Paddy Pallin was born in northern England in County Durham. His love of the outdoors began with the Boy Scouts, hiking the Yorkshire moors and dales. Paddy migrated to Australia in 1926. He worked on a farm at Singleton and then as an insurance clerk, but in a pivotal moment of his life became unemployed during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Paddy went bushwalking every weekend, so he knew from personal experience that camping and hiking gear was cumbersome and heavy. Paddy was inspired to set up a home-based business making innovative light-weight equipment on a second-hand sewing machine. He opened his first city store in George Street in the YMCA building. By the time of his death in January 1991 his company was a major outdoor retailer which owned 11 stores and ran bushwalking and skiing schools in NSW and Victoria.
Paddy took up cross-country skiing in 1954 and in the 1960s and 70s was still leading expeditions to hike the Himalayas. The 36 km Paddy Pallin Classic at Perisher which he founded in 1965 is named in his honour, as is the Paddy Pallin Rogaine. Paddy was involved in promoting the Youth Hostels Association, assisting with the purchase and renovation of the Thredbo hostel.
Paddy instigated the formation of the Bushwalkers Search and Rescue section of the Federation of Bushwalking Clubs of NSW in 1936, together with half a dozen other walkers. Member clubs would provide the names of several people prepared to conduct bush searches. When the Federation was notified that a bushwalker was lost, Paddy would phone each Federation member club, who would in turn contact their members, enabling the formation of a search party.
He founded the Paddy Pallin Foundation to provide grants to encourage and assist the practice of the bushwalking, mountaineering, rock climbing, ski touring and canoeing.
His best-selling book Bushwalking and Camping was published in 1934.
For more info see:
Never Truly Lost; the recollections of Paddy Pallin, published NSW University Press, 1987