|Pounds Creek Hut provided Frank Leyden with overnight shelter on 22 August 1945, after his group skied down the Tate East Ridge to the Snowy. His diary records that the hut was in good condition with 6 beds and five mattresses. The fire effectively heated the hut. There were 5 chairs with backs, 2 good tables, billies and some cutlery. Photo 18 shows the vast extent of ideal skiing terrain serviced by the hut, which cannot be seen in the photo, but is about 5km from where the photo was taken.|
|When Frank returned next ski season (7 August 1946), the hut was almost uninhabitable, with melting snow in the ceiling cavity dripping water onto the mattresses, beds and floor, where it had refrozen. The many blizzards in 1946 must have been blown snow under the roofing iron and into the hut's ceiling cavity. The hut's frame and cladding were intact (Photos 19 & 20).|
|The interior of Pounds Creek Hut remained in a dilapidated state until the Kosciusko State Park Trust in 1955, approved of Pounds Creek Hut being incorporated into the larger Illawong Lodge which John Turner and the Ski Tourers Association proposed to build on that site. The lodge had to be built without the benefit of motor vehicle access. A dam had been built on the Snowy River at Guthega (it is just visible in the background of Photo 20) which meant that anything that was too big to fit into a rucksack, had to come by boat to the upstream shore of the man-made lake.|
|Building materials could then either be manhandled the remaining 1.2km to the Illawong site (Photo 21), or placed on a horse-drawn sled. "The manager of the Chalet at Charlottes Pass offered the services of Mick, who was a most suitable horse indeed, except that it was usually necessary to find Mick, catch him, bridle him and get him over quite rough country to Illawong before starting to make use of him. In the end, about half the materials were sledded in and half were carried. Nor was the sledding without incident. Mick had two speeds – stop and run. Sometimes no amount of coaxing would move him; at other times he was off like a shot with his driver struggling to keep up and prevent the sled from overturning." [Twenty-One Years of the AAC, 1971]|
The boat trips across the stored waters of Guthega Dam were also not without incident. Photo 22 shows Leon Smith and Charles Anton at Guthega Dam with the Jumping Trout I, the boat which helped so much in the construction of Illawong. Photo 23 shows Jumping Trout I being loaded. Photo 24, which was taken at the Illawong Lodge unloading point, looking back towards Guthega Dam, gives some idea of the length of the over-water journey.
"Every kind of watery disaster short of drowning, occurred sooner or later. Once, a flood spread timber, mattresses and oil drums from one end of the dam to the other. Boats, all of them called 'Jumping Trout', were occasionally swamped or capsized. One was lost in a flood and not recovered until a year later, when the dam was emptied; another took off in a high wind and landed on the opposite bank – intact! This same boat, the Jumping Trout III, finally came to grief when a 44-gallon drum of petrol hurtled down a steep bank, landed amidships and went through the bottom, leaving a drum-shaped hole, as in a comic cartoon."
|"In spite of the set-backs, Illawong was completed in less than two years to a standard which, in 1957, equalled the best in the mountains. It had its own water supply, septic tank and electric lighting. There was an automatic hot water service, gas cooking, refrigerator, drying room, innerspring mattresses and even carpets." (Photo 25 shows Illawong in July 1957).|
|The members laid a snow-pole line to Guthega, and built a flying fox over Farm Creek and a bridge over the Snowy River. The first bridge was partially destroyed by a flood in 1958. The current bridge, a superb, galvanized steel structure with minimal visual impact, was designed by Tim Lamble (Photo 26).|
Illawong provides easy access via the valley of Pounds Creek to some outstanding runs on the western faces of the Main Range (Photo 27 shows part of Twynam West Spur in the late afternoon), whilst having negligible environmental impact. Wombats graze in the spring on grass in Illawong's wind scour (Photos 28 and 29). In Photo 29 a very young wombat looks out from its mother's pouch at the Illawong grass.
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