Victorian Alpine Huts survey, for Parks Victoria 1994-5.
The RACV conducted a car trial on the old Omeo Road in 1921, gaining considerable publicity for tourism in the area and the poor state of the road Lawrence (1993): 17. Rally drivers who stayed at Rundell’s Alpine Lodge, complained of the state of the road. This prompted the owners, Charlie and Catherine Rundell to write to the CRB, requesting the road be upgraded Carroll. As a consequence the CRB took over management of the road. During this time, road construction consisted of pick and shovel and horse drawn tools. It was decided to build a number of refuge huts for CRB patrolmen and travellers including Blowhard, Diamantina, Whiskey Flat, Dinner Plain and Boggy Creek ibid.. Material for this hut, and possibly all the refuge huts built by the CRB at this time, was supplied and delivered by Krackes Omeo General Store Carroll. Following WW2, an ex-army 4WD weapon carrier was fitted with a frontal blade, as an experiment in snow clearing. In 1953, the CRB built Snow Huts and a machinery shed on the western side of the existing hut, for the patrolmen. Two years later, the first official snow clearing machine was allocated, being and Avering Austine Grader. For the following 13 years it was a second home for driver Fred Ward. The Snow Huts were primitive but the walls were insulated with wood shavings from the CRB carpentry shop and the cast-iron Lux wood stove warmed the hut efficiently. A hot water service running off the stove provided hot showers, although water had to be pumped from the reserve tank with a semi-rotary hand pump. In 1968, now with better machinery, the patrolmen worked from Cobungra and Mt Hotham, abandoning the Dinner Plain camp, consequently the additional buildings were removed, leaving the remaining hut Carroll. Roy Weston’s plan of a `Dinner Plain Hut’ in the early 1930s showed an area of 19×12′ (5.8mx3.7, similar to this hut which is 5.5×3.6m), with no windows, galvanised iron cladding, no floor or bunks. A table stood in the centre Stephenson (1982): 291. This hut was identical to other CRB huts illustrated by Weston, including the Boggy Creek and Whiskey Flat huts. Historic Places branch (DCNR) noted that the hut resembled other CRB huts built around 1923 when the CRB took over the Omeo-Harrietville Alpine Road and upgraded and reopened the earlier road used in the gold mining era Smith (1991). A CRB hut was shown near here on Cleve Cole’s 1930s map of the Bogong High Plains ibid.. It was possible that it was among the oldest CRB construction huts in the State ibid.. Views taken of the hut in May 1991 show a gabled corrugated iron clad hut with attached corrugated iron chimney (with rubble stone and earth base) and skillion part log-framed verandah to one side. A wide door opening at one end was fitted with a ledge & braced boarded door and a window has been sheeted over DCNR collection.