Hillary's hut, also known as the TAE Hut or Hut A, was the first building constructed at Scott Base, and is the foundation of New Zealand's presence in Antarctica.

Constructed in 1957 as part of New Zealand's participation in the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (TAE) and the International Geophysical Year (IGY), the hut held a special place in the original Scott Base. It was a mess - a recreation area and kitchen - for the 23 men who wintered over that year, and also housed Sir Ed's office where he slept on his bunk bed. 

This was a home away from home for the men, with a lino floor, formica tables and chairs and armchairs. It had a library of 1000 books and a large painting by Marcus King on the wall to remind the men of home, as well as a picture of the queen.

Expedition members in front of a Marcus King painting. Photo: Antarctica New Zealand Pictorial Collection

Expedition members in front of a Marcus King painting. Photo: Antarctica New Zealand Pictorial Collection

The hut represents the legacy of the 23 men who stepped into the unknown in the name of adventure and discovery, and laid the foundation for New Zealand to become a world-leader in Antarctic science and governance. Through saving the hut, the adventures, stories and achievements of the TAE and IGY parties will endure and continue to inspire.

The TAE crossing party, led by Dr Vivian Fuchs. Photo: Antarctica New Zealand Pictorial Collection

The TAE crossing party, led by Dr Vivian Fuchs. Photo: Antarctica New Zealand Pictorial Collection

The hut will be 60 years old in January, and is showing signs of its age. It has a leaking roof, melt pools forming under the floorboards and the objects within are showing signs of damage and corrosion.

The Trust has coordinated the preparation of a comprehensive conservation plan for the building and the items within it. This will see the building waterproofed, its asbestos lining removed and the artefact collection conserved. The work will get underway this summer provided funds are secured. 

The Antarctic Heritage Trust has already saved three of Antarctica's most precious heritage sites - the huts and thousands of artefacts belonging to the expeditions of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. 

To make a donation towards the conservation and ongoing maintenance of this important site, please click here

The radio room of the TAE hut, as it is today.

The radio room of the TAE hut, as it is today.