A Slice of History

The NTAC is the oldest ski club in the northern Tasmania (established in 1929) and for the past thirty years it has been providing accommodation for members and guests on Ben Lomond. Colonel Patterson, who founded the first settlement in Northern Tasmania in 1804, named Ben Lomond after the Scottish mountain. The mountain is part of the Ben Lomond National Park (16527 hectares) and has the second highest peak (Legges Tor 1572m) in Tasmania.

The Northern Tasmanian Alpine Club was established on the 18th September 1929 when Fred Smithies addressed a specially convened meeting of the Launceston Fifty Thousand League Club moving “That a Winter Sports Club be formed to be called the ‘Northern Tasmanian Alpine Club’”. An amendment to include summer activities such as bushwalking was raised and the motion was passed. The NTAC was born.

Initial sites included the Pine Lake area and Cradle Mountain however the foundation members of the NTAC shifted their focus to Ben Lomond in 1931 when Fred Smithies recalled his previous excursion to the mountain. In September 1931 the NTAC decided that a club hut was needed and the Carr Villa Chalet was constructed at the tree line in 1932. As the Club grew it was decided in 1934 that a plateau shelter was required and building on the Summit Hut commenced in the Christmas period 1936/37.

Up to this time all access to the slopes was on foot and it was not until 1959 that the road drew close to Carr Villa, still a gruelling hike from the Summit Hut. Constant campaigning and hard work from the NTAC saw the construction of Jacobs Ladder around 1965 and eventually the road through to the newly forming Village.

Starting in 1968 and nearing completion in 1971 the club built the Frederick Smithies Lodge, named after our founder at our current location. As the Club continued to grow building commenced in 1978/79 on the new NTAC Lodge. This lodge was lost to fire on 17th July 1996.

The lodge that you see today is the 6th to be built by members of NTAC and has been constructed with the benefit of experience to cater well to members’ and guests’ needs.

Source: Harvey, D. (2000) The Ben Lomond Story