Sunday, August 6, 2017

Thames (NZ): 150 Event - HPA Stamper Battery Opening 6 August 2017

Background from the Goldmine Experience Website:
"Historic gold-processing machinery, restored during 50 years of voluntary work by Hauraki Prospectors Association and supporters, is about to become fully operational.

On Sunday, August 6, Thames Coromandel District Mayor Sandra Goudie, together with veteran HPA volunteer Lawrie Cobb, will officially start a refurbished stamper battery and other 19th Century plant at the group’s Goldmine-Experience site. Thames Community Board Chairperson Diane Connors will unveil an honour’s board of firms and organisations that have given money, time and other resources in the half-century of local effort and the site will open free to the public that afternoon.

The opening ceremony is part of a 12-month-long, 150th anniversary commemoration of the Thames goldfields discovery that includes Ngati Maru, the Council, Thames Community Board, heritage groups and businesses, starting on August 1. Last year, Thames Community Board granted $22,000 towards the battery project, but most funding has come from HPA tourism income, with materials and time donated by a raft of businesses and tradespeople.
While Goldmine-Experience has run various machines over the decades, August 6 will mark the first operation of a complete 19th Century processing plant in modern times; a project that is unique in New Zealand. Five stamps will run on August 6, with another five to be installed later."

Sunday 6 August 2017
After the months, years of preparation the Hauraki Prospectors' Association held the official opening of the Stamper Battery. At this stage there are five stamps, with another five yet to be added for a total of ten. The morning started with a Karakia by Ngati Maru; a Welcome by Hauraki Prospector's Association; Presentation by Tom Barker; Speeches and Unveiling of the Honours Board. Followed by a morning tea. When I arrived at midday, members of the public were entering the site - special thanks to the Hauraki Prospectors Association who opened the site free of charge for the day.

ABOVE: Tom Barker (left) starts the stamper battery as the large group gathered quickly donned the ear muffs provided.

ABOVE: Stamper Battery (left) and tables (right).
BELOW: Looking down on the tables from the upper viewing area.

NO wonder the old Thamesites used to love Sunday's day of rest and the freedom of the sound of the stamper batteries scattered around the town. Guides explained the crushing process as we watched the large tables and witnessed how the gold would be separated.

ABOVE: The Hauraki Prospectors Association Honours Board - giving thanks to firms and agencies who have assisted with parts and resources.
BELOW: Looking up at the viewing gallery (left) and the Berdan (right).
 If you get a chance, find time to visit this wonderful Thames treasure and step back in time to the goldmining days of yesteryear. There are also lots of outbuildings and displays to look at, including a photographic/audio-visual area in the old Chas Judd Office building.

HPA GoldMine Experience FACEBOOK PAGE
Article on STUFF - Historic Goldmining Machinery Restored
YouTube: 2015 Working Bee at Hauraki Prospectors Assn Goldmine Experience
LISTEN to clip from HPA facebook of Stamper Battery in action
VIDEO: TVOne News 6 August 2017 on Stamper Battery

For further information on Thames Mining, check out Kae Lewis' Goldrush online, and check whether you have any ancestors in the Goldminers' Database. Kae is also the author of newly released  GOLDRUSH TO THE THAMES New Zealand 1867 to 1869. This now comes in a full and abridged version to suit the needs of researchers and readers of all interests.

Also incorporate a visit to the Bella Street Pumphouse, Thames School of Mines and Rock Shop to round off your goldmine experience.