Sunday, 3 July 2022

37456 Sapper Douglas Henry Beck, 4/9/1895-21/1/1919.

Northern Cemetery, Dunedin.

Douglas Beck was a carpenter for the Union Steamship Company when he was called up and, on arrival in England, was quickly diagnosed with tuberculosis.  He got no closer to the front lines than hospitals in the UK. 

His record shows repeated descriptions of "seriously ill" while going through the hospital system and then repatriation on the HS "Marama."  His records show he was intended to got to the tb sanatorium in Pleasant Valley, Otago, but he died in Dunedin.  Perhaps he was too far gone by the time he arrived home.



BECK. — On January 21st, 1919, at his parents' residence. 518 Castle street, Private (Sapper) Henry Douglas Beck, 37456 N.Z.E.F., and dearly beloved youngest soul of Henry and Elizabeth Beck; aged 35 years. Deeply mourned.   -Evening Star, 21/1/1919.


THE Friends of Henry and Elizabeth Beck (and family) are respectfully invited to attend the Funeral of their late son, Henry Douglas Beck, which will leave No. 518 Castle street, on THURSDAY, the 23rd inst., at 2.30 o'clock, for the Northern Cemetery. 

A. S. ARCHER AND CO., Military Funeral Directors.   -Evening Star, 21/1/1919.

The remains of Sapper Henry Douglas Beck, a returned soldier, were interred yesterday with military honours, the body being conveyed to the Northern Cemetery on a gun carriage. There was a large attendance of the deceased soldier's relatives and friends. Captain Dobson represented the Defence Department, and six members of the Returned Soldiers' Association acted as pallbearers.  -Otago Daily Times, 24/1/1919.

Friday, 1 July 2022

John Russell, 1827-6/11/1864. "murder at the Sowburn"

The village of Patearoa is, these days, a small collection of houses.  Hot in summer and cold in winter, it sits aside the stream of the Sowburn, one of the "barnyard" names given to the watercourses of the Maniototo area by surveyor Thomson.  And Sowburn was the name of the town when the following events took place.


Information was received by the police last night that, on Sunday last, the 6th inst, at the Sowburn diggings near Hamilton, a person named James Russell was murdered by a mm named James Myles, who stabbed him in the left breast with a knife, causing instantaneous death. It apears that the deceased and Myles had quarreled. Russell challenged Myles to fight and a scuffle ensued. Miles went away to his own tent, from which he was seen returning with a knife, and advancing towards the deceased, he said he would "make a hole through his belly" Deceased then aimed a blow at him, which was returned by Myles with a blow from his left hand. At the same time he struck him with his right hand, in which he held the knife, thereby inflicting a fatal wound. The murderer was aprehended, and the the knife with which the blow was given was found upon him. The inquest had not been held when advices left Hamiltons.  -Otago Daily Times, 9/11/1864.




November 18th

I had not time or ability in my last letter to give you the particulars of the foul and unmanly murder that was committed at the Sowburn, on Sunday last, but having had an opportunity of hearing the facts of the case from the lips of the witnesses at the inquest, and many others not summoned on that occasion, I can now supply them, and leave your readers to determine whether it is murder or not that has been enacted in our generally quiet neighborhood. I append the evidence of the witnesses bearing most on the case, and leave it to your discrimination to publish or withhold: —

On Sunday last, the 6th inst., about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, a number of the miners had assembled in the street amusing themselves with a game of cricket, among them the deceased John Russell, who hearing a disturbance in the store of Bremner Brothers, went with a friend to learn the cause. He was a little the worse for liquor at the time. On entering he found there was a fight between two dogs, one belonging to the murderer Myles, and the other to a man named Kerr. The latter he offered to back for L5, and Myles said he would go for the money, but changed his mind, and the two men went into Myles's tent. Here some liquor was drunk, and a quarrel ensued between Myles and deceased, and finally Mrs Myles turned him out. Russell then went to Bremner's store, where he found he had left his pipe, and he said he would go, for the fun of the thing, to Myles's, and fetch it. He was not admitted, and at last had a bucket of water dashed over him, when he went away for a moment, and returned to meet a similar repulse. All this was taken goodhumoredly, although Myles and the deceased were using very bad language. A third time he came out and went to Myles for the pipe, and on Mrs Myles coming out with a broom he made fun of her, but no evidence was adduced to prove that he had insulted her by words. At last, Myles came out with one hand in his pocket, and with the other he went in a threatening attitude to deceased and asked him to fight, or equivalent. "That's what I want." said the deceased immediately stripping off his shirt. Myles then retreated to his door frame, and threatened, if he was rushed by the deceased, he would "rip him up." Deceased then rushed at prisoner, Myles shifting his right hand from his pocket and putting his left in, and quickly drawing it out again and holding it by his side. Again the deceased made a rush at prisoner, and now the deed was done. Deliberately unsheathing the knife — one with a blade about 7 inches long used for pig hunting — and whipping it up his coat sleeve, the moment the deceased made his rush the arm was ssen to be jerked up quick and short, and immediately the deceased was seen to put his hand to his side, his eyes glazed, blood spouted over his arm, and falling on his face, in a minute all was over. One small gash seven inches deep, and burying the knife to the hilt, had deprived the poor man of his life, his wife and three children of protector and husband. Several miners cume up at once crying out "You have stabbed the man. You've murdered him." But his replies were, "I know it, he is dead; the wretch ran on the knife;" and when taxed with murder, hardened like, replied, "What of it? I care no more of it than duck swimming." The knife was seen in his hand, covered to the haft with fresh blood; he put it into his pocket and went inside. A few minutes after some of the bystanders saw his wife go outside and be busy with a piece of rag, and they suspected she had the knife, so a miner seized her, and finally the knife dropped down her arm. During this time the prisoner came out and attempted to rescue the woman — when there, he was cutting tobacco with a penknife — and the men cried out "Let's seize him!'' which was done, and he was laid bound beside his victim and the police sent for. He retained his callous manner all the evening. After the Coroner, C. Broad, esq, R.M., having charged the jury at the inquest, and explained the difference between manslaughter and wilful murder, the jury brought in an unanimous verdict of wilful murder.

I think I never saw a mass of miners more unanimous in their abhorrence of the crime. All indulge in the most earnest hope that Justice may suffer no defeat. The deceased was a Scotchman about 37 years of age, had a wife and three children in Dunedin, was a quiet, though at times intemperate man in the way of drink, but good humoured and little given to quarrelling. The prisoner was also thought a quiet man, but I have heard that he occasionally broke out when under the influence of liquor. Since the time he was brought in he has manifested no compunction for his crime — atra cura fits easy on his brow, and conscience allows itself with him no outward manifestation.

Russell's remains were buried in the Hamilton Cemetery, on the 9th, after a post mortem examination of the chest had been made by Dr Foppley, who found the knife had glanced upwards, splitiing the eighth rib, separating the tissues, and penetrating the left cavity of the heart — a wound sufficient to cause death instantanteously.  -Otago Daily Times, 15/11/1864.

The Cemetery at Hamiltons - with its view over the Maniototo Plain, one of the most beautiful settings you will find.

The man Miles, committed on the charge of murdering James Russell, at the Sowburn, was brought down by escort yesterday, and lodged in the Dunedin Gaol for trial at the next Criminal Sittings, which commences on the Ist of next month. Although committed for murder, there seems little probability that the capital charge will be sustained — for it is certain that the prisoner received provocation of the most serious and unbearable kind before he committed the fatal deed. We cannot of course refer to the circumstances at length whilst the case is sub judice; but may say that we have reason to believe, when all the surrounding details are given, that the crime will be lightened at least of much of the culpability that now appears to be attached to it. — Otago Mail, November 16.  -Colonist, 25/11/1864.

Yesterday's sitting of the Supreme Court was mainly occupied by the trial of James Myles for the wilful murder of John Russell, at the Sowburn, on the 6th ult. The prisoner was found Guilty of Manslaughter, and recommended to mercy on the ground of the great provocation he received from the deceased. Sentence will be passed this morning.   -Otago Daily Times, 8/12/1864.

Myles was sentenced to three years with hard labour.  A subscription was opened for John Russell's widow and children.


I open my letter to mention that the news of the sentence on Myles for the manslaughter of John Russell at the Sowburn, has caused a good deal of surprise at its leniency. Whilst thoroughly appreciating the merits of his Honor Judge Richmond as a stern and impartial judge, the towns people think that the case was very badly handled by the prosecuting attorney, and that many points escaped his attention that should hnve been brought in, and would have added to more severe punishment of a crime such as it was.  -Otago Daily Times, 17/12/1864.

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

The Adams Flat Gold Dredge.

Adams Flat is a location not far from Milton in South Otago.  These days it is a small collection of farms but it had its brief surge of population, as did many places, when gold was found.  A small settlement formed and then declined as the gold began to run out and miners went on to richer ground.  But there were those who were sure that the gold taken by miners with hand tools was only a surface layer and that the real riches were under the layers of clay and gravel.  Those layers would have to be shifted and the way to do it at the end of the 19th Century was with a dredge.

Adams Flat

(From Our Own Correspondent ) 

MINING. Mining matters are beginning to look up in this locality. Mr Martin Ryan, of Waitahuna, has decided to place a dredge on and has pegged out some thirty acres of the old workings on the flat. He has an application before the Warden's Court at Lawrence applying for the above area, and the matter will come up for consideration it the sitting of the court on the 24th of this month. It is intended to start the building of the dredge about the beginning of the New Year. As well as dredging operations, there is some talk, amongst those interested in mining, of sinking a shaft with the object of finding the main bottom of the run of gold-bearing wash in the flat; if sufficient support can be obtained to start operations. It is considered by those who ought to know that all the working on the flat in the past has been on a false, and not the real bottom of the wash. It is therefore suggested that a company of about 20 shareholders should be formed at £5 per man, to prospect and sink a shaft with a view of striking the true run of gold-bearing wash. The total sum obtained would, it is believed, be farther augmented by the obtaining of a subsidy from the Mines Department to assist in sinking the shaft. If the theory now current is found to be correct, water for working could easily be brought in from the back of Mount Stuart out of the White Hill Creek, and as the country is fairly level the work of bringing a race would not be an expensive one. It is to be hoped that this matter will not be allowed to drop, the surface workings in the old days employed some hundreds of miners and the returns were very fair indeed.   -Bruce Herald, 13/11/1896.

Adams Flat


Mr Barr, of Dunedin, has been oocupied the last few days surveying off a 30-acre claim for the dredge. Whether it will go any further than being surveyed, remains at present a doubt. I believe the party to run it is not fully made up. Water will be the chief drawback, but possibly by putting in dams, enough may be stored in winter to last over the dry season. At present the miners have not enough to keep them going, and everywhere are stacks of wash-dirt, waiting until enough water comes to wash out the precious metal.   -Bruce Herald, 26/2/1897.

The following is included for its lively description of the area but deplored by yours truly for its casual racism - nothing unusual for its day.


[By Our Special Reporter.] 

To bike from Milton to Adams Flat by the back way by Mr Adam's farms is good for the liver, but should the proprietor send me often on such errands I shall stick him for my bicycle repair bill. Nothing gave way on this occasion, and the ride was most enjoyable and well worth any bikist's while to take once, for Adam's Flat is unique in its way. It is a sincere picture of a real diggings at its last gasp. I speak of the diggings part only, the flat; the slopes around are full of healthy life, but their abundant signs of vitality make the moribund Flat look more corpse like. It is Goldsmith's deserted village after its site had been the scene of a prolonged and desperate struggle between two entrenched armies. The diggings occupy two parallel valleys, divided by a ridge. The slopes of this ridge and the hollows of the valleys are scarred and wealed, pitted and wounded, and tunnelled by seeming ditches, breastworks, rifle-pits, redoubts, and covered ways. The rounded top of the ridge is comparatively smooth, and seemed to mark the scene of deadly struggles for its occupation, a spot which had never been held long enough for either party to construct works and shelter it while it held this commanding situation. The ancient battle-field is now over-grown with gorse, but nature's kindly efforts to hide the seats of conflict have as yet been in vain. A deserted schoolhouse indicates that children once played here, but their cheerful laughter is usurped by the gabbling yabber of an occasional group of Chinamen who grub for the remnant spoil left by the retreated armies. Not a white miner is left of all the eager hearts who struggled to wrest her treasure from the reluctant earth. For those of them who survive one may wish happiness for the remainder of their lives; and for the dead may be parodied the epitaph made by the old poet for the no hardier adventurers in bloodier but no less arduous fields, 

"Their bones are dust, their good swords rust; Their souls are with the just we trust."

Some thirty Chinamen's huts are grouped in little ragged hamlets here and there among the gorse and debris. They are built of sods and the tussock thatch straggles in tufts beyond the line of the low walls which are a weather-beaten grey, patched in places with fluttering patches of bagging. They look like livid corpses of houses hung about with elf locks of grizzly and torn fragments of cerements matted and clotted with the soil of the grave. On raising the eyes from these valleys of desolation they rest with a sense of satisfaction on the brown walls of Mrs Kilner's cottage nestling in its little orchard; and carrying them a little futher up the slope they open wide with surprise to behold, standing at the head of this long ransacked cemetery of gold, a neat up-to-date shop! The last pinch of tobacco in my pouch had been smoked, and in my depression of spirits I had been longing for a pipe. Naturally, my first thought was "This is a mirage of a shop! As the phantom lakes of the desert rise before the sight of those perishing of thirst, so does this visionary shop rise before mine to tantalise with hopes of a smoke!" Still I approached; my foot touched the threshold; it was solid. I searched further: Goods of all kinds were arranged in neat profusion on the shelves, and behind the counter, handing a parcel to a Chinaman, was a handsome young lady, greeting me with a courteous smile. "Now" I thought "this is really the Cave of Circe and yonder is a white man that she has turned by her enchantments into a pig-tailed Chinaman! She may sell me tobacco, but I will not smoke it lest some evil befall me. To my timid request for some mild tobacco, with a pleasant countenance and an air of cheerful politeness that seemed natural to her, she spread before me samples of no less than four brands of the article, and among them, lo! a plug of my favorite "Golden Eagle." Now I was assured that no evil could happen unto me but good, and with my inward benediction on the kind hand that had furnished it and the good-natured smiles that would add a piquancy to its flavor, I withdrew not sadder, but happier with my prize. On reaching the top of the spur where the road from Milton diverges towards Glenore, I took a final look around. As I said, the Flat itself is not large — but some few acres indeed — and the slopes around area pleasing contrast to it. Around the rifled treasury of the goldfield the smiling landscape glows with promise of perenial prosperity. Unlike the digger, who may be said to hate the soil because it obstructs his grasp of the treasure it conceals, the farmer loves and cherishes the surface of the earth, and from caring for it for his own sake he comes to regard it for its own: looking to it for his reward not to the present only he comes to conceive of it as the friend of his remaining years, then of his children— of his race. He becomes unconsciously a patriot! His favor is a part of the family of which his country is the whole. The view from this vantage ground above the Flat is a good example of this contrast. The handsome homestead and well-tilled fields of Mr T. Hitchon are to the left of the torn valley, and several neat little cottages with a field or two attached to each, lie between it and the swelling downs of Mr Adam's property. In front the color of a billiard cloth, and apparently as smooth, the broad paddocks of English grass on the Roxburgh Station, roll in rounded masses of green to the horizon. Mr Ross's steading, surrounded by its trees, is farther to the right; the fields and tree dotted farms of Round Hill, Canada, and Table Hill — a yellow gash in a hillside in the middle distance, marks the position of Mr Stewart's sluicing claim at Manuka — bound the distant view in that direction. A near hill, part of the Bon Accord lands, completes the round of horizon that encircles a pastoral and agricultural landscape well worth looking on. 

The men in Mr Hitchon's fields were busy leading in, and several tiny sacks showed that the smaller landowners around him had finished their harvesting for the year. Mr Paskell, who, by the way, owns a coalpit that has been open for more than thirty years, has also all but got his harvest over. Mounting my wheel I scorched down over the knobby surface of a hill keeping a tight grip of my teeth — my pipe went the first jolt — but letting my liver flap, past a few Chinamen with a cradle, more de-bauched-looking pariahs of huts, past the place where Scotch John's hut used to be — one would not expect a miner with that sobriquet to be still found on a deserted diggings — "not much" as he would have said— and on for a mile or so till I come to an outlying picket of Mr Palmer's army of stacks, detachments of which are be sighted here and there all the way between this point and Glenore. I walk to the top of the hill from whence is obtained a good view of the red roofs and neatly kept precincts of Roxburgh Station lying in its nest among the tall trees in the valley below. Another mile between shady hawthorns brings me to Mr Andrew Miller's well-kept farmstead  more hedges and Mr Palmer's picturesque mill, with its yard full of carefully tarpaulined implements; more hedges still, and I arrive at romantic Mt. Stuart and see my way to a clear run home to Milton on a smooth road, a pleasure I prepare to enjoy with more satisfaction from the consciousness of having endured some toil and danger for the good of my liver and of the palladium of British freedom - the ubiquitous newspaper press which suffers no flinching in its service. 

The sheaves of his abundant harvest have largely settled in the stack, but Mr Palmer, of Mt. Stuart, with his accustomed energy and foresight; has already begun to cart lime on the fields, and the lush grass and brilliant bloom of the turnip leaves abundantly testify to the reason why. The rich autumn tints of the abundant shrubberies make this perhaps the most favorable season of the year for displaying the many beauties of this favorite haunt of picnic parties. The many giant trunks weeded out to assist in the building of the Balclutha railway bridge have made no apparent gaps in the dense clouds of foliage. 

Mr Thomas's garden is a picture of neatness. He was apparently engaged in burning tha autumn leaves as they fell, and so trimly is it kept that one would expect to be asked to take one's boots off before entering, as has to be done before admission to a Dutch byre where the floors are daily scrubbed with soap and water, and the stalls made brilliant with furniture polish. His son, the capable manager of the Woolshed Dredge, seems to inherit his father's passion for neatness. We boarded his dredge on an off-day, when the giant machinery was at rest. Everything was spick and span, every tool in its place, the decks washed, the machinery brilliant, everything in fact, as ship-shape as in a man o' war. I examined the ripples and there was no doubt about it, there were the yellow specks as thick as the grains of pepper on a well-seasoned steak. Fortunately, perhaps, for me, I was in the broad eye of day, or unother reporter might, by now, be tending his account of a fresh sluice robbery, for the flesh is weak, when the temptation is so strong! 

The Stirling Dredge is fairly at work, and I was informed that the wash-up a week ago totalled all but 30 ounces. 

An instance of how a careful manager can effect economies in the working of a dredge, occurred the other day in connection with the Woolshed Dredge. Some bucket links were required, for making which the engineers in Dunedin asked £90. Mr Mercer, thinking this too much to pay, invested in a boring machine, and made them himself at a cost not much exceeding half that demanded by the town firm. The return last week of the Woolshed Dredge was 28 ounces, and new hoisting gear has lately been fitted to the ladder, which causes it to be lifted much more expeditiously. Even the few minutes this contrivance adds to the working time of the buckets, adds pounds to the returns weekly, in so rich a claim. The Woolshed Dredge, No. 2, which this party are erecting near Mataura, is far on its way towards completion. 

The splendid harvest weather we have been enjoying lately has enabled the farmers to gather in their crops in good condition. W. Cameron, of the Woolshed Farm, is pleased with his crop, and though he may wish that prices were higher, is too wise to distress himself about what cannot be helped. 

The mill after threshing Mr Maley's crop left to perform the same operation on Mr E. Palmer's, and this week it will visit Mr Hanley's.  -Bruce Herald, 28/3/1899.


I, THE UNDERSIGNED, hereby make application to register the Adams Flat Gold Dredging Company as a Limited Compauy under the provisions of "The Mining Companies Act, 1894," 

(1) The name of the Company is to be "The Adams Flat Gold Dredging Company, Limited." 

(2) The place of intended operations is at Adams Flat, Otago. 

(3) The registered office of the Company will be situated in Castle street, Dunedin. 

(4) The nominal capital of the Company is two thousand seven hundred pounds, in two thousand seven hundred shares of One Pound each. 

(5) The number of shares subscribed for is two thousand, being no less than twothirds of the entire number of shares in the Company. 

(6) The number of paid-up shares is five hundred, 

(7) The amount already paid up is two shillings per share on one thousand five hundred shares. 

(8) The name of tbe manager is Clarence John Inder. 

(9) The names and addresses and occupations of the shareholders, and the number of shares held by each at this date are as follows: — 

Benjamin McPherson, Dunedin, engineer, 200 shares.

John Murdoch, Dunedin, timber merchant, 200. 

G. & J. Pettigrew, Manuka Creek, miners, 200. 

C. J. Inder, Dunedin, engineer, 150. 

Adam Clark, Dunedin, engine driver, 100. 

Stevenson & Poole, Dunedin, engineers, 100.

Forsyth Johnston, Dunedin, ironmonger, 100. 

Thomas Armstrong, Adams Flat, Farmer, 100. 

Charles A. Thomson, Adams Flat, Miner, 100. 

James O'Connor, Adams Flat, Miner, 100. 

John Bruce Watt, Dunedin, Iron Turner, 100. 

James Mitchell, Naseby, Builder, 50. 

James J. Cotter, Dunedin, Insurance Agent, 50. 

Johnston McAra, Dunedin, Clerk, 50. 

Bernard J. Finnigan, Dunedin, Clerk, 50. 

Benjamin T. Ringer, Dunedin, Clerk, 50. 

David Fairbairn, Anderson's Bay, Ironmoulder, 50. 

George Clark, Dunedin, Engineer, 50. 

Angus Morrison, Dunedin, Engineer, 50. 

Robert J. Painton, Dunedin, Blacksmith 50. 

George Coxon, Dunedin, Blacksmith, 50. 

Thomas Veitch, Dunedin, Blacksmith, J Charles Kellet, Dunedin, Blacksmith, 50. 

Joseph Henderson Dunedin Blacksmith 50.

Dated this 10th day of April, 1899. Charles John Inder, Manager. Witness to signature: Alfred James, Solicitor, Dunedin. 

I, CLARENCE JOHN INDER, do solemnly and sincerely declare that: — 

(1) I am the Manager of the said intended Company. 

(2) The above statement is to the best of my belief and knowledge true in every particular, AND I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true and by virtue of an Act of the General Assembly of New Zealand entitled "The Justices of the Peace Act, 1882." Clarence John Inder. 

Taken before me at Dunedin, this 10th day of April, 1899: R. HAY, 

A Justice of the Peace for the Colony of New Zealand.  -Bruce Herald, 11/4/1899.

Adams Flat

(From Our Own Correspondent.) 

A dredge claim of about 60 acres has lately been taken up here and surveyed. I understand the company is fully made up (including three or four local shareholders), and it is the intention of the company to be started work within four months, they having bought a first-class dredge at present on the Molyneux, and I believe it is to be delivered here, fitted up in good working order, and handed over to the company within the time stated. It is generally thought that a dredge on the Flat will pay, if there be not a fortune in it there will be at least working expenses and a small dividend for the shareholders. 

Although your special reporter, when round the other day, was quietly and humorously taking off the old Flat, I can assure him it will give a huge kick and struggle a lot yet before it goes down altogether. Just wait until we have our dredge whistle blowing, our cycling track opened, our crooked club formed, our young men married, and our school reopened. I can tell you the Flat is just beginning to look up. Why, don't say we are behind times when one of our local old age pensioners talks of getting a set of false teeth and a bicycle.    -Bruce Herald, 14/4/1899.

I have looked without success for the "Crooked Club."  Perhaps, in the light-hearted mood in which the above was written, it is a playful mis-spelling of "Cricket Club," perhaps a local in-joke.

Adams Flat

(From Our Own Correspondent ) 

The measles epidemic has laid low a great number of our friends and neighbors, chiefly the grown up young men and women. Some have been attacked so severely as to cause their friends serious anxiety, and it is a common occurrence to see the doctor visiting here just now. On Saturday night he had no less than four different patients requiring his attention, however I believe all are now on the way to recovery. 

Mr W. Parker, who has been in the Dunedin hospital during the last fortnight with an eye trouble, is also getting on fairly well, and will in all probability soon be home again seeing with both eyes and looking on the bright side of things generally. 

I notice Messrs Clarke Bros have their new house almost completed, and although it contains but one room, will when finished be very comfortable, and add another house to our sparsely populated township. 

The work of building the Adams Flat Gold Dredging Company's dredge is proceeding rapidly. The pontoons, which by the way are of iron, were successfully launched last week, and the frames for the heavy machinery are now looming up, and give it some thing like the appearance of a dredge. The dredge is not a new one, as it has been bought by the Adams Flat Dredging Company from the Perseverance Company at Alexandra, which is putting on a much larger one on their claim on the Molyneux. Although not of sufficient power for the Molyneux claim the dredge will be just the thing for working the shallow ground of Adams Elat. Messrs Poole and Stevenson, of Dunedin, are the contractors for removing the dredge from Alexandra, and re-erecting it here. The last three or four waggon loads are expected down this week, making in all a total of some 16 loads. A journey by waggon from Alexandra to Adams Flat takes about seven days, so the removing of a dredge that distance is no small undertaking. The contractors expect to have everything in working order about the beginning of August, when I trust she will give a good account of herself.  -Bruce Herald, 30/6/1899.

It is reported, that two owners of land adjoining the Adams Flat Dredging Company's claim intend taking action to stop the Company from working. It is said that the objection will be made on the grounds that the dredging operations of the company will cause the water to flow over  their properties before it reaches the Toko river, and pollute the water used by their stock.   -Bruce Herald, 28/7/1899.


The first meeting of the shareholders in the Adams Flat Gold Dredging Company was held at the company's office last evening. A large number of shareholders were present. Mr Thomas Stephenson presided. The Chairman stated that the dredge was ready to start work, and the machinery would be set in motion to-day. Respecting the rumors that the farmers would lay an injunction against the company, he thought it very improbable, as many of the settlers in the distjict were shareholders in the company. The following were elected directors for the ensuing twelve months. — Messrs Thos. Stephenson, B. M'Pherson, F. Johnston, John Murdoch, and Adam Clark.  -Evening Star, 10/8/1899.

Mining Notes

A telegram was received in town to-day stating that the Adams Flat dredge had started working, and that she was going both satisfactorily and smoothly.   -Evening Star, 11/8/1899.

Adams Flat

(From Our Own Correspondant.)

The general topic here just now is the dredge. Have you seen it working? What do you think of it? Do you think it will pay well? A hundred and one other questions equally hard to answer are on everybody's lips. However, we will soon be enlightened as to the latter question, for she is now completed, and will in all probability be running regular shifts this week. The contractors, Messrs Poole and Stevenson, of Dunedin, handed her over to the company on Friday last, when she was passed by their inspector as being in good working order. Mr George Pettigrew has supervised the laying of the tables. &c, and I understand that they are extra well laid, and calculated to catch every grain of gold that may pass on to them. I understand that after a trial run of a few hours that very pleasing prospects were shown on the matting. It is the company's intention, as soon as they get their claim properly opened up, to purify their dirty water by means of a large dam, which will back the water right up the flat, and to build below that again another dam with a gravel bank into which they will run the water as they are done with it, and leave the water to filter its own way through the gravel of the dam. The measles epidemic has now left us for good, and has started operations in earnest at Hillend, and although we don't wish our Hillend friends any harm, we are certainly more pleased at Hillend people having the measles than to have them ourselves.   -Bruce Herald, 15/8/1899.

Mr Waddell, engineer on the dredge at Adams Flat, had the misfortune to lose two of his fingers in the machinery a day or two ago. We understand the Inspector of Machinery is going to hold an inquiry into the accident.   -Tuapeka Times, 1/11/1899.

The Adams Flat report a return of 8oz 2dwt for the week. The dredge is now opening out the claim.  -Evening Star, 2/12/1899.

The Rivers Commission  (excerpt)

James Adam, farmer, owned 3000 acres, all of which was let to tenants for terms of from 15 to 20 years. The claim he put in for compensation was in respect to 1000 acres bordering the creek which runs right through his land, and which was affected by the Adams Flat dredge: the creek would be silted up in time if that dredge continued to work, and in flood time the silt would be deposited over 130 or 140 acres of delta land beside the creek. Digging began in Adams Flat 38 years ago. He did all he could to prevent the diggers working then; but the Government did not support him, and ultimately the Government took over Adams Flat and gave him one and a-half acres in exchange for each acre. The diggers caused very little pollution of the creek water, but since dredging commenced all that was changed; he then mentioned to the commissioners his ideas of what should be done, by cutting a large canal from the Flat to the river or by other means for keeping the water clean before it came into the creek. He claimed £1200 oompeasation. He would not sell his land; it was his family's inheritance, and by his will, made long ago, each of them would receive 500 acres. If the Government insisted on the gold being taken out, then he would have to put on a dredge himself.   -Bruce Herald, 8/6/1900.

The Rivers Commission.


Evidence was given yesterday as follows: — 

Thomas Moir, blacksmith, owner of an acre at Clarksville, gave evidence as to half his section being subject to flood. He valued the acre at £60. For weeks after a flood half of his section was, owing to silt, useless for grazing purposes. 

D. McGill, miller, executor under the will of Mrs E C Reid, said that under the will of Mrs Reid the land had to be kept for five years and then sold. Also that in the olden days the Main road had been given in lieu of road round the river, but the title had never been taken out.

John Adam, farmer, owner of 147 acres and leaseholder of 79 acres, claimed £100 for loss of water for stock in respect of Adams Flat Creek. During portion of the year he was dependent on this creek for a supply for household purposes, and for a supply for threshing purposes. At present the water in that creek was not fit for either purpose. 

Alex Wisely, owner of 418 acres, said his property was about two miles below the; dredges. The Adams Flat creek went through one of his 50-acre sections, and there was no roadline surveyed between the creek and the section. Last summer this section was twice flooded. The flooding and deposit of silt left on the land lessened the value of the land by one-half. 

W Forsyth, one of the executors in the estate of the late P. McGill, said that the farm connected with the estate comprised 168 acres. He was not aware that there was a reserve between the land and the river. Practically it was all farming land. Fifty acres of it were subject to floods by the south branch, and they claimed £1200 compensation in connection with that. He thought the 50 acres might be worth £30 per acre. If dredging continued to go on as at present this land might not be worth anything. In view of the probability of the north branch being declared a sludge channel the executors in the estate had put in a claim for £5800 damages, as if the north branch were a sludge channel it would interfere with their manufacturing purposes. They had a 25-horse-power turbine, and if their water race was silted up it would throw the turbine out of work. Railway engine drivers said the water from the north branch was the best they got for steaming purposes. If the executors were obliged to get another supply of water the consequence would be that additional expense would be caused by the boilers getting furred. 

Thos Hitchon, Adams Flat, claimed damages in respect to 170 acres owing to the water in the creek being rendered too dirty for stock; and he claimed special damages in connection with a channel he had cut. He admitted that there was only sufficient water in the Adams Flat creek for the working of one dredge. 

Robert Hyslop gave evidence in respect to his claim for damage to his farm down the river. 

Jas B Scanlan, owner of 56 1/2 acres of a farm, 4 3/4 acres connected with his fellmongery and 6 acres in the township, said about 30 acres of the farm was liable to be badly flooded. After a flood it was fully a month before cattle could graze on it. If these 30 acres were flooded when in crop, the crop would not ripen until a long time afterwards. It was very hard to value the land, as the price for agricultural purposes was regulated by the price of grain. The value of the land for agriculture if the dredging industry did not go on might be from £20 to £25 per acre. He had seen land go down to £7 per acre and then go up to £20 per acre. Witness was asked about willows growing in the river and choking the bed of the river; in a few instances they were growing from his side of the river. He had been taking them out; he thought it was the duty of anyone who had willows growing from his side of the river to take them out. 

John Martin, farmer, gave evidence as to injury by floods to three acres at Fairfax belonging to Donald Ross. These three acres were, in consequence of dredging, thickly covered with silt. 

J. B. Scanlan then gave evidence as to the damages he would sustain in respect to his fellmongery business if the north branch were declared a sludge channel. In view of that branch being declared a sludge channel he had put in a claim for £3200. The fellmongery buildings cost him £1000. He believed the Government valuation of the fellmongery buildings and land was £960. Asked to what the yearly value of his business witness said it was very hard to say; one year he might make £1000 and another year lose £2000. One year he made £3000. 

John Tough, owner of 94 acres on the South branch of the Toko. river, said it was practically all liable to be flooded in a high flood. In an ordinary flood very little of this land was subject to floods. He stated that some time ago the farmers in Tokomairiro combined to stop dredging. He was asked to join in with them but declined, as he did not believe in law cases. However, cases were tried in the courts; and he presumed this Commission of Enquiry was a result of that enquiry. He supposed the commission wanted as much information as they could obtain with regard to damage done by dredging to settlers on the banks of the river. Well, he had known the river for the last 34 years, and had used it more than anyone else during that period. He owned a threshing mill and knew from experience that great alterations had taken place recently in the bed of the South branch of the river. One ford 30 chains wide where they used to easily go through with a mill and engine was now impassable through accumulations of silt, in fact there was no ford at all there now. He mentioned other places in the South branch where there used to be passable fords which were now impassable. He then compared this state of things with fords on the North branch of the river and which are the same now as they were 30 years ago. Before dredging commenced be used to thresh grain the whole season through without stopping to clean out the boiler of the engine; but when the dirty water in the South branch was utilised for the engine threshing could not be continued for more than 10 days or a fortnight without stopping for "blowing off." When the engine and mill went out this season he gave instructions that the water from the South branch of the river should not be used for the engine, and that the farmers on the South branch of the river for whom be threshed must provide clean water for the engine. Previous witnesses had been asked how they estimated the damage to their land by flooding on the South branch. Well, it was very hard to give what the actual damage was; it varied with different circumstances. If there was a flood in spring and a paddock in young grass with ewes in lamb on it was overflowed; or in case of a crop being on the ground, the damages in either case would be a good deal. He estimated the damage to his land near the South branch of the river would be liable to in case of a big flood at £2 per acre. 

Jas Bruce, J. Norrie, and H. McFaul also gave evidence. 

Donald Reid gave evidence on behalf of the trustees of the late Mr J E Brown. A good portion of the land would realise £20 per quarter acre section. There were 55 acres altogether and the riparian rights belonged to the estate. He subsequently gave evidence on behalf of Mr G. E. Brown. Wm. Tulloch, owner of 200 odd acres at Glenore, said that if the Stirling Dredging Company left the channel open to allow of his creek getting through he would make no claim for damage. That company was banking up tailings which would ultimately come to the mouth of his creek and cause his place to be flooded. He had about 25 acres of low ground which he valued at about £25 per acre. 

John Miller, owner of 113 acres, said he had seen it all flooded. The last occasion was 8 or 9 years ago. About 40 acres were covered by a flood five or six weeks ago. He believed there was a roadline between his land and the river. This concluded the evidence up to 1 o'clock p.m.  -Bruce Herald, 8/6/1900.


The Adams Flat report a return of 5oz lldwt 6gr for 203 hours' work.  -Evening Star, 9/6/1900.

The Rivers Commission

Geo. Clark, manager of the Adams Flat dredge, said the dredge was only, as yet, working into a claim. They were just now on a false bottom of gravel. He had a year or two experience of dredging. They had 75 acres of a claim; it would take abont 20 years to work it with the dredge they had now. They were practically working in old digging ground.  -Bruce Herald, 12/6/1900.

TENDERS will be received until FRIDAY, July 20, 1900, for the PURCHASE of the ADAMS FLAT DREDGE.

The Dredge is in good order. Pontoons are steel (80ft x 20ft), Engine (Sparrow) 16 horsepower, Boiler 20 horse-power, Buckets 3 1/2ft, Screen, Tables, Steam Winches, Ropes, Tools, etc. 

Good road to Dredge from Mount Stuart Railway Station (distant four miles). 

Tenders addressed to L. G. REEVES, Vogel street, Dunedin.   -Evening Star, 26/6/1900.



[From Our Parliamentary Reporter.]

WELLINGTON, July 26. In accordance with the request of the member for Bruce, the interim report of the Rivers Commission has been presented to Parliament. A synopsis of the portion relating to Southland has already been wired to the ''Star." As to the alleged inroads of the


on to the plain, the Commissioners report that whereas all the farmers having land alongside the river state that portions of their holdings are flooded three or four times every year, the evidence shows that the land is not more subject to flood than it was before the commencement of mining operations. At Adams Flat, the farmers having land alongside the stream, all of whom have riparian rights, stated that this is the only water which they have for their stock, and if dredging operations are carried on it is rendered unfit for drinking purposes; further, that in time of floods the water from this creek overflows its banks, and if the dredging continues the silt will be deposited on the adjoining flat land, and will render the grass on such land unfit for use for stock for some weeks. It was made clear, the Commissioners say, that the dredging company at work there have acquired the whole of the dredging ground in this locality, that there is an insufficient supply of water to work the dredge in summer, and that the dredge has been working for nine months at a loss, though it is expected that richer ground will be found ahead which will recoup the loss sustained. Taking the whole of the circumstances into consideration, the Commissioners think that an amicable arrangement may be come to between this company and the farmers whose claims aggregate £3,090, whereby the company may carry on operations, and they recommend that Adams Creek be not proclaimed a watercourse into which tailings, waste water, and mining debris may be discharged. On the watershed of the north branch it is stated that very little mining has been done. The water from this branch is used for supplying the railway at Milton, the Bruce Woollen Mills, Fellmongery, and for the town of Milton. The Commissioners, therefore, do not recommend that this branch be proclaimed a watercourse into which tailings, waste water, and debris from mining operations may be discharged. As to the south branch, the Commissioners report that the dredging is almost exclusively on freehold lands, from which neither the Government nor local bodies will derive any direct revenue. Taking the whole of the circumstances into consideration, the Commissioners are doubtful as to the expediency, at the present, time, of proclaiming the main or south branch of the Tokomairiro, with all its tributaries to their sources above Glenore, as watercourses into which tailings, waste water, and debris from mining operations may be discharged.   -Evening Star, 26/7/1900.

The Rivers Commission Report

All the farmers having lands alongside the Adams Flat creek, on which one dredge is at work, have riparian rights, and claim that it is the only water they have for their stock, which if dredging operations are carried on is rendered unfit for drinking purposes. They also state that in time of flood the creek overflows its banks, depositing the silt on the pround in such quantities as to render it unfit for stock for some weeks. The Commissioners thought that an amicable settlement between the company and the farmers, whose claims aggregate £3090, could be arrived at, and recommended that the creek should not be proclaimed a sludge channel.   -Bruce Herald, 31/7/1900.

Adams Flat

(From Our Own Correspondent.) 

The Adams Flat dredge is still lying idle. She is moored to the side of the face where she was working when dredging operations were discontinued some two months ago. It is a great pity that a dredge fit to do hard and tough work, should be forced to lie idle for want of a little capital to put her over the reef of boulders that apparently stretches across that particular part of the claim. I understand that the company intend increasing the capital from £2,500 to £4,000 and propose shifting the dredge to a claim at Waitahuna. As far as the claim is concerned I know but little, but report sayeth, it is much of the same format on as the present claim at Adams Flat. Why they want to move the dredge at all is a much talked of question here. The universal opinion is that, had the capital of the company been increased and the claim properly opened up (which in my opinion has not been done) she would have proved quite as good a "speck" as many claims outside the Molyneux have done. The initial mistake of the company was made when they decided to build the dredge on the present site. The work of cutting an entrance into the claim proper, through a narrow flat alongside the creek, absorbed all the spare capital, and when they commenced operations on the flat where it widened out, they struck a bed of boulders. To all appearance, however, these boulders do not exist further up the Flat. Apparently the financial state of the company would unfortunately, not permit of the building of a dam to float her further up the claim. If this were possible I feel confident that the boulders would be left behind. Even according to the dredges returns per square yard, where she lies at present, had there been no boulders to contend with she would have paid well enough. The above remarks are not written to in any way disparage the present company. But as I have never read an account of the operations of the company in print. I feel it my duty, as local correspondent to the Bruce Herald, to let the shareholders and public generally know the facts and the feeling the residents of the district have on the matter. 

A petition is being circulated here, and is being signed by all interested, with a view to having the Adams Flat school re-opened. The school has been closed for upwards of two years, but I believe there is now a sufficient number of children in the district to warrant the Education Board re-opening it.  -Bruce Herald, 10/8/1900.

During the week a party of eight artisans from one of the Dunedin workshops, have been engaged in dismantling the Adams Flat dredge, preparatory to shifting it to the Company's new claim at Waitahuna. It is considered by sceptical people, that the dredge is appropriately named the Adams Flat, both on account of the agedness of the dredge — and other things.   -Bruce Herald, 19/10/1900.

Our Adams Flat correspondent writes: — The contractor (Mr Ritchie), who has the dismantling of the Adams Flat dredge in hand, is getting on well with the work. The machinery, including boiler, winches, screen, engine, and the ladder are all removed and the pontoons are now lying high and dry on the bank. Some difficulty was experienced in getting the pontoons out of the water, but with a good deal of patience and hard labor the work was successfully accomplished. Men are now at work taking the pontoons to pieces, and in the course of a few days, the heavier material will be ready for the waggons. Some of the lighter parts have already been shifted. — I see the 'Times' Milton correspondent has it that the dredge is being removed to Waitahuna Gully. That is a mistake, as her claim is situated somewhere near the township of Waitahuna. — The Adams Flat ball came off on the 26th, and was a grand success, nothing being spared by the committee to ensure the enjoyment of the guests. — Boisterous weather has been the order of the day of late, and the weather is not at all favorable for the growing of young crops.   -Bruce Herald, 9/11/1900.

A Hocken Library photo of a dredge at Waitahuna around 1900.  This one was named "Havelock" - nearby the dredge from Adams Flat was named "Manuka."  It worked there for two years.

Mt. Stuart Road Board

The monthly meeting of the above Board was held in Anderson's Hotel, Glenore, yesterday. Present: — Messrs Craig (chairman), Adam, Bryce, Hitchon, Palmer, Lowrey, Forsyth, and Adam. 

Correspondence: Mr R. Ritchie wrote stating he had incurred the sum of £24 18s 6d in making a road and bridge from the Adams Flat dredge. A load of seven tons could now be taken out with safety, and he respectfully asked that a portion of the money be refunded. — The Board were of opinion that they were not benefited by the work as the road was on private property, and declined the application.  -Bruce Herald, 13/11/1900.

At Adams Flat, thanks to a very friendly local family who had some knowledge of the mining history, I was able to explore a long-abandoned house.  This is the base of a large macrocarpa tree which has entrapped an old dredge bucket, presumably left behind in 1900.

A shed or garage beside the house, which looks like it includes perforated iron sheet, possibly once used for gold recovery.