Wangaratta Chronicle

Restor­ing iconic Cope Hut

- Hard

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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