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Where was this ~1930's ski photo taken?

Discussion in 'Snow Talk' started by Dropbear, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    Hi all,

    Does anybody recognise this chalet building, please? We'd love to hear where this was?

    The photo is of my Grandmother, and we think it's from the late 1930's.

    Any other observations (like ski equipment) are also welcome :)

    Thanks!

     
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  2. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons Que Sera, Sera Ski Pass: Gold

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    At a guess....Mt.Buffalo?
     
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  3. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah, looks not unlike the Mt Buffalo Chalet.
     
  4. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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  5. person s

    person s Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    today I discovered a glass cabinet inside the Perisher skitube terminal, belonging to the Perisher historical society
    among various artefacts it had a movie running on a loop with some great scenes from very olden days
    I love historical photography, so it made my day
     
  6. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep, it looks like Buf Chalet. They jacked it up and whacked the extra story onto the main section at the front in the late 1930s. But there were almost a dozen extensions, new wings and out buildings added from 1911 to about 1980, so it's very hard to date anything other than the front facade.

    Of course, the whole thing with over 100 guest bedrooms, staff quarters, kitchens, ballrooms, etc. was abandoned in January 2007 and it has been slowly rotting ever since. I suspect the state government who own it are hoping for "demolition by neglect" whereby the run down and neglected old building will be vulnerable to being blown over in a storm or the whole thing might go up if it's near a minor grassfire. :(
     
  7. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    Thanks Billy, Teck, Person and Bogong. Buffalo was my first guess too, given the appearance of the building. But I wanted to others here to guess first, to test this idea out :)

    However, it surprised us a little, as she was from Sydney, so it isn't the closest hill... But I understand it was a significant mountain tourism destination, so that certainly fits.

    The building in the ~1930's photo does look a bit less substantial than Buffalo Chalet's full front elevation though. Maybe they're skiing a slope around the side or back of the building?
     
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  8. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    That's terrible - I didn't realise it wasn't being used or cared for. We visited in summer on one of those big bushfire years - 2003 I think - and it didn't seem neglected then...
     
  9. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons Que Sera, Sera Ski Pass: Gold

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    Was there in January 1991 and it looked okayish back then.
     
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  10. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Well I was careful to avoid saying it was definitely Buffalo. There were only about a dozen large buildings at ski resorts in Australia before World War Two. Most were stone with wood and fibro extensions. Off the top of my head they were:
    • Kosci Hotel / chalet / thingy located next to what is now Sponars. Burnt circa 1950
    • Charlotte Pass Mark 1 (burnt circa 1938)
    • Charlotte Pass Mark 2 (still standing)
    • Kiandra Courthouse and nearby structures.
    • Buller Chalet grew to be pretty huge before it burnt in 1942, it accommodated about 90
    • Buffalo Chalet
    • Hotham Heights. Stone building with lots of wooden double story extensions, burnt 1939
    • Rundells Hotel (Flour bag Plain, near Dinner Plain, burnt 1928)
    • Feathertop Bungalow (burnt 1939)
    • St Bernard Hospice. Several ramshackle buildings, mostly corrugated iron. Burnt 1939
    • A few ski lodges at Donna Buang, at least one was double storied.
    • Carr Villa on Ben Lomond
    • Waldheim at Cradle Mountain
    The key to identifying the location would be the distinctive first floor corner balcony. I can't place it, but I reckon it's more likely to be Buffalo than anywhere else. But I'm not that flash on the old Kosci Hotel or the original building at Charlotte Pass, so it could be one of them.
     
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  11. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’m not so sure about it being the Buff. The building geometry is not right.
     
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  12. Mr. Mook

    Mr. Mook One of Us

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    Sorry to be the dissenter but I think you will find it is actually the Kosciuszko Hotel at Diggers Creek in NSW.
    The picture is taken on the north side of the buildings at the bottom of the Kerry Course.
    Here are a couple of photos for reference taken from a bit further away.
    You can see the second storey verandah, chimney, fence and the pump in the background are the same as those in dropbear's pic.
     
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  13. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    The key maybe to narrow the choices the petrol pump in the picture.
     
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  14. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    For the win.
     
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  15. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Bingo, the distinctive balcony appears in the original photo and Mooks photo. There can be no doubt it was the Kosci Hotel
     
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  16. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    Yes, the corner balcony, and perhaps also the stone chimney's position relative to the gable roof - that sort of thing might be likely to change substantially even when substantial renovations occur.

    Thanks Bogong for the big list, I'll have a search of photos of these places.
     
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  17. The Bluff

    The Bluff One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    What a magnificent structure,..given the times and location..
     
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  18. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    That's brilliant, thanks Mr Mook! :D

    I thought that it might not be the Hotel Kosciuszko, because I couldn't see any substantial ground storey and archway entrance...

    However, to clarify, are you suggesting that the photo in question is of the *north* side of the Hotel Kosciuszko complex, as distinct from the main front elevation of the building to the east?
     
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  19. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    That's a petrol pump, is it? I thought it might be a lantern, but I really don't know...
     
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  20. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    You can see the distinctive ski run (it may have been named Kerry Course?), in both of Mooks photos, so your grandmother would be on the right hand edge of the big building
     
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  21. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    Yeah well looking at the old photo in isolation, the building with the distinctive balcony appears to be the major one, and the wing immediately behind my Nan looks to be secondary. However, in the context of the Hotel Kosciuszko complex, the reality to be the opposite to this!

    Since the 60's, my family has had a strong ongoing connection with Perisher. However, until we saw this photo recently, we didn't realise that Nan went skiing well before this. We'll have to print out these old photos and go back to the HK site and have another look next time we're up there!
     
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  22. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons Que Sera, Sera Ski Pass: Gold

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    The Kiandra Court House burnt down this past summer too.
     
  23. Onlybackscratchers

    Onlybackscratchers One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    From a Thread @SAL started a few years ago.
     
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  24. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer Moderator

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    Yep, the little details all add up. Downpipes, position of windows etc.
     
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  25. The Bluff

    The Bluff One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Bogong has anyone done a history of early skiing (etc) in Australia
    ..I know that a few local historys( eg. skiing the high plains) have been published
     
  26. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    There is a really excellent book by Wendy Cross (former editor of ski magazines and the Aust Ski Yearbook) called Australian skiing: the first 100 years, which not surprisingly covers the period 1862 - 1962. It reads well, is well illustrated, goes into just the right level of detail to be interesting. It's a great book and hard to fault.

    [​IMG]
     
  27. The Bluff

    The Bluff One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    thanks ..will locate and purchase :)
     
  28. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons Que Sera, Sera Ski Pass: Gold

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  29. Astro66

    Astro66 Still looking for a park in Thredbo

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    Found a nice his-res photo. I marked the spot where your grandmother was standing in reference to the hotel.

     
  30. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    Thanks for the photos Backscratcher and Astro.

    I found a whole bunch of photos on the NSW State Archives and Records website, including some we've seen already in this thread. Here are some I haven't seen before:


    This last one shows several of the cleared ski runs.
     
  31. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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  32. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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  33. Astro66

    Astro66 Still looking for a park in Thredbo

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    I've driven past sponars so many times. I had no idea, there used to be such a grand hotel there so long ago.

    Thanks for the history lesson. :thumbs:
     
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  34. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    I believe that Sponars was the staff quarters for the original hotel. After the hotel burnt down, Sponars was then converted into a hotel itself. But where do the staff live now??? :p

    Also, Rainbow Lake was apparently the water supply for the hotel, and that's still there, a bit further up the valley. It's well worth a visit, especially on a hot summer day!
     
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  35. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep, Sponars was the staff dormitory for the hotel. After the fire the rest of the complex was demolished but the walls of the staff dorm were solid and it survived for many years as a derelict shell. When Tony Sponar had a falling out with the rest of the syndicate that got Thredbo started, he renovated the building and ran it as his own hotel for many decades.
    Thanks for the link to the Hotel Kosciusko book. I just ordered a copy. It's pricey, but probably worth it.
     
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  36. buckwheat

    buckwheat One of Us

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    Interesting to hear people call that cleared run "the Kerry Course". My Dad always called it "the Grand Slam". Does anyone have any info on this?
    Also of interest in green season is the cross of wildflowers planted on the south side of the road.
     
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  37. robbo mcs

    robbo mcs One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    The water supply to sponars still comes from rainbow lake. That is why they keep the fountain running, supposedly to stop the pipes freezing up
     
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  38. aazz

    aazz One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I picked this book up at Perisher a few years ago, it has a pretty good chapter on the history of Sponars.

     
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  39. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Umm... that was me, I was deliberately vague, because I wasn't all that confident about the name. I'm reasonably good on most things to do with Australian ski history, but the Hotel Kosciusko is probably the one area I'm not up to scratch with. I wrote that it might have been the Kerry Course because that was the ski run that popped into my mind, but now you mention it, I recall that Grand Slam was another popular ski run around there.

    In my defense, I spent nearly 5 years researching and writing a history of the former Donna Buang ski resort and I only ever discovered two names for one ski run, while the names of the other five runs are still a mystery to me. People record lots of info, but the names of ski runs are one of the things they usually don't bother with.
     
  40. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    There are 2 slightly obvious old runs around Sponars. One is the run in the photos. The other is around the corner and up the road a bit. It has become steadily less obvious over the years and I suspect that it is now only obvious if you know exactly where to look - not at all obvious. What they were called I do not know.
     
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  41. aazz

    aazz One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is from page 151 of the book in post 38. The chapter on Sponars Inn. In regards to the name of the run.

     
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  42. Hanz Onyawaif

    Hanz Onyawaif Hard Yards Ski Pass: Silver

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    Here is a film from the 1930's that I think you will like.
     
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  43. Hanz Onyawaif

    Hanz Onyawaif Hard Yards Ski Pass: Silver

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    I think this is the Poma lift described in the 1st paragraph.
     
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  44. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    There was probably an earlier rope tow at the Hotel Kosci in the late 1940's. If any NSW ski history people can confirm or refute the hearsay about it, I would be very grateful.

    In 1960 the first two Poma-lifts were installed in Australia following an Australian agent being appointed. One was installed by Tony Sponar on the Kerry Course, while the other was nearby at Smiggin Holes. Strangely Pomas were never that popular in NSW, but Victorian resorts had a real passion for them including, four running parallel to each other at Buller. One of them ran at 6.5 metres a second which is possibly the fastest ever surface lift in the world.

    The company began when Jean Pomagalski started building and designing ski lifts in 1935. He established Pomagalski as a French based company in 1947 and began to market the Poma lift, a platter with a spring loaded pole and a detachable grip attached to an elevated tow rope. The most successful refinement of the design appeared in the early 1960s.

    [​IMG] Australian Ski Yearbook 1960.
     
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  45. buckwheat

    buckwheat One of Us

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    Wow, great info. So sounds like the Kerry Course was just up the road, possibly making the cleared run on the north side the grand slam.
    I think there was also an early poma at nth p that preceded front valley?
     
  46. Mr. Mook

    Mr. Mook One of Us

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    Yes, when you check the maps, the hotel complex is built at the bottom of the east side of the hill.
    The road goes past the south side of the buildings, the main entrance faces the lake to the east and the ski run finishes on the north side of the buildings.

    My bad re the run name. When I referred to the Kerry Course I was wrong. I should have said Grand Slam. I did know that's what the main run past the hotel was called. Just had a brain freeze.

    For comparison here is a photo of the Kerry course from 1924 and a screen grab from google maps showing where the run started & finished.
    As mentioned it is further up the kosi road from the hotel entrance towards Charlotte Pass. You can still make out the break in the trees - especially when driving downhill.
     
  47. BillyKidd

    BillyKidd One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    This thread alone is why this site is so valuable. What a great historical investigation. Love it.
     
  48. Dropbear

    Dropbear Hard Yards

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    Yes, I think so. It's covered in one of those ski history books, with a great photo of the old lift on the north P slope - but I don't have this at hand... perhaps someone else has it and can take a photo of it? From recollection, the North P was a nutcracker tow built by Johnny Abbottsmith, with an alignment that was perhaps a little more directly up the fall line than the current t-bar (which runs left / south of the fall line to some extent).

    I also understand that in the early days of the Perisher-Smiggins resort (before Guthega was integrated, and before Blue Cow and the Interceptor lift was built), that there was a rope tow built along the flats of Perisher Creek, linking the base of North P (t-bar?) with the base of Telemark T. Bogong might have further info on these lifts perhaps?
     
  49. Bogong

    Bogong Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I wish... I really, really wish.

    Early Perisher lifts are a jumble of confusing and sometimes conflicting information. I'm rather pleased with most of my list of all 500~ish Australian ski lifts and its accuracy... except for Perisher (and a bit on Buffalo) as I can't claim the entries for early Perisher are 100% accurate. I've met Peter Southwell-Keely at ski history meetings a couple of times, but he didn't feel he could help much in sorting it out, as while he literally wrote the book on Perisher history, lifts weren't his strongest area.

    So I'm not really the person to talk to about Perisher lifts before the mid 1960s.
     
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  50. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer Moderator

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    You have me wondering. I have very vague memories of something like that. It would have been finished by the late 70's if it really existed, but I may well be remembering a different rope tow. Certainly there was a winter cat track along there before the new road went in.