Friends of Melaleuca WILDCARE

A Tale of Two Huts

Slosh, slosh along the track. Soggy boots, muddy legs, dripping parka and the pack is heavy with a sodden tent. But we’re bound for the bushwalkers’ huts at Melaleuca, with the promise of a cosy place to shed our wet clothes and spread out under a roof.

Close to the lagoon at Melaleuca, there are two huts purpose built for bushwalkers. Local bushman and tin-miner, Deny King, after decades of experience in Southwest Tasmania, understood the value of a hut. With help from family, friends, the Hobart and Launceston walking clubs, and passing visitors, he built the first hut in 1960 and the second fifteen years later.

Last year, Friends of Melaleuca embarked on a project to present on site the stories of these two huts and the vast changes in bushwalking since the 1940s. The huts were particularly welcome before the advent of hi-tech gear. Nowadays it is hard to imagine setting out on a barely marked track, with just a sketch map (if any), army disposals clothing, a tent without zippers or floor, and no sleeping mat!

We are pleased to announce that after much collaborative effort the project is almost complete and large display panels have been printed, one for each hut. (Click on the photo then click again/zoom in to see detail).

The text evolved slowly, with input from a number of volunteers and much editing to keep within the space constraints. And thanks to PWS staff for feedback on the text.
We had a good selection of historic and contemporary images to choose from. Thank you to those who presented photos for selection.

In addition to the two history panels, we decided to print separately in each hut a large image of the local landscape. Choosing from the gorgeous photos submitted was impossible! At FoM’s September meeting, there were as many different votes as there were photos to choose from! So we handed the selection to our graphic designer: congratulations to Stephen Anstee and Greg Hodge, whose evocative photos of Melaleuca Lagoon will be hung, one in each hut.

Lea Walpole, our talented graphic designer from ‘Soggy Brolly’ in Queenstown, is very in tune with Southwest weather! Friends of Melaleuca is overwhelmed by her generosity in donating her design work. Tim Williams of ‘Red Arrow’ has also been amazing for providing the final print work on aluminium-composite, free of charge. Thank-you Lea and Tim.

We are delighted with all four finished panels and look forward to installing them in the bushwalkers’ huts at the next opportunity.