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recreation and tourism

Mt Buffalo. In 1887, the Bright Alpine Club was formed to help develop tourist facilities. A few years later the club published the first tourist guidebook to the area.

In 1894, the Melbourne Amateur Walking and Touring Club was formed, and a little later the Mountain Trails Club in Sydney. These early walking clubs were for men only, dedicated to character-building through a life of strenuous outdoor activity and comradeship. The beauty, splendour and solitude of the Australian Alps attracted a steadily increasing group of ramblers who became the region’s first bushwalkers. The pioneer long-distance tourer of 100 years ago was very different from today’s well- equipped bushwalker.

Some ski trips have ended in tragedy, such as that of four skiers who, in 1936 attempted to ski from Mt Hotham to Mt Bogong. Bad weather hampered their going and Cleeve Cole perished on Mt Bogong. A memorial hut was built which is still used today by skiers and bushwalkers.

Bushwalking in the old days The tourer of those days carried potatoes, onions, flou , corned beef in a roll, mutton, bacon, tea, oatmeal, sugar and the like. Having no rucksack, all the gear was carried in a bundle (swag)... required items were arranged within a blanket, or bedroll, which after being folded was usually wrapped in a canvas sheet. Rope or leather straps lashed the whole load together... Apart from serving as a general cover for the swag, the canvas sheet doubled as a shelter from precipitation, and was also handy as a ground sheet... It was also a widespread practice to pack newspapers in layers next to the body under the shirt, to keep the

wearer warm.

Source: Graeme Wheeler in The Scroggin Eaters, 1991, p. 21–22.

In the 1920s, there was an explosion of activity in the two main forms of recreation in the Alps, skiing and walking. Skiing became an organised sport in NSW, Victoria and the ACT. The Ski Club of Victoria, the Ski Club of Australia, the Millions Ski Club and the Canberra Al- pine Club were formed. Previously established walking clubs flourished and large numbers of people visited the Alps to explore the mountains on foot.

Kiandra skiing, 1870.


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