THE memories of four friends surviving in the wild mountainous region of Tasmania have been captured in a new book.
Penicuik resident Stewart Craig, 74, lived on the Australian island in the late 1960s/early 70s and with three friends built a wooden bothy for hillwalkers deep in the mountains. Stewart frequently explored the countryside with friends Helmut Berger and Peter Schultz from Austria, and German Paul Kablau.
The bothy is situated a four-hour drive from Hobart and then a further four-hour walk to a lake which had to be crossed, wading with water up to their chests.
The four frequently had to carry all manner of tools and equipment as construction of the bothy took place.
Only a couple of years ago Stewart, who returned to Scotland in 1973, discovered the bothy was still standing and still in use by hill walkers.
He was tracked down by Rose Barry, the daughter of Helmut, who was writing a book about the men’s adventures.
Just before the turn of the year, Rose’s husband Stuart was in Edinburgh for a work conference and called on Stewart and his wife Margaret to present them with a copy of the book.
The book, produced for Helmut’s 80th birthday, is packed with photos of the bothy at various stages of construction and filled with stories and memories associated with their time in the wilderness.
Of the book Stewart said: “It’s wonderful. It is great. It brings it all back to me.”
Thanks to Rose’s efforts all four men have been in touch with each other. News of Stewart’s log cabin has sparked interest from the Mountain Huts Preservation Society in Tasmania. This organisation normally preserves the mountain huts built by the pioneers in the 1830s.
In an email, society president Roger Nutting said: “What remains of Tasmania’s mountain and remote huts is priceless and therefore preservation is highly important.”
Stewart’s wife Margaret said there hopes the bothy would come under the society’s care.
Stewart added that the island had a number of huts which were used by the immigrants.
They lived in the wilderness for months on end making a living for their families at home. The society believes these huts are part of the island’s cultural heritage.