Illawong Lodge - history and heritage

As might be expected of a building associated with the very earliest days of skiing in Australia, Illawong Lodge is recognised on the Register of the National Estate and by the National Trust of Australia.

The NPWS Historic Heritage Information Management System refers to Illawong as “… one of the most historically significant huts in the park being a rare remnant of the early 20th century NSW Government tourist bureau’s
efforts to promote alpine tourist recreational activities..”.

A Conservation Management Plan developed by heritage specialists, Goden Mackay Logan, identified that as well as historic and aesthetic attributes, the 50 year relationship between the Lodge and IST is a significant aspect of the heritage significance of Illawong Lodge.

Extract from Illawong Lodge Conservation Plan

Illawong Lodge is a place of heritage significance for its role in, and association with, the history of skiing in the Snowy Mountains region. It is of local significance for the Snowy Mountains region and it represents important historic, aesthetic and social values for this area of NSW.

The historical significance of Illawong Lodge lies primarily in its association with two key phases of ski touring history in the Kosciuszko area: the activities of the Ski Club of Australia (and its split from the Kosciuszko Alpine Club) in the 1920s and the formation and activities of the Ski Tourers Association of the 1950s. It is closely associated with two leading figures in skiing history in Australia who were also the instigators of these two phases of ski history: Herbert Schlink and Charles Anton. The role of the NSW Tourist Bureau in the construction of the Pounds Creek Hut section of Illawong Lodge provides important evidence of the often direct involvement of the NSW Government in the promotion of skiing and the provision of ski field accommodation. Illawong Lodge also provides evidence of changes over time of the relationship between nature-based recreation and nature conservation.

Illawong Lodge has aesthetic significance as a small scale structure in a remote and dramatic setting. The two-part form of the building provide clear evidence of its history as a ski touring hut and later adaptation as a ski lodge. As such, the external form is the most significant element of the building. While original internal fabric and spaces are very significant, the evolution of fabric and fittings over time to provide for ongoing use is also very significant.

Illawong Lodge has social signficance for those involved in the post war ski touring history of the Snowy Mountains region, including the Ski Tourers Association (now Australian Alpine Club). The building has particular social significance for the members of Illawong Ski Tourers, most of whom have a long and close association with the Lodge, for its particular sense of place, its unique history and special and unusual aspects of occupation and use and maintenance.

Illawong Lodge has some technical significance for its association with a remote place and alternate technologies and for the technical qualities of the associated Flying Fox and Suspension Bridge.

from Godden Mackay Logan Pty Ltd. (2005).  Illawong Lodge - Conservation Plan. p.62.

Original Illawong prospectus
1956 prospectus

In 1956, John Turner obtained permission from the Kosciusko State Park Trust to covert the old Pounds Creek Hut to Illawong Lodge.  Much has changed since then, and much has stayed the same. 

This fascinating historical document, a copy of the original invitation from John Turner and Charles Anton to become part of the "Illawong Ski Lodge Project", has recently come to light.

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Illawong Lodge - classified by the National Trust. Photo: R.Baker.
Illawong in summer, 1965-66. Photo John Edye.
Illawong Lodge in winter 1975 - Photo John Edye
Illawong Lodge - classified by the National Trust. Photo: R.Baker.
Illawong in summer, 1965-66. Photo John Edye.
Photo: John Edye, 1975

Click photos to enlarge