New Zealand quartz vein gold mining meant following the reef wherever it might lead. Since tiny quantities of gold were embedded in tonnes of quartz ore, it made sense to process everything and extract the gold on site. Hydraulic stamper batteries were used to crush the quartz for gold extraction. These noisy machines were typically located below the mine, with an aerial cableway bringing down the quartz.

Lord Brassey stamper battery Kirwans Creek April 2011 • By glennj. Licence: C.

Stamper batteries were heavy iron machines (each stamper was around half a ton). When the ore ran out they were typically abandoned onsite to be reclaimed by the forest. Many of these batteries are still there, rusting amongst the trees, and often accessible via a short walk. Here are some stamper batteries worth the visit. 

Britannia, Waimangaroa, 1882

5 head stamper. Follow the Britannia pack track near Waimangaroa.

Croesus, Lyell, 1901

From Lyell on the Buller Gorge, follow the Lyell Walkway. This is also the start of the new Old Ghost Road track. Another feature of the walk is the forested Lyell Cemetery.

Larry's Creek, 1874

Operational 1874. From SH69 at Larrys Creek north of Reefton, take the track to the Caledonian Mine site. The walk also features a Robey portable steam engine.

Culliford, Courthouse Flat, 1870

4 head battery on the Blue Creek Track, near Wangapeka River. A disassembled battery is also nearby.

Lord Brassey, Victoria Range, 1900

15 head battery restored 2009. Access this site on the 2-3 day Kirwans Track

Garden Gully, Croesus Track, 1901

10 head stamper alongside an historic mining hut. Visit it along the old tramway of the Croesus Track

Golden Lead, Big River, 1891

10 head stamper, Operational 1891-1903, Restored 2008. Located on the Big River-Inangahua Track near Reefton. More information.

Homeward Bound, Macetown, 1872

10 head stamper near Macetown. This impressive battery is four storeys in height, with intact ore bins. More information. 

Britannia Battery • By Matthew.

Come in Time, Bendigo

10 head stamper, 1880-1919. More information. 

Golden Point, Macraes

This is the only stamper battery remaining in working order on its original site. More information. 

Found any others? Leave a comment.