Builder defends his new Craig’s Hut

Builderdefends his new Craig’s Hut

2 February 2008

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Australia — The builder of the new Craig’s Hut in Victoria’s high countryhas hit back at critics who branded the new hut a poor imitation of the one thatappeared in the classic film The Man from Snowy River.

Craig Ogier, who spent nine weeks building the new hut near Mount Stirling,said he was not paid anything close to the $300,000 set aside for the project,and said he had built a “great hut”.

Last Sunday, Snowy River filmmaker — and now Mansfield local — Geoff Burrowes and the artistic director who built the original hut, Leslie Binns, criticised the new hut.

“(There is a) huge difference in the profile, there is a difference in the treatment. The roof is completely different. It’s a tin roof. We had a bark roof,” Mr Burrowes told The Sunday Age.

Tourism Minister Tim Holding cancelled his attendance at a community celebration at the hut last Sunday when the controversy emerged.

Mr Ogier said he had built a quality hut to replace the previous hut destroyed by bushfire.

“The hut has been built with tried and tested traditional skills and techniques using suitable timbers such as iron bark and red gum that can last over 100 years,” he said.

He said the Department of Sustainability and Environment had left the bark off on purpose because the bark had contributed to the last hut burning down.

“It’s a great hut. I admit it’s not like the movie set — I want to make it clear I built what I was asked to,” Mr Ogier said. “We built it to a strict set of specifications and plans that were drawn up by the Department of Sustainability and Environment, we never had a free hand to go in there to say build what you like.”

But he said his hut would last for generations and would soon adopt a high country character.

“The timber is new and it does lack the character of an old hut, but the harsh conditions of the high country will soon carve its own character into that hut,” he said.

Photo: The new hut and (below) the original film version of Craig’s Hut, which was destroyed by bushfire.

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