Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Gippsland Mining District Stamper Batteries, Waratah, Australia

Stamper Batteries
Gibbsland Mining District
Wahalla, Australia

April 22, 2014

We drove from Lakes Entrance to Melbourne via Wahalla. We drove to Walhalla to look at stamp mills. We traveled over 60 Km of narrow, twisting and winding road to get to the town. Walhalla is located in Gippsland Mining District and has a lot of stamp mill remnants. The mining district of Gippsland has over 70 stamper battery locations with many still in place. Unfortunately, none of the stamper batteries were operable at this location. When we arrived at Wahalla we saw two 5-stampers, 2 10-stampers and two 2-stampers just riding along the main street. There were also a lot of spare parts in the area. This would be an excellent place to restore Stampers since there are so many parts. We went from there to Melbourne and stayed there for two days to get some rest.

The town was very small and the streets were extremely narrow. Of course it was raining most of the day, but the town was very interesting. I took two pictures of buildings in the town that I thought were interesting below. They still use telephone booths in this country. I saw many of them in our travels down under.

 The poster picture below explains the following picture. It is worth a thousand words.

There were stamper batteries all over the town, so I just started at one end and took pictures as we went. The first one we came across was a small portable 2-stamper battery. As you can see, it was right in someone’s front yard amongst the flower garden.

There were stamper batteries all over the town, so I just started at one end and took pictures as we went. The first one we came across was a small portable 2-stamper battery. As you can see, it was right in someone’s front yard amongst the flower garden.

It had the classic geared bull wheel and the simple round tappets that were held on the shaft with steel shims. The sluice table needed a little work.

This stamper battery was sitting behind a barn. The interesting thing about the stamper is that the bull wheel was made with steel spokes, not cast iron. This would have made the wheel a little stronger and less affected to the vibration of the stamp operations. This mill needs some tender loving care to get it back to condition for operations. 

We pulled into the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine site. The building in the picture below was a museum of stamper batteries and the “check in” point for the Mine tour.

We went into the museum and saw quite a few artifacts of the local area. There was a 2-stamper battery that was a portable type and a small model stamper.  I met a person by the name of Ben Holmes that was interested in restoring a stamp mill at Wahalla. 

This is the entrance to the Long Tunnel Extended Gold Mine. We did not go on the tour since we were strapped for time. We had a long trip back down the twisting and winding road to Melbourne.

We went outside of the museum and found more stamper batteries and a bunch of spare parts. We actually met a person that worked for Thompson & Company. You can see that this mill was made from cast iron. There were quite a few mills that were made in Australia that were steel framed.

The stamper battery below was one of the early ones since it had a full feeder inlet in the back of the mill. You will notice that it has the classic geared bull wheel on one side and a belt pulley on the other side. This generally meant that this system had a Berdan wheel that would run off the belt pulley.

The rest of the photos show the stuff that was in the yard area. The next picture shows a couple of spare mortar boxes ready to be restored behind the museum. Note the mortar boxes are bolted together and are made of steel, not cast. This is a typical configuration for Australia and New Zealand. This makes the boxes lighter and also cuts down of the cost.

Below is a spare set of stamps in their guides ready to be assembled into a 10-stamper battery. Notice the square shoe cones. The guides were very simple and easy to work on with only 2 bolts per individual guide.

Here is the camshaft for the above stamps.

Last picture shows some ore carts to move the ore to the stamper batteries. There is one last Berdan wheel in the background.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Operational Dudley's 2-Stamper Battery, Waratah, Tasmania

Dudley’s 2-Stamper Mill
Mt. Bischoff Mine
Waratah, Tasmania

April 14, 2014

We left Launceston for Queenstown. There were several remnants of stamper batteries in Waratah. There was a 2-stamper at Dudley’s Mill at the Mt. Bischoff Mine that was constructed back in the 1950’s and was moved from its original site not far from Waratah to the new location.

Before we show the present location and conditions we will take you back to its original location on Mt Bischoff where it was used to process tin bearing ores for the local mines in Mt Bischoff. The following is a grouping of pictures that show the process that was used to relocate the building, as it was back in the 1950’s, to the town of Waratah. The first picture below shows the shed as it was found at Mt Bischoff.

The next picture shows everything including the ore pile was meticulously assembled and moved to make sure that it would be in the same position when it reached Waratah.

Pains were taken to make sure that everything was properly marked and the process would be preserved. A good example is the self feeder that he made form a 44 gallon barrel below.

The stamper battery had to be completely disassembled and refurbished. 

The slurry pump was an important part of the milling process. It would take a suction of the mixture of ground ore and water and pump it over to the shaker table. This saved the millman time and a lot of work to get the concentrates over to the shaker table so the tin cold be separated.

You probably cannot read the fine print, but the pictures are worth a thousand words. They actually moved the entire shed over to Waratah in pieces and reassembled it. They built a house around the outside of the shed and when the building had been completed it looked exactly like the original mill.

This is its new home under a modern building. Everything in the building is as it was when they moved it to it present location, even the clothing.


Riverside Battery made the mill and there was also a nice feeder that was very similar to the Hendy feeders in the States. There was no sluice table since the material was pumped from the collection pan directly to the shaker table and all of the work of processing the material was completed at the shaker.

The slurry pump (below) is the picture on the left. Everything is there, but the rubber plunger, which has rotted away. On the right the millman developed a 44 gallon ore hopper that would let material into the feeder when the level got low. These miners worked with what they had and made it work.

 The 44 gallon drum has been clearned up and is back in running conditin once again.

There were stamp mill parts all over town as demonstrated by the pictures below:

Operational 10 & 2-Stamper Batteries, Central Deborah Gold Mine, Bendigo, Australia

10 & 2-Stamper Batteries
Central Deborah Gold Mine
Bendigo, AUS

April 19, 2014
We stopped in Bendigo to visit the Central Deborah Gold Mine and Town.The picture below shows the headframe or poppet. This was the original poppet and has been restored. The entire mine is just as it was when mining started including the buildings.
The plaque above is attached to a piece of quartz taken from the vein underground. It is commemorating Fifty years of preservation and restoration work on the Central Deborah Gold mine.

There are two stamper batteries at the mine. The 10-stamper and the 2-stamper batteries both work. They are driven with an electric motor and when the 10-stamper ran it dropped 5 of the 10 stamps. The 10-stamper was made by the Thompson Foundry in Castlemaine, Victoria. It had a regular Hendy type feeder and most everything about the mill was similar to the US mills. The tour guide ran the mill and did a good job talking about the mercury process.
 The feeder below is similar to the Hendy feeder in the States.

There were several examples of Berdan wheels in the building where the 10-stamper was located. I took shots of them to show the different orientations of Berdan wheels.
You can see the steel ball in the picture below. T Hey also used a steel slug that was rectangular on the top and curved on the bottom to match the contours of the bottom of the bowl.

The second stamper battery was a 2-stamp and was hooked into the power supply for the 10-stamp that was in the building. The tour guide ran the mill and flushed some water through the mechanism. It appeared that one of the shoes had come off the stamp while he was running the machine. The machine had a label on it that said it was made in Bendigo by Holland Brothers. It had the classic sluice table that had two parts, one for the copper table and the other for the carpet that would catch the gold not caught by the mercury. This material would then be placed in the Berdan wheel for further processing.

We went on the underground mine tour which was excellent. They operated drills and the mucker while on the tour. I found a totally different type of carbide lamp than was used in the States. They also used some different terms, the headframe was the poppit, the mucker was called the bogger and the stamper battery shoe was called the hammer. 
While underground we were shown the typical candles and other underground lights. They had a carbide light that I had never seen before. It was very unusual and I took some picture of the lamp in the museum that showed a cross section of the lamp. Very interesting!

After the tour we went through a museum that had a model of the original layout of the poppit head, steam boiler, 10-stamper and the processing equipment. It was a pretty nice model.
 This shot shows the workings of the 20-stamper battery

Contact Information:
Central Deborah Gold Mine
76 Violet Street, Bendigo VIC 3550, Australia +61 3 5443 8322

Booking Information  bookings@central-deborah.com