NAMA: Dedicated to Australian Skiing History

Operating as a non-profit organization, the National Alpine Museum of Australia is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting and preserving items relating to the history of skiing in Australia. The museum is located at the Community Center of Mount Buller in Victoria, one of Australia’s prime snow sport destinations. The idea of establishing a museum came about in 1999 with the 50th anniversary celebration of the installation of the first rope tow at Mount Buller. This collaborative event by several ski clubs involved with the ski area made participants reflect on the necessity of preserving the history of Mount Buller and a committee was formed to establish a museum.

The newly formed committee joined forces with the Mount Buller Ratepayers Association to lobby the Mount Buller Management Board for financial support in starting the museum’s collection. The funding was granted and the Mount Buller Museum was opened by the Hon. Graeme Stoney, MLC, on 3 October 1999, with the name being changed to the National Alpine Museum of Australia (NAMA) in September 2002 to encompass the entire Australian alpine area. Open all year round, the National Alpine Museum of Australia is the only permanent Alpine Museum in the country, and presents an extensive collection of ski equipment and clothing, as well as literature, film and photographs. In addition to providing interesting information on the history of skiing in Australia for the general public, the museum is a valuable resource for historians and scholars.

Among the items in the museum’s collection is a range of Kastle skis dating from the mid-1950s to the year 2000; a pair of Kastle Jumping Skis-245cm; a pair of tiger skin ski pants from the early-1960s bought at Switzerland’s St Moritz resort; and photographs starting from the early 1920s. The museum has been awarded a grant from the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust to restore old film footage relating to Mount Buller and appeal to members of the public to donate their Standard, Super 8mm and Super 16mm film to the museum for the project.

In 2008 the museum released the large-format book Mount Buller – The Story of a Mountain containing more than 700 images detailing the history and natural beauty of the ski area. It was written by Jim Darby, one of Australia’s most widely published authors on skiing related topics. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to NAMA. In June 2011 NAMA celebrated 150 years of Australian skiing heritage at the opening of the new ski season with a family-fun event. As Australia enjoys its 151st year of snow skiing in 2012, the sport is even more popular than ever, and thanks to the National Alpine Museum of Australia, current and future generations will have the opportunity to see how snow skiing has evolved in the land down-under over the years.