P1 Kiandra Club

 

 

P2 Kinadra Skiers

Australia's ski heritage extends back to 1861 and the Kiandra Gold Rush, when miners formed the Kiandra Snow Shoe Club. This was later to become the Kiandra Alpine Club, whose members are shown with their skis in the 1896 Photo No. 1.

AAC currently has no heritage material predating the 1930's, but welcomes scans of any old ski photos that our members might have.
Please email them to the AAC Heritage Subcommittee.

P3 Betts Camp 1941 Photo No. 3 shows a ski party setting out from Betts Camp in September 1941 for the challenging slopes of the Kosciusko Main Range, about 6 km distant. The nearest ski tow was at the Chalet, Charlottes Pass, 2.5 km from Betts Camp. Kiandra was the only existing ski village at that time, but it lacked the long, steep slopes of the Kosciusko Main Range. The shortage of ski accommodation in the NSW snowfields resulted in the building of Whites River Hut by the Kosciusko Alpine Club in 1935 and the Alpine Hut by a group of skiers in 1939.
P4 Sentinel 20July1947These ski pioneers seen on the challenging western faces of the Kosciusko Main Range in Photo No. 4, needed to ski 6 km cross-country from the nearest overnight accommodation (the Chalet, Charlotte's Pass) to enjoy some of the longest and steepest ski slopes in Australia.

P5 Sentinel TwynamHaving climbed back up to Mt Twynam after a couple of runs off 'The Sentinel Ridge' (Photo No. 5), they then face the 6 km return trip back to the Chalet, Charlotte's Pass. Three years later, they got together with many other keen skiers to form a club to make the Australian Alps more accessible to skiers. Initially known as the Ski Tourers Association, it became the Australian Alpine Club in 1962.


Lake Albina Lodge was the first AAC Project

Construction of the lodge commenced in the 1950/1951 summer

P6 Albina advert 1961

 

 

P7  Albina UnlodingBuilding a lodge above Lake Albina, to facilitate skiing in this area, became the first project of the newly formed Ski Tourers Association. Its inaugural meeting,chaired by Charles Anton, was held in Sydney on 10 November 1950.It was decided that a pre-fabricated hut, such as those then being used by the Snowy Mountains Authority, would best suit the remote, isolated location at Lake Albina (altitude 2 km above sea level).

The Kosciusko Park Trust promised, and gave, very substantial support, particularly with the stone-work of the basement and in transporting materials to the site from the roadhead at Seaman's Hut.

Photo No. 7 shows the timber for the basement and the main floor being unloaded at the lodge site.

P8 Albina StonemasonBlizzards delayed construction in March and, by 20 April 1951, the site was under snow. The basement and floor had been completed, but the remainder of the building materials somewhere under the snow, where they would soon be crushed. A "Save Albina" workparty was organised. On 21 April the members skied from Seaman's Hut to the site and dug around to locate the building materials.

Photo No. 8 shows the Park Trust's stonemason at work on the basement walls.

P9 Albina22april1951Photo No. 9 taken on 22 April, shows that much of the building materials had been uncovered and that the end wall of the lodge had been stood up. The following photos (Nos. 10 to 12) shows the daily progress until the lodge had been sealed against snow ingress.

P10 Albina23AprilP11 Albina24AprilP12  Albina25april

 

Lake Albina Lodge had been saved and was open for business for the Winter of 1951, even if the plumbing was a bit Spartan that year.

P13 AlbinaEarly50s

 

P14 AlbinaWindow

 

 

 

 

 

Best View from any Hut in the Australian Alps!

Photo No. 14, the view, from one of the Living Room windows of the Lake Albina Lodge, helps to explain why visitors to the Lodge returned often.

P15Baglin Townsend SpurThe construction of the Lake Albina Lodge opened the tops and western faces of the Kosciusko Main Range, so that they could be safely skied without the long trek to and from the Chalet, Charlottes Pass.

Photo No. 15, taken from the Townsend Spur above the lodge, gives a good view of some of the magnificent ski territory made accessible to skiers and ski tourers by the lodge.

P 16 Albina early50sAlbina provided accommodation and shelter for all skiers using the area and many parties were glad of the shelter the lodge provided in sudden storms or when the area had been enveloped in fog.
Lost skiers have found their way to the lodge after dark by heading for its lights, since the lodge was usually occupied for the entire snow season.

A typical group of very happy skiers at Albina can be seen on its balcony in Photo No. 16.


 

Summer of 1962/63

Several new developments for the ACC

We have skipped about ten years of history that will be covered in future installments on this AAC Webpage. Over the 1962/63 summer, the Ski Tourers Association changed its name to the Australian Alpine Club as it extended its area of operations to include the Victorian Ski Fields. Two new lodges were planned to be built ready for opening on the Queens Birthday Public Holiday weekend in June 1963. One was Perisher Huette and the other was the Falls Creek Huette. Whilst all the necessary permits for Perisher Huette had been obtained during the 1962 winter, the possibility of obtaining a site at Falls Creek only became a reality in December 1962 and the necessary approvals were only granted at the end of February 1963 by the SECV (then the administrators of the Kiewa Valley and Falls Creek Area).

 

Construction of the Falls Creek Huette in Autumn 1963

AAC P17 FallsCreekHuette mid-april 1963Work on prefabricating the walls commenced in Melbourne at the start of March 1963. Digging of the foundation trenches commenced on site on 19 March. There was the potential for a rerun of the "Save Albina" workparties at the Falls Creek Huette, when the first snow fell on 20 March 1963. Fortunately the site was not buried under snow for long, although the deep mud that developed once the lock-up stage was reached on Anzac Weekend, meant that every sheet of plaster, every fitting and every piece of furniture had to be manhandled to the lodge from the main road. The Huette did open on the 1963 Queens Birthday Holiday weekend. The first Falls Creek Huette had 14 beds in the bedrooms and an overflow area that could accommodate 6 more persons. It served the club very well until it was sold in 1971 and a much larger lodge was built on another site closer to the ski lifts.

The Falls Creek Huette Opened on the Queen’s Birthday Holiday Weekend 1963

P18 FallsHuetteWinter1963