Saving Hillary’s Hut

The Herald reports:

It played a key role in one of Sir Edmund Hillary’s greatest pioneering adventures, one which elevated him alongside the great Antarctic explorers of Shackleton, Amundsen, and Scott.

Hillary’s Hut – the first building at Scott Base – was the launching pad for the famous Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1957-58.

The coast-to-coast crossing of , using the now legendary Ferguson TE-20 tractors, was the first overland expedition to reach the Pole since Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated voyage in 1912.

But over the last 60 years, the hut – one of Antarctica’s most precious heritage sites – has slowly fallen into a state of disrepair.

It has a leaking roof, asbestos that needs removing, melt-pools forming under its floorboards, while unique and historically-important memorabilia inside it are showing signs of damage or corrosion.

Today, the Antarctic Heritage Trust has launched a major fundraising drive to help raise $1 million Sir Ed’s Hut which would maintain it for the next 25 years.

I was lucky enough to visit Hillary’s Hut in January. It is a huge part of history and would be awful to see it fade away.

It has revealed ‘Expedition South’, a month-long journey from one of Sir Ed’s favourite places, Piha Beach where he had a bach for many years, to Aoraki Mount Cook, finishing in sight of the Hillary Ridge.

They will travel the same distance of 2012kms that Hillary and his team did on three
tractors – two of them similar Ferguson TE-20 model tractors that Sir Ed and his
team had, the other a new Massey Ferguson MF5600.

Along the way, the Expedition South team will be stopping at various schools, events, and Hillary hot spots to collect donations from the public.

“We are calling on Kiwis to give a fiver,” Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson said.

“The $5 note has Sir Ed’s face on it so we can’t think of a better use for it than saving his Antarctic legacy.”

I’ll definitely be donating.

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