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Roaring Billy Hut

Roaring Billy Hut

(Roaring Billy Hut: Photo Geoff Spearpoint 2016)

Maintenance Status

Roaring Billy Hut is one of the most recent Permolat maintain-by-community initiatives, with Geoff Spearpoint as contract signatory. Geoff secured some Consortium funding, and with the assistance of Hugh van Noorden and Peter Fullerton, did some major maintenance and painted the Hut in early November 2015. A second trip in with a work crew around New Year finished the job off. The Hut has had limited official maintenance prior to that in recent times, the last probably 10 or so years ago. It has according to Geoff, one of the best designed loos around. Foot access up until very recently was up a very overgrown track on the TL of the valley, after a crossing of the Haast River by either raft, or jet boat. Most visits have been fly-ins. On their second trip in Geoff and co. managed to cut and mark the track as far as the first big flat downriver from the Hut. They intend returning in late Autumn to finish the track down to the Haast River.

Location

Haast River, The Roaring Billy catchment. Map BY13 Lake Paringa, E1304673/ N5133179. Altitude 460m. Roaring Billy Hut is sited about half way up the TL of The Roaring Billy in a small clearing near the river surrounded by silver beech forest. Hunters and the occasional tramper call in.

Access

Jet boat, kayak or raft across the Haast and follow the track, which starts on the TL and climbs up very steeply past a waterfalls at the start of the valley. The track is very overgrown as far as the first big flat downriver from the Hut. Geoff and co. have cut and marked from here to the Hut around New Year 2016. Allow 4.5 to 5.5 hours for the walk at present. An overgrown track continues past the hut on the true left to flats about an hour or two up valley. Geoff and co added tape where this was unfollowable in 2015.

Type

Roaring Billy Hut is a standard NZFS 6-bunk SF70 design with open fire, built about 1970.

Condition

The Roaring Billy is in good condition after its maintenance. The chimney which was sagging on it's base, was straightened and had a new base poured under it. The sagging sheets of internal ply were replaced. The roof ridging and skylight was replaced The Hut's exterior and roof was scraped, rust treated, primed and given 2 coats of Weathershield top coat. The external window sills were sanded and painted with primer and gloss. The team built a woodshed, poured a new concrete step for the door. They cut the track a short distance to give access upriver, cleared the area around the Hut to let the light in more, and cleared back scrub and ferns from the heli pad. They also improved the start of the track downvalley. A second working party of 4 returned around New year, replaced the door stud and rehung the door, finished a few more inside panels after adding a few missing dwangs, painted the inside, the chimney, the woodshed, and the toilet (inside and out). Drains were dug around three sides of the Hut and the access track to the River improved.

Repairs still needed

None currently. The lower 2/3's of the track still needs cutting, and will probably be done in the Autumn of this year.

Routes

The Thomas Range can be accessed and traversed along to access Windrow Spur, which gives good access into the Thomas River and Thomas River Hut. The range can be traversed to the north east to access the head of the Thomas or the Macfarlane Rivers.

Provisions on Site

On site there is a hammer, wrecking bar, saw, hearth shovel, broom, shovel, axe, a few nails, a crappy chisel, detergent, part container of Jif, a billy, an ash bucket, aluminum basin, and a 10 litre plastic bucket.