Billy’s Hut Long Walk

Wednesday 8 March 2017

Photos Karen M, Helen, Mary T

In a previous walk report written four days ago; I described walking along beaches and over headlands during strong winds. Well, today’s walk was very different indeed. Not a breath of wind but instead the day started with misty rain.

So clad in the necessary rain gear the 20 walkers set off on the 11km walk to the ruins of Billy’s Hut, which is tucked away in the Currowan State Forest.

William (Billy) McCarthy, a young 26 yr old Irishman, built the hut in 1880. He used anthill mud as mortar to hold the rocks together, and collected water from the nearby creek. Known as a bit of a loner he would, on occasions, make his way to Nelligen to receive his mail from Ireland.  The historic hut is slowly being enveloped by the surrounding bush and vines, but its ruins are a reminder that 137 yrs ago a young man, after traveling all the way from Ireland, decided to make a home for himself deep in an Australian forest.

As the rain eased, and the hills increased, waterproof gear was soon stowed away. Creeks that had been dry during the reconnoitre a few months earlier, were now flowing full and crossing them required some careful rock hopping. The wet forest floor was ideal for the leeches who managed to “hitch a ride” on anyone standing still for too long. Though most of the walk was rain free, the high humidity and long hills certainly provided a good “work out”.  After reaching our cars it was time to head to Nelligen for lunch on the banks of the Clyde River.  Perhaps sitting close to the spot where “Billy” McCarthy sat, on his visits to Nelligen, all those years ago.

Mary M