Young Australian Waterwheel, Central Otago

The Young Australian Waterwheel

When gold was discovered in Bannockburn near Cromwell in 1862 it was not soon before enterprising miners climbed higher up the Carrick Range behind the alluvial workings, to look for the quartz reefs that fed the terraces below, that are now sluiced away.

By 1876, based on good returns and the knowledge that more water would soon be available to drive the stampers by waterwheel, there were soon five batteries in these higher areas. However the reef then petered out gradually and mining had ceased by 1898.

The restored wheel, the second largest in the Southern Hemisphere apparently [the largest being the Old Mill Wheel in Oamaru], now stands alone, as the stamper battery it was driving was moved across the valley, where it still sits today reasonably well preserved, and relatively difficult of access.

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Clever use by the miners of long ago of an existing rock…
Young Australian waterwheel accommodation on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Young Australian waterwheel on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Lake Dunstan and Cromwell from the saddle above the gully where the waterwheel sits...
Cromwell from the Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

Looking back at the crest of the Carrick Range. A 4wd road from Duffers Saddle on the left, can just be seen…
The Carrick Range, Central Otago


 

The water race that turned the waterwheel is still in use today for irrigation. The damaged fluming in this photo once directed water from it down the steep Adams Gully to the right where there are remains of the 5 stamper battery as mentioned above…
The Carrick Range water race, Central Otago


 

The Adams Gully stamper and gold processing plant remains. Note the fluming as mentioned above, up the gully…
Adams Gully stamper battery on the Carrick Range, Central Otago


To access the waterwheel: there are quite a few web sites hosted by various organisations that list directions – just Google “Carrick Range waterwheel”. Most of them list two ways: climb up from Bannockburn on foot, bike or 4wd, or drive to the top of nearby Duffers Saddle and then walk, bike or 4wd along and down to the site. The former I’d not recommend, and it’s certainly not a track for a soft 4wd such as a Subaru or Rav



 

The largest waterwheel in the Southern Hemisphere, the Old Mill Wheel in Oamaru under restoration as of Oct. 2017. This wheel weighs in at 50 ton, which would probably make the Young Australian about 35…
Oamaru Old Mill Waterwheel restoration

 


What is a stamper battery >>

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Southern Light's Donald Lousley

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