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Start
Contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18

Photogallery
Archive
1940-99


Walk
Magazine
Archive
1949-87


Newsletter
Archive
1949-
The Melbourne Bushies - Fifty years along the track (1940-90)
Chapter 6 - Wilkinson Lodge

Doug Pocock

The State Electricity Commission built Wilkinson Lodge in the summer of 1932-33 to house staff on the Bogong High Plains who would carry out research for the proposed Kiewa Scheme. The first resident engineer, Mr O. T. Olsen, with his wife and son, took up residence in April 1933. SEC staff occupied the hut until early 1947.

In 1948 the Ski Club of Victoria (SCV) bought, for £1 from the SEC, 'Trimbles Cottage', as it was then known. They renamed it Wilkinson Lodge after an early skier and SCV president. It was only used for a couple of years when interest in staying at the lodge waned, largely due to the establishment of Falls Creek ski village. During the fifties the lodge was used sparingly and gradually fell into disrepair. Groups reported that only two rooms were habitable.

In 1957 Jack Coffey had heard that the SCV was no longer interested in maintaining the lodge and that the SEC would demolish it if no maintenance were carried out. A group of three MBW members Jack Coffey, John Fitzgibbon and Gwynnyth Taylor visited the lodge in Easter 1957 and saw its potential as a base for walking, especially for family groups. (Gwynnyth had first visited Wilky in 1936 while staying at Cope Hut on a skiing trip.) Despite the lodge's poor condition, a suggestion was made that MBW acquire Wilky. The Club eventually leased the lodge from the SCV for a year, with first option to buy. The lease period was intended to give members an opportunity to use Wilky on a 'try before you buy' basis. Meanwhile a questionnaire was circulated to members to determine their views.

While many liked the idea of owning Wilkinson Lodge, its distance from Melbourne seemed a great disadvantage in the late fifties. Those members who owned cars generally had small, slow models such as the Morris Minor, Standard Cadet or Hillman Minx. Drivers using the Hume Highway had to contend with Pretty Sally Hill a very slow