Have you ever wondered why the murals existed?
...a letter to KHA from Ian Ritchie...
I chanced on your website tonight for the first time, and welcome the information you are gathering together on the huts.
I'm currently having restored some Rufus Morris originals of Mawsons Hut, Jagungal, and Mt Twynum dated "1951" and "December 1952". My father, Arthur Ritchie, and his friend, Selby Alley, (founders of the Newcastle Tech College Bushwalking Club) took Rufus (who lived over the road from Dad's childhood home in Concord West) down to Kosciuszko during those years specifically for Rufus to complete some watercolours of the region. I have contemporaneous photos of the party carrying the heavy and bulky art supplies and backpacks into the park, and standing around Mawsons Hut.
I believe the Grey Mare drawings were made on one of these two visits to the park, probably December 1952. My father told me that they were snowed-in at Grey Mare and on the third day of blizzard the comment was made, \"snowed in and no women for company!\". At that comment, Rufus took some charcoal from the fire and drew the nudes and the ghost of the Grey Mare. Dad mentioned that he requested Rufus to draw Dad's nude on the ceiling over Dad's bunk.
The party then made its way to Dickey Cooper Hut, during which journey, Rufus became unwell and could no longer carry his pack. My father carried both packs for a while, one on his back and one in front. When the effort became too great, Dad would leave one of the packs on the fence line that they had encountered, walk a kilometre or so, then return for the second pack, and so forth, thereby tripling his walking distance.
The party got to Dickey Coopers suffering from hypothermia, and took to the bunks. It was only the superhuman effort of Selby and Dad to encourage each other to make a fire that saved them. I was last in the Grey Mare Hut in the late seventies and noted a log book reference to some visitors who had taken offence at the murals and who had attempted to removed them. I'm glad to hear they are still there, if faded. Thanks once again for your web site, and I hope this little bit of information helps.
7 October 2004.