Saturday, 4 August 2012

Sepia Saturday; 137; skiing;

A little history of the skis; As I have the tendency to be different I am into skiing while the summer Olympics are on.  (It is winter here!)

Kiandra has a unique place in Australian history:

   It was Australia's only snowbound gold mining village

         It was the birthplace of skiing in Australia

In the winter of 1861 Scandinavian miners introduced snow shoeing (skiing) to Australia. Over the following years ski races were held annually on Township Hill at Kiandra and Australia's first ski club was established.

Members of the Kiandra Ski Club believe that Alpine downhill racing as an organised sport commenced in Australia
“Early skiing in Kiandra also featured competition, in fact a type of competition that was far ahead of its time.”
“I would like to commend you for having organised the first Alpine ski races in the history of our sport.” International Ski Federation. 10 May 2011

 At Kiandra, Australia, alpine skiing commenced in 1861, from the late 1880s and for the following twenty years, ladies’ downhill events were principally dominated by Barbara, Margaret and Mary Yan, the daughters of a Chinese man from the mountains of China and a lady from the Bavarian mountains in Germany. Barbara Yan won the "Downhill Alpine" event in August 1887. The results for children aged ten, are also recorded for the same year
Mr. Frank Yan won the 1896 major downhill event, and was presented with a gold fob and a pair of skis, 2740mm in length, by NSW Member of Parliament, Mr. G. MillerIn 1908, the first documented International and Intercontinental “Downhill Skiing Carnival” was held at Kiandra, Australia.

some of the history of  Kiandra;

For centuries before European settlement Aboriginal tribes gathered in the Kiandra (Giandara) district in summer to feed on bogong moths. When the first Europeans arrived early in the nineteenth century they used the high country for summer pasture for sheep and cattle - though stories abound of heavy losses of stock trapped by early snow-falls.

In 1859 the world came to Kiandra. By March 1860, 10,000 prospectors from all parts of the globe were scouring the district in search of gold. A timber village sprang up among the mud and slush of the Snowy River Diggings, as they were called, the Eucumbene River then being known as the Snowy River.

Within 18 months the rush had moved on, leaving only a few hundred diggers, including a substantial number of Chinese. Before it did the diggings were the scene of one of the most turbulent gold rushes in New South Wales. Dubbed Mount Rascal due to frequency of bushranging and robberies, there were anti-Chinese riots, while the antics of one of the most controversial Gold Commissioners in the colony led to a Parliamentary Inquiry.

 The later history of Kiandra includes the impact of the massive engineering feat of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme, before the town was absorbed into the Kosioscko National Park and turned into a ghost town. More recently the area has become renowned for its recreational fishing and bushwalking, while skiing has continued with the establishment of the Mount Selwyn Ski Resort.

How elegant  and  up to date  in days gone was easy, fun and wonderful on the snowfields!
This was the famous Kandahar binding! The newest skisticks were made from aluminium. My father's were made from bamboo.

The Roberts of Kandahar Challenge Cup was run in 1911 at Montana, Switzerland. Contestants skied an unmarked course against the clock down the Plaine Morte Glacier over rough snow and enough natural hazards to prevent contestants from simply running straight like the longboarders. "The Kandahar" was thereafter (and still is) held annually at Mürren, Switzerland. Emphasis on the importance of the descent prevailed in British racing and in everyday skiing as well.

The second bud of alpine racing was invented by British ski mountaineer Arnold Lunn in January, 1922, on the grounds of the Palace Hotel in Mürren where he persuaded some friends to race through a series of paired short wands stuck in the snow. The race was against the stopwatch and without regard to form, in contrast to contemporary Swiss controlled course contests where form counted.
Lunn’s slalom cleverly played speed off against control. The delightful tension between these opposites made the race so intriguing that its popularity spread quickly. With slalom gaining popularity, it became possible to run alpine combined races, scoring slalom and downhill together, as jumping and cross country had been scored jointly for Nordic combined titles. In 1924, Lunn helped found Mürren’s Kandahar Ski Club to promote alpine combined racing.
In the 1920s, the popularity of alpine skiing began to rise, thanks to the spread of ski guides teaching the stem technique. One by one, alpine resort hotels and inns arranged to stay open in winter to accommodate a growing group of alpine skiers in places like Kitzbühel, St. Anton and St. Moritz. Some exerpts courtesy Wikipedia 

Ski, skip or run to  Sepia Saturday 137


  1. Fascinating - I've never tried skiing and I don't think I will now as I've left it a bit late. I wonder what those ladies in their elegant dresses and coats would think of modern ski garb. A skiing kangaroo would be a sight to behold.

  2. Despite 10 years in Norway I never took up skiing; seeing them practice with skis on wheels pt me off for life. The history of skiing in Australia was a fascinating read.

  3. Hi Tatiana! Great post, I learned a lot. To think that you had to wear a dress to ski back in the day ... what a hassle, lol.

    Kathy M.

  4. Such an interesting history. An enjoyable read!

  5. Interesting post. I never thought of Australia as a place for skiing.

  6. A perfect summer(winter)time post! When I watch the Olympics, I often wonder where an athlete could learn a sport when their country has no history of it? Now I have an answer for the far side of the world!

  7. I have enough problems skiing in jeans so I wonder how they managed it in those big dresses? That would be something to see!

  8. A very interesting post. I learned to ski at Kiandra when it was a ski resort back in the 50's. See my posts here: