Dulux’s connection with Sir Edmund Hillary’s hut is a fascinating one. Dulux paint has been protecting this building for years, in one of the most challenging conservation environments on earth.
In 2001, the TAE/IGY hut at New Zealand’s Scott Base was listed as a Historic Monument under the Antarctic Treaty, giving recognition to its importance in the history of exploration and science in Antarctica.
Over the summer seasons of 2016-2017, more than 5,700 hours of work by the New Zealand based Antarctic Heritage Trust (AHT) went into the restoration and conservation of that hut, also known as Hillary’s Hut, and the artefacts it holds. The work was completed in time to mark the 60th anniversary of Scott Base in January 2017.
A detailed conservation plan was drawn up and the Antarctic Heritage Trust pulled together a team of 12 specialists to take on the challenge. Where necessary, modern materials replaced the deteriorated old ones, chosen to be as close as possible to the original finish and appearance.
When the Trust was undertaking the conservation of Hillary’s Hut in time for Scott Base’s 60th anniversary, Dulux worked with AHT to recreate the original paint colours so the building could be returned to its heritage colours. The 1957 colours of the hut were bright, to make it stand out in a snowstorm. The original paint — inside and out — came from the company Berger, now owned by Dulux. Flakes of the original paint were brought to the Dulux Colour Services Team for colour matching. Searching Berger’s archives, the original formulas were able to be matched so the colours could be recreated. Six new custom colours were created by Dulux, and Antarctic Heritage Trust was invited to name them. The conservation team achieved a remarkable transformation of the Hillary’s Hut exterior. The team used paint brushes rather than rollers to give the hut a 1950s finish.
The retro paintwork was internationally recognised with the Trust winning the International Category of the Dulux Colour Awards in 2017.
• Exterior yellow — ‘Pram Point’, the geographic location of Scott Base
• Exterior orange trim — ‘Sno-Cat’, the colour of the vehicle used by Vivian Fuchs
• Exterior flues yellow — ‘Ponder’, after the architect of Scott Base, Frank Ponder
• Radio room green/blue — ‘Transmission’, because of the function of the Radio Room
• Kitchen cabinetry mint green — ‘Heke’, after Scott Base construction foreman Randall Heke
• Hillary’s room yellow — ‘Armitage Loop’, the name of the sea-ice road between Scott Base and the ship
Dulux New Zealand have now partnered with Antarctic Heritage Trust (AHT) to bring the Hillary’s Hut — Antarctica Virtual Reality Experience to New Zealanders. This immersive VR experience of the hut, with archival footage and images, shows what life was like for Sir Edmund Hillary’s party of 23 men, engaged in exploration and scientific research in the world’s most extreme environment. AHT are taking the VR experience to schools, community venues, and events around the country with Dulux as New Zealand Tour Sponsor.
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