never lets anything old or antique escape him.
The Beechworth resident is a passionate scrounger and clearing-sale addict.
Over the decades Matt
, 40, has acquired a swag of pioneer bushcraft skills from rebuilding and repairing mountain cattlemen's huts.
He has also devised and led wilderness programs for youths considered at risk, at locations ranging from central Queensland to Typo Station in North East Victoria.
had established links with Bronwyn while working at the remote Typo Station.
When Bronwyn decided to sell up in 2003, she
offered the hut to Matt
The couple jumped at the chance, and began the task of dismantling the hut and rebuilding it piece by piece on a vacant block next to their Beechworth home.
"When I was a child, my mother was into old antiques and would often take me to the antique shops at Beechworth," Matt
Matt had finished working as the manager of Typo Station to take up a role as a family therapist and as "Mr Mum" to the couple's children, Eadie and Max.
"Then we said, 'why not make it really special and a potential income-producing asset?"' Matt
"It would give us the flexibility of combining a business with small children."
King Valley builder Mark White and pioneer skills mentor Graham Fall helped Matt
keep the hut authentic.
"Over the past four years we have gone to painstaking lengths to beg, borrow, collect, demolish, swap, barter, mill, split, cart and salvage genuine and unique materials for 1860," Matt
says the traditional materials extended to the use of flattened bark in the gable ends and an original lime mortar recipe to caulk between timber slabs.
"I took three months off and worked solidly on the hut to get it to lock-up stage and then it took another three years to fit out," he
Although the hut is finished, Matt
has a pile of wooden cobblestones rescued from old stables awaiting the next project.
is the sort of person who can never sit still for too long," Gina says.