Felton Road, Bannockburn, Central Otago
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Able to Visit
10th April 1985
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes part of the land described as Pt Lot 1 DP 26776 (OT18D/464), Otago Land District, and the archaeological sites associated with the Bannockburn sluicings. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Heritage New Zealand Board meeting on 30 April 2015.
Central Otago District
Pt Lot 1 DP 26776 (OT18D/464), Otago Land District
Bannockburn Sluicings with their towering cliffs and deep ravines create a stark landscape that offers a dramatic illustration of the results of hydraulic sluicing and provides evidence of gold miners’ workings from the 1870s through until the early twentieth century. This is one of the best examples of hydraulic workings in Otago.
On the river terrace overlooking the Kawarau River, approximately a square kilometre of river terrace has been sluiced away to allow miners to get to the gold-bearing gravels lying beneath. Miners used both ground-sluicing and hydraulic sluicing technologies, as well as some tunnelling. Ground sluicing involves directing the flow of ground water over the ground miners want to wash away, using a water race. In hydraulic sluicing, miners direct water under high pressure through a nozzle at the sluice face. In each case, the gold is caught in a tray as the sluiced material is passed through a riffle box or similar. A tail race that leads away from the sluice face carries waste material away, except for heavy stones which are stacked into tailings.
The Bannockburn Sluicings comprise an extensive area of sluiced waste land, covered with heaps of tailings, and with tailings-filled gullies around the margins. The head races, fed from Menzies Dam, above, lead out to the tops of the gullies. The sides of the gullies are the sluice faces that were left when mining ended, and the floors of the gullies contain tail races and carefully stacked stone tailings. Some of the gullies have tunnels where the miners tried to get at pay dirt more quickly than by sluicing. The water races that fed the sluicings reach out into the landscape up into the Carrick Range.
The land was included in the Bannockburn Sluicings Historic Reserve gazetted in 2000. In 2015, the Bannockburn Sluicings remain part of the Otago Goldfields Park, and a well signposted walk through them takes about 1.5 hours and includes the related sites - Menzies Dam (Record No. 5611) and Stewart Town (Record No. 5610).
Hydraulic sluicing begins at Bannockburn
Public NZAA Number
9th February 2015
Report Written By
Department of Conservation
Department of Conservation
Janet Stephenson, Heather Bauchop and Peter Petchey, 'Bannockburn Heritage Landscape Study', Department of Conservation, Science and Research Unit, Wellington 2004
Jill Hamel, The Archaeology of Otago, Department of Conservation, Wellington, 2001
Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.
A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Otago/Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand