Life Member Profile – Keith Young

The Alpine Club of Kiama probably came to the attention of Keith Young some time in 1957, when Eugene Baranowsky was canvassing support in Kiama for the idea of setting up a skiing organisation to build a lodge in the infant village of Thredbo. Keith was a businessman in Kiama who owned and operated a farm produce firm. He was well connected and respected in the local community and was known to be an effective person in local organisations, and he was one of the first people to whom Eugene turned when it became clear that significant community financial resources would be needed to get a club established and its lodge constructed. He took some convincing that the idea was sound and worth pursuing, but a trip to Thredbo over Easter 1958 with the Baranowskys eventually persuaded him that the vision had merit. His organisational skills were then deployed in the task of creating the financial base for the project, which entailed persuading many other people to join the venture. He became the first president of the club when its founding meeting was held in May, 1958. In this position Keith had oversight of the processes leading to and accompanying the construction of the lodge which was completed towards the end of his year in the presidency. He remained on the committee for a further six years, offering guidance, and he was later involved in the management of the impacts of the explosion of the hot water system which badly damaged the lodge in 1968. Keith Young’s leadership in the early years was vital to the successful establishment of the club and the development of its home in the snow. Especially important was his role in cajoling the people of Kiama, Nowra and surrounding areas to join the club in the early years and invest their money in debentures from which the lodge could be constructed. Keith died in 1989 at the age of 78, having been made the club’s first life member 16 years before.