Thursday, 1 June 2017

Walter Williamson's diary 1865


 June 27, 1865 – I wrote to Mr Mackay, Civil Commissioner, that the prospect obtained was so good that we should feel obliged if he would forward to us a copy of the mining regulations and the bylaws relating to gold.

June 28 -   Commenced sinking a shaft in the flat about 150ft from the left bank of the Karaka Creek, came upon a  wash, panned it off; found a small prospect getting better the deeper we went.

June 29 – At a depth of 14ft the specks were coarser, but few.  Heavy boulders and water.

July 1 – Eight ft of water in the hole,  all hands baling, in two hours time had the water out, and got 2ft further down, when the bottom was found at 16ft, washed 2 or 3 buckets of stuff, same prospect as yesterday; water gaining so fast and boulders so heavy, impossible to drive – dip inclining towards creek.

July 3 – Finished the sluice box and carried it to the creek, tried the banks in several places; found fine scaly gold in all at about 2ft from the surface,

July 4 – commenced paddocking about 10ft in from the creek; piled up all the rubble to be put through rhe sluice box, occasionally panning off a dish which more or less showed the presence of scaly quartz gold.

July 5 – Found the sluice box to answer well, saving the fine gold, of which there is a good deal about here.  The chief found a quartz specimen in the box well charged with gold – appropriated it of course.  At the close of the day calculated that there might have been 1 & a half dwt to the load.  One of the party who went over to the Waiotahi Creek close to was told if he put a pick in the ground his shirt would be taken off his back.  The gold, which is very fine, cannot be separated from the heavy iron sand.

July 6 -  All day cutting a race extending about 60ft along hre creek and 15ft in from the edge of the bank, with the intention of trying the bed.

July 7 – Dammed the current of the creek.  Plenty of stiff clay on the flat, opened the race head.

July 8 – In the bed of the creek found a prospect that was payable, put about three quarters of a load through the sluice box, which showed up better than any sample yet found, and will assuredly pay.  The gold is of a description different from that usually seen here, it appears to weight well, and is evidently the tail end of a heavier deposit.  A few specks mixed with quartz were got, indicating the presence of  a gold bearing quartz reef in the vicinity.  During the afternoon several natives with motives of curiosity were anxious to render assistance.

July 10 - Tikapa, the chief who had befriended us for some months back, informed us that three large canoes had entered the river with about 60 to 70 Hauhaus, who intended landing and remaining at the settlement some days.  Deemed it prudent not to work.

July 11 – Found that the creek had penetrated through the dam – all day repairing.

July 12 – My companions have left for Auckland; will remain some time longer and see what can be done.


I am quite satisfied that, had we prosecuted the search in this quarter and been permitted to try the Waiotahi Creek, the endeavours of the party to obtain a more satisfactory result would have met with complete success.  The Ohinemuri steam, which runs in to the Thames at about 30 miles up the river, has been reported to me by the natives, as it is also well known to the few Europeans who have settled in that locality, to produce gold of an alluvial and more water-worn character than that found in  the Kauaeranga country. At present Te Hira, the principal chief is unwilling to receive Europeans whose object is gold prospecting – Walter  Williamson.