Brighton Mountain Wanderers (B.M.W.) Ski Club continues to be a club for members keen on snow sports, who are proud of our heritage of being one of the earliest ski lodges on Mt Buller still in existence today.
Club formation and Lodge build
In early 1950, four friends from Brighton gathered a group of friends to apply for a site on Mt Buller to build a ski lodge and were granted site number 25 on Mt Buller (Merrick Summers, Jim Nilsson, Jock Robertson and Neil Barter). Friends from Melbourne Tech and Melbourne Uni were gathered and a Club of 25 members was formed, to finance and build the Lodge.
Materials were scarce, and labour and cartage were expensive, so the work was undertaken by the members. Over summer of 1950-1951 and twenty-six building days later, the Lodge was at lock-up stage. The first season was had at BMW Ski Club Lodge in 1951. The Lodge was the thirteenth lodge to be built in the Mt Buller village.
The original Lodge had 10 bunks – one per original full member – but quickly needed expansion as families grew.
- In 1966, the first extension saw the conversion of a sundeck to extra living space upstairs and four more bunks with ensuite downstairs.
- In 1967, a new sundeck added to the front. Smaller upgrades of the living space and amenities were always underway.
- By 1985, the second major expansion of 10 bunks and 3 ensuites was undertaken as children of members were adding pressure to bookings; the present day Lodge is the result of this expansion.
Club name and logo
B.M.W. stands for Brighton Mountain Wanderers. The identity of the Club reflected the origins of the earliest/foundation members – Brighton – Mountain was logical – then Wanderers was a natural addition. With their interests at the time being sports cars and motorbikes, as well as snow sports, the initials seem to tie their interests together.
BMW Ski Club was formed and while the logo was designed to be different from the car company, foundation club members were content to be associated with the excellence of BMW cars and motorcycles, which had been in Australia in very small numbers since before World War 2.
The Club roundel of the logo – which differs from the car company in colour and positioning of the dark and light quadrants, reflects the main Club activity – weekend skiing – and has the following symbolism:
- Blue Right: Friday night climbing up the mountain
- Yellow Right: Saturday sun skiing
- Blue Left: Saturday night Club party
- Yellow Left: Sunday skiing.
Links with lifts
The Summers family had had an association with Buller from skiing pre-war in the 1930s with Ski Club of Victoria (SCV), and had been involved post-war in suggesting, setting up and running the first trial rope tow for SCV on Mt Buller (Bourke St) in 1948-49. Six members from BMW Ski Club were involved in ski tows from 1958, forming the BMW Ski Tow Group, which regularly supported early ski lift operations at Mt Buller for the establishment of modern lifts.