AN EXPLANATION OF THE RECORD TYPES APPEARING IN THE DATABASE
KEY TO THE TYPE CODES USED IN THE FIRST COLUMN OF THE DATABASE
AC = Amalgamated Claim
AG = Agreement
BL = Business License
BR = Book Reference
CL = Claim
CO = Company Registration
CP = Claim Protection
CR = Court Record
CT = Claim Transfer
DM = Dam
DR = Doctor
EC = Extended Claim
GR = Gold Receipts
LS = Lease
MR = Miner's Right
PC = Prospecting Claim
QC = Quartz Claim
RC = River Claim
RD = Road
RG = Registration
RS = Residence Site
SC = Sluicing Claim
TC = Tunnel Claim
WR = Water Race
e.g. 'MR 1234A' in the first column of the database results means this person was assigned Miner's Right Number 1234A.
MINING PRIVILEGE CERTIFICATES
Note: All Types of records are categorized by the Warden himself, and not by the transcriber.
A Miner's Right cost £1 per year. All Mining Privilege certificates cost one shilling and sixpence in 1862, going up to two shillings and sixpence by 1863.
AC = AMALGATATED CLAIMS: When a group of miners in one locality decided that it would be in their
best interests to join their claims together into one, they applied to the Warden for an 'Amalgamated Claim'. This
was a very common procedure in Otago, especially when the miners had decided that sluicing was their best option.
This required that they bring capacious amounts of water to the claim, and they would need to work together to
achieve this with water races, dams and tunnels. The Warden allocated the normal area per man for their
amalgamated claim, making a much larger area to work. The men then shared the work load, shared the expenses
of buying timber and tools, and of course shared the profits of the entire claim.
AG = AGREEMENT: This was any kind of mining agreement that the miners worked out between themselves
and decided they needed to put in writing. Sometimes it concerned arrangements for working together, such as in an
amalgamated claim, or renting of races or claims from another miner for a stipulated period of time. The miners
wrote the agreements out, all parties signed them and the agreement was then registered with the Warden. The Warden
issued a Miner's Privilege certificate (2/6d) and kept the agreement paper in the Warden's Court Applications Book
BL = BUSINESS LICENSE: Any person who wanted to open any type of business on the Goldfield such
as a store, hotel, blacksmith forge, restaurant or butcher's shop was required to apply to the Warden for a business
license. Like the Miner's Right, there was a fee for the Business License, and a certificate was issued by the Warden
for one year, renewable on payment of another fee. The details of the Business were entered in the Business License
register kept by the Warden. Many of these appear in the Goldminer's Database. They are important because the Warden
used mainly businesses to define the location of a miner's claim ( e.g. 'above Tyler's Store' or 'behind the
'Golden Age Hotel').
BR = BOOK REFERENCE: Some reference books concerning the Goldfields have been indexed on the
database. Details of the book reference accompany the record.
CL = CLAIM: An ordinary claim registered with the Warden, usually for a single miner with a valid
Miner's Right. In Otago a single claim could not exceed 100 x 100 feet (10000 square feet) while in Thames the
claim area was larger, usually 50 x 300 feet (15000 square feet) for a reef claim. The miner would mark out his territory
by placing pegs in the ground at the corners.
CP = CLAIM PROTECTION: A miner with a valid Miner's Right and a staked-out claim was not permitted
to leave the claim for more than a few hours, except at night or on Sundays. Otherwise the entire claim would be considered
abandoned and could be reclaimed by another miner, provided he had a valid Miner's Right and registered the claim with the Warden.
But there were times when a miner needed to be away from his claim, such as to build a water race, to obtain tools, timber
or blasting powder, (the latter only in Thames for the quartz mining) or if he was sick or had a family emergency. Another
common reason was because of lack of water in the heat of the summer in Otago or lack of money (for quartz mining in
Thames which was expensive.) The miner could apply to the Warden, and on payment of a fee, would be issued with a
Claim Protection certificate to allow him to be away from the claim from 14 to 30 days with no fear of the claim
being considered abandoned.
CR = COURT RECORD: The Warden's court was set up in both Thames and Otago to hear and resolve disputes between miners.
Some of these records have found their way into The Goldminer's Database.
CT = CLAIM TRANSFER: A Miner could sell his claim to another miner. Once they had agreed on a price, they wrote out
a deed of sale on a piece of notepaper, detailing the location of the claim, its size, often stating the fractional share
owned in an amalgamated claim, what was included in the way of water races, tools etc and the price to be paid. All parties signed the deed,
and it was then registered with the Warden. For a fee, the Warden issued a certificate to register the sale, checked that the new owner had a
valid Miner's Right and then filed the deed in the Warden's Court Applications book for safe-keeping.
DM = DAM: Mining methods used in both Otago and Thames required plenty of water to wash out the gold from the surrounding soils
(in the case of sluicing and panning in Otago) and from the pulverized quartz rock (in the batteries of Thames). Sometimes the only way to
ensure a good supply when it was needed was to build a dam. A Mining Privilege certificate from the Warden was needed before proceeding.
Once the application for a dam was received, the Warden had to check that the dam would not interfere with the water rights of other miners before
proceeding. Then, for a fee, he would issue the certificate and the miners could proceed to buy the timbers and construct the dam.
DR = DOCTOR: If a miner was sick and wanted to apply for a Claim Protection certificate in Thames, he had to have a Doctor's note.
The doctor's certificate was usually kept by the Warden and filed in the Claim Protection Register. These Doctors have been indexed and included
in the Goldminer's Database. The system does not seem to have been the same in Otago where sickness was not recorded as being the reason for needing
a Claim Protection Certificate.
EC = EXTENDED CLAIM: When a miner or group of miners staked a claim in ground which had been previously worked (often termed 'old
ground' by the Warden), they were granted an Extended Claim, meaning they were assigned a larger area than a normal claim. A normal claim in
Otago was 10000 square feet per man, while an Extended Claim was usually 27000 square feet per man. This applies only to Otago, and usually for
GR = GOLD RECEIPTS: In Otago, the miners could deliver their gold to the Government Gold Receiver at the Police Station. Some of the Gold Receiver's Receipt Books (e.g. Arrowtown) have survived. A GR records depicts an entry in a Gold Receipt book, with the amount of gold the miner gave to the Gold Receiver.
LS = LEASE: Large groups of miners formed companies both in Otago and Thames. They then found they needed more land than the usual claim, for plant, buildings, residences etc. They could then apply to the Warden to lease the land around the claim, provided it was not already claimed by another miner or group of miners. Individual miners could also apply for a lease.
MR = MINER'S RIGHT: This is the most important Mining Privilege, and every miner had to obtain one before they could begin work, both in Otago and Thames. A Miner's Right cost £1 sterling, and lasted one year from the date of issue.
The Regulations of the Otago Gold Field states:
'THE MINER'S RIGHT. Every person residing on a Goldfield and engaged in mining for gold shall take out a Miner's Right, such Miner's
Right to be produced for inspection when demanded by the Warden or other officer or by any person duly authorised in that behalf in writing by
the Warden. Every Miner's Right shall before the issue thereof be signed by some Warden acting within the Province of Otago.'
Later The Mines Act of 1877 (long after the New Zealand Goldrush was over) gave the regulations more teeth:
'172. Any person not being the holder of a miner's right, license or lease duly empowering him in that behalf, who shall
mine for gold or occupy or carry on any business upon any crown lands shall be liable to the penalties following - that is
to say; For the first offense, a sum not exceeding Five Pounds, for the second or any subsequent offense, a sum not
exceeding Ten pounds, not less than Five Pounds, with imprisonment in some gaol, there to remain for any time not exceeding
one calendar month for every five pounds or fractional part of five pounds so to be paid.'
PC = PROSPECTING CLAIM: Issued when a miner wished to range out over a large area looking for gold. Once he found gold, or
a likely prospect, he had to return to the Warden to register a claim.
QC = QUARTZ CLAIM: Issued when the gold found by the miner was locked up in quartz rock, and a mining tunnel had to be dug
to extract the quartz rock. It was then pulverized using a stamper battery to extract the gold. Most gold was mined in a quartz claim in Thames,
whereas it was very rare in Otago.
RC = RIVER CLAIM: In Otago where the miner was panning or using a cradle in a river. He would be allocated a certain number of
feet of river frontage. Often the miners with a river claim wished to divert the flow of the river out of its bed so that they could look for gold in the old river bed. They had to apply to the Warden to do this, and such a Mining Privilege is often described as a River Claim.
RD = ROAD: If a miner (or business owner) wanted to use horses to transport equipment and supplies to a remote claim, he often
decided to build a road. He could not do this without first applying to the Warden for a Mining Privilege to construct a road. On other occasions,
the Miners requested to be able to dig up the existing road. The Warden usually complied but required them to first build a new diversion for the
RG = REGISTRATION: Sometimes used by the Warden to register a Mining Privilege which did not come in under his usual categories.
Explanations are given which each individual record.
RS = RESIDENCE SITE: Sometimes, a miner would build a hut or house near his claim, especially if he had his family with him.
The warden registered and charged for all residence sites. They could be sold, and the sale was registered under the Claim Transfer category, usually.
Many residence sites were sold in Wetherstons and Waipori Townships in 1866 and are included in The Goldminer's Database.
SC = SLUICING CLAIM: Often the warden would register a claim as a Sluicing Claim from the start. This occurred only in Otago.
Little or no sluicing occurred in Thames, with all the gold locked up in quartz which a hard spray of water could not penetrate. The term 'sluicing'
was not seen in any of the Thames records covered but it was very common in Otago.
TC = TUNNEL CLAIM: In Otago, the miners would build a tunnel through a hill in order to bring water to their claim or divert a river from its original bed. But they had to apply for a Mining Privilege certificate (and pay a fee) before they could start.
WR = WATER RACE: After the miner's right, this is the most common Mining Privilege that was applied for in Otago. The miners sought
a good water supply, and then brought it to the claim with a Head Race, usually from a creek, river or dam. Sometimes the water race was just a deep
channel cut in the ground but if they needed to cross a gully or a roadway etc, they used timber framing to erect a water race on stilts. The race
had to be carefully designed to ensure a downward slope to provide sufficient flow of water all the way to the claim. Once they had the water on
their claim, they then had to build a tail race to drain it away to a nearby creek or into the water race of a miner in a lower claim. When the
miners applied for a water race certificate, the Warden had to ensure that the new race would not interfere with the water rights of neighbouring
claims, or flood claims lower down the slope. He visited the site and carefully detailed where the race was going and how long it would be.
Sometimes, when the Warden had been on his rounds, he found water races that had never been registered. He then dragged the miners concerned back
to his office, where they made the application, paid the fee and had the certificate date back-dated to the 'possession date'. This 'possession date'
is always recorded on The Goldminer's Database.
The system in Thames was entirely different, where water races needed were to supply the big stamping batteries. The races were big and
usually built by well-financed companies or the government. However there were many small batteries fed by smaller races in the early years.