Wangaratta Chronicle

Restoring iconic Cope Hut

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PARKS Victoria is proud of the incredible partnershi­p it has formed with the Victorian High Country Huts Associatio­n (VHCHA) over the past 15 years, and the series of working bees that have been undertaken.

The aim of the partnershi­p is to undertake repairs to ensure the huts are structural­ly sound, stable and weatherpro­of while respecting its age and layers of history.

Cope Hut, located on the Bogong High Plains within the Alpine National Park, has been a refuge for skiers and bushwalker­s since it was first built back in 1929.

The harsh alpine conditions have taken their toll on Cope Hut so now it is up to a team of dedicated volunteers working with Parks Victoria to undertake the necessary repairs.

The extensive works that have been undertaken at the two working bees this year include the rebuilding of the frame and walls on the woodshed, replacing stumps, installing drainage and replacing the verandah at the entrance.

Recently, the team dismantled and rebuilt the frame on the western wall, rebuilt window frames and windows and replaced stumps and floorboard­s within the middle floor.

It is worthy to note that all replacemen­ts have been done with local timbers, and logs have been cut using traditiona­l methods all by hand (broad axe, adzes, chisels etc).

The teams will reconvene in March 2018 to finalise the remaining restoratio­n works to Cope Hut including repair of the roof, entrance steps, fireplace stone work and frames on the northern wall and southern wall.

“I am always amazed by the passion, knowledge and commitment demonstrat­ed by the VHCHA and its incredible team of volunteers,” Parks Victoria ranger team leader Mt Beauty Kevin Cosgriff said.

“We had over 20 volunteers here this weekend, all with various skills and roles, from catering to carpentry to stone work to an archaeolog­ist trained in collating and categorisi­ng heritage artefacts.”

“Our team of rangers enjoy working on those projects right from the start and are delighted when we near completion.

“It provides a real sense of achievemen­t knowing we have restored another heritage asset within the Alpine National Park.”

“Working on these Alpine Huts is incredibly rewarding,” said Wangaratta’s Lachie Gales, a member of the Victorian High Country Huts Associatio­n and co-ordinator for Cope Hut Restoratio­n.

“We’re all learning so much about the heritage of the High Country while making sure it survives for future generation­s.

“The team at Parks Victoria are supportive in every way and always show respect and gratitude for what we do.

“It’s a relationsh­ip that is going to continue to get some great things done.” PROUD AS PUNCH: The volunteers helping to restore Cope Hut are doing an excellent job. HARD AT WORK: Volunteers are busy cutting floorboard­s for the new renovation­s of the hut.

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