Historic Huts of Hotham & Dinner Plain
Huts of Hotham & Dinner Plain – discover a forgotten history
Huts have played an important role in the European history of the Mt Hotham region. Literally hundreds of huts once existed throughout the ranges of the district; from the earliest crude buildings of the miners and cattle graziers, wayside shanties and shelters for travellers and tourists and the important refuges for the pioneer skiers. The majority of huts and buildings have long since perished. Discover the forgotten history of the few remaining huts that survive in quiet corners around Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain.
Spargo’s Hut (Hut Walk)
Built by prospector Bill Spargo and his brother Cecil in 1927-28 for Bill’s prospecting and mining activities in the area. Bill was superintendent of the Alpine Road for the Country Roads Board in the early 1920s and was influential in the establishment of Mt Hotham as a recreational skiing location. He later discovered the rich gold-bearing Red Robin reef on Machinery Spur in 1941.
Silver Brumby Hut (Huts Walk)
The first Silver Brumby Hut was built in 1992 as a temporary film prop for the Australian film “The Silver Brumby” based on the famous novel by Elyne Mitchell and staring Russell Crowe. The present hut was built as a more permanent structure in 2006-7 by the Rotary Club of Sale, East Gippsland Institute of Tafe, Tanderra Ski Club and the Mt Hotham Resort Management Board.
Derrick Hut (Hut Walk)
Built as a day shelter for ski tourers by the Wangaratta ski club in 1967. This neat little timber hut is a memorial to Charles Derrick a cross country skier who died in a blizzard in1965 whilst crossing from Mt Bogong to Mt Hotham.
Howard’s Wire Plain Hut (Great Alpine Road, Wire Plain)
Surrounded by snowgums, this neat little green corrugated-iron hut is situated next to the Great Alpine road at Wire Plain. Billy Howard, a mountain cattleman from Harrietville erected this hut in 1962. The main building was prefabricated and brought in by truck. The hut was possibly purchased from the nearby Kiewa Hydro Scheme. The skillion section of the hut was added to store saddles and a water tank. The hut was used for Howard’s cattle grazing runs in the locality.
Blowhard CRB Hut (Great Alpine Road)
The corrugated-iron Blowhard hut, (whose iron cladding is well fastened) is an evolution of an earlier CRB hut that was first erected in the 1920s under the recommendation of the then CRB overseer Bill Spargo. The first hut was destroyed by the 1939 bushfires. The replacement has seen many adoptions over the years by the various road authorities. It is largely used and a stopping point for summer travellers along the Great Alpine Road offering great views across the Ovens Valley or down into the head Upper Dargo River goldfield.
Immediately to the west of the hut was once a well-travelled spur used by the Dargo miners from the 1860s. The Morning Star Spur was named after a quartz reef that was discovered in late 1865. The spur also provided access to the mining township of Brocket and numerous other smaller mining camps.
JB Plain Hut (JB Plain Great Alpine Road)
The present hut at JB Plain was built over several summers from about 1971. The hut came from materials from two houses at Ensay and was erected by the Alpine District Scouts and Venturers group based at Swifts Creek and Ensay. An earlier hut which had fallen into ruins was demolished at the time of the present hut erection. This earlier building was made out of scavenged materials such as corrugated iron. This building was probably erected at an unknown date by the Cobungra Station who held a grazing lease over the area. JB Plain I named after Jim Brown who in the 1850s brought cattle into the alpine region with partner Jack Wells.
Dinner Plain CRB Hut (Great Alpine Road)
This hut was one of a number of huts built by the Country Roads Board (CRB) from the 1920s to provide shelter for travellers and CRB workers on the Alpine. The erection of these huts was under the recommendation of CRB Superintendent at the time, Bill Spargo.
Dibbins Hut, Swindler’ Spur
Third generation of huts built on the site from about the 1890s. Used for cattle grazing by Dibbin, Howard & Gow. Located at the base of Swindlers Spur, this neat little drop-log hut is a popular camping destination for bushwalkers.
Joyce Brockhoff (Hotham Ski Fields)
Located amongst snowgums on a small spur between Mary’s Slide and the Orchard ski runs. The hut was built in 1949 as a memorial to Joyce Brockhoff, one of the first champion skiers. Built of stone with large glass windows and a deck.
Damm’s Hut site (Great Alpine Road - ruins)
Just over the bank at Dungey’s Hollow, on the Ovens River fall, was the location of Damm Hut, a shelter also used by Harrietville cattle graziers, Dyerson, Attridge, Moran and Mommsen. This unique little hut built in about 1930 had a distinctive lean into the hill. It was destroyed in the 2003 bushfires.