Life Member Profile – Chas Keys

Chas Keys joined Kiama Alpine Club in 1990 having become friends with a member of Kiama Alpine Club who shared a passion for Australia’s Snowy Mountains. A New Zealand native, Chas had moved to the Illawarra to take up a position at The University of Wollongong and whilst skiing wasn’t his first passion, he eagerly contributed to the camaraderie relishing in the highly social communal atmosphere of the Club. Chas’s historical contribution began not long after he joined the Club when he was approached by then Club President Alan Fredericks to help document the Club’s history. Chas’ university teaching background in urban and regional development, along with his keen historical interest and his involvement in Kiama Alpine Club meant he was well placed to write the club’s first history book. Kiama in the Mountains: the story of an alpine club, being one of the first books written about an alpine club in Thredbo, was eventually published for the Club’s AGM in May 1997. In 2010, the idea of a second book was formulated by Alan Fredericks and incoming President Liz Wynn with A Place in the Mountains: the continuing story of the Kiama Alpine Club from 1997 to 2018 published for the AGM in May 2018 – a fitting way to celebrate the Club’s 60th anniversary. Thanks to Chas, we are one of only a small number of clubs in Thredbo that has comprehensively documented their history. Chas spent many hours interviewing people, researching stories and information about Thredbo and alpine skiing to recount the history of the club, reviewing copy and edit changes, images and captions and fact checking appendices. Chas has also written all of the historical content on our website and ensured our history is captured in other Thredbo publications such as Thredbo Historical Society newsletters. His hope is for members to enjoy reading about the Club’s history, to learn new things about their club, and for the club to continue recognising the need to capture its history as that history unfolds. Chas was made a life member at the club’s AGM in 2020.