The Snowy Mountains were first explored by Europeans in 1835, and in 1840, Edmund Strzelecki was the first European to ascended Mount Kosciuszko and subsequently named it after a famed Polish patriot. High country stockmen soon followed who used the Snowy Mountains for pastoral grazing during the summer months. Banjo Paterson’s famous poem The Man From Snowy River recalls this era. The cattle graziers have left a legacy of mountain huts scattered across the area lending to the Snowies unique Australian character.
The most well-known of these huts, Wallace’s Hut and Craig’s Hut both reside in Victoria. Wallace’s Hut, is Australia’s oldest standing cattleman’s hut built in 1889. Wallace’s Hut is situated in an extremely photographic Snow Gum grove on the Bogong High Plains. Conversely, Craig’s Hut is not an original cattleman’s hut as it was built as a set for the 1980 Australian movie The Man from Snowy River. Authenticity aside, Craig’s Hut is a photographic icon of the area. Nestled on a clear hill, aptly named “Clear Hills” near the cross-country ski resort of Mount Stirling, Craig’s Hut offers majestic views over the valleys of the Victorian High Country. It is not the hut itself that resonates with me, but what it represents. The pioneering spirit and deep resolve of those hardy cattleman that helped build Australia and formed part of our unique national identity.