The New Zealand Goldrush Journal

Volume 2 (2018)




THE TAPU GOLDFIELD 1867 - 1868 Part II

The Goldfield North of Tapu Creek

by Kae Lewis

The Circular Ridge Of The North Tapu Goldfield

The main gold-bearing quartz reefs in the north Tapu Creek diggings was between Creeks No 3 and No 4. This was the original Prospector's claim belonging to the McIsaacs which later became the Tapu Gold Mining Company (see part I for more details about this claim.). The claim of the Tapu Goldmining company were at the top of the ridges at the sources of No 3 and No 4 creeks, as seen on the Fisher survey plan below. They had a bullock track along the highest ridge between these two creeks. This lead down to Tapu Creek to the Tapu Crushing Mill which was located on the banks of the Tapu Creek, about 2 km up the creek from the township.

North Tapu Claims
Figure 1: A Survey Plan of the North Tapu Creek Gold Diggings dated 1867-1868 showing the tributary creeks, Nos 1, 2, 3 & 4.
Surveyed by A. & H Fisher Bros, Surveyors & Sharebrokers of Tapu Creek. Redrawn by Evan Lewis (see the book "Goldrush to the Thames 1867-1868" by Kae Lewis.)
Source: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Public Library NZ Map 69.
Click to enlarge the photo.
Tapu Claims
Figure 2: A geological map of Tapu Creek, showing the three main quartz veins where gold was found.
Source: The NZ Geological Survey, Bulletin 10, 1910.
Click to enlarge the photo.

The aerial photographs below were taken by White's Aviation before the bush had grown back over the north Tapu Hills. Using the enlargement facility available on each one, it is possible to see the remains of the Tapu Mining Company's bullock track along the top of the central circular ridge in the photo (north of the creek) between Nos 3 and 4 creek gullies.

Tapu North aerial photo
Figure 3: An aerial photograph of North Tapu Creek taken in 1959 before the bush had grown back over the goldfields, showing the locations of Tapu Creek, No 2, 3 and 4 creeks and McIsaacs' original Claim (1867-8). The rest of the claims in this area were spread around the circular ridge, on each side of McIsaacs' Claim.
Source: Whites Aviation Ltd Collection. WA-40846-F.
Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
Click to enlarge the photo.
Tapu North aerial photo
Figure 4: An aerial photograph of North Tapu Creek taken in 1959 from further out to sea. The distinctive circular ridge of the North Tapu goldfield is shown very clearly in this photo.
Source: Whites Aviation Ltd Collection WA-49397.
Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
Click to enlarge the photo.

The top left hand side of the photo in Figure 3 shows a distinctive circular ridge which bears all the hallmarks of being an ancient, very eroded volcano crater. If so, this would explain the presence of gold in the area. This was confirmed in the map produced by the geologist F. W. Hutton in 1869 which shows that all the lower areas at the base of the Tapu Ridges were composed of Trachytic Tufa, also known as volcanic tuff, 'a type of rock made of volcanic ash ejected from a vent during a volcanic eruption. Following ejection and deposition, the ash is compacted into solid rock.' From Wikipedia

As seen in the Fisher Survey Plans (Figures 1 and 6), the gold claims of 1867 - 1868 in the north Tapu Creek area were all centered on the top of these three main ridges, including the top of the circular ridge (top left hand side of the aerial photo in Figure 3 above.) The survey plan shows that the boundaries of the claims almost all included a ridge top and went down each side. These were all quartz reef claims, with the gold-bearing reefs being up to 100 feet below the surface. (There was a small amount of alluvial gold found but only for the first few weeks of the goldfield operation.) The goldminers would enter the ridge at the lowest point on their claim, driving inwards until they located a quartz reef or vein. They would then follow it as far as they could within the boundaries of their claim. The quartz would then have to be extracted from their tunnel (or shaft) and tested for gold content. If it seemed there was enough gold in the quartz to make it payable, they would then take out all the associated quartz rock and transport it down the ridge to the nearest Quartz Crushing Mill (Stamping Battery), located along the banks of main Tapu Creek. The locations of the various stamping batteries in 1868 are shown above in the Fisher Survey plan in Figure 1 & 6.

Tapu North aerial photo
Figure 5: A high resolution aerial view of the circular ridge on the north bank of Tapu Creek, where many gold claims were located in 1868. The scarring from the old goldminer's bullock track right around the rim can be seen in this enlarged version.
Source: Retrolens: A historical Imagery Resource. Survey Number SN292.
Click to enlarge the photo.

Figure 5 above shows clearly the circular bullock track around the crater-like ridge at the bottom of the photo, the track going east from there towards Fraser's Mill, and the final track at the top which comes down the ridge above No 4 Creek and ends at the Sanderson's Mill. To build tracks like this, each claim that would benefit from the track would contribute labour, materials and pack animals to working-bee construction parties.

Even as early as 1868, there was a bullock track along the full lenth of Tapu creek up as far as the flat (3 miles upriver, just past the Golden Point Claim) with at least eight fords to cross the main creek. Frequent creek crossings were necessary because the banks of the creek had many high rocky cliffs where a track could not be built. They would then cross the creek to a sandy bank on the other side, and at one point, utilised a sandy island in the centre of the creek. There were some wooden bridges built for the more difficult crossings. This track was often washed out during the heavy rain storms that frequent the area, and would then have to be rebuilt. All this road-building was done by the miners themselves or the stamping battery owners, with no help from the government.

The Ridges in the Vicinity of No 4 Creek, North Bank of Tapu Creek.

There were a number of other claims clustered along the ridge above Creek No 4, as well as the Golden Point and Golden Valley claims situated on the Tapu Creek itself. There was a bullock track along the ridge above No 4 creek, leading down to the main Tapu Creek track near the Sanderson's stamping battery. This ridge can be clearly seen in the aerial photograph in Figure 3, forming a snake-like pattern just east of the main circular ridge complex of No 2 and No 3 creeks.

Branching off from the central Tapu Creek track were a number of bullock tracks that went up each ridge. All the tracks are marked in green in Figure 1 above. There was another bullock track that went from the circular ridge, down to No 4 creek area. This gave the claims here access to the various stamping batteries at the top end of the Tapu Creek, such as Fraser's Mill at Golden Point and Sanderson's mill even further up the creek.

Bullock tracks North Tapu
Figure 6: Another veiw of the Survey Plan of the North Tapu Creek Gold Diggings dated 1867-1868 showing the tributary creeks, Nos 1, 2, 3 & 4.
Surveyed by A. & H Fisher Bros, Surveyors & Sharebrokers of Tapu Creek.
Source: Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Public Library NZ Map 69.
Click to enlarge the photo.

A Topographical Map of The Tapu District

Parts of which are shown in Figure 1 & 6 above.

The New Zealand Herald 10 October 1868: 'A plan of the Tapu gold mining district, prepared from a topographical survey made by A. and H. Fisher Bros, surveyors of Tapu has been printed. We are informed that the map is a correct one. It shows the township and creek of Tapu and the country for a distance of one and a half miles. It would seem that not more than two thirds of the space within a radius on one miles of the mouth of the creek is taken up. Truly there is room for an immense mining population here.

New Zealand Herald 14 October 1868 (Advertisement): 'MESSRS. FISHER BROTHERS' NEW MAP of the Tapu Creek Diggings to be had at Wayte's Bookseller, &c, Auckland and Shortland, and at Messrs. Fisher Brothers, Hastings, Tapu Creek.'
New Zealand Herald 23 October 1868: Fishers' Map of the Hastings Goldfield: It has long been felt that some reliable source of information was necessary as regards the position of claims here, for the guidence of those at a distance who wish to invest capital in this goldfield. Much mischief has already resulted from false statements made by shareholders and others to the press and also to sharebrokers. To take a recent case, it was reported that the Governor Hobson claim adjoined the Golden Point claim. This is false as is also the statement made to Mr Lennox, sharebroker a short time ago that the Kohinoor adjoined the Golden Point and True Blue claims. A casual glance at the map will show how utterly false this statement is, but on which, nevetheless, a sale proceeded. These examples show how necessary the publication of the map is. People can also see at a glance how the claims in which they hold interests lie in relation to those which have struck payable quartz, by bearing in mind that the run of the leaders and reefs is generally a little to the east and west of north. Also the position of stamping batteries in operation or being built can also be ascertained. Being very familiar with this goldfield, I can vouch for the accuracy of the relative positions of the claims. The price of these charts is such as to place them in the reach of everyone. I have never yet seen so large and important a map published for so low a price as five shillings. Intending purchasers of interests here will have only themselves to blame if they allow themselves to be deceived by the asertions of those who seek by false statements to dispose of their interests in a claim. Another thing intending purchasers would do well to bear in mind is to see that the claim has been properly surveyed. A three or eight men's claim does not always consist of three or eight men's complement of ground but sometimes is less tham half that quantity, because it is closely bounded by claims which were taken up previously.'

The author would like to acknowledge that without this survey plan of A and H Fisher Bros of Tapu, this entire study of the Tapu Goldfield would not have been possible.

Bullock tracks North Tapu
Figure 7: The Gold Scales that belonged to Fisher Brothers, Surveyors, Commission & Mining Agents, Sharebrokers Etc., Hastings, Tapu. The fact that they carried gold scales probably indicates that they also bought gold from the miners at Tapu. Photographed by Dave Wilton.
Click to enlarge the photo.
From The New Zealand Geological Survey, Bulletin 10, by Colin Fraser 1910: 'Old official reports (stated) that the veins of the lower Tapu Valley were found to become smaller when followed downwards, with pockets of pay-ore less numerous (while in Thames the veins become wider and with pockets of gold-laden ore usually more numerous at lower depths.) In the lower Tapu Valley, particularly on the rather steep slopes of the argillite area cut by several small gullies on the northern side of the main stream, the occurrence of considerable quantities of auriferous soil associated with slopes of accumulated rock debris (talus). 'The gold was usually flaky and free from quartz, but was sometimes attached to small portions of matrix. It was not at all water-worn.' (Hutton) It would seem that this was a concentrated product formed practically in situ by weathering agents from the clayey quartz veins which ran through the argillite rocks. Sluicing operations were carried out on this blanket of surface material, yielding most of the gold found in this area of the goldfield.'

'The nature of the wall-rock (was shown to have an effect) on the fineness of gold in the lower Tapu veins. Bullion from the argillite (fine- grained sedimentary rock) showed a gold-fineness (purity) of 0.806 to 0.722; that from the andesite area, a fineness varying from 0.752 to 0.721.'

The Goldminers of The North Tapu Goldfield 1868.

Who Were They?

No 2 Creek

No 2 Creek was the first subsidiary creek of North Tapu Creek. The claims on No 1 &2 Creek, starting from Tapu Creek and going north were:

  1. Munster Lass Claim

  2. Union Jack Claim

  3. Tauranga Claim: Claim registered 8 August 1868. Claimholders: 5 men's ground. The orginal claimholders were Alexander ANDERSON, Patrick McNUTTY, John DOYLE and Alexander FULLERTON.

  4. Great Republic Claim
  5. The New Zealand Herald 31 October 1868: 'The Great Republic is still being well worked. The main level drive is still being carried rapidly forward, the quartz in the reef that is being followed is not so hard to get out as it was some time ago, but the granite backing is still very hard. Some very fine specimens were found in this reef a short time ago. A shaft has been started in the surface just above to try the ground lower still.'
    The New Zealand Herald 15 December 1868: 'The low-level drive in the Great Republic claim is making only slow progress because the granite rock in which the reef is encased requires blasting. The reef is narrower and supposed to be much richer than before. In about 40 feet more, they will be under the large mullocky reef which crosses the (No 2) creek where the rich stuff was found about 12 months ago. The shaft which was started near the entrance of this drive a short time ago has been abandoned for the present because of the quantity of water which has been encountered. The depth attained is about 45 feet. The upper workings are progressing favorably, a large quantity of stuff has been got out for crushing. If crushing here was as cheap as in Australia, the entire hill in that locality would pay to put through the machine as the gold is diffused all through it. The long drive has now attained a distance of about 340 feet, the last 20 or 30 of which has entered the Excelsior. The Great Republic claim has generously granted the shareholders of the Excelsior claim the use of this drive to test their ground. They are now about 140 feet below their lowest boundary, and are confident they will catch, by means of cross-drives, the gold-bearing leaders which they have discovered in their own claim, as well as the continuation of the Great Republic leader, of which they have every indication is not far off. They will now be able to go down with their main shaft as the drainage is now well secured by this drive. The Great Republic has just completed an excellent road to the Diggers' Rest Road with an easy gradient. They are now busy making a shoot to deliver their stuff to the roadway and expect to send a quantity of stuff to the machine next week.'
  6. California Claim: Claim registered 11 June 1868. 4 men's ground. The orginal claimholders were Frank AMODEO and Jules ROY. Amalgamted with Pride of Tapu Claim 12 November 1869.
  7. The New Zealand Herald 15 December 1868: 'The California Claim is situated on the western boundary of the Great Republic Claim. It has been protected but work was again resumed during last month. Several drives have been put in but no payable quartz has yet been struck. Their best prospects are obtainable on a leader, apparently the continuation of the Great Republic's main reef which runs through the center of their ground.'
  8. The Union Bank of New Zealand Claim: Claim registered 21 December 1868. Claimholders: 8 men`s ground. Robert STEVENSON, G. McANNALLY, Messrs. MAHORONEY & SEALE, Jules ROY, William P. STEVENS, William BLAIR, John CORNISH, John CORNISH Junr, W. B. HALEY.
  9. The New Zealand Herald 31 October 1868: 'The Union Bank of New Zealand is the name of a claim situated in No 1 creek. This claim has been worked with a good deal of perseverance for some time past. A good deal of sluicing was done previously here, and the gold obtained was exactly similar in appearance to that of the Great Republic. The rains of last winter have impeded their operations considerably, but now they have succeeded in carrying down a large paddock about 12 feet deep on to a kind of sandstone rock. The leader which was found lying on this is about 4 feet thick, and lying nearly horozontal. The bearing is up and down the centre of the gully, almost at right angles with the course of the Great Repulic's reef which doubtless extends on from No 2 creek to No 1 Creek and thence to the sea. A dish of stuff was washed during my visit, which contained a prospect of several pieces of coarse bright gold. A large proportion of the leader consists of fine-looking quartz, apparently much worn.'
    The New Zealand Herald 18 November 1868: 'Gibbons and Co report on their stamping battery yields of gold: The Union Bank of New Zealand claim 7 tons 7 cwt of surface mullock yielded 1 oz 10 dwts 5 grs of retorted gold.'

The Circular Bullock Track

The circular bullock track lies between No 2 and No 4 Creek and which was centered on No 3 Creek, as seen in Figures 3, 4 and 5 above. The claims on the circular rim, starting from Tapu Creek just above No 2 Creek, near the Tapu Crushing Mill were:

  1. Great Mogul Claim: Claim registered 8 August 1868. Claimholders: 3 men's ground. Patrick McNULTY, William DEBSELL.
  2. Little Republic Claim: Claim registered 18 June 1868. Claimholders: 3 men's ground. Alexander FULLARTON, Peter O`NEIL, William DIBSELL.
  3. The New Zealand Herald 15 December 1868: 'The Great Mogul Claim and the Little Republic Claim (amalgamated). These claims are situated on the southern boundary of the Great Republic claim. Their term of protection has just expired, and the workings are now being vigorously carried on. A mullocky vein or reef has been discovered near the boundary of this claim and the Great Republic. This vein has been traced along the surface for a good distance. The width of it is about 3 feet with a good show of quartz and what is better still, a good show of coarse gold exactly similar to that obtained by their neighbours. I saw today about a quarter of a dwt of gold, besides specimens, washed from a dish of stuff.'
  4. Champion Claim: Claim registered 4 August 1868. Claimholders: 5 men`s ground. Robert KELLY, Lawrence HOGG, Charles WILLIAMSON, W. J. GUTHRIE, Herbert HAMPTON.
  5. The New Zealand Herald 31 October 1868: 'The Champion adjoins the southern boundary of the Excelsior claim. An excellent leader has just been struck in this claim a short distance to the south of an old shaft about 75 feet deep. The prospects said to be obtained are first-rate. The leader has been traced for a good distance by means of shallow holes sunk at intervals of a few feet, in all of which the leader is equally rich. A quantity will be taken out for crushing, and then a drive will be carried in from the old shaft. Their prospects at present appear to be first-rate as the ground is easily worked. A large quantity of stuff can be got out without much trouble, and they are a short distance from Gibbon's and Co's machine.'
  6. Excelsior Claim Claim registered 20 June 1868. Claimholders: 6 men`s ground. W. AITKIN, Thomas PEACOCK, A. GILCHRIST, G. MARTIN, A. BEVERIDGE, G. MacDONALD, J. M. LENNOX, F. ELLISON, H. WEBSTER, F. L. MURRAY, W. SCOTT, W. MANNING, G. GILCHRIST, F. AMODEO, T. S. WESTON, J. BURNS.
  7. The New Zealand Herald 31 October 1868: 'In the Excelsior, which adjoins the southern boundary of the Great Republic claim, a fine looking leader has been struck on the boundary. A drive is now being carried along it. It is parallel with the Great Republic's leader but a few feet further south.'
    The New Zealand Herald 15 December 1868: See the report on this date under the Great Republic Claim.'
  8. Gold Seekers' Claim
  9. The New Zealand Herald 15 December 1868: 'The Gold Seekers' claim is situated on the eastern boundary of the Excelsior. It has been worked for about three months. Several promising leaders have been discovered. They are searching for the continuation of the Great Republic's reef, the bearing of which has been taken and the line followed carefully to this locality. The creek which is bounding them on the eastward is the westernmost branch of No 3 creek. A good deal of gold was originally obtained here by sluicing. The gold is exactly similar to that obtained on No 2 and No 1 creeks but nowhere else on this goldfield, thereby proving that it all originally came from one feeder.'
  10. Diggers Rest Claim: Claim registered 26 June 1868. Claimholders: 8 men's ground. F. B. KERSTEMAN, John WHITE, John HENRY, John N. WARK, A. M. NEWBURN, Edward TREMAIN, William McG. HAY, James Thompson PETRIE, Edward PASSENESLLIE.

  11. The New Zealand Herald 28 January 1868:'Jamieson and Co. at Diggers' Rest have struck a fresh leader on the ranges, one mile from McIsaac's. The present prospect is 1 pennyweight of gold to the tin dish (gold pan).'
    The New Zealand Herald 27 February 1868: 'After crossing the main Tapu creek, we started our ascent up the main ranges... After we got about half way up the hill, we could hear the ring of a blacksmith's anvil, and on making our approach to the spot, I found quite a small township of huts built immediately on the brow of a very steep range. After a little inquiry, I found this to be the Diggers' Rest claim, belonging to Jamieson and party. This claim is turning out well, they have both a mullocky and quartz leader which on average is expected to yield 12 oz to the ton.'
  12. Lord Collingwood Claim

  13. Lord Nelson Claim
  14. The New Zealand Herald 28 November 1868: 'The Lord Nelson Claim: This company has been working for some time to cut a line of road from their claim to the Diggers' Rest road. They have made a good job of it, and during the week, have had a quantity of their stuff brought down to Messrs. Gibbons & Co's machine. This claim adjoins the southern boundary of the Diggers' Rest claim, and the place where the Royal Standard's reef was discovered is only a few feet from the boundary line. They have now started a cutting into the side of the hill, in a line with the run of the reef, and have been fortunate enough to uncover it, four feet in wide and apparently solid stone. It has not been broken into at present, as they intend to get a good face on their work before doing so. If the stone should prove to be payable, they will be able to get out great quantities with very little trouble. Their low-level workings are also available for working this reef at about 160 feet below the crown of the ridge.'
  15. Prince of Wales Claim: Claim registered 20 June 1868. Claimholders: 4 men's ground. Thomas FAIRBURN, George HAMBLIN, William GREEN, James T. PETRIE, John WHITAKER, John SALT.

  16. Earl of Erin Claim:
  17. The New Zealand Herald 15 December 1868:'The Earl of Erin claim is situated a short distance to the south of the Prince of Wales claim, and consists of three men's ground. It has been occupied about three months. An excellent leader close to the surface has been discovered. In some places, it is about 8 feet in thickness. It was followed in for a distance of about 50 feet when it dipped in its course. It was then decided to sink on it. At the top of the shaft, it was about three feet in thickness, and at the bottom (30 feet from the top), it was about two feet in thickness, with a much larger proportion of stone and yielding a much better prospect. They have now over 100 tons of quartz ready for crushing, in which large quantities of gold is plainly visible.'
  18. McIsaac's Claim which later became The Tapu Gold Mining Company Lease
  19. With the goldfield at Tapu being officially opened on 9th November 1867, Angus and Allan McIsaac took out minerís rights for a claim at Tapu Creek the following week, on 14th November. With this being a Prospectorís claim, they were entitled to a reward of one additional claim for each man,. They were joined on 9 December 1867 by 4 more members of the McIsaac family: Francis, William, Angus, and Alexander and on 16 Jan 1868 by three more: Donald, John and George, making 9 family members working on the Tapu Creek claim. With the two additional Prospectorís claims, the McIsaac's claim at Tapu was 11 menís ground. (See Figure 4 in Part I of this series, an extract from the Goldminer's Database.)

    The New Zealand Herald 20 January 1868: 'Gold has been struck in McIsaac's reef, which is now turning out well, a Berdan machine having been brought over.'
    The New Zealand Herald 11 February 1868: 'The steamer 'Midge' arrived from the Thames on 7th February, bringing a small parcel of gold (80 oz) from McIssac's Claim.'
    The New Zealand Herald 27 February 1868: 'After crossing the main Tapu Creek, in company with two of Mr McIsaac's sons, we started our ascent by climbing up the ranges on the main track which has been cut at considerable expense for the purpose of making way for the Berdan which McIsaac and party now have at work...we continued (past the Diggers' Rest claim) and soon came in sight of McIsaac's claim. I found two claims fully manned and at work. No 2 have got gold on the surface, and they are optimistic. No 1 north have been sinking for the reef to the depth of 50 feet, and they are now driving westward for the reef. The McIsaacs and party have purchased all the shares in this claim except one, and I understand gave a good price for them. Since this claim has been purchased, the reef has been struck, and now I am informed on good authority that £300 has been offered. The next claim I visited was the Prospectors' claim, the shareholders as usual were hard at work. Some were in the drive, some preparing timber and others working the Berdan. In fact the whole claim presented one of the busiest sights that could possibly be met with on any diggings. This party, with their usual frankness, show me all their claim and the manner in which they so skillfully traced their rich quartz leaders. They also showed me very rich stone which to all appearances was nearly solid gold. Their last crushing was 300oz for 12 day' crushing, illustrating the richness of this famous claim. McIsaac and Sons are now busily engaged in building dwelling houses to make themselves comfortable for winter.

    9 March 1868: The McIsaacs were still finding alluvial gold on their quartz-reef claim. By now, they had taken up two claims, one a quartz-reef claim and the other a sluicing or alluvial claim. A dispute arose in the Resident Magistrateís Court as to whether this was allowable because the present mining laws did not cover this eventuality. Long and his party attempted to jump the alluvial claim which led them all to appear before the Gold Commissioner at the Resident Magistrateís Court in the Thames. The Court decided to allow Long and his party to take possession of a portion of the McIsaac claim for alluvial mining.

    The New Zealand Herald 1 April 1868: 'ROYAL MINT, SYDNEY: Gold deposited in the Royal Mint by the Union Bank from McIsaac's, Tapu Creek:-
    Weight before melting: 255.73 oz
    Weight after melting: 250.54 oz
    Assay report of fineness: 0.781 (gold:silver)
    Weight (of pure gold): 213.452 oz
    Value at £3 17s 10d per oz ... £832 2s 7d
    Mint charge 7d per oz ... £6 4s 6d
    Net Value ... £824 18s 1d
    Value paid to the miners £3 6s per oz

    Note: Tapu Gold had a higher value per oz than Thames gold, which had a higher silver content than Tapu Gold.
    The New Zealand Herald 14 September 1868: 'The Tapu Gold Mining Company's claims have now better prospects than ever they had. On account of the roadmaking, they have only been able to spare one or two men to work on the claim at a time; they have however succeeded, under the skillful direction of their manager, in opening a new leader, which bids fair to rival the richest that has yet been found on the claim. The locality where this leader has been found is close to a place where McIsaac is said to have obtained 1.5 oz (gold) to the dish (gold pan). A drive (a horozontal tunnel) was started from the up-hill side of the (present) drive and carried at right angles to it. They soon cut this leader which is running parallel to the old leader in every respect. Some beautiful specimens of coarse gold I observed adhering to the leader, and from the quantity of gold which can be seen in the stuff when taking it out, it is expected to turn out well. Some distance further on, another similar drive has been put in (for) a short distance but the leader has not been struck, which shows that it has dippped in its course. The top of the reef has been touched upon in this leader, which consists of fine large quartz, out of which a capital prospect has been obtained. The workings on this claim will be somewhat cramped until their large body of crushing stuff has been got rid of (down the shoot to the Tapu Crushing Mill on the banks of the Tapu Creek). At present, all hands are engaged in raising the centre of the shoot (a wooden platform down which the quartz rock could be slid by gravity down to the level of the Crushing Mill below) which formerly conformed to the slope of the hill. It is now intended to make it fall in a straight line from top to bottom. It is expected to be finished by next Wednesday, if the weather should keep fine.'
    The New Zealand Herald 12 September 1868: The first parcel of stuff, 32 tons, from the Tapu Gold Mining Company has been finished at the machine, and the total result is 41 lbs of amalgam. 50 oz of gold has previously been washed out of this stuff on the claim, and a quantity of coarse stuff yet remains over from the machine, awaiting the Chilian Mill to finish it off. This is the residue from the stamper boxes from between the cheeses (as the blocks are called) upon which the stamper falls. The company do not intend retorting (to remove the mercury in the amalgam) at present. The road from their claim to the machine has been very much cut up, and it is not considered advisable to continue traffic upon it until the weather has become more settled.
    The New Zealand Herald 5 October 1868: 'The Tapu Gold Mining Company have met with some very rich stuff. Fifty tons of their surface leader (old stuff) has been crushed this week and yielded 89 ozs of retorted gold.
    The New Zealand Herald 7 October 1868: 'The Tapu Gold Mining Company have had 32 tons crushed, yielding 113 ozs retorted gold, with a further 57 tons yielding 89 ozs.
    The New Zealand Herald 14 October 1868: 'Tapu Gold Mining Company: We learn that a new and rich lead has been struck by this Company on their claim. The discovery was made accidentally, while some of the men were sinking a post. It consists of a leader about three feet in thickness and of great richness.'
    The New Zealand Herald 31 October 1868: 'Two puddling machines are to be built on the main creek here, one by Mr Orme, a man recently arrived from Melbourne, and the other by the Tapu Gold Mining Company. These are much needed and will be a great saving to miners as the a large part of the stuff sent to be crushed is taken from surface leaders, which mostly consist of mullock.'
    The New Zealand Herald 31 October 1868: 'The Tapu Gold Mining Company is now mainly working on blocking out the old leader and putting in a main low-level drive from the edge of the dam. This will also act as an effectual drain for all the upper workings. The good ground which was discovered a few days ago when putting in a prop cannot be worked at present because of the water. A very large quantity of stuff is now lying at the machine for crushing. A battery of 5 stampers was kept going for the Company all last week, and a constant supply will now be kept up. There has not been any amalgam retorting lately (to drive off the mercury from the mercury-gold amalgam) but the yield is expected to be about the same as the last.'
    The New Zealand Herald 18 November 1868: 'Gibbons and Co report on their stamping battery yields of gold: The Tapu Gold Mining Company 19 tons yielded 28 oz 3 dwt 15 gr of retorted gold.'
    The New Zealand Herald 23 November 1868: 'The Tapu Gold Mining Company's tramway is expected to be ready for traffic next Monday (23rd November 1868). The workmanship is good and reflects great credit on all concerned. Their puddling machine is also being constructed and may be in operation before Christmas.'
    The New Zealand Herald 28 November 1868: 'The first wagon was successfully taken along the new tramway from the Tapu Gold Mining Company's claim to the shoot last Monday and was found to be just what was needed. I have not seen a better piece of workmanship anywhere than is this tramway. The rails are of good thickness, perfectly parallel with each other, well jointed and firmly headed. From the claim to the shoot, the distance is 1800 feet, and the cost of construction was £150. The contractors were Messrs Binns and Miller, who are now constructing the company's puddling machines.'
    The New Zealand Herald 15 December 1868: 'The workings of The Tapu Gold Mining Company claim are being pushed forward with great energy. About 25 men are now employed by them, and a large quantity of stuff is being got out for crushing. The general run of the stuff is about one quarter mullock and requires drying before it can be got down the shoot to the tramway. The mine therefore is in some parts crowded with stuff awaiting the return of fine weather. The low level drive is now in for a distance of 130 feet, the last 60 feet of which has been blasted. They expect to carry it in about 10 or 20 feet further, and then drive at right angles east on to the vein which is being followed in the upper workings, and west on to the lead from the Little Jessie. The direction of this drive is nearly parallel to the run of these veins. The drainage of their upper workings will be complete when these veins are cut into below, which at present are somewhat inconvenienced by water. In the upper workings, they are now putting down a winze on the vein, in the locality of a rich patch found by the Messrs McIsaacs, yielding about 150 oz of gold. The depth of the winze is about 15 feet, and the width of the vein about 3 feet. This stuff is expected to yield 5 oz and upwards to the ton. The upper slopings have reached to about 40 feet from the surface, and the vein here is about a foot in width. The workings are in an easily worked strata, and a large quantity of stuff is readily got out. A little fine weather is now anxiously looked for, so as to enable them to send a large body of stuff they now have on hand to the puddling machine. The shareholders may confidently look forward to an enhanced yield from their stuff now that the mullock will be run off before it is submitted to the stampers. '
    Puddling Machine
    Source: The National Gallery of Victoria.
    Click to enlarge the photo.
    Figure 8: A one-horse puddling machine similar to those built by the Tapu Gold Mining Company on the banks of the Tapu Creek. The mullock which was a mixture of loose clay and gold-bearing quartz was placed in the puddling machine. They then added copacious amounts of water and agitated the mixture until the clay went into solution with the water. They could then drain off the water/clay mixture, leaving only the stone containing gold behind. This saved a lot of time and money at the stamping battery because the amount of stuff being put through was much reduced. Also clay clogged up the stampers at the batteries.
    The New Zealand Herald 22 December 1868: 'The Tapu Gold Mining Company's puddling machine started operations this week and works very well. About 700 feet of fluming hass been carried up the creek, and brings a water to the machine. This machine is about 15 feet in diameter, and is worked by horse-power. One harrow is fastened by a chain at each end of a pole to which the horse is attached. At the exit end of the sludge canal, and extra supply of clean water is mingled with it, and then passes over about 8 feet of blanket table. there is no sign of gold to be detected in the tailings.'
    (Editor's note: The residents in the Hastings township were recently complaining to Commissioner James Mackay Jnr about the water quality in Tapu Creek, (see the report dated 5 November 1868 in Part I). This new puddling operation where the effluent is passing directly into the Tapu Creek will only make the situation worse. The Warden will require them to install settling tanks before discharging water back into the creek, as the stamping batteries are also required to do.)
    From The New Zealand Geological Survey, Bulletin 10, by Colin Fraser 1910: 'McIsaac's Old Claim: This claim, situated in No 3 Gully on the north side of the valley, was worked from three levels. The country rock is Argillite (see Figure 2 above), and the vein, according to the old reports, consisted of a fissure filled with bue clay, carrying veinlets and nodules of auriferous ferruginous quartz. The material crushed in the early days returned 1.5 to 6 oz of bullion per ton. This vein, when traced upwards into the andesitic tuffs (of volanic ash origin) at the head of the gully, showed a change of character, the vein stone here consisting of white compact quartz.'
  20. Victory Claim

  21. Royal Standard Claim
  22. The New Zealand Herald 27 February 1868: 'I found two claims fully manned and at work. No 2 north of McIsaac's have got gold on the surface, and they are optimistic.'
    The New Zealand Herald 28 November 1868: 'The Royal Standard claim, formerly known as No 2, north of McIsaacs. This claim has been protected for the past 3 months, and is again being vigorously worked. At the time that protection was obtained for this claim, more tunnelling had been done on it than any other claim in Tapu, and yet they failed to strike the rich reef which has since been discovered on the surface, and which runs right through the centre of their ground. It was just so with the Faugh-a-Ballah which was proespected for 7 months and then thrown up in disgust. Who, after this, can tell when a claim has been properly prospected. The Royal Standard people however did not throw up their claim, but obtained protection, during which time the reef has been discovered. They are busily working on cutting across the ridge along the course of the reef and expect to have 20 tons of stone ready for the machine next week. The cutting is 10 feet deep, and the average width of the reef about 2 feet. Numbers of splendid specimens were shown to me, in which the precious metal is seen to run into the stone. The quartz is in large blocks but little crystalized and free from mullock. The underlie as far as the reef has been uncovered is very little to the eastward, and the bearing is about north and south. They intend, after taking out the present lot for crushing, to take out another portion about 5 feet or so lower, and then enter one or other of their low-level drives and cut into the reef at a different level of from 50 or 100 feet. This can be accomplished in a short time, as some of their drives have penetrated as far as the crown of the ridge on which their present workings are situated.'
    The New Zealand Herald 22 December 1868: 'Messrs Gibbons and Co battery have reported crushing 26 tons of quartz for the Royal Standard claim which yielded 43 oz of gold (1.6 oz per ton) '
    The New Zealand Herald 30 December 1868: 'We understand the Royal Standard No 2, Tapu which has been worked for some ten months by a party of experienced miners is promising very handsome returns. A well-defined reef, about 5 feet thick has been laid bare. From a crushing of 22 tons of stone, a yield has been obtained of 43 oz 16 dwts of very superior gold (2 oz per ton).'
  23. Duke of Wellington Claim

  24. Southern Cross Claim: Claim registered 25 June 1868. Claimholders: 6 men's ground. Archibald CLARK, George Burgoyne OWEN, Alexander HOGG, John WILSON, Thomas KENNEDY, Francis McISAAC, Frederick DUFAUR, James Bruce MORPETH, James Young STEVENSON, William Carey HILL, James BAXTER.
  25. The New Zealand Herald 14 September 1868: 'The shareholders in the Southern Cross Claim (No 1 claim North of McIsaac's) have had a good spell of roadmaking. They are now engaged in cutting the last portion from McIsaacs to their own claim. This is one of the heaviest portions of their work. They have about 30 or 40 tons (of what they hope is gold-bearing quartz) ready for crushing, and will be able to keep up a pretty good supply of good stone.'
    The New Zealand Herald 5 October 1868: 'The shareholders in the Southern Cross claim have had an extensive slip on their new road, just above the Tapu Gold Mining Company's workings. Some idea may be formed of the extent of it when a kauri tree, three feet in diameter, was carried bodily down with it, leaving it standing erect over the centre of the roadway.'
    The New Zealand Herald 31 October 1868: 'In the Southern Cross claim, active preparations are in progress for carrying down the main shaft 30 or 40 feet lower, and then they will drive on to the reef at that level. They are having considerable difficulty to obtain the necessary supply of good slabs which have to be carried a long distance over very rugged country. Road-making has put a stop to the development of the claim for some time, and the last extensive slip has still to be cleared away before the road will be usable. This will be left until the weather is more settled.'
    The New Zealand Herald 28 November 1868: 'The Southern Cross claim is again in full working order. A great deal of timber has been brought on to the claim for the deep workings. The depth of the shaft is now 75 feet, and from that level, they are driving to the eastward to cut the Tapu Gold Mining Company's veins which are bearing directly through their ground. They have also started a drive 30 feet above the level of the shaft, and intend driving towards their N.W. corner peg, which is the N.E. corner of Lord Nelson and is only a short distance to the east of the point where the reef enters that claim, the course of which also is about parallel with the boundary between these two claims. The Southern Cross shareholders are optimistic about catching the underlie before reaching the boundary.'
  26. Navvies Claim
  27. The New Zealand Herald 14 September 1868: 'The Navvies' Claim is now full of work, after having been protected (put on hold) for a period of 4 months. Since then, they have put in a drive for a considerable distance - about 75 feet, in a direction bearing a little to the south-east, and at a level of about 60 feet above their former main drive. At about 60 feet from the entrance, they cut through a splendid leader, partly quartz, and the remainder mullock and a quantity of stuff resembling plumbago (graphite). This leader is bearing about due north and south (parallel to the rim) and the dip is perpendicular. The width is about from 6 inches at the top to one foot at the bottom. The stuff is exactly similar in appearance to McIsaac's, the quartz being very dark in colour and as though coated with oxide of iron (rust). Several specimens were seen when the leader was being cut through, but on the whole, there is not much to be seen (with the naked eye). A dish of stuff was panned off when I visited the claim this morning; it had previously been burned, and was coarsely crushed in a mortar. During the process of crushing and washing, several nice specimens were obtained, and also about two pennyweights of pure clean gold was washed out of it. This leader runs right through their ground. The main drive (has been dug) in a distance of about 220 feet. About 200 feet from the entrance, a very promising leader was struck, just before obtaining protection. This leader, from nothing at the top, widened out to about 8 inches at the bottom and is full of good solid quartz. This will now be carefully tested, and they intend to put a (verticle) shaft down for the purpose of trying it at a depth of about 30 feet. In this drive, they are about 80 feet from their boundary, and it is expected that the rich leader found in the upper drive is only about 20 or 30 feet ahead. Altogether, their prospects are first-rate, and the drives, as it happens, are in the best position possible. A short time ago, the manager of the crushing machine, when on a visit to the claim, was so pleased with a prospect which was washed out in his presence, he offered to crush a ton or two for them for nothing, but they were not able to get anything down (because) of the state of the roads.'
    Daily Southern Cross 17 September 1868: 'The Navvies claim (on the same spur as the (Tapu) Company's (late McIsaac's), last week opened a splendid leader over 18 inches in thickness, in which gold is plainly visible to the naked eye. They are well deserving of their success, having continued working through all the reverses which had lately thrown such a cloudy aspect over the prospects of Tapu. The leader in question has been traced from the Company's ground, and no doubt will greatly enhance the value of the claim.'
    The New Zealand Herald 24 November 1868: 'The Navvies claim adjoins the south (sic, actually its on the north, Editor) boundary of the Little Jessie. The boundary line is situated about 40 or 50 feet to the south of the spot where the rich vein is being worked in the Little Jessie. The Navvies have commenced a drive at a low level on that boundary, and at a distance of 70 feet in, have cut through a very rich vein about 4 inches in width. It is precisely similar in appearance to that found in the Little Jessie.'
    The New Zealand Herald 15 December 1868: 'The Navvies claim has turned out a large quantity of excellent stuff, and some beautiful specimens since my last visit. They have been following the vein from the Little Jessie in its course southward (sic) through their claim. (Editor's note: If the Fisher plan of the claims (Figure 1 and 6) is correct, and I think it is, then the Navvies claim is north of the Little Jessie, formerly the Faugh a Ballagh claim. Therefore a vein coming from the Little Jessie to this Navvies would be coursing northwards.) The Navvies workings are about 40 feet below the level on which their neighbours' workings are situated. The vein however is just about the same thickness as in the upper workings. During the last day or so, the vein in this drive has been found to take a sudden dip in its course. This dip amounts to a fall of fifty feet in fifty feet. The underlie is also more abrupt, from 45 degrees to 60. This shows how little dependence there is to be placed in catching the run of a vein, even at a short distance from where it is being worked. Last evening, they came upon the start of another vein of the same series, from which a very good prospect was obtained.'
  28. Faugh a Ballagh, later the Little Jessie Claim: Little Jessie Claim registered 5 October 1868. Claimholders: 4 men`s ground. James ROBINSON Senr, William BLAIR, James ROBINSON Junr, Ralph BONNER.
  29. The New Zealand Herald 14 September 1868: 'The Faugh-a-ballagh Claim adjoins the south boundary of the Tapu Gold Mining Company. This claim was abandoned some three weeks ago, after having been worked unsuccessfully for about 8 or 9 months. It was taken up again this week by another party. Their prosects are first-rate, as the Navvies, who occupy the claim on their southern boundary have struck a first-rate leader which bears right through the eastern side of their claim, and thence to the Tapu Gold Mining Company's ground. They are now driving for it, and may expect to catch it in a few days.'
    The New Zealand Herald 7 October 1868: 'As an example of the uncertainties of mining, I will mention the Faugh A Ballagh, a claim of 4 men's ground situated next to McIsaac's. The parties had worked six months on the ground, and had built a substantial timber hut, when they decided to abandon it. It has been taken up within the last three weeks and renamed the Little Jessie by Robinson and party, who, in working in one of the abandoned drives, in ten minutes time, struck what has proved to be McIsaac's noted leader. About a dwt of gold to the dish was obtained, and it is the intention of the lucky shareholders to put five tons through the (quartz crushing) machine next week.'
    The New Zealand Herald 13 November 1868: A DESERTED CLAIM. - Three weeks ago, a party of men who had been working the Faugh-a-ballagh claim at Tapu for seven months enlisted in the Armed Constabulary, disgusted with their bad luck. Thereupon, another party of men took up the claim as abandoned, and rechristened it the Little Jessie. They just had a trial crushing of 5 tons of stone, which gave them 21 oz of retorted gold, or over 4 oz to the ton. The new party has not worked in one abandoned drive for ten minutes when they struck the leader from which this trail 5 tons of stone was taken. They had not worked three days in it when they struck the same leader that is opened in the Company's claim below. The Little Jessie is peg and peg with the (Tapu) Company's and the British claims. He would be a bold man who would say that there is such a thing on the Thames as a bad claim when time after time, a little additional work turns a 'duffer' into a 'jeweller's shop'.'
    The New Zealand Herald 31 October 1868: 'The Little Jessie, formerly the Faugh a Ballagh claim, struck a spendid leader last week. A prospect of about 2 oz of gold to a billy full of stuff is said to have been obtained last Friday. The leader is very flat and bearing directly for the workings of the Tapu Gold Mining Company. The width of the leader is about 2 feet and is chiefly composed of mullock. A large quantity of stuff has been got out which they intend to have tested shortly. The place where the leader was first struck is only about a foot from where the former occupants of the claim ceased driving when they abandoned the claim, after working on it for about 7 months.'
    The New Zealand Herald 18 November 1868: 'Gibbons and Co report on their stamping battery yields of gold: The Little Jessie claim 5 tons, rather mixed, very mullocky, yielded 19 oz 12dwt 23 gr of retorted gold.'
    The New Zealand Herald 24 November 1868: 'Some excellent specimens of golden quartz are now on view in the windows of Mr Beck, jeweller (of Auckland) which have been brought up from the Little Jessie claim, Tapu, by Mr Rice. The stone is extremely rich - of a brown, burnt appearance and cased with a soft slaty stone.
    The Little Jessie claim is still continuing to improve rapidly. Yesterday I saw about 10 or 12 lbs weight of specimens which had just been taken out, and which I estimate would yield about one-fourth or one-fifth pure gold.'
    The New Zealand Herald 15 December 1868: 'The Little Jessie has made great progress lately. I was very much surprised to see so much work done since my last visit to the claim about a month ago. They have followed their present level in to the Tapu Gold Mining Company's boundary and have taken out about 24 tons of excellent stuff, 15 tons of which they are now sending to the machine. They have put down a winze about 15 feet in depth, and find the underlie, width and yield of the vein just about the same. They intend carrying this down a good distance further, and then work upwards. Their stuff contains a large proportion of mullock, and it is expected to be much richer when they reach the solid slate formation.'
  30. British Claim
  31. The New Zealand Herald 24 November 1868: 'The British claim adjoins the south boundary of the Little Jessie claim. They are going to commence operations again next week. It is to be hoped that they will soon succeed in cutting the Little Jessie's leader in its southerly course. They have first-rate prospects before them and will be able to trace the course of the vein into their ground.'
    The New Zealand Herald 15 December 1868: 'The British Claim has just recommenced operations. They have started in a low-level drive from No 3 Creek, bearing east, in expectation of finding the lead from the Little Jessie and their neighbours the Navvies. There is not much reason I think to doubt that the other leaders which have been found by themselves, as well as the Navvies, belong to the same series of which the Little Jessie is the main vein.'
  32. Legacy Claim: Claim registered 4 August 1868. Claimholders: 4 men's ground. F. W. GARDNER, John T. STOKES, James BOYCE, Sarah GARDNER.

  33. Morning Star Claim:
  34. The New Zealand Herald 14 September 1868: 'The Morning Star Claim has also got some (excellent) prospects lately. They have a large body of first-rate stone to work on. Their upper leader is now fully three feet thick, two feet of this being mullock, and the remaining foot nearly solid quartz. A shaft has been put down on it to a depth of 20 feet, and the reef was found to be of the same width but much richer. Several very good specimens were found, and tests made on the (general average) stone showed about 3 oz (of gold) to the ton (of quartz). The bearing of this reef is about 20 or 30 degrees to the west of north, and the dip about south-east. About 30 feet below this face cutting, they have started a main centre drive, with the intention of following this reef until the rich leader from the Navvies (Claim) forms a junction with it which there is every appearance of at present. In the low-level drive, they have attained a distance of 140 feet, and are about 80 or 100 feet below the level of the top face cutting. The leader being followed in this drive is about 10 inches in width, the body of this stone is very dark in colour and yields an (excellent) prospect. They are very anxious to get a crushing, and would have had a parcel of five ton (of quartz) to the (crushing) machine by this time, had it not been for the alterations which are now being made to the shoot.'
  35. Thistle Claim Claimholder: 6 man's ground. William King.
  36. The New Zealand Herald 28 January 1868: The Thistle claim, the fourth south from McIsaac's, adjoining the British claim, struck good gold on Saturday.'
  37. Shamrock Claim: Claimholders:Claim registered 8 July 1868. 8 men's ground. James HEATON, Charles R. WALKER, Ed HEATON, Lawrence GRACE, Matthew LUSCOMBE, Henry LUSCOMBE, James MANN, Isidore T. WILMOT, Vivian WILMOT.

The Ridges around No 4 Creek of North Tapu.

The ridges that surround No 4 Creek, centered on the Fraser's Stamping Battery and the Golden Point Claim. The claims, starting at Tapu Creek just above the Tapu Crushing Mill were:

  1. Enterprise Claim: Claimholders: Claim registered 8 July 1868. 8 men`s ground. John SPRINGALL, Patrick ODAR, William KENNY, William BETTIS, Joseph REED, WATAHONEHUMEKE, Nathaniel MORGAN, George ROGERS

  2. Halcyon Claim

  3. Tapu Gold Mining Company Lease

  4. Koh-i-noor Claim

  5. Polar Star Claim: Claim registered 24 June 1868. Claimholders: 7 men's ground. Augustus W. ANDERSON, Charles ARMSTRONG, Henry YATE, John YOUNG, Charles BUNELL, Veale HARNESS, J. H. GRATTAN, Alexander McLEOD.

  6. Star of the East: Claim registered 24 June 1868. Claimholders: 8 men's ground. SMITH, Daniel SELLARS, William ANDERSON, John COPPEL, Crosdel BRINDLE, Veale HARNESS, John GRIFFITHS, Richard McBRINN, William CARPENTER, Charles BARTON, William CRAIG, Oliver GOLDSMITH.

  7. Comet Claim
  8. The New Zealand Herald 7 October 1868: 'The Comet's crushing is still progressing, with a yield of about 3 oz to the ton.'
    The New Zealand Herald 18 November 1868: 'The Comet claim is still being worked in a good systematic manner. The upper drive is now in a distance of about 150 feet, and is now close to the boundary of the Star of the Evening claim (protected). (Editor's note: he probably means The Star of the East Claim which is on their northern boundary.) The leader now appears somewhat nipped, or as though it had dipped its course northwards. They are still continuing the same course, and it appears to be making again. A great deal of stuff for crushing has been taken out of this drive. In the main drive, which is at a much lower level, they are engaged in following the vein from the bottom of a winze which has been sunk to a depth of about 20 feet below the level of the tunnel. The vein has increased in width from 8 inches in the main tunnel to 18 inches in places at the level at the bottom of the winze. It is also expected to be much richer. Stone in which no gold is visible yields an excellent prospect when pounded in a mortar.'
    The New Zealand Herald 12 December 1868: 'The Comet claim has had a parcel of 14 tons of surface stuff crushed at Messrs Gibbon's & Co's machine which yileded 84 oz of retorted gold (6 oz/ton).
  9. Garibaldi Claim
  10. The New Zealand Herald 18 November 1868: 'The Garabaldi claim, consisting of 3 men's ground, is situated on the south-east side of the Comet and is also bounded by the Lady Bowen and the Britainnia. They have done a considerable quantity of driving for the time they have been at work but have not succeeded in finding any of the veins which are being worked in the Comet. They have however found some small leaders which are running parallel to them and which contain a good show of gold, which will no doubt be payable when they unite at a lower level.'
  11. Britannia Claim

  12. Grace Darling Claim: Claim registered 20 July 1868. Claimholders: 3 men's ground. Francis GRIBBIN, James BOND, James LINN.
  13. The New Zealand Herald 18 November 1868: 'The Grace Darling claim is situated on the western side (down river) of the Lady Bowen claim and is bounded on the south by the Tapu Creek. It contains 3 men's ground and has been well worked over four months. Their workings have been chiefly in hard blue rock, and have been without success until a week ago when one of the shareholders from the Comet claim paid them a visit and detected the leader or vein for which they were searching, running just across the entrance of their drive. They tried it and got a prospect, and then sunk a shaft on it. It soon became defined and yielded a prospect of 1 grain of gold to about 2lb of stone. They have now cleared away the face and are following it into the hill with two drives, one about 5 feet higher than the other. This is, without a doubt, one of the Comet veins in its course southward through the Britannia into the Grace Darling. The stuff of which the vein is composed is identical in appearance with that in the Comet, as is also the gold.'
  14. Lady Bowen Claim Claim registered 11 June 1868. Claimholders: 4 men's ground. Daniel SELLERS, Frank AMODEO, Anthony BURKE, Archibald GILCHRIST, Thomas PEACOCK, John PANES.

  15. Enterprise Claim:
  16. Claim registered 8 July 1868. Claimholders: 8 men`s ground. John SPRINGALL, Patrick ODAR, William KENNY, William BETTIS, Joseph REED, WATAHONEHUMEKE, Nathaniel MORGAN, George ROGERS.
  17. New Zealand Mint Claim: Claim registered 30 June 1868. Claimholders: About 3 men`s ground. Henry A. CASHEL, Hugh DUNN, John BROWNE, Thomas WILLIAMS.

  18. Golden Valley Claim
  19. The New Zealand Herald 12 December 1868: 'It is now about 9 or 10 months since the Golden Valley claim was taken up, during which time they have sunk a shaft on the boundary between them and the Golden Point claim, to a depth of about 75 feet. This shaft is the best piece of workmanship to be seen on this field. At a depth of 25 feet, they went through a vein from which numbers of splendid specimens were obtained, and a quantity of loose gold. At 75 feet, they commenced driving to the eastward, and at 20 feet, cut through the vein which they had gone through in the shaft. The width of this vein, which is now being followed in its course southwards, is from one foot to 18 inches. There is no loose gold observable in it now, but the stone is believed to be richer. A few pounds are now being tested. They are also busily working in driving still to the eastward in hopes of cutting the vein which the Golden Point Company are driving for. The difference in level between the point where their neighbours will cut into it is about 40 feet in their favour. Their workings, although at so much below the level of the creek, are very dry indeed. They are able to get a ton of crushing stuff per day.'
  20. Golden Point Claim: Claim registered 20 May 1868. Claimholders: About 4 men`s ground: Thomas J. ALLEN, Thomas J. ALLEN, J.P. HALL, Charles R. WALKER.
  21. The New Zealand Herald 5 October 1868: 'In the Golden Point claim, they have been busily engaged in puddling their stuff, which is done in a long square trough (a great improvement on the old tub system.) While puddling, they found several splendid specimens, some of which were almost solid gold, in the form of nuggets adhering to pieces of quartz.' (see Figure 7)
    The New Zealand Herald 14 October 1868: 'In the window of Mr Peacock, optician, Shortland, were exhibited some magnificent specimens of golden quartz from the Golden Point Claim, Tapu. The stone is of a bluish colour, and the vein running through it appears to be over an inch in thickness, and almost one mass of gold. Mr W. T. Buckland is, we understand, a shareholder in this claim.'

    Editor's note: A search of the Goldminer's Database will show that William T. Buckland was a speculator and a sleeping partner in many claims, both at Tapu and Thames. This is why his name does not appear in the list of the original four shareholders who registered the Golden Point claim on 20 May 1868. The original Claim Register records that William T. Buckland bought a quarter share of the Golden Point claim from Charles R. Walker on 15 September 1868, a few weeks before this spectactular find on the claim. Selling shares in their claim like this was how the shareholders raised money for their expenses.

    The New Zealand Herald 19 October 1868: 'The Golden Point are having a crushing at the Company's mill which appears to be working very nicely with the recent improvements. Yesterday Mr Hall took 50 ozs of amalgam off the top plates, after passing through about 5 tons of the surface stuff from the top of the leaders. The crushing is still continuing.'
    The New Zealand Herald 23 October 1868: 'The Golden Point claim is still continuing to find heavy gold.'
    The New Zealand Herald 27 November 1868: 'Gold testing: One pound of stone from the Golden Point claim, Tapu, brought up by Mr T. G. Allen was tested yesterday at the Bank of New Zealand and yielded 2 oz 3 dwt 18 gr of gold.'
    The New Zealand Herald 12 December 1868: 'The Golden Point claim has very much improved in appearance since my last visit. A considerable quantity of stuff has been got out for crushing. A few days ago, a splendid vein has been opened in the surface drive. This vein is running parallel with a portion of this drive, and the top of it had been cut into. Some of the eastern side wall of the drive has been removed, and a portion of this vein taken out. The width averages about one foot and is full of splendid quartz. A good deal of gold is visible in it, and an excellent prospect is obtained even where no gold is visible. About two tons were taken out in a day but on average about one ton per day can be got out with little trouble. Both walls of this vein are covered with a smooth coating of clay. In the lower workings, the vein is still looking as well as ever with the exception that they have not found any of the rich specimens lately, which were taken out of this vein a short time ago. The stone is however believed to be equally as rich. The drive which is following this vein northwards is now a little over 30 feet in length, where another vein has formed a junction. It is now much wider and richer. In the drive bearing southwards along the vein, the distance attained is about 20 feet, the vein does not appear so well defined here as before as the ground is rapidly becoming shallow. They also have a drive bearing eastward which is now about 20 feet long. This drive has been anxiously carried forward since the discovery of the vein mentioned above in the upper workings. For the last 3 feet, although the workings are in the solid rock which requires blasting, the water has come through in such a quantity that the workmen have been forced to withdraw, reluctantly. Since then, the volume of water has diminished, thus showing that they are in close proximity to the main vein from which this water is coming. It is confidently expected that this vein, when reached, will be far richer than any they have yet found.'
    From The New Zealand Geological Survey, Bulletin 10, by Colin Fraser 1910: The Golden Point Reef, which varied from a (thin) line to 30 inches wide, is apparently a branch of the Sheridan Reef (see Figure 2). It gave patches of rich ore, especially under the bed of the main stream. It is said to have 'pinched' when followed down into the (hardened) argillites.'
  22. Stonewall Jackson Claim: Claim registered 20 June 1868. Claimholders: 6 men`s ground. William MUIRHOUSE, Alexander THOMPSON, J. H. SYMONDS, John THOMPSON, John TREMBLE, J. A. POND, Henry S. STIDOLPH, James SHERIDAN, Peter FRASER, James ALEXANDER, George CRIBB, William MESSENGER.

  23. Eureka Claim

  24. Duke of Cornwall Claim

  25. Brian's Claim

  26. Jeweller's Shop Claim

There is a lot more information about the early history of the Tapu Goldfield, its miners and their claims to be found in the The Goldminers' Database: a freely available fully searchable online database of the Goldminers of New Zealand, as well in the accompanying book, 'Goldrush To The Thames, New Zealand 1867 - 1868' by Kae Lewis. Parawai Press 2017.

Quartz Gold
Figure 9: They found several splendid specimens, some of which were almost solid gold, in the form of nuggets adhering to pieces of quartz
Click to enlarge the photo.

REFERENCES



THE TAPU GOLDIFELD 1867-68: Part I: The First Few Months.

THE TAPU GOLDIFELD 1867-68: Part III: The Middle Tapu Creek.

THE TAPU GOLDIFELD 1867-68: Part IV: South of Tapu Creek.



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