Life Member Profile – Darcy Fraser

Darcy Fraser, a tax accountant in Kiama, was never a particularly active skier in the Alpine Club of Kiama, though he did journey to the mountains and joined the throng of members on the slopes of Thredbo and other skifields from time to time. His major contribution to the club was to its establishment and early development. He, like Keith Young, was one of the small group of respected and influential community leaders in Kiama who, together with Eugene and Lala Baranowky, provided the impetus to establish the club and ensure it operated from the beginning on a sound, businesslike footing. His particular roles were to take on the demanding task of club secretary and to be an adviser on financial matters including the operation of the debenture system. This system became the principal means by which the club developed the financial position which enabled it to build its first lodge on Lot 28 at Thredbo in 1958-59. Darcy was also involved in the discussions which established the club’s rules and he was a key player in the early negotiations with the Commonwealth Bank for loan funding. Almost certainly he was also engaged in recruiting members, talking to his farmer customers about the club and encouraging them to join up and take advantages of the intriguing recreational opportunities it would provide. For the first five and a half years of the club’s operation he was its wise, hard-working, efficient and good-humoured secretary. Thereafter he faded from the scene, but his pioneering contribution was recognised in 1973 when he was awarded honorary life membership of the club at the same time as the founding president, Keith Young. He and Keith were the first individuals to be recognised in this way. His life membership, like Keith’s, was formally retained when the club became an incorporated body in 1981 and changed its name to the Kiama Alpine Club. By then, though, it had been two years since Darcy Fraser had passed away.