McMichael’s Hut Chimney Rebuild

McMichael’s Hut Chimney Rebuild 2018


McMichael’s Hut is situated off Kellys Lane on Arbuckle plain.

McMichael’s hut was rebuilt where it stands today around 1972 (ref.Alpine Heritage survey).

At a height of 1400 metres above sea level this area is subject to extreme weather conditions and therefore the gates to this hut and others are closed during the winter months. Because of the fragility of this area and the peat soil, Kellys lane is closed earlier than the normal seasonal closures to protect the fragile landscape and this is determined jointly between parks Vic and Four Wheel Drive Victoria.

The Geelong 4WD Club was approached by Wayne Peterken, from the VHCHA to see if our club would be interested in assisting Parks Vic in rebuilding the chimney as it was in great need of attention to protect the hut going forward – the club agreed.

Plans were drawn up of the outside of the chimney and Wayne Foon from Parks Heyfield obtained all the materials needed to reclad the outside chimney structure and all the bricks etc need to repair the fire place.

On the 18th May members of our Geelong 4wclub met at the Thomastown camp ground which is just outside the closed gate. Great camping area with plenty of room. We set up camp and while we waited for Wayne Foon to arrive we went for a drive down to Moroka hut and also gathered wood for our camp fires. On Saturday morning we headed up to hut to begin our work. We were so lucky with the weather on Saturday. Blue sky and sunshine, perfect working condition.

Below is the work that was carried out on McMichael’s.
1. Removed necessary existing gal iron cladding to expose the frame and brickwork.
2. The existing frame work was in good condition and we were able to use it.
3. A 4mm plate and steel baffles were secured to the frame work and the chimney was reclad in corrugated iron.
4. Holes in the existing brick work were repaired with new bricks where needed and new bricks were laid on the inside of the existing brick work creating a double brick fire place.
5. A steel lintel was secured to the front of the fire place to stop any logs from rolling out. New bricks were laid in front of the fire pace for added protection.
6. The old mantle piece was replaced with a new piece of timber.

We returned on Sunday ready to put the last of the corrugated iron on the outside and finish the fire place. However, the wind had picked up making it unsafe to be handling iron. It was decided that Wayne and his crew would return and finish the chimney when the weather permitted and the rangers had the time.

The hut already looks great and will stand the test of time now for many years.

This was a great experience for our Geelong 4WD Club to be involved in this project and we are proud to be assisting in projects like this one. On behalf of our Geelong 4WD Club thank you to Wayne Peterken from VHCHA, and Wayne Foon from Parks Heyfeild for sourcing materials, supplying all the tools and transporting all the equipment needed to do the work. I would like to thank our Geelong 4WD Club members for giving up their time to come up and help with this repair.

Shez Tedford. (Geelong 4WD Club)