Golden Point Stamper Battery

Image: Paul Mahoney | DOC

Introduction

Golden Point Historic Reserve protects important remnants of Otago's gold mining history. It also houses unique machinery, still in working order.

Highlights


Access to Callery battery

Access to Callery Battery requires crossing Deep Dell Creek on foot. This crossing may be difficult or not possible after rain.


Video

Golden Point Stamper Battery

An old corrugated shed in Coastal Otago full of gold mining history. 

See the contrast between historical and present day gold mining with the presence of a large modern gold mine sitting just over the hill.

The old mine manager’s house and three of the original miners’ mud brick cottages are preserved on site.

Heritage value

Hundreds of stamper batteries like this once pounded gold out of rock at goldmines across New Zealand but have long since fallen silent and vanished into history. Golden Point Battery is the only complete stamper battery in New Zealand to survive on site in working order.

Built in 1902 to serve the Golden Point gold mine, the five-stamper plant was in commercial operation until the 1950s and still runs today.

Conservation

The battery is protected in the Golden Point Historic Reserve. Interpretation panels guide visitors through the features of the reserve.

DOC rangers fire up the 100-plus year old Tangye type AA oil engine several times a year.

Callery's House and Callery's Battery Building

This was built 1889 - 1950s.

Fabric

The Donaldson brothers first battery is now marked only by concrete foundations and stone-walling. Remaining from the Callery battery is the original well in which the waterwheel was located and some battery stampers which are possibly original. All the equipment associated with the mineral extraction process is now enclosed in the adjacent corrugated iron shed.

A roadway leads up to a hopper and a collection of rusting metal equipment, including a Huntingdon mill from the Bonanza Mine. Callery's wooden house is still in good order; two mudbrick dwellings and their associated outhouses occupy terraces a short distance along the road, and the concrete foundations and fallen brick chimney of another building sit among the tailings on the valley floor.

Golden Point is hidden in a deep gully formed by the serpentine course of Deepdell Creek.

History

The Golden Point mine was first opened in 1889, and became the property of the Golden Point Mining Company that went into liquidation. The Donaldson brothers then bought the claim, water rights and battery and ran this operation successfully until they sold it to a Christchurch syndicate in 1912. The battery worked until about 1930 and was turned into scrap metal in about 1953.

During its successful 40-year life the operation produced over 15,000 ounces of gold and about 800 tonnes of scheelite. By 1905 the Golden Point Battery was also in operation on the east side of Deepdell Creek. The Maritana Company built two batteries on the west side, but due to poor grade ore they ceased operation in 1906. The later Maritana battery was located on the same site as the existing battery. It lay idle until 1911 when it was used to mine scheelite ore. The Callery brothers began using the Maritana Battery about 1912, taking it over in the late 1920's and forming the Round Hill Mining Company in 1932, by 1934 most of the machinery had been replaced.

Significance

Evidence of the entire goldmining system remains, demonstrating the process of milling and gold recovery. The battery is the only known authentic working battery in Otago.

Site of one of the first successful scheelite mines in New Zealand. Registration with the Historic Places Trust has been proposed.

Future management

Public interpretation, and demonstration of a battery operation. The site will be maintained to protect its historic fabric and minimise deterioration. A conservation plan has been scheduled for Callery’s Battery and Battery building, and one prepared for Huntindon’s Mill (Peter Mason, 1999). A plan is not required for Callery’s house.

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