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The newly rebuilt Four Mile Hut

On Saturday 20th April, a group of 70 people watched on as Four Mile Hut was reopened after being rebuilt following destruction during the 2019/2020 bushfires.

The group met in the Selwyn Snowfields carpark, bracing against the cold southerly and a miserly 5 degrees for a chilly autumn morning. Consolidating into 4WDs; others choosing to walk as we made our way in, passing the beautifully restored slip-rail along the way.

Four Mile Hut #2 has been built on a site approximately 50m north of the original hut's footprint and allows the former hut's ruin to stand proudly as a testament to its former life.

The second iteration is a true credit to NPWS carpenters Peter and Roger, as they have meticulously created a replica of such astounding accuracy; all the way down to the small rectangular leather washes that exist underneath the nail heads. As you enter into the woodstore area - the top of the door still at a forehead-splitting height - and step up the stone steps into the small abode you instantly get the feeling that you are back inside the original version. The old Ultimate 500 woodstove, now entombed in the blackened ruins yonder, has been replaced by a new Kalora stove which several huts now have. Besides this improvement, the hut retains all of its previous features, down to the picture of the former creator Bob Hughes and the timber bed, which has been lovingly created by the kind men at the Tumut Men's Shed.

Megan Bowden opened the celebration and created a wonderful atmosphere of collaboration, humour, pride and joy. Megan's ability to bring together the descendants of multiple huts, work with a wide range of stakeholders and maintain all of this to a pre-determined schedule has been something to behold. Several members of the Hughes family spoke; along with Klaus Hueneke, Paul Jennings, Ian Griffith (on behalf of the Caretaker group - the Nordic Ski Club), Sue Guy and myself on behalf of KHA. Sue later presented to me a handwritten note of thanks, to the KHA for our part in restoring a hut that is so close to the heart of her family, in particular her late husband Bob Guy who many of you would remember fondly.

By the end of the speeches, the cloud had cleared, the southerly had backed off and we had a stunning Autumn's day to enjoy the refreshments and lunch provided by the NPWS and marvel in the fact that one of the most iconic huts in the Kosciuszko National Park is now back; kerosene tins and all. It is the 6th hut to be rebuilt, following Sawyers, Delaneys, Vickerys, Bradley/Obriens and Brooks. Happys Hut is close to completion and will be followed next summer by Round Mountain and Linesmans Huts.

As Megan so aptly describes, the fabric may be lost but the social connections remain. At least now we have both once again within our beautiful mountains.