Local Heart, Global Soul

October 28, 2018

Goldfields Heritage Area… The Town Sits On Gold.

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,West Coast /Westland Province — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following on from yesterdays post where we are in the former gold-rush town of Ross; the second billboard continues:

In 1917 the first nil return of gold was recorded since the fields beginnings, and attention began to turn to other industries.

As men returned from the First World War, timber milling, farming, and limestone quarrying became the major source of income, keeping the town alive.

A brief gold revival took place on Ross Flat 130 years after it began, using modern earth-moving and pumping equipment to extract the pay-dirt which could not be profitably mined by old methods.

Today the ground beneath the township, which has never been completely mined, could contain gold worth millions of dollars – but will the town’s people ever allow it to be won?

1869 DECEMBER – Floodwaters damaged a Chinese market garden near Donnelly’s Creek. by 1872 many Chinese miners would be at work in Jones Creek and their numbers would peak to about 150 (compared to 350 European miners) in 1883.

1872 JULY – Closure of the deep-lead mines, due to flooding, resulted in miners either leaving the district or returning to manual methods. The population in 1874 was down to 1700.

1875 SEPTEMBER – The new Government school opened. St. Patrick’s School remained, but seven private schools closed. 1878 JANUARY – Ross was proclaimed a Borough. the Mayor, a Frenchman, Camille Malfroy, presided over the first meeting in February.

1880 The Ross United Goldmining Company sank a new, 392 ft shaft and a new flurry of deep-lead mining was sustained for seven years. Low returns and flooding closed the mine.

1882 Hydraulic and elevator mining methods dominated Jones Flat until 1898.

1909 APRIL – The railway line from Ross to Hokitika, was completed making it the terminus for the Midland Railway line. 1909 SEPTEMBER – Ross Goldfrields Limited reopened the old Ross United mine; the also supplied the town with electricity.

1909 SEPTEMBER – The Honorable Roddy nugget was found by John Scott and Arthur Sharp on the east bank of Jones Creek.

1910 NOVEMBER . Ross Goldfields Ltd in liquidation. Two further attempts to re-establish the mine failed. Flooding once again caused major problems and gold returns were low.

1918 The town turned its attention to other industries, such as farming and timber-milling. A few small scale mines continued to operate in the Ross district.

1988 OCTOBER – mining began on Ross Flat using modern technology to extract gold left in old terraces and tailings. Deep leads were able to be worked with new, huge-capacity pumps.

TODAY The township of Ross sits on gold which was estimated by a Ministry of Commerce official geologist in 1993 to contain gold worth $700 million. Today Ross had a population of about 300 people, some of whom are descendants of the diggers who arrived during the 1860’s gold-rush.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Photo. top left of board, Caption: “ABOVE  Alymer Street 1868s, looking south-west. The poppet head of the Band of Hope claim can be seen on the left whilst that of what became the Cassius claim is just visible centre right. The girl confidently walking towards the camera, and the two men posed left and right, suggest that the photographer was concerned with composition as well as recording the scene.”)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Caption: Above:” By the 1880’s Donnelly’s creek was bridged and the town of Ross well established on the flat and hillside beyond. ”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Caption Above: “Railway workers laying the line from Hokitika to Ross an which became the terminus of the Midland Railway Line.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Caption Above and Below: “The town’s second Post and Telegraph Station on the corner of St James and Bold streets; the original was on Bon Street. Today the de Bakker Cottage sits on this site, and is open daily for you to see inside. Note the bell tower behind the right apex of the station.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Caption: ” Above: Hospital Staff pose on the cottage steps. The hospital building (left) still stands, as a private residence on Gay Street.”)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 Caption Above:  William of the de Bakker family who was brought up in Ross by his widowed mother

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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