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Behind the Names

Posted 28 April 2023

The names of runs and many other landmarks at Hotham pay homage to the characters that have shaped the mountain over the years. We’re proud of our history and our strong community and think it’s important we continue to recognise and share our past with guests, new and old alike. Maybe you already know all this, maybe you’ve forgotten, or maybe you learn something new – regardless we hope you enjoy this little insight to the names behind some of our favourite runs. 


Bill Spargo is one of the most influential people when it comes to the initial development of Hotham. He was employed by the Victorian Country Roads Board in 1923 and was appointed supervisor of the Alpine Road between Harrietville and Omeo. He lived in a stone cottage, that was developed to accommodate visiting skiers and became the Hotham Heights Chalet. Known first and foremost as a skier, Spargo turned to prospecting and discovered a gold reef at Mt Loch where he owned and operated the Red Robin mine before finally retiring to Magnetic Island in Queensland – arguably a strange choice for a man so pioneering and passionate about the mountains.  

Mary’s Slide 

Mary’s Slide is one of Hotham’s most loved and famous runs. It is named after Mary Wallace – an Australian skiing champion from the 1930’s. The story goes that she skied the run in 1938 with some friends and slid most of the way down, hence the name Mary’s Slide. Although this story is up for debate as some accounts say it was a joke made by her skiing companions, and Mary never actually fell. Regardless of what happened, the name Mary’s Slide stuck.  


Lindsay Salmon was a pioneer of ski development at Mt Hotham, who was also one of six Australian soldiers recruited to form a secret unit to train troops to ski-in-combat in the Lebanon Mountains in World War Two. Upon his return to Hotham after the war he registered the Mount Hotham Ski School (1946), the first privately owned enterprise on the mountain, and commenced building the Drift Chalet which opened in 1952. A man of many nicknames, ‘The Duke, ‘The Ace Instructor’, ‘Mr Hotham’ and ‘King of Hotham’, it’s safe to say he played an integral part in shaping the mountain. You’ll find Lindsay’s and Lindsay’s Cliff in the extreme zone are named after him.   

Mother Johnson’s  

Mother Johnson’s Return is named after Mother Johnson, a woman who once ran a shanty on the eastern side of the resort. It was a hotel and accommodation catering to passing traffic and the workers of the Brandy Creek mine and the Cobungra Diggings.   


If you know Hotham you’ll know the name Brockhoff and the Joyce Brockhoff Hut. Both were named in honour of Joyce Brockhoff - a skilled skier who helped and influenced many others who shared her passion for the mountains. The Brockhoff Poma, also her namesake, ran for 13 years and followed the line of the current day Upper and Lower Brockhoff runs. It was subsequently replaced by a realigned Heavenly Valley chair. 

The history of our mountain is rich and filled with colourful characters and amazing pioneers. We hope you enjoy learning about the history as much as we love sharing it with you.   

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