30 November, 2010

Water race. Irrigation channel or for gold mining?

There is an old water race running through the tree line.  It either was part of an irrigation scheme or more likely was used by the miners prior to 1900 as a water supply for the gold sluicing that cut into the bank of the river right here.
Would have been dug prior to the pine trees being there.

It is not clear to me just where the water came from to fill this water race.  The hills on our side of the river do not have big streams to tap into.  Perhaps the closest is the 'Roaring Meg'  about eight kilometers away.

But there has to have been water in this race.  They dug the race for a purpose.  Miles of the riverbank here has been sluiced for gold.   Using vast amounts of water.  In days gone by the energy resources to lift water out of the river were just not available.

The rewards from using water to get the gold is huge.  On the other side of the river the Carrick water race was dug across the side of the mountains, crossing a pass to get the water.  An incredible feat of handwork engineering which is still used today.
The Carrick race.  34 kilometers long.  High up on the other side of the river
Cromwell Development Co.  Mrs.Sargood planting a walnut tree,Ripponvale.  1922.

There is a small chance that our race is an irrigation channel.  Created for the much later Ripponvale Orchard scheme immediately after World War one.  That scheme runs today.  But was a failure in it's earlier years.  Nearby, but I did not think it was just here.
I just don't know about our old waterrace.  Maybe I will strike a lucky contact with an old local who does know.


1 comment:

  1. So much of life is a question, isn't it? Where we came from, what came before, sometimes where we're going.

    Thanks for following Hill Country Mysteries. I was happy to follow you back here.


I would love to hear from you on any of these posts. This blog is not daily news and I will respond to comments even on backdated posts.