Setting Boundaries

In the gold rush days it was illegal for miners to remove the surveyed boundary pegs of a mining claim so the miners would work around them, leaving a pillar of earth under the peg. When visiting old sluicing sites you see these pillars standing alone – they kinda catch your attention. I had some free time in Bannockburn while we were in Central Otago recently, and I could see one of these pillars way across a rough public domain area. I stumbled over with my cellphone camera, navigating myself past lots of rabbit holes and scaring lots of rabbits!

Bannockburn, a small village in Central Otago, New Zealand. Photos taken 20 April 2018





Text and Photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2018)


15 thoughts on “Setting Boundaries

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    1. Hi Joanne. The boundary peg would have been at the top of the pillar (only back then it wouldn’t have been a pillar – that was the ground level). The miners would have sluiced their claim area looking for gold, but had to avoid the boundary pegs, so that left the pillars. It shows how much material was sluiced away!


  1. It is almost beyond belief that so much soil could be sluiced away leaving this pillar behind. It is also quite amazing that this same pillar is still standing and I must wonder how much it has eroded over these many years. I’m intrigued by the trees and vegetation at the top. A very interesting look at history left behind. Thank-you!

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    1. I haven’t looked closely at what’s on top but my guess is probably its a rose bush. My next post will show the surrounds and there’s lots of big wild roses! Rabbits and Roses – lots of both. A title perhaps for my next post!

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    1. It shows, I guess, just how much material they sluiced away to end up down the hillsides and in the waterways. They were a law unto themselves in those days! It horrifies me but at the same time I love looking at the pictures of them doing the sluicing using the sluice guns – that shoot out very high-pressure streams of water! And they built these huge networks of channels that carried water to the sluice guns and the networks are still in use in irrigation schemes today. In fact there’s quite a hoo-ha because the water systems were subject to very long-term permits that are due to run out soon!

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        1. About where the dirt and rock went – tailings have always been a problem in mining. They’d have sorted out the bigger rocks and stones out of the way. In some cases they were piled very neatly. and still look photogenic today. The stuff that might have gold in was channelled into a sluice box that had filter plates inside to narrow things down to the gold-bearing gravels. But most of the stuff they sluiced away just fell down the slope and much ended up in the rivers, so then you get the problem of sediment build-up and flooding. There was plenty of flooding! As I understand it there’s still plenty of sediment in the rivers from the days of the gold rush, and it builds up behind the hydro dams. I don’t know much but I believe that’s the case. As far as I know hydro sluicing began in California, and then was done in Australia and New Zealand with the same attendant problems of silting up and flooding happening everywhere.

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