NZhistory 5570
U3A members studying ‘ The History of New Zealand in the Last 1,000 Years’ recently visited the Victoria Battery at Waikino.

To learn how gold was extracted from rock, they took a guided tour, which included a train trip around the ruins, a Tramway Museum visit, a walk through the kiln tunnels and a look at the ore kilns.

Rock was originally softened by heating, which resulted in five acres of forest being burned over 2½ days. The noise from one battery stamp made everyone jump, whereas Victoria Battery’s 200 stamps worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the thumps from Karangahake sometimes heard in Waihi and Paeroa. Men (seen in the photos wearing ties at work) were paid a pittance and died young from lung damage. Our visit included lunch in the Railway Café and a quick look at the Martha Mine in Waihi, which experienced a huge rock fall in April.

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