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Students help restore pastoral history at Crystal Springs

A historic timber and tin graziers’ hut at Crystal Springs in D’Entrecasteaux National Park has been restored by Christ Church Grammar School students.

Department of Parks and Wildlife ranger Rebecca MacDonald worked with the school on the cultural heritage project.

Mrs MacDonald said the existing hut at Crystal Springs was built by the Muir family in the 1930’s as part of a mustering camp on the Muir pastoral lease. The hut was used by local farming families such as the Blechyndens, Muirs, Dousts, Gibletts and Mottrams, but later fell into disrepair.

“Christ Church Grammar School has been visiting this area for the last 25 years and they wanted to mark the anniversary by giving something back to the community – working with Parks and Wildlife to restore the Crystal Springs hut was the obvious choice,” Mrs MacDonald said.

“We were keen to maintain the heritage of the hut and preserve as much of the structure and original materials as possible.

“The veranda posts were replaced using a pile from the old Walpole Jetty which was split to match the remaining posts on the hut.

“The original posts would have been shaped with an adze, a woodworking tool used in the 1900s, so we borrowed an adze from a local Parks and Wildlife officer and Christ Church’s project manager, Conrad Scott, was able to smooth off the splinters and shape the veranda posts in the traditional method.”

Mrs MacDonald said the restoration process preserved some of the history of another hut burnt down in a bushfire earlier this year.

“Three sheets of tin with familiar local names such as Muir and Mottram written on them and dates of their visits were salvaged from the My River hut and used to replace some of the rusted tin at Crystal Springs,” she said.

“Thanks to the hard work of the Christ Church Grammar students, the Crystal Springs hut has been preserved for future generations as an example of coastal grazing practices from the 1930’s.”

Parks and Wildlife plans to install interpretive signage at the site to keep the story of the Crystal Springs hut alive. 

 

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