When I arrived at Cravens Peak Reserve in July 2017, volunteer Trevor Jones and I undertook a tour of the ringers' huts on the property. The huts are small bush camps set up near yards and bores for ringers (cattle stockmen).
We came over the hill from Norries in the west and looked down on the idyllic sand hill setting of Bore Number 3, but the humpy had seen better days.
Once used as a ringers' camp it's located a kilometre from a magnificent set of old cattle yards, complete with a bronco panel (posts and rails used to restrain cattle during branding and castration). The bush camp was obviously dearly loved, with concrete floors (unusual for remote bush camps), planted out by the original owners with ten Red River Gums for shade and a separate sleeping quarters. Sometime since acquisition the structure had a large gum branch crash down on it, smashing the entire framework of the larger humpy.
Many hours of planning and hard work went into its restoration. This began with clearing away the mountain of debris created by the Red River Gums, next came cutting away the huge gum branch that had fallen across the roof, followed by removing the roof and walls right back and towing them outside the fence so there was room to move. The poles and rafters were detached from the old chicken mesh and spinifex shade roof, and the corrugated roof and walls were set aside to reuse after the framework had been restored. Lastly, the old water tank was lovingly patched with Knead It epoxy resin and a soldering iron to repair the cracks.
Many friends and volunteers contributed to Number 3's restoration, but volunteer Paul Bateman, who has been on the reserve over the past month, made it his personal mission to finish the project.
“I could see the potential of reconstructing Number 3 to its former glory. Its location and style of bush building is appealing. All the materials we've used were from the site or the Craven Peak recycle centre. I’m hoping that people can go there and enjoy it now.
“Rebuilding the humpy was a challenge, but it's close to the homestead and the surrounding scenery is stunning. Special interest groups – artists, birdwatchers, and researchers will now have a comfortable place to stay.”
Number 3 has it all: shade, bush furniture, ringers' cots, a bush shower, kitchen sink and loo with a sand hill view – 5 star!