Friday, May 9, 2014

Operable 12-Stamper Battery at Beaconsfield, Tasmania

I have been out of the Country in Australia and New Zealand for awhile and have recently returned. I will be writing up some articles for my blog and will post them as I get them completed. Of course, the main goal of the trip was to document all of the stamp mills I could find and video tape the operable ones. I spent several months studying the three areas that we visited and marked out the promising spots for stamp mills. They call them Stamper Batteries Down Under.

The first location I will discuss is Beaconsfield, Tasmania, which was in the northeast part of the island. Mining was reported back as far as 1872 on the site where there was an iron smelter that supported the Australian steel industry. There were steam driven water pumps on the site back in 1905. They are thought to be the largest of that type ever built. The Tasmania Gold Mine Company was on site until 1914.

The 12-stamper battery known as the “Chintock”, presently located at the Beaconsfield Mining & Heritage Centre, was brought to the site from a remote location North East from Beaconsfield on the Blue Tier near Weldborough.  According to notes made several years ago by a former volunteer at the center, who did some research on the battery, there are only records of the Vivian foundry making one 24 head battery and one 12 head battery. It is not clear how complete the company records are. The volunteer felt that the battery at the museum was likely to be part of the 24 head battery, as the battery standards on the battery consist of one end and two intermediate standards, a configuration suggesting it was part of a larger set. If this is the case, the battery was made in 1862 and first used by the “New Chum” gold mine at what is now Stawell in Victoria. The volunteer also traced records of stamp batteries in multiples of six that were used in northeastern Tasmania. They were:

Mount Victoria Gold Mine Co.  18 stamps            1888-1895
New River gold mine                12 stamps            1900
Mara gold mine                         12 stamps            1901

I have been communicating with Julienne Richards, Collections Curator. She has been very helpful getting information that I did not pick up during the tour. We have been communicating by Email. She has sent pictures of the unusual tappets that they use on the 12-stamper on site.

The following is the report that was assembled for Beaconsfield, Tasmania

Chintock 12-Stamper Battery
Beaconsfield Mining & Heritage Centre
Beaconsfield, TAS

April 13, 2014

We went to Beaconsfield and there was a 12-stamper on site that ran! It was a very unusual combination of two 6-stamp mills tied together. The mill was built by Vivian & Co., Castlemaine Foundry, Victoria, AU. The battery frame has a label that says it was made by IEE Salisbury, Launceston. TAS. There were no feeders on the mill and it was designed to be fed by hand. The mill was made by Vivian & Company, Castlemaine Foundry, Victoria, Aus. It came from the Chintock ‘Kent” Battery that was located north east from Beaconsfield and brought to the Grubb Shaft Museum, Beaconsfield, TAS. 

I have a You Tube Video of the operation of the 12-satmper Battery taht shows the water wheel operation and 6 of the 12 stamps in action. Just copy the address below and paste on to the Internet.  

The picture below shows the stamp mill profile. 

The mill was run by an overshot water wheel that was fed from a water supply. It was on a timer and to operate the stamper you would push a button and that would turn on the water supply that would activate the water wheel.

There were quite a few things that were different about this mill. It had 12 stamps, a steel geared wheel to drive the mill, threaded tappets, square cone shoes and did not have jackstands. The pictures below show the differences:

The following You Tube video below shows the operation of the 12-stamper and the water wheel that runs it at Beaconsfield Mining & Heritage Centre in Tasmania . All you have to do is copy and paste on the Internet.

Contact Information address, Beaconsfield Mine and Heritage Centre, P.O. Box 59, Beaconsfield, TAS 7270, Tel: +61-03-63831473, Fax: +61-03-63836384

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