. After the surrounding timber had been harvested, the mill was abandoned in 1934. Higher up the path zig-zagged through some steep pinches, then traversing to the right across a creek, and in a few steps we came up to the road from Cement Creek. However, this was still much faster than people could drive on the rough roads of the time. The route from the sealed Donna Buang Road up to Mt Victoria initially follows a gravel road that provides access to a television broadcasting tower on the side of the mountain. From Tourist guide to Warburton and district. From 1919 to 1983, Crown land in Victoria that had been used for purposes such as mining or farming was generally managed by the Department of Crown Lands and Survey (usually known as the Lands Department), while Crown land that had never been occupied for long term use and which was not intended to be sold was mostly under the control of the Forests Commission. Helpful. Building the take off platform for the new jump circa 1951. 's 1934 Year Book. In the 1960s and 1970s it featured a kiosk, since demolished and there was probably a kiosk there in the 1930s as well.. Today the Ten Mile Turntable is the start of a walking track to the summit, which can be found behind some posts, a few metres down the road from the car park. Ski Horizon 1949 - 1955. . The only negative was that at 1250 metres, Donna was not high enough to guarantee reliable snow cover through the ski season, although in good years the snow was excellent; 15 consecutive weeks in 1929 and 17 consecutive ‘skiable weekends’ in 1943. Only 63 kilometres in a direct line from the centre of Melbourne, it was Australia’s busiest ski resort from the late 1920s until 1950. It follows an old ski run from the days when Donna was a ski resort. Place & Date Depicted . BLUE on the map. Don’t worry though, it’s a loop ride so you still get to ride the Rail Trail as well! Mount Donna Buang is a mountain in Victoria, on the southern part of the Victorian Alps and is part of the Great Dividing Range. The Herald newspaper reported that 'over 10,000 persons' visited the mountain on the first Sunday in July 1935 and 'their transport presented a traffic problem of such magnitude that conferences are being held to determine how best such a concentration of vehicles can be handled in the future'. In 1933 a fence was built to keep non skiers off the slopes, but even after the fence was extended in the summer of 1935 - 1936, it was still not effective as the penned in non skiers simply climbed over the fences. The snow-covered upper section of the road was used as a ski touring route, while a cleared fire break that ran parallel to the top part of the road seems to have been used as a gentle beginners run. © D.S. A very readable club history, has a chapter on their involvement on Donna Buang.Stephenson, Harry. The Old Summit Road (Black.) The building was probably abandoned during the 1950s as a brochure produced by the Victorian Ski Association in 1958 stated there was 'No accommodation on the mountain of any kind'. Photo by Kath Magill. It overlooked the bustling timber harvesting town of Warburton, which was only 76 kilometres by rail from the city and 38 kilometres from the terminus of the electrified suburban rail network at Lilydale. This walk is a bit of a 'hero hike' for people training for long trips. However on busy weekends, crowds spilled onto the ski runs making skiing difficult and conditions dangerous for both sightseers and skiers. * Some sources imply it was built in 1912 to coincide with the opening of the bridle track to the top of the mountain, although the Handbook to Victoria published in 1914 mentions the new road but makes no mention of a tower. The first half hour has some mildly steep sections, although they should not be too much bother if you take a few rests. Romuld designed the Donna Buang jump to minimise construction work. A substantial base was built at the top of a cable-hauled incline two kilometres south east of Mt Victoria and a steel-railed tramway ran for five kilometres north east to a terminus just north of the top of Donna Buang. The structure in the background is yet to be identified, it may have been a kiosk, a shelter hut, toilets, ski hire or a first aid post. Loggers huts on Donna Buang, winter 1924. Elsewhere, Australian ski fields in the 1930s featured isolated commercial lodges (such as the Buffalo Chalet) or individual club huts and lodges (the first was the Ski Club of Tasmania's 1927 hut that still stands at Twilight Tarn near Mt Mawson). Arthur Shands, the president of the Ski Club of Victoria responded by proposing that a resort entry fee should be charged. A full history of the road is in Chapter 4. The collapsed ruin is still visible next to a walking track east of the summit. In those states, ski clubs seemed to be able to co-operate to further the interests of all skiers. However I have a long list of printed, photographic, online and video resources as well as useful contacts for anyone who may be thinking of doing some work on the subject. The fall of over 300 metres caused enormous pressure in the penstock with occasional burst wood stave pipes providing spectacular displays. In addition to the observation tower (see chapter 8), there was an iron hut near the top of the mountain at an altitude of 1,240 metres. There we found a band of members from both clubs already on the job hauling logs to one side of the ski run. Mt Donna Buang (1250 metres) is the nearest snowfield to Melbourne. It appears there was a fire break there too. It was dusk by the time other searchers got to the location and it was too late to move them. Most passenger trains on the Warburton line were 'E-Trains'; a type of country train service for branch lines that didn't run too far beyond the electrified suburban network. How do we get our info? While a kiosk operated at 10 Mile, it appears the 'modern cafe' was never built at the summit, although on busy winter weekends in most years, there has been a caravan selling snacks. 2nd ed. . In 1936 the Malvern Rovers moved in and restored the mill hut that was in best condition using material from nearby derelict buildings. Soup we heated in billies over a portable kero stove, and potatoes we baked in the ashes by the logs glowing in the fireplace. U.S.C., 1988. Most people begin at the carpark for a relatively quick trek, however, this trek begins from the bottom of the mountain and climbs to summit. But crowding of these areas often made it impossible to keep snow players and tobogganists off the ski slopes. is re-building the old jump which will provide good for the jumping aspirants and will no doubt be appreciated by the thousands of "snow bunnies" who flock to the mountain every weekend there's snow. In these years visitor numbers to Donna Buang surged and it looked like the mountain might regain its pre-war popularity with skiers. Everyone in the group should have a good quality raincoat that won't tear on scrub as well as overpants, gloves, a warm hat, telephone, food and a spare pair of warm, dry socks. Photo supplied by Vivienne Worthington. In the 1920s it was asserted that Yarra Junction was the second busiest railway station in the world for loading sawn timber, (after a location in Washington state USA). This road crosses three more former ski runs (one is still used as a toboggan slope), before it becomes a walking track that heads through bush for a few hundred metres before joining the track you originally climbed to the summit. A few letters appeared in newspapers and magazines debating the issue, including if Donna Buang really was it's Wurundjeri aboriginal name. A well illustrated and better than average shire history.Cross, Wendy. Buller. From the car park at the the top of Martyr Road, the track initially drops down through forest to a creek before heading north, climbing along a fence line next to a paddock. That may sound rather bleak and basic for holiday accommodation, but living standards were lower in those days and people placed less importance on privacy, so guesthouses were quite popular. It descends steeply to cross the Acheron Way at the Rainforest Gallery (opened in the summer of 2004 - 2005). This provides a challenging ride for cyclists from Warburton or you can try the gravel road option from Don Road. . is the imaginatively named Melbourne Water road that skirts to the north west of the summit. Year Book. While a few bus operators elsewhere in Victoria (notably Reginald Ansett) managed to run services on the edge of the law by exploiting legal loopholes, these acts largely eliminated bus competition with the railways in the years before the Second World War. A mountain ash contemplating another kamikaze attack on a road sign at Ben Cairn. Page 6. The problem was slightly eased when the Main Run was widened in March 1934 and a new track for pedestrians was cut parallel to it. The photos show a 'cavalcade' of up to seven cars that made the Donna Buang run for Pioneer. Soon after the end of this second climb, the scenery changes from rainforest with a mountain ash overstory to more open woollybutt (or alpine ash) woodland. The Rover Scouts, who were usually on a fairly tight budget, stayed in a run down house for a nominal fee. Sadly many of the buildings were burnt in the 1939 wild fires, but some survived. Just as the road starts to gently climb, take a discreetly signposted track to the left heading into the forest. . Australian War Memorial. When it became apparent that producing it in book form would be too expensive and that instead, it would be published on a website, I realised that footnoting would be inappropriate. It passes close to the top of Ben Cairn and the short walk to the summit is quite worthwhile. While most early ski resorts are now large commercial operations, the seven clubs with lodges at Mt Mawson near Hobart still hold volunteer work parties every summer and run their 'club field' in a way that would be familiar to skiers at Donna Buang in the 1930s. Passenger services were withdrawn in 1964, but with freight traffic also in steep decline, there was no reason to keep the line open and it closed in 1965. This overcrowding by sightseers and tobogganists as well as skiers was the prime impetus for more ski runs to be built. After a break, walk to the north of tower and locate a track that descends to the north-east. It is equally easy to ride but passes through stunning wilderness with very few people! Mount Donna Buang is a mountain in the southern reaches of the Victorian Alps of the Great Dividing Range, located in the Australian state of Victoria. I certainly have seen deeper snow on Donna Buang--in fact, on one occasion, so much as six feet. 4 hrs. A Warburton builder was employed to build a 4½ x 10½ metre iron clad hut with a stone fireplace. The snow can be quite soft and deep, so if it has snowed before your walk, it might be useful if a few people in the group have snowshoes to help pack down the track. This conflicted with stories from the 19th century and possibly with what Panton himself had said earlier. Item MM 6704 Negative - Mount Donna Buang, Victoria, circa 1930 Description of Content. Many club members were also involved in the pioneering days of recreational skiing, so it is not surprising that in 1929 Bill Waters and Chris Bailey persuaded the club to build a hut on Donna Buang. Catani was sufficiently impressed with the mountains tourist potential that a moderately graded access route to the mountain was quickly surveyed. This dispute deserves an article of it's own, but it's sufficient to say that there were no serious inter club tensions in New South Wales or Tasmania. An attempt to revive passenger traffic was made in early 1958 with the introduction of more comfortable 40 seat Walker railcars, but this did little to reduce the decline in passenger numbers. Those days are well behind most of us now but let's pay tribute to Donna for keeping ski-ing alive and introducing many to the snow during the days when accommodation, petrol, war and other difficulties made the better mountains inaccessible. The Ski Club of Victoria's building was built in 1934 as the third club lodge on the mountain. Photo: S. E. Douglas. The mountain was originally named Mt Acland in 1865 by Joseph Panton, a local goldfields warden and magistrate. In the early 1950s skiing continued to decline at Donna Buang but the Ski Club of Victoria persisted longer than other clubs and even ran club races and jumping exhibitions as late as 1951. No end to walking: 100 years of walking by the Melbourne Walking Club. Photo Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader. If you are heading downhill, Parks Victoria have conveniently placed a prominent 'Track closed' sign where the Cement Creek track diverges from the Mt Boobyalla track, making the junction easy to identify. The carriages bound for the upper Yarra Valley were hauled by electric 'swing door' suburban carriages as far as Lilydale where they were detached and a K or D3 class steam engine took over. He argued that access to the mountain should be free and open to all. This short uncredited article in the monthly Victorian magazine Ski Horizon summarises the experience of skiers at Donna Buang and accurately implies that the mountain did have not much of a future as far as skiers were concerned. As early as 1928, ski traffic reduced it to a muddy bog. The Melbourne Walking Club hut after the 1939 fires. Depending on snow conditions, this could be lower on the mountain at the 6 Mile Turntable at Cement Creek or higher up the mountain at the 10 Mile Turntable. Later it became evident that Donna Buang was more than a just a minor scenic destination and the Forests Commission found themselves in control of a proper tourist resort. In the mid 1970s the stone ski jump was bulldozed by the Country Roads Board when, despite protests from locals, 400 metres of the road near the summit was realigned. Further downstream the creek was diverted into a penstock and powered a hydro-electric power station owned by the Upper Yarra Electric Supply Company. 1949 map of Mt. In the 1932 - 1933 summer, a 'shelter shed' was built at the base of the Main Run by the Warburton Ski Club. Aerial photo of Donna Buang in 1944. Grade: Hard. They ranged from small establishments with a few rooms run something like a modern B & B, right through to Phil Mayer's large and comfortable Warburton Chalet. A 2002 recreation of an E-Train of the type that ran to Warburton in the 1930s. Thus a number of ski lodges were built in the area around Mt Hotham in the mid to late 1940s, often using second hand material and supplies that were obtained under the false pretence that they would be used for housing to get around rationing of building supplies. At times the heavy traffic was managed by only allowing uphill traffic in the morning and downhill traffic in the afternoon. The Main Run. Longer distance travel was usually by train and the railheads nearest to the snowfields, such as Bright, Mansfield and Erica, were distant from Melbourne and on slow branch lines. Over a dozen more ski clubs were established in the thirties, there were 50 ski clubs in Victoria by the mid 1950s. However I can cite most sources for any researchers who may be interested. At the same time, skiing was becoming popular in New South Wales and Tasmania; by the mid 1920s interest in the new sport had achieved critical mass, allowing it to take off. The only accommodation is the S.C.V. . Nearby is a rather squalid shelter hut with partially open sides and a toilet block. While many other clubs such as the Australian Women's Ski Club and even the distant Benalla Ski Club visited the mountain, from 1930, four clubs decided to build there. Field Naturalists' Club of Vic, 1911. The chimney is all that remains today after the cabin was shifted to Mt Buller in 1950. Access and transport - The road - The train - Buses and service cars5. A largely pictorial book with enough text to explain the railways in context.Brennan, Niall. Many early ski lodges were built on PO's, right through to the 1960s. May 1951. It was formally named the Walter E. Briggs Hut after the club president at the time it was built. Turn left and continue south for 250 metres until you reach a dip in the road which often features a large puddle. Most of this ambitious programme was completed in the 1970s, new toilets and shelters were built at both 10 Mile and the summit. The original route from the 10 Mile Turntable to the summit and the main walking track on the mountain today. At the top of these haulages, several timber tramways extended to within a few hundred metres of the summit.*. However, the resort had all other facilities that a modern skier would expect to see at a small resort: on-mountain accommodation, day visitor facilities, kiosks selling snacks, first aid posts, a ski hire, shelter huts, a variety of ski runs and a large car park. The walking track to Boobyalla Saddle still follows it. The road from the west starts off paved with tree-ferns lining the way, and ends up on a packed gravel surface, narrow road, but well worth the explore for the views, including a hang gliding launch platform. This would reduce visitor numbers as well as funding further improvements to the mountain for skiers. But by the 1952 ski season there were very few skiers left to enjoy these improvements. In the past this was a fairly common form of tenure on Crown land in Victoria whereby an individual, club or company was granted permission to build in return for a modest rental, typically £1 per annum for the cabins on Donna. On the Monday morning we started early and worked until after midday, then back to the hut to tidy up and have lunch before the descent to Warburton. Last season, reaching the snow on Donna Buang was not an easy matter altogether, the transport facilities being hopelessly inadequate to cope with the number visiting the mount. However by the turn of the 20th century Melbourne was recovering from the depression of the 1890s and the forests of the Upper Yarra valley were soon being harvested to build new housing. The whole length of the jump slope was about 32 metres. And in winter, the 1245-metre summit is perfect for snowplay - taboggan, build the perfect snowman or partake in a fun snow fight. The final section to the summit beyond the junction with the Ben Cairn Road was rebuilt along an entirely new route. Pages. The Donna Buang - Ben Cairn Road, with its grand forest and gully scenery, its wonderful panoramas, and, in Winter, its magnificent snow scenes, is one of the most beautiful trips in the state, and is undoubtedly the show trip of Melbourne. However the 'suggested' price of £140, or one twentieth of the cost of their Hotham lodge, was far below what the USC thought the Donna Buang cabin was worth. The abandoned Kiosk in the summit area of Donna Buang in 1963. The authorities at the Forests Commission realised some sort of administration was needed at Buller and from 1947 permitted a few clubs to build on sites of their choosing. NSW State Library. (The route was along the original summit road and not the shorter and steeper road built in the 1970s.). While these new amenities improved the visitor experience in the 1970s, little has been been built on the mountain since, apart from a discreetly hidden automatic weather station. The tower was built in 1983, although it appears the the road is older and a walking club history refers to a tower on Mt Victoria in 1958. But while there was plenty of accommodation available in town, Warburton based skiers faced a long and often difficult climb up the mountain each day, so attention turned to providing accommodation closer to the ski slopes. This toll continued to be charged until about 2008. The SCV responded by printing an eleven page declaration of war in their club magazine and subsequent correspondence from both groups is full of 'colourful' language, although the Federation were careful to be strictly non-partisan in all their publications including the monthly magazine Ski Horizon. 1930 - 1934.Australian (and New Zealand) Ski Yearbook, 1935 - 1952.The Melbourne Walker 1929 - 1955. Subsequently, when introduced to skis, greater comedy was supplied by the visitors. So rationing, shortages and high inflation continued through to the 1950s with inflation peaking at 24% in late 1951. © David Sisson. In 1933, Romuld jumped 18.3 metres. The Rovers are an organisation for older scouts, in the 1930s and 40s membership was open to males aged 17 to 23. This climb was treated by the regulars as a training walk. Ski jumping played a part in Victorian skiing from the 1930s to the 1960s. An interesting compilation of articles and photos related to early skiing in Victoria.Stephenson, Harry. A 1,040 metre high rocky top at the western end of the ridge, five kilometres from Mt Donna Buang. A century ago funicular and winch powered tramways lowered timber down this steep ridge to railway sidings in the valley. Mt Donna Buang summit (1,245m) is located in the Yarra Valley, overlooking Warburton in Victoria. A typical home movie, the film shows the basic conditions on the mountain before the cleared runs and vastly improved facilities of the 1930s. This entire road was rerouted and rebuilt as a wide sealed road along an entirely new alignment in the mid 1970s, with the section near the summit going significantly higher than the old road had. It continued to be used for pedestrian access to the mountain long after the tramway closed in 1934. #, Ski Club of East Gippsland, 1926. The first fall of the season was reported on Friday, April 28th. 01/05/2020. It is possible that other clubs raced on Donna Buang as well. The Biggest Family Album in Australia. . In any case woollybutt is not the most durable timber when exposed to the elements and it deteriorates fairly quickly. But the January 1939 wildfires, followed seven months later by the outbreak of the Second World War slowed things down. So when there was good snow cover it made a good ski touring route. As Road 2 and other Melbourne Water roads had not yet been built, a path needed to be cut through the dense rainforest by about 50 men. Their business was a mixture of private rentals, scenic tours for tourists staying at guesthouses, mail and passenger contracts for places further up the Yarra valley such as McMahon's Creek, McVeighs and even all the way to Woods Point, which was still a sizeable town at the time. By the early 1950s skiers had largely moved elsewhere, leaving the mountain to hikers and family snow visitors. Having a GPS with the track shown on the screen will help in this regard. GREEN on the map. When the car park was enlarged in the summer of 1932 - 33, the main head of the creek was diverted into pipes under the car park. You can either walk from the Rainforest Gallery or drive up and park in the large clearing at the start of the track on the left of the road. Most of the vehicles were large semi-luxury cars but one business had 14 and 24 seat REO buses in addition to their cars. The SCV and their hut are discussed in more detail in Chapter 5. The descent via Mt Victoria. The photo was taken in 1942 and this was the tower that overlooked the mountain the whole time it was a ski resort. 1947 was another late but heavy season on the mountain. Keep an eye out for the markers nailed to trees on this section. The alpine regions of Victoria; ski-ing and tourist resorts. This made Donna the pioneer of the club lodge based resorts that developed from the late 1940s across Australia and New Zealand. Now Victoria Police and her son, Kane Cashmore, are appealing to the … Photo Weekly Times. Photo © William Prince collection. So you took them up Donna from the river, and if they liked it they were okay, or if they blew up then it was obvious that the tour was not for them. Access. The industry took off in 1901 with the completion of the railway to Warburton.. But at least one club remained optimistic about Donna Buang's future. The road climbs steadily for 7 km to the Cement Creek junction. This is the steepest part of the walk, so take a few breaks and look around at the forest. Starts behind the present day toilet block with a staircase insensitively placed down the middle. Donna Buang was only 60 miles (96 km) by road from Melbourne, via Warburton and a winding road to the summit. © David Sisson 25 May 2016. In return they were guaranteed a bed for the next 12 years, when the cabin would revert to the club. Unfortunately who made the film it is unknown. Photo © David Sisson. The O’Shannassy Aqueduct trail. Initially it was short and narrow, just 130 metres long and 2½ metres wide, but by 1926 the ‘Ski Slide’ had been widened to 20 metres by the local tourist committee and in February 1929 it was widened to 40 metres. It has detailed and accurate maps of the many former tramways on Donna Buang. During Donna's time as a ski resort, it was the most common access route for those who chose to walk from the railway station rather than hire a service car or drive up the mountain. . Lookout tower in the background. * Four trees standing in a rough square were ringbarked and a couple of platforms were built between them. This walkway was built in the summer of 2004 - 2005 to replace an earlier walking track and is a real highlight of any visit to the area. Cons. Donna often had over a metre of snow, but with a maximum elevation of just 1,250 metres, the snow cover wasn't reliable. Despite the popularity of skiing, there were only two ski lifts in Australia by the end of the 1930s, neither of them at Donna, so skiers on the mountain had to walk back up the side of a ski run and ‘earn their turns’, much like backcountry skiers today. A Pioneer Tours trip to Mt. . At the same time the club was building a lodge on Hotham which was ready for the 1949 season. Elsewhere, the first lodges had been built at what would become Mt Baw Baw ski resort. The USC and their hut are discussed in more detail in Chapter 5. Try and spot some local wildlife, although there is ample birdlife all around. However a few years later Panton announced that he preferred Mt Donna Buang and that name began to be used instead of Mt Acland. Chapter 10 has notes for modern walking tracks. She was about 4km up Mount Donna Buang Road in the Yarra Valley. Logging was not permitted within a 101 metre buffer zone near the road to preserve its scenic nature, although it was crossed by timber tramways and haulages in three places. You can end the walk by turning right and walking 400 metres to the 10 Mile car park. Except for the fire break to the south west of the summit, all would probably be classified as at least 'Blue' (intermediate) at a modern ski resort. Access. At most there should be only light snow over the scrubby and navigationally tricky section at the bottom of the walk. The over-used road was rebuilt as an unemployment relief programme during the Great Depression. However despite the attempts of Scandinavians such as Romuld and Eric Johnson Gravbrot, the owner of the Donna Buang ski hire, plus a few central European skiers, jumping never became terribly popular with local skiers and the jump may not have been used all that much. The Donna Buang summit - Ben Cairn road junction in the 1926. Originally built as a firebreak, it was widened and groomed to become a ski run in 1936. It shows the second observation tower and the sort of snow play that irritated skiers, A 12 minute colour film of passenger trains on the Warburton line in the 1960s. Most of the route remains in good condition, but the upper and lower sections have become slightly overgrown and those parts can now be difficult to follow. Essentially Donna's main disadvantages, unreliable snow, crowds and, to a lesser extent, short ski runs had begun to outweigh its main advantage, ease of access from Melbourne. A picture of the Donna Buang road in the early 1930s shows the unsurfaced road and a narrow bridge. Donna! So it made sense to build accommodation on Donna Buang too. If you wish to extend the walk by an hour to Mt Victoria, stay on the track along the ridge top, The route undulates through attractive mixed species forest to Mt Victoria, (which is barely a knoll), before descending to a television transmission tower. A week or two later further snowfalls occurred, but did not hold. Ski Club of Victoria, 1984. Almost all of them were great, but I should give special thanks to Dr Joe Rich. The area where the old track meets the Main Run has been heavily bulldozed (probably in the 1970s), making the track very difficult to find at the top, so if you wish to retrace it, heading uphill from 10 Mile is the better option. One is a long day hike from Dom Dom Saddle, another begins at the aptly named Martyr Road in Warburton while a third track starts half way up, near the Cement Creek Rainforest Gallery. It starts with the country carriages being hauled by electric stock to Lilydale before continuing to Warburton hauled by K and J class steam locomotives. Buildings and accommodation - Accommodation in Warburton - Club cabins - Melbourne Walking Club - University Ski Club - Ski Club of Victoria - Rover Scouts - The summit hut - Other buildings of the 1930s - More recent infrastructure6. Date of experience: June 2020. Sierra Publishing, 2012. . Its ruin is visible north of the base of the Main Run on the modern walking track from the summit to the Ten Mile Turntable. Despite the obvious decline in Donna Buang’s popularity amongst skiers, some remained optimistic about its future and in the summer of 1951 - 1952 Mick Smith organised a group of locals to extend the jump run, including linking it to the Main Run by a route curving through the trees. 1925 map of Warburton and district. The jump was designed by Norwegian born Martin Romuld who was the state ski jumping champion for much of the 1930s. The chimney of the original cabin on Donna Buang was left on site and in 1979 a cast iron plaque was attached to the old chimney to celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary. On the return trip they became disoriented and instead of walking south east to the car park, they headed north east down a ski run. The Herald reported that a 'Langlauf' race held on 11 July 1935 in 'slow conditions' along the snow covered road from the summit to the 10 Mile Turntable was won by T. Fisher in 14 minutes 15 seconds. Bob Padula's pictorial Donna Buang webpage. . . It was probably the only ski club in history where none of the members saw snow during the existence of the club. Then walk down a gravel road for 500 metres to the main sealed road, turn right and walk 800 metres up the road to the 10 Mile picnic area. Photo © James Brook. Donna Buang Committee raised money by holding a picture night for which the programme was arranged by Arthur Shands. C 507. Perhaps the nearest modern equivalents would be a bottom end ski lodge or a well run and cleaner than average backpackers hostel that includes meals in the tariff. Even in its prime as a ski resort, sightseers probably always comprised the majority of visitors. However few people in Victoria used skis before the First World War; those who did mostly used them as a practical way of getting around in winter. March 6, 1930: "Just before 1 o.clock we came out on the summit of Mt. It is accessed by a long staircase from the 6 Mile Turntable car park. Betty and Peg Nankivell of the University Ski Club at Donna Buang in 1929. “Thanks, that’s a trick I've learned” responded the victim. . But some Australians did take up jumping; Tom Fisher and Derrick Stogdale actively promoted the activity on Donna Buang to members of the Ski Club of Victoria in the late 1930s. The view from the tower is breathtaking. Skiing the high plains. The same view in winter. However with the entry of Japan into the war, the 6th, 7th and 9th divisions were gradually reassigned to tropical areas, so their ski training was never utilised. Huts were built at at least four locations along the tramline on the ridge. Photo supplied by Vivienne Worthington. Park here and spend 15 minutes inspecting the impressive Rainforest Gallery, a 350 metre walking circuit that starts high in the forest canopy before descending to the forest floor. The road was closed in winter and in reasonable snow conditions it could be skied for 3 km, all the way down to the 10 Mile Turntable car park. So in the mid 1970's the road was further widened and sealed along its full length. The 36 km road between Warburton and Narbethong. Donna Buang (4,080 feet) is not used very much now by skiers although the S.C.V. You will be transported to the summit of Mt Donna Buang (1250m elevation) where you can climb the lookout tower and enjoy views of the Great Dividing Range and Melbourne (cloud cover permitting). Photo USC website. The paddocks ended at the banks of the O’Shannassy aqueduct . However ski politics did cause some tension on the mountain. Donna Buang. While it is all on reasonable tracks, the walk is rated hard. In the early 20th century there was a proposal to rename the mountain again to Mt Edgar after the Minister of Public Works at the time building a road was first proposed, although nothing came of this. Mt Victoria. . While visitor numbers were much lower than they were in the 1930s, wartime transport restrictions did have an upside for skiers; “There was almost an entire absence of the crowd of sightseers which, in similar conditions in past years, has ruined the snow from the skiers' point of view.” In 1943 “Donna Buang had it's longest season on record, ski-ing being possible for seventeen consecutive week-ends from June 1 until the end of September. Copied from Mrs Muriel Williams, 17 Jun 1988. This will also give better access to a few of the walks that are available from here. It turns out that there was an easier road, but I am really glad we drove over Donna Buang. 5 for full circuit. Regular work parties were held to maintain the hut, including during the Second World War when severe petrol rationing and the restricted availability of building materials made things especially difficult. Here is a brief outline of them. © David Sisson. To boost winter business she imported skis from her homeland and encouraged guests to use them. The final kilometre of the road to the summit was narrow and winding with sharp bends, so that section was completely rerouted in the mid 1970s, destroying the remains of earlier infrastructure on the mountain, notably the stone ski jump. Head down the track for about 400 metres to the junction where you have a choice. In 1983 a tower was built on the slopes of Mt Victoria, it broadcasts television signals from all five free to air networks to the upper Yarra area. It was initially saved from the Black Friday wild-fires on 13 January 1939, but was subsequently burnt by windblown embers a few days later, after the firefighters had left. Walk magazine reported 'visitors to the mountain during April and May were interested in the explosive efforts of Ski Club members improving the ski jump and run-out in preparation for the coming winter. Eventually the route emerges from the creek valley and the track becomes more obvious as it begins to climb the hillside on the north side of the creek. The University Ski Club cabin fireplace in action. Probably where the present day walking track descends from the summit area towards 10 Mile. . that: ‘... a mountain so near to Melbourne as Donna Buang, and capable of being snowcapped for nearly four months, is worthy of every effort our club can make to better conditions there’. From 1924 the state parliament passed four acts specifically applying to bus operators. Contour north from the toilets across the top of a fenced off former ski run. Much gelignite was expended in removing large boulders from the track'. Please contact me if you’re interested. In 1939 a return train ticket from Melbourne to Warburton cost 8/7. Mt Donna Buang is located about an hours drive from Melbourne's eastern suburbs. Beginning in the mid 1930s, through to the mid 1950s, the Ski Club of Victoria attempted to assert itself as the controlling body of skiing in Victoria. However after it was built, the new run proved to be fairly popular with skiers and while it is now slightly overgrown, it still holds good snow whenever it falls. The steeply graded railway with tight curves had been built through the hills as a slow freight line to transport farm produce and sawn timber from the ash forests of the Yarra and Little Yarra valleys, so even passenger trains were restricted to 65 kmh. Rigby, 1979. The crowding caused increasing concern amongst some skiers and irritation amongst others. Towards the bottom is an ancient warning sign. Very little information on it is available, but the hut was almost certainly an abandoned logging hut adopted by Rover Scouts who were active skiers on Donna Buang in the 1930s. So the late 1940s was a time of repair and reconstruction across the country. This is still more than any ski resort in Victoria gets today. 10 Mile Turntable to Main Run. These few notes are intended to mention something about Donna's future. A quick swim in the cold river, we were still in plenty of time for the train to Melbourne. Many think the quantity of snow was phenomenal, but personally I do not believe it was. Little information about it has survived, but it was a known feature of the mountain by 1928. Working hours were also slowly declining. Along with the Rainforest Gallery at the junction of the Acheron Way and the Donna Buang Road, this walk covers the best of Mt Donna Buang. I'm also grateful to Robin Bailey for information on the Melbourne Walking Club's activities on the mountain, to Ben Laumen for sending me information and feedback after a draft version was first published online and to Simon Walliss for lending me copies of ski magazines and annuals that I do not own and which are missing from the state library. The tall ash forests on it's slopes were harvested at the turn of the 20th century and the timber was moved by a network of tramlines and cable haulages. At the top, a three metre high wooden platform led to the natural slope of the hill. The front door opened onto a small room with a kitchen and a staircase while the main room had a fireplace and eight double bunks arranged along the walls with two moveable beds that doubled as seats. Three seperate inclines lowered timber from Mt Victoria down to Warburton and hauled the bogies back up. With interest in skiing increasing in the late 1920s, proprietors of accommodation houses in Warburton took note and advertised to skiers in order to fill their rooms in the winter low season. One of the opening shots of the SCV's declaration of hostilities was fired on Donna Buang in 1936. While it is barely discernible from the summit of Donna, it appears to be a major prominence from Warburton and the upper Yarra Valley. Then head uphill on the track for few metres to where the scrub is a little less dense. At Donna, the University Ski Club and the Ski Club of Victoria were near the base of the ski runs to the east of the summit, but the Melbourne Walking Club and the Rover Scouts were some distance away in opposite directions. Sunday, June 21st, was a day to remember. The SCV Cabin on Mt Donna Buang from the walking track which still passes the ruin today. However the hut was relatively small and could only be accessed from the road by a difficult hike up the steep Cement Creek walking track. This reflected a couple of poorer than average ski seasons, but also the changing orientation of skiing in Victoria towards the higher mountains to the north east. With all the cleared space occupied by cars there would be only one place for them to overflow and that would be on the ski runs... and the road would be completely lost to skiing... a snow plough would be necessary to keep it open and heavy maintenance charges would be involved. It appears to have been recommended by the Committee of Management and in part it was a widening of an existing fire break. Another possibility is that the hut was built specifically for skiers or hikers. Wendy Cross offered to edit an early rough draft of this article. As well relieving the crush, they also provided a greater variety of slopes for skiers, who in the early 1930s had been restricted to only a couple of properly built runs. In 1948 and 1949, they were especially low. A Parks Victoria ranger told the author that the reason for removing it was that the timber posts supporting the roof were rotten and leaning out from the base, rendering it unsafe. So by 1934 there were at least two properly built runs, the main one about 130 metres long with a 21 degree slope and the other, shorter and steeper (25 degrees). Pages 45 - 47. The modern doorless shelter near the summit. In winter the road was never open beyond the 10 Mile Turntable. By 1950 ski visitor numbers were in steep decline, the University Ski Club had transported their lodge to Mt Buller and the end looked near. Many other documents were discovered at two locations essential to anyone writing local histories: The Public Record Office of Victoria. On one day in 1935 12,000 people watched ski races on the mountain. In the early days, the road was often closed by snow at this location. However the cabin appears to have remained upright, although verbal reports say it was derelict by the late 1970s. The germ, was implanted in them, and full information as to “where are skis obtainable?” and “can they be made easily?”... was demanded and supplied before departure. Light Railway Research Society of Australia, 2001. A plan of their new cabin on Mt. There were few Melbourne skiers in the pre-Buller village days who didn't start their ski life at Buffalo or Donna. The now defunct Warburton Ski Club was then in its hey day. A small platform was built further down the jump slope at the take off point.
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