Heritage hut a target
At the site of the Tralee Slab Hut in Hume. Renovating the historic building are Bob Moon, left and Uwe Petersohn. Photo: Graham Tidy
SECURITY fears for the heritage-listed Tralee homestead have resurfaced as workers prepare to finish reconstruction work on the Hume site later this week.
After $165,000 in government funding and months of work by volunteers, Kosciuszko Huts Association member Bob Moon said the 127-year-old building would be left unprotected against vandals after his team finishes on Friday.
''I'm concerned someone will come in here and put a match to it,'' he said.
Bob Moon and Uwe Petersohn are renovating the historic Tralee Slab Hut in Hume. Photo: Graham Tidy
''The ACT government gave us the money to renovate this place .. I think the ACT ratepayer had a right to know what they're going to do with it and how they're going to protect it.''
Thieves stole 35 wooden slabs from the historic structure last year, prompting security concerns from the granddaughter of John and Elizabeth Morrison, who lived in the homestead from the early 1900s. The government installed temporary fencing with interpretive signage at a cost of approximately $1000 a month, but Mr Moon said it's not enough to keep trespassers out of the property.
He said vandals had repeatedly broken into the nearby Couranga homestead, which now houses broken furniture as well as possums, forcing the cost of fixing the 77-year-old building up from the original quote of $230,000.
''I'd say that's gone up now, due to bureaucratic vandalism,'' he said.
''They just fail to realise the potential of this place .. It's criminal, in my book. This is part of Canberra's history, heritage.''
Mr Moon said he had tried contacting the government for information on the new security measures, but feels ''fobbed off'' after receiving little response.
''They don't want to talk to me,'' he said.
A spokesman for Territory and Municipal Services, which will take on responsibility for the property's management once work is finished, said security would remain in place.
''There is currently security fencing in place as well as security patrols,'' he said.
''These will both remain in place while ACT Property Group seeks suitable tenants for the sites. The sourcing of tenants will be done as soon as possible.''