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Rebuilding The Lodge

 

  

By 1976 the Club’s lodge had not changed since it was first built in 1956. The lodge while charming was very small and not keeping up with the expectations of a growing ski resort.

The tiny living / dining and kitchen area served as the sole area for entertainment, relaxation, dining etc. The Club had several members in the Thredbo Race Club and the Australian Ski Teams, and along with their friends, used this common area to prepare their skis for the day’s ski racing. Breakfast was often Weetbix and Hot Wax.

Jeff Persson, who had recently enjoyed a ski trip to Europe together with his friend and partner in his building construction company, Bruce Marshall, started exploring the possibilities for extending the living, dining and kitchen area of the lodge. With plans drawn by their company architect, Ross McRae, they put a proposal to the committee to extend and renovate this area of the lodge with the ‘A Frame’ structure which still stands today.

With the approval of the committee, quotes were sought and the work was begun and completed in the summer of 1978.

The ‘A Frame’ extension with its towering walls of glass and the soaring vaulted ceilings, was a masterpiece of design and functionality complimenting the original design by Connie Crisp (nee Hughes).

Crackenback was no longer a ‘hut’, Crackenback had grown into a ‘club lodge’.
 
  
 
 
                               
                    Jeff Persson at the lodge (2005)                                    The lodge after the 1978 'A' frame extension

 

 

 

By 1984 the Lodge, as with most buildings in the snowy mountains, did not meet the new fire and building regulations. The accommodation section of the lodge was 27 years old and probably could be regarded as a fire trap. The NSW Parks & Wildlife Service and KT were demanding lodges to meet the new fire and safety regulations or else relinquish their lease.

The sub lease with KT was to expire in 2007 with no right to renew. Crackenback and other Lodges were in a dilemma – embark on an expensive building program and then lose the Lodge to KT (Lend Lease).


The Club’s Committee, at the time chaired by Derek Cassidy, had some outstanding members; Richard Longes & Peter Armitage along with Derek were lawyers and drove the lease and financial issues with the support of the tireless John Rumble. KT seemed to drag their feet in addressing a mutually beneficial outcome which forced John to instigate the Thredbo Sub-Lessees Association in 1984. Ray Mildren from Sashas was a key supporter.
 
Several meetings took place between the Sub-Lessees Association and with KT but to no avail - KT were adamant they would own all "the farm" in 2007 when the sub leases expired. The basis of their argument was the sub-leases were on "peppercorn" rents and did nothing to contribute to infrastructure expenses incurred by KT.

The Sub-Lessees Association set up a fighting fund with contributions from private and commercial lodges of $500 each.  The Association took out full page ads in the Sydney Morning Herald denouncing KT's lease with Kosciusko National Parks (NSW Govt) and their plans not to renew the sub leases.

This caused a stir with Lend Lease. John Hagley, the MD of KT at the time telephoned John Rumble to arrange a meeting. The sub-lessees put their argument to Hagley that they were prepared to pay a reasonable increased rental if KT would give them a new sub lease for 50 years with a further 50 year option.

After several months of negotiations KT agreed to new give new leases with yearly rentals based on the number of beds in each lodge.

That same year, 1984 the Committee of Crackenback being chaired by Derek Cassidy entered into a new sub lease which took it to 2007, with an option to 2057 and a further 50 years. Crackenback were the first lodge to take up the new agreement. The problem then for the Crackenback Committee was how to fund a new development with expected cost of $405,000.

Several sub-committees were established. The building sub-committee was the largest with Jeff Persson, Derek Cassidy, and John Rumble being joined by the architect Phil McMaster and the consulting engineer Charles Resevsky. Both Phil and Charles were later to become members. Other committees established addressed matters of finance and membership and were represented by the other members of the Committee namely Ted Barton, Penny Kater, Peter Armitage and Richard Longes.


 
 
 
                                
                       50 years after the first lodge was built and 21 years after the new lodge was opened
                              Derek Cassidy, John Rumble and Margaret Doyle at the 50th celebrations in 2007
 
 
 
 
This committee worked tirelessly during this restructuring and rebuilding period and the results of their efforts are much appreciated today.

It was agreed by the Committee to make a call on members of $2000 and admit 25 new memberships at $8,000 each. At the same time the Club’s Constitution was amended allowing ‘membership rights’ to be sold on the open market for a profit provided the purchaser’s membership nomination is accepted by the Committee.

After much negotiation with KT and the NPWS the contract to build was signed in October of 1985. The accommodation wing of the old lodge was demolished and the building works commenced as soon as the snows thawed. The Building Sub-committee oversaw the building works throughout the summer and the work was completed ready for the 1986 winter season.

Margaret Doyle assisted with the selection of the new furniture and fittings and her advice on the internal finishes and colour schemes was appreciated.

The "new" Crackenback lodge was opened by John Rumble as Chairman on 7th June, 1986. The final cost was $549,296 paid in full and debt free.

 

 

  

                      

                Plaque located in the Lodge                                   The rebuilt Lodge with the front entry added in 1987 
                                                                                   (bay windows were added to the downstairs front bedrooms later)

 

After the 1986 winter season both our new and old members gave the new lodge a busy welcome!

It was considered however that the initial entrance way was too small and plans were drawn by our resident architect to enlarge this area of the lodge. The new and very grand front entry that we enjoy today (see picture above) was built the following summer.


27 Nov 2020 16:22