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Hull, Percy Edward (Mick) (1909–1995)

by Peter Vodicka

Mick Hull, n.d.

Mick Hull, n.d.

Introduction
Percy Edward (Mick) Hull (4 October 1909 — 26 March 1995) was a pioneer skier, adventurer and bushwalker in Victoria, Australia's alpine areas. He was also a prominent Melbourne business leader in the 'rag trade'.

Early Life and Education
Mick Hull was born in Melbourne, Victoria to Percy Hull, a journalist at the Melbourne Argus and the Sydney Morning Herald and Ethel Beatrice nee Dent.[1] He grew up in Hawthorn, an inner suburb of Melbourne and trained as an accountant, passing his final exam in 1936 while recovering in hospital from his ordeal on Mount Bogong (see below).[2] [3] 

Career
He became the general manager of the Australian Wool Board (AWB) in the late 1960s after working as the managing director of the Sportsgirl/Sportscraft fashion house for many years.  He later left the AWB to transform the Prue Acton fashion business as its business director.[4] [5]   

During the Second World War, he served with the 79th Squadron of the RAAF[6] spending time in Morotai in present-day Indonesia.[7]   In 1939, Hull married Shirley Catherine Marshall,[8] spending part of their honeymoon skiing at Mount Hotham just days before the commencement of the Second World War.[9]   They had three children John, Terry and Pam.[10] After marrying he moved to South Yarra, where he lived for the remainder of his life.[11]

Personal Life and Interests
Hull's first ski trip was to Mount Buffalo in August 1931, staying at the well-known Mount Buffalo Chalet.[12]  Trips to the Mount Saint Bernard Hospice, which was on the Great Alpine Road about 10 kilometres from Mount Hotham followed in 1932 and again in 1933.[13]  Hull first skied at Mount Hotham in 1934, beginning a lifelong love affair with the mountain.[14]  By 1935, Hull was the Treasurer of the Ski Club of Victoria[15] but managed to break his leg at the club championships held at Mount Buller that year and spent three months recovering in hospital.[16] 

In August 1936, Hull, along with Cleve Cole and Howard Michell, set out on a cross-country skiing expedition which was the first winter attempt to cross the Bogong High Plains to Mount Bogong, Victoria's highest peak. Leaving Hotham Heights on 5 August, they set out across the Bogong High Plains carrying provisions for several days. They intended to reach the summit of Mt Bogong via the Quartz Ridge and then continue over the far side to the Summit Hut at the top of the Staircase Spur, where they had stored provisions for the return trip during the summer.[17] [18]  On 6 August, they were overcome by the worst blizzard in several years. The men dug a snow cave and waited four days for the blizzard to end. On 9 August, with food already running short, they decided to make a break for the Summit Hut but lost their way in the whiteout conditions. They were unable to retrace their steps and therefore, wandered for five days without food, descending the wrong side of Mt Bogong in the fog. On the 14th, the men reached thickly scrubbed and soaked Big River Valley and sought refuge in a hollow log, but they were severely weakened from exhaustion, starvation and exposure. Cole was unable to continue, and it was decided that Hull should stay with him while Michell set out in search of help.[19] 

Late on the night of 16 August, Michell reached the settlement at Glen Valley a 'staggering 67 kilometres from the summit of Mount Bogong' and raised the alarm.[20]  Search parties totalling eighty men set out the following morning. Michell, suffering frostbite to his hands and feet, was taken to Omeo hospital by car. All his toes had to be amputated. A party of seven searchers located Hull and Cole early on the 18th.[21]  Using improvised stretchers, they were brought to Glen Valley. Hull began to recover but little hope was held for Cole, who was delirious and badly frostbitten. Cole died late on the night of the 19 August. Hull spent four months in hospital recovering from his ordeal.[22]  The following year, the Royal Humane Society of Australasia awarded Michell and Hull each a silver medal for gallantry.[23]  

The ordeal led to the establishment of snow-pole lines and series of refuge huts on Bogong to render shelter to future skiers; these included the Cleve Cole Memorial Hut (built 1937) and the controversial Michell Refuge (donated by Howard Michell in 1967). The Michell Refuge was burnt in the bushfires of 2003 and a replacement was erected in 2005.  

Hull was a foundation member and President of the Mount Bogong Club, which was formed in 1965 to promote the safe recreational use of Mount Bogong and to maintain the Cleve Cole Memorial Hut and the Michell Refuge.[24]  At his 75th birthday celebrated at the Cleve Cole Hut in October 1984, Mount Bogong Club 'El Presidente' Hull noted that fellow club member and Mt. Hotham skier, Bill Rowed, 'did his inimitable "invasion" by the Penguins, with his rendition of Dame Clara Butt as an encore'.[25]

Skiing at Mount Hotham and Mount Buller
After the end of the Second World War, Hull became involved in the continued development of skiing at Mount Hotham. He was a foundation member of the Alpine Club of Victoria (ACV), which was a 'rebel' breakaway group from the Ski Club of Victoria after it refused to build a lodge at Mount Hotham.[26]  The ACV was formed in 1944 and opened its lodge at Hotham in 1946 and later acquired a site at Mount Buller in 1950, opening their lodge in 1952.[27]  Malcolm McColl, a founding member of the club, was the architect (and the first ski architect in Australia) of the Hotham and Buller lodges, the University Ski Club[28] lodge and Joyce Brockhoff Memorial Hut at Hotham, the Cleve Cole Memorial Hut as well as many other lodges.[29]

During the 1950s, Hull helped form Ski Tows Ltd who built the first ski tow at Mt Hotham, the Blue Ribbon nutcracker rope tow, which ran from 1952 to 1972.  Most of the Ski Tows Limited 200 shareholders were drawn from the membership of the ACV and the University Ski Club.[30] [31]  The company never paid a dividend and was eventually acquired by Des Schumann, an Adelaide businessman, who opened the Playground Chair Lift in 1969.[32]  Schumann further developed Hotham and then bought the Big White and Silver Star ski resorts in Canada.[33]  

Hull went on to ski until he was 84, winning gold medals in the over 70s and later in the over 80s slalom races. At the age of 79, he came in second in the world over 70s Giant Slalom championships in Austria. His last climb of his beloved Mount Bogong was at the age of 82.[34]  Hull, who had five broken legs over his lifetime, lost some toes to frostbite after the Mt Bogong Tragedy and skied very successfully with a plastic hip, just wouldn't say 'enough is enough' and was an excellent example of the motto 'you are only as old as you feel'.[35] 

The Hull Skier Bridge, which crosses the Great Alpine Road and allowed top-to-bottom skiing at Mt Hotham for the first time was named after Mick Hull, opening in June 1995.[36]  

Bibliography 
Official Sites 

  • Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victorian Government, "1995 Ski Season Starts This Weekend" (http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/pressrel/a226.htm). 9 June 1995. Archived (https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/19970113045154/http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/pressrel/a226.htm) from the original on 13 Jan 1997. Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Commonwealth Government, World War 2 Nominal Roll, (http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/Veteran.aspx?ServiceId=R&VeteranId=1051812). Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  • Electoral Rolls, Australia, 1903-1980, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010, Provo, UT, USA, (Ancestry.com). Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  • Public Record Office Victoria; North Melbourne, Australia; Series Title: Rate Books [Hawthorn II] [1867-1953]; Fiche Sheet Numbers: 87-98. Rate Books, 1855-1963, Ancestry.com, 2015, Provo, UT, USA, https://www.ancestry.com/. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  • Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Birth Index, 1837-1917, https://www.ancestry.com/, 2018, Lehi, UT, USA. Retrieved 7 April 2020. 

Newspapers 

  • "Graceful Skier: Working Model Engine: Air Mail Letter" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85597716). Daily News (Perth). 16 July 1935. p. 10 (CITY FINAL). Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.
  • "Lost in the Bush" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article67325587). Geraldton Guardian (WA). 18 August 1936. p. 1. Retrieved 22 December 2019 – via Trove.
  • "Lost Skiers" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74918791). Northern Times (WA). 22 August 1936. p. 3. Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.
  • "Alpine Drama" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50061397). Western Mail (Perth). 27 August 1936. p. 38. Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.
  • "Passed Exam. In Hospital" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223874835). Weekly Times (Melbourne). 3 October 1936. p. 6 (first edition). Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.
  • "In Town and Out" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article248550869). Herald (Melbourne). 20 October 1936. p. 8. Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.
  • "Mt. Bogong Hut" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11047978). Argus (Melbourne). 9 March 1937. p. 11. Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.
  • "Awards For Survivors Of Victorian Snow Tragedy" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article30747571). Advertiser (Adelaide). 1 June 1937. p. 18. Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.
  • "The Talk of the Town" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article55914152). Mail (Adelaide). 26 August 1939. p. 7. Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.
  • "Memories of the Victorian Alps" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article122333782). Canberra Times. 29 December 1990. p. 19. Retrieved 22 December 2019 – via Trove.
  • "Big White, Silver Star owner mourned" (http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/news/article_33f8a164-aaac-50e7-9a45-1e361de425fc.html). Daily Courier, BC, Canada. 18 April 2012. Retrieved 22 December 2019. 

Secondary Book Sources 

  • Cross, Wendy, Australian Skiing: The First 100 Years. (2012) Petersham, A: Walla Walla Press. pp. 31–2, 169. ISBN 978-1-876718-14-5. OCLC 813219950 (https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/813219950).
  • Hull, Mick, 1909-1995, Mountain Memories: Sixty Years of Skiing. South Yarra, Vic.: MH Books (1990). p. 76. ISBN 0-7316-9606-9. OCLC 27605534 (https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/27605534). 

Other Online Secondary Sources 

  • Alpine Club of Victoria, "History of the Alpine Club of Victoria" (http://www.alpineclubofvictoria.org.au/content.asp?newsID=83136). Archived (https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20040603223123/http://www.alpineclubofvictoria.org.au/content.asp?newsID=83136) from the original on 4 June 2001. Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  • Brookfarm, "Our Inspiration - Mick Hull" (https://brookfarm.com.au/about/inspiration/). Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  • Farmonline National, "Woolgrowers nuts to relinquish control" (https://www.farmonline.com.au/story/3621134/woolgrowers-nuts-to-relinquish-control/). 30 Aug 2011.
  • Museums Victoria, D. Tout-Smith, "Alpine Club of Victoria in Museums Victoria Collections" (2003) (https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/1826). Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  • University Ski Club, "University Ski Club History" (https://usc.com.au/join-usc/club-history). Retrieved 22 December 2019.
  • Whitehouse, Dr Denise, ‘Prue Acton: youth fashion and the emergence of the celebrity designer brand, 1964-1972’, Design History Australia Research Network, (http://dharn.org.au/prue-acton-youth-fashion-and-the-emergence-of-the-celebrity-designer-brand-1964-1972/). Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  • Wikipedia, Howard Michell, Wikimedia Foundation, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Michell) 4 January 2018. Accessed 5 April 2020.
  • Wikiski, "History of Hotham" (http://www.wikiski.com/wiki/index.php/History_of_Hotham). Retrieved 22 December 2019. 

Footnotes

[1] The Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths, and Marriages; Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Victoria, Australia, Birth Records.

[2] Public Record Office Victoria; North Melbourne, Australia; Series Title: Rate Books [Hawthorn II] [1867-1953]; Fiche Sheet Numbers: 87-98.

[3] "PASSED EXAM. IN HOSPITAL" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article223874835). Weekly Times. Victoria, Australia. 3 October 1936. p. 6 (FIRST EDITION). Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.

[4] "Woolgrowers nuts to relinquish control" (https://www.farmonline.com.au/story/3621134/woolgrowers-nuts-to-relinquish-control/). Farmonline National. 30 Aug 2011.

[5] Dr Denise Whitehouse, ‘Prue Acton: youth fashion and the emergence of the celebrity designer brand, 1964-1972’, Design History Australia Research Network, (http://dharn.org.au/prue-acton-youth-fashion-and-the-emergence-of-the-celebrity-designer-brand-1964-1972/). Retrieved 7 April 2020.

[6] "World War 2 Nominal Roll" (http://www.ww2roll.gov.au/Veteran.aspx?ServiceId=R&VeteranId=1051812). World War Two Nominal Roll. Retrieved 22 December 2019.

[7] Mick Hull, 1909-1995, Mountain Memories: Sixty Years of Skiing. South Yarra, Vic.: MH Books (1990). p. 76. ISBN 0-7316-9606-9. OCLC 27605534 (https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/27605534).

[8] "The Talk of the Town" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article55914152). The Mail (Adelaide). South Australia. 26 August 1939. p. 7. Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.

[9] Mick Hull, p. 75.

[10] Ibid. p. 185.

[11] Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010, Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com

[12] Ibid. p. 6.

[13] Ibid. p. 15.

[14] Ibid. p. 49-56.

[15] "Graceful Skier : Working Model Engine : Air Mail Letter" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article85597716). The Daily News. Western Australia. 16 July 1935. p. 10 (CITY FINAL). Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.

[16] "In Town and Out" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article248550869). The Herald. Victoria, Australia. 20 October 1936. p. 8. Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.

[17] "LOST SKIERS" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74918791). Northern Times. Western Australia. 22 August 1936. p. 3. Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.

[18] "Lost in the Bush" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article67325587). Geraldton Guardian. Western Australia. 18 August 1936. p. 1. Retrieved 22 December 2019 – via Trove.

[19] Howard Michell, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 January 2018. Accessed 5 April 2020, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Michell

[20] Wendy Cross, Australian Skiing: The First 100 Years. (2012) Petersham, A: Walla Walla Press. pp. 31–2, 169. ISBN 978-1-876718-14-5. OCLC 813219950 (https://www.worldcat.org/oclc/813219950).

[21] "Alpine Drama" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50061397). Western Mail. Western Australia. 27 August 1936. p. 38. Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.

[22] "Mt. Bogong Hut" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article11047978). The Argus (Melbourne). Victoria, Australia. 9 March 1937. p. 11. Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.

[23] "Awards For Survivors Of Victorian Snow Tragedy" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article30747571). The Advertiser (Adelaide). South Australia. 1 June 1937. p. 18. Retrieved 21 December 2019 – via Trove.

[24] Mick Hull, p. 187.

[25] Ibid., p. 208.

[26] D. Tout-Smith, "Alpine Club of Victoria in Museums Victoria Collections" (2003) (https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/1826). Retrieved 22 December 2019.

[27] Wendy Cross, p. 169.

[28] "University Ski Club History" (https://usc.com.au/join-usc/club-history/). University Ski Club. Retrieved 22 December 2019.

[29] "History of the Alpine Club of Victoria" (http://www.alpineclubofvictoria.org.au/content.asp?newsID=83136) Alpine Club of Victoria. Archived (https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/20040603223123/http://www.alpineclubofvictoria.org.au/content.asp?newsID=83136) from the original on 4 June 2001. Retrieved 23 December 2019.

[30] "University Ski Club History" (https://usc.com.au/join-usc/club-history/). University Ski Club. Retrieved 22 December 2019.

[31] "History of Hotham" (http://www.wikiski.com/wiki/index.php/History_of_Hotham). Wikiski. Retrieved 22 December 2019.

[32] Ibid.

[33] "Big White, Silver Star owner mourned" (http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/news/article_33f8a164-aaac-50e7-9a45-1e361de425fc.html). The Daily Courier, BC, Canada. Retrieved 22 December 2019.

[34] "Our Inspiration - Mick Hull" (https://brookfarm.com.au/about/inspiration/). Brookfarm. Retrieved 22 December 2019.

[35] "Memories of the Victorian Alps" (http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article122333782). The Canberra Times. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 29 December 1990. p. 19. Retrieved 22 December 2019 – via Trove.

[36] "1995 Ski season starts this weekend" (http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/pressrel/a226.htm). Department of Premier and Cabinet, Victorian Government. 9 June 1995. Archived https://webarchive.nla.gov.au/awa/19970113045154/http://www.dpc.vic.gov.au/pressrel/a226.htm) from the original on 13 Jan 1997. Retrieved 23 December 2019.

Original Publication

Citation details

Peter Vodicka, 'Hull, Percy Edward (Mick) (1909–1995)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://peopleaustralia.anu.edu.au/biography/hull-percy-edward-mick-32230/text39872, accessed 1 October 2022.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012