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Godley Hut – History

Godley Hut

Godley Hut Christine Byrch 2012
Christine Byrch at Godley Hut 2012:  image by Pat Deavoll


The hut is managed on behalf of NZAC by the Department of Conservation. The South Canterbury Section of NZAC hold themselves responsible for the maintenance of Godley Hut and regularly hold work parties on site.


History Timeline


Hut painted orange thanks to paint gifted by DoC and with the help of Club volunteers, Ian Rogers, Derek Holmes, Syd Woods and Mark Easton.

– SC Section-May work party of 9: lead head nails replaced with TEK screws on roof and gables, door and frame sealed and trued up, windows flashed and sealed, water-proofed and painted, general clean-out (door to be replaced in spring 2012)

– New mattresses installed and minor repairs made to flooring. Agreement signed with DoC for ongoing management.

– engineering assessment and hut was to be retired by 2005, but ongoing work by members undertaken to bring the hut up to a better standard

– ANZAC weekend part of the hut walls were lined, bunks built and the hut was reopened and habitable, although not quite finished
– At Easter, Canty/Westland members re-erected the hut c. 275m north-east just above the Fitzgerald Stream
– Canty/Westland members disassembled the entire hut as soon as possible
– Floods in February left one corner of the hut suspended in mid-air.

Godley Hut Dismantling – Allan Rattray on belay:
photo by Ivan Pickens

Godley Hut Dismantling Derrick Cook (Right):
photo by Ivan Pickens
1951 –

– Construction completed. The official opening of the hut 24th December by AP Harper and GE Mannering (Foundation Members and ex-Presidents of the NZAC)
An account of the construction and first camp held at the new site of the Godley Hut appears in the NZAC annual Alpine Journal of  June 1935 Vol VI No.22

– A combined effort by sections was agreed upon to raise funds for the construction of a hut.


History and DoC Inspection Report

Godley Hut is located a few kilometres downstream from the Godley Glacier and just upstream of Fitzgerald stream near the confluence with the Godley River. The glacial moraine lake from the Grey and Maud glaciers is nearby. The area is very barren with a lot of fractured rock from the glacial moraines. The site is slightly elevated in front of a solid rock outcrop with a series of ridges and gullies rising up a mountainside behind the outcrop.

Godley Hut is very old, being built in 1934. The structural timber is still in good condition but the hut is seated directly on the rocky ground with no piles. The level and spacing of the supporting rocks are inconsistent causing a very uneven floor and also walls to be out of plumb. The retirement date for the hut is 2005 which given the existing condition of the hut seems to be quite appropriate. To extend the life of the hut beyond this date would require re-piling and re-levelling which has been estimated as a future remedial cost of $3,000. Current remedial work required has been estimated at a value of $1,735 which mainly consists of damage at the entrance (D1) caused by leakage at the door.


Sub Structure

Uneven rock supports have caused unevenness in floor levels and the building is generally out of plumb in several places. The building may have been constructed like that originally or there may have been long term movement or settlement of the rock foundations. The hut has been there a long time in a harsh environment so unevenness in levels is not unexpected. Even so it is a sign of slow degradation of the hut which may eventually lead to its structural instability. The hut retirement is currently set for 2005 which seems to be quite realistic given its current condition without major remedial work being carried out including re-levelling and re-piling.

Solution: Re-pile and re-levelling of the subfloor, $3,000

Subfloor: Joists and bearers at D1 entrance are rotten. The extent is hard to gauge due to difficult access. Rain has been getting under the door and through the floorboards which are also rotten. The door has no cover or porch over it for protection from the rain.
Some wire ties to rock foundations are missing or cut.

Solution: Cut through the floor at the entrance to gain access to rotten joists and bearers. Remove those affected by rot and replace with new members, $250.

Flooring: T&G flooring is rotten at door D1 entrance – see section D1

Solution: Replace affected flooring, Provide steel plate to the bottom of the door and over the new floor at the base of door entrance. Provide new wire ties between bearers and rock foundations, $500.

Joinery: Door D1 exterior frame fascia is rotting. Window W5 exterior sill is rotting. Generally, all exterior framing of joinery members is old and worn.

Solution: Replace D1 exterior frame fascia, Replace window W1 exterior sill joinery, Re-paint all exterior joinery $470

Toilet There is no ventilation pipe to the toilet and it has a bad smell. DOC means of compliance guidelines recommends vented toilet seats. There is no toilet seat. DOC means of compliance recommends toilet seats and lid s for Personal Hygiene. There are no tie-downs. The floor and a joist is rotten at the entrance.

Solution: Provide a plastic toilet seat and lid. Replace the plywood floor and the joist. Cover the new floor with a strip of steel at the entrance. Recommend provision of tie-downs, $590.

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