On Friday 20 January 2017 the residents of New Zealand’s Scott Base celebrated the base’s 60 year anniversary by taking a tour through the recently restored Hillary’s (TAE/IGY) Hut.
Antarctic Heritage Trust’s team of 12 worked more than 5700 hours on the major conservation of the building over the summer season. The work started in November 2016 following a successful fundraising campaign to save the site, the legacy of the Commonwealth Trans- Antarctic Expedition (1956-1958).
The New Zealand Government and Antarctica New Zealand asked the Trust to take on the care and conservation of the hut, including raising funds for its restoration and long term maintenance.
“It’s an iconic slice both of polar and Kiwi history that could have been lost. Now, thanks to our many supporters from around the world it will be there to inspire future generations to explore and push their boundaries like Sir Ed did,” says the Trust’s Executive Director Nigel Watson.
Extensive planning and research was undertaken by the Trust in preparation for the conservation work. Originally designed to last only twenty years, after sixty years the building had a number of issues including deteriorating asbestos wall and ceiling linings, a leaking roof, snow ingress, and melt water under the foundations.
Care was taken to retain and reinstate original building materials after the asbestos was removed. Where new material was essential, modern material was chosen that was as close as possible to the original finish and appearance.
The 1980’s pitched roof addition was removed and the original flat roof structure was reinstated. Exterior vents and flues were repaired and replaced. The Trust worked closely with Dulux New Zealand to match original TAE-era paint samples and colour swatches, before repainting the exterior and interior of the building in the bold shades of the 1950s.