Mt Hotham Historical Hut – Joyce Brockhoff Memorial Cabin / Hut.
This hut was erected for the Australian Women’s Ski Club (AWSC) between Mt Loch and Mount Hotham in memory of Joyce Brockhoff, who was a leading Victorian skier and also a member of the well known family of biscuit manufacturers. Brockhoff had joined the Ski Club of Victoria in 1929 and was a foundation member of the Australian Women’s Ski Club (AWSC). She was a leading Australian skier during the 1930s, winning the Victoria Downhill and Slalom championships on several occasions.
Following Brockhoff’s death in May 1947, a permissive occupancy licence was granted by the Lands Department (CA 1/C Hotham parish) which allowed the construction of a day shelter between the Orchard and Mary’s Slide (reputedly Brockhoff’s favourite skiing area).
The hut was designed by noted Geelong architects Buchan Laird & Buchan, who at that stage were undergoing a rebirth experimenting with Modernism. The hut was one of the first to be built in the Mount Hotham area and was constructed from locally quarried stone, using Bright masons. Cartage of the materials was carried out by the legendary Eric Johnson Gravbot (qv) and his horse team, and included large plate glass windows. Work commenced on the hut in the summer of 1947-48 and it was opened in April 1949.
It is managed by a large body of trustees, comprising lodges and clubs at Hotham. Although the hut continues to be used by the Australian Women’s Ski Club, general maintenance was carried out by the University Ski Club in a partial capacity from 1966 and fully from 1978, using club and outside funding. The Alpine Resorts Commission (ARC) took over the `ownership’ of the hut in 1987 after an approach from the Minister of Lands in 1974.
The Mt Hotham Resort Act was proclaimed in 1972 which set out new licensing conditions and report requirements. This led to major repairs in 1973-4, with $200 provided by the Mt Hotham Alpine Resort Committee of Management in 1974. The AWSC sought helpers for work on the hut, noting that a new ski tow at Mt Loch had made the building more popular. The Shire of Bright carried out the roof replacement in 1974 for $827.30. The Balwyn builder, KP Hancock had recommended similar works in 1973 perhaps in an honorary capacity. The work also included relaying of part of the chimney stonework, staining of the external and internal timber lining plus window frames, full gloss enamel to furniture items.
The structure and surrounds were renovated and extended in 1997 to a design by architects Fooks Martin Sandow, after having been apparently declared dangerous in the 1990s as a result of deterioration. This used $3400 funding for the new roof from the Mount Hotham clubs and $50,000 towards the added timber deck by the Hotham Tow Co. to make it into a Visitor Centre for all at Mount Hotham.
History written by Graeme Butler.
Top Image taken at a 2017 Hotham Ski Patrol BBQ.
Image taken by John Reddie (Ex President) Arrabri Ski Club.
Ski Parol BBQ at Brockhoff Hut organised by Arrabri Ski Club members David Wilson and Malcolm Styles.
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