Fire destroys historic musterer's hut

The musterer's hut at Deep Stream was razed by the fire. Photo: Supplied
The musterer's hut at Deep Stream was razed by the fire. Photo: Supplied
A lovingly restored, historic musterer's hut was destroyed in last weekend's massive vegetation fire near Middlemarch.

Dunedin man Graeme Thomas' family property near the Lammerlaw Ranges included a musterer's hut, thought to be more than 100 years old, which was originally part of a house in Waipori Village. That hut was destroyed by the fire, which tore through 5000ha at the weekend.

Mr Thomas' 95-year-old father had been restoring the hut for two years.

''It was going to look really good, but unfortunately it's gone now,'' Graeme Thomas said. ''He's pretty upset.''

Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
The property had various gullies and spurs where other matters of historical significance had also happened, including a spot called Brady Rock Gully, where the second man hanged in Dunedin prison for murder was captured, and Kumara Spur, where James Madden, a co-discoverer of Kumara Goldfield, was killed when his sluice face collapsed on him.

The house on the site, which was unoccupied, was unscathed, he said.

As well as being the scene of a lot of history, the site had ecological importance and he was also concerned about the effect of the fire on flora and fauna on the property, including jewelled geckos and native falcons.

daisy.hudson@odt.co.nz

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