Clad in the necessary rain gear, 20 Batemans Bay Bushwalkers set off on the 11km walk to the ruins of Billy’s Hut, which is tucked away in the Currowan State Forest.
William (Billy) McCarthy, a young 26-year-old Irishman, built the hut in 1880. He used anthill mud as mortar to hold the rocks together, and collected water from the nearby creek. Known as a bit of a loner he would, on occasions, make his way to Nelligen to receive his mail.
The historic hut is slowly being enveloped by the surrounding bush and vines, but its ruins are a reminder that 137 years ago a young man, after travelling all the way from Ireland, decided to make a home for himself deep in an Australian forest.
As the rain eased, and the hills increased, waterproof gear was soon stowed away. Creeks that had been dry during the reconnoiter a few months earlier, were now flowing full and crossing them required some careful rock hopping.
The wet forest floor was ideal for the leeches which managed to “hitch a ride” on anyone standing still for too long. Though most of the walk was rain free, the high humidity and long hills certainly provided a good “workout”.
After reaching the cars it was time to head to Nelligen for lunch on the banks of the Clyde River. Perhaps they sat close to the spot where “Billy” McCarthy sat on his visits to Nelligen.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.