Solitary Mans Hut

The unknown and unrecognised Hermits are those who simply disappear into the wilderness, whether for reasons of religion, philosophy or personal desire, and live alone and undiscovered. In Australia. One of the areas that has attracted many such Hermits is the wilderness of Tasmania. Fortunately, there are now groups seeking to document and preserve the stories – or last the artefacts – of these unknown Hermits.
solitary hut
“Masterfully hidden in its natural surroundings in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park, the Solitary Mans Hut was built by a modern day mountain man who to this day remains an enigmatic character, his identity known only to a handful of people. He was extremely physically fit and aged in his late thirties, when he challenged himself in the mid-1980s to not only build a mountain hut but also to live and survive in the harsh conditions which the extreme weather and isolation of the area threw at him.
mountain hut 4
The hut is set on a stone foundation with saplings fashioned into an A-Frame to support the green aluminium cladding. The surrounding bush shows no scars from where this remarkable man gathered the rocks and saplings to build his hut. In fact, the hut is so well camouflaged that walkers can come within metres of the cabin and still not see it. Nearby, a weightlifting bench, made from locally gathered stone, is testament to the fitness of the Solitary Man.
solitary hut 2
The Solitary Man managed to exist for about 18 months in his mountain hide-away, leaving it only to replenish supplies or compete in the occasional marathon, then stealthily returning to his highland home. When the Hut was accidentally stumbled upon and discovered by bushwalkers, the Solitary Man returned to urban living, but wrote in his journal that those who ventured to the hut were welcome to use it, so long as they left it as they found it – neat, clean and tidy – and respected the surrounds.”

“The Mountain Huts Preservation Society Inc (MHPS) came into being in 1988. It was founded by concerned community citizens and users of the high country who felt there was a need to protect and preserve mountain huts, and to have a forum for debate, and input and representation on the control and management of iconic features on the plateau. The catalyst for the formation of the MHPS was the swift and secret removal, in 1988, of what was known as the Tiger Hut—a bushwalkers’ hide-away near Lake Adelaide.”
solitary hut 3
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“See, back in 1983, an unnamed man decided that for some reason or another, he wanted to get away from life as he knew it, so he illegally built a hut in the Walls of Jerusalem, in a little traveled area near Tiger Lake, just east of Lake George Howes. He lives in this hut for 18 months… Wait… He can explain it better in his old entry in the huts log book.”

“It is a simple A-frame affair, clad in grey-green roofing metal, with a rock foundation. Jeff goes inside, at first unsure whether this is the hut Doug built. But he finds a hand-built chin-up bar just inside the door, and smiles broadly. Doug used to pride himself on his chin-up prowess.

Jeff tells us a bit about the man who built the hut. In the early 1980s Doug’s life had taken some difficult turns, including a marriage breakdown. A keen bushwalker, he had sought out a remote location to retreat to. He wanted his mind to become as strong as his body. Over a period of just six weeks in 1983, he had built this simple, isolated bush hut, carrying in everything that he needed. Between January 1984 and July 1985 he spent the bulk of his time living in what he called “Solitary Hut”.
Because it was, and is, an illegal structure, he has chosen to remain anonymous, refering to himself as “Solitary Man”. Although he was usually solitary, he did bring visitors up to the hut, and also shared it with possums that were so friendly they would sit on his lap. We read in the hut’s logbook that Doug continues to come here regularly, and that he has remarried and had a daughter.”

“The Walls of Jerusalem National Park forms a part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. As the park is remote and not accessible via road, the Walls retains its wilderness character. There are no facilities for casual visitors, while bushwalkers are required to be well-equipped and experienced in the often harsh Tasmanian conditions.
The region is an alpine wilderness dominated by dolerite peaks, highland tarns and lakes and alpine vegetation. The Walls of Jerusalem National Park is very exposed to the extremes of Tasmania’s changeable weather. “

walls of jerusalem
Looking north west from Solomon’s Throne. The prominent peak on the left is King Davids Peak. The Temple is on the left with Mount Jerusalem behind.

“Walls of Jerusalem is a national park in Tasmania, Australia, 144 km northwest of Hobart. Located in the Tasmanian Central Highlands east of the Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, and west of the Central Plateau Conservation Area. It is south of Mole Creek, Tasmania, and Rowallan Lake. It forms part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. The park takes its name from the geological features of the park which are thought to resemble the walls of the city of Jerusalem in Israel. As a result many places and features within the park also have Biblical references for names, such as Herods Gate, Lake Salome, Solomons Jewels, Damascus Gate, the Pool of Bethesda.”

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