Woodstock Pump House and Battery

Waitawheta Gorge, Karangahake

  • Woodstock Pump House and Battery. Underground Pumphouse.
    Copyright: Department of Conservation. Taken By: Department of Conservation. Date: 1/07/2007.
  • Woodstock Pump House and Battery. ‘Battery’ = Woodstock Battery. Image reproduced from Archsite, NZAA Site Record Form T13/289.
    Copyright: New Zealand Archaeological Association. Taken By: Unknown.
  • Woodstock Pump House and Battery. ‘Pumphouse and mine entrance’ = Woodstock/Talisman Mine Entrance and Pumphouse, Image reproduced from Archsite, NZAA Site Record Form T13/293.
    Copyright: New Zealand Archaeological Association. Taken By: Unknown.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 7359 Date Entered 13th December 1996

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Hauraki District

Region

Waikato Region

Legal description

Te Aroha SD Blk I, pt Crown land Res for sale = (Esplanade Reserve) SO 7257, pt Sec 105 SO 46968 Kaimai Manaku Forest Park

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical:

The Woodstock Gold and Silver Mining and Smelting Co. was formed in 1885. It acquired other Karangahake sites during the decade and reformed as the Woodstock United Goldmining Co. in 1890 after merging with the Kenilworth Company. Its early history was difficult. Use of the cyanide process improved profitability, enabling the company to purchase further claims. In 1897 it upgraded its 10-stamp battery to 40-stamps, but returns declined in the early 1900s and the Talisman Co. took over the company in 1904. The battery was damaged by a flood in 1909 and finished off by a fire next year.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Technological:

The principle value of remains such as this, is the physical evidence they present of past industrial processes, operations, and techniques-in this case, the gold extraction and mining industry. These works richly illustrative this industry and the modifications to the landscape that it brought about.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Assessment Under Section 23 Criteria report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

Goldmining was one of the major extractive industries last century and made a substantial, albeit varying contribution to national export receipts until about the beginning of WWI. Broadly speaking, goldfields were either alluvial or quartz. The former, such as the early finds in Central Otago in the early 1860s, were 'poor man's fields', where substantial capital was not required. The Hauraki/Coromandel fields were quartz mining areas, which required major capital investment.

The Woodstock site is associated with the Karangahake field, an important goldmining field which prospered from the mid 1890s after the commercial development of the cyanide recovery process sparked off an international investment spree in Thames mining stock. Salmon states that the Karangahake companies "showed greatest initiative in experimenting with new processes." By then the country's older goldfields, Central Otago and Westland, had declined considerably.

This was the last great 'gold rush' in New Zealand's history, marked by the influx of capital-intensive mining ventures. Woodstock was company in the last phase of the industry's significance as an export-earner.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

Events:

The nomination mentions very few events apart from the flood and the fire which terminated the mine's working life in 1910/10.

Persons:

The nomination says virtually nothing about directors, shareholders, managers or staff of the company. J.H. Salmon lists John McCombie as manager of the Woodstock Mine as director of construction for La Monte's unsuccessful furnace.

Ideas:

The site is associated with part of a Pacific-wide "peculiar human tsunami", as James Bellich describes it. The first phase of the Thames rush, during the late 1860s, helped the North Island counteract the Otago/Westland rushes. The Karangahake rush was less important nationally and regionally, although it did constitute the last phase of gold mining as an export earner and did represent the highpoint of the quartz mining era" The Woodstock Company's significance is less than that of its larger, more successful and longer-lived Karangahake rival, the Talisman, which absorbed the company in 1904.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

DATE: (1880) 1895-1904

DESIGN: Victorian-Edwardian Pumphouse & Battery

There are a number of related structures in this complex:

The Woodstock Battery - includes masonry and concrete structures associated with the pelton wheel, concrete settling tanks, a pelton wheel in-situ. a drive wheel, remains of vanner rollers, and four in-ground ore kilns.

Woodstock Mine Drives - consists of two main drives with portals which form windows in the cliff face through which rock was discharged into the river.

Woodstock Pumphouse and Shaft - consists of a large underground chamber lined with kauri beams and supported by rata posts. Most of the timbers are rotten although some parts of the pump and timbers associated with the pelton wheel remain upright.

Woodstock-Talisman main entrance, The most visible feature here is apparently the concrete wall associated with the boiler house and changing rooms located in front of the mine entrance, The entrance itself is small-2m x 2m.

It is difficult to attach an architectural value as such to the Woodstock Pumphouse and battery complex. While the subterranean chamber is impressive from a technological point of view, and the remains of concrete and masonry structures are evocative of past industry in a remote spot, the dilapidated condition of the works precludes

registration on aesthetic or architectural grounds.

The principle value of such remains is the physical evidence they present of past industrial processes, operations, and techniques-in this case, the gold extraction and mining industry. These works are illustrative of this industry. And while the physical built fabric is dilapidated, the actual modifications to the landscape remain very much

in evidence- the underground chamber, the track cut out of the rock for the pipeline etc. One can also argue a comparative degree of rarity for the site.

The NZHPT has registered 9 pumphouses and related structures. The comparative point here is that these structures all preserve good built fabric. Woodstock does not, but its site works are impressive (the actual hewing-out of the rock chamber etc,). The landscape modifications are interesting in themselves; in combination with the dilapidated built fabric they add up to a solid Category II registration.

Linksopen/close

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1880 -

Public NZAA Number

T13/289

T13/291

T13/290

T13/293

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Northern region office

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.