By Ge­orge – it’s good here

Mt Buller News - - FRONT PAGE - By PAM ZIERKMAHONEY

GE­ORGE Ai­vatoglou’s name is so well known around Mt Buller you would think he had lived there all of his life.

But not so – just more than two thirds of his long and very ful­fill­ing life.

Ge­orge came to Aus­tralia more than 53 years ago as a non-English speak­ing mi­grant, chas­ing a dream.

Pre­sent­ing him with a cer­tifi­cate for his com­mit­ment to the moun­tain, Mt Buller Mt Stir­ling Re­sort Man­age­ment chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer John Hu­ber de­scribed Ge­orge as a leg­end of the moun­tain.

“Most cer­tainly most of you would know Ge­orge’s Ski Hire – and the iden­tity be­hind it,” John said.

John said that in com­pil­ing the in­for­ma­tion on Ge­orge he ‘could have writ­ten a book on him’.

Ge­orge ar­rived in Aus­tralia in 1952 with noth­ing more than a small case and the clothes he wore - his first four nights he spent in a toi­let be­cause he didn’t know any place to go and didn’t speak any English.

A chap he made friends with on the ship out to Aus­tralia found him and of­fered him ac­com­mo­da­tion in ex­change for some work – this was at Mt Buller.

His first trip to Mt Buller was a long way and on the back of a builder’s truck – start­ing in Novem­ber 1952.

When he fin­ished the build­ing job he stayed around do­ing var­i­ous jobs in­clud­ing ski hire in the win­ter.

But that was not all he did – he also made cof­fee and washed dishes – some­times all for a meal.

Ge­orge did a lot of build­ing over the next few years, but it was Ge­orge’s per­sonal skills, build­ing skills, lady skills – that saw him suc­cess­fully build his busi­ness for some years.

He pur­chased Ge­orge’s Ski Hire in 1968 and it has been known as that ever since.

He also pur­chased Ge­orge’s at Mer­ri­jig – now the Mo­tor Inn and Ski Hire.

Ge­orge cel­e­brated his 77th birth­day in May and as at the open­ing of this year’s ski sea­son he is cel­e­brat­ing his 54th year on the moun­tain.

In re­sponse to the pre­sen­ta­tion Ge­orge said he was very lucky to come here – his start here was good – he was promised that if he worked hard he could one day buy the ski hire and he did.

He helped build the ABOM and at night, af­ter fin­ish­ing the build­ing work, he did the dishes and when he fin­ished the dishes he made the cap­puc­ci­nos.

He brought out his fam­ily from Europe but un­for­tu­nately only one sis­ter stayed, he said.

He said he met his wife here – they have now been mar­ried for 48 years – he has had a lovely time – and has raised his chil­dren here.

He con­sid­ers him­self a very lucky man – con­grat­u­la­tions Ge­orge.

PROUD GE­ORGE: Ge­orge Ai­vatoglou cel­e­brates 53 years on Mt Buller.

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