THE BARK HUT
While the rejuvenation of Spring Bay Mill involves dusting off some of the biggest buildings on site, we’re also taking care of some of the less monumental ones. One that we particularly like is the little prefab house near the front gate – it was known as the bark hut, and has been around as long as the mill has.
HISTORY WITH THE HYDRO INDUSTRY
We recently had a chat to Phil Pike, who started with the Forestry Department in 1970 on just over a dollar an hour, while the mill was still under construction. The bark hut had been shipped in from the Central Highlands, where it had been used by the hydro industry; its first role at Triabunna was as the main office for the forest manager, mill manager, surveyor and road construction people who were building routes out to the site, Phil tells us. He should know – he was working in there too. And it was almost certainly the constraints of the bark hut that helped him get a job. “They wanted a receptionist plus office worker to do a bit of administration.” Only males could apply, he says, because there was only one toilet in the building. “Back then, it was probably acceptable.”
CHANGING ROLES OF THE HUT
All that changed a few years later, when the administration building, with all mod cons, went up. The office workers moved out of the bark hut, and women started to be employed at the mill. The little house was then used by the weighbridge attendants, who could stay there overnight during their shifts.
This modest little building has had so many roles over its lifetime – and we expect it to have a few more. We’re smartening it up a bit, but not changing the look of it radically – it’s just fine the way it is.
If you have memories (or old photos) of the bark hut, or any part of the mill, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org