Waikaka Gold

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


waikaka_gold_machinery_01

waikaka_gold_machinery_02

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

waikaka-location1

Further Reading

Blog-posts from TumbleStoneBlog were interesting and included:

Twelve Stones, Part One  [already linked to above]

Jasper Stones and Petrified Wood, Shepherd’s Creek, Waikaka

Waikaka’s Auriferous Quartz Gravels

(*) 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)

2 thoughts on “Waikaka Gold

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  1. I have found John’s blogs on gemstones and rocks interesting, informative and amazing. I can verify that his is a fascinating blog to follow. My brother in law and his family lived on a piece of land in Waikaka for a few years and had the Waikaka river running through their land , with some old gold dredging equipment. Very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

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