Life Member Profile – John Fraser

John Fraser, the younger brother of Darcy, was a dairy farmer at Killalea, north of Kiama, when the Alpine Club of Kiama was founded. He was one of the original members. The first of his many significant contributions was to become one of the eight ‘Active Patrons’ (along with Eugene Baranowsky, Keith Young, Janis Grinbergs, Dick Wilson, George Borys, Geoff Honey and Harry Brown), each of whom pledged a sum of £300 to get the club off the ground and give it sufficient money to complete its negotiations with the company that held the lease on Thredbo and, of course, to start building the lodge. This was a very substantial sum of money, the equivalent of more than $9500 in today’s terms. The investment these men and their wives made represented a not insignificant risk to their own financial fortunes should there be insufficient commitment from the rest of the community of the South Coast to ensure that the club and the lodge were successfully established. John also stood as a loan guarantor when the Commonwealth Bank made the advance that was needed to start work on the lodge, another vote of confidence on his behalf. Thereafter he played a part for many years on the club’s organising committee, taking on the secretary’s portfolio for two years during the 1960s and at various later times occupying the positions of senior vice-president and publicity officer. He was a member of the committee virtually throughout the 1970s. He also participated in many of the club’s weekend working bees in Thredbo, putting up manfully with the hi-jinks and practical jokes of members of the younger generation including the spirited girls Wynn during the re-building of the lodge over the summer of 1983-84. A quiet, unassuming member of the Kiama Alpine Club for well over half a century, John Fraser was accorded during the early 1980s the honour of having life membership bestowed upon him. He passed away in 2017.