Concerned citizens have banded together with a plan to save an almost 140-year-old drover’s hut from potentially being destroyed in a bushfire and losing a piece of the region’s history.
June 2022 Update
As reported last changeover Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions mulched vegetation in immediate surrounds near the Hut during Autumn 2021 to reduce fuel load and intensity of fire. March 11th this year a lightning strike started a fire in Hawke National Park near Ritter Rd, as part of their wildfire management DBCA dropped fire retardant from aircraft on Hut and area around, at the same time also sprayed retardant on the bush area around the Donnelly River mouth huts, combined with back burning to control the fire spread, the area is in a much better and safer situation from high and dangerous fuel loads.
Due to the community interest in the preservation of the building and droving history on the coastal plains DBCA has also given encouragement to Bolghinup Friends to move forward and repair and preserve the Hut and connected stories for future generations to enjoy and understand history of the early settlers grazing cattle when on-farm feed was not available during summer/autumn months, this coastal grazing practice started during the second half of 1800’s, long before farmers had available mechanised collecting and preserving of hay and silage for cattle feed.
‘Friends of Bolghinup Hut’ are committed to the cause, to retain the history of the Hut. Plans are underway to take history project to next stage and I’m confident this can be achieved.
Protection of the Hut and connected infrastructure is ongoing and important for the history to be retained, we have progressed a long way to bring all stakeholders to the table and contribute to the safe retention of the Bolghinup Hut history.
The Bolghinup Hut was built by the Giblett family in 1880 and is located in dense scrub and trees about 30km south-west of Pemberton near the Yeagarup Dunes.
About 30 Friends of the Hut members, as well as Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Manjimup Shire Council and Manjimup Rotary Club representatives met at the Timber Park on Saturday to come up with a plan to save the historic structure.
A majority of the people voted to lobby to move the hut to the Timber Park — rather than retain its location and do land clearing. Rotary Club member Doug Moyle said
it was important to build up renewed interest in the hut to show the community cared about its future.
“A squeaky wheel gets the oil and so the more we make noise, the more it demonstrates to DBCA there are people who want it preserved,” he said.
“This hut should have been preserved for its historic value.”
Mr Moyle said while no costings had been done to move the hut, he believed it would be at least $100,000.
Hut relocation coordinator and former DBCA employee John Evans said while he wanted the hut to stay in its location, he was a realist.
“It is only a matter of time until it is burnt so it should be moved,”
“Embers from a fire close by will result in the hut being burnt because the timbers are tinder dry.
“Over the years so much of our heritage has been lost.”
At the meeting, Mr Evans also said the Heritage Commission’s normal policy is for heritage-listed structures to stay in situe.
People voted to write to the Manjimup Shire Council for official support to move the hut and letters also be written to the Heritage Commission and other relevant authorities to request support for the group’s work.
Manjimup shire president Paul Omodei encouraged the Friends of the Hut to seek support from the council for consideration in the upcoming budget deliberations.
One of the comments at the meeting was it was not just about moving a building, but about capturing the region’s history and culture.
The DBCA will also be asked to upgrade a road to the hut.
Historical Landmarks Lost
As raised by numerous Friends of the Hut, history has shown significant historical landmarks lost through fire – This highlights the persistent risk to the Bolghinup Hut despite the land-clearing and recent burn in 2022.
Creating a plan to move the hut and preserve it in a safe location (town-centre, museum, heritage park etc) will ensure this WA history is not lost.
This hut has somehow managed to survive a number of bushfires over the years, including major fires in 1983 and 2010, which, except for the outstanding efforts by DBCA fire crews at the time, would not have survived. The most recent bushfire in March 2022 again only survived because of fire retardant drops from aircraft. “Had the aircraft not been available at that time, the structure would almost certainly been destroyed, as fire crews could not be deployed to protect the hut due to significant safety concerns” Mr Evans said. “It was only luck that the aircraft weren’t allocated to higher priority fires elsewhere, and that retardent drops could be done during daylight hours, that it survived. Otherwise with high intensity fire behaviour and long distance fire ember spotting, it would have been lost in the fire, without doubt”, he said. “We are now fortunate that, after being saved from this recent fire, we now have an opportunity to relocate it before the fire fuels around it accumulates again”.
“Given that dozens of other highly important aged heritage structures have been lost to bushfires in the past 30 years, many in State forest and national park areas (as per the pictures below) it is critical that the hut be relocated to the Timber Park at Manjimup, where it can be protected from bushfires and further deterioration, and be available for visitors to view” he said. “most people simply don’t understand how vulnerable the 140 years old hut will be from a bushfire, and we simply cannot allow such valuable examples of our heritage to be lost in this way, when it is largely preventable
See the photos below of a selection, Southampton House, Wallcliffe House and the Long Gully Bridge all destroyed in the past 15 years. Once destroyed, it is not possible for us to bring these back for historical value.
The State Heritage Council assessed the hut in July 1997 as a Category C listed building.
Retain and conserve if possible: endeavour to conserve the significance of the place through the provisions of the Shire of Manjimup Town Planning Scheme; a more detailed Heritage Assessment may be required prior to approval being given for any major redevelopment or demolition; photographically record the place prior to any major redevelopment or demolition.State Heritage Office – Bolghinup Hut Record
In 1908 brothers Jesse and George Giblett and their sister Emma Clarke applied for the pastoral lease No. 1923/23 (later known as Bolgannup) at Donnelly River mouth which was approved. The area of the lease was 7500 acres and the rent was ₤1.0.0 per 1000 acres per annum.
In 1929 the renewal of lease No. 1923/93 was applied for in just the names of Jesse and George Giblett but because the lease was registered in the names of Jesse and George Giblett and Emma Clarke the new lease was issued in those names.The term of this lease extends from 1/01/1929 till 31/12/1948.
(Lease No.1923/93 became Lease No. 4004/93)
A statutory declaration made by George Giblett about the lease in 1932 states –
Number of large stock in possession – 170 head
Improvements on Lease
– Stockyards – 4 yards, 2 and 3 rail fence (timber carted 7 miles) – value ₤100 – Buildings – 1 Dwelling, 3 rooms Value ₤50
In 1934, a statutory declaration made by George Giblett about the lease states –
Number of large stock in possession – 200 head (remarks column – worked in conjunction with Lease no. 4005/93 Total stock on both leases 400.
Improvements on Lease
– Stockyards – three
– Buildings – Dwelling
– Other Improvements – Horseyards ₤150 total
Lease no. 4005/93 is leased by George Giblett and Wheatley Bros
In 1934, under the provisions of ‘The Land Act 1933’ any lessee holding a pastoral lease with a term expiring on 31st December, 1948 could apply to surrender such lease and for the grant in lieu of a new lease with a term to expire on 31st December, 1982. Final receipt of such applications was 5th March, 1935.
The lease of Pastoral lease 4004/93 was surrendered for a new lease of Crown Land (same run) in the names of Jesse and George Giblett and Emma Clarke and it was approved on 9th December, 1937. Rent per 100 acres was still ₤1.0.0 per acre. The new lease no. was 392/487
In July, 1953 a statutory declaration by Jesse Thomas Giblett (son of Jesse Giblett who
died in 1925) stated –
No of large stock in possession – approx 70
– Fencing (miles and description) – approx 100 acres fenced with 3 plain wires valued at about ₤100
– Wells and windmills (number) 1 well valued at ₤20
– Dams – nil
– Tanks – nil
– Stockyards – 3 yards for large stock Post and rail, value ₤115 – Buildings 3 room slab hut, slab walls, ????? roof ₤90
Total value – ₤325
After George Giblett died in 1939 correspondence regarding lease was sent to his son Hubert Giblett. (Jesse Giblett and Emma Clarke d.1932 had already died) Lease still remained in their names.
In 1959 Edward and William Waugh of Glenoran, Manjimup wanted to take over the lease.They took over payment of the lease of 392/487 in 1959 through their solicitor Brett Asplin in Bridgetown, but lease remained in name of J and G Giblett and Emma Clarke.
In 1964 Waughs wanted to surrender lease and have a new lease issued to them/or transferred.
In March, 1965 the Waughs were advised it was not possible to surrender current lease and register a new lease to expire on 30th June, 2015 in their names without prior registration of a transfer to them. They were unable to register a transfer of the lease under the Transfer of Land Act as document would need to be signed by the person legally authorised under the terms of the estate of the deceased. ie executor etc. However only one of the executors of George Giblett was still living ( EJ Giblett), none of Emma Clarke or Jesse Giblett.
Inspection of the above lease in 1972 disclosed that the lease was not stocked in accordance with the conditions of the lease. It was forfeited to the crown for non- compliance with conditions on 2nd May, 1972. Edward Waugh wrote to the Under Secretary of Land pointing out that he had removed the cattle from the pastoral lease until the position on the lease was clear. Because of the condition of the land (erosion etc)it was decided that no further leasing of the area should be considered.
The Hut is located in the D’Entrecasteau National Park. There is no camping or facilities at the hut.
The access track to the hut is not well-maintained or utilised at the moment.
There are two direct access tracks
It cannot be accessed via the popular tourist location Yeagarup Dunes.
Access via Boat Landing Rd (if seasonally open) or Charley Rd.