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.
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
Homeward Bound, Macetown, 1872
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.