In 1984, Tasmanian wildlife park owner Peter Wright announced he would conduct a search of the Western Tiers for the Tasmanian Tiger.
He set up base camp near Lake Adelaide, where historical sightings of the elusive creature had been reported.
The search may have been terminated toward the end of the year, but the hut he built at the site remained, becoming known as the Tiger Hut.
Throughout the next four years, the hut was used as a safe refuge for bushwalkers until the state government decided to have it removed through the Parks and Wildlife Service in 1988.
The sudden taking down of the structure led to concerns for other historical huts in the Western Tiers, and the subsequent formation of the Mountain Huts Preservation Society.
The group will celebrate its 30th anniversary next month with a function at Mole Creek Hall.
President Roger Nutting said Mole Creek was a fitting backdrop for the milestone.
“A lot of the work we do revolves around traditional land use on the Great Western Tiers,” he said.
“We plan on having rolling and static displays of what the society has been doing across the last three decades.
“There will also be a roving microphone to get comments from people who have been involved in the group’s journey.
“It’s just a general chance for people to celebrate.”
As with the Tiger Hut, there is not only a story behind each site, but also each restoration undertaken through the society.
Its first project after being formed was the Trapper’s Hut near the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
Originally constructed in 1946 by the Walters and Miles families of Mole Creek, members of the MHPS worked for about 3800 hours across 20 months to rebuild the structure, which was officially opened on December 20, 1990.
From there, the group turned its attention to the Ironstone Hut at Lake Nameless, which had been built in 1917 to provide shelter for anglers and bushwalkers in the Central Plateau.
MHPS used the summers from 1993 to 1995 to restore the hut so it may be able to provide further use to visitors of the area.
Other projects of note for the society include the Lady Lake Hut in Chudleigh Lakes area of the Central Highlands (reopened in 2004), and Basil Steers Number One Hut on the February Plains (reopened in 2010).
Earlier this year, MHPS opened the Sandy Lake Hut more than a century after it was first put up.
Member Margaret Howe said the project consisted of more than 2400 hours of voluntary work from 60 members across 40 working bees.
The reconstruction received support from the Parks and Wildlife Service, which assisted with the airlifting of materials to the site.
Mr Nutting said MHPS had gone on to develop a strong relationship with the service after initially forming in dispute of its actions.
“Throughout the past 30 years, we’ve turned the ship right around,” he said.
“We’ve become the go-to group for high country heritage, and the Parks and Wildlife Service will often come to us to seek advice or knowledge on a range of topics.
“The really nice part about the whole thing is that what was a difficult relationship in the early years has developed into a good, cooperative association now.
“The history we initially set out to preserve has become very important.”
Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service Greater Western Tiers parks and reserve manager, Rob Buck, said the MHPS complemented the work they did in the region.
“We recognise they have a lot of expertise and passion, so there is a lot of respect there,” he said.
“They are an extremely dedicated group and they do some fantastic work in the community.”
A number of the huts restored through the MHPS were initially built to accommodate snarers.
While the practice of snaring and trapping native animals for their skins occurred throughout Tasmania, the most valuable skins were in the high country where colder weather produced thicker fur.
Building huts was part of the preparation for the six-week snaring season, which traditionally began in June.
Snaring would eventually be banned in 1984 as a result of decreasing demand, though the huts were also used by farmers conducting mountain cattle activities.
Mr Nutting said the discovery of huts usually came from researching the sites upon which they were built.
“Given some of these huts are more than 100 years old, nothing was really documented about them historically,” he said.
“It’s a matter of digging and delving, as well as asking questions.
“In terms of restoring active structures, what is left is usually a very small remnant of what was originally there.
“This makes what is restored incredibly important and extraordinarily rare.”
There are between 15 to 20 huts that the MHPS continues to monitor and maintain, in conjunction with the Parks and Wildlife Service.
As part of the restoration process, the group install interpretation panels in the huts letting people know of the site’s historical significance.
Mr Nutting said the remote nature of the sites could be one of the reasons why there has never been any issues with vandalism.
“If it’s a location that people can drive to, there is more chance of there being a car load of people who are out for a good time and maybe that’s when things get vandalised,” he said.
“The huts are in areas where people need to put a pack on their back and take their food along with them.
“Generally, the visitors we get are people committed to walking and enjoying the scenery.
“We always install visitor books in the huts and it is astonishing to sit down and read how appreciative people are of the Mountain Hut Preservation Society.”
The Mountain Hut Preservation Society will hold its 30th Anniversary function at the Mole Creek Hall from 10am on Saturday, October 27.
For more information about the society, go to www.mountainhuts.com.au.