At a chance meeting on the steps of the New South Wales Public Library, whilst enjoying a break from their late night studies but still reeling from the expense of a ski holiday at Thredbo organized by the Second Rover Crew in the winter of 1960, the idea of a ski club with it’s own lodge was born.
Maurice Buckley, Paul Edwards and Robert Miller, members of the Second Gordon Rover Crew, decided that if skiing was to be affordable they should form a club and build their own ski lodge.
Several trips were made to the Perisher Valley and Smiggin Holes by these three – always calling to see the Park Ranger, Jim Govern and the Park Superintendent, Neville Gare – to obtain a site and ascertain the Trust’s requirements for development. Several available sites were inspected and one, alas already allocated, especially caught their imagination. After some smooth talking and creating the impression or enthusiasm the favoured site was recalled and made available. That was, of course, the present site of Ku-ring-gai Alpine Lodge, without doubt, one of the best anywhere in the snowfields.
Plans were hurriedly prepared, an estimate of cost obtained, arrangements for a loan negotiated and a prospectus drawn up and printed in record time.
Ku-ring-gai Alpine Lodge Co-operative Limited was incorporated on 22nd June 1961 and then the hard sell began. The aim was to find 80 members, each to put up $160, to provide the cost and at the same time to meld together a band of volunteers to actually build the lodge. After months of haranguing friends and friends-of-friends the eighty members (substantially students) were found and committed themselves to this huge personal expenditure.
The name “Ku-ring-gai” was chosen, first because it indicated the source of the bulk of the membership and secondly because it recognized the beginning within the Second Gordon Rover Crew which was, at that time, in the Ku-ring-gai Scouting District.
The plans which had been prepared by several of our members were put into final ‘shape’ by a young member architect, Jeff Jonas, who also prepared the specifications for construction and called tenders for the foundations, frame work, roof and external cladding. It was decided that the members themselves would do the rest.
Work commenced just prior to Christmas, 1961, with a work party camped on the site to dig the septic and drainage trenches. The builders soon followed and then began the long task of the members finishing the building and furnishings between their studies and exams. Strangely, until many years later, the club did not have a single tradesman amongst its members.
The official opening of the Lodge by the Park Superintendent, Neville C. Gare, took place on the Queen’s Birthday weekend, 1962, with the hut just weatherproofed but housing some 80 people.
Over the more than 50 years of the Club’s existence there has been a transition of the membership from mostly single students to engaged and later married young couples, then young parents to the present, where we are now not-so-young parents watching our children grow up and showing us how to ski.
The original dream of good accommodation and skiing at an affordable price has been realised.