Run the video below to see Noel Arnold's entertaining movie of the history of the Port Kembla Ski Club starting with the formation of the Lysaght Alpine Club, its acquisition of the Port Kembla Ski Club at Dainers Gap, and culminating in the construction of the new lodge Illabunda at Perisher Valley.
Video produced by Noel Arnold, and coverted to digital version by Deb McCulloch.
Image Credit: Mike Salon
Ron Fitzgerald History
Port Kembla Ski Club was formed by a number of ex AIF soldiers, members of the Port Kembla RSL Club, who had experienced snow and skiing in Lebanon and Syria during the Second World War in 1941. They first went skiing in the Snowy Mountains in 1955.
In 1956 the Port Kembla RSL Club negotiated with the NSW State Government to purchase an ex Snowy Mountains Authority Norwegian contractors hut, at Island Bend, and relocate it to Wilson?s Valley as their accommodation. The Snowy Mountains was not then a national park, and special government permission had to be granted. The site was on the western side of Kosciusko road, between Ski Rider Hotel and Dainer?s Gap. The building was disassembled and rebuilt, commencing in 1956 and completed in 1957.
In 1966 a group of employees of John Lysaght Australia Pty Ltd at Port Kembla, who had been encouraged by some German workmates to go skiing in the Snowy Mountains, formed the Lysaght Alpine Club. They had no accommodation of their own and often stayed at the Port Kembla RSL Club, as well as other lodges.
In the late 1960?s the Port Kembla RSL Ski Club members were not using the lodge as they had in their younger days and so offered to sell the lodge to Lysaght Alpine Club. Lysaght Alpine Club purchased the Port Kembla Ski Club in 1970 and the directorships were transferred to Lysaght Alpine Club members.
In the early 1980?s the Ski Resorts of Perisher Valley / Smiggin Holes were sewered, but it was impractical to reach some lodge sites with sewerage. Port Kembla Ski Club?s lodge was one of these sites, and so was offered a choice of sites in Perisher Valley. The site was selected and the club was reconstituted to raise the finance to build the lodge. The structure is: 100 members who are debenture holders in the Port Kembla Ski Club.
And so ?Illabunda Ski Lodge? was constructed. The word ?Illabunda? means ?place of many swallows?. Work was commenced in the summer of 1984-1985 and completed for the 1986 Ski season.