Sunday, 24 November 2019

The Golden Crescent Syphon

In the goldfields of Otago there was one thing that was almost as important as the shiny stuff itself.  That was the water with which to mine it.  In the early days of pick, shovel and pan, it was essential for the washing of the gold - making the gold-bearing gravel in the pan move as you gently shook it, allowing the gold to sink so that the gravel could be taken out.  The story of Otago gold in may ways is one of water supply - there seemed always to be too little or too much.  Too much could flood your claim, remove your tent and supplies, drown you and your mates.  Too little and it took an effort to bring it to where the gold might be mined.  Many of the water races that can be seen from the roads of Central Otago were built as a gamble: the builders knew that gold could be washed at a certain area - if there was enough water.  Many were built to places where gold was already being worked on a small scale.  Those race builders weren't in the business of mining gold as much as selling running water to those who did.

In the later years of the gold era the need for water became greater.  Long water races were built to supply pressure to the sluicing monitors - movable nozzles which sent high-pressure water into the gravel to tear it apart and send it in a stream through the sluice boxes which would retain the heavy gold and send the waste off down the channel which led off the claim.  

In order to obtain the fall of water to work the sluicing moniter, long and expensive water races were built far back into the hills to find a reliable water supply.  And, to take the water across valleys, aqueducts were needed, sometimes high, expensive and vulnerable.  But there was another way.

This is the story of another way.

The returns for last month from the Deep Stream Company were 141oz 17dwt 13gr gold and 250z amalgam from blowings. 
Mr John Edie has just completed the survey of a water-race for the Golden Crescent Co. (Smyth and party). The water is to be brought from Back Creek, the north tributary of the Waipori River. There will be 3 1/2 miles of cutting on the north side of the river, and then a syphon across the Waipori valley, a distance of 96 chains. The depth of the valley is 450 ft. On the east side of the river there will be two miles of cutting to bring the race over Lindsay's Saddle, and from thence to Gabriels Gully watershed a further distance of 4 1/2 miles — making a total length of racecutting of 10 1/4 miles. This takes the place of Gascoigne's race, and to the same point the latter was to be 24 miles. That's a big difference in the length of a race, and for maintenance purposes alone must be a consideration.  -Tuapeka Times, 5/11/1898.

Spotted by chance as I drove the road to the location of the syphon - the Golden Crescent race, having passed over Lindsays Saddle and out of the valley of the Waipori River, begins to make its way towards Gabriels Gully.


TENDERS are invited for CUTTING a WATER-RACE for the Golden Crescent Sluicing Company. 
Intending tenderers will be shown over the line of Race on Friday, 2nd December. 
Tenders to be lodged with the undersigned (from whom full particulars may be obtained) on or before 7 p.m. on MONDAY, 5th December, 1898. 

W. F. SMYTH.   -Tuapeka Times, 26/11/1898.


WANTED — MEN with experience of Race-cutting. Apply before 5 p.m. on TUESDAY, 17th inst., to Mr Jas. McNeilly, Blue Spur.   -Tuapeka Times, 14/1/1899.

Notes from Tuapeka. (From Our Wetherstones Correspondent.)
February 6. — There has been no lost time for want of water in any of the claims in this district during the last fortnight. If they could not work in the winter time because of their water races being frozen this summer has made up for it, for there has been no loss of time through shortness of water. This has been the wettest summer that I can remember of in the colony. 
There are two parties of men at work cutting the race belonging to the Golden Crescent Company at the outer part — that is, the part between the Waipori River and the head. One of the shareholders has a party of men with him on wages, there having been no tender low enough, in the company's estimation, to warrant them accepting it. The middle sections of the race were tendered for by a party of working men at 14s per chain. There are about 15 men in the party, so the more work they do the better they get paid. The inner part, above Wetherstones, will partly come through an old race which only requires cleaning out and widening. That, I expect, will be done by day labour.
The Golden Rise having finished the gully they were last working in up to their boundary have shifted their plant down to the flat, where it is all plain sailing with them. They have left a fine opening for the Golden Crescent party to commence operations on when they get their water in.  - Otago Witness, 9/2/1899.
The end of the first section of the water race, from the head to the syphon.  Pipes still visible in place.

James Stewart, who was in charge of Auld's store at Tuapeka Mouth, was found lying on the road on Thursday night, and expired before assistance could be rendered. 
Through an explosion of blasting material in the race cutting which is being brought in from Deep Creek (on the Waipori River) to the Golden Crescent claim, Joseph Clarke was very seriously injured on Thursday morning, having received the full force of a shower of shattered rock on the face and body. His eyesight was completely destroyed, his face severely cut, he has a deep wound on his thigh and both legs are cruelly crushed. He is thirty years of age, and hails from Port Chalmers. The ‘Tuapeka Times' says he is a man of remarkably powerful physique, but his recovery is regarded as doubtful.   -Evening Star, 24/6/1899.

Accidents and Fatalities
John Clarke, the victim of the recent blasting accident at the Golden Crescent water- race, Deep Creek, still lies in the Lawrence Hospital. He continues to improve in his physical health, and there is every hope that he may survive the effects of his terrible accident and be able to leave the hospital. His sight, however, as previously stated, is hopelessly gone. Mining Inspector Hayes is making full inquiries into the cause of the accident. — 'Tuapeka Times.'   -Evening Star, 28/6/1899.

Notes from Tuapeka.
(From Our Wetherstones Correspondent)
June 26. — The Golden Crescent party are getting on well with the cutting of their water race, and are making a good job of it. The outer section of the race is finished, it was the roughest and worst part. What with slips and other drawbacks they had to go over that section two or three times, but notwithstanding this, I am informed that it cost less money (being done by day labour) than contracted prices, according to the tenders for the work. The inner section of the race will be done quicker, it being better ground and easier to both plough and cut. The pipes for carrying the water across the Waipori River are arriving at Lawrence. At present there are over 25 truck loads at the railway station. They are stacking the pipes there till the winter is over. I am sorry to say that a- serious and severe accident took place on this race last Thursday, morning. A young man named Clark, a resident of Port Chalmers, who was working on the race, had drilled a hole and fired the shot. After the shot went off, he was cleaning away the rock with his pick when a second explosion took place. Some of the other men, who were working about a chain away from him, saw him lifted up and then thrown over the bank. They ran to his assistance, and found him cut and bruised, and fearfully bashed about the face and body. It is reported that both his eyes are destroyed. His mother is with him at present.  -Otago Witbness, 29/6/1899.


Good progress is being made with the earth-work on the Golden Crescent Sluicing Company's water-race, which is fast drawing to completion. The great bulk of the pipes for the line across the Waipori River are now at the Lawrence railway station awaiting transit to the ground.   -Lyttelton Times, 4/7/1899.

We understand there is every likelihood of a settlement being come to between John Clarke, who was so dreadfully injured by an explosion on the Golden Crescent Co's waterrace recently, and the company, on the question of compensation for the injuries he sustained. Clarke is still in the local hospital, and, considering the fearful nature of the injuries he sustained, has made wonderful progress towards recovery.  -Tuapeka Times, 22/7/1899.


TENDERS will be received up to 7 p.m. on SATURDAY, 19th inst., for CARTAGE OF PIPES, Etc (80 tons more or less) from Railway Station to Golden Crescent Co.'s Race. 

Particulars from Mr W. F. Smyth (Lawrence), Mr J. A. McNeilly (Blue Spur); or 

Secretary G.C.S. Co.   -Tuapeka Times, 12/8/1899.

The Golden Crescent Co's race is almost completed, that is, the rock and clay cutting. The pipes for the syphon are, I believe, still lying at the Lawrence railway station. In asking a party interested "how is it your pipes are not gone out yet," the reply was "I can't get out until the County Council repairs the road." Seeing that the elections are drawing near, I expect it will be done soon.  -Tuapeka Times, 27/9/1899.

Some of the shareholders of the Golden Crescent Cement claim went to Waipori on Monday last to see which would be the best way of bringing the water in. The race had been surveyed a twelvemonth ago by Mr Gascoigne, who owns the water rights that the present company hold. They think that by fluming the water across the Waipori river the snow would not affect the fluming, and that it would shorten the race by 20 miles. The cost of that 20 miles would more than pay for the pipes. I have heard that the party intend to call for tenders for cutting the race in a few weeks.  -Otago Witness, 29/9/1899.

The Golden Crescent will soon be able to get the pipes out for the syphon across the Waipori River. The county surfacemen are busy repairing the road at present. In the meantime, the Golden Crescent party are getting the working plant on the ground, several truck loads having arrived from town, and being carted to the claim last week.  -Otago Witness, 5/10/1899.



(Frow Our Wetherstones Correspondent) — The Golden Crescent party commenced erecting their elevating plant and pipes on the 27th ult, in Broughton's Gully. Their intention is, I understand, to wash that and Ballarat Gully, and the low flat spur between the two. They'll make a start at the boundary where the Golden Rise worked up to, and were repaid so well.

The Golden Crescent will be ready for elevating long before the last of the pipes for the syphon across the Waipori River leave the railway station. If the contractors for the carrying of the pipes don't get on quicker than they have done, if will be near the month March before they are all out. The G. C. ought to have a time limit to the contract.  -Otago Witness, 14/12/1899.


Under the supervision of Mr W. Smyth the work of putting up the syphon on the Golden Crescent Co.'s line of race on the Otago watershed was completed on Saturday last and the work of putting up the syphon across the Waipori river will be proceeded with immediately after the holidays.  -Tuapeka Times, 27/12/1899.

Notes from Tuapeka.
(From Our Wetherstones Correspondents

February 32. — The men who are putting the pipes across the Waipori River for the Golden Crescent race have nearly finished their labour. They got on quickly when coming up the range on this side of the river, though the weather has been greatly against them lately. Some of the men ride out and in — rather long hours, from 8 a.m. to past 7 p.m. before they get home. The shorter fluming, farther in on the race, has been finished for some time. Some of the shareholders expect the claim to be working by the end of the month.  -Otago Witness, 15/2/1899.

Collar section which attached a pipe to a foundation block.  The pipes were laid in a ditch which is still visible, as are the rectangular depressions, about 100 x 50cm, which were presumably dug for blocks of some kind to anchor the sections of pipe.
Notes from Tuapeka.
(From Our Wetherstones Correspondent.) February 26. — The Golden Crescent party finished last week putting up the pipes for their race across the Waipori River. The quantity of piping ordered was cut rather fine, and they are between 30ft and 40ft short. On the water being turned into the pipes, it was found that the joints did not leak at all, but the riveting along the seams proved like a sieve, the water spouting out all along. This is put down to faulty riveting. I heard one party say that they could not get within 50ft of the pipes. At the present, the men are busy in the claim fixing up things. They have lowered the head of the pipes into the dam.  -Otago Witness, 1/3/1900.
Still in place beside the Waipori River - an angled section of pipe which took the water from the pipe at river level and directed it up the second section of the syphon.  The cable next to it would have anchored the adjacent pipe against the river flow.


The Golden Crescent has finished the race at last. The pipes required to finish the syphon across the Waipori River arrived at Lawrence on the 9th inst. They were taken out next day, together with several bags of sawdust, and put in at once. The water was running in the race about the beginning of last week. The company expect to be at work elevating this week. I expect to hear of them getting a good many ounces of gold from their first paddock when they wash down.  -Otago Witness, 22/3/1900.

Some few months ago, soon after this claim had been taken up by Mr William Smyth and formed into a company, we gave an extended description of the ground, dealing also with its history in an industrial and gold-producing sense, and its future possibilities. The work of race cutting and other necessary preparation incidental to the working of the ground had then been commenced and has been vigorously pushed on to completion, enabling operations to have been commenced a week or two ago with results that give promise at the outset of the company, if not of a rich harvest of dividends, at least of substantial interest on the capital invested. Sensational yields, with their attendant glittering dividends, are not within the region of prediction, but steady dividends attaining and holding a good average level may, with confidence, be calculated on. And as there is an immense quantity of ground to be worked — immense, more because of its depth than of its area — the owners may look forward to a continuance of such returns for the next quarter of a century or more. The company have expended a large amount of money on their property in work of an initial or preparatory nature, the heaviest of the expenditure being absorbed in the cutting of the water-race which runs through a very rough, broken country. But though, generally speaking, the line of country through which the race has been taken is of the character described, the ground for a large part is ploughable, and very considerable lengths of the race were cut by the plough. It is altogether a work of considerable magnitude, its length from Deep Stream, a tributary of the Waipori River, from which the water is lifted, being about twelve miles. There is also between two and three miles of old race into which the water drops after leaving the newly-cut race and reaches the claim. But this distance, it should be explained, does not include the long length of syphon which runs in a direct line of 6,414 feet. Such a length of pipes, each of which is 20in in diameter, it may be understood, involved a considerable expense, but in reality it represents a saving to the company, as it saves a very long detour and is, besides, such a means of water conveyance as will not entail future expense or cause any of those delays inseparable from earth-cutting passing through such a country. The laying down of such a length of pipes, it need scarcely be said, is a work of considerable importance demanding not only practical experience but correct observation and judgment. The work was undertaken and carried out in its entirety by Mr William Smyth, junr., in a manner that leaves nothing to be desired. The pipes right along the line are solid in position and at accurate levels, while the workmanship is creditable to the makers (Messrs Sparrow, Dunedin), such "blows" as there are being insignificant and comparatively few in number. It might be said that there is a valve in the lowest part of the pipeline which serves a convenient purpose by permitting of the water being turned off and the pipes emptied at any moment should the necessity arise. The first section of the cutting, about two miles more or less, is rock formation, which must have been a cause of both considerable expense and delay. There are also short runs of rock here and there at intervals which had to be negotiated, and one tunnel about 3 chains in length. It took twelve months to complete the cutting of the race, on which 15 men were employed, which involved an expenditure of over £4000. Added to this, the plant represents an outlay of about £700, and, with other expenses, the total expenditure of the company stands at something over £5000. That is a pretty large expenditure, even considering the magnitude of the work it represents, as well as the necessary plant for the working of the property. The claim is being worked by one elevator and the water supply consists of eight heads, which can hardly be said to be adequate for an unbroken period of working covering a twelvemonth, even with the convenience for storage which the company have at their disposal. It is a pity that an enterprise representing such a very large investment of capital should be in any degree hampered or incommoded in the development of their property owing to such a cause, while there must be considerable quantities of water unutilised or going to waste in convenient sources. The shareholders, of which there are about a dozen, are all local men, but Mr Smyth, who is the founder of the company, holds a third interest, on a capital of £5000. The cutting of the race was carried through to completion under the direction of Mr J. A. McNeilly and, difficult though the undertaking was in many respects, it was carried through to completion by Mr McNeilly in a manner that gives the highest satisfaction.
Mr William Smyth, junr., is the company's manager, and it may be said that no better appointment could be made. Mr Smyth has a good practical training and thoroughly understands his business and it is quite certain that the interests of the company will not suffer in his hands.  -Tuapeka Times, 7/4/1900.

The Value of five thousand pounds these days is just a shade under a million dollars.

Golden Crescent Claim, Wetherstones — 

An area of 90 acres, or thereabouts, is held. The ground is suitable for hydraulic sluicing only. It consists of rather rough hilly country, with a layer of drift overlying the cement-wash common to the district. It is proposed to work the upper ground off first, the working of the cement-wash coming in as a second operation. At my visit a race of about 10 miles in length was approaching completion. This takes eight heads of water from Deep Creek, a tributary of the Waipori River. The company have also the use of an old race belonging to the Golden Rise Company, the latter company having the Crescent Company's surplus water as a quid pro quo. The cost of the new race, together with 6,300 ft of 20in pipes (varying from 10 to 14 gauge), is given as £3,500. Sluicing operations were commenced in March with a limited supply of water, and the results obtained are said to be quite satisfactory. A good elevator has been erected. The entire outlay of the company, waterraces included, is approximately £5,000.  -Tuapeka Times, 5/9/1900.

The Charlton Creek Gold Dredging Company have declared a dividend of 6d per share, payable on the 12th inst. Not much is heard about the Golden Crescent Sluicing Company, which has been at work at Wetherstones for the past year, except that it was generally supposed that it was getting payable returns. This supposition may, we think, be said to be amply verified when we state on the most reliable authority that their return for the past two weeks (with one day's stoppage) was 60oz.—' "Tuapeka Times."  -Evening Star, 9/1/1901.

The third annual meeting of the Golden Crescent Sluicing Company, Limited, was held in the secretary's office, Lawrence, on Monday evening when there was a good attendance of shareholders. Mr W. F. Smyth (chairman of directors) presided. 
In moving the adoption of the report and balance-sheet, the Chairman congratulated the shareholders on the very satisfactory state of the past year's operations. They had commenced the year with a debit balance of £672 43 and had ended with a substantial credit balance of £561 1s. At the date of their balance they owed the bank £250, and he was pleased to be able to tell them that this amount had also been wiped off since the balance-sheet was issued, Their plant was in good order and their race (in which a number of improvements had been made during the year) was also giving satisfaction and they had every reason to look forward to as successful a year as they had just experienced, when shareholders could rely upon getting some remuneration in the shape of dividends. — Mr Thomas Pilling seconded the motion for the adoption of the report, and also spoke in commendatory language of the future prospects of the Company. — Other members of the Company having expressed their appreciation of the satisfactory position of the Company, the motion was unanimously adopted. 
Messrs W. F. Smyth and G. Morrison wore unanimously elected directors, and Mr H. H. Leary was elected auditor. 
The sum of £20 was voted to the directors as remuneration for their year's services. Mr W. Adams gave notice of motion for next general meeting that the number of directors be reduced from five to three. The annual meeting was fixed to take place on the third Monday in February, 1902. Votes of thanks were passed to the directors, secretary, and staff, and the meeting concluded.  -Tuapeka Times, 27/2/1901.

The Golden Crescent Sluicing Co., declared their first dividend of 1s per share on Tuesday last, and, judging by present appearances there is every likelihood of those being paid regularly. A substantial balance was carried forward.   -Tuapeka Times, 8/6/1901.

Notes from Tuapeka.
(From Our Wetherstones Correspondent.

The Golden Crescent party is in the worst plight, having had no water during the last four weeks. The worst part of the race is from the syphon, where it crosses the Waipori River, to the head of the race. After being out on the race for over a week, they had to turn back last Thursday morning when half way out as it was snowing heavily. They were on horseback. They generally went out in the morning and came home at night.   -Otago Witness, 7/8/1901.

The Wetherstones correspondent of the Tuapeka Times writes: — "The snowstorm on the 5th inst. and the following day blocked the Golden Crescent water race again. All hands went out on Monday morning, and it took them that and the following day to clear the race. They commenced elevating again on Wednesday, and washed down last Saturday forenoon for the return of 22oz, representing two weeks' work.   -Otago Daily Times, 17/10/1901.


A Successful Sluicing Company — The operations of the Golden Crescent Sluicing Company last year were very successful, the value of the gold won exceeding the expenditure by £1,392 lls l0d. The gold yield amounted to 646oz 9dwt 13gr, valued at £2,498 1s 6d., the expenditure for the twelve months reaching a total of £1,105 9s 8d. From the date of commencing work until the 31st December last the claim had produced 1168oz 12dwt l0gr, equivalent to £4,497 10s in cash while the expenditure from the time of registration till the above mentioned date was £7,037 4s 4d. In addition to paying £777 10s in dividends, the company had a balance £325 17s 2d in the bank against which there were contingent liabilities amounting to £35 16s 21 — Tuapeka Times.   -West Coast Times, 15/5/1902.

Tuapeka Notes
The Golden Crescent sluicing claim in Wetherstones is a valuable property, and is a tribute to the judgment and enterprise of Mr W. F. Smyth, one of our oldest and enterprising pioneer miners, who holds a largely preponderating interest in the property. The ground is very deep — some 600 ft or 700 ft in some places — but they are only working the feather edge of the cement, and without an infinitely larger and more powerful water supply than they possess they cannot ever hope to work the deeper levels. By-and-bye, when the Consolidated Company, Blue Spur, have finished their workings, their water will be available for operating on the deep ground at Wetherstones, which should provide many years' profitable work.  -Evening Star, 20/7/1903.

Notes from Wetherstones. (From Our Own Correspondent.)
The Golden Crescent party has been most unfortunate with its water lately. They got the water in, and before elevating on Friday, 14th inst., the ice in the race is said to have been 9in in thickness, and they had to smash it up before commencing. After elevating for a short time, frost set in on Sunday (16th), and they have had no water since. To add to their misfortunes, three of the pipes of the syphon crossing the Waipon River burst late on Tuesday, after coming uninjured through the severest of the winter. The manager (who is an energetic young man) went to Dunedin at once and brought back fresh pipes, and had them sent out to the syphon last Thursday. Both he and one of the men (they being both blacksmiths) have been out these last two days putting the pipes in place.   -Otago Witness, 26/8/1903.

There was no wash-up in the Golden Crescent last Saturday. The water supply during the past few days has been light, and the manager thinks that the cause of the shortage is probably due to a slip in the race somewhere in the vicinity of the syphon. All the hands went out over the race yesterday with the view of repairing any breaks. There is a probability, if the paddock is not finished, of washing down at the end of the week.  -Tuapeka Times, 23/3/1904.

The manager of the Golden Crescent Sluicing Company (Wetherstones) had a partial wash-up at the end of last week, obtaining 22oz 9dwt for a ten days' run in the top cement strata. The paddock will probably be cleaned up at the end of next week. The reef is dipping very rapidly, and a deep face of cement is now exposed and being operated on. The directors of the company have under consideration the extension of the pipe-line to ensure increased pressure, so as to obviate the use of such heavy charges of explosives to rend and shatter the cement, which, fortunately, is neither as hard nor as solidly set as at the Blue Spur. Tenders have been called for about 3,500 ft of piping, chiefly 13in, which, with the plant already in the company's possession, will allow of the race being tapped and a penstock formed on the spur opposite the north side of the-company's workings, where Wetherstones Cement Company originally had their dam site. From the proposed penstock to the present scene of operations a direct pressure equivalent to 700 ft will be carried, which will unquestionably be of great advantage in successfully carrying on work in the cement. At present the cement is attacked with a good head of water at a pressure of about 160 ft. The company lift their water from Deep Creek, one of the northern tributaries of the Waipori River.   -Evening Star, 4/6/1909.

The Golden Crescent Sluicing Company's claim at Wetherstones has been idle for the last fortnight owing to the water supply being cut off due to the collapse during the recent frosty weather of nine of the pipes in the syphon across the Waipori River. It is a big undertaking just now to get a fresh supply of pipes landed near the syphon, but this will probably be finished by the end of the current week. No time will thereafter he lost in placing the new pipes in position, and in again turning on the water and resuming sluicing operations at the claim.  -Evening Star, 18/6/1912.

The Mansion House Titanic fund has reached £307,500. The Golden Crescent Sluicing Company has resumed operations after a somewhat lengthy stoppage necessary for the replacing of a number of pipes in their syphon near the Waipori River.   -Tuapeka Times, 10/7/1912.

Discarded pipe about halfway up the syphon.  This shows the effects of a sudden drop in pressure occuring below the pipe, producing a powerful negative pressure and subsequent implosion.

The Company was working the area of the gold-bearing formation known as the Blue Spur Conglomerate.  This was a large area of gravel where the gold had accumulated eons ago.  The gravel had been cemented over the years to a rock which was harder in some places than in others - it could be taken down with water but sometimes it had to be crushed.  It was the formation which had in turn been eroded and whose gold had been the focus of the first Otago rush.

All the mining claims in the Tuapeka district are in full swing, the water supply having been well maintained. The Golden Crescent Company, which is operating on the cement at Wetherstones, is engaged in constructing a dam, which, when completed, will give an assured supply, and considerably improve this mining property, which is regarded as one of the best in the district.  -Otago Witness, 25/12/1912.


The Golden Crescent Co.'s claim was visited and here the visitors had an opportunity of seeing our cement deposit being successfully operated on by a powerful water supply. The company had just on the previous day commenced on a new paddock and were elevating to a height of 75ft and the visitors were greatly interested in the ease with which the solid looking cement was broken down the force of the water. The manager, (Mr W. H. Smyth) gave the visitors a good demonstration of the full force of the water supply and explained their system of dealing with the cement deposit. On returning from the claim the party were met by Messrs Simpson and Hart and on their invitation a short inspection of our brewing industry followed. The party then re-embarked on their cars and returned to Lawrence.  -Tuapeka Times, 1/2/1913.

Sluicing and elevating.  The Scandinavian Sluicing Co at St Bathans.  The sluicing monitor sends it stream of water against the gravel cliff.  The elevator in the background uses water pressure in a different way.  The water flows down to the bed of the claim and then is turned to flow up again.  This can produce suction through an opening in the pipe and gravel was directed into and "elevated" to where the gold can be separated from it and it can be disposed of away from the claim. Hocken Library photo.



The manager of the Golden Crescent Sluicing Company, Wetherstones, washed up for a return of 45oz of gold on Saturday, the previous week’s return being l0oz. Last week a fair amount of bottom was cleaned up, and this work will be continued for another fortnight or more. The paddock in which operations have been carried on for a considerable time is in the vicinity of the old Wetherstones Cement Company’s battery site, which was on the feather edge of the cement on the eastern slope of the reef, to the northward of Poverty Hill, once the scene of great activity when alluvial mining held sway and Wetherstones’ population could be counted by thousands. Since then, of course, as in the experience of most mining townships, a great change has come o’er the scene. The cradle and sluice box of the early miner gave way to the cement battery, which in turn (after a long interval) gave way to the hydraulic elevating plant. A big forest of upstanding props, laid bare by the nozzle of the hydraulic sluicer, indicates the line of the main tunnel and the side drives in which work was carried on by the miners when the battery for cement crushing was in full swing. These props, which came chiefly from Catlins and Taieri Mouth, and entailed considerable expense to land on the claim, show that close timbering was a necessity when the cement was being driven out, and furnish evidence of the skill brought to bear by the underground miner in setting them in position. Their removal to-day, however, involves a great deal of labor, so firmly are they embedded in position, and it is imperative that they be cleared and stacked away in order that there be no hindrance to sluicing operations. Just now the Crescent Company, aided by the storage dam which has been in course of erection for some months, have an abundant water supply, enabling the three shifts to go round. The splendid pressure which the main pipe line affords is put to the test in breaking down the cement and in elevating, the uptake pipe being about 130 ft in height vertically, equivalent to 110 ft if set perpendicularly. The paddock where operations are presently carried on is a very interesting sight, and well worthy of inspection by any of your townspeople who happen to be in this neighborhood. The claim is a little over two miles from Lawrence railway station, and is readily approached by a good road.—Own correspondent.  -Evening Star, 24/9/1913.

From a compensation claim hearing, not involving the Golden Crescent Co, comes this account of the life of the Company's raceman.

Alexander Walker, raceman, Wetherstones, said he had been ten years on the Golden Crescent race and 14 years on the Blue Spur Co.'s water races. The former ran for a distance of six miles on Cotton's run and 7 miles in Sutherland's run, and the latter aggregated about forty miles, traversing the country in the direction of Waipori for 14 miles. He was on some portion of the race every day. Some portions of the Crescent race passed through loose land and some of the country was pretty steep and some of it was flat spurs. The altitude was between 3000 and 4000ft. The country was used principally for sheep, but there were a few head of cattle also on it. During his ten years on the Crescent race he had only picked three dead sheep out of the race — one in Cotton's portion and two in Sutherland's. The width of the race was four feet and the depth 20in. He had taken out several sheep alive. Had often found sheep on their backs along the line of race and had put them on their feet. There had only been three slips in this race since he took charge of it, and the lot would not cover three quarters of an acre. He did not know Mr Rose's property. In his opinion an open race was better for the sheep as it gave them an opportunity of jumping. While in charge of the Blue Spur races he had traversed them weekly and had only taken out five dead sheep during the fourteen years, and rescued from ten to twelve live ones. The Blue Spur races were 3ft wide and 15in deep, and passed through similar country to the Crescent race, but on the whole it was hardly so steep. It was sheep country. There were no fences. On this country he had lifted about twenty sheep off their backs.  -Tuapeka Times, 22/7/1914.

Golden Crescent raceman's hut.

In  1918 the Golden Crescent Co was in good financial shape, as evidenced by the following report, with current (November 2019) values added.

The Golden Crescent Sluicing Company, formed in September, 1898, had a paid-up capital of £5,500,  ($655,990) divided amongst 22 shareholders. The company were in active operation last year, and employed seven men. The quantity of gold produced since registration had been 9,5760z 14dwt 7gr, valued at £37,519 18s 4d. (4,475,047) of which 404oz 13dwt, valued at £1,584 17s 1d, ($189,044)  was produced last year. The amount expended in connection with carrying on operations last year was £1,354 3s 4d, ($161,493) bringing the total expenditure since registration up to £28,300 16s. ($3,375,488) The company had paid dividends totalling £11,725, ($1,398,452) and had debts amounting to £25 ($2,982) directly due to it. The amount of debts owing by the company was £215 18s 3d. ($25,763)  -Evening Star, 27/2/1918.

It is in reaching the 1920s that the question arises - when was the syphon abandoned?  Was its water right part of the City of Dunedin's takeover of the Waipori watershed for hydro power which also allowed it to flood the town of Waipori?  In 1922 an arrangement is announced between City and Company for the use of the Company's water rights in dry periods.  In 1924 the issue is compensation for water rights.  The Dunedin City Council had obtained the right in 1920 (the DCC Empowering Bill) to build a hydro power dam which would put water over the town and many mining claims in the valley.  The question in many cases was how much the rights to mine were worth to the miners?
The Golden Crescent Company had sold its interests to the Wetherstones Company in 1933.  The Wetherstones Company changed the direction of mining the conglomerate - literally - by attempting to find the bottom of the formation (presumably a layer which would be rich with gold laid down by the ancient river which had built up the conglomerate) by tunnelling down into the gravel.

Widespread interest has been awakened not only in Otago, but throughout New Zealand and in Australia, by the reports printed a month or so ago as to the trial crushing, under State supervision, of a ton of the Wetherstones gold-bearing cement from the Golden Crescent Mining Company’s claim. The doings of that company and of the Gabriel’s Gully Sluicing Company open up a glittering vision as to gold-winning on or near the spot from which Gabriel Read and his followers in 1861 dug treasure that startled the whole world; and now the prospect is enormously widened by the initiation of investigations into the question of whether an area measurable by many miles can be payably worked. The promise is staggering as to scope, and the pursuit of inquiry as to machinery that will be able to extract the gold payably is being carried on, as a national work, with very bright hopes. The subject is of such vast importance that a ‘Star' reporter asked for some particulars wherewith to enlighten the public, and thus get into touch with Mr H. Turner, the secretary of the investigating committee, who made no objection to disclosing the present position. 
Mr Turner said, by way of preliminary, that the doings to date are founded on the possibility of there being at hand the birth of a new era in gold mining. Those who are moving in the matter are encouraged as they go on, and sometimes feel dazzled when they get glimpses of a success beyond what they dared hope for when they set out to probe and inquire. 
ORIGIN OF INQUIRY. The scheme had its origin at a meeting in Dunedin on January 30 this year of persons interested in the investigation of methods of treating low-value cement or conglomerate deposits in Otago generally and in the Gabriel’s Gully and Wetherstones districts in particular. The outcome of the meeting was the forming of a committee, consisting of Mr H. Hart, Mr. J. T. Paul, Mr E. Varcoe, Mr J. G. Dykes, and Mr H. Turner, for the purpose of inquiring thoroughly into payable methods of crushing and treating the hard, gold-bearing cement deposits which are known to exist from Gabriel’s Gully, through Wetherstones and Waitahuna, down to the sea beyond Kaitangata, the title of the committee to be “The Gabriel’s Gully Investigation Committee in Co-operation with the Gabriel’s Gully Sluicing Company.” Mr Hart was elected chairman, and Mr Turner secretary. Associated with the committee are four local directors at Lawrence — namely, Messrs W. Hogg, J. K. Simpson, R. Montgomery, and the mine manager, Mr Dan Murray. 
VAST FIELD TO WORK ON. One of the first steps taken was to obtain from Mr E. W. Spencer, of Reefton, an independent mining expert, a report as to the possibility of treating at a profit the vast accumulation of tailings which as the result of sluicing operations in Gabriel’s Gully for over a quarter of a century, also to give an opinion as to the feasibility of crushing the masses of conglomerate still standing in the gully. His report fires the imagination. In the company’s claim alone are tailings measuring four million tons, and bulk tests of these tailings after being crushed gave out gold to the average value of 1s 2 1/2d per ton. The gold content could, Mr Spencer said, be liberated by crushing to the fineness of river sand, and 90 per cent. of it should be saved by passing the crushed product over blanket tables, though perhaps amalgamation might be necessary to obtain the best results. 
As to the unworked conglomerate on the company’s claim, Mr Spencer calculated it as a million and a-half cubic yards, and Dr P. Marshall, in his report on the geology of the district, estimated that the Wetherstones conglomerate was approximately 413 million cubic yards, so that there really must be many miles of it down to the coastline. 
It is important to note that the subsequent proceedings of the Investigation Committee were thus based upon the best expert information obtainable, not upon dreams, nor upon diggers’ conjectures, and that has been the policy of the committee to date — to take step by step in an adventurous but cautious manner, allowing discount margins at all points for error, so as to make the position as safe as anything of an experimental nature can be. 
GROUND ONLY SCRATCHED. Mr Turner went on to say that whilst he could not profess to give an answer to the query as to whether these investigations would re-enrich New Zealand, he could claim that they revealed possibilities and probabilities of mighty financial results and perhaps stir other countries to new efforts in the direction of reinvigorating the mining industry. 
It is established beyond all doubt, he said, that the blue cement conglomerate deposits which made the Blue Spur and Gabriel’s Gully goldfields famous throughout the world have merely been scratched. Only the easily-won rich leads were worked, leaving an infinite mass of material in that vicinity and over the hill at Wetherstones practically untouched. In addition the deposit is known to extend down through Waitahuna and Glenore to the ocean, representing further deposits totalling billions of tons. Calculated at a modest 2s 6d per ton, the gold value of the Lawrence deposit alone represents £50,000,000, and it is little wonder that the Minister of Mines and his departmental officers on their recent visits to the district were thrilled with the possibilities of here finding a solution of or set off against the dominion’s shrunken produce values. 
But it requires little knowledge of gold mining to enable one to realise the difficulties of extracting the yellow metal when the final value of a ton of the material on an average is only 2s 6d. The material to be treated is a mixture of stones and pebbles bound together with a blue pug deposit of a cement like nature, but which breaks down by exposure to the air in the process separating the stones from the wash, and freeing the gold, which is then easily saved by washing on the tables in the manner usually adopted on hydraulic claims. This process of Nature is, of course, too slow to allow anything but very insignificant quantities to be treated, and other methods must be investigated. 
INQUIRIES AS TO PLANT. Seized with the necessity for helping towards a revival of gold mining in Otago and with a desire to solve the problem of the profitable treatment of the low grade wash, the Gabriel’s Gully Investigation Committee, in co-operation with the Gabriel's Gully Sluicing Company, has been set up for the purpose of investigating every possible means of successfully handling the  problem, not in the interests of any particular company, but in the interests of the dominion as a whole, as it is obvious that if the enormous deposits of this material over the areas mentioned can be profitably worked, work may be found for thousands of men and the wealth of the dominion as a whole materially increased. The committee, under the energetic chairmanship of Mr Harry Hart, has been pursuing its inquiries in every quarter of the globe for some months past, and hopes in the near future to finalise the results of its exhaustive investigations. 
Inquiries as to suitable plant have been set afoot in the United States, Canada and South Africa, Australia, and Great Britain. The High Commissioner in London is inquiring through various channels, while great credit is due to the Minister of Mines, the Hon. A. J. Murdoch, and his department, under the able guidance of Mr Kimball, the Under-secretary of Mines, for the manner in which they have assisted in the experimental work. 
A trial crushing of material from the Wetherstones side of the deposit was made in Wellington recently for the Golden Crescent Company by the Mines Department, and results indicate that a successful method of treatment is emerging from the possible to the probable stage. 
EXPERTS CO-OPERATE. The committee has the benefit of the advice and co-operation in Wellington of Mr W. A. Fisher, who has a wide practical knowledge of the treatment of low grade ores in California, and after reviewing the results of a recent test he is convinced that the material can be profitably treated. The committee has been greatly heartened in its efforts by the assistance of such men as Mr Fisher. Mention should also be made of advice and many courtesies received from the veteran, Mr Isaac Stevenson, whose desire is to evolve a machine to handle the material successfully; Messrs Stewart and McKersey, of the Milburn Lime and Cement Co., likewise deserve thanks. They have been unfailing in their efforts to demonstrate for the committee the crushing and pulverising plants in use in their works. 
The principal difficulty hitherto has been to decide the degree of fineness to which the material should be reduced to enable the bulk of the gold to be saved. It was believed that pulverisation to the fineness of flour was necessary, but tests have shown that after reduction to about 1/4in the bulk of the gold could be saved, and if further tests show that this is correct it would seem that what was originally considered a vision by the sceptic may become an established fact. 
RICH GOLD UNTOUCHED. Although the mass value has been placed at 2s 6d per ton, there is direct evidence, especially on the Wetherstones side, that there are leads of very rich gold untouched, similar to the rich patch which made the Blue Spur famous, where in the early days one party extracted over a ton of the precious metal from one and a-half acres of ground. 
NO MONEY ASKED FOR. It may be mentioned that the Committee of Investigation, which has devoted a considerable amount of time and a certain amount of money to its investigation work, is entirely without remuneration, and so far as the Gabriel's Gully Company is concerned, there is no intention of asking either public or Government assistance should means or plant be evolved to successfully treat the material on a large scale. 
An enthusiast in the matter of tests and analysis is Mr Crawford, of the Thames School of Mines, who has carried out numerous exhaustive tests and is still carrying his research work further. 
That the lure and romance of the search for the precious metal is as strong to-day as ever it was is evidenced by the keenness with which those in all walks of life, who have come in touch with this alluring problem have endeavoured to assist the efforts of the Investigation Committee. In this respect the committee is deeply indebted to the local Press for the cordial support given in what is an honest endeavour on the part of a committee of public spirited men to further the interests and welfare of the dominion as a whole.  -Evening Star, 20/6/1931.

At the height of the Great Depression, this was good news indeed - a whole province of gold-bearing formation, just waiting to be unlocked.  Employment for those who needed it, gold for foreign exchange for the nation.

All preliminary arrangements are well advanced by Industries Limited for making a start some time next week with the actual work of cutting into that portion of the Wetherstones cement deposit that is made available by the completion of negotiations with the Golden Crescent Sluicing Company. Drilling machinery and general tools are being assembled. Before very long something quite definite will be experimentally learned as to what lies underground there.  -Evening Star, 10/12/1931.

Mr H. Grigg, who for the last nine months has been one of the inspectors acting for the Tuapeka County Council in unemployed mining relief work, has tendered his resignation, having accepted an appointment under the Wetherstones Gold Mining Co. Ltd. as caretaker of the Golden Crescent water race. Mr Grigg is an experienced gold miner, having in his day had charge of several miming properties in thenTuapeka and neighbouring districts, and was not only well qualified to attend to the supervising work, but likewise very helpful to the men altogether strangers to gold mining. -Tuapeka Times, 1/4/1933.
Raceman's hut on the Golden Crescent race.

(From Our Own Correspondent.) 
MINING. The erection of the necessary buildings to house the machinery, etc., on the Wetherstones Gold Mining Company's claim is nearing completion. The work on the inclined shaft is proceeding apace, and when further advanced it is estimated that the company will have 60 men employed in three shifts. A large number of men are at present employed in gold mining operations in this district. Men are coming from all parts of the Dominion in anticipation of obtaining work under the unemployment scheme, and in the hope that extensive gold mining operations will develop in the district.  -Otago Daily Times, 9/5/1933.

The Wetherstones Gold Mining Company's engineer reports as follows: The shaft is down 171 ft, and timbering completed to about 155 ft. Sinking has now been renewed. Sufficient electric power is being supplied to drive the company's own compressor in place of the temporary one used to date. Preparations are well under way for sinking the first 40ft of the vertical shaft. This is a special job requiring a special watertight concrete collar to prevent seepage of water into the mine. The head frame and trestle work for this inclined shaft are nearing completion. Good progress is also being made in the cleaning out of the old race to bring in the water supply necessary for sluicing the spoil from the shaft.   -Press, 26/6/1933.

The Wetherstones Gold Mining Company, Ltd. (Wetherstone) reports as follows for the four weeks ended August 8: The inclined shaft was advanced 154 ft to 410 ft in conglomerate carrying some fine gold. Timbering has been kept well up. The vertical shaft was sunk to 30ft, the last 14ft in conglomerate. A concrete collar was brought up to 8ft above ground level to seal off the water travelling in the surface gravel and to provide against possible floods. The shaft has been pumped out and the seal has proved satisfactory. At present the head frame is being erected. Except for some minor jobs the water race is now completed. By the time the pipe line is laid the race will be ready to carry water, and it will be possible to dump the spoil from the incline shaft into the sluice box. Besides recovering a certain amount of gold, this will facilitate the disposal of the spoil.   -Otago Daily Times, 12/8/1933.

Three years later the company, having spent L51,000 (a shade under six million today) in tunnelling and won just over two ounces of gold, had not found the fabled bottom of the formation and went into liquidation.

The directors of the Wetherstones Gold Mining Company, Ltd., announce that mining operations at Wetherstones have now been discontinued, and the mine has been definitely abandoned. The abandonment of the mine is unfortunate, the report to shareholders says, as the company's operations have not disproved the Wetherstones field, and shareholders are left with the feeling that if the company had had greater capital resources the proposition might have turned out differently. 
The original capital of the company was expended in sinking the main, incline shaft and in driving three levels from the incline to make contact with the schist bottom. The manner in which the bottom dipped was found to be very different from what had been imagined, and the result was that the capital of the company became exhausted before payable cement was encountered. Additional finance was provided by the issue of debentures, but this extra money was spent continuing the incline shaft without result. Operations were discontinued and the mine gradually flooded. The Mines Department and the Unemployment Board granted a substantial subsidy to finance the driving of an exploratory tunnel, with the object of locating payable cement and establishing the value of the ground. The Department of Scientific and Industrial Research had previously carried out a geophysical survey of the Wetherstones field and had supplied a report which indicated that the exploratory tunnel might have to be driven a maximum of 500 to 600 feet before the eastern wall of the claim was reached. With the subsidy provided it was estimated that this distance could easily be attained, but owing to the mine having become flooded and heavy expenditure having to be incurred clearing it before the tunnel could be started, a considerable amount of the available finance was absorbed, with the result that the new exploratory tunnel was driven only 429 feet before the subsidy funds were depleted. In the hope of obtaining a definite verdict on the proposition the Mines Department provided a further subsidy of £500, and part of this money was spent on driving back the No. 4 level to contact, the balance of the money being expended in the continuation of the exploratory drive which was advanced a further 76 feet, making a total distance of 505 feet. No appreciable alteration in the nature of the ground was apparent throughout all this driving and when this last subsidy had been expended the directors had no alternative but to cease operations and relinquish the company's assets in favour of the debenture-holders. A receiver was appointed on May 28 to take possession of the assets in favour of the debenture-holders, and it was decided that the receiver should keep the mine clear for a fortnight to give the Mines Department an opportunity of considering whether it would provide more money to enable some definite result to be achieved. The mine manager later sank a shaft from the terminal point of the drive with the object of reaching the bottom, which was believed to lie about 20 feet below the floor of the drive. This shaft was continued to a depth of 70 feet, and a drill hole sunk 15 feet beyond this indicated no improvement in the cement. There was thus no alternative but to cease operations as the Mines Department had by this time intimated that it could not provide more finance. The present state of the company's affairs is, therefore, that the mine, mining claims, water rights, plant, equipment and buildings are being realised by the receiver on behalf of the debenture-holders, and as it is most unlikely that the debenture holders will receive 20s in the £, it is obvious that the shareholders capital has been entirely lost.  -Otago Daily Times, 29/6/1936.
The Company's buildings, photographed in 1937.  Hocken Library photo.
THE Receiver for the debenture holders of the above company OFFERS FOR SALE complete Wetherstones Mine, Mining Claims, Water Rights, Plant, Equipment and Buildings. 
Tenders addressed to the Receive are invited, and will be received until 10th JULY, 1936.
G. W. J. BELL. Receiver. 
C /o W. A. Mitson and Co., Public Accountants, P.O. Box 592. 3641 Dunedin.  -Press, 27/6/1936.

Although not specified, it can be assumed that the pipes of the Golden Crescent syphon were sold in 1936.  They were removed for use in - who knows what?  More gold mining, farm irrigation, road culverts, any mixture of the above.

Syphon pipe beside the Waipori River.  There is a large section along the (current) top side of the pipe.  My guess is that this pipe sat on the river bottom, at the lowest point of the syphon, and had the top of it eroded by passing water and gravel.  I'd also say that it was left where I found it because it wasn't worth reomving for reuse.

What can be known is that the syphon was dismantled, the race ceased to carry water and began in places to grow moss, the raceman's huts were used by the occasional tramper or hunter, The lines on old maps remain, however, and the lines of the race will be visible on the bare Waipori hillsides for a long time to come.

The old race, flowing for 100 metres or so with water from a nearby creek.

Artesian Water Supply. Strangely enough Wetherstones has its own artesian water supply. The prospecting bore hole drilled by the Wetherstones Gold Mining Coy. to a depth of about 500 feet on the Wetherstones Flat has commenced to discharge a steady stream of water. Apparently the underground mine workings have gradually filled with water during the past four years and this is now finding an outlet through the bore hole.   Mt Benger Mail, 29//1939.