heffernan.
See www.hhh.asn.au for more origins stories, original rules, and details on all the Hash groups now operating in Austalia as well as handy links to the wide world of hashing.
Rules of the Northern Beaches Hash House Harriers
to encourage physical fitness amongst its members
to prepare for or extend weekend hangovers
to acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it with beer
to persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
These objectives are met through a hash run, pursuing a trail of chalk (or flour) set by the nominated hare(s), followed by Down Downs and social drinking.
- The Grand Master (GM) is always right
- When the GM is wrong, Rule 1 applies
- The Hash Steward (HS) is always right except when Rule 1 applies
- The penalty for any transgression is one DownDown, when the offending hasher will drink an appropriately sized refreshment to the accompaniment of the Hash song
- The HS and Religious Adviser (RA) check for proper behaviour before, during, and after the run and between runs. It is left to the discretion of HS and RA as to whether they will ignore any offence or make a charge
- Any one having knowledge of a transgression by a fellow hasher may make a Charge during the Down Downs. A charge may be defended but a Down Down will result either way unless the GM decides otherwise
- After completing three runs a new hasher will be given a Hash Name. The hasher will subsequently be known only by their hash name during the run and Down Down session. Failure to observe this rule will result in a Charge
- At more or less regular intervals, every hasher is asked to set a run. Since being a
- Hare is a great honour, refusal is neither anticipated nor accepted. If the run is considered passably good the Hares will be awarded a Down Down, if the run is considered to be below standard for NBHHH the Hares will be awarded a Down Down with shame (i.e. on their knees)
- Short cutting is allowed, being caught short cutting is a serious offence
- The Hash has certain standard forms of communication:
- When on the trail (either chalk or flour), shout “On On”
- When confronted with a check, shout “Checking”
- When confronted with a check back, shout “Check Back”
- When the trail has been found again, shout “On On” (or “On Back” if communicating to hashers checking other possible routes)
- Shout obstacles, e.g. “Log”, “Steps”, “Car”, “Thug”, etc
- Stationary checking or refusal to check when so requested by the HS will result in a Charge
- The basic idea of the Hash is a non competitive run through the local habitat in order to acquire a thirst for beer that should already exist. Aggressive running is therefore a serious offence
- The GM can add, delete or change any Rule at anytime. No public announcement will be deemed necessary and any transgression will still result in a Charge
The Hash is democratic and fair but will obey the GM in all matters
Thus end the current Rules of the Northern Beaches Hash House Harriers (with occasional latitude for new hashers!!)