Mountain Huts Preservation Society Inc

Mountain Huts Preservation Society Inc.

Kerrisons Hut

Kerrisons Hut is located on the Central Plateau, approximately 2 kms from Pillans Lake.In the early 1960’s, following bush fires which laid the country bare, Steve Kerrison chose to build a hut on the shores of Lake Pillans.   It was planned that it be situated on the gravel shore where the James River runs out of Pillans Lake.  The hut frame, corrugated iron, bricks etc were loaded on to a 4-5 ton single axle rear drive ute for the trip to the proposed hut site.  However, the trip was marred many times when the loaded vehicle was continuously getting bogged.  Repeatedly, the materials had to be unloaded, the bogged vehicle pulled out by a Land Rover, then reloaded only to have the same scenario happen again and again.  When they were once again hopelessly bogged in Little Creek, Steve Kerrison, in total despair, announced “This is it, no more”!  And so the hut was erected, albeit a few kms short of its intended destination, and the following entry made in the Log Book.

Main thanks are due to the following names who came in January 2nd to 9th 1963 to prepare the track and the site on Lake Pillans.  The track such as it is remains as evidence of their exuberance.  Unfortunately, it was found practically impossible to get materials past this point.  Thanks again to Max Langham and his son John from Riana, Ron Dent and his two sons Peter & Ian from Launceston, Max Collins and his son Greg also from Launceston, and Terry Dando from Melbourne.                                                            

 The building of the hut was performed by the building firms of Gordon Ibbott Pty Ltd of Devonport, Hume & Kerrison Pty Ltd of Launceston. Thanks are due to the subcontractors who kindly helped in their various trades – Max Collins Plumbing,         

 Paul Hume Bricklayer, Cliff Hume Painter & Glazier.         

 Good fishing to all who use it 

(Signed) Steve S. Kerrison           

The hut consisted of two rooms, one for sleeping and one for dining which were supported by a smaller room for washing etc.  The hut’s walls and roof were constructed of corrugated iron over a timber frame with a timber floor and bearers.  It was supported by a stone foundation, had timber-framed glass windows, a large stone and brick fireplace and the interior was lined with masonite.

 In 1982 Steve Kerrison offered the hut to the Lands Department.  Fast forward more than 4 decades and Kerrisons Hut is still standing, a testament to the original builders. However, it was in need of major restoration and repairs. In 2019 Greg Nielsen undertook emergency repairs to move the resident possums on and secure the hut until major works could be undertaken.

Mountain Huts Preservation Society working under a partnership agreement with the Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service and in consultation with the Heritage Section of the PWS carried out the Kerrisons Hut Restoration Project in January and February 2024. Work spanned three major multi-day working bees and commenced with the raising and levelling of the hut with some rock piers repaired and new stumps added.   Rotten flooring was replaced, and a front step was added. Insulation paper was installed in the roof, noggins installed for a new ceiling, while the western window was replaced and the southern window was repaired. This work was followed by the installation of the brickwork around the fireplace. An internal door and a new ceiling were installed in the main room and annexe.  Pegs and a shelf were installed along with the table sanded and varnished and period timber chairs donated. A concrete register was lifted into position on the brickwork, stonework built around the flue and the heater installed. The fireplace timber surrounds and mantle were repaired, wood box added and bunks refurbished to include a ladder.  Preservative coating was applied to exterior rusty surfaces, a new external door with sliding bolt installed and internal walls and ceiling painted. The original cupboard was repaired off site and returned. Historical graffiti has been preserved as a record of the past.

MHPS volunteer participants included Eddie Firth, Jenny Cook, Jerrym Pilon, Rodney Linger, Ian Diprose, Stuart and Belinda Jeffries, Dawson Connell, Paul Clements, Mark Simpson, Robbie Jordan, Aaron Bennett, Ian Hayes, Paul Cotterill and Peter Hansen.

There was a total of 607 volunteer hours spent on works at the hut site – with a further 170 hours spent on off site preparation.

Transport of materials, equipment and general supplies to Kerrisons Hut site by vehicle:- Eddie Firth and Jerrym Pilon. Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service lifted the bricks, mortar and register on site by helicopter.

Donors of materials: – Brad Wootton, Stuart and Belinda Jeffries, Ian Hayes, Jerrym Pilon, Eddie Firth. Many thanks to Bill and Jan Spencer who repaired and returned the original cupboard.

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