The Huts

If you venture through the untracked wilderness of Mt Wellington, you might walk right over a group of mossy stones, a few pieces of aged, broken crockery or a flat area, without realising that you have just visited a forgotten historic place, a place which people beautified and loved a hundred years ago.

It was around a century ago that the craze for recreational huts on Mt Wellington first started. The mountain had always been a dominating backdrop to the city and it greatly influenced people’s thoughts and imaginations. Hobart had a strong sense of identity and independence in the days before necessity compelled Tasmania to join the Federation. As the city had become very well established by this time, including many impressive buildings, people’s thoughts naturally turned to leisure, and what better area to use for recreation than the mountain which was on their back doorstep?

Accordingly small groups of friends, employees or small syndicates walked up the mountain in the weekends carrying all kinds of equipment and vied with each other to find the most attractive, secluded sites and to build the most elaborate structures in which to spend their leisure hours. Typically, a mountain hut would consist of a levelled site by a small stream, a chimney built of local stone and a wooden structure embellished by extremely elaborate intertwined branchwork. Many of the hut groups prided themselves on their fine cuisine and their love of culture and gentle company. One of the huts reputedly contained a piano! Ladies would arrive in their fine clothes and groups would walk from one hut to another to sample the hospitality of the hut builders.

Very little is left of some hutsites today; an experienced eye and the instincts of a sleuth are needed to notice the remains – a rock platform here, a pile of mossy rocks there – which mark some of the sites of this most interesting and romantic time in history. Since the structures were almost exclusively built out of timber, they were nearly all destroyed by the fires which ravaged the area in 1920. The sites are very fragile and susceptible to damage by over-visiting, and many artifacts have either been badly burnt or souvenired by previous visitors to the site. Not all of the hutsites have been re-discovered, and there are several sites which have been found, but which are in dispute as to their correct identities. This website contains information on only a selected few of these fascinating and romantic structures, which form an important part of Tasmania’s early white history.

See below for a listing of the huts we have added to this site so far, or select from the menu at right.

Fernlea and Fern Grove Huts

The photo of Fernlea hut above shows the hut builders’ great care in beautifying the ornamentation. The photo is from Roy Davies’ collection at WPMT. These two huts (Fernlea and Fern Grove) were situated above the Waterworks and built by Read More …

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Cluster Grove Hut

The Cluster Grove hut was built in 1908-9 in McRobies Gully. It was built of logs and had a bark roof and a stone chimney with a corrugated iron cap. Our document on this hut is available for download here. Read More …

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Myrtle Hut (Proctors Rd)

There were two huts named Myrtle Hut. This hut was built on Proctors Road, near the Lea. Boxing bouts and bicycling was popular at this hut. It was owned by the Ryland family and friends, who continued to use the Read More …

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Musk Hut

The Musk Hut was one of the more ornate huts. It was built in 1908, and in the later stages somewhat resembled a Swiss chalet. Young men enjoyed participating in chopping contests here. One of the members, Sgt. W. O. Read More …

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Myrtle and Grasstree Huts

There were two Myrtle Huts on Mt Wellington, and the one we are talking about here is the one situated on the Hobart Rivulet. It was built a short distance above the Grasstree Hut, by some of the same builders. Read More …

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Fern Retreat Hut

Fern Retreat hut was built in 1890 in what is now Myrtle Gully. There were two versions of the hut in the same location. A small flat area of land below the hut was once used as a tennis court! Read More …

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Clematis Hut

Built 1890’s (probably). The members were mostly tradesmen. There were two different version built at different times. An arson attack destroyed this hut in 1908. Presumably the second version was built after this attack, and it was most likely finally Read More …

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Falls Hut

Built 1897, originally one room, then two rooms built on, the first subsequently being used as a toolshed. A two-level bridge was built here in 1901. George Mason, a well-known ranger and builder of the original Richards Monument, was the Read More …

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Forest Hut

There were several huts with this name, run by the same group of people. An earlier version of Forest Hut was burned down while occupied, two people narrowly escaped being burned to death. Remains include flat areas, paths, and a rock Read More …

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Other huts

We are still working on documentation for the many other huts on the Mountain. In the mean time, we are posting some images of several other huts. The photo above is from a postcard, and the caption says: “Approach to Read More …

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