Lake Mountain History

1860's


Maurice Keppel purchased the allotment at Paradise Plains on Edgar's Track in the Great Divide. Edgar's Track was a pack horse route between Warburton and Woods Point mines. Progressively the Keppel family aquired more selections around Lake Mountain and on the grazing flats at Buxton moving their cattle and sheep between these pastures. The last Cattle was grazed on Lake Mountain in 1964, when the only surviving decendent handed over to the Lands Department, one of the longest held grazing licenses in the history of Victorian alpine grazing. 

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1920's

 

The Public Works Department initiated development of the Lake Mountain area, by constructing a road towards Lake Mountain from Cumberland Road. However, the day’s skiing still involved a 6 mile walk over Mt Arnold to Snowy Hill along a rough bush track carrying skis. 

 

1929

 

The first ascent of Lake Mountain in winter was made by members of the Chamois Club at the invitation of the Marysville Progress Association, the object being to discover whether Lake Mountain was suitable for skiing, three Lake Mountain cattlemen accompanied the group as guides and the group found ‘excellent slopes suitable for skiing’.  Melbourne Argus Sept 17 1929

Winter Ascent of Lake Mountain

 

1930's

 

Members of Ski Club of Victoria (SCV) pushed to have the area opened for skiing.

 

1939

 
Bushfires thwarted the initial efforts by SCV and the Marysville Community, however on May 28th that same year 20 people signed up to join the Marysville division of the SCV and Berry Higgs was elected as the President. A suitable slope near the summit of Snowy Hill was found, cleared of the black debris left by the fire, and sown with grass to prevent erosion and hold the snow.

Towards the end of the year the area was more effectively opened up by a road from the Rubicon to the Cumberland Valley, which, after crossing the plains passed immediately below the ski run on Snowy Hill.

  

A four-hectare gentle slope was cleared to accommodate ski runs and a playground at the site now known as Berry Higgs Playground. 

Following the 1939 fires, the road was extended beyond Snowy Hill to what is now Gerraty’s car park.  From there a major logging operation commenced to remove fire damaged Ash from the Koala Creek area.  Remnants of this operation can still be seen along the current Leadbeaters Walk. 

1940

 

A basic hut was built at the foot of Snowy Hill run, with an earth floor and no bunks it could accommodate eight people. In the same year Marysville SCV members and the Rover Scouts joined forces to cut a trail over the top of Snowy Hill. Enthusiasm waned with the onset of the war. 

 

1947

 

Interest rekindled and large areas were cleared at Snowy Hill for skiing.

Skiers on Lake Mountain

Skiers on Lake Mountain in winter 1947, (as reported in the Tasmanian Burnie Advocate!)

 

1960

 

The Marysville SCV division folded.

 

1961

 

Leadbeaters Possum is re-discovered in the wild at Tommy’s Bend on the road from Marysville near the turn off to Lake Mountain, after having been assumed extinct for 50 years.

 

1970's

 

Development of Lake Mountain to its present day status begun, the Marysville Lions Club ran a catering van at the resort from the mid 1970’s and a few years later a large shelter and a ski trail system were built further up the mountain at Gerraty's. 

Boundary Hut on the current Hut trail was built by a group of friends who hand carried in many of the building materials.  The hut was demolished in the late 1980’s, although the ruins can still be seen.Boundary HutBoundary Hut Summer

 

1978

 

What was to become the Lake Mountain Ski Patrol was formed by Jim MacGregor (Ambulance Officer at Healesville), with volunteers from the Healesville Red Cross.  They offered First Aid to skiers and snow players. Initially operating from a car boot, then a hut at Arnold Gap they were able to move further up the mountain when the Lions Club of Healesville purchased a second hand caravan and fitted it out as a first aid base.  Within a few years the Victorian Nordic Rescue Service also became involved. 

 

1979

 

The first dedicated cross country ski trail and toboggan run was initiated by the then Forests Commission of Victoria who was the governing authority.

skiing 1979 Skiing 1979

Early 1980s

 

The Marysville Lions Club opened up a kiosk at Arnold Gap.

Lions Club Caravan

 The road from the ticket box was sealed.

Road

Leadbeaters possum is discovered on Lake Mountain in the Snow Gum woodland.  Previously this tiny marsupial had only been found in the tall Ash forests. 

1985

 

The Alpine Resorts Commission (ARC) assumed responsibility for the management of the resort and the Lake Mountain Ski Patrol officially formed as it operates today.

 

 

1992

 

Foundations for the new Ticket Box inplace, surrounding the original. 
Ticket box 1992

Late 1990's

 

Resort Infrastructure included;
Log Cabin Administration and Ski Patrol Building
Log Cabin


Toilets, Ski School and Public Shelter Building 
Toilet block

Trail Head Ticket Box 
Trail ticket box

 

1998

 

The ARC was disbanded, and the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort Management Board (LMARMB) was commissioned under Ministerial guidance to manage the resort.  The resort by now had developed more cross country ski trails, toboggan runs, public shelters and amenities, a food outlet, ski hire, ski school, and an administration and first aid building.  The LMARMB now assumed responsibility for all the commercial outlets.

 

2000's

 

The Ski Patrol begun operating out of a new building.
Ski Patrol Building 2000s

2003/04

 

The Log Cabin Administration building was sold and replaced with a new Visitor Centre, accommodating a Ski Hire, Cafe, Conference room, Public Shelter and Administration. This building remains the same today. 
Admin Building 05

2009

 

In February almost the entire Lake Mountain plateau was again burnt by a high intensity wildfire. The Snow Gums along the ski trails were severely impacted with very little canopy surviving. The heathlands were almost entirely burnt, and the Alpine Ash were killed by the fires. Much of the resort infrastructure was destroyed including the public toilets, the day shelter, the ski patrol building as well as the skiing/walking trail network. Fortunately, the main visitor centre and the generator shed was not damaged and remained operational. 
2009 fire2009 fire

Above - Left: Ski Trails - Right: Toilets, Ski School and Public Shelter Building 

June - A rationed supplementary winter feeding program was commenced for the handful of Leadbeater’s Possum survivors when their natural food supply was anticipated to be extremely limited.
leadbeaters

By spring - the regeneration began and an amazing story of regrowth and the resilience of the Australian bush was evident.
Bush regrowthtree regrowth

2010

 
Winter 2010
2010 Winter

Construction of the Mountain Bike trails begun, Lake Mountain now has over 20kms of single lane tracks, ranging from beginner to advanced. 
Mountain Bike

2011

 

A spacious new visitor centre opened, signalling the resort was well and truly back on track and ready for business.

bistro building 

A double 240m zip line was installed in the Village for the 'Green Season' to encourage visitors all year round. Today the zip line is operational throughout winter and during peak periods over summer.  
Zip line

2012

 

In December Belgravia Leisure assumed management of resort operations on behalf of the LMARMB.

 

2016

 

LMARMB resumed management of Lake Mountain Alpine Resort and begun developing a plan for the future. Today the resort sees over 100,000 visitors a year and offers a range of activities and events. 
Pano