5 September 2023
The people of Indi truly value the unique alpine environment of the Victorian high country. The catastrophic loss of 29 historic huts in the 2003 alpine fires galvanised a community response that resulted in the formation of the Victorian High Country Huts Association. Now in its 20th year, with a membership of 250 people and growing, this volunteer association has worked in partnership with government agencies in rebuilding and maintaining the European heritage that these alpine refuge huts represent.
Wallace’s, Bluff, Roper’s, Spargo’s and Horsehair Plain: these evocative names are amongst some of the dozens of huts that have received the skilled care of the Victorian High Country Huts Association. Since 2003, a total of 158 projects, including 38 rebuilds, 50 restorations and 70 maintenance projects have been undertaken by capable and motivated volunteers—people with deep connection to the high country. People like Jim Crebbin of Mount Beauty, Allen Skilton of Wodonga, Meg Haas and Lachie Gales from Wangaratta and Jimmy Findlay of Cheshunt have made personal and financial sacrifices, offering up their skills and energy to work in remote and challenging environments.
A celebration in Mansfield on 28 October this year will mark 20 years of like-minded people coming together with a passion to keep the European heritage of the Victorian high-country huts available for future generations. All Australians owe them their thanks.