Last updated 18Jun18

Mt Franklin ski chalet site/information shelter

The Mt Franklin ski chalet site is located next to the Mt Franklin information/survival shelter below Mt Franklin in the Namadgi National Park.

Location: GR 55H FA 60129-71076 (MGA94), Tidbinbilla 8627-2S 1:25000

Mt Franklin Chalet site, March 2006

Visits: 16 Jan 16, 15 Oct 08, 6 Nov 07, 17 Apr 07, 15 Mar 06

Photographs are available.


KHA web site: Located near to the summit of Mt Franklin, and just off the road from Piccadilly Circus to Mt Ginini. Grid Reference is 600709 on the Tidbinbilla 1:25,000 map. This hut was burnt down in the January 2003 bush fires, being the single most significant cultural heritage loss in these fires for Namadgi. It was replaced by a large corrugated iron interpretive shelter. This hut was specifically built for skiing and was the oldest club-built ski lodge on mainland Australia (older lodges exist in Tasmania). It was built in the summer of 1937-38 for the Canberra Alpine Club. A large kitchen and living area is downstairs and bunk rooms upstairs. A toilet was built in nearby NWS, to satisfy the Cotter catchment regulations, so the hut is very close to the border. The hut was upgraded in the 1950s, with internal lining of baltic pine. The present kitchen stove came from the Prime Minister’s Lodge. The doors to the stove were stolen within days of the lodge being burnt down. Ski runs were also cleared nearby, but have now largely overgrown. Immediately before the fire, some memorabilia including some old skis etc, were rescued by a thoughtful ACT Parks ranger. Timber weatherboards, two story with gable iron roof. Multi-roomed with spectacular kitchen and loft bunkrooom.

• KHA Namadgi database (private source). Site 197. The Chalet opened on 2nd July 1938.  A two storey timber building containing a kitchen, living room, shower, ski room, bunkrooms and drying room.  The oldest ski club lodge on mainland Australia.

Sites of Significance in the ACT. A 9 volume set, pre-cursor to the ACT Heritage Register. Published in 1988 (Vols 1-7), 1989 (Vol 8) and 1990 (Vol 9); pp38-43. Site UC2. See extracts of the relevant pages in the photos above.

• Signage at site: The Chalet was a two-story weatherboard building with double bunk accommodation for 30. After construction, Canberra Alpine Club members undertook the interior finishing. The exterior was originally coated with green-tinted lindseed oil, and later with green paint. The main entrance was a stable door; if snow piled up against the bottom, the upper half could still be opened. A ‘new’ kitchen stove came from the prime minister’s lodge in 1957 when Dame Patti Menzies renovated the kitchen. The bunkroom partitions and ceiling were originally hessian. “You could hear someone change their mind”. The hessian was replaced by wood in 1956. The partitions did not extend to the floor or ceiling so warm air for the stove flues could circulate.