13 December, 2010

The gold beneath

There is an abrupt edge where the property ends.  Between the 1860s and 1900 the river banks were extensively sluiced for gold.  Water under pressure shifts a lot of gravel.
Water moved the gravel.  The inconvenient large boulders were stacked away to the side.
The Field is really a vast bed of gravel, the outpourings of the Kawarau gorge, with only a thin skin of turf on top.  There is a lot of gold in the gravel.

The problem the old miners had was how to shift it and sort it.  Water was the best way.  But you had to get the water, use it with enough pressure to shift things and have somewhere for it to drain.
Sluiced area at the rear of the property now. 2010.  See our back gate at the top.
There are miles of sluicing remnants along the river.
To get the gold the gravel was washed through a ripple box.  The gravel ran on and the gold was trapped.  One problem of many was that there were big boulders in the gravel.  So a part of the process was a some poor bloke who stood in the river of gravel and mud, picked out the boulders and stacked them to the side out of the way.  (some bloke obviously not high in the team pecking order)

What was left then was a series of what look like walls.   These "walls" are important and are protected archaeological sites.
Walls still there.  2010.  100 -150 years later.


  1. Those monitors were vicious things on the land. but the mercury used to catch the flecks of gold was pure toxic.
    What are/were the walls for ?

  2. No mercury used here. It was very low tech - although in it's way very clever. The walls were made of big rocks, inconvenient to the process. It was better to wash thru the loose gravel and slush. So the walls were formed largely accidentally. Imagine some poor bloke, waste deep in a river of slush, picking these out and stacking them to the side.
    Check out the posts on 'Gold From the River' and "A wreck in the river".
    Eventually I will post on the slucings on the other side of the river. Vast landscape 'formation". Oddly beautiful.


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