Royal Children's Hospital Alpine Club
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About the Club

The Royal Children’s Hospital Alpine Club offers hospital staff and their families the opportunity to spend time together in the Victorian Alps at low cost. The Club is an informal and friendly group, which has contributed greatly to its success.

The Club has two lodges with accommodation available for rental throughout the year by Club members and their guests. The lodge at Mount Buller is large and modern, sleeping 26 guests in two to four bedded rooms. The Mount Hotham lodge is older and slightly smaller accommodating 22 guests; it is likely to be renovated in the near future.

The resorts at both mountains have excellent snowsports facilities including downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing. In summer, both offer mountain biking, walking, hiking and running. The links to each resort are below:
 
Membership is open to employees of the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, as well as their partners and children. Applications for membership are made to the Committee; a one-off entry fee is payable, followed by an annual membership fee. Accommodation is booked through the Club website at low rates, with payment required at the time of booking. After a priority-booking period for members at the beginning of each season, accommodation for guests can be booked if space permits.
The Club is run by a committee which is elected from the membership each year at the Annual General Meeting; the committee meets each month. The Club is a registered entity and is a not-for-profit organisation governed by the Corporations Act.
 

Club History

The Royal Children’s Hospital Alpine Club (formerly the Royal Children’s Hospital Ski Club) was founded in 1962.
Initially, an interest-free loan from the late Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, together with the issue of debentures, allowed the construction of a small lodge at Mt Buller; the builder was Aurel Forras. The first season was marked by several problems in the lodge, and our pioneers showed great forbearance. There was no power or mains water until 1967 but since then the amenities on the mountain have greatly improved. Club members maintained the lodge. An artist’s impression of this original lodge is displayed in the new lodge; the building contained four bunk beds and two bathrooms.
 
In 1971, a group of the Committee reported on the possibility of extending the Club’s activities to Mt Hotham, which was just beginning to start a new phase of development, and whose snow was known to be more reliable. Numerous fund raising activities enabled the Club to build a substantial 16-bunk lodge; the builder was Noel Lane. Subsequently a further six bunks were added by converting the generator room into a flat. In these early days, the road to the mountain was unsealed, and access was difficult. Rapid development has since resolved most of the problems; mains gas and electricity were connected in 1985 and sewage in 1986.
 
In 1980, the Committee conducted a plebiscite to determine whether members wished to upgrade the Buller Lodge, as it no longer met the needs of the club. It also failed to comply with new building regulations, which meant that the lease could not be renewed. A preliminary plan was drawn up to extend the Lodge, but it became clear that the defects of the original design would be too restrictive; the architect, John MacDonald, drew up plans for an entirely new building which could be built in two stages as finance became available. The loan for Mt Hotham had been paid out well in advance of the due date, and a further loan, enabled the first stage (14 beds) to be constructed in the summer of 1981. The builder was David Bassingthwaite, who had been Noel Lane’s apprentice when the Mt Hotham Lodge was built. Club labour was used for all the painting and some internal finishing, and the new and old lodges were used together during what was a bumper season. The second (southern section) was to have been commenced 24 months later, but a substantial rise in interest rates and an over-run in costs made this impossible. The mountain authorities granted the Club a further year’s grace for construction, and further loans were sought. A debenture issue to the members was made, and in 1984 Aurel Forras built the second stage from the already completed plans. Members again supplied labour for all the painting, the carpeting and much of the finishing, and the new 18 beds were available for the 1983 season. At a memorable weekend attended by several of the Club’s founders, the old building was farewelled prior to its being dismantled in December 1983; the new lodge was formally opened at a dinner attended by many of the voluntary workers in November 1984.  Dame Elisabeth Murdoch came to Buller for this occasion, and graciously agreed to the new Lodge continuing to bear her name.
 

Club Photos

 
 

Buller Lodge

 

Hotham Lodge

 

21 Apr 2018 13:28