The Golden Era in Clyde

While wandering around the town of Clyde at Easter we came across some relics from the old gold mining days and I’d like to share these photos with you. – Clyde, Central Otago, New Zealand.

The most impressive size-wise is this gold stamper battery which was sitting on the lawn of a museum property (not open while we were there). A stamper battery has heavy hammer heads inside – a head on the bottom of each of those big pipes that you can see. The heads would go up and down thumping the gold-bearing material that had been fed into the system, breaking it up so that the gold could be extracted. As far as I know the battery would have sat in a large shed and it would have been very noisy in operation – all those heavy hammer heads thumping away!

** Click on photo to enlarge **


Hydraulic mining or sluicing was a method of breaking down riverbanks and hillsides using water under very high pressure run through hoses or pipes into a water cannon with a long nozzle called a sluice gun or a monitor. The loosened material was directed into sluice boxes to extract the gold. Absolutely terrible for the environment but I can’t help being fascinated by photos of hydro sluicing in action!

The photo below is of an old sluice gun displayed on the museum lawn


In the photo below is a wonderful old privately-owned cottage with relics from the goldmining days displayed on the front lawn.

** Click on photo to enlarge **


Photo above: you can see another sluice gun and, interestingly, what appears to be a portable water wheel set up wheelbarrow fashion! To the far left are a few dredge buckets from a gold dredge. The dredge would have a whole chain of these buckets, one behind the other, endlessly scooping up material from the riverbed. Another very noisy operation!

Photo below shows miners using a sluice gun in another part of Otago …


Caption: Sluicing on the gold field at Spec Gully in Naseby, Otago, ca 1900. Shows two miners and the Reverend George Hunter McNeur in the centre. Taken by an unidentified photographer.

Credit: Sluicing on the gold field at Spec Gully in Naseby, shows miners and Rev George H McNeur. McNeur Collection : Photographs of Chinese goldminers who worked in Otago and Southland gold fields. Ref: 1/2-019157-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23191408

Further Reading

Another good photograph of sluicing at the Te Ara website

Te Ara has online information about gold and gold mining in New Zealand

Wikipedia has interesting information about hydraulic mining

Text and first three photos by Liz; Exploring Colour 2018

9 thoughts on “The Golden Era in Clyde

Add yours

    1. I’m glad you’ve explored there, such an interesting and lovely area. A long time ago my brother and his family lived at the town of Coromandel so I’m familiar with the area, well – as it was then anyway!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Benjamin and I are quite amazed by these artifacts of the gold mining days. When I enlarged the photo of the gold stamper battery he said : “That thing is humongous!” The sluice guns looked like “cannons” to him, until we came to the old photo of it operating. “Wow, that is fun!” was his response to the photo from the link. I love the roof on the old cottage and Benjamin loves all the things in the yard, especially the waterwheel. Thank-you for this interesting post!

    Liked by 1 person

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