On our way to Waikaka on Saturday we got a fairly close view of gold mining equipment parked in a paddock near the road. We’ve seen this from a distance months ago (perhaps part of a modern dredge).
I got myself mired in much info while looking for a few facts to go with this post. I had no idea that there’s a long history of gold extraction in the Waikaka Valley. Gold was discovered here in 1867 and there were lots of miners around for a while. Then the activity declined but in the early 1900s the McGeorge Brothers got going with some serious gold dredging. “They purchased land in the Waikaka Valley of Southland and between 1902 – 1923 operated three gold dredges as the McGeorge Brothers Gold Dredging Company.” (*)
Waikaka, Southland, New Zealand
Photos taken 22 June 2019 by Nigel
I found a WP blog by a person who grew up on a farm at Waikaka and he recalls how the Waikaka River ran through the family farm and the river flats contained lots of small ponds referred to as “dredge ponds”. His great grandfather had been involved in gold dredging in Waikaka. I hope he doesn’t mind that I’m borrowing his map of the area, from: this blog-post from WP blog TumbleStoneBlog
Click on the map to enlarge
Blog-posts from TumbleStoneBlog were interesting and included:
Twelve Stones, Part One [already linked to above]
(*) And I found a really interesting web-page about the McGeorge Brothers. It includes written information plus videos of Russell McGeorge, grandson of one of the founding partners, giving a talk about his forbears’ gold dredging ventures on both the Kawarau River and Waikaka Valley operations.
Text by Liz, photos by Nigel; Exploring Colour (2019)