Howitt and Bryces Huts

More Information about Howitt and Bryces Huts

At the time of John Bamford’s murder there were two huts on the Howitt High Plains in the area of the murder, both huts were built by the Bryce’s, one was called Howitt Hut which is located about 8 KLM directly south of The Terrible Hollow and on the west side of Howitt Road, the second was called Bryce’s Hut and was on the eastern side of Howitt Road and 7 to 8 KLM south east further on past Howitt Hut. People looking back a hundred years could easily get the two confused. To complicate things further there is now another hut, Guys Hut. When Bryce’s Hut located on Bryce’s Plain near the conglomerate Creek and Bryce’s Gorge lookout fell into decay in the 1930’s Guys built the current Guys hut as a replacement.

The original Bryce’s hut is shown in Harry Stephenson’s book “ Cattlemen & Huts of the High Plains”. Its ruins were still standing in 1936 but has all gone today.

Howitt Hut which is also shown in Ian Stephenson’s book was the one closest to The Terrible Hollow. Its construction was originally timber slab walls with a shingle roof. It was completely rebuilt as it is today, a corrugated iron wall and roof clad hut. Probably the only original part would be the fire place. Not quite the romantic bush hut of the original timber one.

In Ian’s book there are a series of photos of both huts shown on pages 64, 65, 77 & 85. On page 77 Ian states Howitt Hut was the one near where Bamford’s body was found.

In Wally Mortimer’s book “THE HISTORY of the WONNANGATTA STATION” on page 98 he states the search party was at Howitt Hut. Not Bryces.

In the book by Keith Leydon & Michael Ray, “The Wonnangatta Mystery” from page 87 onwards it is the story of the finding of John Bamford’s body. On page 88 they tell us the search group rode to Howitt Hut. On page 90 there is a sketch showing the hut and surroundings where Bamford’s body was found.

In John Ricketts book “Victoria’s Wonnangatta Murders” on page 107 which details the inquiry into Bamford’s death Constable Daniel Hayes stated that Bamford’s body was found under a log about a quarter of a mile ( 400m ) from the hut and 15 chains ( 300m ) in from the road. He also stated the location was around six miles ( 9KLM ) from The Terrible Hollow. This again confirms the location as Howitt Hut.

Detective Bruce confused things a little in his report to his superintendent referring to the hut they were near as Bryce’s hut. The search party a day or two earlier had been searching around Bryce’s hut, found nothing and had moved on to Howitt Hut and The Terrible Hollow , and this is probably where Bruce got confused and also as both huts had been built by the Bryce’s.

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