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Seaman's Hut - Snowy Mountains NSW

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THE STORY

The history of Seaman’s Hut gives my story good context. It was built back in 1929 after skiing friends Laurie Seaman and Evan Hayes perished in a blizzard on 14 August 1928. Laurie’s family built the hut to provide shelter for future users of the park, in order to prevent a recurrence of a similar tragedy.

I first came here on my first trip to the Main Range back in 2012. I was out for two nights by myself, capturing some lovely images in the calm weather. However, the forecast predicted strong winds on the third night. I’d arranged to meet my friend Scott, a more experienced adventurer than me, at Seaman’s Hut that afternoon. When I arrived at the hut that afternoon the wind hadn’t really got going. A few hours later, the wind was building. I looked across the plain towards Thredbo. There was Scott battling into the wind across the barren plain. It seemed like hours before he finally made it.

Scott told me that they’d closed the lifts by the time he arrived in Thredbo due to the strong winds. He had sweet-talked his way onto the lift to meet me at Seaman’s Hut. We had a hot chocolate and caught up over the next few hours. Outside the wind battered the hut, getting stronger and stronger as each hour passed. By the time we’d finished talking it was 5 pm and getting dark. Seaman’s Hut is an emergency shelter only. “So what do we do, Scott?”, I asked. “Well, we could attempt to set up a tent in this wind, but I don’t like our chances!”, Scott replied. I happily agreed to stay indoors and see the storm out.

We lit the stove to stay warm and put the wet wood kindling on top to dry it out. Before long, the hut filled with smoke. “Jesus, what’s going on?”, we asked. The kindling had got so hot that it had caught fire too! We quickly opened the doors to clear the smoke, nullifying any warmth we’d built up already. What a disaster!

To give you an idea of how windy it gets there, there’s shutters on the inside of the windows to keep the wind out! The wind must have peaked at over 100 km/hr that night as we listened to it attempting to blast us off the Range. I equated it to the sound of a jet plane taking off.

Thank goodness the storm had passed by the following morning, when I captured this shot of the hut coated in snow and ice.


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