History of Arrabri Ski Club
Along time ago there was a group of very conscientious students studying for their Engineering Degree/Diploma at Caulfield Institute of Technology. One September holiday break, it was suggested that we all arrange to spend a week at Falls Creek. This was organised by one of the students who was a member of Chalky Ski Club.
Most of the students had not ever seen snow before, more or less skied. As you could have guessed, this was a mistake, we got hooked. Near the end of our course it was considered necessary that we should have our own place to stay. With the core group of almost engineers, some new friends met at Chalky, and others from different courses at Caulfield the concept of a new lodge was formed.
Initial meetings were held, and things got off the ground, we officially inaugurated the club in June 1974. Lodge plans had been prepared by the Architect but were later revised by committee to be more space efficient. The initial membership fee of $30.00 was then increased to $650.00 in September to give us our working capital.
The Constitution was proposed in November but was subject to legal scrutiny for some time. By mid 1975 plans and specifications were well under way based on the Mt. Hotham Reserve Committee of Management Building Rules. At this stage my memory falters somewhat, but we pursued the option of club sites at Mt. Hotham, Buller and Falls Creek through into 1976. I think that our preference was for Falls Creek because that is where most of us learnt to ski. Others coming into the club had skied Mt. Buller, Mt. Hotham was less known to us but did have sites available and hence quickly became the least complicated option.
We had all graduated at this stage and were involved with new friends and business contacts. These contacts became familiar with our plans and in many cases pricked their interest. This is the time when The Engineering dominance in the club began to reduce, (not disappear).
At a meeting in September 1976 it was agreed to increase the club’s membership from 39 to 43. The submission for building approval was made to Mt. Hotham around the Christmas of 1975. Final approval to commence construction was given on the 3rd November 1976. We were short of funds by around $14,000 and a co-op was formed by the membership to enable a loan to be established. Unfortunately this did not materialise and in January 1977, a levy of $250.00 was imposed, this blew out to $450.00 a few months later.
Work parties started almost immediately after approval was given, and the lodge was officially opened on the Queens Birthday Weekend in June 1977. (Well at least we stayed in the lodge and had a party, the next morning we were back into it to finish it off).
In July 1977, the Certificate of Occupancy was issued. Today we enjoy a membership of 43, and still have many of the original member and their families skiing every year.
Researched by Wayne Jefford, photos supplied by Mal Styles and Wayne Jefford, both men are original members.
Looking for more history on Mt Hotham? Click here to read more about the general Mt Hotham area.
Learn more about one of Hotham’s oldest Alpine Huts, Joyce Brockhoff Hut.