HISTORY OF OUR WATER SKI CLUB
The Latrobe Valley Water Ski Club began life briefly as the Latrobe Valley Water Sports Club in 1960, when Lake Narracan was first being built. At the time there were no facilities, and the members of the newly formed club began actively working away at trying to build some. A slalom course and various renditions of ski jumps were eventually built by volunteers.
Water skiers making the most of local facilities in the early years
The club held a few events with the demise of Yallourn, and also put out a newsletter called ‘Thrills and Spills’. They began holding organised tournaments utilising very basic means of measuring and scoring the entrants, such as mounted protractors and hand held stopwatches.
In 1971 the club was granted exclusive rights to use the water during very specific days and times. This then grew over the years to encompass the wide variety of rights which they experience today.
The need for a club house was obvious. Utilising an old Yallourn house was considered, however the club eventually decided on a fresh build. It needed a lot more funding to do anything, so they ran events all over the state to try and raise some. Eventually at the end of the 1970’s the club decided on the log cabin that is still in-situ today. The plans were drawn and permits sought.
In the early 1980’s, around 100 working bees were held during the off seasons. The site was leveled and foundation poured. The Besser bricks were laid, and then the timber logs for the top level were organised. The steel trusses and supports were then installed for the roof. The septic tank was also installed at a later date, which very near rolled down the hill into the lake!
The water ski clubroom roof being installed
The club house was officially opened in 1983. A judging tower was installed in the 1990’s on the bank, along with a Slalom tower within the lake. Several other updates were undertaken over the years like new slalom course anchors, the installation of a breakwater embankment to the south west, as well as several reiterations of the ski jumps and judging towers.
The club was also home to some very large events over the years, with the 1990 Australian Titles being the biggest. The then World Jump Champion Bruce Neville claimed that our humble town boasted “one of the best water ski sites in the world, if not the best”. It is easily argued that we still have the best slalom course in Australia today. The site was then subsequently ‘Nationally Rated’ and claimed as the only site in Australia where a World Titles event could be held.
After a few lean years caused by the drought and the Global Financial Crisis, the club is again going strong. It is at a new phase of growth, and looking at new ways it can improve and support new members and events into the future. It now sports its own club ski boat, and continues to welcome new members.
The water ski club in full swing at the 1990 titles
With thanks to ‘As I Remember It’ by Syd Payne
For more detail on the history of the Latrobe Valley Water Ski Club, or to obtain a copy of Syd’s book, contact the club directly by clicking here
For more detail on local history contact The Old Brown Coal Mine Museum