I fondly recall my first visit to this solitary little hut, nestled amongst the gnarled and stunted snow gums of the Bogong High Plains. The road from Falls Creek still unsealed, corrugated and bumpy added to the charm and remoteness the adventure. Although a beautiful sunny May afternoon in 2005, a bitterly cold wind swept across the alpine meadows quickly penetrating my inadequate cover of clothing. Freezing and eager escape the wind, I quickly captured my first images of Wallace's Hut to begin a relationship with a landscape that would become one of my favourites.
I have now spent over 100 hours amongst the snow, wind, rain and fair weather waiting for the light to bring this, the oldest surviving cattlemen's hut in the Victorian High Country to life. I have taken countless images of Wallace's Hut, yet this particular photograph, captured on a cold, wet autumn afternoon is my favourite. I love the snow gum in the foreground, its shedding trunk ablaze with reds drawn out by the constant rain.
As the years pass and we age, so too do the landscapes that we love. The road to Wallace's Hut is now sealed, eroding to a small degree the remote charm of the high plains. The hut itself at risk of collapse has been lovingly restored, its fresh snow gum slabs now weathering slowly as the harsh high country conditions infuse the character it once had. The greatest change of all however, was the recent lopping of the gorgeous snow gum in the foreground, its spectacular right hand limb cut off just above the ground.
While the loss of this beautiful scene saddens me, I'm grateful to have captured it on a cold autumn's afternoon at the peak of its beauty. As photographers, it is easy to pass by a location and promise ourselves 'I'll take that shot someday soon'. What happens however if that day comes and the scene is no longer there?
Written by Chris Munn