The trip to Tailings Hut is an adventure in itself; the 4WD track has numerous river crossings and steep rocky sections with long falls to the valley floor that get the heart racing. Travelling through this vast tussock country with big skies reveals a Graham Sydney painting in every direction. The hut suddenly appears, nestled in a small valley beside a lovely crystal creek.
The volunteers are keen and quick to help. Once assigned tasks, they work like beavers from early morning until they are persuaded to put down tools and call it a day. They replace weatherboards, tugging away the rotten ones, paint over vivid lime green paint in the bunkrooms, remove a wall of trashy graffiti, repaint the interior and exterior, refurbish the fireplace and build a new hay shed.
There was little sleep in the camp for the first couple of nights, as wind funnels and howls through the camp site, whipping the tents around. The volunteers take this in their stride and have a fun and memorable week, leaving with new friends and a sense of satisfaction that they have contributed to the upkeep of backcountry huts.
This area is a recent addition to Oteake Conservation Park after the tenure review of the Mt Ida Pastoral Occupation License. Grazing continues in this area of the park and the hut is used by the concessionaire for mustering.
Tailings hut is a product of three huts with different histories. The two bunkrooms were once single man quarters used for construction of the Roxburgh Hydro Dam. The larger building, built in the 1930s by farmers who previously held the occupation licence for the site, is now the kitchen.