Mountain Huts Preservation Society Inc

Mountain Huts Preservation Society Inc.

Lady Lake Hut

Lady Lake Hut is situated on the escarpment of the Great Western Tiers and is accessed via Higgs Track, named after the Higgs family who emigrated from England in 1852 and settled in Tasmania four years later. In 1879, Sydney Higgs, aged 29, forged a track from the valley below to the plateau, to enable access for the grazing of cattle on the highlands. The track ran parallel to the Dale Brook and was a steep but evenly graded stock route, providing access to good grazing areas around Lake Lucy Long.

The original Lady Lake Hut was an initiative of the then Deloraine and District Improvement Association. The DDIA could see the tourism potential of the area and was keen to promote fishing and recreation in the area. Syd Higgs, by now a man over 60 years of age but with a deep knowledge and understanding of the mountain, was employed by the DDIA to build a hut suitable for comfortable accommodation for visitors to the area.

The two-roomed hut was constructed of split timber and sheets of iron, with a central double-sided fireplace and stone chimney. It was completed in 1911, reportedly for the sum of approximately £100. A timber fish house was added the following year. Some of the timber for the hut was sourced from the surrounding forest, but all other building materials (sheets of iron, etc) were carried from the bottom of the mountain.

Lady Lake Hut, which derives its name from a small lake situated approximately 250 metres to the north-west, was used and appreciated by walkers and fishermen for many years, but by the early 1950’s had, due to the ravages of time and weather and lack of continual maintenance, begun to fall into disrepair. It was eventually totally destroyed by a bushfire which swept across the mountain in 1961.

MHPS first sought permission to rebuild Lady Lake Hut in 1996. It took almost six years of paperwork, red tape and bureaucratic wrangling before the Society eventually gained permission to rebuild the Hut. Construction finally began in 2002 and, after thousands of hours of voluntary labour from approximately 70 volunteers during a multitude of working bees, the official Hut Opening, attended by almost 500 people, was held in January 2004. Co-Patrons of MHPS, Charles Crowden and Carlyle Sherriff, performed the official opening and, just like the opening of Ironstone Hut in 1996, this was an occasion which bought young and old together, and brought high praise from those who had a connection with the mountain and their cultural heritage.

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