Monday, November 30, 2009

Nov 27 – 1860's Gold Rush

We visited the Blacks Point Museum in Reefton and learned about how gold was mined – with great difficulty. One ton of rock yielded a few grams of gold. That's grams, not ounces. The Golden Fleece Mine was in this area and we saw a model of what the mining operation was like and then saw the actual battery. In this instance, a battery is a big machine that mashes the rock into little bitty pieces so that the gold could be extracted from it. It runs (yes, the equipment still works) on water power provided by a small stream. The pulverizing rods would start out looking like the first picture and wore down to a mere nub of itself. A worker at the battery worked a 12 hour shift, 6 days a week. It's no surprise that they went deaf very quickly.

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