AAC 5 26 

 

WHITES RIVER HUT

AAC 5 27Whites River Hut was built in 1935, at an altitude of about 1700m, by Bill Napthali and Fred Clarke who held the grazing lease over the area. In 1937 the Kosciusko Alpine Club (KAC) acquired an interest in this hut to use it exclusively for skiing in winter and added the bunk room at the northern end plus closing in the verandah (Photo 26). Prior to the construction of the Schlink Pass Road from the Guthega Power Station in the 1950's, the thick scrub in the lower part of Whites River valley (Photo 27) meant that the usual access to and from Pounds Creek Hut, was via the Guthega River Valley, Consett Stephen Pass and the Rolling Ground. The upper part of the Whites River Valley provided ideal ski touring conditions when Photo 28 was taken in August 1945.

AAC 5 28Compared with huts like Tin Hut and Pounds Creek Hut in the late 1930's, Whites River Hut was quite palatial. It had lined walls, an open fire with an effective chimney, proper mattresses, sprung bunks, under-cover wood storage, a fuel stove, a kerosene lamp and supplies of non-perishable food. All of this was possible because the hut was administered and cared for by the KAC who controlled the bookings to prevent over-crowding.

AAC 5 29The hut was still in excellent condition in 1970 (Photo 29), with the interior matching Elyne Mitchell's Australia Alps description, that was based on her 1941 visit. Since 1970 there has been a population explosion in the numbers of cross-country skiers using the valley of Whites River to access "back country areas such as Dicky Cooper Bogong, The Kerries, the broad open uplands of the Valentine River Valley and Mt. Jagungal. The hut has suffered significant wear-and-tear and it is reported that the voluntary Whites caretaker group is battling to keep the hut in an acceptable condition.
AAC 5 30In addition to the magnificent ski slopes that surround it (Photo 30), Whites River Hut is a valuable link in the chain of huts flanking the east side of the Main Range – Pounds Creek Hut, Whites River, Tin Hut and Mawsons Hut.