By George – it’s good here
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.