Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps


Mt Buffalo

Weatherproofing the Buffalo Chalet

The Mt Buffalo Chalet was built in 1910 and run for many years by the Victorian railway authority. It is an incredible building in a remarkable location, just near the Gorge in the Buffalo National Park.

It has been closed since 2007 and fallen into disrepair. Sections of the building have been demolished because it would have been prohibitively expensive to renovate the whole complex.

Continue reading “Weatherproofing the Buffalo Chalet”

Works Begin To Preserve Mount Buffalo Chalet

The following comes from the Victorian government:

The Andrews Labor Government today announced the newly appointed members of the Mount Buffalo Destination Advisory Group, which will work with Parks Victoria to identify future tourism options for the Mount Buffalo Chalet.

The advisory group was established to consider future options for the Chalet so it can stay safe and secure for generations to come.

Continue reading “Works Begin To Preserve Mount Buffalo Chalet”

Parks Victoria Volunteer Track Ranger Program

Last year Parks Victoria (PV) ran a Volunteer Track Ranger Program in north east Victoria. They received a very positive response from both the people who volunteered and those who were out hiking in the areas where volunteer rangers were present. PV has decided to run the program again this year and is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified people.

Being involved in the program will enable participants to expand their volunteer experience while exploring some of the remote terrains and campsites in the Alpine National Park. This helps Parks Victoria during peak times of visitation.

Continue reading “Parks Victoria Volunteer Track Ranger Program”

The Buffalo Stampede

The Buffalo Stampede is a ‘SkyRunning’ race event that will be held over three days in April 2016 on a variety of courses near Bright.

SkyRunning events are held around the world. This will be the third time Bright has hosted it. There are a range of options, from kids races, a 12 kilometre event to the top of Mt Porepunkah and Apex Hill, plus a 42 kilometre Marathon and 72 kilometre Ultra Marathon. The Ultra follows a course from Bright to Mt Buffalo and back. There is also the option to join the Grand Slam, three days of running which sees participants cover 142 km and 9,000 metres of ascent.

You can find further information and sign up here.

7 Peaks Alpine Ascent Challenge

The 7 Peaks Ride is an iconic set of rides up seven mountains in the Victorian High Country. You do each ride when it suits you, but has a five month window, with riders being encouraged to do at least four of the rides. The riding season starts this week.

The peaks are Mt Baw Baw, Mount Buffalo, Mt Buller, Dinner Plain, Falls Creek, Hotham, and Lake Mountain. Each ride involves a serious ride from the valley.

As you go you get your 7 Peaks passport stamped.

You can tackle the 7 Peaks any time from October 16 2015 to March 31 2016.

Full details here.

Skiing the High Plains

This is one of the finest books written about the Australian Alps. Self published by Harry Stephenson in 1982 and long out of print, this compilation of essays about the development ok skiing in Victoria is exhaustive. Coming in at almost 500 pages, it must have been a massive effort. It is an incredible cultural history of skiing, based on a series of stories and recollections from key players in the development of skiing in the state. While we are generally offered a cattle grazing heavy history of the Alps, this book fills in details on some of the other actors in the early days of European settlement.

It’s various chapters cover the developments at key mountains across the state, from Buller and Hotham to Donna Buang, where skiing was popular in the 1920s. It doesn’t neglect wilder and more distant areas like Bogong or Mt Howitt. And it is inter-spaced with fantastic photo galleries by a range of photographers.

There is a review available here.

Tours of Mount Buffalo Chalet

The following comes from Parks Victoria:

It’s your last chance to tour the Mount Buffalo Chalet prior to the commencement of refurbishment works. Free one hour tours will be held on Saturday 21 February. Tours will run on the hour from 10am to 3pm and bookings are essential as tickets are limited. Book online here.

Accessibility: there are numerous steps up into and throughout the chalet as part of the tour.


Public gets first look at Alps plan

The following comes from the Victorian National Parks Association’s Phil Ingamells.

It’s been six years in preparation, but the Greater Alpine National Parks Draft Management Plan has at last been released for public comment.

Covering five national parks (Alpine, Baw Baw, Errinundra, Mount Buffalo and Snowy River), as well as the Avon Wilderness Park and six smaller parks and historic reserves, this single management plan deals with nearly one-third of Victoria’s park estate.

Not surprisingly, there is little detail in such a broadscale document – but there are some quite specific proposals, such as the current alpine grazing trial. Roofed ‘retreat style accommodation’ is flagged for Mount Buffalo National Park.

Unfortunately the integrity of the draft plan has been marred by the oddly configured Alpine Advisory Committee, required by law to advise on the plan. The committee was appointed without its full quota of environmental advisors, yet has a majority of mountain cattlemen members and supporters.

The 40 maps available online may be difficult to download, but hard copies can be bought from Parks Victoria for $10, phone 13 1963.

Alternatively, you can view the plan and maps at the VNPA office, just call ahead on 03 9347 5188.

We will outline our response to the plan within a few weeks to help anyone making a submission. Comments on the draft are due by Monday 25 August.

Check the VNPA website for additional information.

Partial demolition of Mt Buffalo chalet to start

As a further development in the long running saga about the historic chalet on the Buffalo Plateau, The Weekly Times is reporting that the two accommodation wings on the chalet can now be demolished.

The journalist is Chris McLellan.

Iconic Mt Buffalo chalet to be saved by knocking some of it down

Image: SMH
Image: SMH

DEMOLITION works can proceed on the Mt Buffalo ­chalet after heritage protection ­orders were lifted.

Two wings will be knocked down to make way for a $7.5 million restoration and allow the chalet to be reopened as a day visitor centre.

Heritage Victoria granted the permit over the objections of the National Trust which supported efforts to restore the century-old chalet but not at the cost of about 40 per cent of the building.

The chalet closed in 2007.

There is still debate about whether the demolition works will need Federal Government approval as it is included on the National Heritage List.

A clearing sale of hundreds of items from the chalet will be held on May 4.

Heritage Victoria executive director Tim Smith said the permit would allow the main chalet building to be restored “to its former glory”.

Benalla MP Bill Sykes said work had started on the restoration with maintenance work well under way.

Expressions of interest closed this week for community representatives to oversee the redevelopment.

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