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So, when city based skiers began looking for somewhere closer to Melbourne than ski destinations in north eastern Victoria or Gippsland, Donna Buang was exactly what they were looking for.The top car park on the mountain at the Ten Mile Turntable was only 96 kilometres from the city on the roads of the time and those without cars could catch a train to Warburton and either walk or hire a ‘service car’ to take them up the mountain.Mt Donna Buang overlooks the town of Warburton in the Yarra Valley.Only 63 kilometres in a direct line from the centre of Melbourne, it was a popular ski resort from the late 1920s until the early 1950s.But a few reminders of its heyday are hidden in the forest among the beech trees.This is a book length article of more than 30,000 words with over 80 photos and maps. Skiing - Ski runs - Crowding - Volunteer work parties - Other activities - A film of skiing on Donna Buang in the 1920s - Administration and ski politics - The ski jump4. Sources and thanks - Periodicals - Books - Web sites - Thanks There was some recreational skiing at Kiandra in New South Wales in the 1860s and 70s and interest was revived by the construction of the Hotel Kosciusko near Perisher in 1909 and to a lesser extent by the Buffalo Chalet in 1911.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.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 probable locations of six ski runs in 1938 are shown in green. Composite map showing early roads and tracks in bright purple superimposed on a modern map with roads in dull orange and modern walking tracks in grey.

They also reported that the newly built ski run was far too narrow to be safe.‘..snow was lightly packed, but after a few runs over the same tracks the pace was much accelerated. On the other hand, to get to the snow means an ascent from Warburton of 3,000 feet along either a well graded road (12 miles) or a very steep bridle track (4 miles).

The evolutions performed in trying to control speed on a steep slide which owing to fallen timber and tree stumps narrowed to three feet in places, provided comedy for a number of pedestrians who appeared on the scene. Carrying skis up the Short Track is not recommended and the condition of the road is often such that it is impassable to cars beyond Cement Creek...

Fire, war and the decline of skiing on Donna Buang - Fire and war - After the war7. While a few tourists tried skiing as a novelty, it was never a popular recreation.

This changed in 1919 when the Norwegian born First World War nurse Hilda Samsing took over the lease of the Buffalo Chalet in north eastern Victoria .

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