'Two naked bodies left in a rush': Tales from a 100yo Tasmanian hut

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September 20, 2017 08:05:10

The Old Pelion hut has seen a lot of action in its 100 years, including the expulsion of an over-amorous newly-wed German couple.

The historic mountain hut on Tasmania’s famous Overland Track in the state’s north-west is celebrating its centenary, bringing back memories for many.

Martin Robinson from Glenorchy stayed in the hut for the first time nearly 20 years ago, and remembers when the couple were told “to take it outside”.

Mr Robinson said his group of four set up camp early, and were followed by a German couple and two Canadian girls.

“This young German couple were on their honeymoon and they turned up and they got a little bit amorous in the middle of the night,” he said.

“Two Canadian lasses who were sleeping on the same board as this German couple, at some point in the night, kicked the Germans and said, ‘God forbid, take it outside!’

“All of a sudden, there were two naked bodies who left the hut in a rush.”

Mr Robinson said the couple came back about two hours later.

“They didn’t take a stick of clothing with them, they didn’t take a sleeping bag with them and I have no idea where they went,” he said.

“It was snowing and it was cold, it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Hut began life housing a mine manager

The Old Pelion Hut, located halfway along the track from Cradle Mountain to Lake St Clair, was built in 1817 by the Mount Pelion Mines No Liability Company to house the mine manager.

Overland Track ranger Rob Lawrence said the manager only lived there for a few years before the company disbanded.

“Since then it’s gone through phases of use,” he said.

“A lot of the early bushwalkers used the hut and people have been grazing cattle on the Pelion Plains.”

Mr Lawrence said the hut has had a series of restoration works since the 1950s with the help of the Mountain Huts Preservation Society.

“In recent years, the major works were to lift the hut up and re-stump the rotten stumps,” he said.

“Since that we’ve undertaken other works that needed doing, like replacing weatherboards on the hut, repainting the roof, patching up the chimney and replacing broken floorboards.”

He said most of the original timber, which is primarily King Billy pine, was still in good condition.

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife is calling on the public to send in old photos and memories of the hut ahead of a display being set up to celebrate its history.

“Currently, the hut is for emergency use only, so there is a new hut which is a lot more comfortable for walkers, but originally they stayed in Old Pelion,” Mr Lawrence said.

“There’s some interesting old accounts from the likes of E.T. Emmett and similar walkers of a similar era walking through using the hut and getting the fire going.”

A display of images, items and stories will be held at the Cradle Mountain Interpretation Centre from next month, while a celebration will take place at the hut in November.

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