Big win for shack saviours

Recognition: The community behind saving the park's shacks has received an award. Helen Voysey is in the front of the photo. Picture: Chris Lane
Recognition: The community behind saving the park's shacks has received an award. Helen Voysey is in the front of the photo. Picture: Chris Lane
Recognition: The community behind saving the park's shacks has received an award. Picture: Chris Lane

Recognition: The community behind saving the park's shacks has received an award. Picture: Chris Lane

PEOPLE power helped save Depression-era shacks in the Royal National Park and now those who helped save the shacks have received a National Trust award.

The other winners in this Heritage Festival award are the 143 coastal cabins of Little Garie, Era and Burning Palms which still stand.

"It is almost impossible to describe the uphill battle this group faced to get State Heritage Register recognition for this group of cabins," the National Trust citation reads.

"It was a battle staunchly and relentlessly fought and we commend the group for their passion and staying power."

As a result of the work of the RNP Coastal Cabins Protection League the coastal cabins today remain as ramshackle fibro or timber shacks built from scavenged materials, decorated with flotsam.

Development has seen the demise of many such buildings, with the remaining shacks being listed in 2012 on the NSW State Heritage Register.

The League, founded in 1945, first worked to save the land from development, lobbying to have it added to the RNP in 1953.

After the League was faced with the demolition of the buildings it campaigned for more than 20 years to recognise and protect the shacks.

League president Helen Voysey said the award recognised the League's and the community's efforts for those who wanted a simple lifestyle, one which had its origins in the Depression years with the original users being from Helensburgh and being coastal miners.

"We don't live there, they're for weekends, they are like a farm holiday," Ms Voysey said.

"A number of them are a single room with a partition down the middle."

Up to five generations have used the cabins, she said.

Most of the buildings are at Era, followed by Burning Palms with Little Garie having the fewest.

Have you stayed in one of the shacks? 

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