ACT Heritage Library Manuscript Collection

HMSS 0339 Canberra Alpine Club Documents

Scope and Content Notes

Call Number

HMSS 0339


Canberra Alpine Club Documents

Date Range

ca. 1930-2005


0.03m (1 wallet)

Access Conditions


Copying conditions

with attribution

Related Collections

HMSS 0238 Wrap Up Canberra Records
HMSS 0291 Our Community Remembers Saturday January 18 2003
HMSS 0314 Mt Stromlo Observatory, the aftermath
HMSS 0317 Newell-Sutherland Mount Stromlo photographs
HMSS 0332 Keira Bulbs Photographs
HMSS 0340 Patricia Frei photograph collection
HMSS 0343 ACT Bushfire Support Unit Photographs and electronic documentation 
HMSS 0358 Sarah Sowry 2003 Bushfires Diary
HMSS 0462 Bibaringa Homestead Photographs - Before and After the 2003 Bushfire

This collection is comprised of some club records including aspects of club history, correspondence, management strategy, conservation plans, signage floor plans of Mt Franklin Chalet, newsletters, newscuttings and questionnairesAugust 1987-January 2005, and one DVD of scanned photographs held by the Canberra Alpine Club divided into two albums:

  • The Franklin Collection: 136 images described; 130 images provided.  72dpi colour scans, uncompressed .tif format files
    a list of captions (reproduced below)
  • The Mount Franklin Skifield - As it Was:  45 images. 72dpi colour scans, uncompressed .tif format files
    a list of captions (reproduced below)

The creation and scanning of both albums was supported by ACT Heritage Grants and include photographic documentation of the devastation of the chalet and it surrounds by the 2003 bushfire.

The Franklin Collection

This album, The Franklin Collection, illustrates and records activities at and around the Mount Franklin Ski-field in the Brindabella Range, southwest of Canberra. The original album was compiled in 1996-97 by Matthew Higgins on behalf of the Canberra Alpine Club, with funding through the ACT Heritage Grants program. The album was destroyed on 18 January 2003 by the wildfires that burnt most of Namadgi National Park. This replacement also was funded by an ACT Heritage Grant. The prints were made from the original negatives; photographs of later events have been added.

This album is complemented by another, The Mount Franklin Skifield-As it Was, which records details of the structures destroyed by the fire, and the aftermath of the fire. It too was funded by an ACT Heritage Grant.

The Canberra Alpine Club was formed in 1934. It built the Chalet at Mount Franklin in 1938 at a time when very few ski clubs had their own accommodation. Members cleared several ski runs on the mountain , mostly by hand, before and soon after World War II. A small day shelter, the Slalom Hut, was built beside the main run in 1958. The Chalet and Slalom Hut were destroyed by the January 2003 fires.

The Mount Franklin Chalet was the oldest club-built ski lodge on the Australian mainland. The precinct was the northernmost site of organised skiing in Australia, and was listed on the Register of the National Estate, the ACT Heritage Register and by the National Trust. The Canberra Alpine Club's focus on Mount Franklin waned after it built a lodge in Perisher Valley in 1961. However it continued to maintain and use the site until its tenancy ceased when Namadgi National Park was declared in 1984.

Following formal agreements with ACT Parks and Conservation Service, the Canberra Alpine Club organised regular work parties to help maintain the Chalet and other parts of the precinct. It also hosted regular public open days to enable the public to inspect the interior of the Chalet and the collection of old skiing equipment donated mostly by club members. The club was able to use the Chalet for social events for members.

The story of activities at Mount Franklin is one of persistence, ingenuity, hard work and co-operation between community and government to create and retain a place for recreation. This album helps illustrate and record that story. It is a story of skiing with leather boots, wooden skis and cane stocks, few or no tows, and access difficulties, and the enthusiasm that made skiing at Mount Franklin possible.

This album helps illustrate and record that story.

The Franklin Collection Album
Image Number Photo Caption


Camp pitched on Mt Franklin during the search for a lodge site in the mid 1930s. Bitter weather conditions were endured during these expeditions. (Tim Ingram photo)


CAC members on the Chalet site in 1937, left to right: Club President Charles E.Lane-Poole, Charlotte ‘Charles’ Lane-Poole, Jocelyn Balmain, - Niven, Evelyn Rittinger, Helen Dunnicliff, George Henshelwood, - . (Tim Ingram photo)


Opening of the Mt Franklin Chalet, 2 July 1938. Canberra Alpine Club President C.E.Lane-Poole stands at right. (Robert Parker photo)


Snow Swift and Doug Hyles at the Chalet on the morning of the building’s opening ceremony, 2 July 1938. (Doug and Alison Hyles photo)


Mt Franklin Chalet in 1938. (Cumpston family photo)


Mt Franklin Chalet in the late 1930s. Some wonderful motorcars were used by skiers of the time. (Doug and Alison Hyles photo)


Mt Franklin Chalet with early motorcars, undated. Note the Chalet’s stable door, designed to enable at least the upper half to be opened when heavy snow prevented the lower half from being used. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


A crowded day at the Chalet in the late 1940s or early 1950s. The two women skiing are Vera Cling (left) and Helen Cameron. (Ida Ginn photo)


A group of Mt Franklin skiers also built a hut at Mt Ginini. The group called itself the Ginini Hut Club and included Gus Angus, John Murray, David Thomas, Jim Gillan and others. The photo shows Gus Angus and Bob Sluce at the Ginini hut in June 1950. Note the motorbike. Mt Gingera is lost in cloud at rear. (Dave Cook photo)


CAC skiers at Stockyard Creek Hut (probably late 1930s or 1940s). Franklin skiers sometimes camped here while ski touring on the Brindabella Range. (National Library of Australia)
*note: not on CD version – National Library of Australia copyright


Bill Ginn’s Hut in August 1955. This small hut stood behind the Chalet and was built by Bob Reid, early Chalet cook, in the late 1930s. It was variously used as a meeting and ‘carousing’ room by members, and also as a woodshed. In 1957, by which time it had no door, the hut accommodated the overflow of guests during the Balmain Cup weekend. (Michael Barnett photo)


As early morning shadows slowly creep back from the Chalet, a group of skiers prepares for a day on the snow. Late 1930s. (Doug and Alison Hyles photo)


The Chalet in the late 1930s. See if you can spot the motorbike hidden behind the kitchen entrance. Note the lack of a woodshed. (Doug and Alison Hyles photo)


Skiers heading up the Wood Run, 1955. There were then no lifts at Franklin and they were relatively rare elsewhere. Although ski lifts have proliferated on Australian slopes since the end of the 1950s, during earlier decades most skiers had to get back up the slopes by their own effort. (Michael Barnett photo)


Helen Dunnicliff and two friends at Mt Franklin in the late 1930s. The photo gives a good idea of women’s ski fashions of the period. (Doug and Alison Hyles photo)


Franklin skiers overcome the shortage of snow by collecting their own to make a ski run, 1937. (Tim Ingram photo)


Two of Bill Ginn’s trucks at the Chalet. For a number of years through to the early 1950s Bill Ginn provided the Club’s transport to Franklin – it was an age when private car ownership was less common than today. Bill stands to the right; on the bumper sits Peg Mantle; the three women standing near the truck door are Bev Gemmel (later Osborn), Elizabeth Southern and Vera Cling; above them on the tray stand Helen Cameron and Jack Edwards. (Ida Ginn photo)


Loading Bill Ginn’s truck with firewood for winter at the Chalet, 1950s. Mel Pratt at left in shorts. When not transporting skiers to Franklin, Ginn’s truck came in handy for this sort of task. (Jim and Myra Webb photo)


Mel Pratt, Colin Watson and a third man removing dead timber during ski run clearing, late 1950s. Much of the run-clearing was done by hand, though in the post-Second World War period bulldozers played a significant role – as did the odd stick of gelignite (which might sometimes also find its way into a cracker night celebration at the Chalet!). (Colin Watson photo)


David Barnett cuts firewood at the Chalet, winter 1955. (M.R.Barnett photo)


Building the foundations for the woodshed, 1952. (Jim and Myra Webb photo)


Interior of the Chalet in about 1942 with Tim Ingram, Bill Dunbar and two members of the Dutch air force. The war interrupted skiing throughout Australia, and Mt Franklin Chalet saw little use during the war years. Dutch air force personnel were one user group at the time. Tim Ingram played a leading role in the founding of the CAC and the Chalet.
*note: not on CD version


Singalong at the Chalet. The social life and sense of camaraderie at Franklin was always strong. People in the photo include Ron Giovanelli, Don Olbrychtowicz, Gus Angus, Gordon Smith, Tim Ingram, George Tacheci, Bill Ginn, Peter Spottswood, Noel Pratt, Anne Pratt, Ron Bell, Peg Mantle, John Gdowski, Geoff McClatchey. (Dora Gdowski photo)

F024 copyright

The Chalet living room stove 1940-41. Note the skiers taking advantage of the warm spot to sleep, and the piece of corrugated fibro (an offcut from when the roof was clad in 1938) used as insulation under the stove. (National Library of Australia)
*note: not on CD version – National Library of Australia


A nicely composed photo of a skier (probably John Gdowski) skiing down a slope above a solitary snow gum. (National Archives of Australia, Series no. CRS A1200, item no. L15907)
*note: not on CD version – National Archives of Australia copyright


An attractive late afternoon photo of Don Olbrychtowicz, and Dora and John Gdowski, on the slopes at Franklin, with long shadows spreading over the snow. Late 1940s or early 1950s. (National Archives of Australia, Series no. CRS A1500, item no. K794)
*note: not on CD version – National Archives of Australia copyright


Skiers coming up the Nursery Run, 1955. (Michael Barnett photo)


A News and Information Bureau photo, undated (but probably late 1940s or 1950s), of four skiers at Franklin. Two of the people are John and Dora Gdowski. (National Library of Australia)
*note: not on CD version – National Library of Australia copyright


John Gdowski skis across the Franklin summit in the 1950s. Note the old trig and the cleared trees on the mountaintop. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


Group of skiers near the summit of Mt Franklin, late 1940s or early 1950s. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


John Gdowski and George Tacheci jumping at Mt Franklin, late 1940s or early 1950s. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


Teddy Fisch at the top of Mt Franklin. This image was used to advertise the annual Snow Show in Canberra during the 1960s. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


Don Olbrychtowicz, George Tacheci, - , Mel Pratt, - , and Dora Gdowski on Mt Franklin, 1950s. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


Skiers having lunch on Mt Franklin, 1950s. Left to right: - , Bruce Bray, John Gdowski, Peg Mantle, - . (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


John Gdowski gives a friend a ‘ski lift’ on Mt Franklin, 1950s. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


Airing blankets and painting weatherboards during a Franklin workparty in the 1950s. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


Keith Storey adjusts bindings for son Michael while brother Christopher looks on, 1963. (Keith and Shirley Storey photo)


A junior CAC member with snowmen at Mt Franklin, 1956. Franklin was enjoyed by families and children. (Michael Barnett photo)


A skier riding the Brumby Tow, the rope tow powered by an adapted Harley Davidson motorbike engine. (Keith and Shirley Storey photo)


George Tacheci plays the Chalet’s piano, watched by Gus Angus (right) and Jim Webb. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


The Club’s Brumby Tow operating on the Little Ginini Run, late 1950s. This ski tow was powered by an adapted Harley Davidson motorbike engine. The tow, the first at Franklin, reflected considerable resourcefulness among the Club’s membership. (Frank Cook photo)


Merril Barnett at Franklin in August 1956. Note the bindings and stocks of the period. (Michael Barnett photo)


A not uncommon view for skiers travelling the Mt Franklin Road. (Keith and Shirley Storey photo)


An RMC (Royal Military College, Duntroon) Ski Club truck helping to tow out snowed-in vehicles at Mt Franklin Chalet during the big snow year of 1964. (Shirley Gardner photo)


CAC competitors in the 1957 Balmain Cup at Franklin. L-r: Bruce Bray, John Foweraker, George Haynod, Keith Storey, Bryan Haig. The old toilets are seen in the background; they were positioned over the border in NSW so as to be outside the ACT’s Cotter Valley water catchment! (Keith and Shirley Storey photo)


In 1957 the Club hosted the Southern Districts Ski Federation’s Balmain Cup. It was the second time the Balmain Cup competition had been held at Mt Franklin, the first was in 1949. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


During the 1957 Balmain Cup, 95 competitors, officials and supporters were accommodated in the Chalet and adjacent Bill Ginn’s Hut on the Saturday night of this weekend. Late that evening when the snow was firm the Club prevailed upon participants to assist in pulling the Brumby Tow up to Death Gulch for the running of the Slalom and Giant Slalom on Sunday. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Competition underway during the Balmain Cup races on Franklin in 1957. (Keith and Shirley Storey photo)


Hal Nerdahl jumps during the ACT Championships at Franklin , August 1960. (John and Jenny Wanless photo)


Hal Dalheim jumps during the ACT Championships at Franklin, August 1960. European-born skiers made a great contribution to skiing at Franklin, especially in jumping. (John and Jenny Wanless photo)


Franklin skiers admire the view from the top of the Wood Run, early 1950s. The Chalet is just visible under John Gdowski’s outstretched stock. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


In July 1964 students from the ANU became snowbound at the Chalet. A huge rescue effort was launched, which even included Navy helicopters. A group of CAC skiers made it through to the Chalet and led the students out to waiting vehicles. Here three members of the CAC rescue team pause at Aggie Gap (note the depth of the snow cover, and the old sign, now gone). (John and Jenny Wanless photo)


The scene at Mt Franklin Chalet when the CAC rescuers met the ANU students, July 1964. Leader of the CAC party Alan Bagnall is third from the left. Another of the CAC skiers, George Haynod, is at right. George, a popular club member, died only a few days after the arduous trip. (John and Jenny Wanless photo)


Alan Bagnall (rear) and Bryan Haig during the trip in to rescue the ANU students, July 1964. (John and Jenny Wanless photo)


Eighteen-month-old Tony Powell tries out ‘short’ skis at Franklin, 1963. (Les Powell photo)


Barbara Tanner (now Bagnall) on the summit of Mt Franklin after a blizzard in 1955. Note the quality of the snow cover. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


The snow cover for the 1956 Club Championships was excellent. This photo is of Death Gulch at the top of the Wood run. The race track linking Death Gulch to the Slalom Run was not cut until the summer of 1956-57. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Jim and John Parker and a third skier resting at the top of the Morning Run, Brumby Cup, 1956. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Brumby Cup held on the Morning Run (also called by some the De Mornay Run), Mt Franklin on 4-5 August 1956 in great weather. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Dora Gdowski and Don Olbrychtowicz skiing at Franklin, late 1940s or early 1950s. European-born skiers helped to improve the locals’ skiing ability and added to Franklin’s social life. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


Brumby Cup race meeting, 4-5 August 1956. Note all the timber skis. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Heavy snowfalls in July 1956 blocked the Mt Franklin Road at Bulls Head. Skiers sometimes had to ski long distances to the Chalet when snow closed the road. Bruce Bray’s car is in the foreground. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Club accommodation at Bulls Head in 1956. Because the road was blocked by snow here the Club rented one of the vacant houses in the forestry settlement from the Department of Interior for 10/- per week. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


One of the Parker brothers’ two utilities used for Club transport to Franklin in the 1950s. These vehicles were engaged for the weekend/Sunday trips after Bill Ginn’s truck had become unavailable. The Parker brothers were selected after the Club advertised for Mt Franklin transport in the Canberra Times. Photograph taken at Bulls Head, July 1956. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


The Canberra Charter Services ‘bus’ at Mt Franklin, late 1950s. (Colin Watson photo)


A skier races down the Club’s slalom course on the Little Ginini Run, late 1950s. (Colin Watson photo)


Stan Goodhew skiing the lower section of the Wood Run, early 1960s. (Jim and Myra Webb photo)


Tim Ingram (left), George Haynod (coming up the slope at left) and other skiers on the Little Ginini Run, during slalom races in the late 1950s. The road to Mt Ginini can be seen crossing the run. On the horizon is snow-covered Mt Jagungal (or Jagunal) in the Snowy Mountains. (Colin Watson photo)


Skiers on the upper slopes at Franklin in 1953. (Keith and Shirley Storey photo)


The Brumby Tow operating on the Nursery Run for the 1966 Brumby Cup. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Club lunch at the Chalet, 21 May 1972. (Ian McLeod photo)


Club members skiing on the Nursery Run prior to the running of the 1966 Brumby Cup. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Mt Franklin Chalet in the early 1960s after a snowfall. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Bruce Bray and Karl Erett installing the Austin A40 to power a ski tow at the top of the Slalom Run in 1965. In the background is the small tow hut. (Shirley Gardner photo)


Exceptionally heavy snow fell in 1956. This scene is on the road between Franklin and Ginini near the Club’s Little Ginini Run. The sign (now gone) pointing to Mts Kosciusko and Jagunal, can be seen just right of centre. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Installing the Austin A40 car at the top of the Slalom Run, June 1965. The vehicle powered a rope tow for skiers. Bruce Bray, Karl Erett (obscured) and Warwick Gardner; Josephine Gardner at left. (Shirley Gardner photo)


Dora and John Gdowski on Mt Franklin after a recent snowfall, 1950s. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


During the 1950s the Department of Works would clear the road to Mt Franklin at the Club’s request. These requests were normally made for Club race meets. On this occasion it was for the Club Championships on 1-2 September 1956. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Corinne Collins and Bill Allen ski in to Franklin, 1960. When there was too much snow on the Mt Franklin Road for vehicles to be driven to the Chalet, skiers had to ski sometimes considerable distances just in order to reach Franklin. Although Franklin was essentially a downhill ski area, devotees needed to be prepared for some ski touring as well. (Corinne and Murray Collins photo)


Clearing a fallen tree from the road with an axe, November 1965. Fallen timber was one of a number of hazards on the narrow, muddy, winding, snow-prone Mt Franklin Road. (Ian McLeod photo)


Repainting the Chalet’s upper levels in the 1960s was assisted by ropes tied to the bunk posts and fed from one window to the next. Up until the late 1950s the only ladders available were made from mountain ash saplings gathered from near Piccadilly Circus. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Repainting the Chalet during a workparty in 1962. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


From the late 1950s the fire escape/wind generator access ladder made painting the north-western wall easier. Prior to this ladder the only fire escape facility was a knotted rope thrown out of the bunkroom window. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Stan Goodhew working on the wind generator which he installed in 1957. The Chalet never has been connected to mains electricity. (Alan and Barbara Bagnall photo)


Mt Franklin skiers also toured along the Brindabella Range. Pryors Hut near Mt Gingera was a favourite destination, as seen in this August 1964 photo. Alan Bagnall, standing in the foreground, led this and many other expeditions. (Shirley Gardner)


View down the Wood Run, May 1959. Note the piled timber either side of the run, the Chalet at left and the Bogong Peaks on the horizon. The run was then still being used. (Ian McLeod photo)


Mt Franklin skiers also built huts at other points on the Brindabella Range. In 1948 this hut was erected at Stockyard Gap by Peter Spottswood, Geof Hall, Doug Anderson, Dave Morell, John Beaumont and Cliff Kratzing. The photo was taken in May 1971 during a CAC visit to the site. The hut has since collapsed. (Ian McLeod photo)


View of Mt Franklin Chalet in January 1986, showing the paintwork at that time. (Ian McLeod photo)


The Chalet in 1986. Note the CAC badge on the upper front wall, and the stable door which was later removed. (Erica Thompson photo)


Mt Franklin Chalet prior to repainting, 23-24 March 1991. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


Mt Franklin Chalet after repainting, 22 March 1992. (Ian McLeod photo)


Mt Franklin workparty 21 March 1992. People are Brian Morse, John Struik, Stan Goodhew, Bev McLeod, Steve Welch, Jocelyn Fitzhardinge, Ian McLeod, Bert Bennett, Jessie Bennett, Frank Parsons, Michael East, Gerard Hanstede, Carol Hanstede, Ben Tyhouse, Willi Tyhouse. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


Repainting of the Chalet, 21 March 1992. Maintenance of the Chalet was carried out by devoted volunteers from the Canberra Alpine Club, assisted by Namadgi National Park staff. People are John Struik and ranger Steve Welch (left), Frank Parsons, Michael East and Ben Tyhouse. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


Ron Nott, John Atkinson, Bert Bennett and Marjorie Kesterven sitting in the Chalet, 1984. Note the old phone installation and curtains. (Bert and Jess Bennett photo)


CAC members and ACT Parks and Conservation Service staff at the signing of the memorandum of understanding on management of the Chalet, 5 October 1989. Left to right, seated: Dan Gillespie and Lyndall Hatch; standing: Odile Arman, Paul Davies, Bruce Bray, Bill Bray, David Kenyon, Stan Goodhew. By now ownership of the Chalet had passed from the CAC to the Service, following the declaration of Namadgi National Park in 1984. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


Ranger Brett McNamara and CAC members Andrew and Kathy Saw at work rehabilitating the Wombat Walk ski trail into a bushwalking track, 20 February 1993. (Bev McLeod photo)


Remains of the Austin A40 used as a tow motor at the top of the Slalom Run, 22 March 1992. This rusting car body is an integral part of the Franklin precinct, reflecting the ‘do-it-yourself’ period of Australian skiing. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


Sleeping accommodation at the Chalet was in the upstairs bunkrooms. The bunkrooms typify the communal nature of the building – the rooms have never had doors (only curtains) and for many years the walls dividing the rooms were only hessian. (Erica Thompson photo)


The CAC’s attachment to Franklin is seen not only in workparties but in family bushwalks such as this 1994 one to Slalom Hut. (Canberra Alpine Club photo)


This 1988 photo shows the Chalet in the light green colour scheme that dated from the 1970s. The wind generator stand (at the right end of the roof) was removed in 1990. (Bev McLeod photo)


The Chalet was painted a darker green in the 1990s. Brett McNamara is in the cherry-picker, with Ian McLeod at left, February 1998. (Jenny McLeod photo)


CAC members celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the opening of the Chalet, 2 July 1998. From left: Alan Bagnall, Ian McLeod, Emily Frain, Amanda East, Bruce Lowe, Andrew Frain (obscured), Bev McLeod, Dawn Goddard. (Barbara Bagnall photo)


A happy ceremony marked the handover of the original Mt Franklin Photo Album on 27 January 1997. Matthew Higgins (right) presents the completed album to Ian McLeod of the CAC, while Brett McNamara of Namadgi National Park looks on. The album was destroyed in the January 2003 bushfire. Fortunately, negatives were held in safe keeping, enabling the present album to be made. (Bev McLeod photo)


A big crowd gathered at Franklin for the opening of the Interpretation Trail in April 1998. Here CAC President Amanda East is speaking, to her left is Dr Colin Adrian (Executive Director of Environment ACT), and to her right is Namadgi ranger Brett McNamara. (Angie Jenkins photo)


Visitors admiring the collection of skis in the ski room during the Interpretation Trail opening festivities. (Angie Jenkins photo)


The living room, seen from the kitchen door, in 2000. (Kathryn Wingett photo)


The living room, showing historic photos and ski equipment, 1998. (Alan Bagnall photo)


‘Which wax for dry grass?’ Keith Storey, Stan Goodhew and Hal Dalheim at the top of the Nursery Run in January 1997. (Ross Smith photo)


Bev McLeod, Brett McNamara and Andrew Saw re-clearing Wombat Walk in February 1993. (Kathy Saw photo)


A CAC workparty, consisting mainly of junior members, setting off to do some work on Wombat Walk in January 1997. From left: Stephen Peel, Dominic Peel, Emily Frain, Andrew Frain, Amanda East, Zeff Lowe, Doug Boast. (Amanda East photo)


Re-painting almost finished, 1990s. Hinged timber security shutters were installed in the mid 1960s, and were permanently fixed with steel crossbars in early 1991. (Bev McLeod photo)


Destruction. Mt Franklin Chalet following the 18 January 2003 bushfire. (Jenny McLeod photo)


The Chalet’s kitchen stove was one of the few large recognisable elements amid the debris. Also visible are an inner spring mattress and the ladder; in the right background is the twisted tankstand. (Bev McLeod photo)


The stove in happier days. (Helen Fallow photo)


The stove’s interpretative sign, also destroyed in the fire. (Helen Fallow photo)


Not long after the fire, the stove doors were stolen. The large tank and stand were almost unscathed by the fire. (Jenny McLeod photo)


Only the memories remain. The site after clearing and burial of debris, July 2003. A range of artefacts was collected and conserved. (Jenny McLeod photo)


The debris was buried near the top of the Nursery Run; the burial site was protected with logs to prevent vehicle disturbance. (Jenny McLeod photo)


The toilet, seen here in 1998, survived the bushfire, although it sustained some damage. This building replaced an earlier toilet building in 1981. (Jenny McLeod photo)


The fireplace of Bill Ginn’s Hut a month after the bushfire. Fallen leaves from scorched snow gums litter the bare ground. (Ian McLeod photo)


Firebreaks were made in an endeavour to halt the bushfires: this is the view down the Morning Run after the fires. A couple of weeks later the trees had lost all their leaves. (Jenny McLeod photo)


A workparty at Slalom Hut in March 1993. Shirley Gardner, Ian McLeod, and Shirley’s grandson Samuel McKeown. (Bev McLeod photo)


Slalom Hut too was destroyed on 18 January 2003. (Jenny McLeod photo)


The Austin A 40 in 1998 (with idler wheel visible at right), over 30 years after installation. (Jenny McLeod photo)


The Austin A 40, being mostly metal, survived the fire; the only damage was to one of the front wheels. (Jenny McLeod photo)


By April 2003 rains had brought a green tinge to the Slalom Run. (Jenny McLeod photo)


Within a few months, snow gums were sprouting new shoots from their lignotubers. An April 2003 photo near the site of Slalom Hut. (Jenny McLeod photo)


Bushfire-damaged power pole between Piccadilly Circus and Bulls Head, 7 February 2003. (Bev McLeod photo)


This original ACT-NSW Border survey mark at Mt Franklin was destroyed in the bushfire. (Helen Fallow photo)


Mt Franklin Chalet as it shall be remembered. (Ian McLeod photo)

The Mount Franklin Skifield - As it Was

This album records features of the heritage-listed Mount Franklin Skifield Precinct as they were before the precinct was devastated by bushfire on 18 January 2003. Itt also records the devastation of the precinct by the fire.

The Mount Franklin Skifield was developed and maintained by the Canberra Alpine Club. In the years before and soon after World War II members cleared ski runs, mostly by hand, and made their own ski tows. The club's Mount Franklin Chalet was built in 1938, and a day shelter, the Slalom Hut, in 1958. Both were destroyed by the bushfire.

The Chalet was a two-storey wooden building with an asbestos cement roof. A kitchen, living room, drying room, wash-basin recess and shower room were on the ground floor. The upper floor, reached by a steep stairway, had eight bunkrooms with 30 double bunks. A woodshed adjoined the kitchen entrance.

The Slalom Hut was a corrugated iron structure with wooden floor. It was lined with hardboard, with crumpled newspaper between the hardboard and the iron for insulation.

Bill Ginn's Hut was a slab hut with an earth floor. It was demolished in the early 1960s, leaving only the fireplace.

This album was compiled by the Canberra Alpine Club, using available photographs. It is complementary to another album, The Franklin Collection, which depicts Canberra Alpine Club activities at and around Mount Franklin from before World War II. Each album was funded by an ACT Heritage Grant.

Mount Franklin Skifield - As it Was Album
Image Number Photo Caption


The Mount Franklin Chalet partly repainted during a major work party. Ian McLeod photo 1992


The Chalet in winter. The ski room is along the front with the drying room at its left-hand end and the woodshed at the far end. The internal wooden security shutters can be seen in the windows. Bev McLeod photo 11 August 1991.


The Chalet from the southeast before the major repaint. The security shutters had been permanently fixed to the building recently by metal cross-bars. Bev McLeod photo 21 April 1991


The Chalet after it was repainted in the early 1990s. The wooden security shutters were replaced by fixed clear polycarbonate sheets on 1 July 1997. These allowed light into the bottom floor as well as providing security. Ian McLeod photo 15 July 1997


Wooden security shutters hinged to the window frames were installed in the mid 1960s; they were permanently fixed to the building by metal cross-bars soon after this photograph was taken. Ian McLeod photo 23 March 1991


A window on the south side of the Chalet showing the polycarbonate security sheet in a wood frame fixed to the building by steel bars. Ian McLeod photo 15 July 1997


The much-repaired (after vandalism) stable door at the front entrance of the Chalet. It was replaced by a single metal-faced door in the late 1980s. Photo taken 1988 or 1989.


The door to the landing between the woodshed (on the right-hand side) and kitchen. The door was removed in the late 1980s after it had been broken off several times by vandals. Photo taken 1988 or 1989.


The upstairs passage of the Chalet, looking east. Living room heater flue on right, wooden security shutter on window above top of stairs. Photo taken 1988 or 1989


One of the bunkrooms with a hinged wooden security shutter. The bunkroom shutters were modified in July 1997 so they could be completely removed from the window for eg. Public open days. The doorways originally were curtained. Photo taken 1988 or 1989


The west end of the bunkroom passage with the living room heater flue on the left and kitchen flue behind it. The partitions did not extend to either the ceiling or floor so warm air from the flues could circulate. Photo taken 1988 or 1989.


The foot of the stairs to the bunkrooms. The knotted rope as well as handrails assisted users. The boards at the top left are the bottom of the lower cupboard above the stairs. Part of a fixed table is at bottom left. Photo taken 1988 or 1989.


The east end of the living room showing the medicine cabinet donated by Canberra Rotary Club, small first aid kit, hurricane lamp, tilley kerosene pressure lamp, piano and photograph of pianist and audience. Bev McLeod photo 8 May 1998.


The ski room, looking towards the drying room. Entrance with half stable door at extreme left. The security shutters above the workbench were held open by the hanging chains. The racks on the right-hand wall held the skis. Photo taken 1988 or 1989.


Looking down the stairs of the Chalet from the bunkroom floor. The drum seen through the doorway is under the washroom basin. Jenny McLeod photo December 2000.


The kitchen stove, which was bought at auction after being removed from the prime minister's lodge. Helen Fallow photo February 2000


The base of the flue of the kitchen stove, showing the makers' names. Helen Fallow photo February 2000.


The southwest corner of the living room, with a hurricane lamp and historic photographs. The heater was the last of several replacements. The portable radiogram in the corner housed an audio presentation of stories about the site. Helen Fallow photograph February 2000.


Looking to the southeast corner of the kitchen of the Chalet, with Ian McLeod and Jenny McLeod. The stove by then was unusable because of corrosion. Kathryn Wingett photo December 2000.


Remains of a ski jump on the Slalom Run, built in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Ian McLeod photo 7 February 1999


The remains of the stone entrance to the Chalet. A pole on each side supported a cross-piece to form an archway. Ian and Bev McLeod photo 9 February 1995.


Bill Ginn's Hut was a slab hut behind the Chalet. It was demolished in the early 1960s, leaving only the fireplace. Bev McLeod photo 9 February 1995.


The rear of the Slalom Hut, built in 1958 on the Slalom Run as a day shelter. The downpipe formerly drained into a 44 gallon (220 litre) drum to provide a source of water. The drum stood on logs at the front corner of the hut. Jenny McLeod photo, autumn 1993.


The Chalet site after the fire of 18 January 2003, from the northwest. Almost all of the wood of the Chalet was burnt to ash. The kitchen stove stands above the debris to the left of the tank. A hole was burnt completely through the trunk of the old tree at front right. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


Ian McLeod and Allan Bendall survey the remains of the Chalet after the fire. The stone base of the woodshed walls is on the right. The oven doors were stolen from the stove soon after. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


The twisted legs of the small tankstand are in the foreground, with the kitchen stove in front of the large tankstand and tank, and the toilet beyond. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


The toilet block, showing the only fire damage to it. The paint was hardly affected, and toilet paper inside was unscathed. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


Debris near the northwest corner of the chalet. It includes the original galvanised iron wash basin (replaced in the late 1970s), and the tubular wind generator stand between part of the motorbike tow frame and partly over a motorbike wheel used as an idler pulley for the tow rope. The base of the woodshed wall is at the top of the photo. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


Numerous remains of ski bindings and asbestos-cement roof fragments. A corner of a bed frame and a cylindrical window sash weight are at the top of the photo. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


Looking across the Chalet site up the Wood Run. The flue from the living room heater and bed mattress frames are in the foreground, with the tankstand legs behind. The piles of earth in front of the trees were bulldozed up when firebreaks were cleared around the Chalet and up the Wood Run. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


Chalet debris in cloud. The drying room stove is to the left of the twisted former tankstand. The white fragments are pieces of the asbestos cement roof. The charred post at lower left held the interpretation sign east of the front door. The mounds of earth in the background were bulldozed up when a firebreak was cleared around the Chalet. Jenny McLeod photo 26 April 2003.


The kitchen stove with its flue behind to the left and bed mattress frames to the front. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


The kitchen stove after the oven doors were stolen. Because of the heat of the fire, the top sagged and fell in to the right hand oven. Jenny McLeod photo 26 April 2003.


Some of the signs on the heritage trail were little damaged. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


Most of the railway sleepers supporting the outdoor signs on the heritage trail were burnt. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


Looking east across the Chalet site after the debris was cleared. The stone base of the woodsheed walls is on the left. The logs visible beyond the walls surround the place where the debris was buried. Ian McLeod photo 13 July 2003.


The Chalet site after debris was removed and buried at the top of the Nursery Run. The twisted legs of the eastern tankstand are in the foreground. The planks of the larger tankstand were partly burnt, but otherwise it was hardly damaged; most of the paint on the tank was unaffected. Jenny McLeod photo 5 July 2003.


The heat of the fire softened the clear plastic sheets covering NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service interpretation signs at Aggie Gap but did not affect the wood of the structure. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


Looking down the Wood Run after the fire. A firebreak bulldozed along this run and most of the Morning Run did not stop the fire. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


Surveyors and archaeologists working in rain to record the remains of the Chalet after the fire. Ian McLeod photo 20 May 2003.


Ranger Allan Bendall helping unload the Chalet's kitchen stove for storage at the ACT Parks and Conservation Service Cotter Depot. Ian McLeod photo 29 May 2003.


Remains of ski bindings laid out at the ACT Parks and Conservation Service Cotter Depot for documentation by an ACT Heritage archaeologist. Ian McLeod photo 29 May 2003.


Artefacts from the Chalet laid out at the ACT Parks and Conservation Service Cotter Depot for documentation by an ACT Heritage archaeologist. Ian McLeod photo 29 May 2003.


Burnt snow gums near the south end of Wombat Walk 3 weeks after the fire. Jenny McLeod photo 7 February 2003.


The same part of Wombat Walk 5 ½ months after the fire. Regrowth of ground cover was well established. Jenny McLeod photo 5 July 2003.