MAWSON’S HUTS FOR HOBART
Shrines to the ‘heroic age’ of Antarctic exploration such as the Scott, Mawson’s and Shackleton huts have been out of reach to all but a privileged few. But there is news that a replica of Australian explorer Douglas Mawson’s wooden huts will soon be built in Hobart, Tasmania.
The Australian Geographic Society has joined forces with the Mawson’s Huts Foundation to construct the full-scale replica. It will be built in four sections at the Launceston campus of the University of Tasmania’s Architecture and Design School and transported by road to Hobart to a site provided by the Hobart City Council.
Foundation heritage carpenters who have worked on the actual huts at Cape Denison will construct the replica assisted where possible by students at Launceston campus. Leading the construction will be Peter McCabe who has his own construction business on the NSW Central Coast.
The Foundation and AG Society have begun seeking sponsors to fund the construction cost of just over $600,000.
“We’ll be approaching companies and organisations which currently have an interest in the Antarctic and also companies still operating that sponsored Sir Douglas Mawson’s 1911–14 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE),” says the foundation’s chairman and CEO David Jensen.
”It will provide a major new tourist attraction for Hobart and generate revenue for ongoing conservation.”
Work will start as soon as $250,000 has been pledged, which will cover the construction cost. A further $350,000 will be required to replicate the interior as it was during 1912.
The replica will be constructed of Baltic pine – from exactly the same source in Finland as the original timber used by Mawson – and Oregon pine. All the timber used will be the same dimensions as used on the hut at Cape Denison.
It will operate as a museum and be fitted out to replicate the interior as it was when occupied by the AAE during 1912–13.
“As a pre-eminent adventurer/scientist, Douglas Mawson is one of the AG Society’s touchstone heroes, and we’re thrilled to be joining the Foundation on this fabulous project,” says AG Society treasurer and Australian Geographic editor Ian Connellan.
“We think that the replica will be one of Australia’s finest specialist museums and we’re working overtime to see this dream realised.”
(Editor: In the June issue of timber+DESIGN, we interview one of Australia’s leading conservators about his work on the Scott, Shackleton and Mawson’s hut projects. He also offers good advice about conserving and restoring old timber.) Subscribe now