Life Member Profile – Lala Baranowsky

Lala Baranowsky had a full life from the moment of her arrival in Kiama with her husband Eugene late in 1951. By then she had two small daughters to raise and in addition she was heavily involved as a partner in Eugene’s work. Effectively she ran the veterinary business from their Kiama home where she was the accountant, the receptionist and the nurse and the person who kept the surgery running smoothly. Before long the business was prospering and the family was able to take holidays. Eugene and Lala could also resume the skiing they had enjoyed in Europe years before.Lala was instrumental in persuading Eugene to develop the idea of a lodge in the mountains, and her persistence was vital in convincing Keith Young, at first sceptical and reluctant, to join them in pursuit of the vision of an alpine club and lodge at Thredbo. Had Keith not been brought on board, the project would have been much more difficult to bring to fruition. Soon after the club was formed Lala was elected to the committee and became its first long-term booking officer, a position in which she used tact and diplomacy to persuade people to accept dates in the lodge which were not necessarily their first preferences. The respect in which she was held helped her around the challenges of the task, which she managed with common sense and good humour for 15 years, well into the 1970s. She played an important role in the development of the lodge, too, and was always a positive presence in the club’s life in Thredbo and Kiama. She became something of a mother figure to the younger members, both as a skier and in the lodge where her cabbage rolls and dumplings were famous. Lala passed away in 1993, having been made a life member with her husband in 1974. Her photograph and Eugene’s adorn a wall in the club’s lodge, watching over the current members as they relax in the lounge room. Lala Baranowskyplayed avital role in the club’s formative years.