Last week myself and a couple of buddies, who for the purpose of conformity across this post shall remain nameless, went off on our first Hut Hunting expedition on a mountain close to Hobart, which shall also remain nameless. No names or locations in this post shall be used, and if you ask me for directions I shall have to decline to answer you. A bit mean of me I know, considering I am actually posting about it, but if you are keen enough you shall go on your own adventure. There is a good reason for this, and I was discussing with a friend today about the secretness (and perhaps lack of) some of the locations of these huts, and how my friend once visited one of these huts and found it in a terrible state with bottles and rubbish left and general disrespect. You see, they are pretty old huts, some older than others and some more hidden than others.
Majority are off the mapped tracks, within the scrub, and are not marked on any maps, heck, there are probably still some out there that nobody even knows about. Unfortunately, in this day and age, not all of us humans can be trusted with nice things or special things or things that should be preserved for the next person to be able to enjoy. Although generally I imagine that those people who are determined enough to go searching and bush bashing and risking life and limb are generally going to leave them in pristine condition (ok maybe it’s not that life or death, but it could be…) Hence the unwritten (or it could actually be written somewhere) rule that these locations are not given out on a public forum. So please don’t ask for credit, as refusal may offend.
Anyway… Myself and my nameless friends set off in search of hut number one, which is actually listed on the map of the nameless mountain. This hut has a name, but again, for conformity, I shall call it Nameless Hut Number One. You should be able to work it out though. We kind of took the long way there. Up the bouldery track with the idea of cutting across to it near the top. Yeah, turns out we could have taken the much easier way, where there was actually a faint path which had been trodden with no big boulders to fall off and die. But hey, there is no fun without a search right… Even if it was a bit un needed.
For a hut which is fairly well-known and I would imagine gets quite a few visitors, it was refreshing to see it in a very non trashed way. This hut was built by people from the Hobart Walking Club as a ski hut, as it is right near a ‘ski field’. Bear in mind here, we are talking around 100 years ago (give or take) so don’t think of it as a ski field which we would be used to today. It was restored around the 1970’s by more walking club folk, and now days it is maintained by the council I believe. It’s hard to imagine that not really that long ago, to get to the top of this mountain it was a full adventure. No road to take you to the top, no beautifully maintained walking tracks, just a track that was beaten out by the local Hobartians and a nice big long hike to get there. Hence the need for a hut. There were no quick trips to the top in those days, and if you planned on doing that and didn’t have a hut then chances are you wouldn’t make it back down again.
Next on the list was the old ice skating rink which was built from concrete in 1939. The idea was to build a concrete base with sides, so it would fill with water, freeze and then be fun to skate on. Unfortunately the wind would create a rather annoying ripple effect on the surface, so once it was all frozen it was kind of useless to skate on. I guess they persevered for a while and then called it quits. It was fairly small anyway, so unless you had really little legs you probably couldn’t get much of an ice skating stride up. It would be interesting to know how much use they actually got out of it.
From the ice skating rink we set out to find the hut we were actually here to look for. It’s a reasonably younger hut, built in the late sixties, by a group of kids to use as a scout hut. Pretty awesome builders these kids, considering they built it two story and it is still standing. Complete with a bath tub placed over a nice little fireplace to get your water warm it would be the perfect escape for those cold winter days. Originally there was ‘a magnificent iron stove’ installed, although, thanks to those humans who can’t be trusted with nice things, that’s no longer there. It was replaced with a little fireplace though. A lot of people do know about this hut, and although specific directions are not easily found online, apparently they are there. I would hate to see this hut destroyed by vandals. Inside it is just magical. Previous visitors have added their little personal touches and it is just wonderful to walk into a hidden little hut like this and feel the history of the place.
We hung around for a bit, soaking in the atmosphere and the beautiful views. Wondering what it would have been like in the days before motor cars and tourist buses. How awesome would it have been to be an explorer pushing your way through the scratchy scrub, not knowing what was on the other side or what you would find around the next tree.
If you ever do make your way to any huts on any mountain, please go with care. These are fantastic reminders of our past, and are at the mercy of us. Leave things as you find them. Close the doors, Take away your rubbish. As much as it would be lovely to tell the world where all these hidden gems are, please don’t publicly post directions. It is an unfortunate thing, but also a reality that there are people about who just don’t give a damn about these places and would all too quickly turn them into another vandalised ruin. Having said that. Go forth to the mountains and explore! Take your water and a first aid kit (or a paramedic) and see what you can see. At the very least you will experience the wonder of the Tasmanian bush, with all of its beautiful flora and fauna, and a peaceful serenity that will get you hooked.