Historic Bluff Dump Hut is beside the Clarence Reserve pack track

Image: Brian Dobbie | ©

Introduction

There are several historic huts that can be visited in the Ka Whata Tu o Rakihouia Clarence area: Black Spur Slab Hut, Bluff Dump Hut, Horse Flat Hut, Old Willows Hut and Tent Poles Hut.

Historic Black Spur Slab Hut

This hut which is also known as Black Creek Hut, Black Rock Creek Hut, was built for shepherds’ accommodation during tupping. The exact date of building is not known but sources suggest about 1928. It has been substantially repaired during the 1970s and 80s by Allan Flint (Kaikoura) who had the use of it for recreation at that time. Pastoralism and farming.

Historic significance

This building is an integral part of the unique history and pastoral management of the Clarence Reserve and of a now comparatively rare type. One of a significant group of early huts on the Reserve.

Fabric

This well built, 6 metre by 3 metre, hut is of split and axe-dressed poplar slabs over a poplar pole frame. The slab joints are battened with poplar poles and packed with clay. A corrugated iron roof has replaced its original canvas one. Similarly corrugated iron has replaced the original stacked stone chimney which collapsed in the 1960s.It has one four pane window and door in the eastern wall. The hut was substantially repaired in the 1970s at which time the earth floor was replaced by concrete and bunks reduced from ten to four.

Black Spur is cleverly sited on a small flat in a grove of old Lombardy Poplars on a tight bend of the Black Rock Stream 200metres above its junction with the Seymour Stream. It is hidden from the Seymour by a low volcanic spur (Black Spur).

Fabric significance

A good example of once common back-country hut type. Construction is consistent with most slab huts of this era although the use of pole battens is a less common variation. Of local if not regional significance.

Management

Clarence Reserve, DOC Wairau/Renwick office

Future management

Black Spur Hut is occasionally used as accommodation. It will be maintained to protect its historic fabric and minimise deterioration. A conservation plan has been prepared to guide its management (Ian Bowan, 1995) and this contains more information about the hut.

Historic Bluff Dump Hut

The hut was built by Bluff Station which is further down the Clarence River on its northern bank. It was a depot for goods and provisions brought in over the pack track particularly prior to winter when all access could be cut off by snow or slips for significant periods. The hut serves as a physical reminder of how isolated station life was in the Clarence Valley.

The wool clip was also taken out this way and the hut originally had a wider door to take the wool bales. The hut’s date of building is not known but 1928 has been scratched in the concrete floor. One reliable source has suggested it was built by a man named Laugeson around that time. Historic themes are pastoralism and farming.

Historic significance

Remnant of the pack-track days of the Clarence Reserve a physical reminder of the isolation and limited communication of station life in the Clarence Valley. One of a significant group of 1920s huts on the Reserve.

Sources: Clarence Reserve File–SCO Historic Resources. Cowman 1995 Remedial Work Plans Clarence Reserve.

Fabric

This hut is a simple rectangular 6 metre by 3 metre structure built of corrugated iron over a timber frame and concrete floor. It has a single tongue and groove door and four pane window in the north wall and a corrugated iron chimney. A small panel of corrugated Perspex has been fitted in this wall. Inside there are six bunks and a fireplace.

The hut is set in pasture beside the Clarence Reserve pack track half a kilometre below the junction of the track and the Seymour Stream.

Fabric significance

Of local significance. Typical corrugated iron musterers hut.

Management

Clarence Reserve, DOC Wairau/Renwick office

Future management

Bluff Dump is a public hut and is used by trampers. It will be maintained to protect its historic fabric and minimise deterioration. A conservation plan has been prepared to guide its management (Ian Bowan, 1995) and this contains more information about the hut.

Historic Horse Flat Hut

Little is known of the hut’s date of building. However it has the weathered initials "SD" and the date 1909 carved in the door. It is described by old musterers as having been a rabbiters’ hut. Historic themes are pastoralism and farming.

Historic significance

Despite little being known of its history, its age and relationship to the other old Clarence Reserve huts make it of regional significance.

Fabric

A small 3.5 metre by 2.5 metre hut of corrugated iron over skilfully constructed split Willow/Poplar framing. It has an earth floor. Bunks are also framed from split timber. The hut sits on wooden piles and its exterior is painted in red oxide. It’s chimney has gone and the hole was recently closed off with corrugated iron. There is a single window in the north wall and the tongue and groove door at the eastern end.

Situated amongst old willows on a lower river terrace at Horse Flat 4 or 5 kilometres down the Clarence River from the main station buildings at Quail Flat. The site is undeveloped and appears to have no features associated with the hut.

Fabric significance

Outwardly a standard corrugated iron farm hut. It is the carefully crafted internal framing of split willow or poplar that make this building technologically unusual. It is otherwise very representative of its type.

Management

Clarence Reserve, DOC Wairau/Renwick office

Future management

Conserved historic hut.

Historic Old Willows Hut

According to a reliable source the hut was built by Wattie Hedgeman in the early 1920s. Wattie Hedgeman was a rabbiter and general farm hand who worked the large South Marlborough runs in the early years of last century. This spot had traditionally been an old mustering camp and the building of the hut provided a more permanent base for the musterers and rabbiters working this western end of the Clarence Reserve.

Historical themes are high country farming and animal pests.

Historical significance

One of a significant group of 1920s mustering huts remaining on the Clarence Reserve, it retains the atmosphere of the era.

Sources: Clarence Reserve file - SCO Historic Resources; Ted Brown’s personal comments; Bowman 1995, Remedial Work Plans, Clarence Reserve.

Fabric

This substantially built willow slab hut with a corrugated iron roof measures 7.5 metres long by 3 metres wide. It has 12 bunks, also of pole and hewn willow, around three walls and an earth floor. Its chimney was originally in the south wall but has been removed and the hole covered with corrugated iron. There is a small three pane window in the north gable. The door which is on the eastern side is of unpainted sawn boards secured by two wooden cleats across its back. The hut contains much written and carved graffiti which provides some insight to the range and dates of use. Some of the graffiti dates back to at least 1925 and there is a 1934 letter from The Otago Farmers Coop Association giving rabbit skin prices glued to a bunk end.

It sits on the toe of a low spur at the junction of the Willows and Gore Streams in the northern end of the Clarence Reserve. There is an old grove of Willows immediately below the hut which has provided the building material and were originally planted to provide fuel and shelter for an old mustering camp.

Fabric significance

Willows hut has regional significance as it is one of the few slab huts remaining in South Marlborough. Because Willows Hut is so isolated it is primarily built from locally available materials

Management

Clarence Reserve, DOC Wairau/Renwick office.

Future management

Old Willows Hut will be maintained to protect its historic fabric and minimise deterioration. A conservation plan has been prepared to guide its management (Ian Bowman, 1995), this contains more information about the hut.

Historic Tent Poles Hut

From the 1860s until 1968 access between Kaikoura and the Warden and Tytler Runs (now known as the Clarence Reserve) was via a pack track over the Seaward Kaikoura Range. The road now follows this route.

Of the several huts built to provide accommodation along the track only Tentpoles and Bluff Dump survive. Tentpoles was the final stop for musterers and pack-men before crossing Blind Saddle to the ‘front’ and had an associated holding paddock for the sheep. Although its date of building is not known it is of similar construction to Bluff Dump which was built in 1928 or earlier.

Historic themes are pastoralism and farming.

Historic significance

One of a significant group of musterers’ huts and other station buildings remaining on the Clarence Reserve.

Fabric

This is a small corrugated iron hut with timber framing and an earth floor. There has been some modification. Originally it had ten bunks and the window and door were in opposite locations. The hut is tucked into a small gully among willow trees.

Fabric significance

Of local significance. Typical of mustering huts of the period, which are rapidly disappearing.

Management

Kahutara Saddle, Clarence Reserve, DOC Wairau/Renwick office.

Future management

Ten Poles remains as an emergency backcountry hut. It will be maintained to protect its historic fabric and minimise deterioration. A conservation plan has been prepared (Ian Bowman, 1995) to guide its management. This contains more information about the hut.

Getting there

The main access into the Clarence is over Blind Saddle Road. From Kaikoura, follow SH1 south for 5 km to the Waiau/Mt Lyford turnoff and head inland to the car park at Kahutara River bridge, 25 km from Kaikoura. There is a locked gate here restricting horse and vehicle access.

Vehicle access beyond this point into the Clarence is arranged by contacting Colin Nimmo of Muzzle Station on +64 3 319 5791. A road maintenance fee is charged for motorised vehicles.

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