Locatated on the Howqua Track, Howqua Hills on Sheepyard Flat GR404830. Access by vehicle from Mansfield.
Also known as Howqua Hills Homestead, or Forest Commissions Patrol Hut B236.
Photo: John Mitchell, 1971
The Howqua Hills cattle grazing area was first opened by Dr Steele in 1868. Jim Fry to whom it is name after, was a carrier in the area for decades. Fred Fry, his nephew took over the hut and built others nearby, including Ritchies, Gardners, Upper Jamieson and Schusters Huts.
Fred was born in Mansfield in 1897 and died in 1971. He owned 34% of the hut, with the rest owned by the Government, who were surprised to discover the fact, only after Fred became ill, and was taken to Melbourne Hospital.
Maintenance of the hut after Fred's death has been a real issue, with the Federation of Victorian Bushwalking Clubs supposed to take over. However, government foresters undertook restorations in 1975 and again in 1988. Today the hut is in very average condition, but given its popularity with walkers, and location right beside the old Howitt Township site, its preservation is essential.
Original plans show a house of five rooms. It has a high gable roof over a solid drop slab building with skillions and a verandah. The original maltoid lining has all gone.
Fred Fry was known for his unique style of roof building, where the main supports ran the length of the roof, and were pulled in a rolling fashion, up the roof using horses and a chain. Getting the ridge log in place, was the most difficult task, after which the others followed more easily. The log-ends can be seen clearly in the photo below.
Caretakers - Forestry Commission.
- Hueneke Pp 66, 236
- Butler Pp 108 - 110
- Stephenson Pp 105 - 106
- Magnussen - no references.